VESSEL REVIEW | Aoi – New large-capacity Ro-Pax ferry for Japanese inter-island routes
Japanese transport company Jumbo Ferry has begun regular sailings of a locally built Ro-Pax ferry on the route that connects the cities of Kobe and Takamatsu with Shodoshima island.
Built by Naikai Zosen Corporation in compliance to Japanese Government rules, Aoi (“Blue”) has a length of 131.76 metres, a beam of 22 metres, a full load draught of 5.5 metres, a gross tonnage of 5,200, and capacity for 800 passengers and up to 1,040 lane metres of freight, which can include passenger cars and lorries with trailers. The newbuild is the largest in the Jumbo Ferry fleet, with an estimated size increase of 40 per cent compared to the company’s existing vessels. It is also the first newbuild vessel to enter service with Jumbo Ferry in 32 years.
The passenger spaces were designed to provide a feel similar to a floating hotel characterised by improved comfort, which is an important attribute during overnight sailings in the Seto Inland Sea. The onboard facilities include panoramic bathrooms, rooms for pets, a casual dining restaurant, bicycle storage spaces, outdoor viewing areas, and refreshment kiosks. The passenger seating areas include rooms with carpeted floors people can sit on, rooms with outward-facing benches, private rooms with reclining seats for three people each, family cabins, loft-type cabins with bunks, and rooms with balconies.
Access between decks is via stairway and a starboard lift for use by disabled and elderly passengers. Loading and unloading of vehicles is done using the bow and stern ramps, ensuring improved operational flexibility, whereas passengers embark and disembark with the aid of a starboard gangway.
One MAN B&W 8S35ME-C9.7 diesel engine with a rated output of 6,610 kW drives a controllable-pitch propeller to deliver a service speed of 18.6 knots. The engine compartment and the funnel are offset to port, and the resulting asymmetric layout ensures greater available space on the vehicle deck. A SOx scrubber is also fitted. Two Schilling rudders and bow and stern thrusters provide added manoeuvrability when navigating in port waters.
Aoi is being operated jointly by Jumbo Ferry and Kato Kisen. It has since replaced the 1989-built Konpira 2 on the Kobe-Takamatsu-Shodoshima route.
|Type of vessel:
|Jumbo Ferry, Japan
|Jumbo Ferry, Japan; Kato Kisen, Japan
|Naikai Zosen Corporation, Japan
|1,040 lane metres
|MAN B&W 8S35ME-C9.7, 6,610 kW
|2 x Schilling
|Other equipment installed:
|Type of fuel:
|Bathrooms; pets’ rooms; restaurant; viewing areas; refreshments kiosk
|Seto Inland Sea, Japan