VESSEL REVIEW | Armand Imbeau II – North America’s first LNG-powered ferry

Davie Shipbuilding has delivered the first LNG-powered ferry to be built in North America, a project that has been in development since before 2012.

Delivering this prototype has taken years of work by Davie, the designers and the classification society, which had to develop construction and operations rules and regulations during the construction in order to cater for this new type of propulsion system.

“From the outside, this ship looks like any other ferry, but from the inside, it is of a similar level of complexity to a space shuttle,” claimed Ron Pearson, Davie’s VP of Engineering.

“It is a densely packed, highly integrated and complex product. This ferry has more systems and automation onboard than an offshore drilling platform or a modern warship.

“It is truly a technological marvel – the cryogenic processes involved in managing this highly volatile fuel, while also creating a vessel which is safe to carry passengers, has been a huge challenge. Integrating all of these systems into such a confined space was even more challenging and one we are very proud to have overcome.”

The engine room

Armand Imbeau II has icebreaking capability, to the extent that it is able to operate year-round on the St. Lawrence River.

A key indicator of the complexity of the vessel is that there are more than 6,800 inputs and outputs into the main automation system, with over 150,000 metres of cable installed onboard.

She is highly automated for use by a smaller crew, and is equipped with fully automated safety shutdown systems for gas safety.

A pair of 2,200kW main engines drive twin screw Z-drives, for a trial speed of 14 knots. Fuel capacity is 50 tonnes of MDO and 45 tonnes of LNG.

LNG tank

“The combination of an entirely new green technology and a client who hadn’t built new ships in decades created a unique challenge for this project,” commented Alex Vicefield, CEO of Davie owner Inocea.

“Having integrated LNG propulsion into this ice-class ferry, we will now be looking at how LNG can power other classes of icebreakers – ships which operate in some of the most sensitive ecosystems on the planet.

“For ferries, we also want to explore the potential for installing fully electrical propulsion systems. In Québec, where we have a surplus of hydroelectric power and with recent advances in “wireless” or induction charging and battery technology, this would make a lot of sense.

“Being the first mover in any new technology is never going to be cheap, but the potential that these new environmentally-friendly technologies have is enormous. This is what will power the future and we intend for Davie to remain at the forefront of it.”

Armand Imbeau II
Type of vessel:Ro-Pax ferry
Port of Registry:Quebec, Canada
Registration:Near Coastal Voyages, Class 2 limited to 5 miles from coast
Vessel registry number:841731
Classification:Lloyd’s Register
Class:100A1 Passenger and Vehicle Ferry / CM / LMC / UMS / Ice Class Hull 1A and Propulsion 1AS FS / CCS / PL / ICC / DP (CM) / EP-A-G-N-P-R-S / PCAC (3,3) / GF / Green Passport)
Call sign:CFA2686
IMO number:9703215
Overall length:92.00 metres
Deck length:91.60 metres
Length bp:86.87 metres
Waterline length:86.87 metres
Overall beam:26.40 metres
Moulded beam:26.00 metres
Waterline beam:20.10 metres
Moulded depth:7.00 metres
Design draught (moulded):4.50 metres
Displacement:3,500 tonnes
Gross tonnage:2,903
Net tonnage:878
Deadweight:1,006 tonnes
Type of construction:Moulded
Construction material:Steel
Main engines:2 x 2,200kW
Propulsion:2 x twin screw Z-drives

2 x 1,584kW

2 x 1,056kW

Speed:14 knots
MDO capacity:50.0 tonnes
LNG:45.0 tonnes
Potable water:20.0 tonnes
Ballast:788 tonnes
Payload:800.0 tonnes
Rescue boat:6pax, 30kW
Car capacity:115

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