VESSEL REVIEW | Aura Seaways – DFDS deploys 230m luxury Ro-Pax on Baltic Sea

Photo: DFDS

Chinese state-owned shipbuilder Guangzhou Shipyard International (GSI) handed over a new steel-hulled Ro-Pax ferry to Danish vessel operator DFDS in late 2021.

Aura Seaways is the first in a new series of luxury Ro-Pax ferries built by GSI for the same customer. Designed to be capable of short international voyages (excluding US waters), the vessel will be operated primarily in the Baltic Sea, initially serving DFDS’ daily 11-hour route between Klaipeda in Lithuania and Karlshamn in Sweden. The delivery of the ferry will help boost passenger traffic along the route, which until recently had been served mainly by freight-only Ro-Ro ships that offered only limited capacities for transporting passengers.

Photo: DFDS

The newbuild belongs to a series of ferries that were ordered by DFDS in 2018 for operation by its DFDS Seaways passenger and freight brand as part of an expansion of its services in the Baltic Sea. The owner claimed these were also the first passenger ferries that it ordered in 40 years. Luna Seaways, the second ship in the series, is nearing completion in China and is scheduled to join Aura Seaways on the Klaipeda-Karlshamn route by the spring of 2022.

Photo: DFDS

The new ferry has a length of 230 metres, a beam of 31 metres, a draught of 6.3 metres, and capacity for 600 passengers and 62 crewmembers plus up to 4,500 lane metres of freight, or the equivalent of 600 cars or 170 trailers. Loading of freight is done via vehicle ramps at the rear, and transferring between the main and upper cargo decks is through internal ramps.

Photo: DFDS

The ferry also boasts triple the payload capacity of the 1982-built Scandinavia, the last newbuild passenger vessel ordered by DFDS. Shipmanagement company OSM Maritime, which supervised the vessel’s construction in China, added that Aura Seaways is DFDS’ largest ferry in terms of cargo capacity, with a deadweight capacity of around 12,750 tonnes.

Photo: DFDS

Two six-cylinder and two eight-cylinder main engines with a total output of 33,600 kW propel the ferry to a maximum speed of 23 knots and a service speed of 17 knots. Exhaust gas scrubbers have also been fitted to ensure compliance with new EEDI standards while the Ice 1C class hull helps ensure more efficient sailings.

Photo: DFDS

The selection of amenities includes three restaurants, three bars, a duty-free shop, a children’s play area, a passenger lounge with reserved reclining seats for up to 116 people, and a separate lounge for freight drivers. The 250 passenger cabins meanwhile consist of one-, two-, and four-berth staterooms. All passenger cabins have air conditioning and en suite bathrooms. There are also dedicated cabins for passengers traveling with pets.

Photo: Port of Karlshamn

Aura Seaways began operating on the Klaipeda-Karlshamn route via a maiden voyage on January 23. To better accommodate the new ferry upon entering service, the Port of Karlshamn had invested in a berth construction and expansion project to provide dedicated facilities for the larger vessel.

Aura Seaways
SPECIFICATIONS
Type of vessel:Ro-Pax ferry
Classification:Lloyd’s
Port of registry:Copenhagen, Denmark
Flag:Denmark
Owner:DFDS, Denmark
OperatorDFDS Seaways, Denmark
Builder:Guangzhou Shipyard International, China
Hull construction material:Steel
Length overall:230 metres
Beam:31 metres
Draught:6.3 metres
Capacity:4,500 lane metres
Main engines:4
Maximum speed:23 knots
Cruising speed:17 knots
Other equipment installed:Exhaust scrubbers
Type of fuel:Diesel
Accommodation:250 x passenger cabins; restaurants; bars; duty-free shop; lounges; children’s play area
Crew:62
Passengers:600
Operational area:Baltic Sea between Lithuania and Sweden

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