VESSEL REVIEW | Santa Brigida – Locally-built 72-metre ferry for Philippines’ Montenegro Lines

Photo: MSLI

Montenegro Shipping Lines (MSLI), a Filipino operator based in Batangas province just south of Manila, recently took delivery of a new locally-built monohull Ro-Pax ferry. The newbuild vessel has been christened Santa Brigida following MSLI’s practice of naming its newer large Ro-Pax ferries after female Catholic saints.

As with its earlier sister vessels Santa Soledad and Santa Carmelita, construction of Santa Brigida took place entirely at the facilities of MSLI subsidiary San Pedro Shipyard in nearby Quezon province. Construction officially commenced with the laying of the vessel’s keel in June 2019 and was completed in February of this year.

Unlike the two earlier ferries, which both measure 67 metres long and feature “LCT-type” hull and superstructure layouts that MSLI said was derived from a South Korean design, Santa Brigida boasts a more conventional appearance with a larger superstructure and with its front portion – including the bridge – being positioned noticeably forward.

The newbuild itself is also slightly larger, with an LOA of 72 metres and a beam of 14 metres, though a fourth ferry – Santa Alberta, whose keel was laid earlier this year – will have a length of 81 metres once completed at San Pedro Shipyard, making it the largest vessel in what MSLI has called the “Santa series.”

Santa Brigida is powered by a pair of Mitsubishi diesel engines that deliver a service speed of 13 to 14 knots. This enables the vessel to cover its regular route of 21 nautical miles between the Port of Batangas and Calapan in Oriental Mindoro province in as little as one hour and 48 minutes one way.

Photo: MSLI/Marge Almonte

The ferry’s main deck has a VIP room with cushioned reclining seats with armrests, mess tables with benches, lounge seating, wooden wall panels, and air conditioning. Outside and aft of the VIP room is an open-air economy seating section with snack bar.

The VIP room and the economy section have a combined capacity of 365 people. Further, the toilets in both sections have been fitted with handrails, thus ensuring that these are also easily accessible for disabled and elderly passengers.

Photo: MSLI/Marge Almonte

Situated on the vessel’s upper deck are the bridge, an owner’s cabin with toilet, and a crew area with its own berths, toilets, galley, and mess. All upper deck interior spaces also have air conditioning. The aft portion of the upper deck between the two funnels functions as a sun deck complete with tables and benches for passengers’ use.

The bridge features a padded control console and navigational equipment from Garmin as well as a rudder indicator mounted on the ceiling. As with all other interior spaces on Santa Brigida, the bridge floor is covered with interlocking wood panels that add to the vessel’s overall modern and elegant feel.

Photo: Bernard Dacayana

The ferry’s spacious vehicle deck can hold a total volume equivalent to that of 18 single-deck buses. Ramp doors located on the bow and the stern give the vessel some operational flexibility with regards to loading and unloading of cargo.

The vessel also has desalination equipment, which is capable of converting salt water into potable water for onboard consumption.

Lastly, in the event of an emergency that will necessitate evacuation, the vessel is equipped with 18 life rafts that can accommodate up to 25 people each.

Santa Brigida is the 61st vessel overall to join the MSLI fleet, which also includes a number of small fast ferries. The newbuild completed its maiden voyage, a trip from Batangas to Matabang Port in Occidental Mindoro province, on March 6, 2021, and it has since been sailing regularly on the route between Batangas and Calapan alongside Santa Soledad and Santa Carmelita under MSLI’s Montenegro Lines brand.

Photo: Bernard Dacayana

Click here for the other news, features and reviews comprising this month’s Passenger Vessel Week.

Santa Brigida
Type of vessel:Ro-Pax ferry
Owner:Montenegro Shipping Lines, Philippines
Operator:Montenegro Shipping Lines, Philippines
Builder:San Pedro Shipyard, Philippines
Length overall:72 metres
Beam:14 metres
Capacity:18 buses
Main engines:2 x Mitsubishi
Cruising speed:14 knots
Other electronics:Rudder indicator
Other equipment installed:Air-conditioning system; water desalination equipment; 2 x vehicle deck ramp doors
Seating:Reclining seats; mess benches; lounge seating
Floor/deck surface finishes:Interlocking wood panels
Interior fitout/furnishings:Vehicle deck
Liferafts:18 x 25-pax rafts
Type of fuel:Diesel
Accommodation:VIP room; economy section; toilets; owner’s cabin; crew area with berths, galley, and mess; sun deck; snack bar

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