NYC ferry service taps Horizon, Metal Shark for 19-boat order
Courtesy Horizon Shipbuilding
Delivery of the first of 19 boats for New York’s Citywide Ferry Service is scheduled for spring 2017. Incat Crowther provided the design.

Hornblower Inc.’s preparations in 2016 for the new Citywide Ferry Service in New York included perhaps the largest single ferry order in U.S. history, while major West Coast operators moved ahead with plans to replace older vessels. The trend toward more environmentally friendly ferries continued as well, with the world’s longest cable ferry going into service in British Columbia and work advancing on a pair of catamarans with exhaust after-treatment systems for a San Francisco operator. 

New ferries weren’t the only vessels with “greener” designs making headlines last year — an electrically powered boat delivered to an Ottawa tour company produces zero emissions. Elsewhere in the excursion world, prominent operators including Circle Line in New York City and Shoreline Sightseeing in Chicago took delivery of vessels or were set to do so by year’s end.

In late summer, Hornblower of San Francisco increased its first order of high-speed vessels for the Citywide Ferry Service expected to begin next year in New York. The company added another boat to its original order of 18 aluminum catamarans and has options to build more boats in the future.

“We always had the expectation of building 19 vessels, and now we have committed to increasing the order to 19 with Horizon and Metal Shark,” said Cameron Clark, Hornblower’s senior vice president of development, referring to the two shipyards building the vessels.

Hornblower’s order is believed to be the largest-volume ferry order in U.S. history, according to Metal Shark President Chris Allard, who noted some orders for fewer but larger steel ferries probably cost more.

The 85-by-26-foot NYC ferries designed by Incat Crowther will have two different propulsion systems using Moteurs Baudouin engines. One dual-engine system will produce 1,600 hp and the other will generate 2,800 hp. Three of the first five vessels projected to be delivered in early 2017 will have the larger engines, Clark said.

“We have some vessels that are set to be able to run in varying sea states,” he said, adding that these more powerful boats also will have deeper drafts. “This will provide for more resiliency for the service as a whole.”

Queen Elizabeth Dr. cruises Ottawa’s Rideau Canal, driven by a pair of emission-free Torqeedo electric motors. It is not the first battery-powered boat in the city — a Torqeedo-powered water taxi has served the downtown area for several years.

Courtesy Torqeedo

The ferries will have Vulkan couplings, ZF gears and Michigan Wheel props. Onboard amenities will include airplane-style seating, wireless Internet and storage for commuter bicycles. The boats also will comply with federal and local regulations for universal accessibility.

The citywide service will feature five routes between Manhattan and surrounding boroughs. Rockaway, South Brooklyn and Astoria routes are scheduled to begin next year, and routes serving Soundview, the Bronx and the Lower East Side are expected in 2018.

The Hornblower project wasn’t the only major ferry project underway in 2016. NY Waterway, the largest private ferry operator in the country, began service in August aboard Betsy Ross, its newest high-speed catamaran serving Greater New York City. Yank Marine of Tuckahoe, N.J., built the 109-foot ferry based on a design by LeMole Naval Architecture, also of Tuckahoe.

Betsy Ross and sister vessel Molly Pitcher, delivered in late 2015, have seating for 350 people and a total capacity of 400 passengers. The vessels feature open space on the upper and lower decks. Amenities include wireless Internet, flat-screen televisions, a bar and tiled restrooms.

Service speed on both vessels is 28 knots from the twin Caterpillar Tier 3 mains delivered by Foley Engines of Worcester, Mass. 

Conrad Shipyard of Morgan City, La., delivered the 235-by-64-foot Woods Hole for the Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority in Massachusetts. Elliott Bay Design Group of Seattle designed the vessel, which entered service in June (see profile).

Powered by MTU 4000-series Tier 3 diesel engines, Woods Hole connects mainland Massachusetts with the resort islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. It can hold 384 passengers and up to 55 vehicles or 10 tractor-trailers.

Chesapeake Shipbuilding launches American Constellation into Maryland’s Wicomico River in July. The tour boat hit the water nine weeks ahead of schedule.

Courtesy American Cruise Lines

Hy-Line Cruises of Hyannis, Mass., also welcomed a new ferry to carry passengers between the mainland and Nantucket. Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding of Somerset, Mass., delivered the 153-foot Grey Lady IV in September as ASR was going to press. The high-speed catamaran is capable of carrying 493 people.

Incat Crowther designed Grey Lady IV, which is powered by four Cummins QSK60-M engines rated for a combined 2,200 hp. The ferry has Twin Disc gears, HamiltonJet HM721 waterjets and two Cummins QSB7 generators. Fully loaded, the ferry will travel at 34 knots, making the run to Nantucket in about an hour.

“We are going all high-speed now in all of our ferries. No more traditionals,” said Philip Scudder, vice president of Hy-Line Cruises.

Grey Lady IV will be the fourth high-speed ferry in Hy-Line’s fleet, replacing the company’s last conventional ferry. It’s also the biggest of the firm’s high-speed vessels. 

In the Gulf region, Southwest Shipyard LP in Houston is building the 161-foot Amadeo Saenz Jr. for the Texas Department of Transportation. Elliott Bay Design Group designed the vessel, which will carry passengers between Aransas Pass, Texas, and the resort community of Port Aransas.

Amadeo Saenz Jr. is the third in a series of 28-car, 149-passenger ferries operating in Port Aransas. The ferry’s sister vessels, Charles W. Heald and Michael W. Behrens, were delivered in 2011. But unlike its predecessors, Amadeo Saenz Jr. features a gas-electric propulsion system with three Cummins QSK19 generators.

Shipyard project manager Travis Bergh said these units will power the propulsion control system designed and built by Electronic Power Designs and also supply ship service power.

The Seaspan-built Baynes Sound Connector arrives at the Buckley Bay terminal on Vancouver Island. The cable ferry travels a route extending more than a mile.

Alan Haig-Brown photo

“The ferry will be powered by a 600-hp Marelli electric motor on each end. Each Marelli electric motor will be connected to the shaft line through a Twin Disc gearbox,” Bergh said.

On the West Coast, the biggest operators continued with longstanding vessel replacement plans.

Vigor is building two more ro-pax ferries for Washington State Ferries at its Seattle shipyard. Chimacum is set for delivery in early 2017 and Suquamish is due in fall 2018. Vigor laid the keel for Suquamish in May.

The 362-foot Olympic-class vessels can carry 144 vehicles on two decks and can accommodate 1,500 passengers. The ferries are powered by twin EMD 12-710 engines producing 6,000 total hp with a service speed of 17 knots. The new vessels are replacing some of the oldest in the state ferry fleet, some dating back to the Eisenhower administration.

Chimacum will serve the Seattle-to-Bremerton route, while Suquamish has not yet been assigned a route. Tokitae and Samish, the first two Olympic-class ferries, were delivered in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

Workers at Vigor also are hard at work on two 135-foot high-speed vessels designed to be the cleanest-operating ferries in America. Incat Crowther designed Hydrus and Cetus for the Water Emergency Transportation Authority in San Francisco. The vessels are scheduled for delivery in summer 2017.

The 400-passenger ferries will be powered by MTU 12V4000 M64 Tier 3 engines rated for 1,950 hp coupled with ZF 7600 reduction gears. Service speed is projected to be 27 knots.

La Espada — “the sword” — from All American Marine features Teknicraft’s hydrofoil-supported catamaran design to boost fuel efficiency.

Photo courtesy All American Marine

The ferries will be equipped with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) exhaust after-treatment to reduce emissions. Pacific Power Group engineered the system, which is expected to reduce carbon, nitrogen and particulate matter emissions by 10 tons per vessel per year.

Vigor also is building two 280-foot ro-pax ferries for the Alaska Marine Highway System. The ferries designed by Elliott Bay Design Group can carry 300 passengers and up to 53 standard vehicles. Delivery is expected in late 2018. The vessels are expected to serve the Lynn Canal route between Juneau, Haines and Skagway.

In Canada, BC Ferries took delivery in August 2015 of Baynes Sound Connector, its first cable ferry and the vessel with the longest cable run in the world. The 257-foot ferry built by Seaspan entered service in February 2016. E.Y.E. Marine Consultants, Elliott Bay Design Group and KPFF Consultants collaborated on the design.

Baynes Sound Connector has twin Caterpillar engines producing 500 hp that propel it along a drive cable for the 6,233-foot route between Vancouver Island and Denman Island in British Columbia. There are no propellers on the ferry, which can carry 150 passengers and 50 vehicles and has a service speed of 7.5 knots.

BC Ferries also is expecting delivery in late 2016 of Salish Orca, the first of three ferries fueled by liquefied natural gas under construction at Remontowa Shipbuilding S.A. in Gdansk, Poland. The 351-foot Salish-class ferries can carry 145 vehicles on two decks and 600 passengers and crew. The ferries will travel at 15.5 knots, propelled by twin Wartsila 8L20DF dual-fuel engines.

The second and third Salish-class ferries, Salish Eagle and Salish Raven, are scheduled for delivery in early 2017, according to BC Ferries spokeswoman Deborah Marshall. All three should be in service in the summer of 2017.

In Nova Scotia, Halifax Transit took delivery of the 79-foot ferry Craig Blake, built by A.F. Theriault & Son of Meteghan River. Design work was provided by E.Y.E. Marine Consultants. A.F. Theriault, which has been in operation since 1938, will build another boat for Halifax that is scheduled to go into service in 2018.

Passengers on the tour boat La Espada can access stadium-style seating, above, on the foredeck for unobstructed views of Los Angeles and Long Beach harbors.

Photos courtesy All American Marine

As the ferry industry moves toward more environmentally friendly vessels, an excursion boat delivered to Ottawa Boat Cruise last spring is already there. Queen Elizabeth Dr. is completely emission-free.

The 75-foot boat is the largest electric passenger vessel operating in Canada. Power comes from a twin 80-hp Torqeedo Deep Blue electric propulsion system that uses high-voltage lithium batteries. Only one engine is used during standard operations. The second is engaged for changing directions in Ottawa’s historic yet narrow Rideau Canal.

Marc Marine of Gatineau, Quebec, built the 100-passenger vessel. A sister vessel, Colonel By, is scheduled for delivery to Ottawa Boat Cruise early next year.

Gladding-Hearn planned to deliver a 165-foot vessel to New York City’s Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises in October. The vessel is the first of three in a new order by Circle Line from the Somerset, Mass., shipyard.

The new vessel is powered by twin Cummins QSK38 engines, each rated for 1,300 hp at 1,800 rpm, paired with ZF W3355 gearboxes. Twin 140-kW generators provide ship service power. There is a single 20-inch, dual-prop 125-hp electric Wesmar bow thruster.

DeJong and Lebet Inc. of Jacksonville, Fla., designed the new class of excursion vessels. Unlike other vessels in Circle Line’s fleet, the newest will not circle Manhattan and will have a partially covered third deck, according to Gladding-Hearn.

In March, Chesapeake Shipbuilding of Salisbury, Md., delivered the riverboat America to American Cruise Lines. Based in New Orleans, the 296-foot vessel cruises the Mississippi River as far north as St. Paul, Minn., and can carry 185 guests. Features include glass-enclosed lounges and staterooms with private balconies.

Propulsion is provided by two Caterpillar 3512 main engines with stern-mounted z-drives from ZF Marine and three Caterpillar C18 generators producing a combined 1,275 kW.

Skyview, built by Blount Boats, has a recessed pilothouse to meet the air draft requirements for touring the waterways of Chicago.

Courtesy Blount Boats

In July, Chesapeake launched the cruise vessel American Constellation for ACL. The 163-passenger vessel features private balconies on most rooms, private bathrooms, a putting green and other modern amenities.

American Constellation will be used for cruises around New England, Chesapeake Bay, the southeastern U.S. and other destinations. Delivery is expected in early 2017 and the ship will begin cruises soon afterward.

In Chicago, Shoreline Sightseeing took delivery of the 100-foot tour boat Skyview built by Blount Boats of Warren, R.I., using plans from Seacraft Design LLC. Skyview can accommodate up to 318 people.

Propulsion comes from twin Volvo D13 MH 400-hp diesel engines paired with ZF gearboxes turning 44-inch propellers. Ship service power is provided by a pair of John Deere generators.

Skyview has a recessed pilothouse to travel under low bridges in Chicago during the company’s popular architectural tours. Guest amenities include mahogany doors, a full-service bar and a beer cooler for 20 kegs. The vessel also features heated restrooms for long Chicago winters.

Blount Boats also built the 64-foot, 240-passenger Star of Chicago, which joined the Shoreline Sightseeing fleet in 1999.

Farther west, Nichols Brothers Boat Builders of Freeland, Wash., is building two U.S.-flagged vessels for Lindblad Expeditions, an adventure travel company. Jensen Maritime Consultants of Seattle provided the design with Tillberg Design International handling the interior work.

These 100-passenger vessels will feature 50 cabins, a spa and fitness room, and a fleet of sea kayaks, paddleboards and landing craft as well as a remotely operated vehicle to capture underwater sights and sounds.

Jensen Maritime is designing two 100-passenger U.S.-flagged coastal cruise ships for Lindblad Expeditions. Jensen is using 3-D modeling to allow Lindblad to confirm the layout and operational access before construction.

Courtesy Crowley Maritime

Construction of the new vessels began in late 2015 and the first is expected for delivery in mid-2017. The second ship is expected a year later. The total cost for the two vessels is about $95 million.

Across the Canadian border, Prince of Whales of Victoria, British Columbia, expected delivery of the 81-foot Salish Sea Dream by the end of the 2016 season. The catamaran features seating for 94 passengers on an exposed upper deck and enclosed main level with floor-to-ceiling windows.

Propulsion comes from four Volvo Penta D13-700 Tier 3 inboard turbo engines that each produce 700 hp at 2,300 rpm, supplied by Pacific Power Group. Armstrong Marine is building the vessel at its Port Angeles, Wash., location based on a design by Gregory C. Marshall Naval Architects of Victoria, British Columbia.

In Southern California, Harbor Breeze Cruises took delivery of an 83-foot aluminum multipurpose excursion vessel capable of carrying 250 passengers. La Espada will operate in Los Angeles and Long Beach harbors and lead whale-watch cruises, harbor tours, dinner cruises and charters to Catalina Island.

All American Marine of Bellingham, Wash., built La Espada. It is similar to Triumphant, a vessel the yard delivered in 2013 for the same customer. Teknicraft Design of New Zealand designed the boat, which features a catamaran hull with a symmetrical bow and asymmetrical tunnel, according to a news release. Top speed is 30 knots.

Twin Caterpillar C32 ACERT Tier 3 engines on La Espada produce 1,450 hp, while high-performance bottom paint was applied to improve fuel efficiency and speed. Other “green” features include lightweight aluminum wall panels and ceiling tiles, and tinted glass to reduce energy use.

All American also announced a contract in early September to build a 500-passenger tour boat for Argosy Cruises of Seattle. The 125-foot, Teknicraft-designed aluminum monohull will be the first keel laid at AAM’s new 57,000-square-foot facility in Squalicum Harbor.

The Subchapter K vessel will be powered by twin Scania DI 16-080M engines, with auxiliary power supplied by 65-kW and 40-kW generators from Northern Lights. Service speed will be 13 knots.

Categories: American Ship Review, Maritime News