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Monday, October 11, 2021 

Mitsubishi Shipbuilding's Shimonoseki Shipyard has held a christening and launch ceremony for the second of two large ferries being built for Japan Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency (JRTT) and Meimon Taiyo Ferry Co.

The handover of the environmentally-friendly ship is scheduled for March 2022 following completion of interior work and sea trials. The new vessel, named Ferry Fukuoka, will replace a 20-year old similarly-named vessel on a regular route between Osaka and Shinmoji in Kitakyushu.

The new vessel is jointly owned by Meimon Taiyo Ferry and JRTT, an Incorporated Administrative Agency to support the provision and maintenance of transport facilities and other infrastructure based on Japan’s transport policy. Ferry Fukuoka is 195m long, 27.8m wide, and 20.3m deep, with gross tonnage of about 15,400. The largest ship operated by Meimon Taiyo Ferry, the vessel has capacity for 675 passengers plus about 162 12m long trucks and 140 passenger cars. The interior design concept allows flexibility to provide improved service, such as converting vehicle storage space into a passenger deck and eliminating Japanese style passenger cabins to create cabins with beds.

The propulsion plant utilises a hybrid-type azimuth propulsion assist method, which combined with an air lubrication system achieves considerable energy efficiency (approximately 35% reduction in fuel consumption for carrying a large truck compared to existing vessels), and improved ship steering capabilities. In addition, along with lower CO2 emissions realised from energy efficiency, the adoption of a hybrid-type scrubber curbs atmospheric emissions of SOx, providing for environment-friendly operation.

According to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, shipping in Japan is undergoing a modal shift to marine transport from the standpoint of reducing CO2 emissions in land transport, a shortage of long-haul drivers, and working style reforms. Accordingly, demand is rising for ferries and ro-ro ships and larger vessels.

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