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Tuesday, May 19, 2020 

A new Australian all-aluminium ferry, designed by Incat Crowther and recently completed by Richardson Devine Marine (RDM), is equipped with Schottel propulsion.

The vessel is owned and operated by Sealink Tasmania, with a structurally identical sister ship, scheduled to enter service in March 2021, currently under construction at RDM.

Roger Janes, Sales and Marketing Manager, RDM, said: “The brief was to provide two unique, new vessels that are highly manoeuvrable to facilitate rapid turnaround times, have multiple engines for redundancy, and are economical. Overall, they needed to be uncomplicated and reliable. By installing Schottel Rudderpropellers, the challenge was enthusiastically met and successfully overcome.”

The vessel, named Nairana is built entirely from aluminium. By reducing the vessel’s weight, it consumes less fuel, travels longer distances and ensures excellent manoeuvrability. Being lightweight, yet still robust, Nairana is economical to operate.

Nairana is fitted with four Schottel Rudderpropellers type SRP 100 (200kW each), one in each corner. The azimuth thrusters, driven by diesel engines, rotate 360 degrees, giving the vessel excellent manoeuvrability and high course stability even on the open sea and with strong side winds. With all four rudder propellers delivering thrust in the direction of travel, maximum propulsion efficiency is ensured. In order to enhance passenger comfort and reduce noise emissions, the azimuth thrusters are resiliently mounted. Furthermore, the thrusters can be exchanged while the vessel is afloat.

As the 44.9m long and 13.6m wide ferry is double-ended and has two wheelhouses, it does not have to turn around. If required, the vessel can operate on two propulsion units during off-peak periods, further reducing operating costs. The two new ferries will run at 12 knots as opposed to the current vessels running at around 8 knots. This will allow for more crossings per hour, easing traffic flow burden to the island from mainland Tasmania.

Sealink secured a 10-year contract to operate the ro-pax service that forms a crucial road link between Kettering, located 35m south of Hobart, and Bruny Island. Nairana has a total capacity of 36 cars and 192 passengers. The two central vehicle lanes totalling 90m are provided for trucks. The vessel is certified to carry dangerous goods.

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