Bay Islands Transit Systems (BITS) has followed up the delivery of its fourth 24m ferry with an order for a fifth.

The order was announced in July and followed the delivery of the fourth ferry in mid-June. The previous vessels had been delivered in May 2009, September 2009, and May 2010 and the latest will be delivered in December.

It will be the fifth delivery this year for Aluminium Boats Australia, which says demand for its eco-friendly ferries is growing.

“The order for a fifth vessel for BITS is very pleasing and comes at a time when interest in the design is being felt from places such as Central America, the Middle East and Asia”, explained ABA’s sales manager, Justin Merrigan.

Like its sisters, the new ferry will be powered by two 331kW Scania DI12 59M diesels giving a service speed of 22kts.

International Maritime Services (IMS) continues to score delivery and related work all over the world.

Svitzer Marine contracted IMS to relocate two of its tugs — Giru and Werra — from Townsville to Brisbane and Sydney respectively. Also on the workboat front, IMS carried out sea trials on the latest addition to the Bhagwan Marine fleet before delivering it from Vietnam to Dampier, WA. A landing craft, Bhagwan Shaker was built by Strategic Marine.

On the military front, big things are on the way in the USA. IMS has recently signed a Technical Assistance Agreement with Austal USA and the US State Department to supply captain and crews for the Littoral Combat Ship and Joint High Speed Vessel sea trials.

In Europe, Captain Brendan Cooley has taken charge as Owner’s Representative during the final build stages and sea trials of a 37m luxury motoryacht. Also in Europe is the Oceanfast 48m motor yacht Australis (pictured). IMS first relocated the yacht from WA to Dubai where it was on display at the Dubai Boat Show. IMS has employed a full yacht crew to deliver and manage the vessel for an indefinite period, and has recently moved it to the Mediterranean for further public displays.

Danish naval architectural design and engineering firm Knud E. Hansen announced the establishment of an Australian subsidiary in Perth.

“Perth, in resource rich Western Australia and home to the North West Shelf offshore oil and gas industry, is one of the fastest growing cities in the developed world. With a cosmopolitan culture, good infrastructure and a time difference of only six hours from Western Europe, Perth was a natural choice,” said Ken Goh, the general manager of Knud E. Hansen Australia.

The company has been involved in offshore and marine design for ferry, Ro-Pax, Ro-Ro and other merchant vessels since its inception more than 70 years ago. One of the primary goals of the Perth office will be to catalyse the growth of local naval design capability so that an increasing amount of the engineering work can be undertaken in Australia instead of overseas.

Broome-based North Star Cruises has announced that its 50m cruise vessel True North will be heading from its normal cruising grounds of the Kimberley coast to the Solomon Islands. It’s not, however, a permanent change.

The inaugural eight-day Solomon Sojourn cruise will depart Brisbane in November 2010, with a second cruise running back-to-back.

North Star general manager, Peter Trembath said the Pacific Island Solomon Island region was virtually untouched by tourism.

“We're offering a truly unique opportunity to experience the beauty of this place and its people,” he said.

The cruise will mix culture, vibrant coral reef, history and the stunning South Pacific as well as True North normal line-up of snorkelling, diving, fishing and helicopter exploration.

As first reported in Trade-a-Boat issue 403, Austal has unveiled a new range of high-speed transfer vessels specifically designed for the burgeoning offshore-wind farm industry.

The WA-based company says the Wind Express series of vessels combine fuel efficiency with advanced seakeeping characteristics to deliver a premier transportation solution for offshore-wind farm operators.

Austal says it has used its capabilities in advanced hull design and engineering to produce vessels that are purpose-built to deliver a rugged, reliable multi-purpose workboat platform. Among the features is the option to install Austal’s patented Ride Control System (RCS) — said to be a first for offshore-wind farm vessels — to ensure a safer, more productive platform, even in rough seas.

Austal COO, Andrew Bellamy said the vessels would introduce new levels of productivity and safety to the growing offshore-wind farm industry.

“In this industry, reliability is paramount; not only in terms of machinery but also in the ability of the vessels to transfer personnel to and from wind turbines in comfort and safety,” Bellamy said.

“With our Wind Express series, we have introduced platforms that not only deliver reliability but also have the capacity to operate in rougher waters at higher speeds and greater efficiency. These are important characteristics as wind farms are constructed further offshore,” he said.

These vessels feature a selection of hull-forms ranging from a refined catamaran design for added stability and efficiency to the Austal-developed tri-SWATH hull-form delivering “unparalleled” seakeeping and onboard comfort in up to sea state 6.

The series incorporates four vessels:
* Wind Express 17: A 17m catamaran carrying 12 passengers at 25.5kts with either Scania DI 16 or Volvo Penta D16 diesels. Maximum speed is 28kts.
* Wind Express 19: A 19m catamaran designed for operation in up to sea state 4. Designed to carry 12 personnel, and powered by twin 550kW Volva Penta diesels, it has a loaded speed of 26kts.
* Wind Express 28: A 28.5m catamaran with significantly more deck space and the ability to carry 52 personnel at 26kts. Twin MTU 10V 2000 diesels provide 1800kW.
* Wind Express 28 – Tri SWATH: This has the same speed and carrying capacity as the Wind Express 28 but requires 2880kW. This advantage is that it utilises a new Austal-developed trimaran-SWATH hull-form for improved seakeeping and passenger comfort. This results in seasickness incidence in 3.5m seas dropping from 60 per cent on the catamaran to 11 per cent on the Tri SWATH. In 2m seas the relative figures are 30 per cent for the cat and two per cent for the TriSWATH.

Each vessel in the Wind Express series can be further customised to suit specific sea conditions, routes, work space and payload requirements.

Significant reforms to the naval-ship repair sector may be on the cards following the announcement of the industry entities that will be invited to tender for long-term contracts for the repair and maintenance of Navy’s major fleet units.

The reforms in the way work of this nature is contracted are designed to provide industry and Navy with greater certainty and stability in the repair and maintenance of the Navy's larger ships through the use of long-term, performance-based contracts.

The industry entities that will be invited to participate in the respective Request for Tender processes are:
* ASP Ship Management, BAE Systems, KBR/Rolls-Royce, Babcock/UGL Infrastructure, Forgacs/Teekay, Thales, and DMS Maritime/Transfield for the group comprising HMAS Success, Manoora, Kanimbla, and Tobruk;
* BAE Systems, KBR/Rolls-Royce, Thales, and DMS Maritime/Transfield for the four Adelaide Class frigates; and,
* BAE Systems, Babcock/UGL Infrastructure, Thales, and DMS Maritime/Transfield for the eight ANZAC Class frigates.

Ship-design firm Incat Crowther has released photos of a 38m Catamaran Motor Yacht under construction at Sabre Catamaran’s shipyard in Perth, WA. 

The vessel’s sleek lines, the result of collaboration with Waterline Yacht Design, feature a stylish mix of modern and motoryacht styling cues, said Incat.

All major aluminium work has been completed, as has hull fairing, and fitout of the vessel’s interior is well underway with an anticipated launch early in 2011. 

When complete, Incat Crowther said the vessel will be an impressive motoryacht that makes great use of the catamaran platform to create a spacious and comfortable long-range cruiser.

The vessel will be powered by a pair of MTU 12V4000 engines and will cruise at 25kts, with long-range capabilities in excess of 3500nm at lower speeds. Inside, it will feature luxuries such as a large central entrance foyer, king-sized guest staterooms and a gymnasium.

38m Catamaran Motor Yacht

MATERIAL: Marine grade aluminium
TYPE: Catamaran
BEAM: 10.3m
DRAFT: 1.5m (max)
DEPTH: 3.6m
FUEL: 50,000lt
WATER: 4000lt
ENGINES: 2 x MTU 12V4000 M71
RATED KW: 1850 at 2000rpm
MAX SPEED: 29kts

When Bass & Flinders Cruises went into the commuter ferry business by starting its Manly Fast Ferry service on Sydney Harbour, the transition was made easier by its selection of Caterpillar engines.

Bass & Flinders had previously concentrated on whale-watching and similar day-cruise activities, but when the NSW Government ended Sydney Ferries’ JetCat service between Manly and Circular Quay, and issued a tender to give access to private industry to use the infrastructure to run its own service, the company put its name into the ring. The Bass & Flinders bid for the initial interim service was successful, which posed the challenge of adding a commuter-style service into its existing operations.

Fortunately the owners of Bass & Flinders had thought ahead when placing the order for the 30m catamaran Ocean Dreaming II, which was under construction as a whale-watcher when they won the tender.

With more than 20 years experience behind them they had plenty of experience with marine propulsion systems, so when it came time to chose the engines for the new boat they looked at the past. The company’s first 20m charterboat was powered by Cat 3208 engines and had logged more than 20,000 hours. That experience was taken into account when chief executive Richard Ford compared Caterpillar’s offer to competing engine suppliers in determining which could deliver the power and support they needed.

“After consultation with One2Three Naval Architects and the builder, Aluminium Boats Australia,” Ford noted, “we settled on twin 12-cylinder, 1044kW, Cat C32 diesel engines primarily due to our combined experience — us with our original Bass & Flinders and One2Three and Aluminium Boats Australia’s previous four or five Cat-powered vessels.”

That choice paid dividends because the C32 engines provided enough power for Bass & Flinders to meet the ferry service requirements and subsequently submit a winning tender bid. The change in service did, however, result in substantial changes to the project to accommodate the additional operating specifications of a passenger ferry. The new operating profile meant that Ocean Dreaming II would be operating the commuter-ferry shuttle service from 6am to 9.30am, followed by two whale-watching tours from Darling Harbour and Circular Quay before re-entering service on the Circular Quay to Manly evening passenger service seven days a week.

Fortunately, local Cat dealer, Energy Power Systems Australia, has an extensive support network on Sydney Harbour and was able to ensure services would not be interrupted. In fact, the technicians from Energy Power Systems were committed to fitting in seamlessly with the vessel’s servicing requirements — even when preventative maintenance and regular servicing had to be done overnight.

“Going with oversized engines has always worked for us,” Ford said. 

“The Cat engines enabled us to have them governed to 750kW, which suits our commuter service profile of 27kts and our whale-watching service profile of 22kts cruising and 7kt trolling, (it) means they are only ever operating with minimal load. 

“We use far less fuel and should get exceptional life out of them with less through-life running, maintenance and repair costs,” he said.

Ocean Dreaming II is using 10 per cent less fuel than the builder originally predicted and continues to operate the service despite the advent of additional completion on the route.

Naval architects, operators and boatbuilders from all over the world participated in a Volvo Penta organised design seminar on the IPS propulsion system (Inboard Performance System) for high-performance work and patrol boats.

More than 60 leading professionals were invited to the Volvo Penta Marine Test Centre in Gothenburg, Sweden. The agenda for the seminar covered sessions in basic design and hull integration for optimised IPS vessel performance. Boat tests of the latest Volvo Penta IPS installations in various power ranges with related new software products were performed around the Gothenburg archipelago.

The IPS system was launched five years ago and since its introduction, Volvo Penta has sold more than 10,000 units worldwide. The IPS drive unit exists in three different sizes matched with a six-litre, 11-litre or 13-litre Volvo Penta diesel engines.

Caption: More BITS for expanding international market; IMS will crew and manage the Oceanfast 48m motor yacht Australis for an indefinite period in Europe; Wind Express 19; Wind Express 28; Wind Express 28 TriSWATH; Thales is on the shortlist for the Adelaide Class frigate work; First photo of a 38m Catamaran Motor Yacht under construction at Sabre Catamaran’s shipyard in Perth, WA; CAT-power versatility means Bass & Flinders’ Ocean Dreaming II can double as a commuter ferry and tourist whale-watcher; Delegates at the Volvo Penta organised seminar inspect the installation of the company’s revolutionary IPS system for high-performance work and patrol boats; Volvo Penta demonstrated the commercial application of IPS with boat tests in various power ranges.