“Euroferrys Pacifica”, the first 101 metre Auto Express vehicle-passenger catamaran built by Austal Ships, will soon complete its first year in service. Euroferrys says its crews are completely satisfied with the vessel. In particular, its captains are pleased with the manoeuvring, handling and control of the new ship. At steaming speeds, steering is normally carried out via Seastate’s Tmax system, which increases overall efficiency by allowing all the thrust from the ferry’s four Kamewa waterjets to be used for propulsion. The steering functions of the waterjets are thus normally only used at low speeds, particularly when approaching or leaving berths.
Fitted with four Caterpillar 3618 diesel engines, each rated at 7,200kW, “Euroferrys Pacifica” is capable of 37 knots at 500 tonnes deadweight and 90% MCR, This makes the Auto Express 101 the world’s largest diesel-powered catamaran fast ferry currently in regular service. Euroferrys’ present timetable, however, only requires a service speed of 32 knots. This is being achieved easily and consistently, while the extra speed potential gives Euroferrys the flexibility to increase service frequency during peak times and/or when the growth in its traffic volumes requires.The vessel is also fitted with a Seastate motion control system incorporating forward T-foils and transom interceptors. Combined with Austal’s highly refined semi-swath hull shape, this has resulted in superior ride and seakeeping characteristics that live up to the expectations of both Euroferrys and its customers.
“Contrary to the perception that higher fuel costs spell the death knell for fast ferries, Euroferrys’ experience with the Austal Auto Express 101 shows that the right vessel in the right operation can still be very successful,” says Chris Norman of Austal.