Heralding a major reinvestment in the Trinidad & Tobago transport infrastructure, two high-speed ro-pax catamarans are being readied for introduction into the mainline service linking Port of Spain and Scarborough, writes David Tinsley.
The project denotes a reaffirmation of trust in Australian high-speed, aluminium vessel technology, which currently underpins the fleet deployed by state-owned Trinidad & Tobago Inter-Island Transportation Company on the seabridge connecting the two major islands.
The 94m, Austal-designed catamaran A.P.T. James arrived in Trinidadian waters during early January. She is set to be joined by the newly-completed, 100m Incat wave piercer Buccoo Reef after transfer from the builder’s yard in Tasmania. The two ferries will replace a 107m Austal Auto Express catamaran ro-pax and an Incat 98m wave piercer.
Buccoo Reef can achieve speeds in excess of 40 knots and has been laid out with seating for 990 passengers and vehicular capacity for 239 cars on the main and mezzanine decks, with the flexibility to load 12 trucks at a reduced car intake of 187.
Ro-ro access and egress is across the stern threshold, and the vessel’s broad beam of 26.6m facilitates a circulatory flow of cars on-board during loading and unloading. Structural fire protection on the vehicle decks and in the engine rooms has been provided by CBG Systems of Tasmania, applying its RAC+ lightweight panel system.
The two slender aluminium hulls are connected by a bridging section with centre bow structure. Each hull is divided by transverse bulkheads into eight vented, watertight compartments.
Incat’s well proven wave piercer powering and propulsion solution based on a multi-engine installation and waterjets is retained in the diesel-mechanical Buccoo Reef. Four 16-cylinder MAN 28/33D STC engines, each rated for 7,280kW at 1,000rpm drive an equivalent number of Wartsila waterjets through ZF 53500-series transmissions. The jets are of the WXJ 1200 SRI type configured for steering and reverse, and the potent engine design derives from the Ruston RK280.
The vessel will maintain the regular service timetable at speeds up to 39.5 knots, although the installation offers a reserve of power and speed for schedule recovery and other contingencies.
Each of the twin hulls carries two of the drivelines and related machinery. Two compartments in each hull are prepared as short-range fuel tanks and one as a long-range fuel tank. The four auxiliaries employ Caterpillar C9.3 high-speed diesels coupled to brushless, self-excited alternators.
Passenger comfort on fast transits across open waters where the Caribbean meets the Atlantic is maximised by Naiad Dynamics’ ride control system, combining active trim tabs aft on each hull and a retractable T-foil located at the aft end of the centre bow.
Liferaft Systems Australia has supplied the Incat wave piercer with four marine evacuation stations on the passenger deck, two on the port side and two starboard, each capable of serving up to 300 persons. A total of 11 open-top, self-righting liferafts of 100 person-capacity are fitted, together with a pair of motorised rigid dinghies.
The 926-passenger/250-car A.P.T.James, produced by Austal’s yard in Vietnam, has the same MAN medium-speed plant as the Buccoo Reef. Trinidad & Tobago’s fleet development therefore yielded orders for eight examples overall of the 16V28/33D STC engine manufactured in Augsburg. To best support the operator, MAN Energy Solutions’ after-sales division, MAN PrimeServ, has opened a hub in Trinidad & Tobago.
PRINCIPAL PARTICULARS – Buccoo Reef
Draught, at full displacement
239 cars or 12 trucks + 187 cars
4 x 7,280kW