Wightlink’s Victoria of Wight was designed to offer comfortable spaces and environmentally friendly technology
This article was first published in the Autumn/Winter 2018 issue of International Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.
Cemre may be a relative newcomer to the ferry industry, but the Turkey-based shipyard is attracting serious attention among passenger ferry operators looking for innovative new vessels. In 2016 the shipyard delivered its first passenger ferry, Bastø Fosen IV, for Norwegian operator Bastø Fosen. In the same year, it secured a contract to build Wightlink’s first ever hybrid battery-powered ferry, Victoria of Wight. At 89.7 metres long, Victoria of Wight has capacity for 1,170 people and 178 cars. The ferry enters service between the Isle of Wight and mainland England this year and will be the most environmentally sustainable vessel ever on the route.
Cemre has come a long way since it was established in 1996 to carry out scraping and paint works, and its combination of skills and ambition is proving the perfect recipe for ferry operators. “Cemre Shipyard is one of the most active shipyards in Turkey,” says Sinan Kavala, commercial manager at Cemre. “We have huge experience of building vessels for clients in northern Europe, along with modern shipbuilding facilities covering 160,000 square metres at Yalova. But I think our most important asset is that we have a young, ambitious and highly skilled team that is able to build such an impressive ferry with high standards. In addition, we closely study all projects at the proposal stage. We studied the Wightlink project for almost a year before signing the contract.”
Working on Bastø Fosen IV, the longest-ever ferry to operate in Norway at 142.9 metres in length, with capacity for 600 passengers, 200 cars and up to 30 trucks, helped Cemre hone the skills it needed for the Victoria of Wight. “Bastø Fosen IV was a great experience for us,” says Kavala. “We learned many things about passenger vessels, especially concerning accommodation areas. We also gained experience in finding solutions for onboard public areas.”
Cemre delivered the Victoria of Wight in July, following a successful period of trials. The shipyard worked closely with Wightlink and its partners throughout the process. “We have been working well with the Wightlink technical team,” says Kavala. “We focused initially on understanding their needs and then worked to find different solutions. Wightlink was very supportive throughout the project. We also worked with Lloyds Register and the Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA). This was the first time we have worked with MCA and it was a great experience for us.”
Building a hybrid battery-powered ferry brings its own challenges compared to traditional diesel engine vessels, but Cemre was able to rise to the challenge. “Hybrid systems are a relatively new technology to the marine industry, and the lack of strict rules and regulations for the installation of these systems can pose a considerable challenge,” says Kavala. “Each individual system must be reviewed on a risk asset basis. For instance, the Victoria of Wight project required an extensive hazard identification (HAZID) process. Each risk is defined at the HAZID stage and mitigating actions agreed between all parties. The HAZID process involved a large number of people, including experts in each of the fields associated with the system installation.”
With Victoria of Wight successfully delivered, Cemre is working to develop new solutions for passenger ferries. “We are focusing especially on solutions for accommodation areas,” says Kavala. “Passenger ferries are not simply ships; they also provide accommodation areas much like a hotel. That’s why we are focused on improving our organisation in this direction.”
Cemre has a lot to look forward to in the passenger ferry market, and already has some new contracts underway. “We are keen to continue building more passenger vessels following our experience with the Victoria of Wight and Bastø Fosen IV,” says Kavala. “Cemre has signed a contract for the construction of two new ferries with zero and low-emission technology this year. These new ferries, designed by Havyard Ship Design, will be incorporated into the Seivika-Tømmervåg association and will have capacity for 80 passenger cars. Both vessels will be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2019. We have also been working on various new ferry projects for the future.”
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