Building excellence for the European ferry market

Incat Crowther’s Brett Crowther discusses its build solution for European ro-pax operators

Building excellence for the European ferry market
Margarita Salas is being built by Astilleros Armon in Spain

By Rebecca Gibson |

Spanish operator Baleària debuted Eleanor Roosevelt, the world’s first fast ferry with dual-fuel engines, in 2021 and has recorded high passenger demand for the 123-metre-long vessel ever since. To capitalise on this demand, Baleària contracted maritime engineering and ship design firm Incat Crowther and Spanish shipyard Astilleros Armon to build a sister ship for 2024. 

“Eleanor Roosevelt is a truly customised, technologically advanced vessel, which was delivered in less than 24 months,” says Brett Crowther, CEO of Incat Crowther. “Our digital shipbuilding process was crucial in the successful delivery. Baleària was very happy with the operational performance and efficiency delivered by the vessel, so it ordered a second ferry less than 18 months later.” 

Margarita Salas will have many of the same physical characteristics as Eleanor Roosevelt but will also boast a series of upgrades developed by Incat Crowther, Baleària and Astilleros Armon. 

“It will have a second passenger deck with a lounge in the bow and the aft terrace will be double the size with an outdoor bar,” says Crowther. “The passenger experience will be bolstered by technological advancements including QR code access and video monitoring for travellers with pets. In addition, production improvements have been implemented as the design has matured.” 

Eleanor Roosevelt and Margarita Salas are just two of the many high-speed ro-pax ferries Incat Crowther and Astilleros Armon have developed together during their multi-year partnership.  

“Astilleros Armon has the capacity and expertise to produce world-class, high-speed ro-pax ferries,” says Crowther. “The shipyard is based in Spain, so it provides a great option for European operators seeking large, customised, high-quality vessels built close to their market to negate high cost of delivery and oversight costs. It has also invested heavily in the workforce and facilities for this type of ship, creating a strong capacity for future projects.  

“For these particular projects, we also worked closely with Europe-based firm Oliver Design on the interior design and integration of the many passenger-centric technology features. This meant Baleària had a local, full-service solution for the design and build of its new vessels.” 

A key reason for the success of the long-term partnership is that both Incat Crowther and Astilleros Armon take a client-centric approach to projects.  

“We focus both the design and build phases around our clients’ operational needs,” says Crowther. “We’ve developed and proven the use of digital shipbuilding technology, robust engineering and lightweight construction techniques to successfully deliver the product. Together, we have a track record of delivering world-class, bespoke passenger ferries that incorporate high-quality finishes and the latest technology to deliver a superior customer experience.” 

This article was first published in the Autumn/Winter 2023 issue of Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed. Subscribe to Cruise & Ferry Review for FREE to get the next issue delivered directly to your inbox or your door.

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