Foreship prepares for a future of eco-friendly ferry design

Finnish firm expands naval architecture team and redoubles focus on ferry work

Foreship prepares for a future of eco-friendly ferry design


Both Ari Huttunen and Perttu Kurvinen worked on the Spirit of Tasmania IV project

By Laura Hyde |

Finnish firm Foreship has designed multiple ro-pax ferries, most recently completing work on Australian operator TT-Line’s new Spirit of Tasmania IV, which was launched by Rauma Marine Constructions (RMC) in Rauma, Finland, in October 2023.  

Head of design Ari Huttunen was responsible for the concept design and initial general arrangement of the 1,800-passenger, 2,500-lane meter ferry.  

Huttunen recently celebrated a decade with Foreship and prior to this, he spent more than 25 years working at the Rauma shipyard. During this time, he worked on over 30 ‘signature’ designs, including on high-profile ships such as La Méridionale’s Kalliste, P&O Ferries’ Spirit of Britain and Spirit of France, Irish Ferries’ Ulysses, and Brittany Ferries’ Armorique.  

At the start of 2024, Huttunen will be joined on projects by fellow naval architect Perttu Kurvinen. However, this is not the first – or even the second – time the two professionals have worked together.  

After securing his MSc in Naval Architecture from Finland’s Aalto University, Kurvinen began working for STX Finland in 2011, which then owned the Rauma yard, joining the naval architecture team managed by Huttunen. Looking back, Kurvinen readily acknowledges Huttunen’s role as a mentor in a formative part of his career.  

When STX Finland closed the Rauma shipyard in 2013, Kurvinen moved to Wärtsilä and spent five years there as an exhaust gas systems specialist. Meanwhile, Huttunen joined Foreship and subsequently established a satellite office in Rauma, building a specialised ferry team that has successfully secured multiple projects.  

Among the ‘wins’ was the concept design and the initial general arrangement for Wasaline’s Super 1A ice-class ferry Aurora Botnia. The ship has capacity for 800 passengers and 1,500 lane meters for freight, as well as LNG/biogas-ready dual-fuel engines and a power-optimising integrated battery system. It was here that the paths of Huttunen and Kurvinen crossed once more. Excited by the prospects of the Wasaline project, Kurvinen joined Kvarken Link as project manager for the Aurora Botnia build phase. His working relationship with Huttunen became that of a customer.  

“Working for the owner was very interesting, because the focus had to go beyond installation issues to take in the way design and technical decisions affected total cost of ownership, including operations and maintenance,” says Kurvinen, who expects the resulting insights will prove invaluable in his role with Foreship.  

After the ship’s delivery, Kurvinen joined RMC, where he honed his naval architecture skills, initially working on a freelance basis on the general arrangement for Spirit of Tasmania IV before joining the yard full-time for the build phase.  

During this project, Kurvinen rekindled relationships with his former mentor and others at Foreship. Over several months, these discussions blossomed into a job offer from the company and he accepted a role as a project engineer.  

“This is an exciting time for ferry design ideas,” says Kurvinen, adding that Huttunen’s guidance will continue to give Foreship an extra edge in a specialised area of ship design. “Ari has lived through a period when ferries have developed significantly, not only due to increasing ship sizes, but also because specifications have adjusted to two significant changes in freeboard requirements and a decisive shift from deterministic to probabilistic rules,” he explains.  

Now that regulatory requirements have been tightened on ship emissions, including carbon dioxide, high-profile ferries operating in urban ports will come under ever-increasing scrutiny. It is no coincidence that Foreship now has at its disposal two naval architects with experience in designing and project managing the construction of some of the most efficient and environmentally friendly ferries afloat.

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