How Incat Crowther and Astilleros Armon are meeting fast ferry demand

Incat Crowther’s Dan Mace and Astilleros Armon’s Ricardo Garcia tell Alice Chambers how their companies are working together to meet the increasing need for fast ro-pax ferries

How Incat Crowther and Astilleros Armon are meeting fast ferry demand

Travelling between destinations quickly is becoming a necessity rather than a luxury. To accommodate this demand in the ferry industry, ship design companies must be ahead of their game and work closely with shipyards that have the facilities and equipment to build large vessels.

That is why marine engineering and ship design company Incat Crowther is strengthening its nine-year partnership with Astilleros Armon shipyard in Navia, Spain. The two partners have worked on dozens of projects together, including the design and build of Baleària’s innovative 123-metre-long, dual-fuel ro-pax ferry Eleanor Roosevelt, which debuted in 2021.

Incat Crowther works directly with operators to develop their ideal ferries, incorporating speed, range and sustainable features into concept designs. For very large ro-pax vessels, it engages with Astilleros Armon, a Europe-based shipbuilder in the fast ro-pax market, to construct the vessels.

“Incat Crowther designs are operationally led, allowing customers to fully customise ferries to meet their operational demands,” says Dan Mace, technical manager at Incat Crowther. “We offer an end-to-end service that starts with us defining a bespoke vessel before proceeding to the creation of a full digital model of a ship to support the vessel’s construction.

"The availability of a Europe-based builder such as Astilleros Armon is a game-changer, offering gains across the board, as the largest market for fast ro-pax vessels is Europe. Local construction offers much closer client interactions and negates the cost of delivery from the other side of the world.”

Defining a vessel in a preliminary design can often be time-consuming, but Incat Crowther engages with clients as early as possible to ensure the vessel exactly addresses the customer’s needs.

Astilleros Armon, which is known for specialising in a large range of vessel types, has substantially increased its capacity specifically targeting increased capacity construction of these large high-speed ro-pax ferries, by acquiring a second shipyard in Vigo, Spain. By doing so, the company has established itself as a ship designer and builder that can offer insights across the shipbuilding process.

“The new facility has enormous experience in ferries, car carriers and small cruise liners,” says Ricardo Garcia, commercial director at Astilleros Armon. “We have established ourselves as the biggest private shipyard group in Spain and we are pleased to be working with Incat Crowther on the continued development of their highly innovative large fast ro-pax ferries.”

As the market for fast and large ro-pax ferries increases, both Incat Crowther and Astilleros Armon will continue to work together to meet operators’ growing demand for sustainable vessels, including the construction of a second very large ro-pax ferry for an undisclosed operator which is currently well progressed in production. “The market is receiving increased demand for emissions reduction through alternative fuels and electrification,” says Mace. “Each operation has a variety of different options to incorporate and we can identify and propose the right solution.”

This article was first published in the Autumn/Winter 2022 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 here to get the next issue delivered directly to your inbox or your door.

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Alice Chambers
By Alice Chambers
16 November 2022

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