Wasaline's new ro-pax ferry fitted with ABB Azipods

Wasaline's new ro-pax ferry fitted with ABB Azipods
ABB Marine & Ports
RMC's team installed the Azipods on Aurora Botnia in just one week

Finnish shipbuilder Rauma Marine Constructions (RMC) has equipped Wasaline’s new ro-pax ferry, Aurora Botnia, with an ice-class Azipod electric propulsion system from ABB Marine & Ports.

The system includes two 5.8-megawatt Azipod units, which have an electric drive motor in a submerged pod outside the ship’s hull to allow them to rotate 360 degrees and provide increased manoeuvrability. This will enable they ferry to operate efficiently and sustainably in any sea conditions.

“We chose ABB’s Azipod electric propulsion for several reasons,” said Peter Ståhlberg, Wasaline CEO. “Superior manoeuvrability will save time and increase productivity, enabling precise schedules to be maintained on this route. We calculated likely annual time savings of close to four days of operation, which was compelling. The solution also saves valuable space onboard and simplifies hull construction. Access to ABB’s training and support services in Finland were other major plus points.”

ABB delivered a fully engineered version of the Azipod electric propulsion system to RMC, enabling the shipyard’s team to install it on the newbuild immediately. The installation was supervised by the local ABB Marine & Ports commissioning team and has been certified by a classification society.

“We were able to install the Azipod units in just one week,” said Johanna Kaijo, project manager at RMC. “For us as a shipbuilder, this translates into significant project flexibility by helping to optimise time and resources. Having fully engineered units has notably improved the completion of the vessel construction – the installation was literally about plugging the ready-made units into the vessel hull.”

Aurora Botnia’s Azipod technology will help her to become the first ro-pax ferry in the world to receive a Clean Design class notation. The technology reduces fuel consumption by up to 20 per cent compared to traditional propulsion, and it also eliminate vibrations and minimises noise for passengers and crew. To enhance her green credentials, the ferry will run on both LNG and liquefied biogas fuel, and switch to electrical power when approaching or departing harbours.

“Azipod propulsion is now a well-proven, sustainable and efficient solution for ferries,” said Juha Koskela, division president at ABB Marine & Ports. “We are delighted that Wasaline have chosen our sector-leading technology for this high-profile Baltic project. Once more, this is an order that highlights our leading position in passenger ship propulsion.”

Aurora Botnia was floated out of the building dock at RMC’s shipyard on 11 September. Over the next few months, RMC’s team will install piping, insulation, ventilation and electrical systems, before moving on to outfitting the vessel’s interiors in the winter months. Following this, the ferry will undergo sea trials and commissioning before being delivered to Wasaline in spring 2021.

“We can be proud of the fact that despite the unusual circumstances, we are now celebrating the float out of Aurora Botnia,” said Jyrki Heinimaa, president and CEO of RMC. “People at RMC and in our network of partners have done an excellent job, tackling challenges brought about by the coronavirus and driving the project forward in a determined manner. As this project is unique to both parties, I am extremely happy with the smooth cooperation between our team and the customer. I have every reason to believe it will continue to run on track.”

Once in service, Aurora Botnia will operate on the world’s northernmost year-round passenger route on the Kvarken Strait between Vaasa, Finland and Umeå, Sweden, carrying 800 passengers and up to 1,500 lane meters of trucks and cars.

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Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson
15 September 2020

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