June 21, 2006 Next time you’re belly-aching about the problems associated with pulling a motor out of the engine bay of your automobile, spare a thought for these guys. They are in the process of building the first of two new 107 metre vehicle-passenger ferries for Hawaii Superferry (HSF). The massive catamarans will be the largest aluminium vessels ever built in the USA and will be used to establish Hawaii’s first high-speed vehicle-passenger service. Each catamaran will carry 866 passengers and 282 vehicles and provide services connecting Honolulu to Maui and Kauai in three hours and from Honolulu to the Big Island in four hours. Each ferry has four 20 cylinder MTU 8000 Series engines, each weighing 45 tonnes and producing 8,200 kw (10,995hp) at 1150 rpm.
The installation of all four engines was completed within three weeks, ahead of schedule, in what was a first for the Austal USA shipyard given the size and weight of the engines. Also under construction in the yard is the 127 metre trimaran Littoral Combat Ship for the United States Navy.
The first ferry is due for delivery in the first half of 2007. Construction has already started on the second ferry that is scheduled for introduction into service in the first half of 2009.
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