Azipod propulsion heads for Japan

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has been awarded a contract by Shin-Nihonkai Ferry to build two high-speed ROPAX Ferries that will make use of ABB’s ‘Steerable Rudder’ design.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has been awarded a contract by Shin-Nihonkai Ferry to build two high-speed ROPAX Ferries that will make use of ABB’s innovative ‘Steerable Rudder’ design.

Instead of a conventional rudder, the two 224.5 m single-skeg vessels will each be equipped with an ABB steerable CRP Azipod unit that will be installed in a contra-rotating mode aft of the mechanically driven main propeller.

Two Wartsila 12V46 engines will power the main shaft line, and another two 12V46 engines will electrically power the 17.6MW Azipod. The mechanical and electrical hybrid power system will enable the vessels to achieve a maximum speed of 31.5 knots and become the fastest ferries in Japan.

The efficiency gain of the Contra-Rotating Principle, (the ability to absorb rotational energy from the main propeller in a down-stream propeller) allows for an 10-15% increase in propulsion efficiency, according to ABB.

Also called a ‘Power Rudder’ the Azipod offers enhanced manoeuvrability in adverse weather and sea conditions, as well as when the ferries are manoeuvring in the harbour.

The Shin-Nihonkai Ferry will put the two ferries into service in 2004.