Pacific Maritime Magazine - Marine Business for the Operations Sector

High Speed Craft


Bay Ship and Yacht recently refurbished the 114-foot, 336-passenger vessel Peralta as part of a two-phase mid-life upgrade which included paint and interiors as well as repowering. Photo by Chris Rochette, Bay Ship & Yacht.

As west coast roads and highways become more congested and less hospitable to the quick transfer of passengers, high speed vessels are stepping in to offer alternative means of transport. Existing fast ferries are seeing more use and therefore often require accelerated maintenance schedules. Meanwhile, new technology is making high speed craft attractive to a growing number of private and government users.

California's Bay Ship & Yacht Co. carries out work for both the San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) and Blue & Gold Fleet, a company that manages the San Francisco Bay Ferry fleet as well as their own. WETA operates many high speed catamarans that traverse the bay from Vallejo to Alameda, South San Francisco, Oakland and San Francisco, carrying 1.8 million passengers annually in their 12 vessel fleet.

WETA's 114-foot, 336-passenger vessel Peralta was recently worked on as part of a two-phase mid-life upgrade. "This was a multi-month project that started in February and ended in June," says David Ashton, Bay Ship's Sales Manager. "In renewing and extending the life of the vessel, we did everything from refurbishing the heads to renewing the interiors, including paint, carpet, bulkheads and upholstery. We also re-engined main and auxiliary engines, refurbished the gear boxes and performed steering repairs, as well as sand-blasted and painted much of the vessel."

This year, Bay Ship has already worked on WETA's Pisces and Taurus (118-foot, 149-passenger), Scorpio (118-foot, 199-passenger), Solano (135-foot, 300-passenger) and Intintolli (135-foot, 320-passenger) vessels.

Work varied between the vessels but they all involved extensive preparation and painting including re-branding of vessels and work on the propulsion systems. Some also included extensive engine repair work including replacing engine gaskets and seals. "Bay Ship & Yacht is a full service yard that provides everything from painting to machinist, joiner, structural, pipefitter, electrical and shipwright work. Sort of a one-stop shop that appeals to customers like WETA and Blue & Gold," says Ashton.

The 97-foot, 250-passenger catamaran Bay Breeze is currently in for engine overhaul work. "We have been very busy this year," says Ashton. "And we are fortunate to have a variety of projects both in the yard and planned for the future. The continuity of our work really helps us keep the most skilled workforce available out there."

Farther north, Seattle's Kvichak Marine Industries, a subsidiary of Vigor Industrial, has several vessel building projects on the go.

The company is currently building two all-aluminum 400-passenger ferries for WETA. The Incat Crowther-designed vessels, which are expected to enter service in the summer of 2017, will replace two of WETA's fleet that are nearing the end of their working lives.

The new 135-foot by 38-foot ferries will feature MTU 12V4000 M64+ diesel engines and run at a speed of 27 knots. An enhanced Tier III exhaust after treatment system is also part of the package. Kvichak and Nichols Bros. Boat Builders are partnering on the project.

"Once we get the hulls done, Nichols Bros. can drop the superstructures on and we can finish the boats up fairly quickly," says Art Parker, Kvichak's Sales Manager.

Matt Nichols, CEO of Nichols Bros., notes, "We completely outfit the catamaran built by Kvichak, except for the propulsion system and we build the complete superstructure. Once the hulls arrive at Nichols, we then mount the superstructure to the completed hulls and begin sea trials."

For the city of New York, Kvichak is building a 44.5-foot by 13.7-foot Response Boat Medium – C, designed for running at a speed of 40 knots. The high-end search and rescue roll-over boat is based on a fleet of 180 vessels Kvichak built for the US Coast Guard that will allow operators to match capability and perform integrated missions with the Coast Guard on a similar platform.

Powered by twin Detroit Diesel 60 series engines rated for 825 BHP each and driving Rolls Royce Kamewa FF375S waterjets, the vessels also have a Vector-Stick integrated control system, Kohler 11kW genset for AC power, an integrated navigation system and climate-controlled pilot house and cabin among other features. This is the fourth boat Kvichak is building for the city of New York and it's expected to be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2015.

As part of the Port of Duqm Company SAOC, Sultanate of Oman's major multiphase expansion project, Kvichak is building two, 19-meter new pilot boats slated for delivery in 2016.

The all-aluminum vessels will also work as search and rescue and oil spill recovery boats in all weather conditions, and will be powered by twin Cummins QSK-19 marine diesel engines rated for 800 HP at 2,100 rpm each, turning twin NiBrAl 5-bladed fixed propellers through ZF 2000A transmissions, providing an operating speed of up to 20 knots.

Additionally, Kvichak recently delivered seven all-aluminum US Coast Guard Transportable Port Security Boats (TPSB), that are tralierable boats used by Coast Guard personnel in both domestic and overseas applications.

The TPSB vessels are equipped with shock-mitigating seats, Ballistic Armor Protection and have capacity for up to four mounted weapons. Powered by twin Yanmar 315-HP diesel engines, the boats can maneuver in shallow waters and are able to operate safely in 30 knot winds and eight-foot seas. This contract was a follow-on order to 52 other TPSBs Kvichak has built for the USCG.

When it comes to building with fuel efficiency and environmental performance in mind, Parker says there is always a balance and a trade-off. "You're typically using a fairly high horsepower level," he says. "We work hard to make the boats as light and efficient as possible while still maintaining all the desired performance. Customers often help us make those decisions on what's most important."

All American Marine is in the midst of a contract to build two 105-foot, 250-passenger ferries for the King County Marine Division. The M/V Sally Fox was delivered earlier this year, while M/V Doc Maynard is expected to be delivered in September. The two ferries are replacement vessels for scheduled water taxi service.

In fact, Sally Fox is the first US Coast Guard Sub-chapter "K" inspected passenger vessel built and delivered under the new 5A Space Performance Guidelines issued in a Memorandum regarding NVIC 9-97 Ch-1. The guidelines are the result of a partnership between the USCG and the Passenger Vessel Association.

The 5A Space Performance Guidelines allow boat builders to design structural fire protection in very low fire load spaces in the construction of weight-sensitive high speed passenger vessels.

Sally Fox is operating on the passenger-only route from Vashon Island to downtown Seattle and Doc Maynard will subsequently operate on the West Seattle to downtown route this fall.

Both vessels are based on All American's exclusive Teknicraft Design, with the integration of a wave piercer that is positioned between the catamaran sponsons to break up wave action and ensure reduced drag.

Kvichak Marine Industries is building the fourth in a series of 44.5-foot, 40-knot boats for the New York Police Department. Photo courtesy of Kvichak.

"These hulls deviate a little from Teknicraft's normal hydrofoil-assisted catamarans," says Matt Mullett, president and CEO. "We've used Computational Fluid Dynamics Modeling with the use of a super computer on a number of vessels where tolerances are really critical. The hull optimization is expected to lower King County's fuel bill for the two vessels by nearly $70,000 to $80,000 a year."

The new ferries are designed to cruise at 28 knots and are powered by twin Cummins QSK-50 tier III engines. The main deck is ADA-accessible and the cabin includes designated seating areas for those with disabilities. There is interior seating for 250 and the upper deck can seat an additional 28 passengers. The decks are covered with a 3-M peel-and-stick, non-slip tread as an alternative to paint, and the exterior of the superstructure is wrapped in UV-stable vinyl.

All American hopes to build even larger vessels as expansion plans are being worked on. Thanks to the Port of Bellingham's Commissioners, AAM is cautiously optimistic that by the summer of 2016, the company will be able to move to a brand new 39,000 square-foot facility, adjacent to its current location on the Port's waterfront.


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