Human Technosphere - Fast Passenger Ferries and Freighters

By: Oladokun Sulaiman

Human Technosphere - Fast Passenger Ferries and freighters
Everything about human life revolves around the world of biosphere or environement we inherited and the technosphere we build out of pressure , demand , facilitation and quest for hapiness , speed, comfort-- under technosphere, I will discuss about transportation of people by water and of course environmental issue that surround it which i will discuss later are very important and it involve hot issues surounded by tough regulation -- why ? Because human life is important from the perspective of fact that the creation of human itself is a big thing and we must not take chance to loose life nor render one into lost- and also , mankind, being God~s ambasador on the planet , must equally take care of other things that has been existing on earthbefore we inherited it . Lets have a look at passenger ferries!!

Early vessels qualified to be called fast ferries if they exceeded 25 knots. International Maritime Organization(IMO) mandate that PASSENGER vessel carrying more than 12 passengers on international voyages to comply with IMO regulations.

Trend-Early ferries and development

-Fast ferries have started seeing years of glamour since 1950 . In 1960 the early craft being mainly surface piercing hydrofoils and hovercraft.
-The modern catamaran passenger ferry first appeared in Norway 1970 .
-Early vessels qualified to be called fast ferries if they exceeded 25 knots with a goal of achieving, perhaps, 30 knots. Speeds quickly rose to 30 knots, but 40 knots seemed to present a natural barrier .
-The market continues to be dominated by Catamaran development , as a vessel which could give high speeds, coupled with stability, good sea keeping and simplicity.
-Car and Passenger Ferries Very fast car ferries have been with us since 30 years ago when British Hovercraft Corporation introduced 50 knot onto the English Channel.Although, still in operation, high manufacturing costs have limited further applications of this technology.
-A recent design study examined the carriage of cars and passengers from Scotland directly to the European continent thus bypassing the congested English motorway network .The route length is approximately 400 miles and this can be achieved in 10 hours at a cruising speed of 40 knots.Vessels of this type would certainly have to meet the requirements of the IMO High Speed Craft Code which preclude the use of closed cabin accommodation.

Passengers would have to be accommodated in aircraft style seating.bellow is Stella Queen- one of early modern ferries.
Trend continue

- there was change in design and speed revolution Throughout 80's most new passenger ferries were built for speeds in the range 35-40 knots .
-The 90's have brought a resurgence in the quest for higher speeds with the title "Fastest Ferry in the World" changing hands several times a year! Previously unheard of speeds are now being seriously contemplated.
-In this Millennium, there is a real acceptance by operators that radical changes are possible and desirable. Exemple of new generation fast ferries pentamaran is shown below:


-There is strong and continuing market for fast vehicle and passenger ferries. There is currently a market for 30 vessels per year having an average value of US$50 million representing a total annual sales potential of US$1.5 billion.
-90% of these vessels are currently built by only 6 shipyards, mainly in Australia and Europe, but recently joined by Catamaran Ferries International in Canada.
-Today, 650 catamaran vessels have been built and annual deliveries have stabilised at around 40 vessels per year. Total high speed passenger vessels of all hull forms now operating exceed 1300 .Now there are very large examples in operation including the Stena in Europe.
-Speeds have increased to a staggering 60 knots achieved by Luciano Frederico L operated by Buquebus.

lets look at some of the modern fast ferries design and technology:

1-Patricia Olivia sea trial at 55 knot

-The fastest passenger only carrying vessel in the world is the Patricia Olivia II, owned by South-American operator Buquebus and built by Derecktor Shipyards in New York state.
-The vessel on trials in December 1998, when it achieved a maximum speed of 57 knots and a fully loaded speed of 53 knots. The speeds were achieved safely and comfortably and with noise levels in the main passenger saloon of around 70dB(A).
-The vessel is in daily service on the River Plate between Argentina and Uruguay. This high top speed will certainly be eclipsed in the near future by vessels exceeding 60 knots as operators demand higher speeds on longer haul routes to compete with local airlines.

2-passenger ferries-Pentameran

-Pentamaran is a long slender monohull stabilised by sponsons port and starboard. The vessel is essentially a single catamaran hull stabilised by the low drag slender sponsons.
-The hull form solves the problem of the high wave-making drag encountered by shorter, fatter monohulls and significantly reduces the frictional drag suffered by twin hull catamarans.
-The very high efficiency of this hull form allows this vessel to be built in steel and propelled by medium speed diesels and still compete with lightweight aluminium catamarans and monohulls propelled by high speed diesels or perhaps gas turbinessee typical general arangemen bellow.
A particular variant of this hull form is the ultra high speed passenger vessel and one of these has been developed for SeaConn of the United States .This vessel is designed to carry commuters from Long island Sound into Manhattan .The question arises as to whether the travelling public will be prepared to spend 10 hours, on day or overnight crossings with only a seat (albeit a very comfortable one) and not a bunk and cabin

3-High speed freighter-Fast ship

-The increase in speed of the sea freight to 40 knots represents only 4% of the speed increase by sending cargo by air freight It seems unlikely that a 200-300% in freight rate could be justified.
-International container operator Norasia of Switzerland has determined a set of requirements for a high speed freighter which could trade profitably within current freight rate structures.super feeder/fast liner container ships building for Norasia in Germany and China. -The first 5 ships are in operation and the first of class completed its maiden voyage from Zebrugge in Belgium to Montreal in Canada at a record speed for the route, averaging 26.15 knots.

4-Transatlantic ultra high-speed freighter
Halter Marine invested in R&D to explore 60 knot, 4000 tonne transatlantic freighter There are obvious applications for this type of craft for military sealift commands both in America and Europe.

Transtlantic ultra high speed freighter

The future ship of 12000 tonnes of containerised cargo at 40 knots vessel can use medium speed diesel engines burning low cost heavy fuel -With fuel economy trade off. specialised cargoes like Vehicles, electronics, pharmaceuticals, Fedex packages etc would benefit from a higher speed freight service .

More on future

Because of good speed, trends in recent days have seen enquiries from owners for passenger and car ferries capable of speeds between 75 and 100 knots are increasing in frequency.
-The technology for such ferries certainly exists and the limiting factors will be safety, economy and comfort.
-Beyond 100 knots becomes more difficult to forecast, since at these speeds the possibilities for aerodynamic lift is such that "marine" vessels will undoubtedly be lifted far enough out of the water/air interface to be considered as true marine/aero hybrids.
-Where will these development go in the future? If a 75 knot ship is at the design stage, why not 100 knots?
-As speeds approach 100 knots designers will have to pay far more attention to the aerodynamics of the structures they are designing. Aerodynamic drag and noise will become very important and designs will have to be routinely wind tunnel tested.
-The possibilities for aerodynamic lift at these speeds are significant and multi-hull vessels operating at 100 knots will undoubtedly be able to benefit from surface effect and will probably become a hybrid between a semiplaning multi-hull and a low flying wing-in-ground (WIG) effect machine.
-Fast ferries are more profitable than their slower steel predecessorss true that fuel costs are very much higher for fast vessels the total operational costs are still lower. below is exemple of pentamaran container ship in the making .

-This, coupled with the fact that an operator may be able to charge a small premium for the high speed transit makes high speed ferries much more profitable than their slower steel predecessors.Top speed of 70 knots and a cruising speed of 65 knots. Tank tests have established the feasibility of achieving this economically and comfortably.
-Whilst it is true that fuel costs are very much higher for fast vessels the total operational costs are still lower.
-10 years ago the suggestion that car ferries would have top speeds exceeding 60 knots would surely have been disbelieved. However, the 1990`s have seen 60 knot car ferry is a reality, and some 50 other car ferries are capable of speeds in excess of 40 knots.
-Isn't it true that only 10 years ago, the suggestion that there would be 40 knot ferries carrying not only passengers but also cars would have been treated with derision.
-Nearly 1000 Ro-pax vessels world wide could be replaced with fast car ferries , but operators are resistant to the new technology because of concerns over materials, machinery and safety. Designs which can address these fears are likely to be the more successful in the coming decade.
-The modern car and passenger ferry was introduced by International Catamarans in 1990.
-There are now in excess of 100 large fast car carrying vessels in operation and a large number on order.Sizes and speeds of vessels have steadily increased since 1990.
-The trend aslo proved the fact that vessel can undertake relatively long voyages at high speed.
-There has been proposals and predictions for future fast freight vessels and services.No significant new fast freight operation has been established.
-?market could be led by the supply side at least in the short term. The argument from the design and build community is that coastal and short sea freight routes could be served by modifications .
-There is suggestion regarding modifying existing high speed car and passenger ferries and removing of passenger saloons and car decks (and all their safety and comfort features) could provide a good platform for carriage of pure freight.

lets look at main driving factors:

-Economic factors

-fast car market are very different from those in the short sea freight market, platform costs for the small freight carrier are greater than their simple slow conventional counterparts which is the opposite of the situation with the fast car ferries, although fuel costs are up crew costs remain approximately constant.
-For high speed freighter,The increase in speed of the sea freight to 40 knots represents only 4% of the speed increase by sending cargo by air freight It seems unlikely that a 200-300% in freight rate could be justified. Let shave alook at some of the impact areas. See ecoonomics sumMary bellow.

The above figure show a decade wide projection for demand and possible solution

- Efficiency
-It is also clear that a transport efficiency 3-4 times that offered by current designs is required and a fuel cost efficiency of 6-10 times that currently proposed. Bellow is a result of efficiency analsyis.

This figure show the red line show efficiency line of now, what efficiency can be attained with putting pentamaran in service.

-Freight rate
These vessels are more costly than conventional freight vessels in a business where freight rates are extremely low Freight rates for containerised or palletised cargo are only a fraction of those chargeable to passengers/cars and their occupants.
-For short sea freight, rates would need to rise by a factor of between 2 and 3 for a 40-45 knot vessel to be economically viable.
-Freight rate could be justified on the basis of the higher speed offered and the very high cost of air freight at about 10 x existing sea freight. Bellow is sumary of freught analysis.

This shoe freight comparation with air travel


-Fuel costs, because it drive maning issues in movin gthe ship , fuel cost per tonne of cargo carried are approximately one sixth of those of Fastship and construction costs for this vessel have been estimated by European shipyards as approximately US$75 million which is one third of the published cost of Fastship.

Future market

-Current fast vessel market demand and finance are available for significant advances over a wide range of vessel sizes.
-The challenge to the design and build community is to produce economic, safe and comfortable vessels which can meet these market requirements.
-One of several solutions to this design problem is the Pentamaran car ferry.


-Examination of the route shown has indicated that at a sustained speed of 40 knots is easily possible and that comfort standards comparable with highway luxury coaches can be achieved on almost all occasions.
-Fast car/passenger ferry will be weight limited and not volume limited and so passenger accommodation can and will be very spacious. A
-ll passengers can be offered at least "Club Class" seat spacing and the ability to move to restaurants, bars or promenade.bellow is result of routing analysis performed.

Well, are people oing to be comfortable with new high speed any other factors- of even enclosed ship . The red and blue lines show , the boundaries from test drives.

Market Driven Force

-The long track record of over 1000 vessels built for what are now regarded as relatively modest top speeds in the region of 35 knots, has indicated that fast ferries are safe and very much in demand.
- This solid base of an established industry has encouraged leading operators to pursue higher speeds.
-A strong existing market has encouraged manufacturers, particularly for machinery and propulsions to produce ever more compact and efficient packages capable of delivery the power to weight ratios needed to push speeds up. This is particularly evident in the recent widespread application of gas turbines, to passenger and Ro-pax vessels.
-Vessels are general getting bigger as the technology matures. So far , The economic top speed of larger ferries is higher than for smaller vessels.

As you can see, trends shown that fast ferry growing speed can be sustained in proportion and compensation with length of the route.The passenger ferry market is dominated by catamarans. Since 1960, vessel sizes and speeds have steadily increased.Fast ferries are trying to compete with other forms of transport, notably short haul aircraft.For the very strong reason that these high speed Ro-pax vessels are actually cheaper to operate than their conventional counterparts. This is because vessel purchase costs for a given work capacity are lower than for conventional vessels and crew costs are a fraction of those for the larger slower vessels with their high hotel and catering requirements.Dramatically increased ferry top speeds and a steady increase in vessel size. Large vessels moving at very high speeds raise further issues of safety, environmental impact, comfort and powering which must be carefully addressed as the industry progresses into the future.

Precise predictions are always dangerous. In 1960 a long and illustrious future for hydrofoils and hovercraft was predicted. In the 80's a speed limit of 40 knots was widely accepted. More recently the widespread introduction of gas turbines to marine vehicles was believed very unlikely. All of these predictions have beenproved wrong and it would be a brave person who would try and pick precise solutions for the next 10 years. One thing, however, seems certain; the demand for higher speed vessels carrying more payload on longer routes will increase and the winners will be those who can achieve this with economy, safety and comfort.

I believes that these potential limits will certainly not stop developments and that 70-75 knot ferries will be in operation and speeds up to 100 knots during the next decade. Such vessels will have most of the benefits of the low drag experienced by Wing In Ground (WIG) vessel, but with the advantage of being able to use marine propulsion engine and having the enhanced control ability implied by having control surface and propeler elements permanently in the water. The million dolar questionis that speed is about safety. Can these vessel meet safety requirement for stoping and maneuvering in port , even at high sea.However on a more ffrank note , shipping industry is the most regulated industry and many proceedure has been in place towards acheiveing their motion of SAFER SEA, CLEANER OCEAN. In addition to all these because of issue of green house gases and other environmental calculous isssue that iscurrenty nurning , there is likely to be need for use of fast freeries and freighter-we wil be discuss focus are on this another time.

My question- do you think ship can compete with aircraft in the near future? How near ?What do you think about safety? Do you think it will be econimical for all and make the world transportation revolutionary better?

And remeber that "The aim of education is the knowledge not of fact, but of values" Dean William R. Inge


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