LD Lines’ Norman Arrow a Ship of Firsts
The new Incat 112 metre high speed catamaran for LD Lines will be the largest ever fast ferry to operate on the cross channel routes between England and France. The vessel is also the world’s largest diesel-powered catamaran and will be the first Incat 112 metre to operate in Europe.
Entering service between Dover and Boulogne on 29 May 2009, the new fast ferry will also be the first-ever freight carrying high speed vessel to operate across the Dover Straits. With the Norman Arrow LD Lines becomes the first-ever French ferry company to operate high speed catamarans on the short sea routes from Dover.
The introduction of LD Lines’ first-ever fast ferry is a major development for the company, further emphasising the strategy to firmly establish its business on the cross channel routes from Dover, as Managing Director, Christophe Santoni explains.
“This is a very exciting, innovative step forward for LD Lines and with the introduction of this new high speed ferry, we will be dramatically revolutionising ferry transport across the channel, with a style of service never experienced before on the Dover Straits.
We will be offering a unique, combined high speed and conventional ferry sailing frequency via the Boulogne service, providing great appeal and choice, to meet the demands of tourist and freight customers and create new markets.”
The step is no less exciting for Incat, whose vessels have been a part of the Dover scene for nearly 20 years. “We are thrilled that our latest generation 112 metre ship has been placed with LD Lines on the Dover Strait where passengers are familiar with earlier generation Incat vessels. We believe they will be pleasantly surprised by the increase in size and capacity that this new ship brings to the Channel,” Robert Clifford says.
At over 10,500 gross tonnes the new craft is one of the largest vessels yet built by Incat, providing significantly greater sea keeping qualities and passenger comfort than earlier generation fast ferries familiar to Dover Strait passengers. The third vessel in the successful 112 metre range from Incat, the Norman Arrow is specifically designed with the European ferry market in mind.
As one would expect, the Norman Arrow has been completed with a range of enhancements derived from the operational experience of her two highly successful Japanese predecessors.
Most notable is the internal ramp system on the vessel’s two vehicle decks. On the first two 112 metre vessels cars reached the full length Tier 2 upper vehicle deck via an internal ramp from Tier 1. On the latest vessel, Tier 2 is accessed via a ramp system around the forward end of the ship leaving the main deck completely clear of obstruction for high-sided vehicles. Cars move in a clockwise direction starting at the port forward end of Tier 1, turning right to traverse across the bow area and end rising facing aft on the starboard side Tier 2. This has served to increase vehicle deck capacity from 450 metres of freight at 4.35m clear height plus 193 cars at 4.5 metres length, to 567 metres of freight at 4.60 metres clear height plus 195 cars at 4.5 metres length.
If the vessel was to be filled entirely with cars then up to 417 vehicles may be carried, compared with 355 cars on the earlier vessels.
Before sailing to the English Channel, trials were conducted alongside at the Incat shipyard to test the vessel’s loading capabilities. A total of 28 trucks of three types drove on and off the ship, without the need for any reversing; demonstrating turnaround efficiency and simplicity for this wide-hulled fast ferry.
Incat Chairman Robert Clifford pointed out that only two trucks conformed to European length of 16.5 metres. “The other trucks used were of longer total length and had U.S.-based turning circles. This was only a minor inconvenience,” he said.
Style and Comfort
The passenger spaces on board the Norman Arrow are located on one deck, Tier 3. Boasting three distinctive lounges the public spaces are accessed from the vehicle decks by stairways forward, midships and aft. Additionally, a ramp is fitted aft to provide barrier free access between Tiers 2 and 3, ensuring passengers requiring assistance enjoy all the craft has to offer.
The aft cabin is a spacious lounge containing a mix of comfortable Beurteaux Tourist High Back reclining seats. Blues, yellows, reds and greens are the predominant seating colours, all of which are finished in wool fabric upholstery. The lounge boasts two plasma screen theatres and its own dedicated bar, with stylish glass-topped counters, providing facilities to serve a wide variety of food and beverages. A dedicated truck drivers lounge and TV area is also provided. Large windows face onto the aft observation deck from where passengers have a spectacular view of the water jets in operation.
Moving forward from the aft lounge the passenger enters the open plan midships section of the vessel, the hub for many onboard activities. Here, a shop provides a range of souvenirs, newspapers, books and magazines. Outside the shop, in the main entrance foyer, seating is arranged to create a cosmopolitan air under feature lighting.
Directly opposite is the walk-through café servery through which diners can flow with a minimum of fuss. This new facility on Incat vessels provides for a greatly enhanced range of food possibilities than would be available through over-the-counter sales.
Behind the servery the food preparation area is fitted with stainless steel worktops and shelving, refrigerators, freezers and microwave ovens. From here, the vessel’s services block runs forward containing male and female passenger toilets plus a unisex disability toilet/baby changing area. The forward section of this block contains the crew room and entry to the split level electronics room and wheelhouse. The fully equipped crew mess has seating for six crew members on comfortable bench couches positioned around a table.
Each side of the services block are Ocean Tourist High Back seats forming the main lounges port and starboard. To cater for families or groups, a number of seats are arranged around tables. Here passengers may relax in comfort surrounded by panoramic windows affording excellent sea views. Throughout the vessel colour LCD flat screens enable seated passengers to view safety messages, DVD/video programs, and input from the electronic chart system.
A key feature of any ship interior is the carpet and once again Incat has selected Axminster carpet, made by Brintons Carpets. The dark blue carpet features rings of red, light blues and aqua in alternating motifs and this lively design is used in all seating areas throughout the vessel with the exception of the forward Business Class Lounge where the colour red replaces dark blue. Complementing the carpets and continuing the theme of brightness, the interiors throughout the Norman Arrow are finished with lightweight yet stylish Ayrlite laminated composite panels.
For the flooring of the busy main walkways, Amtico planking finished in Fused Birch has been used. Around the café and shop area Amtico tiling in onyx grey, and metallic silver has been used to good effect with marble blue strips while forward in the Business Class Lounge the main walkways have been laid in vanilla and mocha tiles .
The forward lounge on the Norman Arrow is the Business Class Lounge. The obvious feature here is the panoramic 300º view of the horizon via sweeping tinted windows. The lounge is fitted out with a mix of reclining and tub chair seating and features a fully equipped bar with facilities to serve a wide variety of food and beverages.
The wheelhouse provides 360-degree visibility for the officers over the top of the aerodynamic superstructure, while an aft-facing docking console and CCTV monitors negate the need for bridge wings with their associated windage and weight. Consistent with all Incat vessels, the bridge is fitted with the latest in electronic, navigation and communication equipment to comply with the High Speed Craft Code. There are three forward facing adjustable seats around the centre line, the Captain sitting in the centre, with the First Officer to starboard and the Chief Engineer to port.
The vessel is powered by four MAN 20V 28/33D diesel engines, each rated 9000 kW at 1000 rpm and delivering a low weight when compared to other engines in its class. The advantages of engine durability, efficiency, low noise and low maintenance costs make it the engine of choice for Incat vessels, not least of all impressive fuel consumption, burning less kg per cargo tonne per hour than any other high speed catamaran.
The latest combustion chamber technology with electronically controlled injection system and optimised cylinder pressures, reduces specific fuel consumption to less than 190g/kWh. At almost a 7% reduction per kWh over the previous generation of medium speed diesel engines this represents a massive saving on annual fuel bills. The vessel is also environmentally compliant with low NOx of less than 10g/kWh.
During the course of trials, while running at 100% MCR (maximum continuous rating), speeds of up to 44.57 knots were averaged with 250 tonnes deadweight on board. Loaded with 648 tonnes deadweight an average speed of 41.78 knots was achieved at 100% MCR.
The ferry is fitted with four of the largest transmissions from ZF Marine GmbH, the ZF 60000 NR2H, each with maximum rated power of 12387kW. Special technical solutions were required to satisfy the engine room layout and the demand for the highest reliability. The transmission had to be matched to the interface provided and the ZF solution was an excellent compromise with low weight and small dimensions.
Engine power is converted to propulsion thrust through four Wärtsilä LJX waterjets. In comparison with other waterjets available today these offer a 25% reduction in mounting flange diameter, a 10% overall weight reduction and a 35% increase in cavitation margin. These jets have a 1500 mm diameter impeller and an inboard layout for steering and reversing hydraulics.
A substantial weight saving has been achieved through the use of Centa carbon-fibre shafts. Some 70% of weight has been saved compared to that in the use of conventional steel shafts.
Hobart-based company Colbeck & Gunton supplied the lightweight structural fire protection system aboard the ship including fire doors and dampers. To protect all moderate and high risk spaces the ‘Rapid Access’ (deckhead) and ‘Lightweight’ (bulkhead) fire protection system meets all the demands for lighter weight and faster installation/removal for this type of craft. An addressable fire detection system, CCTV cameras, zoned fire sprinkler systems and hydrants protect vehicle decks and also of course the passenger areas and engine rooms.
Securing reliable and economical power generation on board are four MAN D2876 LE301/HCM 534C 360kW alternators.
Enhancing the 112 metre Wave Piercing Catamaran’s already excellent sea keeping qualities is the Maritime Dynamics/Incat Ride Control System, consisting of transom mounted trim tabs and a retractable T-foil. These, combined with Incat’s unique hull form featuring long outer bows, fuller midship sections, stern skeglets and greater centre bow clearances, means Motion Sickness Incidence has been reduced in higher sea states by reducing pitch, roll and heave, the major contributors to passenger discomfort.
As always, safety is paramount and the craft is equipped with six Liferaft Systems Australia Marine Evacuation Stations (MES), three port and three starboard. Each MES is capable of serving a total of up to 300 persons. A total of fourteen, 100-person liferafts are fitted. Two SOLAS inflatable rescue boats, each with 25hp motors, are provided for launch and recovery operations.
The Norman Arrow has been specifically built for the European market by Incat for MGC Chartering an Irish based leasing company providing a wide range of financial solutions to ferry operators including longer term bareboat charters of both new and second hand vessels. MGC has over 25 years of experience in aviation leasing and in founding MGC Chartering has adapted that very successful aviation model to the needs of the ferry market.
Norman Arrow, Hull 066, Principal Particulars
Design: Two slender, aluminium hulls connected by a bridging section with centre bow structure at fwd end. Each hull is divided into nine vented, watertight compartments divided by transverse bulkheads. Two compartments in each hull prepared as short range fuel tanks and one as a long-range fuel tank.
Designer: Revolution Design Pty Ltd.
Builder: Incat Tasmania Pty Ltd.
Class Society: Det Norske Veritas
Certification: DNV +1A1 HSLC R1 Car Ferry “B” EO
Length overall: 112.60m
Length waterline: 105.60 m
Beam of Hulls: 5.80 m
Beam (moulded): 30.50m
Draft: approximately 3.93m
Speed: 40 knots
Deadweight: Up to 15,000 tonnes.
Gross: 10,503 tonnes
Passengers: 1200 persons (including crew)
Vehicles: 567 truck lane metres at 3.1m wide and 4.6m clear height plus 195 cars at 4.5m length x 2.3m wide and 2.1m clear height or 417 cars only.
Axle loads: Tier 1: 13 tonnes per axle.
Tier 2: up to 2 tonne per axle.
Tankage: Fuel Oil – 2 x 150,000 litres aluminium storage tanks
Fresh Water – 2 x 5,000 litres GRP tanks
Sewage – 2 x 5,000 litres GRP tank
Lube Oil – 2 x 1000 litres aluminium storage tanks
ER Oily Water – 4 x 160 litres stainless steel tanks
Genset Fuel Oil – 2 x 1240 litres aluminium storage tanks
Main Engines: 4 x resiliently mounted MAN 28/33D marine diesel engines, each rated at 9000 kW.
Fuel Consumption: SFC of <190g/kWh
Water Jets: 4 x Wärtsilä LJX 1500 waterjets configured for steering and reverse.
Transmission: 4 x ZF60000 NR2H gearboxes, approved by the engine manufacturer, with reduction ratio suited for optimum jet shaft speed.
Ride Control: A ‘Maritime Dynamics’ active ride control system is fitted to maximise passenger comfort. This system combines active trim tabs aft and fold-down T-foil located at aft end of centre bow fitted with active fins.
Alternators: 4 x MAN D 2876 LE 301/HCM 534 C 320kW (nominal) marine, brushless, self-excited alternators.
Distribution: 415V, 50 Hz. 3 phase. 4 wire distribution with neutral earth allowing 240 volt supply using one phase and one neutral. Distribution via distribution boards adjacent to or within the space they serve.