Japanese transport company JR Kyushu Jet Ferry, a division of Kyushu Railway Company, is adding Austal-built trimaran ferry Queen Beetle as a new flagship vessel to its fleet
The ferry will enter service between Fukuoka in Japan and Busan, South Korea but is also scheduled to transport passengers during the Tokyo Olympic Games taking place in July 2021.
Queen Beetle features four 16-cylinder Rolls-Royce MTU Series 1163-M04 engines and the trimaran can reach speeds up to 37 knots.
Rolls-Royce Marine sales manager Phil Kordic said the Series 1163 was chosen for its power-to-weight ratio. The 1163 series covers the power segment from 4,800 to 6,500 kW for fast ferry applications and the 1163-M04 is a successor to the successful 1163-M03 unit, which powers numerous fast ferries around the world including Austal-built fast ferries Shinaz and Hormuz, the fastest ferries in the world powered by diesel engines.
Among other upgrades, a modern electronic common rail fuel injection system replaces the previous unit-pump injection system in the new generation and complies with IMO Tier II emissions regulations.
JR Kyushu Jet Ferry project leader Hitoshi Ogawa said “During the factory acceptance tests we were able to get a first and very positive impression of the engines,” adding “The trials a few weeks ago also convinced us. We were really impressed by the extraordinary and successful concept of the trimaran in combination with the MTU engines. Queen Beetle will be an excellent addition to our fleet."
Queen Beetle will carry 502 passengers on the 185-km route between Fukoka and Busan. The ferry has compartments for groups and families on two passenger decks, a children’s play area and a nursing room, a café and bar, a duty-free shop, lockers for luggage and accessible areas for wheelchairs and prams. An outdoor viewing deck complements the onboard experience for passengers.
The 83-m fast ferry was designed by Japanese designer Eiji Mitooka, built by Australian shipbuilder Austal and will commence service in 2021. Austal has built 14 trimarans to date with another 11 currently in the planning or construction phase.
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