Zeppelin Power Systems, Caterpillar’s partner for Cat and MaK engines, is taking part in a unique refit project to convert a 57-year-old ice-breaking lighthouse supply ship into a luxury expedition yacht
For its part in the conversion, Zeppelin Power Systems was responsible for overhauling and upgrading the main engine of the 46-m motor yacht Vega with the latest technology to comply with new IMO Tier III emissions standards.
Built in 1964 in Asi Shipyard, the vessel’s MaK 8M20 engine was installed in Vega 17 years ago when the former lighthouse supply ship was first supposed to be converted into an explorer yacht. The work was suspended for several years, with Vega becoming somewhat of a landmark in the harbour of the small town of Penzance in England – until Dörries Yachts was commissioned with the conversion in 2020. Dörries Yachts subsequently transferred the vessel to Bremerhaven for the refit.
Apart from its bed run and commissioning, the engine had not accumulated any operating hours since its installation. A conversion was still necessary for the MaK 8M20 to meet IMO Tier III. In close co-operation, specialist departments of the Zeppelin Group and supporting partners worked out a bespoke solution for the engine and the selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system, which was certified by a classification society on the test bed in Achim.
“Refits of various sizes are part of our daily business,” said Dörries Yachts sales manager Henning Dörries. “However, it is rather unusual for us to convert a ship with such a history.” Mr Dörries said since Vega was originally designed as an icebreaker and supply ship, it is challenging to convert the vessel for its new purpose and current regulations. “We are very pleased that with Zeppelin Power Systems we have a partner at our side who has demonstrated immense flexibility and has implemented a specific drive system for Vega,” added Mr Dörries.
For the overhaul, technicians dismantled the engine into its individual parts – cylinder heads to pistons and injection pumps to turbochargers – for cleaning and inspection, checking them for corrosion and replacing seals and bearings.
After the integration of the SCR system, conversion of the speed controller to the latest technology, the digitalisation of the old monitoring system and expansion of various measuring points, the four-stroke MaK 8M20 not only complies with the current IMO Tier III standards, but also provides data for more efficient operations.
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