Mexico’s largest ferry operator Ultramar is boosting its fleet with a new, ultra-light fast ferry
Mexico’s largest ferry operator Ultramar is to take delivery of a fast ferry that comes in much lighter than comparable models – leading to a faster, more fuel-efficient ferry.
This is the second of two 37-m fast ferries Ulramar ordered from UK shipbuilder Wight Shipyard Co (WSC). The ferry will be transported to Mexico at the start of July.
Ultramar said that one of the main reasons for choosing WSC for the build was the yard has a strong reputation for delivering on time, something it has “struggled with in the past”. These newbuilds will have been completed in only 10 months.
WSC chief executive Peter Morton pointed out the critical issues for these newbuilds were timely delivery and the weight saving target that needed to be achieved. Fuel costs are high in Mexico and are of paramount importance to Ultramar.
A WSC statement added that the vessels come in 20,000 kg lighter than comparable models which means faster, more fuel-efficient vessels. It said “This has been achieved by using new construction techniques developed by WSC, using light-weight materials and an attention to detail. The weight savings are achieved by investigating each of the thousand pieces of equipment used in the construction and sourcing the lightest most efficient parts and materials. Because the focus has been on efficiency, the engines in these vessels are capable of achieving their service speed at lower MCR, something that Ultramar specified.”
Mr Morton said “Working with Ultramar is a good match for WSC, our standards and attention to detail are of paramount importance to produce not only an on-time build, but one of superior quality. Ultramar provides both commuter and holiday destination vessels and the level of fitout is far higher than normal commuter boats. Stages for live bands, multi-coloured LED lighting above and below the waterline and very powerful sound systems were a first for us.”
The vessels were designed by Incat Crowther, which has a long-standing relationship with Ultramar and WSC whose previous export order to Austria was also an Incat Crowther Design.
Both vessels have the capacity to accommodate 459 passengers over three decks.
The vessels are powered by two MTU 12V4000 M63 engines with output at 2 x 1500 kW (2012 hp) at 1800 rpm. Gearboxes are two ZF 7600’s with propulsion being supplied by two fixed pitch propellers supplied by Southampton’s CJR Propulsion, which also suppled their new curved hydrodynamic-designed rudders.
“WSC has exceeded our expectations in both finish and performance,” said Ultramar chief executive Mauricio Orozco “…There is a need for more vessels and there is no question that WSC will be building them. Previously all our boats were built in the USA”.