Incat Tasmania (Australian high-speed catamaran shipbuilder) revealed it was in discussion with South American operator Buquebus for the delivery of the largest zero-emissions/electric lightweight RoPax ship/ferry in the world.
The 130-m/427-ft-long vessel is under construction at Incat’s yard. The vessel was originally intended to run on liquefied natural gas (LNG). However, after a recent consultation with Buquebus, Incat was asked to replace the LNG powerplant with an innovative battery-electric solution.
The ferryboat will have passenger capacity ~2100 and cargo capacity 226 vehicles. The delivery is scheduled for 2025. Buquebus is a long-time customer of Incat and will operate the ship between Argentina and Uruguay.
According to Incat Group Chairman and Founder Robert Clifford, the customer wanted that to happen. Incat also wanted it to happen, and whilst there were matters to be finalized, he was extremely confident that Incat could deliver the groundbreaking ship.
"In my experience, unless we see something come from left field, this is a done deal. Obviously, there needs to be sufficient energy supply in the ports that the ship would visit but we understand this is progressing positively. The batteries and electric motors are being worked through with our suppliers, to ensure they can deliver the technology required in the time frame we need them.”
With the maritime industry eyeing a zero-carbon emissions future, electric vessels are expected to become part of the enablers for the decarbonization of the industry. Incat believes the market for lightweight electric ferries is opening up and is scaling up its workforce/production facilities in readiness.