While much of the attention in the fast ferry niche often falls on designs and construction from Down Under, Italy's Rodriquez Cantieri Navali
has built and maintained a stable of some of the most impressive high speed vessels
in the world. It's South American affiliate, Rodriquez Cantieri Navali do Brasil SpA, recently commenced construction of seven Catamarans CityCat 52 DE model and three catamarans CityCat 29 model for the home market.
The Brazilian ferry project is a unique one for the 115-year-old company in that all of the ferries will be built in Brazil, resulting in Rodriquez Cantieri Navali setting
up a company there. It has subcontracted out the business to three separate facilities: one to build the hulls, another to build the superstructures; and another for final assembly; to keep the project on track.
Unique Ferry for Unique Environs
Delivery of the Double-ended ferries to Barcas (hence the "DE" designation) will start with the completion of the first 52 DE in a year, with subsequent vessels following in scheduled three-month intervals. Barcas (www.barcas-sa.com.br) transports more than 80,000 commuters every day and the route is considered a lifeline to get the employees from their homes to their offices.
The 52 DE is designed for operatation on the 2.7 nm route between Rio de Janeiro and Niteroi. The unique nature of the route and existing shore based facilities, along with the fact that up to 1,200 passengers will be simultaneously embarking or disembarking from the CityCat 52DE, extensive studies were made to ensure that the stability of the vessel would be maintained under all conditions.
The new CityCat 52DE catamarans can accommodate up to 900 passengers sitting and 300 passengers standing. To rapidly embark and disembark the passengers, the vessel will be bow loaded from either end through a full width entry way. The propulsion system, consists of two MTU 8V2000M70 diesels, each located in a central "third hull" and coupled to a dedicated azimuth propeller which will provide for a service speed of about 18 knots. In addition, the third hull (one at either end) will provide additional reserve buoyancy during passenger loading periods. The azimuthing thrusters have been designed and developed by Rodriquez Marine Systems and operate in such a way that they completely eliminate the need for
The 28 will go between Rio de Janeiro and Charitas, a slightly longer route but with less passengers, hence the higher speed and lower capacity of the latter. The three CityCat 29's will also have two MTU 8V2000M70 engines but with a more conventional propulsion system consisting of twin fixed pitch propellers
. Also, this vessel will not be double ended and as such passengers will only load through the bow. The service speed will be 25 knots.
These vessels bring Rodriquez's orderbook, which includes ferries, yachts and military craft, to 41 vessels with a value approaching $260 million. Rodriquez Cantieri Navali is privately held company with four shareholding groups of which General Electric (GE) Equity is one of the equal partners.