Derecktor Shipyards was given the notice of intent to award by the State of Alaska the contract for the construction of the first two passenger/vehicle high-speed ferries for its Marine Highway System. The NGA design presented by Derecktor competed in a bid race that lasted several months and ended with the notice of intent to award going to Derecktor Shipyards.
This project, funded by the Federal Government, allows the State of Alaska to link Sitka to Juneau with fast modern boats, capable of a comfortable one-day round trip. The Alaska Marine Highway System has been operating year-round since 1963, with regularly scheduled passenger and vehicle service to 32 communities in Alaska. It carries over 300,000 passengers every year.
The new boats are designed by Nigel Gee and Associates (NGA) Ltd of Southampton, England to be safe, high-speed RO/RO passenger ferries that minimize costs and can interface with existing AMHS docks and pier side facilities. They can carry 250 passengers on the main deck and 35 large vehicles, of the type mostly used in Alaska, on the cargo deck at a continuous-rating service speed of 35 knots and with great comfort up to sea state 6.
Powered by four diesel engines and four water jets, these 73m catamarans use a geosym of the Nigel Gee hull form employed in the 41m M/V Flying Cloud, which has been shown to provide the highest transport efficiency of any high-speed ferry of this size. A complete set of tank tests has been carried out, showing very low wake wash characteristics.
The main deck has interior seating for 150 passengers in the observation lounge fwd and 109 in the snack bar area midship with a mixture of airline type reclining seats and table arrangements. Further seating is provided in the exterior solarium located aft. Full ADA compliance is guaranteed throughout the passenger areas. Dedicated areas for video games and work/study and a full service snack bar complete the onboard accommodations. Noise levels are below 75 dBA throughout the vessel interior. A helicopter pick-up area is located on the top deck.
Classed with DNV Maltese Cross 1A1 HSLC, R3 and with full USCG compliance to SOLAS/HSC Code Cat. B, these aluminum vessels will be the first passenger and vehicle high-speed ferries to be built in the US and they will take advantage of Derecktor’s experience and high level of craftsmanship in the field of highly-stressed aluminum construction.