The all-electric Zero Cat ferry, currently under construction at the Fjellstrand yard in Norway, will enter service next year with Norled as the first Norwegian vessel equipped with Survitec Group's most advanced ESS MES automatic escape slide system. The new slide can be launched and ready for passenger use with the touch of a button and without any further intervention by the crew. This is now being seen by ship operators as an important safety benefit especially when crew members may be actively engaged in dealing with other aspects of an emergency.
When it enters service the Norled-operated Zero Cat will be fitted with four of the automatic 3.8-meter Evacuation Slide Systems which each have single escape tracks and incorporate a 150-person open reversible inflatable life raft. The order also includes two further 3.8-meter Small Inflatable Slides, also with single escape tracks and a 50-person open liferaft. Survitec's slide systems will be supplied in time for the ferry’s delivery to Norled in September.
Sales of longer escape slides to Norwegian customers have also been achieved following the recent delivery of two 7.7-meter systems for the newly completed Ryylke and Hardanger ferries. These ships were also built for Norled but at the Remontowa yard in Poland. They were the first Norwegian vessels to be fitted with Survitec’s Medium Escape Slides and are notable as being the first ferries in the world to be powered by LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas.)
The two gas-powered ships have recently entered service on a route between Stavanger and Tau in Norway. The evacuation capacity of the slides and speed of evacuation is particularly important as the ferries can carry up to 550 passengers and in the summer months they will be used to enable tourists to view the famous Preikestolen cliffs near Stavanger. With the medium height slides certified as capable of evacuating 750 passengers from the ship in 30 minutes and 400 passengers in just 17 minutes and 40 seconds, they are expected to suit many more customers in Norway’s retrofit market. The system has been tested and approved for slides to heights up to 12.5 meters and this enables Survitec to meet the evacuation needs of a wide variety of vessels. This is facilitated by the company's ability to offer a full range of slide systems from 1.5 to 3.8 meters (Mini-Slide) and 3.8 meters to 12.5 meters (Medium Inflatable Slide, twin tracks) of freeboard. When vessels have a freeboard in excess of 12.5 meters, Survitec offers a broad range of chute and raft evacuation systems up to a capacity of 860 including the award winning Marin Ark system.
These first sales of the 3.8 meter Evacuation Slide System into the Norwegian market now denote a significant development for Survitec which has so far experienced great success with its Small Inflatable Slides. These are designed for vessels with lower freeboard such as fast ferries and range in length from just 1.5 meters to 3.8 meters and there are now over 50 Norwegian craft equipped with them. With this solid track record, Survitec is now confident that it will see sales of its longer slides increase as ship operators recognize the advantages of their evacuation capacities when combined with the new automatic launch systems.