New Ferry Being Built for Christian Island, Ontario

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

January 14, 2021

(Photo: Voith)

(Photo: Voith)

An infrastructure upgrade project is underway on Christian Island, Ontario, and one of the main components of the project is the construction of a new double-ended ferry (DEF) – a so-called “Floating Bridge” from the mainland to the island. Christian Island is located in Canada in Lake Huron’s Georgian Bay. Beausoleil First Nation (BFN) will be the owner and operator of the new ferry.

The DEF will be constructed at Fraser Shipyards Inc. in Superior, Wisconsin, on Lake Superior, and then will be transported to the Georgian Bay community on Lake Huron after commissioning.

The new vessel will use Voith Schneider Propellers (VSP) for its propulsion, and the units are expected to be delivered to Fraser Shipyards Inc. in 2021 for installation.

“To meet the needs of BFN, Voith worked very closely with the shipyard and designer during the project phase,” said Ivo Beu, Director of Sales, Marine Business Americas, Voith Turbo. “Together with our research and development department, we supported the optimization of the hull form in many ways to have an efficient overall concept which will meet BFN’s needs for decades to come.”

The ferry has a diesel-electric power plant, which means the VSPs are directly driven by an e-motor. The ferry design and VSP configuration take into account the most effective way to operate a vessel under many different environmental conditions – namely cold, icy conditions.

The project scope includes two size-18 VSP units, which were reinforced for operation in icy water during the late autumn and early spring, and the Voith electronic control system, which is used for safe navigation of the ferry. The ferry itself will use two VSP units, with the third held by BFN in case of a grounding, accident or maintenance issue. The ferry has been designed so that a VSP can be exchanged while the vessel is still afloat, which saves cost and time during the exchange procedure.

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