Installation of the four MTU 8000
Series engines is now complete in the first of two, Austal Auto Express 107 metre vehicle-passenger ferries for Hawaii Superferry (HSF) currently under construction at Austal’s USA shipyard. Each 45 tonne engine has 20 cylinders, and produces 8,200 kw (10,995hp) at 1150 rpm.
The installation of all four engines was completed within three weeks, ahead of schedule, in what was a first for the Austal USA shipyard given the size and weight of the engines. The catamaran is the largest aluminium vessel ever built in the USA.
The first ferry is due for delivery in the first half of 2007. Construction has already started on the second ferry that is scheduled for introduction into service in the first half of 2009. Also under construction in the yard is the 127 metre trimaran Littoral Combat Ship for the United States Navy
Following the completion of the design and commencement of construction, the HSF ferry owner was forced to make a change to the engine selection due to supply problems from their nominated engine manufacturer. In normal circumstances this could have been cause for difficulties in delivering the vessel however, commenting on the engine installation evolution, Hawaii Superferry Board Member, Bill Shirley said:
“The Austal design and production team adapted well to the necessary change in engines making it a seamless adjustment. The installation proceeded uneventfully which is a compliment to those who were involved in this complicated procedure.”
Hawaii Superferry plans to use Austal fast ferry technology to establish Hawaii’s first high-speed vehicle-passenger service. Each catamaran will carry 866 passengers and 282 vehicles and provide services connecting Honolulu to Maui and Kauai in three hours and from Honolulu to the Big Island in four hours.