First high-speed hybrid monohull ferries in new fleet of twelve launched

The first of twelve new hybrid high-speed ferries designed by Incat Crowther for Italian ferry operator Liberty Lines have exceeded performance expectations during sea trials and will soon begin servicing Liberty Lines’ routes between Sicily and nearby islands.

First high-speed hybrid monohull ferries in new fleet of twelve launched

Named Vittorio Morace and HSC Cristina M, the new 38-metre hybrid propulsion vessels have proven their ability to operate at speeds of up to 30 knots when carrying a full load, with a sprint speed of 33 knots.

The successful launches of Vittorio Morace and HSC Cristina M come after the Sicily-based operator and the shipyard Astilleros Armon worked closely with global digital shipbuilder Incat Crowther to design a state-of-the-art, high-speed, low-emissions and customised hybrid propulsion fleet.

Each vessel in the new fleet, being built by Spanish shipyard Astilleros Armon, is equipped with an integrated hybrid propulsion system that includes MTU 16V4000M65L engines providing both conventional and electric propulsion. In addition, each vessel features two e-motors, two variable-speed gensets, a battery system, electrical power management system and an MTU hybrid automation system.

This integrated system allows the fleet to enter and exit port in a zero-emissions mode at speeds of up to eight knots, with the ability to recharge each vessel via shoreside infrastructure during longer stops. The vessels can also operate in a hybrid propulsion mode, reaching high speeds while recharging their batteries via the two main engines. In a further future-focused design element, the vessels are also ready for conversion to hydrogen consumption in the future.

The new vessels are designed to transport up to 251 passengers in safety and comfort, with the main deck featuring seating for 166 passengers, five bathrooms and a kiosk/bar amidship. The upper deck seats a further 85 passengers with an additional two toilets. Large luggage racks are available in both passenger cabins, in addition to overhead luggage bins.

Commenting on the new fleet, Chief Executive Officer at Liberty Lines Gennaro Carlo Cotella, said: “With this project, we are making a sustainable investment in the renewal of our fleet, with the purpose to continue to offer high-quality services to our stakeholders and minimise environmental impact in order to achieve an emission-free future.”

Incat Crowther C.E.O. Brett Crowther said, “The launches ofVittorio Morace and HSC Cristina M provide a glimpse into the future of low emission public transport. These vessels are a smart, long-term investment by Liberty Lines as not only do they help the company sustainably expand its fleet today, but they are also future-proofed for an operationally efficient, zero-emissions future as alternative fuels become more economically viable for operators,” said Mr Crowther.

The ten remaining vessels in the fleet are expected to follow Vittorio Morace and HSC Cristina M into service between 2024 and 2029.