New Alaska State Ferries to Feature Rolls-Royce Propulsion Systems

MV Malaspina departing Juneau, Alaska. Photo © John Hyde
MV Malaspina departing Juneau, Alaska. Photo © John Hyde

Rolls-Royce says it has been selected by the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities and Vigor Alaska to provide the propulsion systems for two future Alaska-class ferries that will be built by Vigor Alaska in Ketchikan, Alaska.

An illustration of the new Alaska-class ferries. Image courtesy Rolls-Royce
An illustration of the new Alaska-class ferries. Image courtesy Rolls-Royce

The two ferries will feature a range of Rolls-Royce technology, including reduction gearboxes, tunnel thrusters and steering gears, as well as a Rolls-Royce “Promas” propulsion system, which integrates controllable pitch propellers and rudders for increased fuel efficiency and enhance maneuverability, according to Rolls-Royce.

“We are delighted to work with the Alaska Marine Highway System and Vigor Shipyards to provide a robust and fuel efficient propulsion system for these new ferries that will benefit the state and people of Alaska for many decades to come,” said Tor-Gunnar Hovig, SVP Commercial Marine, North America – Rolls-Royce.

Hovig added: “What is also exciting about this contract is that it represents the first time a ferry operator in North America will utilize our Promas integrated propeller and rudder system, which improves the propulsion performance by means of increasing the efficiency, resulting in lower fuel consumption compared to traditional systems. To date, more than 60 new build ships feature Promas with close to 40 already retrofitted with the system.”

Each ferry will be 280 feet long, seat up to 300 passengers and carry more than 50 standard vehicles; and will feature bow and stern doors, for quicker loading and unloading, and fully enclosed car decks.

alaska state ferry
Drawing by Elliot Bay Design Group, click for larger

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As gCaptain reported back in September 2014, the two Alaska-class ferries will be the first Alaska Marine Highway System ferries built in Alaska and the largest vessels ever built in the State. The construction contract and costs to build both ferries in Ketchikan has been budgeted at $120 million.

The vessels are scheduled for delivery in 2018.

Click HERE for a PDF of the vessel’s general arrangements.