‘Spirit of Rathlin’

‘Spirit of Rathlin’ is set to operate between Ballycastle and Rathlin Island ‘Spirit of Rathlin’ is set to operate between Ballycastle and Rathlin Island
Industry Database

Arklow Marine Services, Arklow, Ireland has recently delivered the new 27m ‘Spirit of Rathlin’ ferry which has been designed to replace the existing ‘Canna’ and is set to operate between Ballycastle and Rathlin Island off the Co Antrim Coast.

This was described by Arklow Marine Services as ‘a competitive tender which was won against strong international competition’, is designated Yard 62. It is capable of carrying 140 passengers, 6 cars, an articulated truck or a combination of same. The DRD in Belfast who contracted the vessel are to award a 10 year operational licence and the Canna will be withdrawn from service.  Rathlin Island will now be serviced by this new vessel in conjunction with the existing Rathlin Express which is a 18m High Speed Aluminium Catamaran Passenger vessel capable of carrying 96 passengers, also built by Arklow Marine Services in 2009.

Argyll Maritime Design Services of Scotland, designed the vessel and oversaw the complete design package including preparing all construction drawings for submission to Lloyds, MCA and BCTQ Consultants in Southampton. It was designed as a bow loading ferry with a vehicle deck forward, enclosed passenger lounge aft and open passenger decks over.  An articulated bow ramp provides access for passengers & vehicles.

Built to Lloyds Classification Society Rules & Regulations the vessel’s notation: Lloyds✠100A1 SSC Passenger Mono, G2A,✠LMC, UMS is of steel construction throughout. The vessel was designed and built to meet the regulations for an EU Class C passenger/vehicle ferry engaged on domestic voyages and also assigned a UK under 24m workboat code certificate. The vessel design is of double chined construction with a flat bottom and heavy grounding bars forward to enable safe grounding on the slip when loading and discharging.

Extensive model tests were carried out at Wolfson Unit at Southampton University to determine the correct powering required to achieve a trial speed of 9.5 knots with a design deadweight of 54 tonnes.  The vessel is powered by twin Scania Main Engines D113 071M each developing 331KW (450BHP) at 1800 rpm.  Each engine is coupled to a Twin Disc MGX 5114SC-HD free standing gearbox with a 2.54:1 reduction ratio. Both main engines and gearboxes are keel cooled.  An EC 300 Electronic control system is mounted on the bridge.

The sterngear is of water lubricated type and the propellers are both 4 bladed AB2 material each with a diameter of 940 mm.

A spacious and large engine room was required to accommodate all the plant and equipment necessary for the vessels operation. A well thought out and planned layout resulted in the best use of the space with good access for routine maintenance at a later stage. Auxiliary power is supplied by 2 x 28 Kw Beta Marine auxiliary engines all generated to give 230 volt, 50Hz, 1 phase and 24V DC and UPS to be provided for navigational and safety services.  Both auxiliary engines situated in the engine room are keel cooled and fitted with acoustic hoods.  The emergency 28Kw generator set is mounted adjacent to the rescue boat on the upper deck within its own acoustic cover.

The main hydraulic equipment on-board the vessel consists of a T600 120BHP bow thruster giving a thrust of 900kgs., two M3 anchor windlasses, a pair of two tonne capstans, two 24 tonne rams, two 18 tonne rams and two locking rams.  All the hydraulic equipment is driven off the forward end of both main engines through Centa 24V clutch units and all piping above main deck is in stainless steel.

A monitoring system is fitted on board to record the contents in four tanks, the bilges in nine areas and the draughts at four locations.  An Ecomax 8AC sewage treatment vacuum system was also fitted on board to service the WCs and wash room waste water on board.

A large wheelhouse with extensive all round vision extends from vessel side to side with two wing positions. A centre U-shaped console position has been designed and fabricated to encompass the large and diverse array of navigation and electronic equipment required for the vessel’s operation. The large centre window allows the vessel’s operator a clear view of the working deck below and bow ramp operation. All machinery is fully controlled from the wheelhouse to comply with Lloyds UMS (unmanned machinery spaces).

Passenger accommodation is in an enclosed aft deck saloon which has been fitted out to a high standard and can accommodate 42 passengers.  Further seating for 100 passengers has been arranged in open spaces on decks one and two.  There are WCs for male, female and wheelchair users in the main deck saloon.  A Purser’s office is situated inside the starboard door with a half hinged door.

Mess room facilities are sited aft of the wheelhouse on deck level two and consist of table, seating and mess facilities including a microwave oven.  A repeater monitor for the various cameras arranged throughout the vessel is also mounted within the mess room.

By Jake Frith

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