Eco engine swap is first of several

New engine plant for Serrahn Star New engine plant for Serrahn Star

The 24.5m Hamburg excursion boat 'Serrahn Star' is back in service after swapping its old engines for a more eco-friendly and economical propulsion system and owner Heiko Buhr says similar conversions will follow on other boats in his fleet.

The 5.2m wide Serrahn Star was re-engined at the MSB-Werft in Oortkaten near Hamburg. The yard took over the Spezial Schiffbau Oortkaten (SSB) in 2015 after it went into liquidation. For many years SSB built and looked after the boats of leading Hamburg excursion operator HADAG. MSB continues to be involved with HADAG and Serrahn Star owner Bergedorfer Schiffahrtslinie (BSL) is also a client. Heiko Buhr, who heads BSL, told Maritime Journal the boat’s old Cummins 6B5.9 engines had been removed, scrapped and replaced by two SISU 4V engines each of 133kW from Scan Diesel in Bremen.

The reason for the swap, he said, was to reduce waste emissions and lower fuel consumption. He has been quoted as adding that the replacement units are also “unbelievably robust”.

In comments to this correspondent the ec on-conscious Buhr said that  “over the next few years the fleet will get further new engines” and he has been quoted as saying elsewhere that he would like to see hybrid propulsion systems on all his passenger excursion boats, within two or three years, and all-electric operation in the port of Hamburg itself.

The double decker Serrahn Star was acquired in 2002 when it was already ten years old. With a large upper deck seating 67 passengers and a salon for 64 passengers it is described as the perfect sightseeing boat. It followed the harbour launch LÜTT ELV bought by Buhr  in1998 and on which the new company was founded with tours into the port and the surrounding countryside.

The newest of Buhr’s passenger boats, the Serrahn Deern, joined the fleet in 2003. Built in1998 it is the youngest of the BSL boats and is also 24.5m long and 5.2m wide but boasts a smaller draught making it suitable for inner city tours in Hamburg and shallow water trips in the region. It also has a flexible salon where seating can be replaced by round tables for special events.

The firm’s biggest and most elegant boat is the 33m x 5.16m Serrahn Queen which was introduced in 2012 and can accommodate 220 passengers, 86 of them in a spacious salon.

Twenty years old this year, the Serrahn Queen has already undergone an engine change - but not to the eco-friendly standards of Serrahn Star. Along with interior lighting and seating improvements at the MSB yard last winter, an old diesel was replaced with a more efficient but unidentified Japanese-made combined diesel engine and generator system.

By Tom Todd

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