US$2.7m hybrid-powered catamaran christened

'Spirit of Sound' was christened earlier this month 'Spirit of Sound' was christened earlier this month

US-based The Maritime Aquarium has christened a US$2.7m hybrid-electric catamaran – said to be the only research vessel in the world running on hybrid-electric propulsion.

The 63ft, all aluminium Spirit of Sound is larger and ‘greener’ that its predecessor, 40ft, 34-year-old diesel powered trawler RV Oceanic.

Upon its launch in December, it will run virtually silently on electric power for the Aquarium’s two-and-a-half-hour public ‘study cruise’ on Long Island Sound.

“By running on clean quiet power without emissions, The Maritime Aquarium will be practicing what we teach,” said Jennifer Herring, president.

The new vessel will have a climate-controlled indoor classroom and an outdoor research space. Its hybrid-electric propulsion is expected to reduce fuel consumption by around 75%, while its quiet operation will benefit wildlife and other boaters.

Spirit of Sound was designed by Australia’s Incat Crowther and is being built at the New York state-based Robert E Derecktor Inc shipyard. Its hybrid-electric propulsion system was made by BAE Systems Inc, Corvus Energy and Northern Lights Hybrid Marine.

By Rachael Doyle

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