Novel Heligoland catamaran enters service
A much-talked-about passenger catamaran has finally entered tough German Bight service after taking the same name as its popular predecessor, reports Tom Todd.
The new state-of-the-art, 56.4m long and 14m wide Halunder Jet was named in Hamburg for Helgoline, a subsidiary of Germany’s Förde Reederei Seetouristik (FRS). It is now operating a daily return service from that port city via Wedel and Cuxhaven to the German island of Heligoland.
The newbuilding’s 51m namesake was transferred by The Flensburg-based FRS last year to Canada after 14 years on the Heligoland route and now serves as Clipper Victoria V with FRS North American subsidiary Clipper Navigation.
Built by Austal, the new catamaran has gone into service a little later than originally planned. That’s the result of an enforced stay in Spain because of bad weather during its piggy-back heavy-lift transfer from Austal’s Cebu shipyard in the Philippines. But officials said it had nonetheless begun operation just in time for the new holiday season and had brought additional passenger capacity and technical capability to the well-travelled route.
The all-aluminium newbuilding, which cost about €17 million, can carry 692 passengers – which is over 100 more than its predecessor. It also offers a lot more space and comfort.
The new Halunder Jet is powered by four MTU 6V4000 M63L main engines with a total output of 8,960kW, which Helgoline has said are impressive with “strong performance and high efficiency and economy”. They are combined via ZF 7650 NR2H gearings to four KaMeWa S71Waterjets from Rolls Royce. The owners said the latest generation Kamewa units “guarantee maximum capacity with minimum weight”.The new cat also carries four Volvo D5A TA 85kW auxiliary diesel gensets and has a modern damping system which reduces ship movement to a minimum.
FRS Group Managing Director Birte Dettmer praised the work of Austal, saying “it takes experience and expertise to build a catamaran of the quality we need”. She said the name Halunder Jet was synonomous with successful, quality service on the Heligoland route, in which about €30 million have now been invested to cope with rising demand. The once small but now internationally active FRS Group operates more than 60 ships and is also engaged in the offshore wind energy supply and CTV sectors.
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