A new ferry thruster will enable easy docking and fast propulsion.


Damen and Hydromaster have developed a 360-degree thruster. Photo: Damen

Damen joined forces with Hydromaster to develop a robust, fully azimuthing, 360-degree thruster for new Blue Amigo passenger ferries.

Hydromaster commercial manager, Jan Terlouw, explained: “We had already been working on something that would meet these requirements. A 375kW thruster, able to operate at speeds of up to and beyond 25 knots and durable enough to cover over 4,000 hours each year. But we had never built it. Once Damen signed its contract with Blue Amigo, we got the green light to go ahead.”

Blue Amigo ferries

In 2020, Damen signed a contract with Blue Amigo for the delivery of nine passenger vessels. The ferries will operate services between Rotterdam and the Drecht cities in the Netherlands in a service known as the Waterbus. The thruster will be used on six of the vessels - hybrid carbon fibre water buses that will operate fast, inter-city routes.

Prior to the collaboration, Hydromaster worked with the Maritime Research Institute Netherlands (MARIN) to develop the hydromechanics necessary to produce the thruster.

MARIN was able to provide the detailed calculations that would facilitate a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) study and the fine-tuning of Hydromaster’s design.

After assessing Damen’s hull design, MARIN’s solution was a propeller of 840mm diameter with a clearance of 23% diameter from the hull -reducing vibration to a minimum and allowing for increased efficiency.

For control of the thruster, Damen developed a single joystick controller that is intuitive to use and fulfils the circle of efficiency offered by the thruster.

By Rebecca Jeffrey