Thursday, 1st June 2017
Arklow Marine Services, North Quay, Arklow have recently delivered the new impressive 27m "Spirit of Rathlin" which has been designed to replace the existing "Canna" and is to operate between Ballycastle & Rathlin Island off the Co Antrim Coast. This competitive tender which was won against strong international competition is designated Yard 62, and is a fine quality build 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 The DRD in Belfast who contracted the vessel are to award a 10 year operational licence and the Canna will be withdrawn from service.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, Duror, in Scotland designed the vessel and oversaw the complete design package including preparing all construction drawings for submission to Lloyds, MCA & Consultants BCTQ in Southampton. 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. Vessel 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 24 m. workboat code certificate. The vessel design is of double chined construction with a flat bottom and heavy grounding bars forward to facilitate grounding on the slip when loading & 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 331 KW (450 BHP) 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 & 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 & equipment necessary for the vessels operation. A well thought out & 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, 50 Hz, 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 28 Kw 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 consisted of a T600 120 BHP bow thruster giving a thrust of 900 kgs., 2 nr M3 anchor windlasses, 2 nr 2 Tonne capstans, 2 x 24 Tonne rams, 2 x 18 tonne rams & 2 nr locking rams. All the hydraulic equipment were driven off the forward end of both main engines through Centa 24V clutch units and all piping above main deck was in stainless steel.
A monitoring system was fitted on board to record the contents in 4 tanks, the bilges in 9 areas & the draughts at 4 locations. An Ecomax 8AC sewage treatment vacuum system was also fitted on board to service the WC's & wash room waste water on board.
A large wheelhouse with extensive all round vision extends from vessel side to side with 2 wing positions. A centre u-shaped console position has been designed & fabricated to encompass the large & diverse array of navigation & electronic equipment required for the vessels operation. The large centre window allows the vessels operator a clear view of the working deck below & bow ramp operation. All machinery was fully controlled from the wheelhouse to comply with Lloyds UMS (unmanned machinery spaces).
Passenger accommodation 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 Nr 1 & 2. Situated also in the main deck saloon are WC's for both male, female & a wheelchair accessible toilet. A Pursers office is situated inside the starboard door with a half hinged door.
Mess room facilities are sited aft of the wheelhouse on deck level 2 and consist of table, seating & mess facilities including a microwave. A repeater monitor for the various cameras arranged throughout the vessel are also mounted within the mess room.