Wasaline ferry equipped with ABB Azipod electric propulsion

Wasaline ferry equipped with ABB Azipod electric propulsion
Azipod propulsion installed on Wasaline’s new ferry in just one week. Image courtesy of ABB.

A new ferry operated by Wasaline has been fitted with ABB Azipod propulsion to ensure sustainable performance and achieve up to four days of annual time savings due to operational efficiency.

The 150-metre vessel, Aurora Botnia, will run on low-emission liquefied natural gas (LNG) and will benefit from greater environmental and efficiency gains due to the selection of ABB Azipod propulsion with permanent magnet motor technology. Designed to meet Polar Code 6 criteria, the vessel’s pair of 5.8MW Azipod units where the electric drive motor in a submerged pod outside the ship’s hull, can rotate through 360 degrees thereby increasing maneuverability. In addition to its proven ability to cut fuel consumption by up to 20 per cent compared to traditional propulsion, Azipod technology also improves the onboard experience for passengers and crew through its quiet-running and vibration-free operation.

The ferry will operate on the world’s northernmost all-year passenger route between Vaasa in Finland and Umeå in Sweden. The ferry will be launched by the Finnish shipyard Rauma Marine Constructions.

Entering service in 2021, Aurora Botnia will have the capacity to transport 800 passengers and up to 1,500 lane meters of trucks and cars, completing two round trips per day in high season.

“We chose ABB’s Azipod electric propulsion for several reasons,” said Peter Ståhlberg, Wasaline chief executive officer. “Superior maneuverability will save time and increase productivity, enabling precise schedules to be maintained on this route. We calculated likely annual time savings of close to four days of operation, which was compelling. The solution also saves valuable space on board and simplifies hull construction. Access to ABB’s training and support services in Finland were other major plus points.”

The Azipod electric propulsion system was delivered to the shipyard fully engineered and ready for immediate installation. It has been installed on the newbuild ferry by yard while supervised by the local ABB Marine & Ports commissioning team according to schedule, successfully gaining acceptance by yard, owner, and classification society.

Johanna Kaijo, Rauma Marine Constructions’ project manager in charge of the project, noted ease of installation as a key benefit. “We were able to install the Azipod units in just one week. For us as a shipbuilder, this translates into significant project flexibility by helping to optimise time and resources,” she said. “Having fully engineered units has notably improved the completion of the vessel construction – the installation was literally about plugging the ready-made units into the vessel hull.”

“Azipod propulsion is now a well-proven, sustainable and efficient solution for ferries,” said Juha Koskela, division president, ABB Marine & Ports. “We are delighted that Wasaline have chosen our sector-leading technology for this high-profile Baltic project. Once more, this is an order that highlights our leading position in passenger ship propulsion.”