Wasaline launch confirms growing ferry preference for ABB’s Azipod® electric propulsion

Source: press release, 14 September 2020

Azipod® propulsion for Wasaline’s new ferry
Azipod® propulsion for Wasaline’s new ferry (photo: ABB)

Taking only 1 week to install, Azipod® propulsion will ensure sustainable performance for Wasaline’s new ferry Aurora Botnia, while achieving up to 4 days of annual time savings due to operational efficiency

The new ferry, launched by the Finnish shipyard Rauma Marine Constructions, will be operated by Wasaline on the world’s northernmost all-year passenger route between Vaasa in Finland and Umeå in Sweden. Entering service in 2021, Aurora Botnia will have the capacity to transport 800 passengers and up to 1,500 lane metres of trucks and cars, completing two round trips per day in high season.

Dubbed one of the world’s most environmentally friendly passenger ferries, the 150-metre vessel is equipped with the ice-class Azipod® electric propulsion to ensure the most efficient and sustainable operation in any conditions.

“We chose ABB’s Azipod® electric propulsion for several reasons,” says Peter Ståhlberg, Wasaline CEO. “Superior manoeuvrability will save time and increase productivity, enabling precise schedules to be maintained on this route. We calculated likely annual time savings of close to 4 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 innovative 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 1 week. For us as a shipbuilder, this translates into significant project flexibility by helping to optimize time and resources,” she says. “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.”

The new vessel will run on low-emission liquefied natural gas 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 5.8 MW Azipod® units where the electric drive motor in a submerged pod outside the ship’s hull, can rotate through 360 degrees thereby increasing manoeuvrability. In addition to its proven ability to cut fuel consumption by up to 20% compared to traditional propulsion, Azipod® technology also improves the onboard experience for passengers and crew through its quiet-running and vibration-free operation.

“Azipod® propulsion is now a well-proven, sustainable and efficient solution for ferries,” says 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.”