Efforts are proceeding for the launch of two hybrid ferries that will be equipped with battery power units and solar power technology to be launched in Hong Kong next year. The first-of-their-kind ferries will be providing service from the Central Pier in the city to neighboring Cheung Chau, an excursion destination and island to the southwest between Hong Kong and Macau.
The vessels were designed by CoCo Yachts, a Dutch naval design and development company. Called the Urban Sprinters 1000, the design was sold to Sun Ferries of Hong Kong which ordered the construction of the first two vessels. Once both are in service by the first quarter of 2025, it is expected that they will transport around four million passengers a year.
Each of the ferries will be 212.5 feet in length with a 45.6-foot beam. They will have a capacity for 1,000 passengers on two decks. They will have an aluminum hull and superstructure. Eight entrance ramps will be provided on the main and upper decks for easy passenger access including wheelchair accessibility.
The design is a double hull, double-end ferry, with bridges at each end of the vessel and operated by a total of 10 crew with four on the bridge. The first of the two vessels will be built with hybrid diesel-electric propulsion and will be zero emission when sailing within pier boundaries as well as during berthing. The second vessel will be built with diesel-electric propulsion. Both ferries will have a battery pack for overnight energy to avoid diesel generators running that will receive power from solar cells on the roof of the cabin.
Each vessel will be fitted with four IMO tier III diesel generators, of which three will typically be in service, and one will be on standby. The service speed will be 16 knots. The vessels will also be equipped with four Azimuth L-type thrusters, each fitted with a PM electric motor. The propulsion plant will also ensure low noise and vibration levels for a smooth passenger ride.
During the approximately 60-minute trip passengers will also have access to a range of amenities. In addition to comfortable seating and air conditioning on both decks, there will be a third deck with open air accessible to passengers for sightseeing. There will also be a kiosk and information desks located on the main and upper deck, and a baby care room, as well as two dedicated pet areas on the main deck. There will also be a cargo bay located on the main deck near the mid-ship entrance.
The design and building of the vessel will be surveyed and certified by Bureau Veritas. All flag-related items, including safety and stability, will be delegated from the Hong Kong Marine Department to BV. According to BV, previous projects with similar delegated work have demonstrated this to be an efficient and reliable method for the development of the vessels.
The vessels will be built by YaGuang Technology Co. in Zhuhai, China. The first Urban Sprinter 1000 hybrid is expected to be delivered in Q2 2024, while the second vessel will be delivered in Q1 2025.