The world’s fastest high speed ferry is powered by Wärtsilä Axial Waterjets

Wärtsilä Corporation
  • Press release
23 July 2013 at 3:00 PM E. Europe Standard Time

Wärtsilä’s axial waterjets power the ‘Francisco’, the world’s fastest high speed ferry and the first fast ferry to utilize liquefied natural gas (LNG) as fuel. The vessel has successfully passed its sea trials and is now ready to commence commercial operations.

Wärtsilä, the marine industry’s leading solutions and services provider, has provided the waterjets for what is claimed to be the world’s fastest high speed ferry. In addition to two of its LJX1720SR axial waterjets, Wärtsilä has also supplied an advanced propulsion control system for the ‘Francisco’. The 99 m catamaran attained a lightship speed of 58.1 knots (107.6 km/h) in its recent speed trials. The ship was built by the Australian shipyard Incat Tasmania Pty Ltd on behalf of South American operator Buquebus. It will transport both passengers and cars between Uruguay and Argentina.

The Wärtsilä equipment was supplied at the end of 2012, and commissioning of the vessel took place in early 2013. A feature of the Wärtsilä waterjets is the high level of efficiency, which allows impressive power to be applied on relatively small jets. Furthermore, the compact dimensions enabled the waterjets to be installed within the ferry’s transom, thus saving valuable space.

Wärtsilä’s Lipstronic 7000 propulsion control system for manoeuvring the vessel gives effective, reliable control of all the waterjets and is very easy to use. It is designed in accordance with IMO (International Maritime Organisation) regulations and fulfils the requirements of all leading classification societies. The system controls and indicates the steering angle, bucket position and impeller speed, and can be operated alternatively with joystick control or autopilot. The system’s built-in redundancy makes it safe and robust.

“Wärtsilä is recognised as a market leader in this field, and this valuable order has further strengthened our position in the high powered waterjet end of the range. We are delighted to have continued our long standing co-operation with Incat in the completion of this vessel, which is truly a milestone delivery within the fast ferry sector. Our proven track record, together with the high efficiency and low operating costs of the Wärtsilä waterjet portfolio, were all key reasons for us being awarded this contract,” says Mr Arto Lehtinen, Vice President, Propulsion, Wärtsilä Ship Power.

According to Incat, the ‘Francisco’ is now the fastest ship in the world. While there are speed boats that can surpass 58 knots, there is no vessel afloat that can reach these speeds and that is able to carry 1,000 passengers and 150 cars. The ferry will have an operating speed of 50 knots, and in crossing the River Plate (Rio de la Plata) at high speed, the ferry will be able to viably compete with air traffic between Uruguay and Argentina.

“The ‘Francisco’ will be the largest catamaran to be operated by Buquebus, and the fastest, environmentally cleanest, and most efficient high speed ferry in the world,” says Mr Juan Carlos Lopez Mena, President at Buquebus.

Catamaran ‘Francisco’
Wärtsilä waterjets

Link to Wärtsilä’s waterjet product guide

For further information please contact:

Mr Wim Knoester
Sales Director, Propulsion
Wärtsilä Ship Power
Tel. +31 651 375 8518  

Ms Tuula Franck
Senior Manager, Media & Stakeholder Relations
Wärtsilä Corporation
Tel. +358 400 267 555  

Wärtsilä in brief
Wärtsilä is a global leader in complete lifecycle power solutions for the marine and energy markets. By emphasising technological innovation and total efficiency, Wärtsilä maximises the environmental and economic performance of the vessels and power plants of its customers. In 2012, Wärtsilä’s net sales totalled EUR 4.7 billion with approximately 18,900 employees. The company has operations in nearly 170 locations in 70 countries around the world. Wärtsilä is listed on the NASDAQ OMX Helsinki, Finland.