Rail/vehicle ferry ARATERE

According to Significant Ship of 1998

Built by HJ Barreras Shipyard in Vigo, Spain, the rail freight ferry ARATERE is intended for the Cook Strait between New Zealand’s North and South islands. The vessel can accommodate the largest rail-cars (up to 3m wide and 4.6m high) at any point on its tracks, and can cope with 22.5t axle loads. Rail track length is 430m.

ARATERE is designed to load and discharge rail-carsand vehicles simultaneously over the stern via fixed, shore based linkspans, but has also been fitted with a ramp on the port quarter, which provides direct access to the rail deck. Once onboard the ferry, vehicles may also be stowed in a limited space beneath the rail deck: a fixed ramp links that deck with a lower hold having capacity for 70 cars.

A hydraulically operated ramp connects the train and the partially enclosed vehicle deck above. The vehicle deck provides more than 580 lane metres for trucks, with a maximum weight of 370t in passenger ferry mode and 640t in cargo ro-ro mode.

The vessel has a diesel electric power plant based on four Wärtsilä 8L32 medium speed diesel. These are linked to two pairs of ABB electric induction motors, each developing 2600kW at 1200 rev/min. Each pair of electric motors has a 5500kVA, 3.3kV frequency converter and drive twin shafts via Reintjes reduction gearboxes. The main engines and electric motors are supplemented by a single Caterpillar emergency diesel engine capable of developing 230kW at 1500 rev/min and a 225kW, 400V, 50Hz emergency generator. The machinery is complemented by two 1000kW tunnel bow thrusters. A high level of manoeuvrability has also been provided by twin Becker high-lift flap rudders, which allow propeller thrust to be directed forwards when required.

A pair of Brown Brothers fin stabilisers and an Intering air-activated heel control system are fitted to counter with notoriously bad weather conditions in the Cook Strait. The ferry is equipped with the first example of automatic mooring system IRONSAILOR. Two such devices are fitted on the port side of the ferry fore and aft. Each of them consists of a hydraulicallyoperated, extendible arm, at the end of which there are two vacuum pads in the form of steel rectangles (1.2mx1m) surrounded by rubber vacuum holding frames. Operated from the ship bridge, with the aid of television cameras which give a clear view along the ship sides and astern, the units are guided towards steel plates fixed to the quayside. On the contact, a vacuum is created in each suction pad which holds the vessel in place. The units are fitted approximately 2m above the waterline and are designed to resist a pull of 12.5t each.

The vessel can accommodate 355 day passengers, plus 20 drivers carried in two-berth cabins with private toilet facilities, and having their own mess and TV lounge. For the rest there is a series of lounges, a self-service cafeteria, tavern bar, cinema, TV and writing rooms, and outdoor sitting.

Length, oa: 150m, Length, bp: 137m, Breadth, mld: 20.25m, Depth to vehicle deck: 12.81m, Draught design/scantling: 5.5/6m, Deadweight: 3060dwt, Gross tonnage: 12,300, Train deck capacity: 1740t, Service speed: 19.5 knots, Crew and passengers: 400, Main engines: 4 x Wärtsilä 8L32 each rated at 3680kW at 1200 rev/min.

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