Trimaran ro-pax ferry BENCHIJIGUA EXPRESS

According to Significant Ships of 2005

Built by Austal Ships, Australia, the aluminium ro-pax ferry BENCHIJIGUA EXPRESS is the world first trimaran ro-pax ferry. The adverse effect of rough seas on passenger comfort when using earlier types of fast ferry was a major influence on the development of this revolutionary design which aims to provide a solution to the stability and layout issues typical of long slim monohulls. An advanced ride control system comprises a T-foil forward, two roll fins at the aft 2/3 position, and interceptors at the stern. Following sea trials, an additional rudder was fitted to enhance steering performance in extreme weather conditions.

BENCHIJIGUA EXPRESS is fitted with six of Liferaft Systems Australia’s MES’s comprising four 14m twin-path slides and two 9m twin-path slides, all of which are fitted with a 100-person self-righting liferaft. An additional 10x100-person liferafts are installed and permanently linked to the MES, providing a total liferaft capacity for 1600 persons. The total weight of the complete system is 9320kg.

Two engine rooms are arranged aft of midship in the main hull. The aftermost of these spaces contains two MTU 20v 8000 M70 main engines, positioned either side of the centreline. Each develops 8200kW and is linked via a Renk reduction gear box to a steerable reversing waterjet. The third, central waterjet of 180 BII design is driven by two more MTU 20V 8000 main engines. All drive shafts on this ferry were manufactured by Vulkan from composite material. A complete analysis, both before and after the installation, was made by that company because of the long distances between bearings. The design is expected to accommodate misalignment very well.

Four MTU 12V 2000 M40 gensets, each rated at 540kW, are also installed in the foremost engine room with a fifth, emergency set, positioned on the observation deck. The machinery installation is completed by two 450kW Aquamaster UL601, retractable and azimuthing thrusters arranged in tandem under the bow of the central hull. 

Vehicle access is over the stern at the main deck level from dedicated shore-based linkspans controlled from the ship. This deck, and a hoistable mezzanine deck, provide 450-lane metres for trucks and space for 123 cars. Alternatively 341 cars can be loaded. Passenger accommodation is situated on the upper deck within three lounge areas featuring individual seating arrangements, colour schemes and facilities.

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