By Mark Edward Nero
Bellingham, Wash.-based All American Marine said Feb. 13 that it has inked a deal for the construction of a new hybrid electric passenger vessel to be delivered to Red and White Fleet, a San Francisco-based boat tour and sightseeing company.
The contract for the new 600-passenger aluminum monohull was signed during the recent annual Maritrends Conference put on by the Passenger Vessel Association.
“All American Marine is pleased to have been chosen to construct this innovative new vessel for Red & White Fleet and we are proud to offer a hybrid propulsion system that truly works with instant and tangible benefits,” AAM Vice President of Business Development Joe Hudspeth remarked.
The contract follows an earlier announcement made by the company regarding a construction agreement for a 500-passenger aluminum monohull tour boat for Argosy Cruises of Seattle. Both operators originally pursued construction contracts for steel monohulls, but AAM said it was successfully able to demonstrate considerable savings in construction and maintenance costs with an aluminum design, while ensuring delivery of a solid hull structure.
AAM, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary, is also in the process of moving into a brand new purpose-built ship building facility at Squalicum Harbor.
Argosy is expected to take delivery of their vessel in the late fall, while Red and White Fleet should receive their new craft in the late spring of 2018.
The vessels are being designed by naval architect, Nic de Waal, of Teknicraft Design in Auckland, New Zealand.
The new vessel for Red and White Fleet, to be christened Enhydra, will be the first aluminum hulled, Lithium-Ion battery-electric hybrid vessel built from the keel up under U.S. Coast Guard passenger vessel regulations, and the latest guidelines for structural fire protection.
The vessel will be 128 feet long with a moulded beam of 30 feet and is specifically designed for harbor tours of San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.
All American Marine partnered with BAE Systems to design and integrate the complete battery electric hybrid system. BAE Systems will supply its HybriDrive Propulsion System, including a generator, control system, and AC electric traction motor.
The generator will mount to a variable speed Cummins QSL9 410 mhp@2100 rpm diesel engine. The motor generator offers diesel-electric operation of the AC traction motor which is coupled directly to the propulsion shaft.
The hybrid system will also utilize battery power from two 80 kWh Lithium-ion battery packs.
“We see the propulsion configuration on the Enhydra as phase one in our move toward the full electrification of our fleet,” Red and White Fleet’s Vice President of Operations, Joe Burgard, said. “Stay tuned for phase two.”