Norway & Singapore developing plug-in hybrid ferries


Shipping company Norled of Norway has ordered three plug-in hybrid ferries from Singapore shipbuilder Sembcorp Marine. The vessels are to operate mostly electrically and can carry up to 300 passengers and 80 cars. Delivery is expected in late 2020.

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Once the ships from Singapore will arrive in Norway in the last quarter of 2020, they will take up service straight away. Norled AS has asked the trio of plug-in hybrid ferries to be tailored to their shortsea route, namely Hella-Vangsnes-Dragsvik in Norway and to fulfil their standards.

Norled Chief Technology Officer Sigvald Breivik comments on the close cooperation: “We were particularly happy to share with this partner a common understanding of Norled’s ambition to build innovative new vessels equipped with zero-emissions technology, as part of our focus on reducing emissions.”

The Norled RoPax ferries will use lithium-ion batteries for propulsion, complemented by energy-saving solutions throughout the vessels’ design. In addition there will be shore-side hydroelectricity recharging points along their service route.

The ships for Norled will be built by Sembcorp Marine subsidiary LMG Marin. Their Managing Director Torbjorn Bringedal said the solutions to be installed on the ferries include not only quick-connection shore charging but also self-sailing funtions such as auto-mooring or auto-cross as well as efficient hull, propulsion and heat recovery systems.

The 84.2-metre long and double-ended ferries can each carry up to 300 passengers and crew, as well as 80 cars or a combination of 10 cars and 10 trucks. Though the ferry is using a hybrid system, strictly speaking at least, it is designed for purely electric operation at a speed of 10 knots (18.5 kph). The diesel-electric mode thus serves as a sort of range extender.

For Sembcorp Marine from Singapore, the order is huge and marks their entry into the RoPax market, short for roll on/roll off passenger ships.

Moreover, the contract from Norway is not their only strike. Sembcorp Marine also signed a deal with Ørsted Wind Power. They want two topsides delivered in the first quarter 2021 to the Hornsea 2 Offshore Wind Farm in the UK.

The two contracts are worth SGD 200 million (about 127M euros) to Sembcorp Marine.

Update 17 March 2022

Singapore-based shipbuilder Sembcorp Marine has completed the first of three plug-in hybrid ferries for Norwegian shipping company Norled. The ferry is ready for departure to Norway, Sembcorp says. The other two identical ships are to follow later this year.

Sembcorp has thus missed the original delivery date of the end of 2020 by a wide margin – but factors such as the Corona pandemic and the resulting delivery problems were not yet foreseeable when the order was placed in October 2018.,, (update)


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