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Now being assembled in southern Germany after section construction in Hamburg is a new ferry billed as Europe’s first inland passenger ship with single LNG fuel engines, writes Tom Todd.

What will eventually be an 82.37m long and 13.4m wide passenger/car ferry has been built in 17 sections at the Pella Sietas Werft in Hamburg for road transport to Fussach on the Lake of Constance, some 800kms south. The first sections, each about 14m long, up to 5m wide and about 4m high, left Hamburg on special low loaders in November. The final load was expected to reach the Lake of Constance early in the new year.

The sections are being welded together in Fussach and finally assembled in the lake ferry port of Staad. The €18 million newbuild, as yet unnamed, is due to enter service in autumn 2020 with Stadtwerke Konstanz - a public utility company operating six ferries on the lake, which borders Germany, Switzerland and Austria.The fleet carries more than four million passengers and about 1.5 million vehicles a year.

The newest ferry will transport some 60 cars and 700 passengers and operate across the lake between Konstanz and Meersburg.

It will have the same external dimensions and look almost like the owner’s existing 82m long lake ferry Lodi, which is driven by 8-cylinder MTU Series 4000 diesels. All the existing Stadtwerke ships are driven by engines from MTU. The German engine builder has its headquarters in Friedrichshafen on the Lake of Constance and is part of Rolls Royce Power Systems.

The new ferry will, however, be fitted with two MTU 8-cylinder Series 4000 single fuel LNG gas engines, which produce 756kW apiece and drive two Voith Schneider propellers.

MTU said the new ship will be the first inland waterway passenger vessel in Europe to be propelled by these high-speed engines. They are based on MTU’s proven 4000 Series diesels for workboats and MTU said that when compared with diesels without exhaust after-treatment, they emit no soot particles, no sulphur oxides, 90% less NOx and 10% less greenhouse gases.

The Stadtwerke Konstanz will be the first customer to be supplied with the new engines under a co-operation agreement with Rolls Royce which will cover two years of ship trials under continuous monitoring.

LNG ferry section assembly on the Lake of Constance.

LNG ferry section assembly on the Lake of Constance.

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