Mitsubishi Shipbuilding has recently launched the first of two large ferries featuring hybrid propulsion, which are being built for the Japan Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency (JRTT) and Meimon Taiyo Ferry.
The launch ceremony took place at the Enoura plant at Mitsubishi Heavy Industry’s Shimonoseki Shipyard & Machinery Works in Yamaguchi Prefecture. Handover to the customer is scheduled for December 2021 following the completion of interior work and sea trials.
Named Kyoto, the new ship is 195m long, 27.8m wide and 20.3m deep, with gross displacement of 15,400 tons. It is the largest ship ever operated by Meimon Taiyo Ferry, with capacity for 675 passengers and approximately 162 12m trucks and 140 passenger cars.
The propulsion system utilizes a hybrid-type azimuth propulsion-assist method; combined with a hull air lubrication system, this is claimed to achieve a reduction in fuel consumption of 35% compared with similar vessels while also improving the ship’s steering capabilities. In addition, the adoption of a hybrid-type scrubber curbs atmospheric emissions of sulfur oxide (SOX).
The company notes that shipping in Japan is undergoing a notable shift to marine transport due to the need to reduce CO2 emissions from land transport, plus a shortage of long-haul drivers and reforms to working practices. Accordingly, demand for ferries, ro-ro ships and larger vessels is rising.