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Japan commissions fast ferry with mtu series 1163 engines

Posted on 11 January 2021 by Katrin Auernhammer, Images by Austal, JR Kyushu Jet Ferries

The red-painted Queen Beetle is the latest addition to the fleet of JR Kyushu Jet Ferry Inc in Japan. The stunning ferry is the first trimaran from Austal powered by mtu series 1163 engines.

The Japanese transport company JR Kyushu Jet Ferry Inc. will have a new flagship in its fleet: The trimaran Queen Beetle will be in service in middle of 2021. On a regular basis she will be commuting between Fukuoka in Japan and Busan, South Korea but is also scheduled to transport passengers during the Olympic Games, which are taking place in Tokyo in summer 2021. The 83-metre fast ferry was built by Austal Australia and will carry 502 passengers on the 115-mile route between Fukuoka and Busan.

Queen Beetle is the first fast ferry powered by the new mtu series 1163 engines

Four 16-cylinder mtu Series 1163-M04 engines from Rolls-Royce power the Queen Beetle. They accelerate the trimaran to a speed of up to 37 knots. "The Series 1163 impresses with an outstanding power-to-weight ratio, which was also a decisive factor in the choice of engines," explains Phil Kordic of Rolls-Royce's Marine Sales Department. mtu's Series 1163-M04 is a further development of its long-proven and successful predecessor, the 1163-M03, which powers numerous fast ferries around the world. Amongst them are the sister vessels Shinaz and Hormuz, the fastest ferries in the world powered by diesel engines. Amongst other upgrades, a modern electronic common rail fuel injection system replaces the previous unit-pump injection system in the new generation. It thus complies with the IMO II emissions regulation of the International Maritime Organization and is significantly more efficient at the same time. Compared with the previous generation 1163-M03, fuel consumption has been reduced by up to eight percent. "Our Series 1163 engines have many years of operating experience and have become very reliable thanks to continuous improvements. The new generation also benefits from the perfect balance between performance and operating costs", explains Denise Kurtulus, Head of Marine Sales at Rolls-Royce. The 1163 series covers the power segment from 4800 to 6500 kW for fast ferry applications.

"During the Factory Acceptance Tests we were able to get a first and very positive impression of the engines", explains Project leader, Mr. Hitoshi Ogawa, from JR Kyushu Jet Ferry Inc. and adds "The trials a few weeks ago also convinced us. We were really impressed by the extraordinary and successful concept of the trimaran in combination with the mtu engines. The Queen Beetle will be an excellent addition to our fleet."

The red-painted Queen Beetle has compartments for groups and families on two passenger decks, a children's play area and a nursing room, a café and bar, a duty-free shop, lockers for luggage and accessible areas for wheelchairs and prams. An outdoor viewing deck complements the on-board experience for passengers.

The Australian shipyard Austal remains the only shipbuilder designing, constructing and sustaining large high speed trimaran ferries, globally. Since 2005, when Austal launched the first trimaran on the market with Fred Olsen's Benchijigua Express, the shipyard has built 14 trimarans, and another 11 are currently in the planning or construction phase.  All Austal’s trimaran vessels have been powered by mtu Series 8000 engines, except for the 27 metre tri-swath wind-farm vessel, Cable Bay, delivered to Turbine Transfers of the UK in 2012, which used a 10V Series 2000 mtu engine, and the Queen Beetle, which will be the first trimaran powered by Series 1163 engines.

The Australian shipyard Austal remains the only shipbuilder designing, constructing and sustaining large high speed trimaran ferries, globally. In 2020 two trimarans with mtu engines were completet. Queen Beetle (in the front) with four series 1163 engines and Fred Olsen's Bajamar Express with four 20V 8000 engines. (in the background)
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