The Bermudian Ferry Returns After Extensive Refit

The newly refitted 700-passenger ferry, Bermudian, returned to Bermuda last week from the Gladding-Hearn shipyard in Somerset, Massachusetts.


In August 2022, the Department of Marine and Ports Services announced that the Bermudian, built in 1988 and the oldest vessel in the fleet, would undergo extensive upgrades to its main machinery and operating plant. 


The vessel’s original twin Detroit Diesel 12V-71 460 Bhp main engines were replaced with continuously rated Caterpillar C-18, 600 Bhp, including two new 99kW Caterpillar generators.These new engines, updated controls, and monitoring systems will enhance the vessel’s performance. The machinery plant upgrade significantly reduces the CO2 emissions, making the ship more environmentally friendly.


Additionally, the repowered ferry has newly enlarged shafts, seals, bearings, cooling, and exhaust systems. It is paired with ZF W650 gearboxes to turn two 5-bladed HS Marine Ni-Br-Al propellers. The resulting service speed was recorded at 13.5 knots during sea trials.


The air controls at each of the three control stations were replaced with ZF electronic controls, along with a new Kobelt PTO-powered hydraulic steering system and an upgraded bow thruster. The engine room’s existing Halon fire suppression system was replaced with a new “clean agent” fire suppression system for easy maintenance.


Other features include:


·      Interior and exterior updates,

·       Replacement of hull plating and pilot house windows

·       Upgraded electrical system

·       Expanded sewage holding capacity


Minister of Transport, Hon. Wayne Furbert, noted, “We are pleased to have the Bermudian back in local waters and look forward to her serving the very popular Blue Route from Dockyard to Hamilton. The larger vessel will be able to service the needs of our residents and cruise visitors during this very busy season.”


Minister Furbert emphasized that the repairs are part of the Ministry’s budgeted infrastructure refit and replacement program for public transportation, encompassing the entire Marine and Ports Services fleet. The cost to refit the ferry was $4.5 million, compared to the $12-15 million required for a new build.


Following the required safety checks after completing the 750 NM ocean crossing from Somerset, Massachusetts, and all crew familiarization training, the vessel is expected to resume service on the Blue Route, operating between Dockyard and Hamilton, on Monday, June 10.

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