The race involved complex maneuvering in the harbor, with captains having to make a fast turn, followed by reversing the vessel astern to dock. To take the challenge up a gear, the marine simulator added the element of gusty weather, with winds of 5-7 meters per second pushing the vessel away from the dock. Neither of the captains had operated a vessel equipped with an Azipod® propulsion system before.
“The captains would need to take quite a lot of elements into consideration during this race, while they tried to dock the vessel as quickly as possible,” said Jukka Varis, Vice President of Technology at ABB Marine & Ports. “That includes the safety of the passengers on board, as well as challenging weather in a busy port with lots of traffic.”
During the first run, Capt. Lindroos docked the ferry equipped with the recently launched mid-power range Azipod® propulsion system in just 7 minutes and 58 seconds, consuming a total of 0,89 MWh in energy. Capt. Esposito took almost two minutes longer, with 1,26 MWh energy consumed.
“Capt. Esposito was using the conventional shaftline vessel’s stern thrusters to come into the dock against the wind. It was not only taking more time, but also more fuel, which means more emissions,” said Varis. “In total, the race showed 20% savings on the time and 30% savings on the fuel consumption. You can only imagine how much difference that makes when you count the savings on an annual basis.”
Speaking about his experience with the Azipod® propulsion, Capt. Lindroos highlighted the system’s benefits: “It’s easy to maneuver, easy to use, and you don’t need to use a rudder.”
To minimize the impact of the human factor on the race results, the captains swapped and had another run through the port of Genoa – with Azipod® propulsion once again enabling the ferry to dock faster.
Capt. Esposito, who had the opportunity to try out the ferry equipped with the Azipod® propulsion system, agreed: “I think this is the future of the ship propulsion.”
“It's not the captain – it is definitely the technology that the captain has at his fingertips,” commented Varis.