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WSF finally goes out to tender for five new plug-in hybrid ferries

FerryWashington State Ferries (WSF) has finally gone out to tender for the construction of five plug-in hybrid-electric passenger/vehicle ferries. Deliveries are expected to start from 2028.

For the first time in more than 50 years, WSF expects bids from shipyards outside of the State of Washington, but only from shipbuilders in the US.

WSF has long stated that it needs a fleet of 26 ferries to maintain service reliability on all routes. Entering this summer's busy season, WSF has 21 car ferries in its fleet, of which 15 are currently in service on a reduced schedule. Five ageing vessels are currently undergoing repair and maintenance, or breakdown repairs, while the WENATCHEE is in drydock in Seattle being converted into a hybrid-electric vessel.

Shipyards have until January 2025 to submit their bids for the five new ferries with the newbuilding contracts being awarded in February next year.

WSF has already stated that the order for the new ferries will be split between the two lowest bidders, in a move to get the ships delivered as quickly as possible. The anticipated delivery schedule is as follows: First two vessels delivered in 2028, two vessels in 2029 and the fifth in 2030.

The five new ferries will serve WSF two routes Seattle-Bremerton and Clinton-Mukilteo and will each be able to carry 1,500 passengers and 160 cars. They will be slightly longer than the current diesel-electric powered Olympic-class, which were built between 2014 and 2018.

The five newbuildings will feature two vehicle decks with a single passenger deck on top. Two diesel generators will be provided on each ferry, as a back up to the onboard battery system.

Close to USD 1.3 billion has been set aside for the construction of the new ferries by the State of Washington.

© Shippax

Jun 10 2024

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