Incat Ferry for Spanish Waters

Australian craft and technological skills in aluminium, high-speed ferry construction have a new showcase in a 111-metre vessel now on delivery passage to Spain, writes David Tinsley. The Volcan de Tagoro embodies Incat’s trademark wavepiercing catamaran form, and is destined for service on the route network maintained by Naviera Armas.

Volcan de Tagoro is laid out for 1,184 passengers, and the expansive vehicle deck allows for a mixed ro-ro payload, with up to 595 truck lane metres plus slots for 219 cars, accessed via an articulated, two-piece stern loading ramp. Smaller vehicles can reach the upper deck via a ramp at the bow. In car-only transport mode, the ferry can accommodate 401 units.

Goods vehicles are able to come aboard and depart without reversing as the vessel’s beam and main deck layout allows a turn to be made from the port side to the centre and starboard lanes.

The 111-metre class was born out of extensive, in-service experience of the Incat 112-metre series. The concept was redesigned from the keel up by the company’s in-house naval architects and engineers at Revolution Design. The result is a vessel offering similar passenger and vehicle capacity as its predecessor, but with substantial improvements as regards speed performance, lower fuel consumption, and enhanced directional stability.

Naviera Armas is no stranger to the Incat product, as its extensive fleet already includes four passenger/ro-ro wave piercers from the Tasmanian yard. However, Volcan de Tagoro is its first Incat newbuild, the other vessels having been obtained on the secondhand market. The contract was signed in May 2017 at a price of EUR74m (US$83m at current exchange rates).

Volcan de Tagoro is installed with four resiliently-mounted, MAN four-stroke 28/33D engines in 20-cylinder configuration, driving an equivalent number of Wartsila waterjets through ZF reduction gearboxes. Each of the catamaran hulls accommodates two of the diesels and drivelines, in a staggered formation. The plant as a whole provides an enormous power concentration of 36,400kW, and the system confers a high degree of redundancy as well as operational flexibility.

While the potency of the solution ensures a 35-knot laden service speed, Volcan de Tagoro achieved 42.4 knots at three-fifths of her maximum deadweight on trials off the Tasmanian coast.

The auxiliary outfit comprises four 323kW, Scania Dl13 diesel-driven generators, delivering into a 415V 50Hz distribution network allowing 240V supply. A shore power connection is fitted in a starboard anteroom.

The all-important issue of passenger comfort and vehicle security in adverse weather conditions is addressed by the adoption of a ride control system supplied by US-headquartered Naiad Dynamics. This combines active trim tabs aft and a fold-down, T-foil located at the aft end of the centre bow. Air conditioning is provided by reverse-cycle heat pump units capable of maintaining 20-22degC and 50% relative humidity (RH) with a full passenger load.

Two 300-person, marine evacuation stations (MES) are arranged on each side of the ferry, providing an overall capacity of 1,200, equivalent to the vessel’s maximum passenger and crew complement, supplemented by a total of 14 liferafts each certificated for 100 persons. Two SOLAS-compliant semi-rigid, powered inflatables are also carried.

Volcan de Tagoro departed Hobart on 16 July, for the voyage to Spain via Auckland, Tahiti and the Pacific Ocean, the Panama Canal and Atlantic. She will be deployed by Naviera Armas on Spanish routes, including the Canary Islands. The vigorous expansion strategy pursued by the company over recent years featured its takeover in 2017 of the largest Spanish ferry operator, Trasmediterranea.

Incat’s shipyard on Prince of Wales Bay has construction in hand on three large catamarans, of 100m, 111m and 130m, respectively, all for export, plus a 35m commuter ferry for Melbourne. The company’s CEO Tim Burnell said “We are seeing an unprecedented level of interest in both large and small aluminium ferries at present, and have expectation of operating at maximum capacity for a number of years.”


Length overall 111.9m
Length, waterline 103.2m
Beam, overall 30.5m
Draught 4.1m
Deadweight, max c.1,000t
Gross tonnage c.10,800t
Passenger capacity 1,184
Ro-ro capacity 595 truck lane-metres + 219 cars
Car-only capacity 401
Main engine power 4 x 9,100kW
Trial speed, @600dwt 42kts+
Speed, service 35kts
Class DNV GL