New Incat vessel named in honour of Pope Francis

A new Incat built fast ferry currently being sea trialled in Hobart will be christened Francisco in honour of the Buenos Aires born Pope of the Catholic Church.

The decision to name the 99 metre ferry Francisco was made by Senor Juan Carlos Lopez Mena, the founder and Chairman of the South American company Buquebus, who will operate the ship between Buenos Aires, Argentina and Montevideo, Uruguay.

Ensuring the vessel arrives in Argentina as Francisco the originally proposed name, Lopez Mena, has already been painted out and the new livery will start to be applied tomorrow (Wednesday) while the ship is at the wharf between sea trial outings.

Pope Francis (Papa Francisco) is the 266th Pope of the Catholic Church, he is the first Jesuit Pope, the first Pope from the Americas and the first from the Southern Hemisphere.

The Incat dual fuel 99 metre vessel Francisco will also be setting some world firsts: – being the first dual fuel high speed Ro-Ro to operate with LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) as the primary fuel.


Francisco Vessel Information: 

Australian shipbuilder Incat Tasmania Pty Ltd has built Francisco at the Incat shipyard wharf on Prince of Wales Bay, Hobart, Tasmania.

The 99 metre LNG ship was contracted by South American company Buquebus in November 2010, for operation on their River Plate service between Buenos Aires, Argentina and Montevideo in Uruguay. The design work commenced in 2010, and construction started soon after the contract was signed. The vessel was launched two years later, on Saturday 17th November 2012, to allow completion of funnels, radar aerials and other works outside the main shipyard shed. 

Sea trials on marine distillate fuel (diesel) commenced late March this year (2013), and sea trials on LNG commenced late in May and are continuing this week. The Buquebus crew have arrived in Australia and delivery of the ship to Argentina is anticipated to be later this month.

The ship has already achieved 51.5 knots (95.4 km/h) during loaded sea trials, and the lightship speed will be even higher. 

Incat Chairman Robert Clifford said “Incat is excited about this project as it represents a significant step in the global move for natural gas powered ships to replace those operated with less environmentally friendly fuels. 

The ship, hull 069, will be delivered to repeat customer Buquebus who have clearly demonstrated their preference for Incat technology over a twenty year period. Hull 069 is the eighth that we have built for Buquebus and their associated companies. It will be the largest catamaran they have operated and the fastest, environmentally cleanest, most efficient, high speed ferry in the world. ” 

Hull 069, Francisco, with capacity for over 1000 persons and 150 cars has a projected lightship speed of 53 knots, and an operating speed of around 50 knots. Crossing the River Plate (Rio de la Plata) at high speed will allow the ferry service to compete with airline traffic between Uruguay and Argentina. 

The passenger cabin includes tourist, business and first class seating, and over 1100 square metres of extensively fitted out duty free shop, the largest shopping area ever installed on a fast ferry.

The vessel is powered by GE LM2500 gas turbine engines. This is the first use of dual fuel engines in an Incat high speed ferry, AND the first high speed craft in the world, built under the HSC code, to be powered by Gas Turbines using LNG as the primary fuel and marine distillate for standby and ancillary use. 

Editors Note – The image attached is a genuine photograph of the vessel taken during sea trials however the Francisco livery at the bow has been applied to indicate where it will be signwritten over the next few days. The image is supplied by Brand Tasmania.