The ferry Ika Rere is fitted with a seawater-lubricated propeller shaft arrangement (Source: Stellar Studio)

Electric ferry in New Zealand has components lubricated by sea water

A fully electric carbon-fibre commuter ferry, recently commissioned in New Zealand, is equipped with a Thordon Bearings’ seawater-lubricated propeller shaft arrangement. The 19m-long fast catamaran was built by the Wellington Electric Boat Building Company.

The Ika Rere, which means flying fish in Mãori, is deployed on the route between Wellington and Eastbourne. With capacity for 135 passengers, it is operated by ferry company, East by West.

The vessel’s propulsion system was designed and supplied by Auckland-based Henley Group, New Zealand’s authorised dealer for Canada-based Thordon Bearings. The system comprises twin driveshafts with power provided by 325-kW battery-powered electric motors.

Thordon’s scope of supply consisted of two Thordon SXL sea water-lubricated propeller shaft bearings installed in Easiflow GRP stern tubes, shaft seals with Thordon XL oil/grease-free guide bushes, shaft lines and propellers, couplings, mounts, thrust bearings, and brakes.

Henley Engineering managing director, Mark Power, commented: “Ika Rere runs like a Tesla Model S. It’s fast, efficient, smooth, and quiet. It is a truly inspiring vessel. We hope to be involved in more projects like this.”

Jeremy Ward, managing director of East by West, said: “While the quiet hum of an electric boat is a much more pleasurable experience for passengers, this project was driven by our desire to take climate action. A Thordon Bearings’ zero pollution package was the perfect fit for this eco vessel. A smooth, quiet and water- lubricated driveline was an essential environmental requirement.”

Article Editorial staff Ship&Offshore
Article Editorial staff Ship&Offshore