Russia’s Marine Engineering Bureau (MEB) is on a roll at present with a wide range of impressive new vessels to the company’s designs being launched for service wherever Russian ships operate. This fascinating and very impressive new vessel has been designed and built especially for service in the somewhat mysterious Caspian Sea. It, as well its coming sister ship, is enormously versatile and capable of carrying trains, trucks, cars and people on various routes emanating from Baku, on the inland sea’s western shore.
“Besides being the first passenger and railway car ferry purpose-built for the Caspian Sea,” MEB told Baird Maritime, “Azerbaijan offers a number of key advantages over existing ferries in the region. It can carry up to 56 rail wagons whose lengths measure 12,020 millimetres between couplers whereas existing ferries are limited to only 54. The rails can be pushed into the vessel’s deck, which is deliberately kept open to speed up loading and unloading.”
The designer added that the on-board ramp for loading and unloading trucks on berths allows the vessel to work not only on conventional railroad piers, but also on regular dry cargo berths of sufficient length. The hold height of 5,400 millimetres meanwhile allows taller wagons to be transported within, whereas existing ferries have a hold height of only 5,000 millimetres.
“A lift length of 25,000 mm allows loading/unloading of trains and rolling cargo with total tonnage of 188 tonnes from the main deck to the lower deck on two tracks. On existing ferries, the lift length is only 14,540 millimetres, while tonnage is 170 tonnes at the most.”
A number of key features needed to be incorporated to ensure the design guaranteed safety as well as versatility.
“CFD modelling was executed to optimise hull form. The ferry therefore has a bulbous fore end and transom aft end as well as excess freeboard. Meanwhile, finite element method (FEM) analysis was widely used in the design of the cargo spaces to optimise structural elements.”