AIDA newbuilds will use air bubbles and Azipods to cut fuel consumption

Carnival Corporation's AIDA Cruises subsidiary has released more details about the two 3,250 passenger cruise ships that it has on order at the Nagasaki Shipyard of Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) for delivery in 2015 and 2016.

AIDA management and the shipbuilder have taken a number of technical decisions that will improve the energy balance of the ships. The two vessels are to incorporate the Mitsubishi Air Lubrication System (MALS) that pumps air along the bottom of the hull to produce air bubbles which reduce drag between the hull and seawater. AIDA says this will yield a seven percent fuel savings.

"We already have three-liter vessels, consuming only three liters of fuel per passenger per hundred kilometers," says AIDA President Michael Thamm. "Our new ships will float on an air bubble carpet. That means less friction and even lower fuel consumption."

Designed to operate year round in the North Sea and Baltic, the new ships will also be cleaner in terms of emissions. Longer term, the intention is to operate on diesel on. Meantime, AIDA has been investigating emissions control technology that includes exhaust gas scrubbers and particulate filters.

Today, ABB reported that it has won an order worth $60 million to provide complete power and propulsion systems for the two AIDA newbuilds.

ABB will supply complete electrical systems for both ships; including generators, and transformers for propulsion, engine room and distribution, frequency converters, bow thruster motors, and other related power system equipment, as well as its latest generation Azipod XO propulsion systems.

ABB's delivery will help the ships to maximize their fuel efficiency, speed and maneuverability, as well as to provide a reliable power supply to improve the availability of onboard equipment. Each of the 125,000 ton cruise ships will have a passenger capacity of 3,250. The new ships are scheduled for delivery in March 2015 and March 2016.

"ABB's comprehensive solutions for our ship operating customers include the most technologically advanced and energy efficient propulsion systems to help ships improve their maneuverability while using less fuel," said Veli-Matti Reinikkala, head of ABB's Process Automation division. "We also provide reliable and efficient power systems needed to keep all onboard systems running at all times for optimum safety and passenger comfort."

March 12, 2012