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Automated mooring for electric ferries

Cavotec will supply its MoorMaster automated mooring system for two new electric ferries in Canada.

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Automated mooring for electric ferries

Cavotec has won a contract to supply its MoorMaster automated mooring technology at five berths that will serve new-build, fully electrically powered ferries operating between Amherst, the Wolfe Islands and Kingston on Lake Ontario, Canada. The vessels, Cavotec said, will be Canada’s “first fully electrical non-cable vessels – highlighting how MoorMaster is a key technology for expanding the use of e-vessels”.


The Amherst Island ferry will be 71m in length and carry up to 300 passengers and 40 vehicles. The Wolfe Island ferry will be 98m long and have capacity for up to 399 passengers and 75 vehicles. One MoorMaster unit will be installed at each of the five berths where the ferries will call. The Amherst vessel is due to enter service in 2020, with the Wolfe Island ferry following in 2021.


“MoorMaster is a vacuum-based automated mooring (docking) technology that eliminates the need for conventional mooring lines. Remote-controlled vacuum pads recessed in, or mounted on the quayside or pontoons, moor and release vessels in seconds. The technology has completed more than 400,000 mooring operations at ferry, bulk and container handling, lock and ship-to-ship applications worldwide”, Cavotec stated.


Vacuum mooring has not achieved widespread adoption at container terminals, but Cavotec believes the technology has a bright future with ferries, noting it is “ideal for use with e-ferries because it reduces mooring times and holds vessels in pre-programmed positions. This maximises the amount of time available to charge ship battery units”. The technology is also well known in Canada, where MoorMaster is in use throughout the 15 locks on the St. Lawrence Seaway.


Earlier this year, Cavotec announced orders valued at some EUR 9M for automated mooring units for use with e-ferries in Norway. When these are completed Cavotec will have equipped more than 40 e-ferry ports across the Nordic region with MoorMaster.


Other companies are also gearing up for the growth in the e-ferry sector. Corvus Energy, which supplies modular lithium-ion battery systems for hybrid and all-electric heavy industrial equipment, including large marine propulsion drives, recently announced it is increasing its production capacity eight fold, included a new automated factory Bergen, Norway and an expansion of its existing facility in Richmond, British Colombia.

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