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A breath of fresh air

One of Sydney Harbour’s best-known cruise ships, MV Sydney 2000, has been fitted with new Scania engines. The update means fuels savings for its operators and fewer emissions to trouble passengers.

After 15 years of operation on the waters of Australia’s Sydney Harbour, the cruise ship MV Sydney 2000 needed a power update. Scania was chosen for the job of putting a new heart into the high-profile vessel.

The Sydney 2000 now boasts two new 13-litre 400 hp 6-cylinder Scania engines, which have replaced the previous engines. These power the multi-decked, 63-metre vessel as it takes passengers for cruises around the harbour.

David Waltho was the engineer in charge of the repowering project at the Sydney 2000’s operator Captain Cook Cruises. He carefully studied the market for replacement engines before selecting Scania and was especially mindful of the need to cut operating costs.

“We had accurate read on fuel burn from the existing engines and so we could go to the market with knowledge of what we were using, and would be able to compare against prospective replacement engines,” he says.

“I was in contact with André Arm of Scania Engines and he was very helpful from the start. In addition to fuel burn it was also important to be able to physically install the new engines in the vessel and also take note of how easy it would be to service the engines once installed.”

Ferry trial

Waltho says Captain Cook Cruises initially fitted two Scania engines to one of its high-speed, 25-metre Rocket ferries, which provide a hop-on, hop-off service. The ferry is used for 10-hours a day and visits 60 wharves.

“This had been fitted with American engines previously,” Waltho says. “When we switched to Scania power we saw fuel savings of around 4 percent from the 450 hp engines we bought. We were very impressed with the engines that went into the Rocket.”

Waltho says having a clean-burning engine in operation on the harbour was a major benefit, as was the smoother ride produced by mating the Scania engines to a Twin Disc transmission.

“It’s better for the Skipper too, as the Twin Disc transmission removes the problem of stalling the engine,” he says. “The electronic control is very fine and it integrates very easily with the Scania electronics, they talk to each other nicely.”

Installation

For the Sydney 2000, one of the trickiest parts was inserting the engines into the engine bay because the doorway was only 800 mm wide.

“We had to strip each Scania engine down to its bare components in order to get it through door,” Waltho says. “When stripped it was 790 mm wide, so we had 5 mm to spare each side, and we only really left the rocker covers and sump on.”

The manifolds, the turbo and water pump were also removed. Captain Cook Cruises staff then moved the engine into position and called the Scania crew to come back and reassemble it.

“Graham Andrews from Scania Prestons came out and he was brilliant,” Waltho says.

“He is very knowledgeable, has a great personality and he was very helpful. Chris Nobbs too, from Prestons, came out to fix up the electronics. What he doesn’t know about electronics isn’t worth knowing.

Fuel savings

Waltho says the fuel saving predictions for the Sydney 2000 are around 10 per cent based on the original engines using around 40,000-litres per month.

However, just as important to its operators is the reduction in emissions. “It is a big issue in Sydney Harbour, especially if you have a tail wind,” Waltho says. No cruise operator wants exhaust gas blown back over its guests enjoying the view.

Waltho says: “We’ll be servicing the engine as per the Scania schedule. We run this vessel for about 11 hours a day, 360 days per year, allowing only 5 days for regular servicing.”

The Sydney 2000 carries an average of 500 people per cruise, and there are four cruises per day. The vessel travels throughout the harbour and up to its entrance.

“We are one of the most high-profile cruiser companies on the harbour,” Waltho says.

New challenges

Now with Scania engines in the Rocket and two engines in the MV Sydney 2000, the company, which is part of the SeaLink Travel Group, is building a new Rocket in Tasmania. This will be powered by the same 13-litre engine, but this time in 500 hp guise. There is also the potential for two more engines next year, as well.

“Having identical engines across the fleet means efficiencies in parts holding as well as expertise in servicing,” Waltho says.

The company is also considering replacing two smaller engines with one Scania marine auxiliary in the 370-400kVa range, to provide power on-board for lights and refrigeration.