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Scania repowers Sydney’s First Fleet

Scania is repowering all nine of the First Fleet of ferries that ply Sydney Harbour.

The iconic, steel-hulled vessels were launched in the 1980s and are undergoing a full refit in Port Macquarie by Birdon Marine. These are Australia’s most iconic ferries still in operation.

Scania is providing two DI13 70M 450 hp six-cylinder engines for each vessel, which will result in a significantly quieter, smoother, cleaner and more efficient overall operation. Scania’s reliable, durable and environmentally friendly engines are expected to deliver the operator, Transdev Sydney Ferries, a fuel efficiency improvement in the region of 40 percent or more.

For ferry passengers, the overall more comfortable ride will be noticeable, as will the new seating, air conditioning, WiFi, tinted windows, and many other modern updates.

On the bridge, the captain will have access to new electronic navigation and communications systems, along with Scania’s touchscreen instrumentation.

“Scania is proud to have been selected to provide our high-performance engines to these famous ferries, each of which is named after nine of the first fleet ships,” says Brett Sharp, Scania Engines’ Technical Sales Manager.

“The first of the Scania-powered refitted ships, 35-year-old ‘Golden Grove’, has been sea-trialled and commissioned by our agent Taranto Marine from Port Macquarie, and David Taranto, with the support of his team, has done a tremendous job representing Scania throughout this project,” Brett says.

The engines, which are now mated to refurbished ZF gearboxes, operate via new electronic controls which will reduce powertrain shock for passengers when the vessels are put into reverse on approach to the ferry stops. Reduced powertrain vibration and noise will also be noticeable by passengers.

The engines will have a planned working life of around 20,000 hours and will be serviced according to the Scania schedule every 500 hours. The refit is expected to extend the life of the vessels by at least another decade.

Following ‘Golden Grove’ to Port Macquarie are ‘Borrowdale’ and ‘Sirius’, with ‘Supply’, ‘Charlotte’, ‘Fishburn’, ‘Friendship’, ‘Scarborough’ and ‘Alexander’ to follow. The refits should be completed in Q2 2021.