The Benchijigua Express, a remarkable trimaran ferry, is renowned for its groundbreaking design and impressive capabilities. Here will provide an in-depth exploration of this innovative vessel, from its construction and specifications to its unique features and operational details. Join us as we delve into the world of the Benchijigua Express and uncover the secrets behind its success.
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Benchijigua Express: An Overview
Fast ferry service between Tenerife, La Gomera, and La Palma in the Canary Islands is provided by Fred. Olsen Express through the Benchijigua Express. With its delivery in April 2005, this extraordinary vessel has captured the attention of maritime enthusiasts worldwide. Measuring an impressive 127 meters in length, the Benchijigua Express is the second-longest trimaran in existence, falling just short of the Independence-class littoral combat ship.
Design and Construction
The construction of the Benchijigua Express was entrusted to Austal, a leading shipbuilding company located in Henderson, Western Australia. This trimaran showcases a unique combination of materials, with an aluminum hull coated in a specialized offshore film supplied by Orca Marine. The vessel’s body is not only robust but also lightweight, contributing to its exceptional performance on the water.
Powered by four MTU Series 8000 diesel engines, each generating 9,100 kW at 1,150 rpm, the Benchijigua Express boasts impressive speed capabilities. With a maximum speed of 42 knots, this ferry can swiftly transport passengers and vehicles across the Atlantic Ocean. The engines are strategically positioned in two separate engine rooms, ensuring optimal power distribution and efficiency.
Specifications and Passenger Accommodation
The dimensions of the Benchijigua Express are truly remarkable. It spans 126.65 meters in length, with a width of 30.4 meters and a draught of 4 meters. This spacious ferry can accommodate up to 1,291 passengers across its two decks. Although the crossing time between the islands is relatively short, the vessel does not feature passenger cabins. However, it offers ample space for vehicles, including 123 car spaces and a truck lane measuring 450 meters. In certain configurations, the truck lane can be converted into an additional 218 car spaces, providing flexibility for different transportation needs.
Innovative Features and Operational Capabilities
The Benchijigua Express is equipped with various innovative features that enhance its operational capabilities and ensure a smooth and efficient experience for passengers and crew alike. One notable feature is the ballast and heel control system, which helps maintain stability, especially when loading heavy vehicles onto the outer decks. This system consists of two ballast tanks and two heel control tanks, working in tandem to optimize the vessel’s transverse stability.
To facilitate maneuvering, the ferry is equipped with a pair of Ulstein Aquamaster UL601 azimuthing bow thrusters. These thrusters can be controlled independently or integrated into the water jet’s harbor mode control. Steering is assisted by high-speed rudders, while a T-foil located forward and roll control fin stabilizers contribute to the vessel’s overall stability. Additionally, the Benchijigua Express features a ride control system provided by Seastate, ensuring a comfortable journey for passengers, even in challenging sea conditions.
Predecessor and Related Designs
The Benchijigua Express is not the first vessel to bear this name. Its predecessors, both served by Fred. Olsen Express, operated between various destinations in the Canary Islands. The ship’s name was chosen due to its association with the village of Benchijigua on La Gomera, where Fredrik Olsen owned property. The current Benchijigua Express has built upon the successes of its predecessors, incorporating advancements in design and technology to deliver an even more impressive ferry experience.
Interestingly, the design of the Benchijigua Express served as the basis for the hull design of the Independence-class littoral combat ship. Austal, in collaboration with General Dynamics, utilized the trimaran concept to create a highly capable naval vessel. This highlights the versatility and adaptability of the Benchijigua Express design, which has found applications beyond the realm of passenger ferries.
Benchijigua Express stands as a testament to the ingenuity and innovation in the maritime industry. With its trimaran design, impressive size, and advanced features, this ferry has revolutionized the transportation of passengers and vehicles between the Canary Islands. From its construction and specifications to its unique operational capabilities, the Benchijigua Express continues to capture the imagination of those who witness its remarkable capabilities firsthand. Fred. Olsen Express can be proud of this extraordinary vessel that combines comfort, efficiency, and cutting-edge design.
The Benchijigua Express has a maximum speed of 42 knots, allowing it to swiftly transport passengers and vehicles between the Canary Islands.
With its spacious design, the Benchijigua Express can accommodate up to 1,291 passengers across its two decks.
The Benchijigua Express features a trimaran hull design, consisting of three hulls, which contributes to its stability and exceptional performance.
The vehicle deck of the Benchijigua Express can be loaded and unloaded in approximately 30 minutes, ensuring efficient operations.
The ballast and heel control system of the Benchijigua Express helps maintain stability, especially when loading heavy vehicles onto the outer decks, ensuring a safe and comfortable journey for passengers.