ABB’s patented Azipod propulsion will help ’Global Mercy’ enter less accessible harbours on the African coast, while reducing vibrations and noise, the company has claimed.
With about 5 bill people lacking access to surgical care globally, international charity Mercy Ships operates hospital vessels to provide free surgeries and medical assistance to people who have little access to healthcare.
The latest Mercy Ships vessel, the world’s largest purpose-built civilian hospital ship ‘Global Mercy’ (see separate story), was delivered by Tianjin Xingang Shipyard in China during an official ceremony held on 24th June, 2021.
‘Global Mercy’ is fitted with two Azipod propulsion units, as part of a comprehensive scope of electric, digital and connected solutions to optimise operations.
With many African ports being too shallow for large ships, and with limited or lacking tug availability, Azipods will prove crucial for ‘Global Mercy’s’ ability to deliver healthcare to those in need. In addition, the Azipod system’s design minimises noise and vibration.
“As well as offering comfort levels equivalent to a high-quality cruise vessel, hospital ships must provide surgical procedures on the basis of need, making it critical that vibrations are kept to a minimum,” said Per Westling, Managing Director, Stena RoRo.
“In sea trials, the performance of ABB’s Azipod propulsion was even better than anticipated, exceeding expectations on safe return to port and offering smooth and closely controlled sailing.”
“’Global Mercy’ will change the lives of people who would otherwise have no access to high-quality healthcare, and we are honoured to be involved in such a remarkable project,” said Juha Koskela, Division President, ABB Marine & Ports.
“We are confident that the performance of Azipod propulsion will contribute to the safe and successful provision of medical care on board and allow ‘Global Mercy’ to support people in areas that would otherwise be too challenging to access.”
Arriving at the yard fully assembled, an Azipod is claimed to be considerably easier to install than a traditional shaftline propulsion system, plugging straight into the vessel’s hull.
“Ease of installation of the Azipod propulsion system has been a decisive factor, as well as our previous successful collaboration with ABB on other passenger vessel projects,” said Haibo Mao, Construction Leader at Tianjin Xingang Shipyard.
In addition to the twin 2.85 MW Azipod units, ABB supplied the generators, switchboards, transformers and drives, as well as bridge controls for the propulsion system and the ABB Ability Marine Remote Diagnostic System, which allows the prompt detection and correction of faults on board.
Once in operation, ‘Global Mercy’ will receive round-the-clock support from ABB Ability Collaborative Operations Centers, which serve over 1,000 ships worldwide.
From these hubs, ABB experts monitor shipboard systems, co-ordinate equipment diagnostics, and offer predictive maintenance services, ie global 24/7 technical support.