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 Veteran - A veritable workhorse for North Atlantic Lifeline Services
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01 March 2016

Article from Shippaxcfi by Philippe Holthof

VETERAN marks the start of a rejuvenation programme launched by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador that operates a relatively sizeable fleet of small coastal and interisland ferries through the Marine Services branch of the Department of Transportation and Works.

Many ferry operations in Canada are publicly controlled or funded with the respective fleets typically having a high average age. The situation of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Department of Transportation and Works is a case in point and VETERAN, soon to be followed by sister LEGIONNAIRE, therefore doesn’t come a moment too soon. Newfoundland and Labrador has a vast transportation network with close to 10,000 km of motorways, more than 1,100 bridges, and 18 ferries which service 23 communities. The combined Provincial fleet carries over 900,000 passengers, 400,000 vehicles and 20,000 tonnes of freight per annum with more than 50,000 arrivals and departures.

VETERAN and LEGIONNAIRE are part of a vessel replacement programme that was launched in early 2013 when the Provincial Government of Newfoundland and Labrador invited no less than fifteen shipyards – including North American yards – to tender for building two ferries of a totally new generation.

A contract for the first newbuilding was eventually signed with Damen on 13 November 2013 and was quickly followed by an order for a sister ship. Damen prides itself on being big in small ships, as it specializes in vessels up to 10,000 gt. It has become very successful with stock building and standard designs with custom finishes. This unique business model guarantees short delivery times of what are essentially reliable and proven concepts. Rather than opting for an off-the-shelf solution, the project started with a blank sheet of paper, the design stemming from a Canadian-Danish partnership between Fleetway and KNUD E. HANSEN. The ferries have been purpose-built for year-round operation in Newfoundland and Labrador waters, but with their icestrengthened hulls, excellent seakeeping capabilities and contemporary interior design, they may also attract other operators and therefore the prototype has been dubbed the Damen RoPax 8017, a figure that refers to the ship’s length and width, respectively.

  • Local suppliers
  • Built for domestic trade
  • Utilitarian design
  • Sister ship
  • Why VETERAN?

Local suppliers

VETERAN was built in Romania by the prolific Galati facility of Damen. The Dutch shipbuilding group was selected as its proposal offered the best value to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador with an attractive price. In order to get to know companies that could possibly fit into the project, so-called “vender days” were organized by Damen in St. John’s, the capital of Newfoundland and Labrador. Part of the electric installation, including the alarms and monitoring systems, for instance, was supplied by Quebec-based Techsol Marine. KNUD E. HANSEN was responsible for the concept, tender and basic designs but cooperated closely with the St. John’s office of Fleetway.

Main particulars
  • IMO 9736901
  • Length o.a 81.05 m
  • Breadth mld 17.20 m
  • Gross Tonnage 4,437
  • Net Tonnage 1,331
  • Deadweight 927.9 t
  • Main engines 3 x MTU 16V 4000M23S
  • Azimuth propellers 2 x 1,600 kW
  • Service speed 14 kn
  • Pax capacity 200
  • Car capacity 378 m – 64 cars
  • Freight lanem190 m
  • Flag Canada
  • Classification ABS +A, Vehicle Passenger Ferry, Ice class 1AA, Near Coastal Voyage Class II, E, +AMS, HAB+ACCU, GP

Extensive model tank tests of VETERAN were conducted by Oceanic Consulting Corporation of St. John’s. This included ice model testing, VETERAN having ABS’ 1AA class notation which is equivalent to 1A Super. Instead of the usual bulbous bow, VETERAN comes with an icebreaking bow and ice-strengthened Rolls-Royce azimuth thrusters with an output of 1,600 kW each. The ferries can cope with 40 cm thick solid first year ice at a speed of 4 knots. The service speed is 14 knots through a diesel-electric power plant with three MTU 16V 4000M23S marine gensets that meet EPA Tier 2 emission standards. The ship can also run on one or two engines and the third engine has been added for the sake of redundancy, a feat which is one of the ship’s fortes as year-round reliability is paramount with little or no backup. Excellent manoeuvrability is further enhanced by a single bow thruster with an output of 800 kW.

Built for domestic trade

VETERAN serves the route from Farewell on the northeast side of the main isle of Newfoundland to the smaller outer islands of Fogo Island and Change Islands. Especially the latter islands are thinly populated and the ferry service mainly caters for local fishermen, commuters and tourists. The shortest crossing is the one to Change Islands. It takes just 20 minutes, the 13 km distance between Farewell and Fogo Island being traversed in 45 minutes. There are both direct and combined services to the islands, but the crossing time between Farewell and Fogo Island increases to 75 minutes when combined with a stop at Change Islands. Many equipment items of VETERAN are SOLAS-compliant but as she is built for domestic service, the ship as a whole doesn’t meet the requirements of SOLAS but rather those of Transport Canada who delegated the supervision during construction to ABS, the ship’s classification society.

Utilitarian design

VETERAN has been extremely well received by the everyday users of the ferry service and, quite understandably, represents a quantum leap over the CAPT. EARL W. WINSOR which she replaced in late December. The ship has been specifically  designed for easy maintenance and maximum ease of use for those who operate the ship as well as those who travel with it. The single drive-through vehicle deck is totally unobstructed with a side casing arrangement. There is space for 190 freight lanemetres or 294 car lanemetres, equivalent to 50 typical fullsize cars that are spread over five car lanes. Another seven cars can be parked on each of the hoistable car decks on either side.

The vehicle deck has a 5.0 m clear height and 4.7 m under the hoistable decks when in a stowed position. The aft part is open and permits the stowage of dangerous as well as out of gauge cargoes. All hydraulic equipment, including the bow and shell doors, was supplied by MacGregor who won the contract on the basis of its extensive experience with Canadian ferry services. Dogs are not allowed in the public spaces on Deck 5 and a four-cage kennel has been provided on the forward starboard side of the vehicle deck. Find your way signage comes in the form of animal symbols at the entrance of the stairways to the upper accommodation deck.

The stairs have normal height and low height handrails, making them really child friendly. A passenger elevator in the portside casing connects the vehicle deck with the single accommodation deck. In the starboard casing, there is a service elevator that is mainly used for crew supplies. As the crew lives on board, they have their own mess and galley on Deck 5, set amidships on the starboard side of the centreline. Passengers can obtain drinks and snacks from vending machines in addition to a single serving counter on the portside of the centreline. Besides the galley, stores and mess room, the midships area also holds the toilet facilities and divides the forward from the aft accommodation areas which boast seating capacity for 127 and 88 people, respectively. The lounges and the top observation deck are named after four prominent individuals from Fogo Island and Change Islands: Margaret Cobb (Lounge), Captains Fred Chaffey and Patrick Miller (Chaffey-Miller Lounge) and Arthur Reginald Scammell (A.R. Scammell Observation Deck). The colour palette of the furniture, fixtures and fittings reflects the ruggedly beautiful environment of the Fogo Island destination. The smaller aft lounge is located between the funnel casings and, consequently, only has windows aft. Low partitions make for different compartments with fixed seating arranged around rectangular tables. The lounge has a genuine maritime-themed children’s playroom and gives access to an open aft terrace with fixed seating. The forward lounge doubles as the ship’s  cafeteria and offers great views through large front and side windows. The spacious and airy room can also be used for other purposes and therefore has seating that can easily be taken away. Save for the toilet blocks, Amtico vinyl flooring with wood effect has been used throughout. For the interior design, Damen teamed up with Design Triangle, a Burwell (Cambridge, UK) based studio that specialises in vehicle and component design for the transport industries with a focus on public transport. Design Triangle has collaborated with Damen for the past 10 years on various shipbuild-ing projects and it has also designed a number of fast ferries – both exterior and interior – including a new breed of hi-speed craft in the  shape of the Damen Water Taxi 1004 which operates for RTA Dubai Water Taxi. The 15 crew cabins on Deck 6 have been  esigned by Damen and, on the same deck, there is also a crew recreation room on the portside aft. The fully enclosed and well-equipped bridge on Deck 7 offers unobstructed views in all directions. Aft of the bridge is the aforementioned open A.R. Scammell Observation Deck with fixed benches.

The turnkey outfitting was in the hands of Helmers which has production sites in both the Netherlands and Romania. The twin 120-person lifeboats, both of which double as a rescue boat, are from Fassmer.

Sister ship

Sister ship LEGIONNAIRE was launched on 15 July and is expected to set sail for her new home waters this month. She is due to operate on the 20-minute crossing from Portugal Cove (on the southeast side of Newfoundland) to Bell Island, a stretch of fairly exposed sea known for its notoriously rough weather conditions. With an annual throughput of 530,000 passengers and close to 250,000 vehicles this is the busiest ferry service of the Province. In order to accommodate LEGIONNAIRE, improvements to the marine infrastructure were necessary in either port. Damen has recognized that it is really important to be locally present. It has become a vital part of its policy; the group does not only provide vessels but also solutions. For this reason, a Damen certified service and maintenance hub has been set up in St. John’s. In addition to servicing VETERAN and LEGIONNAIRE, the service centre will also handle the four PSVs that Damen is currently building for Atlantic Towing. These ships will be employed in the oil and gas industry and will be stationed in St. John’s. A small tug and two barges that were built by Damen are already operating in the local offshore sector. Damen is omnipresent in the Newfoundland and Labrador market. With an ageing fleet of small ferries out there, Damen is eager to ink more newbuilding contracts.


VETERAN is named in tribute to all individuals who have served in conflicts around the globe in general and the 1,076 soldiers of the Newfoundland Regiment who went ashore at Gallipoli, Turkey in September 1915 in particular. During the delivery voyage from Romania, VETERAN transited the Dardanelles and made a brief stop near the Gallipoli battlefield to place a wreath to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the Newfoundland Regiment. This ceremony was performed on behalf of the Provincial Government by Captain Jan Klein from Redwise, the Dutch company that took the ship from the yard to Newfoundland, a voyage of approximately 4,300 nautical miles. Flying the St. Vincent and the Grenadines flag during the delivery voyage, VETERAN eventually arrived in Newfoundland on 17 October and was officially handed over in St. John’s on 23 October when the maple leaf flag was hoisted.

The ship’s name on the bow and stern comes with a remembrance poppy, “the” symbol of remembrance for those who fought and helped in the war. VETERAN entered service shortly before Christmas replacing CAPT. EARL W. WINSOR, built in 1972 as PRINCE EDWARD for the Prince Edward Island ferry crossing and acquired by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador for the Fogo Island and Change Islands services in 1997.

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  • Concept
  • Tender & Contract Design
  • Basic Design
  • Detailed Engineering
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Related References

Ice class ferry for Fogo
  • Vessel type: Arctic vessel
  • Vessel name: Veteran and Legionnaire RoPax Ferries
  • Project number: 10002 / 11002
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