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Torqeedo provides electric propulsion for new Viking LifeCraft

Torqeedo has developed a specialized high-thrust electric propulsion system for Viking’s new LifeCraft survival craft, which is designed to speed safe evacuation of hundreds of passengers from ships at sea.

The 203-passenger LifeCraft is a motorized inflatable vessel designed to deploy from a shipboard storage/launch station. Passengers board the boats through escape chutes. Once each boat is fully loaded, the crew maneuvers it to a safe standoff distance from the ship using the electric motors.

Each craft has four Cruise 4.0 electric pod drives installed, powered by Power 24-3500 lithium-ion batteries in 48V banks. One motor is installed at each corner of the boat and all are networked into an integrated energy monitoring system.

According to Torqeedo, the electric propulsion system is “a key enabling technology for the self-propelled inflatable survival craft because they don’t require frequent access to fuel, oil and ignition systems for maintenance when stowed on board. This allows the electric motors and batteries to be integrated into the compact self-inflating design”.

The electric boats successfully completed heavy-weather sea trials in October. The tests, witnessed and approved by DNV GL, took place in the North Sea. Wave heights were between 3.6-4.6m (11.8-15.1ft) with peaks up to 10m (32.8ft) – 50% above the stipulated heavy-weather testing requirements; wind gusts up to 18m/s (40mph) were recorded.

The boats were launched and maneuvered along the weather and lee sides of the ship to evaluate their ability to move rescue capacity to wherever it is needed. A 24-hour controlled drift test was also performed and caused no damage to the vessels.

“Viking’s new LifeCraft is truly innovative and offers compelling benefits to passenger ship operators. It has been a pleasure to participate in its development,” said Dr Christoph Ballin, co-founder and CEO of Torqeedo.

Viking also received official approval for the LifeCraft survival craft on March 8 from the Danish Maritime Authority as a Novel Life-Saving Appliance meeting the requirements for replacing conventional lifeboats on passenger ships.

- May 2019

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