Coming all the way from the South Atlantic Ocean, the large swell smashes against the sheer coast of Iceland. Under these conditions, the new ferry must sail between Vestmannaeyjar islands and Landeyjarhöfn.

On that route, the ferry often experiences difficulties entering the port of Landeyjarhöfn due to the harsh weather conditions which lead to unfortunate cancellations and delays. Therefore, the Icelandic traffic authorities have ordered a new ferry that can handle the large and long swell, the high winds, and the strong current across the approach channel.

For the past few years, FORCE Technology’s maritime division has been working closely with the representatives from the Icelandic traffic authorities, evaluating the design of the new ferry to ensure that it can manoeuver under severe weather conditions.

"Unlike other ports in Iceland, Landeyjarhöfn is placed at the south coast of Iceland and has no natural harbour. Among the challenges are old swells that rise when they reach the shallow water. In addition, there is a strong tidal flow along the coast, and therefore the captain of the ferry must be able to manoeuvre in extreme weather conditions with 3.5 meter waves without losing control of the ship," says Johannes Johannesson, Naval Architect at J Johannesson and consultant for the Icelandic traffic authorities.

To meet the requirement for reducing the number of cancellations and delays due to harsh weather and rough sea, the design of the ferry must take into consideration the wind, waves, and current both inside and outside the port in a safely manner.

What was tested?

We have performed extensive model tests and simulations of three different ferry designs. The following tests were conducted:

  • Seakeeping analysis
  • CFD evaluation of shallow water effects
  • Still water tests
  • Free sailing tests
  • Planar Motion Mechanism tests
  • Wind load tests
  • Mathematical modelling and simulations

Based on the test results, the naval architects have been able to modify the design of the ferry during the project, thereby ensuring an optimal manoeuvrability and performance of the vessel. For example, the ship has been extended, and the hull lines have been adjusted.

Excellent manoeuvrability and safety at sea

The outcome of our tests and evaluations indicate that the final version of the new ferry has an excellent design and performance – in fact, in benchmarking tests, the ferry outperforms other ferries, especially in manoeuvrability.

“The new Icelandic ferry is exceptionally good at manoeuvring, and the CFD/model test data shows the hull form has a minimal resistance. On top of that, the ferry has minimal fuel consumption,” says Nikolaj Peter Lemb Larsen, Chief Naval Architect at FORCE Technology.

"The tests give us a good prediction of the movement of the ferry when it sails towards the port. The major risk is that it hits the sea bed. Seeing how the ship model moves and behaves in the water indicates that we have achieved our goal," says Johannes Johannesson and continues, "The new ferry is much better than our existing ferries. It will sail much more stably and on more days a year, especially in the winter which is high season for storms."

 In addition to the excellent performance at sea, the new ferry is prepared for hybrid operation and with the upper layer of the ferry to be constructed in aluminium.

"In many ways, the new ferry is technologically advanced. We look forward to having the ferry delivered. I am convinced that it will be a completely different experience for the Icelandic people," says Johannes Johannesson.

Facts about the new Icelandic ferry

  • Ship length: 69 m
  • Ship bredth: 15.5 m
  • Ship depth: 5.1 m
  • Capacity: up to 540 passengers
  • Lane meter: 329 (equates to approx. 70 cars)
  • The ferry will be finished in 2018

Facts about Vestmannaeyjar

A group of 14 small islands off the south coast of Iceland with 5,000 inhabitants.

Model of the Icelandic ferry.