Thailand-headquartered naval architect Albatross Marine Design (AMD) has developed a new catamaran concept for an as yet unspecified tour operator client in Singapore. The aim has been to create a vessel that is, visually, “in harmony with the Singaporean city centre,” AMD says, including a “certain level of familiarity for the typical urban dweller”.
The envisaged vessel is a catamaran, set to feature either composite or aluminium hulls and a composite superstructure. Currently dubbed the ‘ML20’, the 20m x 6m cat will be tasked with navigating creeks and inland waterways and providing a 4knot shuttle service between intercity destinations.
The ML20 will most likely be powered by a hybrid system, with conventional diesel engines as an option – as AMD managing director Dr Albert Nazarov tells Ship & Boat International, the most important consideration is that the propulsive arrangement “must be serviceable”.
As with many new urban waterway ‘bus’ designs, the ML20 boasts some modern and innovative features – though, AMD is keen to stress, the vessel design makes no bones about incorporating “traditional nautical features” into the mix, instead of opting for what the designer describes as the “floating ‘glasshouse structure’ look”.
The cat’s saloon will be covered by a tinted glass structure, in order to counter the glare one would expect from Singapore’s fiercely tropical climate, and enabling the ML20’s passengers – many of whom will include tourists and sightseers – to “see the skyline” from the saloon, Nazarov explains.
He continues: “There are no side deck passageways, where standing passengers would normally block the view of those seated in the saloon. Instead, for photography and sightseeing, passengers can access the bow balcony.” Toilets are located on the aft deck and a storage area, accessible from the aft deck, will enable passengers to stow their bags.
For the crew, meanwhile, the elevated wheelhouse provides panoramic visibility, though kept within a 4.5m air draught, including the vessel’s folding mast, so as to enable her to pass under bridges.
The vessel can accommodate up to 60 passengers in total, who board the cat via the aft deck, and she has been designed to be wheelchair-friendly. Part of AMD’s remit was to provide an element of flexibility regarding the vessel’s layout options. So, although the vessel might primarily serve as a 60-passenger “intercity water bus”, her layout can also be tweaked to accommodate dining cruises, entertainments and special events for a predicted headcount of 40 guests.
The ML20’s hull form has been based on what AMD terms the “can opener bow” concept. Nazarov elaborates: “The lower part of the bow is reversed with a fine entry, to minimise pitching motions, while the upper bow section’s flare deflects water spray and enables more deck space.”