Canadian builder delivers RAL-designed barge-ferry


The following is the text of a news release from Robert Allan Ltd. (RAL):

(VANCOUVER, British Columbia) — At the completion of its 620-mile drive along the highway from Edmonton to Hay River and the 520-mile sail down the Mackenzie River to Norman Wells, Aurora Yukon was finally delivered to its owner by the builder Waiward Steel LP of Edmonton, Alberta. Aurora Yukon will operate with an existing tug to carry vehicles and passengers across the Mackenzie River at Norman Wells. Aurora Yukon replaces an existing barge which was originally built in 1969.

The 98-foot barge was designed by Robert Allan Ltd. to Transport Canada regulations and Lloyd’s Register (LR) Inland Waterways Ships Rules, and was fully delegated to LR under the Delegated Statutory Inspection Program. The barge can carry up to 12 passengers and two crew on sheltered waters voyages, with a maximum cargo load of 115 tonnes and a maximum single vehicle load of 50 tonnes. The vessel is classed with the following notation:

LR ✠ AN I.W.W. Roll On-Roll Off Pontoon, Zone 1 (Mackenzie River Service)

The project stipulated very strict weight requirements to ensure the vessel will suit an existing transport trailer. The barge design was developed in a 3D environment from the proposal stage in order to closely monitor weights and visualize changes. Extensive FEA analysis of the structure was performed in order to optimize the design for minimum steel weight while ensuring the required service life during river operations.

The barge is outfitted with the required regulatory safety equipment as well as a hydraulically operating loading ramp at one end. Mooring bitts are fitted on main deck along with heavy duty haul out bitts on the barge sides to facilitate launch and retrieval for over-wintering on dry land.

For more information on the Aurora Yukon, or on any other specialized, shallow draft barge or vessel designs developed by Robert Allan Ltd., please contact us at

By Professional Mariner Staff