(SAN ANTONIO, Texas) — Scania, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of engines for boats, trucks, buses and industrial applications, is powering the latest whale-watching vessels operated by Major Marine Tours in Seward, Alaska.
The 87-foot Spirit of Matushka, delivered in the spring of 2021, and its sister ship Skana, launched this month, were constructed by All American Marine of Bellingham, Wash. The vessels are powered by four DI16 082M 800-hp engines supplied by Cascade Engine Center and propelled by HamiltonJet 422 waterjets.
The custom-built catamarans are capable of a top speed of 32 knots with a full capacity of 150 passengers and full fuel, with a lighter load they can reach 36 knots. The identical ships are the fastest, most fuel-efficient vessels in the Major Marine Tours fleet.
The new catamarans were specially designed to give passengers the best viewing experience possible. The bow is built with stadium-style standing areas for optimum wildlife viewing, a first for Alaskan whale-watching vessels. Additionally, the third deck has unobstructed 360-degree views and is partially enclosed to block the wind. The vessels also have ample outside viewing space on the first level, which is also a fully wrap-around wheelchair-accessible deck.
The semi-displacement catamaran hulls for these vessels were developed by Teknicraft Design of Auckland, New Zealand. The design integrates the signature Teknicraft symmetrical and asymmetrical combined hull shape, bow wave piercer and innovative hydrofoil system.
“Knowing that fuel efficiency and speed were the primary driving factors behind the design and outfitting of the Spirit of Matushka and Skana, we knew that our engines would be the perfect solution,” said David Hughes, sales manager, marine products, Scania USA. “Our DI16 engines not only provided the performance and efficiency Major Marine required, but also were a quieter alternative, perfect for not disturbing the wildlife that passengers are coming to see.”
“All American Marine worked with us to refine our goals, build two proven vessels that met those goals, and then delivered,” said Colby Lawrence, Major Marine Tours vice president. “In fact, despite building two boats during the midst of a global pandemic, they delivered both boats on time and on budget. These new vessels with their Teknicraft design and the Scania engines give us the capacity, comfort, fuel economy and speed that are revolutionizing the fleet for Major Marine Tours.”
Built on a compacted graphite iron (CGI) engine block and employing a simple wastegate turbocharger, the quad Scania DI 16-liter engines deliver top-of-class performance without the need for additional turbos or superchargers. The resulting lighter weight, combined with Scania’s proprietary Engine Management System (EMS) and common rail extra high-pressure injection system (XPI), optimizes fuel delivery.