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Saturday, March 30, 2019 

The first two American-made Voith Schneider Propeller (VSP) units have been installed in a ferry to be operated by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) and used in its service to the Outer Banks, a string of barrier islands between North Carolina and the Atlantic Ocean.

The ferry, Rodanthe, will operate between the islands of Ocracoke and Hatteras, making several trips daily year-round.  The VSP’s unified steering- and propulsion-control system will aid in manoeuvring and docking and offer improved operational reliability and lower  maintenance than conventional propeller systems.

“With the new VSP units installed, the Rodanthe will offer years of smooth, efficient service to the islands. By linking steering and propulsion together, the VSP allows for fast response and precision movement in even the roughest of waters. This helps the operators pilot their ferry better while also keeping passengers and cargo safe thanks to the VSP’s superior handling in comparison to other propulsion systems available on the market,” said Ivo Beu, Head of Marine Business Americas for Voith.

Commissioned by NCDOT, the VSP systems were built and tested in Voith’s York, Pennsylvania, facility, allowing NCDOT to champion its use of an American workforce on the project. On completion of assembly, the units were delivered to Bollinger Shipyards in Louisiana for installation into the Rodanthe. In May 2019, the ferry will be handed over to the NCDOT Shipyard in Manns Harbor, North Carolina, and it is expected to enter service in the summer of 2019.

“These are the first VSP units ever built in the US, and they are being used to extend the NCDOT fleet of ferries utilising this innovative propulsion system,” explained Beu. “This is an important step to fulfil manufacturing requirements for government entities and businesses that want to support American workers. Likewise, by producing the VSP in Pennsylvania our North American production team expands its marine production expertise and capabilities to better serve our regional customers.”

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