Question: Can someone with technical smarts fill me in on the following questions about the pods being used by cruise ships today for propulsion:
1. There are two types of pods, right?
2. Or are they the same design but made by different manufacturers?
3. Simply, if different designs, what are the technical differences?
4. On which ship was the first pod system installed? Was it successful?
5. Have any pod systems had a completely trouble-free history? If so, which ones?
6. Which type of pod, azi or mermaid seems to have had the greater number of problems?
7. Is it in design, or manufacture?
8. Is, perhaps, the concept flawed in application?Or is it design? Is it time to go back to the drawing boards, given the latest problems on "Constellation?"
9. How is this affecting new-ship design and deliveries - QM2 comes to mind?
(courtesy of Cambodge)
Answer: 1) There are four suppliers, two of them dominate the market, with two more seeking orders: ABB Azipod is supplying vessels at KMY, Fincantieri and Meyer Werft; competitor Mermaid (a joint venture between Cegelec and Alstom) has secured orders for ships being built at Chantiers de l’Atlantique; a third competitor, Siemens-Schottel had a first order for its system placed with Costa Crociere for a rotating unit to be used as a supplemental drive on the stretched Costa Classica (the stretch job was later cancelled); another system, the Dolphin, has been developed in a joint venture between Lips and STN Atlas and has recently secured its first order for two units to be installed aboard Seven Seas Voyager (delivery 2003);
2) The designs of the ABB and Mermaid pods are similar; Siemens has a different design and I’ve never seen the Dolphin;
3) On the Siemens there were two propellers, one facing forward and one facing aft; on the ABB and Mermaid the propeller is facing forward and the pods are pulling the ship. On all unit the electric motor driving the propeller is installed in the pod;
4) The first cruise ship fitted with a podded propulsion system was the Elation in 1998; before podded system were used on smaller ships and tankers;
5) Both ABB (i.e. Paradise) and Mermaid (i.e. Millennium) had a history of problems; anyway Carnival Corporation reported a settlement of $ 18 million from ABB as a result of the Paradise incident, plus the manufacturers' commitment to replace all Carnival’s Azipod systems at no cost;
6) Mermaid seems to have more problems, since after the Paradise no major problems have been developed;
7) Podded system is rather a new technology, and therefore a lot of problems are design faults; for instance in the wake of the Millennium and Infinity experiences, Mermaid has upgraded the standards of its shaft seals and worked on the electrical-connection to the rotors of the electric motors;
This is the podded propulsion ordered between 1998 and 2005:
- AIDA: 2 X AIDAvita class (ABB – 2 X 9.4 MW);
- CARNIVAL: 2 X Fantasy class (ABB – 2 X 14 MW);
- CARNIVAL: 4 X Spirit class (ABB – 2 X 17.6 MW);
- CELEBRITY: 4 X Millennium class (Mermaid – 2 X 20.1 MW);
- COSTA: 2 X Atlantica class (ABB – 2 X 14 MW);
- CRYSTAL: Serenity (Mermaid – 2 X 13.5 MW);
- CUNARD: Queen Mary 2 (Mermaid – 2 X 21.5 MW rotating plus 2 X 21.5 MW fixed);
- CUNARD: 1 X Vista class (ABB – 2 X 17.6 MW);
- FESTIVAL: 2 X Vision class (Mermaid – 2 X 10 MW);
- HAL: Amsterdam (ABB – 2 X 15.5 MW);
- HAL: 4 X Vista class (ABB – 2 X 17.6 MW);
- HAPAG-LLOYD: Europa (ABB – 2 X 6.65 MW);
- MSC: 2 X Newbuilds (Mermaid – 2 X 10 MW);
- NCL: Libra class (ABB – 2 X 19 MW);
- RADISSON: Seven Seas Mariner (Mermaid – 2 X 8.5 MW);
- RADISSON: Seven Seas Voyager (Dolphin – 2 X 8.5 MW);
- RCI: 5 X Voyager class (ABB – 2 X 14 MW rotating plus 1 X 14 MW fixed);
- RCI: 4 X Radiance class (ABB – 2 X 19.5 MW).
(courtesy of Ryndam)