A ‘ferry’ tale win for SITizens


We Think. We Create. We DO. A team of students from the SIT-Newcastle University (NU) Marine programmes applied what they learnt in class to an international ferry design competition and emerged as world champions!

Third-year students J Vinoth, Daniel Immanuel Sukartio and Lin Qimiao were inspired to sign up for the 2019 Ferry Design Competition, organised by the Worldwide Ferry Safety Association (WFSA), to bring forward innovative ideas in ferry safety and design.

“I feel that safety in the marine industry is extremely important and often overlooked by operators in countries that do not impose strict rules. Safety has to start in the design phase to minimise occurrence of accidents,” said team captain Vinoth, who is reading BEng (Hons) in Offshore Engineering.

Not all smooth sailing

The trio were tasked to design a passenger ferry for the Pasig River, the locus of commercial and public activities in Manila, Philippines, aimed at reducing congestion as well as ferry fatalities. It was not all smooth sailing as they did not have experience designing an entire vessel from scratch. The team put in a lot of research and consultations with the faculty advisors, tapping on the knowledge learnt from their modules to create the final concept.

However, the greatest challenges were not technical but involved time management. The team had to juggle between the project, assignments and full-time industry attachment as part of their Integrated Work Study Programme (IWSP) – Vinoth in Alfem Engineering, Daniel in Bureau Veritas, and Qimiao in Sembcorp Marine. With limited time after work, they had to stay up late almost every night and on weekends to work on the submission.

“Proper communication is key. Due to time limitations, most of our huddles were done via email and instant messaging, which could have led to misunderstandings. We had to be exacting in putting our ideas and thoughts across, given the limited face time with each other. From this experience, we definitely felt the intensity creating a concept from scratch and were able to hone our interpersonal skills,” commented Daniel, who is reading BEng (Hons) in Naval Architecture.









(Seated from left to right) Qimiao, Vinoth and Daniel with their faculty advisors from Newcastle University – Dr Mohammed Abdul Hannan (in blue) and Dr Ivan CK Tam (in white).


Balance of cost, performance and safety

The result of their perseverance, team spirit and creativity is MV Pasig Express – an aluminium-hulled catamaran ferry that is affordable yet utilises state-of-the-art technologies in improving safety and operational standards. These include the use of solar panels as an alternative source of energy and a rain water harvesting roof to reduce the vessel’s dependency on water sources. In addition, a hybrid propulsion system is deployed to optimise fuel usage at berthing or low speed.

Importantly, the team’s design addressed the multiple challenges identified by WFSA. In their concept, the team has recommended a debris and vegetation collector attached to the bottom of ferry, which helps to restore cleanliness to the river. In addition, to address safety concerns, the vessel features three levels of fire protection, and egress through six points of escape including exit doors on both sides of the craft.

Interior view of MV Pasig Express, an aluminum hulled catamaran with hybrid propulsion to minimise energy consumption.

“As a Naval Architecture student, I hope to bring innovation through design and make a meaningful impact in the marine industry. Through knowledge gained from the classrooms, we were able to think critically and come up with new, innovative ideas such as Hi-Fin propeller, hybrid propulsion and debris collector for our ferry design,” explained Qimiao, the team’s chief designer.

All three SITizens will receive the US$5,000 award and deliver a presentation of their design at WFSA's Ferry Safety and Technology Conference in Bangkok in February 2019. Congratulations for doing SIT proud and flying the Singapore flag high!

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