Seattle-based Vigor recently delivered the Argo, the third of four all aluminum, 400-passenger ferries to the Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) in San Francisco.
The hull was constructed at Vigor Ballard and the superstructure at the company’s new aluminum fabrication bay at its 27-acre Harbor Island facility in Seattle. “The new fabrication bay significantly expands Vigor’s production capabilities and capacity for our portfolio of aluminum workboats, high performance military craft and state of the art ferries like Argo,” said Tim Kolb, Vigor Puget Sound general manager. “It was fitting to have this award-winning design be our inaugural vessel for the new facility.”
Like its sister ships the Hydrus and Cetus, Argo is an efficient, environmentally friendly design by Incat Crowther. The ferry has a service speed of 27 knots and a smooth, quiet ride. Vigor senior project manager, Jim Gow, attributes this to its “floating house.” The superstructure has 180 independent mounts. The engines and wheelhouse sit on isolation mounts while the gears are hard mounted. “This configuration greatly reduces vibration, increasing passenger comfort,” said Gow.  
The Argo features a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) aftertreatment system developed by Pacific Power Group and is powered by two MTU 12V4000 M64 engines, each putting out 1,950 hp. The Hydrus-class ferries' mechanical packages from Pacific Power features emission controls that achieve Tier 4 standards without using diesel particulate filters. Argo’s engines are able to burn biodiesel B5 and thereby further reduce emissions, a high priority for the city of San Francisco. 
Construction of Carina, the fourth WETA ferry in the Hydrus class, is underway at Vigor with delivery expected by the end of 2018.

Some key specs of the Hydrus class:

  • Length (overall): 135'
  • Beam: 38'
  • Draft (max): 6.75'
  • 400 passengers
  • Speed: 27 knots
  • (2) MTU 12V4000 M64 diesel engine, 1,950 hp
  • (2) ZF 7600 reduction gear
  • Exhaust aftertreatment system

David Krapf has been editor of WorkBoat, the nation’s leading trade magazine for the inland and coastal waterways industry, since 1999. He is responsible for overseeing the editorial direction of the publication. Krapf has been in the publishing industry since 1987, beginning as a reporter and editor with daily and weekly newspapers in the Houston area. He also was the editor of a transportation industry daily in New Orleans before joining WorkBoat as a contributing editor in 1992. He has been covering the transportation industry since 1989, and has a degree in business administration from the State University of New York at Oswego, and also studied journalism at the University of Houston.