The Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) recently christened its new 293'x66'x16' double ended hybrid ferry, the Esperanza “Hope” Andrade. The vessel was designed by The Shearer Group (TSGI), Houston, and built by Gulf Island Fabricators, Houma, La.

The vessel will provide a 2.7-mile transit service between Galveston Island and Bolivar Peninsula. Running at 13.5 knots, the new ferry will average 18 minutes per run.

The ferry can accommodate 495 passengers and 70 cars or eight 18-wheel trailers on its 293'x66' vehicle deck. When fully loaded, the vessel weighs 2,180 tons.

Esperanza “Hope” Andrade is outfitted with diesel-powered and electrical engines and Siemens Energy’s BlueDrive PLUSC power and propulsion system.

Main electrical generation comes from four Caterpillar C18’s, each rated at 596 kW. Propulsion motors include two 1,200 kW Siemens motors, one per Voith Schneider Propeller (VSP) unit. Each VSP 26RS was built with custom blades.

Siemens Energy’s BlueVault Energy Storage System uses an lithium-ion battery designed to maximize life, performance, and safety, with a total of 1.44 MW-hours of energy storage. The system can store surplus power while the ferry is in operation and dispatches it on-demand.

Fuel capacities include 6,000 gals. of fuel, 1,066 gals. lube oil, 175 gals. hydraulic oil, and 146 gals. degreaser. Freshwater capacity for the new ferry is 6,226 gals. 

The vessel is named after the first female chair of the TXDOT and first Latina secretary of state. 

Ben Hayden is a Maine resident who grew up in the shipyards of northern Massachusetts. He can be reached at (207) 842-5430 and [email protected].

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