Foreship redoubles focus on ferry design work

Foreship’s market-leading expertise in ferry design has most recently found form in the stylish RoPax ship Spirit of Tasmania IV - launched by Rauma Marine Constructions (RMC), Finland, in October.

Sometimes, that expertise has been synonymous with Ari Huttunen, who recently celebrated a decade with Foreship and was responsible for the concept design and initial GA for the 1800-passenger and 2500-lane meter capacity TT Line ferry. Ari Huttunen

Ari also spent over 25 years at Rauma’s shipyard, working on over 30 ‘signature’ designs, including high-profile ships such as CMN’s Kalliste, P&O Ferries’ Spirit of Britain and Spirit of France, Irish Ferries’ Ulysses, and Brittany Ferries’ Armorique. 

From the beginning of 2024,  Ari will be joined by Perttu Kurvinen - another individual with extensive experience in ferry design and construction who also worked on the Spirit of Tasmania IV project - on behalf of RMC.

If this is the start of the process through which day-to-day ferry contacts will broaden at Foreship, Ari says the company will continue to feed his passion for design. With current projects, including a concept design for a European ferry owner, and an assignment with an undisclosed ferry building yard, Ari only foresees that he “may work a little less during the summertime.”

This is not the first – or even the second - time that the two ferry design professionals have been brought together. After securing his MSc in Naval Architecture from Aalto University, Perttu joined the STX Shipyard, Rauma, at a time when Ari led its naval architecture team. Looking back, Perttu readily acknowledges Ari’s role as a mentor in a formative part of his career.

Finnish shipbuilding has experienced considerable change over the last 30 years. While the Rauma yard is once more flourishing under RMC, its closure by STX in 2013 prompted both Ari’s move to Foreship and a switch by Perttu to five years as an exhaust gas systems specialist with Wärtsilä.

Ari went on to establish a satellite Foreship office in Rauma, building a specialized ferry team that has had considerable success in securing ferry work.

Among the ‘wins’ was the concept design and the initial GA for Wasaline’s Super 1A Ice Class ferry Aurora Botnia. With 1,500 capacity for lane meters of freight and 800 passengers, this ship is one of the most sustainable ferries at sea, courtesy of LNG/biogas-ready dual-fuel engines and a power-optimizing integrated battery system.

It was here that the paths of the former colleagues crossed once more.

In 2018, excited by the prospects of the Wasaline newbuilding project, Perttu joined Kvarken Link Oy as Project Manager for the Aurora Botnia build phase. His working relationship with Ari now became that of a customer.

“Working for the owner was very interesting, because the focus had to go beyond installation issues to take in the way design and technical decisions affected total cost of ownership, including operations and maintenance,” says Perttu. He expects the resulting insights will prove invaluable in his role with Foreship.

After the ship’s delivery, Perttu found his way back to RMC, where he honed his naval architecture skills, initially working on a freelance basis on the TT-Line GA before joining the yard full-time for the build phase.

The project once again brought Perttu into contact with Foreship, where he rekindled relationships with his former mentor and others. Over several months, contacts and discussions blossomed into a job offer.

This is an exciting time for ferry design ideas, Perttu says, adding that Ari’s guidance will continue to give Foreship an extra edge in a specialized area of ship design.

“Ari has lived through a period when ferries have developed significantly, not only due to increasing ship sizes, but because specifications have adjusted to two significant changes in freeboard requirements and a decisive shift from deterministic to probabilistic rules,” he observes.

With regulatory requirements tightening on ship emissions, including CO2, high-profile ferries operating in urban ports will come under ever-increasing scrutiny. It is no coincidence that, in Ari and Perttu, Foreship has at its disposal two naval architects with experience in designing and project managing the construction of some of the most efficient and environmentally friendly ferries afloat.