With more than 800,000 people taking the ferry route between New Zealand’s North and South Island every year, the planned arrival of two new diesel hybrid-electric ferries in 2025, which will be fitted with state-of-the-art lifesaving equipment as they cross the Cook Strait, is good news indeed.

The 203-passenger VIKING LifeCraft – a motorised inflatable vessel with a passenger chute system and advanced battery-electric propulsion – was recently selected to protect KiwiRail’s new 1900-passenger hybrid-electric ferries, with Torqeedo supplying the high-thrust electric propulsion system for the survival craft.

Niels Fraende, VIKING’s Vice-President of Sales for Cruise & LifeCraft, said: ‘With four LifeCraft in each system, we save space on board and can evacuate more than 800 people within 30 minutes. The LifeCraft eliminates dangerous lifeboat drills and can also be used to perform search and rescue operations if another vessel in the area requires support, boosting passenger and crew safety in the Cook Strait as a whole.’



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