Passenger cruise ships need to take a lesson in backup power systems

-March 13, 2013

Recently we have seen numerous occasions in which a passenger cruise ship has been stranded for days or even weeks without power, typically due to fire or other electrical failures. No light, poor sanitary conditions and general discomfort, illness and safety problems occur while the ship helplessly waits for a rescue and tow into port.

Power redundancy and easy replacement of key power components of a ship’s electric systems proves to be one resolution to this dilemma. Ships from the Canadian Royal Navy have this redundancy, but passenger cruise liners design to a bare minimum standard to keep costs down, so occurances like this can hamper and wreck a vacation and cause unthinkable discomfort to passengers.

OutBack Power has the solution to reliable, efficient at-sea power for marine organizations.

OutBack Power Technologies, Inc., a designer and manufacturer of advanced power electronics for renewable energy, backup power and mobile applications, announced several of the marine organizations who use OutBack Power’s marine-grade power solutions to ensure peace of mind for mariners and boaters who depend on clean, reliable AC power during sea voyages. With OutBack’s solutions for marine applications, organizations such as Emery Electric, International Rescue Group and Nordhavn Yachts can count on safe seafaring with reliable on-board power even miles from shore.

The international demands of travel and trade often necessitate extended voyages on the high seas. Rising diesel and gasoline prices place a premium on fuel efficiency for ships; therefore, any extended power or lengthened life of marine equipment means a steep advantage in cost savings and safety. For marine applications, power electronics must be rugged, water-resistant, dependable and low-maintenance.

Many naval, rescue and luxury vessels depend on water-resistant, durable power management systems from OutBack Power. The following is a unique situation.

International Rescue Group (IRG), Alameda, Calif.

The International Rescue Group’s mission is to support coastal communities and to provide disaster response around the world by boat. All staff are unpaid volunteers, even the executives and the board.

EDN spoke to Capt. Ray Thackeray, executive director at IRG:

“After tsunamis, hurricanes or other catastrophic events, International Rescue Group volunteers enter coastal areas on our repurposed Thunderbird 2, which runs on a diesel-electric hybrid drive engine and solar power via OutBack Power equipment, to deliver medical help, supplies, fresh water and food to disaster-hit coastal communities. With OutBack’s FLEXmax 80 charge controllers, we can reduce fuel consumption and rely on renewable energies as our main power source to keep our environmental footprint as small as possible. We aim to extend this success throughout our fleet and to the additional boats we plan to acquire this year,” said Ray Thackeray, executive director at International Rescue Group.

The Thunderbird 2 is a 57 foot steel sailing trawler - with volunteer crews and medical professionals, this single vessel will be able to carry enough food, water and medical supplies to keep 1,000 survivors alive after a coastal disaster with fresh water, food and medical supplies.

Figure 1: Thunderbird 2 ship sketch


Figure 2: The Thunderbird 2 lineplan

Figure 3: Marine VHF handhelds on the bridge donated by benefactor John Chang


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