Anna C getting an upgrade

Equipped with new engines, seating and air conditioning
Thu, 11/14/2019 - 5:15pm

The Anna C, one of Interstate Navigation’s older, larger vessels, is being renovated.

The second largest vessel in a six-vessel fleet that Interstate Navigation owns and operates is headed to a shipyard where it will be refurbished, and equipped with three brand new diesel engines, cushioned seats, and an air conditioning system. It is the first passenger/vehicle ferry in the company’s fleet to be equipped with air conditioning throughout its interior cabin.

“She’s having a sizable refit,” said Chris Myers, a Vessel Operations Manager and Port Captain for Interstate Navigation, during a phone interview with The Times. He said the passenger/vehicle vessel was built in 1986 by Eastern Marine Shipyard in Panama City, Florida. “She’s a great boat. We’re proud to renovate it, and maintain our fleet. We hope the public enjoys riding the vessel.”

In his role, Myers is charged with maintaining Interstate Navigation’s vessels, regulatory compliance with the U.S. Coast Guard, and crew scheduling and training. “Some days it’s a lot of responsibility, but I work with a few other guys,” he said, noting that “logistics and regulatory compliance” are a big part of his job.    

Myers, who captained the Anna C full-time for a five-year period, said the vessel would continue to operate as a seasonal ferry from Pt. Judith to Block Island’s Old Harbor, but may see some winter trips. “With the improvements we anticipate that she will be able to relieve the M.V. Block Island when she has her maintenance cycle,” he said. “So, the vessel is capable of operating during the winter.”

Myers said the Anna C operated year-round from the time she was launched after being built in 1986, until 1997. The M.V. Block Island took her place as the lifeline service to the island at that time.

The Anna C is 190 feet in length, weighs 98 gross tons, and cruises up to 16.5 knots, while carrying up to 1,285 passengers and 35 automobiles, using a two-lane configuration for loading vehicles.

Myers called the aptly named re-power/renovation project a substantial upgrade of its engine systems and its interior cabin that will be conducted in three phases. The project, which was planned in June of 2019 and began in August, involves removal of its diesel engines and its cabin seating. “It is very similar to what was done to the M.V. Carol Jean in 2005,” he said. 

As part of phase one, three new Cummins QSK38-M1 main diesel engines, and a new control system will replace the vessel’s old engines that were removed in October.

Myers said the three engines boast a total of 3,900 horsepower and are EPA Tier III compliant, meaning that they comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s fuel emissions standards.

Cummins, Inc. is a 100-year old Indiana-based company that designs and manufactures engines and generators.

“We installed the same Cummins QSA38-M1 engines in the M.V. Carol Jean during the winter of 2018/2019,” said Myers, adding that, “The original propulsion engines were installed in the Anna C in 1986.” The old engines are “Cummins, model KTA50-M, that are rated at 1,250 horsepower each for a total vessel horsepower of 3,750, and were installed in a triple screw arrangement.”

The second phase of Interstate Navigation’s project will be completed at a shipyard’s dry-dock, where the vessel will undergo a hull cleaning, repair work, and an inspection by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Myers said the third and final phase of the project will involve extensive work to the interior cabin, including the removal of its wooden benches; installation of new tables and cushioned seats, a new ceiling and lighting, as well as a new air conditioning system. He noted that the company’s car ferries have air conditioning in the pilot house, but that part of the vessel is locked for security reasons. 

“The renovation of the passenger cabin spaces on the vessel are designed to increase passenger seating and improve comfort with new furnishings, seating and tables, and air climate control. The seats will be much more comfortable” than the old ones, said Myers.

“Our goal is to finish the work by May of 2020,” he said. “We have to have the vessel ready for next summer.”