Volvo Penta’s innovative IPS system ferries passengers around Italy’s Amalfi coast

new passenger ferry, Antares, has been launched from the Italian city of Naples and is the first boat of its kind in the region to be installed with Volvo Penta’s ingenious Inboard Performance System (IPS). The installation of IPS 900 showcases Volvo Penta’s state-of-the-art technology as the prime engine drive choice for commercial operators.

The Antares boat on the sea around the Amalfi coast.

Volvo Penta’s cutting edge IPS 900 has been installed in a new ferry which transports passengers along Italy’s beautiful Amalfi coast. Travelling to and from the towns of Salerno, Maori, Positano, Amalfi and the islands south of Naples, the Antares boat will make up to eight journeys a day. The area is known for its scenic coastline and pretty towns, and is a popular location for visitors from all over the world in the height of the summer tourist season.

Volvo Penta’s IPS 900 was chosen by the designer and shipyard because it provides excellent maneuverability and passenger comfort, and low fuel consumption. “We have focused a lot on maneuverability, reliability and safety in using the Volvo Penta IPS 900 MC propulsion system,” says Salvatore Gambardella, designer and manufacturer of the Antares boat at the Nautica Store shipyard.

The Nautica Store shipyard, which built and will operate the Antares, has been running since 1998 and has 22 other boats in its fleet. The company opted for Volvo Penta’s IPS as the best choice of propulsion system for its new passenger ferry. IPS 900 has a crankshaft power of 700 hp and can reach top speeds of 39 knots, although the Antares will cruise at around 20 knots.

Volvo Penta’s IPS was a revolutionary concept in the marine industry when it was first launched in 2005, and the company has continually upgraded components and released new models to expand the range. As an integrated propulsion package, IPS offers greater performance, fuel efficiency, maneuverability and comfort than a traditional engine. The sleek design features forward-facing twin counter-rotating propellers which are mounted beneath the hull. As the propellers operate in undisturbed water, they cause less drag, which improves performance and fuel consumption by up to 30 per cent compared to traditional inboard engines. The excellent fuel efficiency results in reduced operating costs for customers and lower emissions.

Individually steerable pods, controlled via the joystick docking mode, enhance all-round maneuverability, making IPS highly suited for applications where precision handling and secure berthing are paramount. Interceptor Trim blades create pressure beneath the hull at the stern of the boat, creating a lift effect which gives lower wave resistance and thereby enabling faster acceleration and predictable boat behavior. And the Dynamic Positioning System allows the boat to hold position, even in strong currents or windy conditions.

“We chose Volvo Penta’s IPS because we will see benefits of performance with good maneuverability and reduced fuel costs, and increased comfort for passengers in terms of a reduction of noise and vibration,” says Gambardella.

“With the joystick, we can make maneuvers with full control of the boat in any climatic condition, with the maximum precision. This is thanks to the performance of the Volvo Penta IPS engine system.”

Type approval for commercial use

The Antares passenger ferry has ramps for boarding at both the bow and stern.

The Antares is 20.9m long, 5.3m wide and can carry up to 180 passengers – enabling it to transport around 1,440 people per day around the Amalfi coastal region. It has ramps for boarding at the bow and stern, and a dual driving position – with an external helm on the upper deck for optimum visibility, which can also use joystick docking.

“We have engaged in producing a unit of passenger transport which is stable, light, strong, compact, comfortable, innovative and manageable,” adds Gambardella. “The sea trials and initial operation have confirmed our objectives. And we really appreciate all the technical help we have received from Volvo Penta and our local Volvo Penta Center during the construction and delivery of the boat.”

Volvo Penta’s IPS 900 system during installation in the Antares.

Volvo Penta’s IPS 900 is type-approved by Det Norske Veritas (DNV) which has enabled the Antares to obtain classification via the Royal Institute of Naval Architects (RINA).

“We’re delighted that the shipyard has chosen to install Volvo Penta IPS in its new passenger ferry and pleased that it’s the first use of the system in this type of boat in region,” says Nicola Pomi, marine sales manager at Volvo Penta in Italy. “The Antares will be a great addition to the commercial transport facilities of the Italian coast, and we hope that many visitors will enjoy seeing the region from the comfort and safety of the boat.”

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Jennifer Humphrey
Global Communication Manager
+46 31 3233055