Incat Crowther is pleased to announce the launch of Captain Ben Moore, a hybrid propulsion Incat Crowther 19. Built to serve produce company Harbor Harvest, the vessel will deliver farm-to-table produce, eliminating lengthy truck routes.

Harbor Harvest has a store front in Norwalk, distributing fresh produce to restaurants and consumers. With a focus on sustainability, owner Robert Kunkel had a vision to link the farms of Long Island Sound with the retail outlet in Norwalk in an efficient, sustainable way.

Captain Ben Moore is the realization of that vision. As a hybrid vessel, based on proven technology, it is fitted with lithium batteries connected to a BAE Systems HybriDrive.

The vessel’s batteries will be charged at either their Norwalk or Huntington locations, allowing the vessel to run emissions free. As a backup, a pair of diesel generators are fitted for onboard power generation. A cross-sound trip will take around 45 minutes, instead of upwards of 9 hours by road. The vessel can carry the equivalent of three to five full trucks. As well as being cleaner than trucks and reducing the travelling distance, the vessel also seeks to remove trucks from one of the most congested highways in North America.

The vessel has capacity for 28 palettes, of which 10 are in a fully refrigerated space. A stern folding access ramp and a deck crane lend flexibility to loading and unloading. The vessel’s low draft also allows it entry to areas with little or no established infrastructure.

Captain Ben Moore is the third in a series of 19m hybrid vessels built in the USA, after R/V Spirit of the Sound and CUNY I. Spirit of the Sound is a classroom and research vessel operated by The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk. Operating on Long Island Sound, the vessel has been a game changer for the aquarium, allowing them to operate classroom tours quietly at slow speeds. CUNY I is a hybrid propulsion Incat Crowther 19 operated by The Science and Resilience institute at Jamaica Bay. CUNY I operates full and half day scientific excursions, in addition to being available to private enterprise for charter.

Colin Thom, associate director of Vessel Operations for The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, said R/V Spirit of the Sound’s hybrid-electric system saves the Aquarium significant fuel costs with the majority of its cruise programs.

“Most of our vessel programs – which we present to school groups and to the public on Long Island Sound year-round – can be performed over their 2.5 hours with little need to engage the diesel engine,” Thom said. “RVS’s quiet operation – and her steadiness and stability – are ideal for these educational presentations at sea.”

In Australia, Incat Crowther’s fourth hybrid vessel, Spirit of the Wild, has been in operation for over a year. The Incat Crowther 33 uses hybrid technology to revolutionize the service it offers. Operating in Tasmania’s World Heritage listed wilderness, Spirit of the Wild offers silent cruising on the Gordon River.

“The hybrid electric mode has proven to be very reliable in operation and not required any significant increase in maintenance to our previous conventional vessel. We also use less hours on the main engines which increases our maintenance intervals.” said Geoff Eyers, General Manager of Gordon River Cruises. “We have been able to offer our customers an immersive experience in the local environment by using the quiet drive hybrid electric mode. The feeling on board has exceeded all of our expectations – it is very smooth and comfortable. We are very pleased with the solution Incat Crowther has delivered to meet our requirements.”

Incat Crowther’s growing range of Hybrid vessels demonstrates a wide range of applications and the breadth of expertise to apply this technology effectively. From world heritage wilderness to highly-developed and congested regions, hybrid research, passenger and cargo transport has been proven in marine operations.