470 February 2008
Weesam Express From Sibu to Cebu
With routes running between about a dozen centers on several island in the Southern Philippines, SRN Fast Seacrafts, Inc has enjoyed a steady growth since the company was founded in 1997. Based in Zamboanga on the Island of Mindano the firm operated on a run between there and Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia. It has also developed a growing number other inter-island routes. (www.weesamexpress.com)
It was to one of those, the route between Cebu and Ormoc, on Camotis Island that the company’s latest vessel the aluminum M/V Weesam Express 7 was assigned on her deliver from the Yong Choo Kui Shipyard in Sarawak Malaysia’s coincidentally named city of Sibu. (See Hotip#226 at www.haig-brown.com ) As with others of this design the boat presents a dramatic presence when arriving in a port. Reminiscent of a wingless Boeing passenger jet, the sleek 44 by 5-meter craft is powered by a pair of Cummins KTA50 M2 engines each generating 1800 HP at 1900 RPM. Turning into ZF gears these engines are mounted well aft in a hull that incorporates a hull-bottom extension for added hull length that allows the craft to achieve speeds in the 30-knot range. This allows three round trips per day on the route that takes from 2 to 2.5-hour one way depending on sea conditions. The 190-passengers are carried in air-conditioned interior cabin or enjoying the sea air in an upper deck partially open seating area. Boat and service crew total 13. A pair of Cummins 6BT5.9-G6-powered 75 kW generators powers the boat's extensive electrical systems.
Captain Lito Bacaylan reports that, in spite of its dramatic length to beam ratio, the twin-screw hull is easily maneuvered around the piers.