The San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority has christened the first of its fleet of ferries, ‘Gemini’.
‘‘Gemini’s’ exhaust is 85 percent cleaner than EPA emission standards for Tier II (2007) marine engines, and is ten times cleaner than existing Bay Area ferries. Significant emissions reductions are achieved by incorporating selective catalytic reduction and a blend of biodiesel and ultra low sulphur diesel fuel. Two solar panels installed on the bridge deck will gauge the feasibility of solar power in the Bay’s foggy conditions. The catamaran’s sleek hull design reduces fuel consumption and minimizes shoreline response to wake impacts. Other innovative measures include sonar for avoiding whale strikes and floating debris. Additionally, the US Geological Service completed a three-year rafting bird study to enable WETA to operate the vessels with minimal impact on water birds for safety and security, the bridge was raised and eight-foot wide windows were installed to give the operator a 360-degree view. WETA’s 149-passenger vessel will be put into service on the Alameda / Oakland Ferry and Tiburon routes in January 2009 after modifications to the Alameda and Oakland docks. ‘Gemini’ will also be available as a spare vessel in case of temporary disruption of transit service or damage to the Bay Area highways and bridges.