Project Presentation

Building the world’s first self-propelled Air Cushion Barge (ACB)

The ACB is scheduled for completion in the first half of 2021 and is being built to the rules of RINA international
classification society. It will be capable of carrying 150 tons of cargo over shallow water, tidal flats, marshes, ice and
tundra at a speed in excess of 6 knots with a ground surface pressure of 1 pound per square inch.

Mangistau ACV Solutions Ltd is a part of the larger CMI Offshore Ltd group of companies.

In this page we set out some initial information of the ACB currently under construction which we trust
will be the first of a family of such units. Plans exist for the construction of a variety of larger capacity units capable
of a variety of operations.

Mangistau ACV Solutions Ltd as the Main Contractor is responsible for the overall project which is designed on a modular basis with all major items being removable for transit and operating on a ‘plug and play’ basis.  The core ACB hull was subcontracted to Ferguson Marine Engineering Ltd (FMEL) in Port Glasgow, Scotland with the majority of the remaining equipment being sourced in the United Kingdom.  Sadly FMEL became insolvent during the ACB hull construction and was subsequently nationalised by the Scottish Government, and more recently was subject to Covid 19 suspension of activity.  This necessitated changes to the construction programme where the ACB Hull was launched once it was watertight and then moved to King George V dock where it was lifted ashore for deconstruction in order to enable all the components to be transferred to the Caspian Sea where hull reassembly and completion of the ACB.  The vessel is currently being commissioned.

For further information please contact

Hull and Lift Fans

The ACB measures 55m long by 24m wide incorporating a watertight hull of 46m by 15m with a 2m depth, and an
additional air plenum box surrounding the hull.

The air plenum box is comprised by the side of the hull and a steel extension of the deck, together with the skirt
attached. Lift fans are located at the top of the air plenum box generating an air flow sufficient to pressure the air
plenum box providing lift to the ACB.

Vessel Propulsion

The ACB has been designed with two alternate means of diesel-driven propulsion as follows: Two retractable marine propulsion units for water depth in excess of 5m. The ACB will remain on its lift fans presenting limited drag and enabling fuel efficient operations where appropriate. Three ducted variable-pitch air propulsion fans with each unit having a airflow of 500 cubic metres per second. In conjunction with the air cushion, this enables the ACB to operate over shallow water, ice and swamp/tundra/mud flats.

Range and Special Operations

The ACB has been designed to operate with a 400 nautical mile range in temperatures between -40C and +40C. The vessel has also been optimised for Arctic Operations with a speciality over-ice skirt design where appropriate. The ACB can be provided with a full operations team with cold weather experience.

ACB Construction – Images and Video

Ferguson Shipyard Hull Construction – Timelapse Footage
Completed ACB Hull at Ferguson Shipyard
ACB Hull Launch – June 24, 2020
ACB towed up River Clyde from Port Glasgow to King George V Dock
ACB Lift at King George V Dock
ACB Deconstruction Commences for shipment to Caspian Sea – The First Cut
After completion of dismantling and other works in Glasgow, a transit vessel was loaded with 63 modules and pieces for the voyage to the Caspian Sea.
Transit vessel departing from Glasgow – next stop the Caspian Sea
Ugah Discovery arrived in Baku and discharged the ACB components for reintegration
Following Reintegration – Coming alongside in Baku for adding deck modules – December 2020
Reintegrated and awaiting final work, commissioning and trials

600 Tons of ACB Lifts-off

The ACB completed its first pre-commissioning lift fan tests alongside in Baku on Thursday February 26th .  The first picture below shows the ACB prior to starting two of the lift fans. 

With both lift fans at 650 rpm and the engines warm the dampers were opened and the ACB started to lift. When it stabilised engine speed was raised in 200rpm stages and the photograph shows that at 1000rpm considerable air is evident as the water is pushed out.  This movement diminishes as the ACB rises and at 1600 rpm the vessel had almost reached maximum lift height. At 1800 rpm there is almost no evidence of air loss and the lift is stable with approximately 600 tons of ACB and ballast sitting on air.  At no stage was the third lift fan in operation indicating the robust nature of the design.

3D Model Images

  • 55m x 24m
  • 150 tons cargo carrying capacity
  • 400 nautical miles endurance
  • Built to IACS Class
  • Scalable
  • Environmentally and ecologically sensitive due to limited weight and footprint
  • Suitable for shallow water, swamps, all terrain and ice