Order for Largest Ever Austal Catamaran

Austal will build its largest catamaran to date following an order from Denmark’s Nordic Ferry Services for the design and construction of a 113 metre high speed vehicle-passenger ferry.

The vessel will be built by Austal’s Western Australian workforce and is scheduled for delivery in 2011.

Designed to carry 1400 passengers and 357 cars, the vessel will be among the world’s top 10 high speed ferries in terms of capacity and will surpass the landmark 127 metre trimaran ferry “Benchijigua Express” to boast the highest vehicle-passenger capacity of any Austal-built vessel.

The ferry is intended for operation between Rønne on the Danish island of Bornholm and Ystad in south east Sweden where it will join Danish operator BornholmsTrafikken’s existing 86 metre Austal catamaran “Villum Clausen”, which has been operating along the route since 2000.

Austal Managing Director Bob Browning said the company was selected following a competitive international tender process, during which a number of competing large aluminium catamaran designs were considered.

“This significant commercial contract demonstrates Austal’s ongoing commitment to the commercial high speed ferry market and maintains our position as world leader in the design and construction of large customised ferries for both new and existing customers,” Mr Browning said.

“In the current economic environment, satisfying the customer’s specific vessel requirements has been a key contributor to closing mutually beneficial transactions and we believe this approach is critical to the ongoing success of both our company, and our clients,” he said.

With a maximum speed of up to 40 knots, the vessel will deliver an improved transportation service to Bornholm residents while also meeting the seasonal demand generated along the route by holiday makers.

With Danish environmental regulations for fast ferries among the most stringent in the world, Austal’s design is required to comply with legislation covering environmental noise, wave-wash and exhaust emissions. The design also minimises the need for alterations to the route’s existing port infrastructure, enabling both the 113m catamaran and the 86 metre “Villum Clausen” to operate in the summer season using the same vehicle and passenger ramps.

Austal Director – Global Sales and Marketing, Andrew Bellamy, said the design drew on the company’s 20-year history in commercial vessel manufacture, which includes the delivery of 36 fast car ferries.

“This contract is the result of Austal working with the customer over many months with a variety of different vessel designs to offer a solution that best met the Danish Government’s tender requirements,” Mr Bellamy said.

“Austal greatly values its existing customer relationships and is proud that this vessel will be our 18th Auto Express delivered to a repeat customer,” he said.

Three car decks accessible via both bow and stern ramps will ensure the efficient transfer of the catamaran’s large vehicle capacity. Passenger seating is situated across two levels, with lounge-style facilities situated on the vessel’s bridge deck and accessible via a large staircase. A fully equipped catering area, separate bar facility, a dedicated shopping area and two child play rooms are also located on the upper deck.

The vessel will be powered by four diesel engines and will be built in accordance with the requirements and under the survey of Det Norske Veritas, conforming to International Maritime Organisation HSC Codes.

Nordic Ferry Services is a joint venture between BornholmsTrafikken and Clipper Group.