This article was first published in Spring/Summer 2018 issue of the International Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.
With the signing of new contracts and a memorandum of understanding for new vessels, Australian shipbuilder and trimaran hull design technology company Austal is enjoying something of a purple patch.
The company, celebrating 30 years in 2018, works with ferry companies from around the world to deliver trimaran designs that enhance seakeeping and motion control for vessels.
Austal recently signed a new contract with repeat customer Fred. Olsen for two 117-metre trimarans. It has also entered into a new Memorandum of Understanding with JR Kyushu Jet Ferry of Japan to develop an 80-metre trimaran in 2018.
Announced at Interferry 2017 in Split, Croatia, Austal’s new multi-million dollar deal with Fred. Olsen will see the company support Fred. Olsen’s aim to add two new ferries to its Express fleet of six vessels. This fleet currently transports more than 2.8 million passengers, 750,000 cars and more than 150,000 heavy vehicles over five routes in the Canary Islands each year.
The new ferries will be designed and constructed by Austal in Australia and both will have a beam of 28.2 metres. Once complete, they will be able to host more than 1,100 passengers and 276 cars each.
Both vessels will have a draft of just 4.2 metres and a deadweight of 750 tonnes, making them fast and manoeuvrable within any port they visit. The new vessels will be powered by four diesel engines from MTU and propelled by four waterjets, and will achieve service speeds of 38 knots with a range of up to 711 nautical miles.
“This is a watershed contract for our next generation trimaran design that will deliver new levels of seakeeping, passenger comfort and efficiency, and proves the trimaran is the right tool for the job in the challenging sea conditions of the Atlantic,” said Ben Marland, vice president, sales and marketing at Austal. “It is a game-changer in the market.”
Austal has a long-established partnership with Fred. Olsen, having worked together to launch Benchijigua Express, a 127-metre trimaran vessel, in 2005. Benchijigua Express was designed and constructed by Austal in Australia, and was a game-changer in the fast ferry market, as the vessel can transport as many as 1,350 passengers and more than 340 cars at speeds in excess of 40 knots.
Austal’s has also recently signed a memorandum of understanding with JR Kyushu. This will see the firm develop a new high speed trimaran passenger ferry concept for JR Kyushu Jet Ferry’s South Korea to Japan route. The design and build of the 80-metre trimaran will be based on Austal’s trimaran hull form, with the interior to be developed by leading Japanese designer Eiji Mitooka of Don Design.