Austal Limited (ASX:ASB) announced on Sunday (Feb28) that Austal Philippines has successfully delivered Hull 419, a 109 metre high-speed catamaran ferry, to Fjord Line of Norway.
The vehicle-passenger ferry, named FSTR, is the largest aluminium vessel ever constructed in the Philippines – and currently the largest ferry (by volume) to be constructed by Austal, at any of the company’s shipyards worldwide.
Austal Chief Executive Officer Paddy Gregg said the delivery of FSTR during the current COVID19 pandemic was a significant achievement and a testament to the resilience, commitment, skills and safety of the Austal Philippines team. “It’s impressive to see a large high speed ferry like this delivered in the best of times, but for the team to deliver this new vessel during a global pandemic is simply outstanding.
The Austal Philippines team has clearly demonstrated its ability to deliver multiple, complex projects under challenging circumstances, while maintaining a safe working environment,” Mr Gregg said. “My congratulations go to the entire Austal Philippines team and Fjord Line on the delivery of this exciting new ship, the largest high-speed ferry ever constructed in the Philippines.”
Fjord Line’s FSTR is capable of transporting 1,200 passengers at up to 40 knots and features Austal’s largest ever vehicle-carrying capacity constructed to date, with a beam of 30.5 metres enabling 404 cars to be carried across two decks.
The ship features several key design innovations that enhance operating performance and passenger comfort, including a new, optimised hull form that will minimise fuel consumption and wake wash when operating on the Skagerrak Sea between Hirtshals, Denmark and Kristiansand, Norway.
At the vessel handover held at the Balamban Cebu shipyard, Austal Philippines President Wayne Murray said the delivery of FSTR was just the first of three large high-speed ferries to be constructed at the company’s newly expanded shipyard.
“With the delivery of FSTR, we’re now preparing for the launch of Hull 395, Bañaderos Express; a 118 metre trimaran ferry under construction for Fred. Olsen Express of the Canary Islands. Following closely behind that, we have the 115 metre Express 5 under construction for Molslinjen of Denmark”, Mr Murray said.
“We’ve just delivered the largest high-speed ferry ever built in the Philippines and in fact, the largest high-speed ferry built by any Austal shipyard, anywhere in the world. And soon, we will do it again, when we complete Express 5 for Molslinjen. We are indeed a record setting and record breaking shipyard.”
Hull 395, Bañaderos Express, is scheduled for launch later in the 2nd quarter of CY2021 and is a sister ship to Bajamar Express, constructed at Austal Australia and delivered in July 2020. Hull 423, a 115 metre high speed catamaran ferry to be known as Express 5, is a follow-up order from Molslinjen of Denmark and is scheduled to launch in the third quarter of CY2021.