AUSTAL (ASX: ASB) announced last Friday (Sep21) that construction has commenced on the first of two 117m high-speed passenger trimaran ferries for Fred. Olsen (see also CruiseMapper). Developed in Henderson, Western Australia at Austal’s centre of excellence in maritime design, these technologically advanced, next-generation vessels will be used by Fred. Olsen Express in the Canary Islands, joining their sister ship, The Benchijigua Express.
Capable of transferring over 1,100 passengers and 276 cars at speeds up to 38 knots these vessels will feature the latest in Austal’s optimised hull form and vessel design and will be fitted with Austal’s industry-leading ride control technology.
“The Benchijigua Express is the benchmark for blue-water commercial ferry operations, exceeding expectations for performance, speed and customer experience in the Canary Islands. This vessel will be a game-changer in the international high-speed ferry market and we are proud to be building it for Fred Olsen” Austal CEO, David Singleton said.
“The trimaran vessels design provides advanced seakeeping whilst maintaining the carrying capacity of a catamaran. This uniquely Austal design provides a more comfortable ride for passengers whilst on board while maintaining the carrying capacity of a traditional catamaran.”
“The advanced technology of the Austal trimaran led to the development of the Independence-class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) for the US Navy, where there are nine units currently in service. The continuing customer satisfaction of the trimaran platform both by commercial and military customers is the greatest endorsement of the advanced seakeeping and versatility of the Austal trimaran design” he said.
Ivan Fernandez Martinez, technical manager at Fred. Olsen said, “After the signing of the contract, the project spiral was launched, which in several iterations has improved the different details of the vessel, avoiding interferences and seeking appropriate solutions based on the current experience of years operating in the Canary Islands. After these months of engineering, the Metal Cutting ceremony symbolizes the start of this exciting phase of production, where our new trimarans generation will come alive".
The contract with Fred Olsen for two 117m trimarans is worth AU$190million and was awarded to Austal in October 2017.