Austal has celebrated the company’s latest development in high-speed trimaran technology with the revealing of an 83 metre trimaran ferry, under construction for JR Kyushu Jet Ferry of Japan, at the company’s Henderson South shipyard in Western Australia.
Austal Hull 396, to be known as Queen Beetle, was designed and constructed by Austal Australia and is due for launch in mid-March 2020. The vessel will be handed over to JR Kyushu Jet Ferry in June 2020 and will commence services between Busan, South Korea and Fukuoka, Japan in July 2020.
Speaking at the reveal ceremony, which was attended by more than 100 guests, including Governor of Western Australia The Hon Kim Beazley AC and West Australian Premier The Hon Mark McGowan MLA, Austal Chief Executive David Singleton said the company was proud to be introducing the new trimaran to Japan while offering outstanding value to a new customer, JR Kyushu Jet Ferry.
“We’re very proud to be introducing this new Austal trimaran to one of the most technologically advanced and mature markets in the world. In fact, Queen Beetle will be the first high-speed trimaran ferry to be delivered to and operate in Japan.
“This stunning new ship will truly transform the fast-ferry journey between Japan and South Korea, offering significantly improved seakeeping and an exceptional on-board experience for passengers and crew.
“With a capacity to carry 502 passengers in greater comfort, with previously unavailable amenities such as a shop and café, this new trimaran represents outstanding value to our customer, JR Kyushu Jet Ferry,” he said.
Since 2005, Austal has delivered 14 high-speed aluminium trimarans worldwide, including 11 for the United States Navy. Austal has a further 11 trimarans under construction or scheduled for construction at the company’s shipyards around the world - and remains the only shipbuilder designing, constructing and sustaining large high speed trimaran ferries, globally.
More than 200 West Australians were employed in the design and construction of the vessel, spending a combined 450,000 hours to get the vessel to the current point in its construction program.
WA Premier Mark McGowan said it was particularly pleasing that a range of local suppliers and subcontractors had also contributed to the construction of the vessel, in addition to those directly employed by Austal.
“The extent of the local content in this vessel is proof of both a vibrant shipbuilding industry in Western Australia as well a testament to the quality of the work and products that Western Australian companies can contribute to the maritime sector, whether in civil or defence areas,” Mr McGowan said.
JR Kyushu Railway Company President Mr Toshihiko Aoyagi, and JR Kyushu Jet Ferry President Mr Masayuki Mizuno, who both travelled from Japan to attend the ceremony, congratulated the Austal project team on the progress of the vessel and remarked on the growing anticipation for the new ship in Japan.
“JR Kyushu Jet Ferry is very excited about the imminent launch, completion and delivery of the Queen Beetle trimaran and we look forward to commencing services in Japan, in July. The reveal ceremony has assured us the Queen Beetle will be the most impressive ship in our fleet,” Mr Aoyagi said.
The distinctively red-painted Queen Beetle will be able to transport 502 passengers (and 20 crew) across 2 passenger decks, at speeds up to 37 knots on the 115 nautical mile route.
Featuring a customised interior designed by Eiji Mitooka of Don Design Associates, the Queen Beetle includes two classes of seating plus compartments for groups and families, a children’s play area and nursing room, a café and bar, duty-free shop, lockers for luggage and all-access spaces for wheelchairs and prams. An outdoor viewing deck will further enhance the on-board experience for passengers.