Austal Limited (ASX:ASB) announced earlier today that Austal Australia has delivered Hull 396, Queen Beetle, to JR Kyushu Jet Ferry at a ceremony held at the Company’s shipyard in Henderson, Western Australia.
The 83 metre high-speed trimaran ferry is the first of its kind to be delivered to Japan and has been custom-designed to provide an enhanced passenger ferry service between Fukuoka, Japan and Busan, South Korea.
Speaking at the delivery ceremony, Austal Chief Executive Officer David Singleton said the Queen Beetle was a unique vessel that will set a new benchmark for high-speed ferry travel in Japan.
“Queen Beetle offers international ferry passengers a truly impressive, enhanced travel experience, with new levels of comfort, luxury and amenity previously unavailable on any ferry in Japan,” Mr Singleton said.
“Austal’s trimaran hull design allows up to 502 passengers to travel with complete freedom to enjoy the many amenities on board, including lounges, bars, a kiosk, a retail shop and a playground, while cruising at speeds up to 37 knots.
“We’re distinctly proud and delighted to be delivering this exciting new ferry to Japan and congratulate Kyushu Railway Company President Mr Toshihiko Aoyagi, and JR Kyushu Jet Ferry President Mr Masayuki Mizuno on this latest, and dare I say greatest, addition to their fleet.”
Featuring a customised interior designed by Mr Eiji Mitooka of Don Design Associates in Japan, 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 further enhances the on-board experience for passengers.
During sea trials, Queen Beetle achieved impressive speed, seakeeping and passenger comfort results, utilising Austal’s new MARINELINK technology that provides real-time monitoring, control and analysis of vessel performance, on board and remotely. With the benefit of Austal’s MOTION CONTROL System, Queen Beetle was able to reach trial speeds in excess of 40 knots whilst maintaining outstanding stability and passenger comfort.
More than 200 Austal Australia employees were directly engaged on the design and construction of the Queen Beetle, and the company drew on more than 200 Australian businesses over the course of the project to help deliver the major export contract, worth over A$68 million.