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May 7 2002

Austal to build two cats for Norway
Austal Limited has won a contract for two 41.5 m passenger/cargo catamarans for ferry operator, Ofotens og Vesteraalens Dampskibsselskad ASA (OVDS) of Norway.

Australian press reports indicate the order is worth Aus.$23 million (about US $12.4 million).

The two new aluminium catamarans will be built by Austal subsidiary, Image Marine and are due for delivery at the end of April 2003.

Austal's managing director, Bob McKinnon said the contract was won in very competitive circumstances, including competition from local Norwegian shipyards.

"This is the second contract for a Norwegian client by the Austal group and is the result of a concerted team effort by Image and Austal sales and design staff,"McKinnon said. "OVDS' preference for an Austal product and our ability to offer a fully customized vessel were major factors in securing this order. With the large vehicle/passenger ferry market still not as buoyant as we would like, it is very pleasing to continue to win orders across our product portfolio."

The two 41.5 m catamarans, with an operating speed of approximately 34 knots, will have the capacity to carry 216 passengers and 12 tonnes of refrigerated cargo and will feature a functional, commercial interior outfit. OVDS currently operate a substantial fleet of vessels including high speed and conventional ferries, cruise ships and cargo vessels.

This contract adds to the 39 m live-aboard catamaran currently under construction at Image Marine for operation in the Maldives, and follows closely the delivery of two 37 metre river catamarans for Portuguese operator, Transtejo.

In other group activities, Austal currently has under construction three passenger ferries for operation in Hong Kong, one 86 m vehicle/passenger ferry for Conferry of Venezuela and two 69 m 'boutique' cruise vessels for Bora Bora Cruises of Tahiti. Luxury motor yacht builder, Oceanfast is booming with the construction of four luxury motor yachts, including Greg Norman's 69.5 m "Norman Expedition Yacht", Aussie Rules.

Austal USA currently has under construction a 34 m dinner cruise vessel for Island Queen Cruises of Miami, Florida.

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