Winning its third contract for the New York market in six months, Austal Limited subsidiary, Austal USA has secured an order for a 43 m passenger catamaran for New York operator, Circle Line-Statue of Liberty Ferry, Inc.
Valued at approximately US $6.55 million, the high speed aluminum ferry will transport 600 passengers at a speed of up to 29 knots, providing harbor sightseeing cruises, evening dinner cruises and longer distance runs.
Austal managing director Bob McKinnon hailed the contract as another step in Austal becoming a major supplier of aluminum vessels to the U.S. domestic market.
"This order is another significant achievement for Austal USA, indicating that our forecast demand for high speed aluminum ferries in the U.S. is being realised," he said.
"Austal USA continue to develop skills and expertise with these new builds, positioning them well to continue to win orders for this type of craft and larger vessels."
The success in securing orders to date has prompted Austal USA to substantially increase its sales capability to capitalize on the company's growing reputation in North America.
The planned expansion of shipbuilding facilities at Austal USA will enable the yard to build larger defense and commercial vessels such as the 86 m catamaran now under construction at Austal's Australian facilities for operation across Lake Ontario between Rochester, New York State and Toronto, Canada.
"As well as being attractive contracts in their own right, each one of these orders further enables us to develop our U.S. capabilities," McKinnon added.
Circle Line transports thousands of passengers each day to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island and the new 43 m catamaran will be its first aluminum fast ferry, designed to meet Circle Line's requirements for a vessel capable of fulfilling a number of different roles.
Commenting on the new contract, Circle Line's Chief Executive Officer, Mr Kevin Moran said, "This new vessel gives Circle Line the flexibility to provide an all-encompassing fleet to better serve the expansion of waterborne entertainment and transportation in the New York harbour."
The catamaran is scheduled to enter service in early July 2003 and the New York operator has an option to purchase a second vessel from Austal USA.