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May 12, 2004

Austal unit to build private survey vessel

Austal Limited (ASB) has secured a A$7.1 million (US$4.95 million) contract to manufacture a research/pleasure vessel for a private owner. It will be built at Austal's Image Marine subsidiary.

The 37.7 m aluminum monohull will blend the customized comfort and features expected by guests on private and tourism vessels with the functionality and practicality of a working vessel. It will be delivered to the Bahamas for mid 2005.

Image Marine Sales and Marketing Manager Mark Stothard said the vessel combines the aesthetics and function of a supply vessel with the facilities and feel of a dive live-aboard – a market in which Image Marine vessels lead the way.

"The client is a keen underwater researcher and documentary maker, and saw the oil rig supply and support monohull Kurnai Tide on the Austal website. Our design team created a proposal using the supply boat as a basis and incorporated live-aboard style facilities to create a private vessel that can be used for both research and pleasure," Stothard said.

While the exterior of the vessel will be similar to that of an offshore work boat, onboard the vessel will display the features of a dive live-aboard including dive compressor, desalinator and a large storage area for dive gear and two tenders. These facilities will be equally useful for underwater research and recreational diving. Teak decking provides an air of sophistication and ample storage space is available for tenders and other water sports equipment.

The accommodation for six guests and four crew will be provided in five suites, each with its own en suite bathroom. Fitout will predominantly be undertaken by the shipbuilder however, at the owner’s request the Australian shipyard will host a group of Italian artisans who will create and assemble the three guest suites and the lounge areas.

Two large entertaining areas are located on the main deck - a lounge/dining and a TV/lounge. A crew mess is located forward of the commercial kitchen quality galley, as are stairs leading both up to the bridge and down to the lower deck.

With the capacity to remain at sea for up to 28 days, the vessel will be powered by twin diesel engines, giving speeds up to 18.5 knots.

Stothard said that he expected both commercial and private vessel buyers to be interested in vessels with similar levels of comfort and practicality.

"Whereas pleasure boat manufacturers would struggle to provide the necessary customization and functionality at a reasonable price, and work boat builders may be challenged by the quality of fitout required, Image Marine vessels are unique in that they have successfully integrated both requirements time and again," he said.

"Commercial dive operators have already recognized these benefits and as this contract shows, private buyers are now also recognizing the benefits of quality, custom designed and built vessels."

Length Overall: 37.7 m
Length Waterline: 34.4 m
Beam Moulded: 8.0 m
Hull Depth Moulded: 2.0 m
Guests: 6
Guest suites: 3 x double berth, all with en suites
Crew: 4

Engines: 2 x Caterpillar 3508
Gearboxes: 2 x Reintjes WVS 430/1
Propellers: 2 x fixed pitch
Speed: 18.5 knots

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