67 m high speed cat for Malta

September 29, 2004

Austal wins order from Malta

West Australian shipbuilder Austal has announce a contract for a 67 m high speed vehicle-passenger catamaran for Virtu Ferries of Malta.

The contract is reportedly worth around Australian $40 million (about US$28.6 million).

The new vessel is scheduled for delivery to Virtu Ferries in time for the European 2005 summer season and will have the capacity to carry 600 passengers and 65 cars or 95 lane metres of trucks plus 35 cars.

Commenting on the contract Austal's Managing Director, Bob McKinnon said, "This latest order for a mid-sized car ferry is particularly pleasing in that it adds another important customer to our extensive list of clients.

"We already have a strong forward order position and this contract obviously enhances that."

Established in 1988 Virtu Ferries operates fast ferry services between Malta and Sicily. This new vessel will operate on routes from Valletta to Catania, Licata and Pozzallo. Designed specifically for this route, with aft and side ramps for rapid turnaround, the ferry will greatly expand the service to mainland Italy.

The ferry is powered by six MTU 16 cylinder diesel engines driving a Kamewa propulsion system through six ZF gearboxes. Austal Sales Manager Glenn Williams said this arrangement was developed to provide the optimum solution to meet the operator's preferred engine manufacturer, speed and deadweight requirements.

The vessel has a maximum deadweight of 260 tonnes and will operate loaded at a speed of 35 knots providing a year-round schedule catering for car traffic and the import/export of cargo.

The vehicle deck on the new ferry will offer a clear height of 4.6 m allowing for shipment of campers and coaches, a niche market hitherto untapped by Malta. Europe is experiencing an unprecedented increase in coach travel, with hundreds of thousands of coach tourists across the continent each year and increasing numbers taking advantage of reduced rates in the shoulder months in Southern Europe. The new vessel will ensure Malta is seen as extension of mainland Europe following its accession to the EU on 1 May 2004.

Passenger accommodations will be located on two decks: the tourist class upper deck for 508 passengers also provides two catering outlets, two shops and recreational facilities. The bridge deck will accommodates 92 club class passengers, with outside seats also available.

The vessel is being built in accordance with the requirements, and under the survey, of Det Norske Veritas, conforming to IMO codes and Malta Flag State and Italian Port State Regulations. Registration will be under the Malta Flag.

Principal particulars Auto Express 67

Overall length: 67.5 m

Waterline length (approx): 58.8 m

Molded beam: 18.2 m

Hull depth (molded): 6.3 m

Maximum hull draft: 2.6 m

Maximum deadweight: 260 tonnes

Passengers: 600

Cars: 65 cars

Heavy vehicles: 95 truck lane-meters (plus 35 cars

Main engines: 6 x MTU 16V 4000 M71

Gearboxes: 4 x ZF 7550 NRH and 2 x ZF 7550 NRB2

Waterjets: 4 x Kamewa 80SII and 2 x Kamewa 90SII

Speed: 35 knots

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