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December 10, 2010

Austal moves giant cat out of fabrication hall

Austal today moved its largest ever catamaran out of the fabrication hall at its Henderson, Western Australia, shipyard.

The 113 m long vessel is being built for Denmark's Nordic Ferry Service

The vessel will be able to hold up to 1,400 passengers and 357 cars when complete and travel at speeds of up to 40 knots. At around 1,000 tonnes, the vessel is the heaviest Austal has ever built weighing slightly more than the 127 m trimaran Benchijigua Express delivered to Fred. Olsen, S.A. in 2005.

The size of the ship has dictated that its upper deck, constructed as a separate "Super Unit," be fitted outside the fabrication hall. The "Super Unit" weighs in at over 170 tonnes, which is more then the total aluminum weight of two 47.5m vessels also currently under construction.

Today Austal commenced joining the two parts together using its own advanced and highly specialized aluminum welding techniques.

This began in the early hours of the morning with the lifting of the "Super Unit". The rest of the vessel was then towed from the fabrication hall and positioned beneath the "Super unit". The delicate process of lowering the unit and aligning it with the main structure was successfully completed just a few hours after the challenging operation began.

Austal's ability to successfully marry the two complex structures and systems is due in large part to its Advanced Ship Building processes. These include the use of a multi headed gantry welder which on this vessel has been used to weld nearly 53 km of aluminium structural planking.

The ship which is bound for Denmark in mid 2011 will serve as a vehicle passenger ferry linking Denmark and Sweden.


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