August 24, 2007
Austal launches first ferry for Cotai Strip
The Cotai Strip CotaiJet , the first of ten 47.5 meter passenger catamarans for Venetian Marketing Services Limited has been launched at Austal's Henderson shipyard--unveiling the fleet's flamboyant livery for the first time.
Finished in electric blue, with a fountain flowing with gold and sparkling stars, the high speed ferries will provide a link from Hong Kong locations to he Cotai Strip on Macau.
With the tenth hull currently on the production line, Austal is on track to meet its delivery schedule for all vessels to be in operation in 2007 and 2008.
Since signing the contract last November, Austal has been stepping up implementation of Advanced Ship Building (ASB) design and construction techniques.
With the Venetian Macao Resort Hotel on The Cotai StripTM due to officially open on August 28, Austal Chief Operating Officer Steve Murdoch said the company was extremely proud to be able to launch the first vessel so soon after winning the contract. To enable ferry transport support to be made available as soon as the new Pac On Ferry Terminal is available in Macao, the first vessel is scheduled to leave Austal's Henderson shipyard on September 24, ahead of the remaining vessels, which will follow in multiples.
The Hong Kong to Macao service is already the world's largest ferry route in terms of passenger numbers with last year's passenger numbers from Hong Kong to Macao rising more than 13 per cent to 14.3 million passengers. Ridership is likely to double in the next three years, driven by the Las Vegas Sands Corp's development on the Cotai Strip.
Powered by four MTU 16 cylinder 4000 series diesel engines, the 47.5 m passenger catamarans have an operating speed of 42 knots carrying more than 400 passengers.