January 7, 2008
Austal ferry achieves 55.9 knots on trials
Austal reports that its 65 meter Auto Express catamaran ferry "Shinas" has achieved a record service speed of 52 knots during sea trials, making it the fastest diesel-powered vehicle-passenger ferry currently in commercial service.
The vessel's confirmed service speed of 52 knots exceeds contract requirements by one knot, with the vessel also reaching a peak speed of 55.9 knots (103.5 km/h) during its recently completed sea trials.
"Shinas" is the first of two identical vessels being built for the Sultanate of Oman at Austal's facilities in Henderson, Western Australia.
The Sultanate's requirements challenged Austal's naval architects to develop a new, customized, high efficiency hull design capable of delivering record-breaking performance, while the construction team had to meet demanding weight targets.
The catamaran joins a parade of Austal's record breakers that includes the 88 m "Villum Clausen"-- current holder of the 24 hour distance record for a commercial passenger vessel (1,063 nm at an average speed of 44.29 knots, set in 2000).
Ordered in May 2006, the two vessels for Oman will become the flagships in the Sultanate's expanded coastal marine transport network.
Each will carry 208 passengers and 56 cars on a 180 nautical mile route between Shinas and Oman's Musandam Peninsular.
The vessels have the capability to assist in search and rescue and medivac operations thanks to landing facilities suitable for a medium class helicopter.
Each vessel is powered by four MTU 20 cylinder 1163 series diesel engines each producing 6,500 kW and driving Rolls-Royce / Kamewa waterjets. The vessels meet Det Norske Veritas survey requirements and conform to the HSC code.
"Shinas" is scheduled to arrive in Oman in February 2008, with its sister vessel to follow in July.
Seating for all 208 passengers onboard "Shinas" is situated on the upper deck. The vessel's interior is divided into three classes--Tourist Class, First Class and VIP.
Tourist Class is positioned aft on the upper deck and is installed with both fixed and adjustable Beurteaux Tourist High Back seating for 172 passengers. Each seat is equipped with leather headrests, armrests, meal trays and life-jacket storage. Twenty Beurteaux tub seats with tables are positioned with views aft. All passengers onboard "Shinas" have access to the vessel's Gitesse IMCOS audio-visual entertainment system via headphone jacks installed in each seat.
Located forward on the upper deck, First Class, provides its 28 passengers with views over the bow.
A private, 8-person VIP room is positioned just forward and center of First Class. Beurteaux Executive Recliners are installed in both First Class and the VIP room.
To enhance overall passenger comfort, ride control onboard "Shinas" is provided by Austal SeaState via the installation of Interceptors to the ferry's transom.
The vessel's wheelhouse provides 360-degree visibility, including a view to the helicopter landing deck located directly aft of the wheelhouse.
The helicopter landing deck is rated for a 6.4 tonne helicopter-- capable of assisting in search and rescue and medivac operations Ð is situated on the bridge deck. The helicopter deck has approval for domestic operations and lighting for night operations as well as a CILAS gyro stabilized glide scope indicator. Full fire fighting facilities are also provided.
The full length vehicle deck allows space for 56 cars or 54 truck lane meters plus 40 cars with a deck clear height of over three meters.
The vehicle deck aft can take axle loads of 9 tonnes (single wheel) or 12 tonnes (dual wheel). The remainder of the main deck caters for maximum axle loads of 3 tonnes (single wheel).
Lightweight structural fire protection, zoned sprinkler systems and hydrants ensures optimal fire safety during vehicle transport.
As an added safety measure, the vessel has a medical transfer station accessible off the vehicle deck, offering a high level of medical equipment for patient transport.