Austal to build 80 m vehicle-passenger cat for repeat customer

Austal has secured an order valued at around Euro 35 million for a highly efficient medium speed ferry for French Polynesian operator and existing customer, SNC Aremiti Ferry. The 80 m vehicle-passenger catamaran is scheduled for delivery in October 2013.

This is the fourth vessel the Australian shipbuilder has sold to Aremiti and its associated companies. The new ferry is expected to operate alongside an existing Austal catamaran between the islands of Tahiti and Moorea, expanding access to the area for locals, tourists and business operators.

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Austal says that with a fully loaded speed of 20 knots, the new design brings the efficiency and other operating cost advantages that result from its expertise in aluminum construction and multihull vessel design to the medium speed RoPax ferry market. Austal leverages off its experience of producing over 220 vessels, including more than130 catamarans and trimarans, to provide a very efficient hullform and combine it with a fully optimized propulsion system.

With a capacity for up to 967 passengers and up to 146 cars, or a mix of cars and trucks, the new ferry will be French-flagged and is designed to meet EU domestic voyage rule requirements. In addition to enabling local tourism and personal transport, the ferry will support inter-island trade. To do this the vessel has substantial truck capacity and will be certified to carry dangerous goods including flammable gasses and flammable liquids.

With bow and stern ramps enabling drive through operation, the vehicle deck features hoistable mezzanine decks and nearly 230 freight lane-meters suitable for trucks weighing up to 50 tonnes.

Passenger seating will be split over two levels, with the bridge deck accommodating up to 435 passengers in one spacious lounge. The 532 passengers on the upper deck will be accommodated in two lounges. The aft section features table and chair arrangements as well as tub and lounge style seating, with the forward section providing predominantly aircraft style seating. A kiosk is located in the middle of the upper deck, and passengers are also able to access a 114 seat sun deck
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The design meets the latest EU regulations governing access for disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility. This includes providing facilities for up to 24 passengers in wheelchairs, with a lift aft providing access between the main, upper and bridge decks.

Crew facilities include a laundry and separate crew and officers mess areas.

The ferry will be powered by four MTU 16V 4000 M53R engines coupled to fixed pitch propellers. Four rudders and twin bow thrusters combine to provide excellent maneuverability. The Austal ride control system comprising of forward T-foils and aft interceptors will enhance passenger comfort by reducing vessel motions, and enables trim to be adjusted to enhance operating efficiency.

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Aremiti has been operating shipping services between Tahiti and Moorea since 1991. Its current fleet includes the 56 meter high speed ferry "Aremiti 5" which Austal delivered in 2004.

Austal Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Bellamy, said he was happy to be welcoming Aremiti back as a customer and said the contract provided further evidence that the company's strategy was working.

"Repeat business is the ultimate measure of customer satisfaction, and so it is particularly gratifying that our first two new contracts for the year have come from existing clients," he said.

Last month Austal signed a new contract for a 27 meter wind farm support vessel with Turbine Transfers, which already has three other vessels under construction at Austal.

"Austal has identified medium speed ferries and wind farm vessels as areas where we can apply our skills to create growth within the business. These two new orders show that our strategy of continuing to apply and expand our portfolio of intellectual property through product development and research is paying dividends," Mr. Bellamy said.

"It is helping us to build upon our very substantial defence shipbuilding order book by securing orders from the commercial vessel sector."

Vessel Specifications

Principal Particulars
Length overall: 79.60 meters
Length waterline: 78.20 meters
Beam (molded): 17.00 meters
Depth (molded): 5.90 meters
Hull draft (approx): 3.50 meters

Capacity
Passengers: 967
Vehicles: 146 cars/up to 228 truck lane-meters
Crew: 20   

Propulsion
Main engines: 4 x MTU 16V 4000 M53R
Propulsion: 4 x Fixed pitch propellers 

Performance
Speed: 20 knots

Classification
Germanischer Lloyd

Flag 
French Flag

February 9, 2011