OCTOBER 7, 2016 — Incat is to design and build a 110 m vehicle passenger (RoPax) ferry for Virtu Ferries of Malta.
Virtu says the ferry represents an investment of Euros 75 million.
The new wave piercing catamaran will be the fifteenth fast ferry that Virtu has acquired and will be the largest high speed catamaran in the Mediterranean. With a service speed up to 38 knots it will complete the crossing from Malta to Sicily, berth to berth, in around 90 minutes.
For Virtu Ferries this new vessel provides a significant increase in capacity offering 43% more truck capacity, 15% more pax capacity and 7% more car capacity. The vessel will incorporate a three class interior (VIP, Business and Economy) with a total of 1,134 seats of which 996 seats are inside and 138 outdoor.
The garage deck is designed to carry 23 heavy commercial trailers, equivalent to 490 truck lane meters or 167 cars.
The design was modeled by Revolution Design and Seaspeed Consulting and then extensively tank tested and optimized at the QinetiQ tank and aerospace testing facility in the U.K.
The ferry will be built to DNV-GL classification society rules and comply with IMO High Speed Craft HSC 2000, the Malta Flag statutory requirements and Italian Port State requirements.
As with all other Virtu vessels the new Incat built ferry will fly the Malta flag.
Construction of the vessel will commence in early 2017 with delivery scheduled at the end of 2018. Incat currently has a 500 strong workforce at its Hobart, Tasmania, shipyard and the yard is geared for delivering up to two large HSC per year.
Announcing the purchase Virtu Ferries Chairman and Owner Mr Francis Portelli said "We simply want to provide our passengers and freight operators with the highest levels of service, reliability and comfort yet at the same time operate an economical and environmentally sustainable high speed service. As this project has evolved over more than 12 months we have enjoyed an excellent cooperative working relationship with Incat, Revolution Design and Seaspeed Marine where they have listened to our particular requirements and continually evolved the design to a point where we are confident that we will be delivered a fantastic vessel suited not only to our requirements but the design is suited to many other island communities around the world. "
Robert Clifford, Chairman of Incat said, "Virtu Ferries is amongst the oldest, most respected and most discerning fast ferry operators in the world, they operate a variety of high speed craft services throughout the Mediterranean and Adriatic, and this vessel is intended for their year round lifeline service between Malta and European Union which is an immense responsibility to the people of the islands served. Virtu Ferries were looking for increased reliability, seakeeping, passenger comfort, capacity and economy with less operational downtime, we are pleased to welcome them to the Incat family of shipowners."