JUNE 26, 2012 — A 41 m high speed Austal aluminum passenger catamaran ferry, Vale Grand Sud, is now in operation in New Caledonia for mining company Vale Nouvelle-Calédonie.
The vessel is designed to provide new levels of speed and comfort to members of the mining company's 1,000 strong work force, as they commute between Noumea and the Goro mine site's Prony Port. It gives the Goro workers a comfortable commute of approximately one hour, making it possible for them to return home each day, instead of staying on the mine site or driving two hours through mountainous terrain from Goro to Noumea.
Delivery of Vale Grand Sud marks the first significant step in Austal's strategic plan to work more closely with resource companies and provide both marine and non-marine products utilizing its extensive capability in design, modular manufacturing and in-service product support.
Vale Grand Sud is the fourth Austal-built vessel to operate in New Caledonia.
Earlier this year, the shipbuilder delivered a 35 m monohull passenger ferry, Mary D Odyssey to Noumea-based tourism operators, Mary D Enterprises, joining the Austal-built Mary D Dolphin, which has transported more than 300,000 passengers on the Amadee Island route since its delivery in 1998.
The 52.4 m passenger catamaran, Betico, delivered to Compagnie Maritime des Iles in 1999, is the largest Austal-built vessel to operate in New Caledonia to date.
Austal Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Bellamy, said Austal is pleased to have delivered another quality product to New Caledonia.
"Throughout the sales, design and construction process of Vale Grand Sud"], Austal worked closely with Vale's Marine Operations team in New Caledonia. Our Design Manager and Sales Manager spent a significant amount of time assessing every detail of the operational requirements between Noumea and Prony Port," he said.
"This close interaction between client and builder benefited the development of this vessel immensely, as we were able to see first-hand the operating environment of the vessel.
"This close relationship continued with Austal's Project team during the construction and commissioning stages, and resulted in a vessel that is truly customized for optimal passenger convenience and operational efficiency," said Mr Bellamy.
The Head of Vale Nouvelle-Calédonie's Maritime Section, Olivier Rousseau, commented that Austal impressed throughout the design, construction and delivery process of "Vale Grand Sud".
"We were most impressed with the Austal sales, design and project teams we worked with throughout the build process. Austal always sent us very professional teams, which gave us the confidence in the product, and the feeling that our assets were always in good hands," said Mr Rousseau.
Seating for Vale Grand Sud's 439 passengers is spread over two decks, with functionality and comfort a priority. The spacious upper deck also includes a large meeting room, captain's office and crew mess. A kiosk is located on the main deck. Flat screen televisions are located throughout the vessel, and all passengers are provided with comfortable Beurteaux reclining seats.
Working closely with the customer, Austal's designers developed an interior color palette that complements Vale's brand identity while matching the vessel's sleek green, yellow and white exterior. The interior of the vessel was also designed to reduce maintenance requirements with the selection of hard wearing, easy-to-clean material for bulkheads and flooring.
The vessel's wheelhouse contains ergonomically designed navigation and control stations as well as Austal's Marine Link fully integrated monitoring and control system. This gives the ferry's engineer the ability to monitor and control the vessel's safety, propulsion, generating and other operationally critical systems, as well as the option for the systems to be monitored remotely.
Capable of traveling at speeds of up to 37 knots, ale Grand Sud is powered by four MTU 16V 2000 M72 engines coupled to Kamewa waterjets through Reintjes gearboxes.
Demonstrating the versatility of Austal's existing product range, Vale Grand Sud is based on the same platform design used for four 41 m catamarans designed and constructed for the National Infrastructure Development Company of Trinidad and Tobago and delivered in mid-2010.
VALE GRAND SUD
Length overall 41.20 m
Length (waterline) 38.40 m
Beam (molded) 10.90 m
Depth (molded) 4.30 m
Hull draft (maximum) 1.98 m
PAYLOAD AND CAPACITIES
Internal - Main deck 313
Internal - Upper deck 126
Maximum deadweight 44.24 tonnes
Main engines 4 x MTU16V2000 M72 (IMO Tier II compliant)
Gearboxes 4 x Reintjes VLJ 730
Waterjets 4 x Rolls Royce Kamewa 56A3
Speed Speed 37.5 knots at 90% MCR with Max DWT