DECEMBER 3, 2013 — Australia's Incat Tasmania Pty Ltd has signed a contract with Japanese ferry operator Sado Kisen for the construction of an 85 m wave piercing catamaran for operation on the 39 nautical mile route from Naoetsu Port in the Niigata prefecture to Ogi, the southernmost port of Sado Island.
The 85 m wave piercing catamaran will comfortably transport 700 passengers to Sado Island and has capacity for 7 large trucks and 98 cars, or in car only configuration including mezzanine decks, it will carry 173 cars.
Sado Kisen is a long standing and respected operator in Japan, with origins from the Sado Steam Ship Company. The company has a fleet of conventional car ferries and jet foils, however with an operating speed of 30 to 34 knots the new Incat Hull 068 will be Sado Kisen's first high-speed vehicle and passenger ferry.
Incat's website shows that construction of Hull 068 appears to already be well underway and looks to have obviously gotten started some time in advance of the announcement of the Sado Kisen contract.
The 85 m vessel was selected following a competitive international tender process that prioritized a proven hull form and sea-keeping, reliability, efficiency, heavy freight capacity, barrier free access, minimal crewing, timely delivery and the ability to integrate with existing port infrastructure.
Sado is the sixth largest island of Japan in area, following the four main islands and Okinawa Island. Its rich history and relaxed rural atmosphere make Sado one of the major tourist destinations in the Niigata Prefecture.
The Incat ferry will operate a year round service replacing the 1995 built conventional 120 metre car ferry Kogane Maru. Although the Naoetsu to Ogi service will be the vessel's main route, she will also support the Niigata to Ryotsu route on a seasonal basis.
Incat Chairman Robert Clifford and Managing Director Craig Clifford were both present at the signing ceremony on Thursday 28 November at Niigata. Robert Clifford commented : "This is yet another positive foray into the growing Asian market, with continued interest in fast and economical ferries. We are excited to be working with a new client in Japan, and look forward to building their ship through 2014 for delivery in 2015".
Incat says it will be expanding the production team, including taking on new apprentices, in 2014 as the shipyard is also currently building a 70 m fast crewboat for delivery to the oil and gas industry in Azerbaijan in late 2014.
Incat Hull 068