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April 27, 2010

Austal launches 107 m ferry for Malta

Austal's Western Australia shipyard has successfully launched a 107 m catamaran ferry for Malta's Virtu Ferries. Named Jean de la Valette, it will operate between Malta and Italy.It has the capacity to carry 800 passengers and 156 cars at approximately 39 knots and is on schedule for delivery in August.

The ferry will be Austal's 24th commercial delivery to operators in the Mediterranean region and will join Virtu Ferries' existing 68 m Austal vehicle ferry Maria Dolores.

Designed to efficiently accommodate private passengers with cars and campers, commercial tourist operators and trucking companies, the vessel's vehicle deck has the capacity to carry up to 156 cars or 45 cars and 342 truck lane meters. Vehicle loading and unloading ramps are installed on both the stern and port-side.

Seating for the 800 passengers will be spread over two decks, with a seating density of 2-3 seats per row, as well as a dedicated upper deck lounge area overlooking the vessel's bow. A central staircase will lead to a first class seating area featuring natural overhead lighting, a separate kiosk and two VIP lounges. Outdoor seating will also be available for more than 110 passengers.

Powering the vessel will be four MTU 20V 8000 M71L diesel engines producing 9,100 kW each and driving Rolls-Royce Kamewa waterjets.

Austal was awarded the contract in April 2009 following a competitive international tender process that saw Austal use its in-house design team and experience to develop a highly customized vessel design that met all Virtu's requirements for the route.

The vessel is being built in accordance with the requirements and under the survey of Det Norske Veritas, conforming to IMO HSC Codes and Malta Flag State and Italian Port State Regulations. Registration will be under the Malta Flag.

The vessel is on track to commence sea trials in June.

Virtu Fast Ferries Ltd Managing Director Francis Portelli said the company was impressed with the speed of construction and quality of workmanship.

"The level of communication that we have experienced with Austal throughout the build process so far has also been outstanding," Mr Portelli said.

"As a repeat customer, the quality that we have come to expect from Austal is evident. We are confident that the versatility, speed and all-round efficiency of this vessel will deliver the best possible solution for the proposed route."

Austal is also nearing completion of its 102 m vehicle-passenger trimaran ferry, which is currently available for purchase. The vessel recently exceeded performance expectations during sea trials, achieving a speed of 39 knots at 90% MCR with 340 tonnes deadweight. Construction is also underway on Austal's largest ever catamaran -- a 113 m vehicle-passenger ferry for Denmark due for delivery in mid-2011.


Length overall: 106.5 m

Length waterline: 92.4 m

Beam molded: 23.8 m

Hull depth: 9.4 m

Hull draft (maximum): 4.90 m

Deadweight (maximum): 850 tonnes

Passengers 800

Crew 24

Vehicles: 156 cars or 342 truck lane m + 45 cars Fuel (approx): 335,000 liters

PROPULSION: Main engines: 4 x MTU 20V 8000 M71L 4 x 9,100 kW Propulsion: 4 x Kamewa 125SIII waterjets Service speed: approx 39 knots (85% MCR and active ride control)

RIDE CONTROL: Austal Ride Control

SURVEY: Classification: Det Norske Veritas

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