Comoros Islands ferry operator SGTM has awarded Austal Limited (ASX:ASB) a contract worth A$15.5 million (US$10.7 million) contract for a 41 meter, high-speed catamaran.
Austal says that the contract will provide production continuity at its Austal Vietnam shipyard as it completes the fabrication of a 94 meter ferry for a customer in Trinidad and Tobago.
The new vessel is based on an existing and proven Austal Australia designed vessel, with customer defined design modifications to be undertaken in Vietnam before construction commences there by March, 2020. Delivery will follow approximately one year later.
Austal CEO David Singleton said the new contract was welcome as Austal continued to build on its investment in the new Vietnam shipyard.
“We’re very excited to be building this new ship for SGTM, our first destined for the Comoros Islands, and especially pleased that our proven vessel design continues to evolve to meet the needs of operators worldwide,” Singleton said.
“In the highly competitive 40–50 meter high-speed catamaran market, Austal has led the global marketplace, with 80 vessels now built by the Company since the early 1990s,” he added..
In awarding the contract SGTM Director Michel Labourdere noted the company’s trust in Austal to build its first new ferry was based on the success of the pre-owned vessel Marine View (Austal Hull 58) that SGTM has operated since 2013.
“Based on the outstanding performance of Ntringui Express (Austal Hull 58), which was originally delivered to Japan in 1997 and bought by us in 2013, we knew we had to talk to Austal about our first newbuild,” Labourdere said.
Established in 2004, SGTM operates three passenger vessels and two freight transport ships between the islands of Mayotte, Anjouan and Great Comoros, carrying more than 100,000 passengers annually.
The Passenger Express 41 catamaran ordered by SGTM has a length overall (LOA) of 41.2 meters, beam of 10.9 meters and draft of 2.0 meters.
Over two decks, the vessel can accommodate 400 passengers and mixed cargo of up to 20 tonnes, loaded via two ramps.
Four MTU 12V2000 M72 engines and four Kamewa 56A3 waterjets will enable the catamaran to achieve 31.5 knots at 100% Maximum Continuous Rating (MCR), with a range of approximately 370 nautical miles.
The vessel will be fitted with Austal’s motion control system (including active interceptors and T-foils).