Austal Vietnam launches high-speed cat for French Polynesia

Written by Nick Blenkey
Austal Vietnam has launched its third ship

Austal Vietnam's third vessel is expected to enter service between Pape’ete (Tahiti) and Vaitape (Bora Bora) in French Polynesia in July 2023.

Austal Vietnam’s Vung Tau shipyard has successfully launched a new high-speed catamaran being built for the Degage Group of French Polynesia. Ordered in 2021, the 66 meter Apetahi Express (Austal Hull 425) is now undergoing final fit-out, prior to sea trials which are due to commence this month. The vessel is scheduled for delivery in June 2023.

“Austal’s latest catamaran design offers operators an impressive looking vessel that is both highly efficient and flexible, with multiple indoor and outdoor decks for passengers and a large cargo space accommodating up to 16 tonnes for high-speed inter-island transportation,” said Austal Limited CEO Paddy Gregg. “I know that the Degage Group, who have bought five ferries from Austal over the past couple of decades, are excited about adding Apetahi Express to their fleet and introducing a superior service to their customers in French Polynesia; and we’re delighted to be partnering with them on this project.”

Apetahi Express is the third vessel constructed at the Vung Tau shipyard since its opening in 2018.

“The Austal Vietnam team have worked exceptionally hard to launch this new catamaran, for one of our most loyal commercial customers, the Degage Group, and I congratulate them all on a job well done – the ship looks fantastic,” said Austal Vietnam president Mark Dummett. “We’re looking forward to delivering the sixth ship from Austal to the Degage Group and seeing Apetahi Express sailing the beautiful waters of French Polynesia, soon.”

The new Austal Passenger Express 66 catamaran has a length overall (LOA) of 66.4 meters, beam of 15.2 meters and draft of 1.8 meters. The vessel can accommodate 574 passengers on its two passenger decks, with an additional 80 seats available on an external sun deck. Crew accommodations includes seven two-berth cabins and two single-berth cabins. The vessel has four passenger access ramps and can carry up to 16 tonnes of cargo, loaded via two cranes.

Fitted with four diesel engines and four waterjets, along with Austal’s motion control system (including active interceptors and T-foils) the new ferry will have a contracted top speed of 35.8 knots and a range of up to 360 nautical miles, with additional range enabled by a fitted long-range tank. It is equipped with Austal’s latest MARINELINK-Connect technology

The new ferry is expected to start operations between Pape’ete (Tahiti) and Vaitape (Bora Bora) in French Polynesia in July 2023.

Apetahi Express on the water following its launch by Austal Vietnam
Apetahi Express on the water following its launch by Austal Vietnam
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