Austal Vietnam launches its first ship

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Austal Vietnam has successfully launched Hull 397, a 94 meter high speed catamaran ferry for NIDCo of Trinidad and Tobago from the company’s Vũng Tàu shipyard. [Image: Austal Vietnam]

Austal Limited (ASX:ASB) reports that Austal Vietnam has successfully launched Hull 397, a 94 meter high-speed catamaran for the National Infrastructure Development Company (NIDCo) of Trinidad and Tobago, from its shipyard in Vũng Tàu.

The vehicle-passenger ferry, to be known as APT James, is the first vessel to be constructed by Austal Vietnam. Its launch comes just 20 months after the official opening of the shipyard in November 2018.

The vessel is now in the final stages of fit out, prior to delivery to NIDCo in the second half of thiz year.

The Austal Auto Express 94 is an all-new aluminum catamaran design, with capacity for 926 passengers and 250 cars, traveling at speeds up to 37.5 knots.

The ship will feature the latest Austal “smart ship” technology, including an advanced Motion Control System, to deliver a more comfortable and stable ride for passengers and crew.

Image: Austal Vietnem

The launch, which took place over five days, involved the rolling out of the vessel on a self-propelled modular transporter (SPMT) from the shipyard onto a barge, which was then towed up the Saigon River to Ho Chi Minh City, where the vessel was lowered into the water via floating dock. The vessel was then towed back to Vũng Tàu, where the vessel will be kept alongside for final internal fit out.

Austal Vietnam has already commenced construction of its next project, a new 41 meterhigh speed catamaran ferry for SGTM of Mauritius,

Austal CEO David Singleton called the launch “a fantastic accomplishment for Austal Vietnam, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, and welcome news for the people of Trinidad and Tobago.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the performance of the 450-strong Austal Vietnam team, launching this impressive new vessel, their very first, at this challenging time in world history,” said Singleton,“To their great credit and like all of our shipbuilding teams around the world, the Austal Vietnam team have continued working diligently and effectively during the COVID-19 pandemic to complete and launch APT James, while meeting all applicable Government health and safety guidelines.”

After launch into the Saigon River at Ho Chi Minh City, the vessel was then towed back to Vũng Tàu for final outfitting. [Image: Austal Vietnam]
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