Austal Vietnam to build high-speed ferry for French Polynesia

Written by Nick Blenkey
New 66 meter high speed ferry

Austal’s new Passenger Express 66, a high speed catamaran ferry to be constructed by Austal Vietnam for the Degage Group of French Polynesia. [Image: Austal Limited]

Henderson, Western Australia, headquartered Austal Limited (ASX:ASB) reports that Austal Australasia Pty Ltd has been awarded a EUR 20.5 million (approximately US$24 million) contract to design and build a 66 meter high-speed catamaran ferry for the Degage Group of French Polynesia. Work on the new ferry will start this month at Austal Vietnam, with a scheduled delivery in the first half of 2023.

“Over the past two decades the Degage Group has trusted Austal to design and construct five ships for their growing maritime and tourism operations in French Polynesia, and we’re delighted they have again chosen Austal to develop their latest high-speed ferry,” said Austal Limited CEO Paddy Gregg. “The Degage Group are an acknowledged leader in commercial maritime transportation and tourism. This contract is a clear demonstration of confidence in our Vietnam shipyard, which recently delivered its second commercial ferry within a period of just two years.

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. Over two passenger decks, the vessel can accommodate 574 passengers, with an additional 80 seats available on an external sun deck. Crew accommodations include 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.

To be fitted with four diesel engines and four waterjets, as well as Austal’s Motion Control System (including active interceptors and T-foils) and the latest Marinelink and Marinelink-Smart programs, the new ferry will have a contracted top speed of 35.8 knots and a range of 360 nautical miles.

The new ferry will operate as the Apetahi Express, between Pape’ete (Tahiti) and Vaitape (Bora Bora).

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