45 m Austal cat for L'Express des Isles

Nov 5, 2004

Austal adds two more to orderbook

Australian shipbuilder Austal has added two more fast ferries to its orderbook

The 45 meter catamarans are being built for L'Express des Iles SA, a company that operates both domestic and international services from Guadeloupe.

Its existing fleet of four fast ferries includes two catamarans built by Austal in 1998--the 40 m, 300 passenger Opale Express and the 47.6 m Jade Express which has capacity for 329 passengers and 10 cars.

Due for delivery in October 2005, the new vessels are intended to replace the two non-Austal catamarans in the L'Express des Iles fleet. One will carry 360 passengers and 10 cars and the other 446 passengers. Both ferries will have identical four engine propulsion arrangements, providing a speed of 38 knots fully loaded.

Austal's Managing Director Bob McKinnon said the company was extremely proud of its track record of securing repeat business. He attributed the customer loyalty to the emphasis Austal places on working closely with clients to ensure they are provided with vessels and follow-up service that completely meets their needs.

"While there are numerous instances of operators turning to us after initially operating fast ferries built by other shipyards, the reverse situation is virtually unheard of. This reflects the extremely high level of satisfaction with both the vessels we build and the service we provide our customers," he said.

McKinnon said it was pleasing to add further commercial vessel contracts to the existing strong forward order position which is underpinned by longer term defense contracts.

"As well as augmenting the current year, we are now beginning to build on the solid revenue base the Royal Australian Navy patrol boat project provides for 2006," he said.

"While we are successfully growing our defense-related business, we have sufficient production capacity to continue to meet the demand generated by the commercial vessel sector. The fact that we have signed sizeable contracts for three fast ferries within the last month is indicative of our ongoing competitiveness in this key market," McKinnon added.

The other new contract referred to is that for a 67 m vehicle-passenger catamaran for Virtu Ferries, the order for which was announced in late September.

Austal now has unconditional contracts for 30 vessels ranging from 31 to 127 metres in length. Included in the order book are 22 patrol boats, five fast ferries, an adventure cruise vessel, an underwater research boat and a high speed vessel technology demonstrator.

Principal particulars--Austal 45
Overall length: 45.24 m
Waterline length (approx): 40.20 m
Molded beam: 12.30 m
Hull depth (molded): 4.0 m
Maximum hull draft: 1.80 m
Passengers: 446
Main engines: 4 x MTU 16V 396 TE74L
Gearboxes: 4 x ZF 7550
Waterjets: 4 x Kamewa 63 SII
Speed: 38 knots

Principal particulars--Austal Auto Express 45
Overall length: 45.24 m
Waterline length (approx): 40.20 m
Molded beam: 12.30 m
Hull depth (molded): 4.0 m
Maximum hull draft: 1.80 m
Passengers: 360
Vehicles: 10
Main engines:4 x MTU 16V 396 TE74L
Gearboxes: 4 x ZF 7550
Waterjets: 4 x Kamewa 63 SII
Speed:38 knots

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