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June 3, 2010

Austal books order for Guadeloupe ferries

Guadeloupe-based ferry operator L'Express des Iles has selected Austal to design and construct two 47 m high speed catamaran ferries.

The order, worth some AUD 35 million (about US $29.5 million), is for one vehicle-passenger ferry and one passenger ferry, and is the company's third contract with Austal since 1997.

The vessels are intended to operate from Guadeloupe to the Caribbean islands of Marie Galante, Dominique, Martinique and St Lucia, where they will provide an important inter-island link for tourism and trade.

The vehicle ferry will have the capacity for 364 passengers and 10 cars. The passenger ferry will have the capacity for 437 passengers. Both vessels will have a maximum speed of more than 32 knots and are designed to also carry cargo.

L'Express des Iles Chairman Roland Bellemare said the company's experience with earlier Austal ferries had been the main factor when selecting the supplier for the new vessels.

"The build quality and performance of our previous Austal deliveries has been outstanding. This, along with the high level of customer support we have received over more than a decade, meant Austal was the logical choice," Mr. Bellemare said.

"Maintaining and supporting existing customer relationships is a core focus of Austal," said Austal COO Andrew Bellamy. "We are very pleased that a leading commercial operator such as L'Express des Iles has again returned to Austal for new-build ferries."

L'Express des Iles currently operates Austal-built ferries "Gold Express" and "Silver Express", which were delivered in 2005.

While L'Express des Iles' previous deliveries had four engine arrangements, the new vessels will each be powered by two MTU 16V4000 M71 diesel engines driving Kamewa 71 SIII waterjets. Their lightweight and efficient structures will enable economical operation with reduced environmental impact, offering a speed of over 32 knots andproviding commuters with short transit times, comfort and service reliability.

The new vessels will be built at Austal's Western Australian shipyard and are scheduled for delivery in mid-2011.

Austal has an established service presence in the Caribbean region with a dedicated vessel repair and maintenenace hub located in Trinidad and Tobago. Austal Service personnel are currently on location in Martinique performing maintenance work on "Silver Express" and "Gold Express".

Austal is also building four 41 m high speed passenger ferries for the National Infrastructure Development Company Limited (NIDCO) in Trinidad and Tobago, scheduled for delivery later this year.

Vessel Specifications

Principal Particulars

Length overall: 47.00 m

Length waterline: 41.20 m

Beam (molded): 11.10 m

Depth (molded): 4.00 m

Hull draft: 1.82 m

Capacity

Vehicle-Passenger Ferry

Passengers: 364

Vehicles: 10 cars

Cargo: 17 crates

Passenger Ferry

Passengers: 437

Cargo: 15 crates

Propulsion

Main engines: 2 x MTU 16V4000 M71 diesel engines

Waterjets: 2 x Kamewa 71S3NP

Performance

Speed: More than 32 knots

Classification

Bureau Veritas

1 X HULL X MACH X AUT-CCS, HSC - Cat. A,

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