March 7, 2003

Austal Adds Australian Vehicle-Passenger Ferry To Order Book


Austal has added a third vehicle-passenger ferry to its order book, signing a contract for a 49.9 metre catamaran with established operator Kangaroo Island SeaLink. Signifying Austal’s first sale of a vehicle-passenger ferry to its local market, the new contract increases the group’s order book to 19 vessels.

Operating up to 10 trips per day, SeaLink provides the primary sea transportation ferry service between the mainland and Kangaroo Island, which is situated about nine nautical miles offshore from Cape Jervis, on the tip of the Fleurieu Peninsula in the state of South Australia.

With the capacity for 250 passengers and 55 cars or 16 cars and eight trucks and featuring an economical and practical interior fitout, the new aluminium catamaran will join SeaLink’s two existing vessels to meet an increase in demand in passenger traffic and improve ferry services to Australia’s third largest island.

With an operating speed of 15 knots, the catamaran will be the first medium-speed vehicle-passenger ferry built by Austal and will cross the challenging waters of the Backstairs Passage between Cape Jervis and Penneshaw in approximately 45 minutes.

Austal’s ability to meet the necessity for a short build time to enable delivery in November 2003, and flexibility in adopting a client specified external design were key factors in securing the order. The vessel’s design is by AMD Multihull Designs of Sydney, Australia.

Austal Managing Director, Mr Bob McKinnon said the new contract was positive news, demonstrating the company’s competitiveness in the medium sized ferry market and ongoing ability to reach new clients and new markets.

“This order shows that we are competitive not only internationally, but also within Australia. It is encouraging that when opportunities such as this arise locally we are able to apply our skills to produce a vessel that suits the different operational and commercial requirements of the domestic market,” he said.

The SeaLink vessel is the third vehicle-passenger catamaran order secured by Austal in six months. Their diverse specifications indicate the effectiveness of the company’s strategy of applying its world-leading design and construction skills to a broader product range.

Also under construction are a 66 metre, 31 knot ferry for an undisclosed buyer and an 86 metre, 42 knot Auto Express catamaran for Canadian American Transportation Systems.

“These and other recent contracts prove the value of being responsive to individual customer needs, which is essential for winning contracts in both new and existing markets,” Mr McKinnon said.

Length: 49.9 metres
Waterline length (approx): 49.5 metres
Moulded beam: 17.8 metres
Loaded draft: 2.5 metres
Passengers: 250
Vehicles: 55 cars or 16 cars and 8 trucks
Deadweight (max): 350 tonnes
Main engines: 2 x Caterpillar 3512B; 1118kW each
Gearboxes: 2 x Reintjes WAF 643
Propellers: 2 x fixed pitch
Speed: 15 knots
Classification: Det Norske Veritas

Further Information

Contact: Austal
Phone: 61 8 9410 1111
Fax: 61 8 9410 2564