Austal Ships To Build Massive High-Speed Multihull

Austal Ships and Fred. Olsen. S.A.

have signed a contract for what the company dubs the world's largest high-speed multihull vessel which will be based on a new hullform. When delivered in the second half of 2004. the 416-ft. (126.7- m) cargo-vehicle-passenger fast ferry will also be larger than any existing diesel-powered fast ferry — catamaran or monohull.

Fred. Olsen. S.A. and Austal Ships have cooperated on an extensive program of research, tank testing and other analysis to firstly develop a new design and then ensure it would meet Fred.

Olsen, S.A.'s requirements in an efficient and cost-effective manner — a slender, stabilized monohull — often referred to as a trimaran.

With power provided by four diesel engines driving waterjets, the Auto Express 126 trimaran will be able to maintain Fred. Olsen S.A's projected service speed in excess of 40 knots and provides the capacity to carry 1,350 passengers, over 340 cars and a substantial number of trucks. The superior seakeeping performance of the trimaran will provide Fred. Olsen. S.A.'s passengers with significantly enhanced levels of comfort compared to the company's existing fast ferries and is also expected to result in noticeably higher levels of operability.

The vessel will be constructed in Austal's existing facilities using techniques and materials that have been thoroughly proven and refined over many years through the construction of almost 100 previous aluminum vessels.

A team led by General Dynamics and including Austal USA is offering a variant of the trimaran hullform for the US Navy's Littoral Combat Ship project, and Austal USA is also in the running to build a series of Theatre Support Vessels for the US Army.

C i r c l e 1 8 5 o n R e a d e r S e r v i c e C a rd

Maritime Reporter Magazine, page 16,  Jul 2003

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