Austal's latest contract announcement for two 117
metre high speed vehicle passenger ferries, for Fred Olsen SA,
not only sends a strong signal to the international market that
'fast ferries are back', but confirms Austal's proven trimaran
hull design as the most cost effective and highly capable vessel
platform to deliver superior seakeeping and schedule
The €126million Euro (A$190million) contract, announced at
Interferry 2017 in Split Croatia represents Fred Olsen SA's
largest ever ferry order. The two new ferries will add to the
'Fred Olsen Express' fleet of 6 vessels that transport more than
2.8 million passengers, 750,000 cars and more than 150,000 heavy
vehicles over 5 routes in the Canary Islands each year.
Fred Olsen SA and Austal revolutionised the international fast
ferry market in 2005 with the launch of Benchijigua Express, a
127 metre stabilised monohull (or trimaran) vessel that has
forever raised the benchmark in high speed commercial ferry
Designed and constructed by Austal in Australia, the Benchijigua
Express transformed the traditional fast ferry market and has
added a new dimension to passenger comfort and vessel capability.
Transporting up to 1,350 passengers and over 340 cars at speeds
exceeding 40 knots, the iconic high-performing vessel has proven
to be safe, comfortable, reliable and economical in all-weather
operations over the past 12 years.
The Benchijigua Express' trusted seakeeping ability and exemplary
performance record is highlighted by the fact that Fred Olsen SA
has never cancelled a scheduled sailing due to bad weather or
technical faults. Company representative Juan Ignacio Liaño
confirmed with Austal the Benchijigua Express has never missed a
beat in the company's busy schedule, with no sailing
cancellations due to technical faults over the past 12 years of
"The reliability of the vessel is outstanding and it is a
testament to Austal's hull design and quality construction that
we have never had to cancel a scheduled service due to severe
weather or technical issues. We couldn't be happier with the
trimaran," Juan Ignacio Liaño said.
The vessel's capability in rough seas is renowned and both
passengers and crew benefit from the greater comfort, achieved
from the unique trimaran hull and Austal's proprietary Ride
Control technology. Passengers consistently report a smoother
journey whilst the crew benefits from safer, more productive
schedules where seasickness is minimal and passengers, vehicles
and cargo are more secure.
Austal's close commercial relationship and effective
collaboration with Fred Olsen SA over the life of the Benchijigua
Express - from design through to delivery and operations - has
formed the basis for the development of the next generation of
The two new ferries, to be designed and constructed by Austal in
Australia, are both 117 metres long and have a beam of 28.2
metres; with capacity for over 1,100 passengers and 276 cars
each. Featuring a draft of just 4.2 metres and deadweight of 750
tonnes, the new vessels are light and fast with the practicality
and manoeuvrability to operate in any port.
Powered by 4 x MTU diesel engines and propelled by 4 x waterjets,
the new trimarans will achieve service speeds of 38 knots with a
range of up to 711 nautical miles.
A key element in achieving the trimaran's class-leading
seakeeping and stability will be Austal's latest evolution in
'Ride Control', featuring T-Foils, roll control foils and transom
flaps that ensure smooth and comfortable sailings in conditions
up to Sea State 6.
The on-board customer experience will be enhanced and new levels
of comfort achieved with spacious, thoughtfully appointed
passenger saloons, including 4 bars, a shop, kids' play area and
a premium 'Gold Class' lounge.
Austal's latest trimarans offer an ideal solution to transporting
large numbers of people, vehicles and cargo safely, quickly and
cost effectively - delivering more 'bang for the buck' than
traditional RO/PAX ferries. More spacious, more efficient and
more comfortable than equivalent monohulls and catamarans, the
high speed trimaran design provides operators with enhanced
schedule performance / availability and improved customer
experience leading to greater satisfaction, brand loyalty and
Construction of the vessels will commence in Henderson Western
Australia in 2018, and continue over 29 - 36 months.
The two new trimarans for Fred Olsen SA represent the 9th and
10th large high-speed ferries over 100 metres in length to be
built by Austal; confirming the company's leadership as
Australia's - and the world's - most successful shipbuilder of
large, high-speed craft (HSC).
Austal has delivered (and under construction) in excess of 300
vessels, to more than 100 operators in 54 countries around the
world since 1988 and more than 50% of these deliveries have been
commercial vessels with monohull, catamaran or trimaran hulls.
Austal's innovative, distinctive designs have been developed in
Australia for global markets and customised and refined over time
to meet customer demands and operational or geographic
requirements. The company's portfolio now extends from vessels of
16 metres LOA to 127 metres LOA.