Austal Philippines has successfully launched Hull 419—a 109-meter high-speed catamaran ferry from the company’s recently expanded Balamban shipyard in Cebu.
The vehicle-passenger ferry, to be known as FSTR, is the largest aluminum vessel ever launched in the Philippines and the largest (by volume) ever constructed by Austal, worldwide.
The vessel is now in the final stages of fit-out, prior to delivery to Fjord Line of Norway in the second quarter quarter.
Austal chief executive David Singleton said the launch of the ‘Auto Express 109’ catamaran was a significant milestone for Austal Philippines, as the first ship to be wholly constructed from the Balamban shipyard’s expanded production facilities, which were opened in July 2019.
“This impressive new ship for Fjord Line of Norway is the first of many large, high-speed commercial ferries to be constructed at our expanded shipyard in the Philippines. After Hull 419, we have Hull 395, a 118 meter trimaran, under construction which will be the longest high-speed ferry to be constructed in the Philippines,” he said.
“We also have a 115-meter catamaran ferry scheduled for construction at Austal Philippines later this year which will be another record build, as the largest vessel (by volume) to be constructed by Austal, worldwide,” Singleton said.
Olsen Express of the Canary Islands is a 118-meter high-speed trimaran ferry and a sister ship to Bajamar Express, launched in Australia earlier this week. Hull 423, a 115-meter high-speed catamaran ferry to be known as Express 5, is a follow-up order from Molslinjen of Denmark and is scheduled to commence construction in Balamban in the third quarter.
Austal Philippines president Wayne Murray celebrated the launch of Hull 419 by thanking the 1,000-strong Filipino shipbuilding team and acknowledging the outstanding capability of the Balamban shipyard which now includes a 120-meter long assembly bay and multiple new fabrication bays.
“I am exceptionally proud of the entire Austal Philippines team. The launch of Hull 419 from our newly expanded shipyard is a significant event that highlights our capability to deliver multiple vessel projects concurrently—safely and cost effectively,” Murray said.
Fjord Line’s FSTR (Hull 419) is capable of transporting 1,200 passengers at up to 40 knots and features Austal’s largest ever vehicle-carrying capacity constructed to date, with a beam of 30.5 meters enabling 404 cars to be carried across two decks.
The ship features several key design innovations that enhance operating performance and passenger comfort, including a new, optimized hull form that will minimize fuel consumption and wake wash when operating on the Skagerrak Sea between Hirtshals, Denmark and Kristiansand, Norway.
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