Austal Philippines has successfully delivered a 109m high-speed catamaran ferry, Austal Hull 419, to Norwegian ferry operator Fjord Line.

Austal said that the vehicle-passenger ferry, named FSTR, is the largest aluminium vessel ever constructed in the Philippines and currently the largest ferry by volume to be constructed by the company.

The vessel handover took place at the Balamban Cebu shipyard.

Austal CEO Paddy Gregg said: “It’s impressive to see a large high-speed ferry like this delivered in the best of times, but for the team to deliver this new vessel during a global pandemic is simply outstanding. The Austal Philippines team has clearly demonstrated its ability to deliver multiple, complex projects under challenging circumstances while maintaining a safe working environment.”

FSTR has the capability to carry around 1,200 passengers at speeds of up to 40k.

With a beam of 30.5m, the ferry can carry 404 cars across its two decks.

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By GlobalData

The ferry is equipped with various design innovations to increase operating performance and passenger comfort.

Some of the innovations include a new effective hull form for controlling fuel consumption and wake wash when operating on the Skagerrak Sea between Kristiansand, Norway, and Hirtshals, Denmark.

Austal Philippines president Wayne Murray said: “With the delivery of FSTR, we’re now preparing for the launch of Hull 395, Bañaderos Express, a 118m trimaran ferry under construction for Fred Olsen Express of the Canary Islands. Following closely behind that, we have the 115m Express 5 under construction for Molslinjen of Denmark.

“We’ve just delivered the largest high-speed ferry ever built in the Philippines, and in fact, the largest high-speed ferry built by any Austal shipyard anywhere in the world. And soon, we will do it again, when we complete Express 5 for Molslinjen. We are, indeed, a record-setting and record-breaking shipyard.”

Bañaderos Express will be launched in the second quarter of this year.

Earlier, Bajamar Express, which was built in Austal Australia, was supplied in July last year.

Express 5 is scheduled to be launched in the third quarter of this year.

In a separate development, Dong Tam Group (DTG) in Vietnam has announced that it is concluding the remaining legal procedures for expanding the Long An international port.

The expansion project is expected to be completed in 2023. It will include lifting the wharf system to 2,368m and increasing the handling capacity to more than 80 million tonnes of goods annually.