Australian shipbuilder Austal has won a €126m contract to design and build two new high-speed vehicle passenger trimaran ferries for Spanish shipping company Fred Olsen.

The 117m-long ferries have been designed by Austal Australia and will be capable of carrying more than 1,100 passengers each.

The vessels will also be able to accommodate up to 276 cars and operate at speeds of up to 38k.

Construction of the vessels is expected to begin next year, while delivery of each ship is slated to be carried out in 29 and 36 months respectively.

The chosen construction location for the ferries is set to be announced at a later date.

Austal Sales and Marketing vice-president Ben Marland said: “This is a watershed contract for our next-generation trimaran design that will deliver new levels of seakeeping, passenger comfort and efficiency, and proves the trimaran is the right tool for the job in the challenging sea conditions of the Atlantic.

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"It is a game-changer in the market.”

"This is a watershed contract for our next-generation trimaran design that will deliver new levels of seakeeping, passenger comfort and efficiency."

Austal previouslty designed and built a trimaran vehicle passenger ferry known as Benchijigua Express for Fred Olsen in 2005.

Benchijigua Express is the first trimaran vehicle passenger ferry to be operated by the Spanish shipping company.

Austal also secured a contract to develop two 500-passenger catamarans for Taiwan’s Brave Line last month as part of a separate development.

The deal is valued at A$44m (€29m) and was the first commercial shipbuilding contract to be won by Austal in Taiwan.

Image: The 127m Benchijigua Express was the world’s first and largest trimaran hull vehicle passenger ferry, designed and built by Austal for Fred Olsen in 2005. Photo: courtesy of Austal.