US-based shipbuilding group Metal Shark has secured two separate deals to build passenger vessels for the Potomac Riverboat Company division of Entertainment Cruises and the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA).

Metal Shark is set to build and deliver four 88ft, high-speed/low-wake aluminium catamarans, each capable of carrying 149 passengers, under the agreement with the Potomac Riverboat Company.

The vessels will serve the Washington DC metro region in the US, with services between Old Town Alexandria, Virginia; National Harbor, Maryland; and Georgetown and The Wharf in Washington DC.

A seperate deal with RTA will see Metal Shark build two 105ft, high-speed/low-wake aluminium catamarans, which will also accommodate 149 passengers each.

RTA is currently operating two ferries to transport New Orleans-area passengers across the Mississippi River between Algiers Point and Canal Street, and Lower Algiers and Chalmette in the US.

"With our large in-house team of engineers and project managers, Metal Shark is able to ensure high-quality construction and deliver great value to our customers."

Metal Shark commercial sales director Carl Wegener said: “Efficiently producing multi-vessel orders of sophisticated design within tight timeframes is what we do best.

“With our large in-house team of engineers and project managers, we’re able to take complete design packages to the next level, ensuring high-quality construction and delivering great value to our customers.”

The newly ordered ferries will be built at the company’s shipyard in Franklin, Louisiana.

Metal Shark also won a contract to build several high-speed aluminium catamaran ferries for New York’s CityWide Ferry System last year, which are currently under construction at the Franklin yard.

Image: Rendering of new vessel to be built for RTA. Photo: courtesy of Gravois Aluminum Boats LLC DBA Metal Shark.