Rolls-Royce has been contracted to supply four of its 20-cylinder Series 8000 MTU engines to Australian shipyard Incat Tasmania.

The 9,100kw engines are expected for delivery by the second half of next year and will be used to power a new high-speed RoPax ferry, which is set to be operated by Virtu Holdings subsidiary Virtu Ferries.

Rolls-Royce will also provide four 8V 2000 M51A gensets for the new vessel.

Virtu Holdings managing director Francis Portelli said: “We already have three ferries with MTU propulsion.

“These engines are light in weight and we’re very satisfied with them, and especially with the after-sales support, so MTU was naturally our choice for our new ferry.”

Construction of the new ferry is set to being next month and Virtu Ferries is planning to deploy the vessel on a daily basis between Malta and Sicily, Italy.

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The 110m-long vessel will have the capacity to carry 900 passengers in addition to its crew, as well as 167 vehicles across 490 truck lane metres.

"We’re delighted that Virtu Ferries has again chosen MTU, particularly since this is the first time we’re supplying Incat with our biggest engine, the Series 8000."

The ferry will be the largest high-speed catamaran operating in the Mediterranean upon completion.

Rolls-Royce MTU marine and defence business head Knut Müller said: “We’re delighted that Virtu Ferries has again chosen MTU, particularly since this is the first time we’re supplying Incat with our biggest engine, the Series 8000.

“Our past cooperation on the delivery of Series 4000 units was very successful.”

Rolls-Royce has sold more than 250 Series 8000 engines to date, which have been used to power a variety of vessels such as ferries, yachts and naval ships.

Image: Rendering of new Virtu Ferries vessel. Photo: courtesy of Rolls-Royce plc.