Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. (IHI) has delivered the 18,255 GT car/passenger ferry
, Lilac, to its owner Shin-Nihonkai Ferry Co., Ltd. of Japan
. The ferry is the first of two ferries for the owner. The keel of the ferry Lilac was laid at the IHI Yokohama Shipyard in June 2001 and launched in September of the same year. Then the ferry was towed to IHI Amtec Co., Ltd., an IHI subsidiary company located in Aioi, Hyogo Perfecture, for fabrication of the superstructures and outfitting work. The ferry entered service between Niigata and Otaru, Hokkaido, on April 5, 2002. To provide diverse passengers with increased comfort and satisfaction during a voyage, the Lilac has more private cabins than the previous ferries. Barrier-free inboard design is another provision for disabled persons; wide doorways and corridors are featured along with automatically operated doors. The new hull design has been developed for decreased fuel consumption after studying the hull forms of the previous ferries built by IHI. The company has constructed nine ferries before Lilac.