Austal Ships today announced a contract to build an 85 metre vehicle-passenger ferry for Greek operator Hellas Flying Dolphins
(HFD). The catamaran is the fifth fast ferry HFD has ordered from Austal Ships, demonstrating ongoing confidence in Austal’s capabilities.
HFD is Greece’s largest domestic ferry operator, transporting approximately 7 million passengers, 200,000 trucks and 800,000 cars every year. Due for delivery for the 2005 European summer and to be named “Highspeed 5”, the ferry will bring the total number of vessels in the HFD fleet to 24.
Austal Sales and Product Development Manager Mr Glenn Williams said the contract rewarded the marketing effort the company has dedicated to the Greek market over many years. “We have been pursuing opportunities in Greece for a number of years and have always believed that the area has significant potential for our fast ferries,” he said.
“It is certainly encouraging to have an important operator like HFD back in the market for new ships and we are very pleased that they are continuing their association with Austal Ships,” he said.
HFD’s General Manager Vassilis Zacharioudakis said: “Our high speed fleet is synonymous with state of the art transportation. We are proud to introduce “Highspeed 5” to the Eastern Mediterranean market in 2005.”
Leveraging off Austal’s experience from the build of the 92 metre “Highspeed 4”, the new catamaran will display three classes of seating (VIP, business and tourist) each with its own bar and facilities. With capacity for 154 cars (or four coaches and 131 cars) and 810 passengers, the vessel will display a sophisticated level of fitout, disabled persons access (including a lift) in compliance with European Union regulations and crew accommodation for 36.
In keeping with the stern-to mooring style commonly used in Greece, the vessel will provide separate passenger and vehicle loading ramps. The bi-fold ramp enables loading and unloading onto a low landing stage and the ferry will be equipped with high speed anchor winches and mooring winches to allow for efficient berthing.
The boarding area will lead to a baggage room on the mezzanine deck and, for the comfort of passengers when boarding, dry exhaust funnels have been designed to direct main engine exhaust fumes away from the ramps and other passenger areas.
The ferry’s propulsion system will consist of four diesel engines and waterjets to provide a service speed of 37 knots.
The new contract takes the number of Austal vessels on order across the group’s four shipyards to 30 and reinforces an already steady base of work. This includes a 127 metre trimaran ferry for Fred. Olsen SA and 22 patrol boats.
“Austal Ships is synonymous with fast ferries. The company has built nearly 80 vessels of this kind and, while a significant portion of our current workload is derived from the patrol boat sector, contracts such as this demonstrate that Austal maintains its position as the world’s foremost builder of high speed vessels,” Williams said.