Austal has successfully completed its largest individual ferry contract to date following the delivery of two 226.4 ft vehicle-passenger catamaran ferries Jazan and Farasanto the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
With the capacity to carry 650 passengers, 50 cars and 15 trucks, the two aluminum catamarans are part of a group of four Austal vehicle-passenger ferries ordered by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Finance in 2007. The 288.7 ft Riyadh and Cairo were delivered to Saudi Arabia in December last year and later gifted to the Egyptian Government to improve ferry services across the Red Sea.
Farasan and Jazan will be operated by The Maritime Co. for Navigation from the port of Jazan in the south of Saudi Arabia along a 25 mile nautical route to Farasan Island. The Farasan Island archipelago has become an increasingly popular holiday destination and diving location for locals, known for its spectacular coral reefs and abundance of underwater life.
Austal Regional Sales Manager – Middle East, Richard Regan, said the vessels would provide Saudi local residents and visitors to the islands with a valuable transportation service. “In terms of safety, performance and practicality, these vessels will deliver improved levels of maritime transport while providing an important service to one of the region’s most spectacular natural tourist attractions,” Mr Regan said.
“With 20 vessels now delivered to the Middle East region alone, Austal has demonstrated the importance of designing vessels that take into consideration the unique needs of both the client and the region. We are very proud that Austal is able to play a role in advancing maritime transport standards in the Middle East,” he said.
As well as attracting a growing amount of local holiday seekers, the route from the Port of Jazan to Farasan Island is an important daily link for many Saudi’s commuting to work and school. As the island’s main link to the mainland, the vessels’ multi-purpose design features a vehicle deck carrying capacity typical of much larger platforms, with space for 15 seven-tonne trucks and maximum axle loads of up to 10 tonne. There is also space for 50 cars with trucks or 74 cars without trucks.
Austal has designed and installed both bow and stern vehicle ramps to ensure efficient vehicle transfer and reduced port turnaround times, meeting the client’s need for “drive through” capability. Suited to the short distance of the intended route, each vessel has a cost effective service speed of 32 knots, with power from four MTU 16V 4000 M73L diesel engines producing 2880kW each. Utilising advanced design technology, the vessel’s hull forms have been optimized to ensure maximum fuel efficiency, which, along with the cost effective service speed, deliver fuel consumption of only 2.21 tonnes / hour (including generators).
The high passenger density expected on the service meant Austal’s interior design team worked closely with the client to develop a highly practical seating arrangement for 650 passengers that maximizes space and accessibility. All seating is situated on the upper deck, with seating density deliberately maintained at a passenger-friendly level of no more than three seats per row.
Facilities located on the passenger deck include a boutique gift store, food preparation and service area and a dedicated VIP lounge overlooking the bow. In consideration of the cultural requirements of the route’s predominantly Muslim clientele, the passenger deck features a dedicated seating area for families and children, as well as both men and women’s prayer rooms and a children’s play room.
Farasan Island’s relatively small port means that vessel maneuverability was another important design consideration. Electric bow thrusters installed on each hull improve vessel maneuverability at slow speed in harbor, while passenger comfort is assured with the installation of Austal Ride Control, incorporating two interceptors and two forward T-foils.
A state-of-the-art bridge deck features the Austal-developed Marine Link ship control and monitoring system, allowing extensive monitoring of core onboard equipment as well as providing a comprehensive on-line system to manage all user manuals as well as ship drawings and documentation.
Austal Director – Global Sales and Marketing, Andrew Bellamy, said Austal’s efficient production saw both Jazan and Farasan delivered ahead of schedule, with Farasan completed less than a year after keel laying. “This ability to rapidly complete orders enables operators to introduce efficient, custom-designed vessels into their operations within short time frames, allowing them to respond to changing circumstances within their businesses quickly and effectively,” Mr Bellamy said.
Both vessels recently made the 15-day delivery voyage from Western Australia to Jazan, via the Maldives and the Gulf of Aden, under their own power. Completion of the four vessel fleet coincides with orders for two 328 ft-plus high speed vehicle ferries for Denmark and Malta, to be constructed at Austal’s Western Australian shipyard.
Vessel specifications – auto express 69
Length , o.a. 225 ft
Length waterline 201 ft
Beam (moulded) 58 ft
Hull depth (moulded) 17.2 ft
Hull draft (maximum) 10.5 ft
Payload and Capacities
Vehicles 50 cars and 15 trucks
Maximum deadweight 258 tonnes
Fuel (maximum) 47,500 litres
Main Engines 4 x MTU 16V 4000 M73L, 2,880kW @ 2050rpm
Gearbox 4 x ZF 9050 NR2H
Waterjets 4 x Kamewa 80S3
Speed 32 knots (90% MCR)
X 100 A5 HSC-Passenger B OC3