AUSTAL High speed Catamaran Ferries Depart for Guadaloupe

Monday, August 29, 2011
AUSTAL 47 metre high speed catamaran ferries

Two 47 metre high speed catamaran ferries departed Austal’s Henderson shipyard this week bound for Guadeloupe, where they will shortly commence operations for long-standing Austal customer L’Express des Iles.

Austal was selected by L’Express des Iles in June 2010 for the design and construction of the two vessels – one vehicle-passenger ferry and one passenger ferry, marking the company’s third contract with Austal since 1997. L’Express des Iles previously operated the Austal-built fast ferries “Opale Express” and “Jade Express”, delivered in 1998, which in 2005 were replaced by the vessels currently in operation “Gold Express” and “Silver Express”. The two new vessels will commence operations in October 2011 from Guadeloupe to the Caribbean islands of Marie-Galante, Les Saintes, Dominica and Martinique, where they will provide an important inter-island link for tourism and trade.

Austal Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Bellamy, commented that Austal was pleased to once again deliver a high quality, innovative product to a repeat customer. “Maintaining and supporting existing customer relationships is a core focus of Austal. We are very pleased that a leading commercial operator such as L’Express des Iles has again returned to Austal for new-build ferries, and we hope to continue this relationship well into the future.” The vehicle-passenger ferry, “Perle Express”, has the capacity for 364 passengers spread over two decks, as well as room for 10 vehicles and extra cargo. Continuing the design theme of the earlier L’Express des Iles vessels, the bright and spacious interiors include comfortable reclining chairs, a children’s area, and flat screen TV’s throughout, as well as considerable space for luggage storage.

The passenger ferry, “Liberty”, will be operated by SAS Jeans, a subsidiary of L’Express des Iles, and will operate regular services between Guadeloupe, Marie-Galante, Les Saintes, Dominica and Martinique, as well as providing day or weekend excursions to other nearby Caribbean islands including Montserrat, Antigua, Saint-Kitts and Saint-Vincent. With seating for the vessel’s 437 passengers spread over two decks, “Liberty” will serve as a functional yet comfortable low cost alternative for holiday-makers in the Caribbean.

Each vessel was customised to cater for the operator’s route requirements, with both “Perle Express” and “Liberty” able to operate at speeds of up to 32 knots, each powered by two MTU 16V4000 M71 diesel engines driving Kamewa 71 SIII waterjets. This combines with Austal’s expertise in producing durable, lightweight and efficient structures to deliver economical operation with reduced environmental impact, while still providing commuters with short transit times, comfort and service reliability. “Liberty” is also the first passenger vessel to ever be registered under the new French Registry - Registre International Français.


“Perle Express”

Length overall 47.0 metres
Length (waterline) 41.2 metres
Beam (moulded) 11.1 metres
Hull depth (moulded) 4.0 metres
Hull draft (maximum) 1.82 metres

Passengers 364
Crew 8
Vehicles 10
Main vehicle deck maximum 1.5 tonnes per axle
Maximum deadweight 63.6 tonnes
Fuel (approx) 15,500 litres

Main engines 2 x MTU 16V 4000 M71, 2,465 kW @ 1,970 rpm

Gearbox 2 x ZF 7650 NR2H
Waterjets 2 x Kamewa 71 SIII

Speed (100% MCR) 32.8 knots
Range Approx. 300 nm with 20% reserve

Bureau Veritas
French Flag


Length overall 47.0 metres
Length (waterline) 41.2 metres
Beam (moulded) 11.1 metres
Hull depth (moulded) 4.0 metres
Hull draft (maximum) 1.82 metres

Passengers 437
Crew 7
Maximum deadweight 57.8 tonnes
Fuel (approx) 15,500 litres

Main engines 2 x MTU 16V 4000 M71, 2,465 kW @ 1,970 rpmx
Gearbox 2 x ZF 7650 NR2H
Waterjets 2 x Kamewa 71 SIII

Speed (100% MCR) 32.5 knots
Range Approx. 295 nm with 20% reserve

Bureau Veritas
French Flag

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