On Dec. 10, Austal unveiled its largest ever catamaran to date. The vessel, measuring 370.7 ft in length, was towed out of the shed at its shipyard in Henderson, Western Australia. At around 20 metres longer than a standard soccer pitch and weighing around 1000 tonnes, the vessel will be able to hold up to 1,400 passengers and 357 cars when complete and travel at speeds of up to 40 knots. The vessel is the heaviest Austal has ever built weighing slightly more than the 416.6 ft trimaran Benchijigua Express delivered to Fred. Olsen, S.A. in 2005.
Due to the enormous scale of the ship, the upper deck, which has been constructed as a separate “Super Unit” has to be fitted after the vessel leaves the fabrication hall. The Super Unit weighs in at over 170 tonnes which is more than the total aluminum weight of two 155.8 ft vessels also currently under construction.
Austal commenced joining the two parts together using its own advanced and highly specialized aluminum welding techniques. This began in the early hours of the morning with the lifting of the Super Unit. The rest of the vessel was then towed from the fabrication hall and positioned beneath the Super unit. The delicate process of lowering the unit and aligning it with the main structure was successfully completed just a few hours after the challenging operation began.
Austal’s ship building processes includes the use of a multi headed gantry welder which on this vessel has been used to weld nearly 53 kilometres of aluminum structural planking.
The ship which is bound for Denmark in mid 2011 will be utilized as a vehicle passenger ferry linking Denmark and Sweden.