Mediterranean based operator Virtu Ferries recently took delivery of the 351 ft vehicle-passenger catamaran, Jean de la Vallete. The vessel marks a significant milestone for Austal being the largest catamaran built by Austal in Australia and its 24th commercial delivery to the Mediterranean region.
The vessel will operate between Malta and Italy, and is designed to carry 800 passengers and 156 cars (or 45 cars and 342 truck lane metres) at an operational speed of up to 40 knots. Jean de la Valette will join Virtu Ferries’ existing 223-ft vehicle-passenger ferry Maria Dolores which was delivered by Austal in 2006.
The vessel was built to address the large increases in passenger and vehicle traffic, including heavy freight vehicle traffic, between Malta and Italy and features a vehicle-deck carrying capacity of 156 cars or 45 cars and 342 truck lane metres. This carrying capacity will enable Virtu Ferries to efficiently service the needs of private passengers with cars and campers, commercial tourist operators and freight companies. Vehicle loading and unloading will be achieved via ramps installed on both the stern and port-side. The vessel will also be certified for the bulk carriage of dangerous cargo such as LPG, Diesel and Petrol.
Seating for the ferry’s 800 passengers is spread over two decks, each offering a passenger-friendly seating density of two to three seats per row, as well as a dedicated upper deck lounge area overlooking the vessel’s bow. A central staircase leads to a first class seating area featuring natural overhead lighting, a separate kiosk and two VIP lounges. Outdoor seating is also available for more than 110 passengers.
At the request of Virtu Ferries, the vessel also has a dedicated lounge for commercial vehicle drivers providing them with a restful environment.
Austal was awarded the contract in April 2009 following a competitive international tender process which saw Austal utilize its in-house design team and experience to develop a design that met all Virtu Ferries’ highly specific requirements for the route.
The vessel was built in accordance with the requirements and under the survey of Det Norske Veritas, conforming to the International Maritime Organization HSC Code and Malta Flag State and Italian Port State Regulations. The vessel is registered under the Maltese Flag.
The vessel is currently making the two week delivery voyage from Western Australia to Malta under her own power.
Length, o.a. 351 ft
Length, waterline 303 ft
Beam, moulded 78 ft
Depth, moulded 30.8 ft
Hull draft 16 ft
Vehicles 156 cars or 45 cars and 342 truck lane metres
Maximum deadweight 850 tonnes
Fuel capacity 512 tonnes max.
Main engines 4 x MTU 20V 8000 M71L diesel engines
Waterjets 4 x Kamewa 125SIII
Det Norske Veritas
+ 1A1 HSLC R1
Passenger Car Ferry B, Category B, EO