European Union governments urged the European Defense Agency
(EDA) on January 24 to examine whether high-speed ferries could be used to more rapidly move troops into conflict zones.
The idea is based on a system used by the Australian Navy from
1999 to transport troops and equipment to East Timor from the northern city of Darwin using a large commercial catamaran. The 86-meter (282-foot) Jervis Bay catamaran was chartered to the Australian Navy for two years and made 107 trips between Darwin and the Timorese capital Dili, traveling at around 43 knots — roughly an 11-hour voyage. During that time, it carried some 20,000 passengers and 430 military vehicles, and moved about 5,600 tons of equipment and stores. According to www.defensenews.com, the United States had also been investigating using ferries to transport troops within a conflict zone, but that EU members wanted to see whether they could effectively move personnel across oceans. (Source: www.defensenews.com)