Austal has launched the largest aluminium ship ever built, the 127 metre trimaran ferry “Benchijigua Express” taking to the water for the first time early on September 25.
It is the most significant ship to arrive on the world high speed vessel scene, not just in terms of size but due to its ability to give a substantially smoother ride to passengers in rough sea conditions thanks to its trimaran design.
Construction of the ferry commenced at the Austal shipyard in Western Australia
in September 2003. At the height of construction approximately 430 of the company’s 1200 staff were working on the project.
When Austal signed the contract to build a second high speed vehicle–passenger ferry for European ferry operator Fred. Olsen, S.A. in June last year, it signaled the start of not just another ferry from the world’s leading builder of high speed ships, but the creation of a new hullform that is set to revolutionise fast sea transportation.
Setting new industry standards for vessel performance “Benchijigua Express” is the outcome of collaboration between Fred. Olsen, S.A. and Austal involving more than three years of research and development to produce a new design which will not only enable operators to offer better service on existing routes but also begin operations on new routes where sea conditions are too challenging for existing fast ferries.