In a move that signals the long-awaited fast craft boom in the United States is about to begin, Bollinger Shipyards, Inc., Lockport, La., and Incat Australia Pty
. Ltd. signed an agreement for Bollinger to market and build high speed craft to Incat designs in the United States.
The deal is significant in that earlier this year chief Incat rival Austal Ships struck a deal with Mobile, Ala.-based Bender Shipbuilding to build a new shipyard in Mobile for the same purpose.
Incat is privately owned and is the innovator and builder of the world speed record holding Wave Piercing and K Class aluminum catamarans. The 27-year-old company has built more than 30, or approximately 40 percent of the worldwide fleet of high-speed passenger ferries over 230 ft. in length. Incat currently has 12 models ranging from 242 to 393 ft. Incats are now operating in England, Europe, the Mediterranean, North and South America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.
, Executive Vice President of Bollinger said, "This accord is a natural for us, not only because of Bollinger and Incat's leadership in our respective fields, but because both companies are privately held and share many of the same philosophies. We are both able to respond to customer needs much more aggressively and faster than others. Incat has the same dedication to high quality work and a family atmosphere that we have at Bollinger. Their 'keep it light' design and manufacturing processes mesh very well with our own."
The two companies have been working closely on a proposal to an unnamed customer for a unique wave-piercing vessel that can carry 500 passengers and a variety of vehicles at speeds of more than 40 knots. The design is similar to the Incat Tasmania, which was chartered by the Australian Trade Commission during the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia. Its design includes two slender, aluminum hulls connected by a bridging section with a center bow structure at the forward end. It should be noted that this design developed by Incat Australia Pty. Ltd. is a different company than Incat Designs who developed the design for the BC Ferries.
One 282-ft. Incat, the HMAS Jervis Bay, is currently under charter to the Royal Australian Navy working in East Timor carrying fully equipped troops and a variety of vehicles required for their mission.
Donald T. "Boysie" Bollinger, Chairman and CEO of Bollinger said, "We have extensive experience in building a variety of high speed, reliable and efficient boats for the U. S. Navy and Coast Guard. Through that process, we have developed the expertise in weight control necessary to successfully build these vessels. We are also in the process of building a series of large crane barges for the U. S. Army. We are proud of this new association with Incat and look forward to a mutually beneficial alliance for our customers and our companies."