A high-speed Japanese ferry left Japan last Tuesday on its maiden voyage to Shanghai, which it is expected to reach in half the time of a conventional vessel. The Techno Super Liner, jointly developed by Japan's Transport Ministry and shipbuilding industry, is expected to cover the 740 km (445 miles) to Shanghai in only 11 hours instead of the usual 22, a transport ministry official said.
The 2,785-gt ship, named "Kibo" or "Hope" in Japanese, is 245 ft. (74 m) long. It can attain a maximum speed of 52 mph by using air partially to float above the water's surface with forward propulsion provided by a powerful gas turbine
. It will normally be used as a passenger vessel but Japan also hopes to use it as a goods freighter and to back up Japanese rescue efforts during emergencies, such as earthquakes, the official added.