Austal USA shipyard
confirmed the order of two Austal, Auto Express
107 metre vehicle-passenger ferries for Hawaii Superferry (HSF), making the contract unconditional.
Construction of the first ferry has been underway since June 2004 at Austal’s Mobile, Alabama shipyard
based on initial funding from Hawaii Superferry and a strategic decision by Austal to advance work on the structure in order to develop the workforce in readiness for the US Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship order. On present planning, the first ferry is due for delivery in December 2006. The second ferry will start in the second half of 2006 and is due for completion in first half of 2009.
Greg Metcalf, Austal USA’s CEO, expressed excitement about the Hawaii Superferry project “Austal USA is proud to be building the largest aluminium commercial ships ever constructed in the United States. The advanced catamaran design is based on a similar Austal ferry operated by Euroferrys in the Mediterranean Sea, and is well suited to their operation. We know how these ships have brought people closer and helped create new jobs in other markets around the world, and we are delighted to be part of Hawaii Superferry’s programme.”
Hawaii Superferry plans to use Austal fast ferry technology to establish Hawaii’s first high speed vehicle-passenger service. Each catamaran will carry 866 passengers and 282 vehicles and provide services connecting Honolulu to Maui and Kauai in three hours and from Honolulu to the Big Island in four hours.