Austal Philippines has delivered a high-speed catamaran to Danish ferry company Molslinjen, following the completion of sea trials in Balamban in the Philippines.
The 115m vehicle-passenger catamaran ferry Express 5, named the Auto Express 115, has four Wärtsilä 16V31 engines, four Reintjes SVA L950 gearboxes and four Wärtsilä WXJ 1500 SRI waterjets to propel it through the water. According to the company, it is the largest ferry (by volume) constructed by any Austal shipyard in the company’s 35-year history. During sea trials, the vessel achieved a top speed of 40kts and bettered Class quality standards for noise and vibration in the passenger decks, with a quiet and smooth ride.
Express 5 has capacity for 1,610 passengers and 450 cars (or 617 lane meters for trucks plus 257 cars) over two vehicle decks, and an operating service speed of 37kts. It is powered by an LNG-capable, medium-speed powerplant that offers a powerful yet economical and environmentally friendly solution. On board, passengers can access leather-appointed reclining seats with USB ports, wi-fi, a full bistro and bar(s), a children’s play area and multiple audio-visual screens.
The catamaran was designed by the same Austal Australia team that developed the original, signature raked-bow hull for Molslinjen’s Express 4 delivered in 2019. It includes Austal’s proprietary Motion Control and Marinelink-Smart systems that help deliver a smoother journey for passengers and crew and a more efficient, better-performing ‘smart’ ship for operators.
Paddy Gregg, CEO of Austal Limited, said, “The delivery of Express 5 was a testament to the resilience and capabilities of the Austal Philippines team, who constructed the vessel through the Covid-19 pandemic and following the effects of Super Typhoon Rai in 2021. Express 5 is the largest vessel, by volume, that Austal has ever constructed, and to deliver this new high-speed ferry despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic between 2020 and 2022, and Super Typhoon Rai in 2021, is simply outstanding.
“Despite the challenges faced, the Austal Philippines team has delivered the most impressive vessel ever to join the Molslinjen fleet. The high-speed ferry performed exceptionally well during sea trials and will soon provide a class-leading service to Bornholm in Denmark. Our warmest congratulations to Molslinjen on the delivery of this future-ready fast ferry with the capability to incorporate hybrid-fuel engine technology, achieving lower emissions and greater economy.”
At a delivery ceremony, Wayne Murray, president of Austal Philippines, said, “Express 5 is the 21st ship delivered to an overseas operator by Austal Philippines, highlighting the tremendous value added to the Philippines shipbuilding industry since 2012. It’s fitting that our latest and greatest ship is also the largest ever delivered by an Austal shipyard anywhere in the world – the team are rightly very proud and are to be congratulated.”