COMMERCIAL – Austal’s Hong Kong passenger ferry fleet complete


Austal is celebrating the completion of 14 high-speed passenger ferries for Hong Kong’s Venetian Marketing Services Limited (VMSL) following the successful on-schedule delivery of the final four vessels.

Recognisable for their exciting electric blue livery, Austal said each of the 47.5m aluminium CotaiJets are now in operation between Hong Kong and Macao, servicing the entertainment, gaming, convention and hotel facilities on The Cotai Strip.

Combining speed, comfort and outstanding interior finishes, the builder said each vessel has the capacity to carry 413 passengers at a speed of 42kts. Currently performing more than 60 sailings each day, the vessels are said to provide a first-class ferry service along what is now the world’s largest route in terms of passenger numbers.

Since construction began in 2007, Austal said the speed of the project has demonstrated the advantages of its newly-introduced Advanced Shipbuilding (ASB) design and construction techniques. The Cotai Strip vessels represent the most extensive use of these techniques to date, it added.

Austal Director – Global Sales and Marketing, Andrew Bellamy said Austal’s large facilities, skilled workforce and ongoing improvement in production techniques enables the company to continue to offer short delivery times, even for large projects.

“Increased modular construction and the automation of specific construction tasks across Austal’s shipyards worldwide have seen significant improvements in our efficiency and productivity, as demonstrated by this project,” Bellamy said.

“Austal prides itself on meeting or exceeding customer requirements and we are very pleased to be able to facilitate the on-time delivery of these vessels,” he said.

According to the company, passenger facilities befit a luxury entertainment complex, including Beautreaux Club and Executive seating with leather finish, which are spread across two separate levels and cater for up to 413 passengers. A passenger-friendly seating density is achieved by limiting rows to no more than three seats.

The 14 CotaiJets are each powered by four MTU 16V4000 M70s producing 2320kW at 2000rpm, driving four Kamewa 63 SII waterjets. Each ferry is additionally fitted with transom mounted SeaState Interceptors providing active high-speed ride control for maximum passenger comfort.
Austal said the latest four vessels have been further enhanced with the addition of forward mounted T-foils and aft mounted T-Max, an auxiliary steering system proprietary to Austal.

The provision of a regular, reliable, fast, high-quality ferry service has contributed to the popularity of the Venetian Macao entertainment complex, which recorded a 7.1 per cent increase in visits during the second quarter compared to last year’s second quarter, Austal said.

Completion of the The Cotai Strip vessels means Austal has now delivered more than 50 vessels into the Pearl River Delta region.

Austal said its reputation within the commercial ferry market for design innovation, hull efficiency and superior customer satisfaction recently saw orders for two large vehicle ferries with repeat customers as well as a passenger ferry fleet for Trinidad and Tobago.

The company added that there is also continued strong interest in its next generation 102m trimaran ferry, currently under construction.