Austal delivers high-speed catamaran to Degage Group in French Polynesia

Image credit: Austal

Austal Vietnam has delivered a 66-metre Apetahi Express, a new high-speed catamaran, to French Polynesia’s Degage Group.

In May 2023, the ferry completed a series of sea trials off the coast of Vung Tau and is now preparing for its debut journey to French Polynesia. 

The new Austal Passenger Express catamaran features a length overall (LOA) of 66.4 metres, a beam of 15.2 metres and draft of 1.8 metres. 

Over two passenger decks, the vessel can accommodate 574 passengers, with an additional 80 seats available on an external sun deck. 

Crew accommodation includes 7 two-berth cabins and 2 single-berth cabins, and the vessel has four passenger access ramps and can carry up to 16 tonnes of cargo loaded via two cranes.

Paddy Gregg, chief executive officer of Austal, commended The Degage Group on the arrival of their latest catamaran, the sixth commercial ferry designed and built by Austal.

“Austal has now designed and constructed six commercial ferries for the Degage Group, operating throughout French Polynesia and we’re thankful for their continued business and support,” Gregg said.

According to him, Apetahi Express was modified by Austal’s Australian and Vietnamese design and engineering teams to meet the stringent requirements of inter-island transport. 

He further detailed the new catamaran delivers outstanding new capability, with multiple indoor and outdoor decks for passengers and a large cargo space accommodating up to 16 tonnes of cargo.

Mark Dummett, president of Austal Vietnam, acknowledged the Austal staff for their work over the previous two years as the third ship built by the Vung Tau shipyard since it opened in 2018.

“This has been a fantastic collaboration between Austal and the team from The Degage Group which has resulted in a superb vessel that has exceeded speed performance targets,” Dummett noted.

Fitted with four diesel engines and four waterjets, as well as Austal’s Motion Control System (including active interceptors and T-foils) and the latest MARINELINK-Essentials program, the new ferry achieved a speed of 38 knots during sea trials.

The Degage Group said it prioritised lowering CO2 emissions and enhancing fuel economy during the design of Apetahi Express. 

Austal claimed to have significantly reduced resistance in the aluminium hull design through optimisation, which not only reduces fuel consumption but also enhances seakeeping and provides passengers with a more comfortable ride.

Following the delivery voyage, it is projected that the new ferry would start running between French Polynesia’s Pape’ete (Tahiti) and Vaitape (Bora Bora) in July 2023.