Austal launches largest ferry built at its Philippines shipyard

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Austal Philippines' ‘Auto Express 115’ high-speed catamaran ferry. Image credit: Austal

Shipbuilder Austal Philippines has delivered the 115-metre, high-speed vehicle-passenger ferry Express 5, the largest ferry constructed by an Austal shipyard.

On its website, the ASX-listed company said that the vessel, called ‘Auto Express 115,’ is for Molslinjen, Denmark.

Austal said the high-speed catamaran ferry has successfully completed sea trials in its state-of-the-art shipyard in Balamban, Cebu, south of Manila.

During sea trials, the vessel exceeded Class quality standards for noise and vibration in the passenger decks, providing a calm and smooth voyage.

According to Austal Limited Chief Executive Officer Paddy Gregg, the delivery of Express 5 demonstrates the resilience and competence of the Austal Philippines crew, who built the vessel throughout the COVID pandemic and after 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 pandemic over 2020 – 2022, and Super Typhoon Rai in 2021, is simply outstanding,” Gregg said.

Austal Philippines President Wayne Murray praised his crew at a delivery ceremony this week for completing 21 deliveries from the Balamban, Cebu shipyard in under ten years.

“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. Page 2 of 4 “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,” Murray remarked.

Austal said Express 5 can carry 1,610 passengers, accommodate 450 cars (or 617 lane metres for trucks plus 257 cars), and go at a 37-knot operating speed. 

It is powered by a medium-speed power plant that can run on LNG and provides a strong but affordable and environmentally responsible alternative. 

A full café and bar, Wi-Fi, a children’s play area, leather-appointed reclining seats with USB outlets, and various audiovisual panels are all available to passengers on board.

The 115-metre catamaran was designed by the same Austal Australia team that created the original, signature raked-bow hull for Molslinjen’s Express 4 delivered in 2019.

It has MARINELINK-Smart and Austal’s exclusive Motion Control systems, which assist provide a smoother journey for passengers and staff as well as a more effective, high-performing, “smart” ship for operators.

With the possibility to use hybrid-fuel engine technology to achieve fewer emissions and a higher economy, Gregg also expressed his sincere congratulations to Molslinjen on the delivery of this future-ready fast ferry.