GLOBAL shipbuilder Austal Philippines on Thursday, March 23, 2023, announced the delivery of the 115-meter, high-speed vehicle-passenger ferry Express 5 to Molslinjen of Denmark, following the successful completion of sea trials in Balamban, Cebu.

The “Auto Express 115” high-speed catamaran ferry 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 40 knots and better Class quality standards for noise and vibration in the passenger decks with a quiet and smooth ride, the company said in a statement.

Austal Limited chief executive officer Paddy Gregg 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 typhoon Odette (international name: Rai) in December 2021.

“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,” Gregg said.

He noted that this future-ready fast ferry has the capability to incorporate hybrid-fuel engine technology achieving lower emissions and greater economy.

Features, capacity

Express 5 has the capacity for 1,610 passengers, space for 450 cars (or 617 lane meters for trucks plus 257 cars) over two vehicle decks and an operating service speed of 37 knots.

It is powered by an LNG-capable, medium-speed power plant that offers a powerful yet economic and environmentally friendly solution.

On board, passengers will enjoy 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 sleek-looking 115-meter catamaran was designed by the same Austal Australia team who developed the original, signature raked-bow hull for Molslinjen’s Express 4 delivered in 2019.

The ferry is also equipped with 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. (KOC)