Perth shipbuilder Austal has continued its international expansion with Austal Vietnam successfully launching its first-ever vessel, the passenger vehicle ferry A.P.T. James.
The 94 metre high-speed vessel, an Austal Auto Express 94, is an all new aluminium catamaran that will carry 926 passengers and 250 cars at speeds up to 37.5 knots.
Built for the National Infrastructure Development Company Limited (NIDCo) of Trinidad and Tobago, the ship will later this year begin service between the two Caribbean islands.
The vessel is now in the final stages of fit out.
Austal Chief Executive Officer David Singleton said this first vessel was a fantastic accomplishment for Austal Vietnam.
Singleton said: “To their great credit and like all of our shipbuilding teams around the world, the Austal Vietnam team have continued working diligently and effectively during the COVID-19 pandemic to complete and launch APT James, while meeting all applicable Government Health and Safety guidelines.
“This highly anticipated and exciting new ship for NIDCo is going to have a very positive and immediate effect on Trinidad and Tobago’s ‘sea bridge’ by improving the overall performance, reliability and amenity of this essential inter-island ferry service.”
The A.P.T James was constructed by the 450-strong Austal Vietnam workforce over the past 20 months.
The company’s Vung Tau shipyard is the latest addition to Austal’s capabilities with the company now building aluminium and steel ships in Perth, Mobile Alabama, Cebu Philippines and China.
Austal Vietnam has already commenced construction on the shipyard’s next project, a new 41 metre high speed catamaran ferry for SGTM of Mauritius.
Subscribe to our free @AuManufacturing newsletter here.