Austal cuts metal on 83-metre ferry for JR Kyushu of Japan

Artist's impression of the 83-metre trimaran under construction for JR Kyushu Jet Ferry of Japan. Photo: Austal.

Austal has commenced construction on a next generation 83-metre trimaran ferry for JR Kyushu of Japan at its shipyard in Western Australia. This trimaran vessel was developed in Henderson, Western Australia at Austal’s centre of excellence in maritime design.

Austal CEO, David Singleton said the vessel’s hull has been designed to reduce sea sickness among passengers.

“The Austal trimaran’s unique hull design is revolutionising the commercial and defence vessel markets for high speed ships where performance, speed and sea keeping are at a premium. This vessel configuration was first developed by Austal and has been shown to reduce sea sickness in heavy seas by around 80 per cent. As a result the trimaran hull form is becoming increasingly popular with the high speed passenger ferry industry,” he said.

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“We are particularly pleased to be building a ship in Australia for export to Japan, a country which has a world class shipbuilding industry of its own and to a customer with such a high profile in passenger transport as JR Kyushu. It is hard to imagine a better endorsement of the vessel design and capability than to be able to sell into such a discerning market as Japan. The vessel will be in service between South Korea and Japan in time for the 2020 summer Olympics.”

Austal currently has 11 trimarans in operation around the world, with another eight under construction and a further five on order.

The 83-metre trimaran, with a capacity for 502 passengers and an operational speed of 37 knots, will service JR Kyushu Jet Ferry’s key strategic route between Fukuoka, Japan and Busan, South Korea. The vessel will feature a very high quality customised interior, developed by respected Japanese design house, Don Design Associates, led by Eiji Mitooka, famous for the luxuriously appointed interiors of JR Kyushu’s high-end passenger trains.