Austal’s WA shipyard launches new trimaran

Photo: Austal

Australian shipmaker Austal’s latest development in high-speed trimaran technology, an 83 metre trimaran ferry, has been revealed at the company’s shipyard in Western Australia.

Under construction for a Japanese ferry operator, the Austal Hull 396, or ‘Queen Beetle’, was designed and constructed by Austal Australia and is due for launch in mid-March 2020. The vessel will commence services between Busan, South Korea and Fukuoka, Japan in July 2020.

“We’re very proud to be introducing this new Austal trimaran to one of the most technologically advanced and mature markets in the world. In fact, Queen Beetle will be the first high-speed trimaran ferry to be delivered to and operate in Japan,” Austal chief executive, David Singleton, said.

“This stunning new ship will truly transform the fast-ferry journey between Japan and South Korea, offering significantly improved seakeeping and an exceptional on-board experience for passengers and crew.

“With a capacity to carry 502 passengers in greater comfort, with previously unavailable amenities such as a shop and café, this new trimaran represents outstanding value to our customer, JR Kyushu Jet Ferry,” he said.

WA Premier Mark McGowan said it was particularly pleasing that a range of local suppliers and subcontractors had also contributed to the construction of the vessel, in addition to those directly employed by Austal.

“The extent of the local content in this vessel is proof of both a vibrant shipbuilding industry in Western Australia as well a testament to the quality of the work and products that Western Australian companies can contribute to the maritime sector, whether in civil or defence areas,” McGowan said.

Since 2005, Austal has delivered 14 high-speed aluminium trimarans worldwide, including 11 for the United States Navy.

Austal has a further 11 trimarans under construction or scheduled for construction at the company’s shipyards around the world – and remains the only shipbuilder designing, constructing and sustaining large high-speed trimaran ferries, globally.

The Queen Beetle will be able to transport 502 passengers (and 20 crew) across 2 passenger decks, at speeds up to 37 knots on the 115 nautical mile route.

The company recently delivered a record first half revenue for the first half of the 2020 financial year, generating $1.039 billion in revenue, up 22 per cent from last year’s figures. The USA shipyard accounted for 77 per cent of total revenue.

“Outside of the USA we completed the construction of a new shipyard in Vietnam and a major expansion in the Philippines, each of which should deliver high quality vessels at an unbeatable cost base, in all probability, for decades to come,” Austal CEO, David Singleton, said.