Spanish shipping firm Fred Olsen has placed an order for two vehicle passenger trimaran ferries at Australian-based ship building company Austal Limited.
Under the deal, valued at EUR 126 million (USD 147.7 million), Austal will construct the 117-metre high-speed ferries over a period of 29 and 36 months, respectively.
The two new trimarans will each be capable of transporting over 1,100 passengers and up to 276 cars at speeds of up to 38 knots, with both commencing construction in 2018. The exact build location for the vessels are currently not known.
Designed by Austal Australia, the aluminium trimarans will be the second and third trimarans to be delivered to Fred Olsen S.A. who already operate the world's first and largest trimaran vehicle passenger ferry, the Benchijigua Express, designed and built by Austal in 2005.
"The Benchijigua Express has become an industry benchmark for blue-water commercial ferry operations, exceeding expectations for performance, speed and customer experience in the Canary Islands," David Singleton, Austal Chief Executive Officer, said.
"This is a watershed contract for our next generation trimaran design that will deliver new levels of seakeeping, passenger comfort and efficiency, and proves the trimaran is the right tool for the job in the challenging sea conditions of the Atlantic. It is a game-changer in the market," Ben Marland, Austal Vice President of Sales and Marketing, added.