Austal’s 65 metre Auto Express catamaran ferry “Shinas”, built for the Sultanate of Oman, achieved a record service speed of 52 knots during sea trials, making it the fastest diesel-powered vehicle-passenger ferry currently in commercial service.
The vessel’s confirmed service speed of 52 knots exceeds contract requirements by one knot, with the vessel also reaching a peak speed of 55.9 knots (103.5 km/h) during its recently completed sea trials.
“Shinas” is the first of two identical vessels being built for the Sultanate of Oman at Austal’s facilities in Henderson, Western Australia - showcasing the world-class ability of the Austal design and construction team.
The Sultanate’s requirements challenged Austal’s experienced team of Naval Architects to develop a new, customised, high efficiency hull design capable of delivering record-breaking performance, while the construction team were required to meet demanding weight targets.
The 65 metre catamaran adds to Austal’s list of record breaking vessels, which includes the 88 metre “Villum Clausen” – current holder of the 24 hour distance record for a commercial passenger vessel (1063nm at an average speed of 44.29 knots, set in 2000).
Ordered in May 2006, the two vessels are earmarked to become the flagship vessels in the Sultanate’s expanded coastal marine transport network, and will set new standards in performance, comfort, safety and quality of finish.
Following a competitive international tender, Austal’s innovative design - which complied with the highest standards for passenger ferries and is tailored to local Omani conditions - was selected to meet the Sultanate’s requirements.
Each vessel will carry 208 passengers and 56 cars along a 180 nautical mile route between Shinas and Oman’s rugged Musandam Peninsular.
The vessel has the capability to assist in search and rescue and medivac operations due to its helicopter landing facility, which is suitable for a medium class helicopter.
Both vessels are powered by four MTU 20 cylinder 1163 series diesel engines each producing 6,500 kW and driving Rolls-Royce / Kamewa waterjets. The vessels meet Det Norske Veritas survey requirements and conform to the HSC code.
'Shinas” is scheduled to arrive in Oman in the next few weeks, with her sister vessel to follow in July.
Once delivered, “Shinas” will set new standards for the Middle East region not only in terms of performance but also with regard to safety, comfort and quality of finish.
Seating for all 208 passengers onboard “Shinas” is situated on the vessel’s upper deck. Ample room and luxury fittings are evident throughout the vessel’s refined, high quality interior, which is divided into three classes – Tourist Class, First Class and VIP. Modern feature lighting, including LED stairway indicators, provide extra style elements throughout.
Tourist Class is positioned aft on the upper deck and is installed with both fixed and adjustable Beurteaux Tourist High Back seating for 172 passengers. Each seat is equipped with leather headrests, armrests, meal trays and life-jacket storage. Twenty Beurteaux tub seats with tables are positioned with views aft. All passengers onboard “Shinas” have access to the vessel’s Gitesse IMCOS audio-visual entertainment system via headphone jacks installed in each seat. The system offers each passenger the latest in onboard entertainment.
Located forward on the upper deck is First Class, which provides its 28 passengers with views over the bow. Window blinds by OceanAir are installed throughout both Tourist Class and First Class, with modern kiosk-style facilities also situated on the upper deck.
A private, 8-person VIP room is positioned just forward and centre of First Class. Beurteaux Executive Recliners are installed in both First Class and the VIP room. To enhance overall passenger comfort, ride control onboard “Shinas” is provided by Austal SeaState via the installation of Interceptors to the ferry’s transom.
The vessel’s wheelhouse provides crew with 360-degree visibility, including a view to the helicopter landing deck located directly aft of the wheelhouse.
The helicopter landing deck is rated for a 6.4 tonne helicopter - capable of assisting in search and rescue and medivac operations – is situated on the bridge deck. The helicopter deck has approval for domestic operations and lighting for night operations as well as a CILAS gyro stabilised glide scope indicator. Full fire fighting facilities are also provided.
The full length vehicle deck allows space for 56 cars or 54 truck lane metres plus 40 cars with a deck clear height of over three metres. The vehicle deck aft can withstand axle loads of 9 tonnes (single wheel) or 12 tonne (dual wheel). The remainder of the main deck caters for maximum axle loads of 3 tonnes (single wheel). Lightweight structural fire protection, zoned sprinkler systems and hydrants ensures optimal fire safety during vehicle transport. As an added safety measure, the vessel has a medical transfer station accessible off the vehicle deck, offering a high level of medical equipment for patient transport.
The vessel’s high operating speed is made possible by four MTU 20 cylinder 1163 series diesel engines, each producing 6,500 kW and driving Rolls-Royce / Kamewa waterjets.
Length overall: 64.8 metres
Length waterline: 61.1 metres
Beam moulded: 16.5 metres
Hull depth moulded: 6.2 metres
Hull draft (maximum): 2.1 metres
Deadweight (maximum): 146 tonnes
Vehicles: 56 cars or 54 truck lane metres + 40 cars
Axle loads: - aft main deck: 9 tonnes (single wheel), 12 tonnes (dual wheel)
- remainder of main deck: 3 tonnes (single wheel)
Vehicle deck clear height: 3.1 metres
Helideck capacity: Augusta Westland AB139, or equivalent
Fuel (approx): 44,000 litres
Main engines: 4 x MTU 20V 1163 TB73L
4 x 6,500 kW
Propulsion: 4 x Kamewa 90SII
Gearboxes: 4 x Reintjes
Service speed: 52 knots
RIDE CONTROL: SeaState
Classification: Det Norske Veritas, IMO HSC 2000 http://www.austal.com