Virtu in­vests €75 mil­lion in high speed Wavepiercer Cata­ma­ran

Malta Independent - - BUSINESS & FINANCE -

Virtu Fer­ries has signed a new build con­tract with In­cat Tas­ma­nia Pty. Ltd. to build a High Speed Wavepiercer Pas­sen­ger/Ve­hi­cle Cata­ma­ran for their Malta – Si­cily route. De­liv­ery is sched­uled for the fourth quar­ter of 2018.

At 1,000 tons dead­weight, the ves­sel will be the largest RoPax Cata­ma­ran ever built for oper­a­tion in the Mediter­ranean, and the sec­ond largest in the world. The ves­sel will have a ca­pac­ity of 900 pas­sen­gers in four lux­ury lounges on two pas­sen­ger decks and ad­di­tional out­side seat­ing. The full span of the garage deck is de­signed to carry 23 heavy com­mer­cial trail­ers, equiv­a­lent to 490 truck lane me­tres or 167 cars. At a cruis­ing speed of 38 knots, the Malta to Si­cily cross­ing will, as with the Jean De La Valette, take ap­prox­i­mately 90 min­utes. In­cat Tas­ma­nia is the world leader in build­ing large en­vi­ron­men­tally-friendly high-speed fer­ries with an em­pha­sis on eco op­er­a­tions and fuel ef­fi­ciency. In­cat ves­sels, both com­mer­cial and mil­i­tary, are found in all four cor­ners of the world.

Us­ing state-of-the-art Com­pu­ta­tional Fluid Dy­nam­ics (CFD) and hy­dro­dy­namic free-run­ning model test tech­niques, the well­proven In­cat wave pierc­ing cata­ma­ran hull form has been fur­ther de­vel­oped for this ex­posed route. The hy­dro­dy­namic tests were car­ried out by Sea­speed Marine Con­sult­ing Ltd at the Haslar Ocean Basin and Ship Tanks in Gosport, UK – fa­cil­i­ties nor­mally as­so­ci­ated with UK Min­istry of De­fence projects.

The al­ready well-proven In­cat wave pierc­ing cata­ma­ran hull de­sign has been fur­ther de­vel­oped to min­imise fuel con­sump­tion, in­crease pas­sen­ger com­fort and sea-keep­ing per­for­mance, at the de­sired con­tract speed, in sim­u­lated sea con­di­tions pre­vail­ing in the Malta Chan­nel. This is in line with es­tab­lished Green Poli­cies be­ing rec­om­mended by the in­ter­na­tional mar­itime in­dus­try.

Virtu Fer­ries has been op­er­at­ing high speed fer­ries for 28 years and apart from the Malta-Si­cily route op­er­ates fer­ries be­tween Venice and Adri­atic Ports in Croa­tia and Slove­nia as well as be­tween Tar­ifa, Spain and Tang­iers, Morocco.

The new ves­sel will be de­ployed on Virtu’s core route be­tween Malta and Si­cily along­side the Jean De La Valette. The cur­rent sched­ule of daily re­turn voyages be­tween the two neigh­bour­ing EU is­lands will be fur­ther in­creased to bet­ter con­nect Malta to main­land Europe. Virtu is also look­ing into fur­ther mar­ket-driven route ex­pan­sion; a sec­ond ves­sel will also in­crease flex­i­bil­ity and re­li­a­bil­ity. The com­pany is car­ry­ing out a num­ber of ini­tia­tives to in­crease in­com­ing tourism and bet­ter serve the Mal­tese and Ital­ian busi­ness com­mu­ni­ties.

The new ferry will be built un­der DNV-GL Clas­si­fi­ca­tion So­ci­ety Rules and will com­ply with IMO High Speed Craft HSC 2000, the Malta Flag Statu­tory Reg­u­la­tions and Ital­ian Port State re­quire­ments. As with all other Virtu ves­sels, the new ferry will fly the Malta flag.

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