From the draw­ing board to the In­cat ship­yard

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - LIFESTYLE & CULTURE -

Hull 089, the new 110-me­tre RoPax ferry on or­der from Virtu Fer­ries is tak­ing shape at the In­cat ship­build­ing yard in Der­went, Tas­ma­nia. The Wavepierc­ing Cata­ma­ran will carry 900 pas­sen­gers and 23 heavy com­mer­cial trail­ers, equiv­a­lent to 490 truck lane me­tres or 167 pri­vate ve­hi­cles.

The ves­sel will be named af­ter Saint John Paul II. Virtu Fer­ries had the honour and plea­sure of wel­com­ing HH Pope John Paul II on board ACC San Frangisk, on that mo­men­tous re­turn voy­age be­tween the Grand Har­bour, St Paul’s Is­lands and Gozo on 27 May 1990. His Ho­li­ness’ re-en­try into the Grand Har­bour, sur­rounded by hun­dreds of peo­ple in a fleet of boats, in­clud­ing many in a tra­di­tional Mal­tese dgha­jsa or luzzu, lingers in the is­land’s col­lec­tive mem­ory.

At 1,000 tons dead­weight Saint John Paul II will be the largest RoPax Cata­ma­ran op­er­at­ing in the Mediter­ranean and the sec­ond largest in the world. The ves­sel is be­ing built in ac­cor­dance with the EU Mar­itime Green Pol­icy, which seeks to pro­mote an in­no­va­tive, com­pet­i­tive and en­vi­ron­men­tally-friendly mar­itime in­dus­try. Ship­builders In­cat are world lead­ers in the field.

The stan­dard, well-tried, In­cat Wavepiercer Hull de­sign was mod­i­fied af­ter ex­ten­sive hy­dro­dy­namic model tri­als in the state-of-theart UK Min­istry of De­fence Ocean Basin Re­search Fa­cil­ity in Gosport Hampshire, headed by Sea­speed Marine Con­sult­ing Lim­ited UK. This is the first time such re­search model test­ing has been car­ried out on high speed ves­sels of this ton­nage − a world first for the Mal­tese mar­itime in­dus­try.

The Saint John Paul II will join the Jean De La Valette on the Mal­taSi­cily route to, in prac­ti­cal ever-day terms, bring Malta closer to Europe. At a cruis­ing speed of 38 knots (70.4km per hour) the Saint John Paul II will make the cross­ing in ap­prox­i­mately 90 min­utes. Virtu have been op­er­at­ing a sched­uled high speed ferry ser­vice be­tween Malta and Si­cily since 1988 and com­mis­sioned the Saint John Paul II specif­i­cally for the Malta Chan­nel route. Pas­sen­gers can look for­ward to trav­el­ling to our clos­est neigh­bour, Si­cily, in six lux­ury lounges, with a de­sign based on 28 years of sur­veyed pas­sen­ger feed­back. The Club Class lounge is on the Bridge Deck. The five other lounges are on the Main Deck, one for­ward and aft, an­other two amid­ships on the port and star­board sides and a des­ig­nated Truck­ers lounge with ad­di­tional fa­cil­i­ties for af­ter a hard day’s work. Out­side seat­ing is pro­vided on both pas­sen­ger decks.

Like all Virtu ves­sels, in­clud­ing those op­er­at­ing be­tween Venice, Adri­atic ports and Spain and Morocco, the Saint John Paul II will fly the Malta flag.

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