SHIPBUILDER Austal Philippines in Balamban, Cebu has delivered another historic vessel in the form of Danish-commissioned high-speed ferry Fjord FSTR that recently set sail from Cebu to Hirtshals, Denmark on March 5, 2021.
According to the Philippine Embassy in Copenhagen, Fjord Line, a Danish shipping company, commissioned Austal Philippines to build the 109-meter catamaran ferry which can accommodate 1,200 passengers or over 400 cars.
“The delivery of the ship is a significant milestone as it is the first wholly constructed ship in the Philippines to carry passengers and cargoes in Denmark. It also reflects the vibrant relations between our two countries,” Philippine Ambassador to Denmark Leo Herrera-Lim said in a statement.
The high-speed ferry will operate between Denmark and Norway. The purpose-built Fjord FSTR will enable passengers to have access to three different restaurants on board, a children’s area and a tax-free shop. The guests will also find a café and a bistro on board.
Based on Austal Philippines’s website, the vehicle-passenger ferry named FSTR is the largest aluminum vessel ever constructed in the Philippines — and currently the largest ferry (by volume) to be constructed by Austal, at any of the company’s shipyards worldwide.
Austal chief executive officer Paddy Gregg said the delivery of FSTR during the current Covid-19 pandemic was a significant achievement and a testament to the resilience, commitment, skills and safety of the Austal Philippines team.
“It’s impressive to see a large high-speed ferry like this delivered in the best of times, but for the team to deliver this new vessel during a global pandemic is simply outstanding. The Austal Philippines team has clearly demonstrated its ability to deliver multiple, complex projects under challenging circumstances, while maintaining a safe working environment,” Gregg said.
Fjord Line’s FSTR is capable of transporting 1,200 passengers at up to 40 knots and features Austal’s largest ever vehicle-carrying capacity constructed to date, with a beam of 30.5 meters enabling 404 cars to be carried across two decks.
The ship features several key design innovations that enhance operating performance and passenger comfort, including a new, optimized hull form that will minimize fuel consumption and wake wash when operating on the Skagerrak Sea between Hirtshals, Denmark and Kristiansand, Norway.
At the vessel handover held at the Balamban Cebu shipyard, Austal Philippines president Wayne Murray said FSTR was just the first of three large high-speed ferries to be constructed at the company’s newly expanded shipyard.
“With the delivery of FSTR, we’re now preparing for the launch of Hull 395, Bañaderos Express, a 118-meter trimaran ferry under construction for Fred. Olsen Express of the Canary Islands. Following closely behind that, we have the 115-meter Express 5 under construction for Molslinjen of Denmark,” Murray said.
“We’ve just delivered the largest high-speed ferry ever built in the Philippines and in fact, the largest high-speed ferry built by any Austal shipyard anywhere in the world. And soon, we will do it again, when we complete Express 5 for Molslinjen. We are indeed a record-setting and record-breaking shipyard,” he added. (JOB)