Australian shipbuilder Austal Ships will design and build the world’s most powerful diesel-powered catamaran for Canadian American Transportation Systems (CATS). The ferry will be fitted with MTU’s 20V 8000 M70 engines, each rated at 8200kW. Each engine will drive a steerable waterjet via a ZF gearbox. With a speed of 42 knots, the 86 metre vehicle-passenger ferry will be the first of its type on the Great Lakes. It will operate on Lake Ontario between the cities of Rochester in New York State, USA and Toronto in Canada, with a voyage time of two hours and 15 minutes.
Scheduled to arrive in Rochester in late July 2003, the CATS ferry will have the capacity to carry 774 passengers and 238 cars or up to 10 trucks and fewer cars. The garage features a drive-through vehicle deck design, with hoistable mezzanine decks to allow the carriage of trucks and other overheight vehicles, without sacrificing maximum car capacity. Although it will be the seventh Auto Express 86 vehicle-passenger catamaran built by Austal Ships, the CATS vessel will be different in a number of ways. This includes structural and design changes in accordance with the latest IMO HSC Code 2000 requirements and to allow operation in limited ice conditions.