Austal’s 65 metre Auto Express catamaran ferry “Shinas”, built for the Sultanate of Oman, has 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). “Shinas” is the first of two identical vessels being built for the Sultanate of Oman at Austal’s facilities in Henderson, Western Australia.
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 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.
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 ensure 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.