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Luxury vessels off to Tahiti

TWO $50 million mono-hull cruise ships from Austal Ships left Fremantle last week and are en route to Tahiti on board a heavy-lift vessel.

The two 700 tonne, 69-metre cruising yachts are aboard the 146-metre Happy Buccaneer, which is operated by BigLift Shipping.

Tu Moana and Tia Moana are destined to operate between the Tahitian islands of Bora Bora, Huahine, Tahaa and Raiatea. On board each of the vessels are a restaurant, a gymnasium, a library, indoor and outdoor lounges, two jacuzzis and a wide range of water sports equipment.

The Austal group has 15 vessels currently under construction with a total value of $400 million, including four vehicle-passenger ferries ranging in size from 49 metres to 86 metres in length.

In March, Austal signed a $24 million contract with Tahitian ferry operator Aremiti Cruise for a 56-metre high-speed ferry.

Due for delivery in January 2004, the aluminium catamaran will join three other ferries in the Aremiti fleet and will transport 700 passengers between the Tahitian islands of Papeete, Morea and Bora Bora.

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