20/02/2007 - 22:00

Smooth sailing assured for gala awards night

20/02/2007 - 22:00


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The venue for this year’s 40under40 Awards gala has a touch of the exotic, and certainly a touch of class about it.

Smooth sailing assured for gala awards night

The venue for this year’s 40under40 Awards gala has a touch of the exotic, and certainly a touch of class about it.

The venue is vehicle-passenger ferry Osman Gazi, constructed by Henderson-based shipbuilder Austal, and bound for Instanbul in April.

The vessel is one of two Auto Express 88 fast car ferries the company has built for its largest commercial customer, Turkish ferry company Istanbul Deniz Otobusleri, funded by the city’s local government.

At 88 metres in length, and with a capacity of 1,200 passengers and 225 cars, the aluminium catamaran is the ninth fast ferry supplied by Austal to IDO since 1995.

It is also the largest vessel constructed for IDO to date, in terms of length and capacity.

The Auto Express was the world’s first vehicle-passenger catamaran able to carry coaches or buses, with the Osman Gazi supporting a maximum deadweight of 470 tonnes at an operational speed of 36 knots when loaded.

The ferry contains two passenger decks, with the upper deck designed to cater for 922 tourist class passengers and the bridge deck to accommodate 278 business class passengers.

Catering and shopping facilities are contained on the upper deck, which includes a children’s recreation area.

Austal secured the contract for the Osman Gazi, and a second ferry, in December 2005, having won an international tender process for the project.

Presently docked at Austal’s shipyards in Henderson, the Osman Gazi was officially launched in December last year and will commence service in Istanbul this April, navigating a 39 nautical mile reciprocal service across the Marmara Sea between Yenikapi (Istanbul) and Mudanya, near the city of Bursa.

Austal will officially launch the second catamaran in April.

IDO was founded in 1987 by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, with a brief to develop a sea transportation strategy to relieve traffic congestion in the Turkish city, which straddles the Bosphorus Strait.

The ferry company commenced operations with a fleet of 10 seabuses bought from Norway, and has since grown to host 74 vessels, carrying more than 68 million passengers and five million vehicles annually.

Austal began operations in 1988 and is the largest builder of high-speed passenger ferries in the world.

The company produces a range of ferries, yachts, catamarans, fast freighters, offshore supply vessels and specialist defence vessels, and has won awards in Australia and the US for export and manufacturing.

Austal has been listed on the Australian Securities Exchange since 1998, diversifying into the patrol boat market during the same year.

The company’s client list includes the Royal Australian Navy and the US Department of Defense, as well as a number of other national and international agencies.

In addition to the Auto Express 88 catamarans, Austal is currently building two multi-purpose Auto Express 65m high-speed catamaran ferries for the Sultanate of Oman, as well as two Littoral Combat Ships for the US Navy.

Last November, the company announced the signing of an unconditional contract for the supply of multiple aluminium passenger ferries, worth $200 million, due for staggered delivery throughout 2007 and 2008.

Austal also recently completed the first of two high-speed vehicle-passenger catamarans for US-based client Hawaii Superferry, which was officially launched in January at Austal’s US-based shipyard in Mobile, Alabama.

The company announced this week that it has confirmed an unconditional contract for the supply of two 47.5m high-speed aluminium passenger ferries to Hong Kong operator New World First Ferry Services Ltd (Macau), valued at about $36 million.

The ferries are scheduled for delivery in the second half of 2008.


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