Largest catamaran ferry built in Philippine shipyard delivered to Denmark

Largest catamaran Denmark
Austal Philippines has delivered Hull 423 (Express 5) to Molslinjen of Denmark. Austal Philippines photo.

The largest catamaran passenger fast ferry built in a Philippine shipyard, fitted with hybrid-fuel engine technology for lower emissions and greater economy, has been delivered on schedule to shipping company Molslinjen of Denmark.

Express 5, the sleek-looking 115-meter high-speed ferry built in the Austal Philippines shipyard is the largest vessel constructed in the company’s 35-year history. The catamaran ferry will ply the route between Ystad in Sweden and Rønne, the largest town on the Danish island of Bornholm.

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Following its fit-out work in the last quarter of 2022, the catamaran ferry was scheduled for delivery early in the first quarter of this year. Express 5 finally set sail for Rønne, Denmark on March 24, 2023, after the successful completion of sea trials in Balamban, Cebu.

The catamaran ferry boasts of the following features:

  • Capacity for 1,610 passengers
  • Space for 450 cars (or 617 lane metres for trucks plus 257 cars)
  • 2 vehicle decks
  • Operating service speed of 37 knots
  • Powered by an LNG-capable, medium-speed power plant that offers a powerful yet economic and environmentally friendly solution
  • Leather-appointed reclining seats with USB ports
  • Wi-Fi
  • Full bistro and bar
  • Children’s play area
  • Multiple audio-visual screens

The Express 5 was designed by the Austal Australia team to include Austal’s proprietary Motion Control and MARINELINK-Smart systems that help deliver a smoother journey for passengers and crew and a more efficient, better performing, ‘smart’ ship for operators. The vessel

Express 5 is the largest vessel ever built by Austal.

Austal Limited Chief Executive Officer Paddy Gregg said the delivery of Express 5 was a testament to the resilience and capabilities of the Austal Philippines team who constructed the vessel through the COVID pandemic and following the effects of Super Typhoon Rai in 2021.

“Express 5 is the largest vessel, by volume, that Austal has ever constructed, and to deliver this new high-speed ferry despite the impact of the COVID pandemic over 2020 – 2022, and Super Typhoon Rai in 2021, is simply outstanding.

“Despite the challenges faced, the Austal Philippines team has delivered the most impressive vessel ever to join the Molslinjen fleet. The high-speed ferry performed exceptionally well during sea trials and will soon provide a class-leading service to Bornholm in Denmark,” Gregg said.

At the delivery ceremony, Austal Philippines President Wayne Murray praised his team for delivering 21 vessels from the Balamban, Cebu shipyard in just 10 years.

“Express 5 is the 21st ship delivered to an overseas operator by Austal Philippines, highlighting the tremendous value added to the Philippines shipbuilding industry since 2012.

“It’s fitting that our latest and greatest ship is also the largest ever delivered by an Austal shipyard, anywhere in the world – the team are rightly very proud and are to be congratulated,” Murray said.

The Philippine Embassy in Denmark remarked that the delivery of Austal Philippines’ second high-speed ferry to Denmark is a testament to the country’s growing expertise and capability in building world-class vessels at competitive prices.

“Valued at 83.63 million EUR, the ferry is expected to have a significant impact on tourism and connectivity for the island of Bornholm, increasing passenger capacity and car volume by more than 35%. With the introduction of the Express 5, travelers can look forward to a more comfortable and unforgettable journey across the Baltic Sea,” the Philippine Embassy stated.

Testaments to the Philippines and Filipinos’ ship-building capability include the Austal Philippines’ first wholly constructed passenger and cargo ship, the high-speed ferry Fjord FSTR, which set sail from Cebu to its new home in Hirtshals, Denmark in 2021, the first Philippine-made Ocean-Powered Hybrid Trimaran built in 2020 by Metallica Shipyard and supported by DOST-PCIEERD, Aklan State University, and MARINA, and the Antoine de Saint Exupery, one of the world’s biggest container ships built in 2018 at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

WATCH the Express 5 showcase its seaworthiness during the sea trials in Cebu in the Austal Philippines video here.

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