Australian vessel builder Incat Tasmania will soon have a showcase for its passenger ferries in both central London and Sydney Harbour.
The Hobart-based company yesterday won an AUD50 million (USD34.75) contract to build six new catamarans for Sydney. Meanwhile, two of its fast ferries are due to start service for Thames Clippers in London, UK, this month.
“To have our vessels operating on both the Thames and the iconic Sydney Harbour is really something,” managing director Craig Clifford told IHS Maritime. “Both are considered blue ribbon placements.”
Incat claims to be the world’s largest fast-ferry builder by quantity of ferries ordered and delivered and by revenue. Until 1990 its vessels were mainly for export, with more than 70 vessels now in service around the world.
Since 2013 three vehicle ferries have gone to South America, Europe and the Far East, with a fast crew boat to Azerbaijan.
Its first Australian order was a 34 m ferry to transport visitors between Hobart city and the nearby Museum of Old and New Art (MONA).
Winning the contract to replace the ageing ferries in Sydney Harbour with the six new vessels will give the company a bigger Australian profile. In May, Incat also won a contract to build four ferries for the Manly run on Sydney’s outer harbour.
The Sydney Harbour ferries will service commuter and tourist travel on the inner harbour from Watson’s Bay in the east to Cockatoo Island in the west.
“At 35 m these are quite small boats for us,” Clifford said. “They are more in line with the existing vessels, but hold up to 400 passengers.
“The state government wanted the ferries to keep the traditional look, but bring cutting-edge technology into play. They are aluminium instead of steel, with up-to-date, fuel-efficient engines.”
The ferries are due to be phased in from late 2016 through to 2017.