News of Fast ferry investment; Express 3 has sailed from Tasmania on her delivery voyage to Denmark via the Panama Canal.
She becomes the fourth Hobart-built catamaran in Molslinjen’s current fleet. Express 3 is said to be a new generation 109 metre ferry evolved from Incat’s proven 112 metre range which first entered commercial service in mid-2007. Incat state the new vessel will ensure a ‘consistent passenger experience and fleet commonality’ for Molslinjen whilst compared to their earlier vessesls “delivering a minimum 10 per cent fuel and emissions saving, plus faster vehicle deck turnaround times.”
The redesign from the 112m craft has resulted in weight saving of just over 100 tonnes while producing improved trim with fuel, domestic fresh water and sullage tanks having been moved forward. By repositioning the engine rooms six frames further forward the vessel benefits from vastly improved speed and fuel consumption and adding a skeg to the keel has enhanced directional stability.
On trials she achieved a speed of 43 knots with 600 tonnes deadweight on board exceeding speed and fuel consumption expectations. Capacities are 1,000 passengers and 411 cars, or 227 cars and 610 lane metres for trucks. Perhaps especially relevant to Denmark is the installation of charging stations for electric vehicles.
Incat state that “We pioneered this mode of high speed transport in 1990 and our ferries have since operated over 2.5 million hours in intensive commercial service. By reviewing in detail already successful designs and operator experience Incat believe they have produced a fast ferry that is truly of a new generation.”
She has tourist and business class sections and comprehensive catering arrangements for passengers on the busy fast routes between Odden, Arhus and Ebeltoft. The Danish operator’s four strong Incat fleet consist of the 91 metre Max Mols from 1998, the 112 metre Express 1 and Express 2 from 2012/13 with Express 3 due to join in June.
Molslinjen is said to be making its largest profi ts in its 54 years while it has grown traffic between Sjealand and Jutland by 48 per cent in the past three years such that they now annually carry over 2.5 million passengers, 1mn cars and 350,000 freight vehicles per year. It offers up to 30 sailings per day and ferry users typically save around 400km of driving each trip.
Keel laying to delivery of Express 3 was 16 months while Incat grew its workforce from a core 200 to over 550 people, who are now working on a 110 m vessel for Virtu Ferries of Malta. She is intended for their year round lifeline service between Malta and the EU principally Sicily, for delivery late 2018.