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Friday, July 10, 2020 

Austal's yard in the Philippines has begun construction of a newly designed 115m high-speed vehicle-passenger catamaran for Danish ferry operator Molslinjen, a repeat Austal customer.

The new Auto Express 115, to be named Express 5, will be the largest ferry (by volume) built by Austal and is a further design evolution of the 109m Express 4, delivered to Molslinjen in January 2019.

An aluminium plate-cutting ceremony was held at Austal Philippines’ Balamban shipyard in Cebu to mark the occasion.

Austal CEO David Singleton said: “Express 5 is the biggest ferry ever constructed by Austal; and if that sounds familiar, it’s because the last two catamarans we have constructed in the Philippines and Australia, have also been our largest, at the time of construction. Molslinjen’s Express 4, Austal Hull 393, was the largest we had built by volume, in 2019. This year, Fjord Line’s FSTR, Austal Hull 419, has taken the crown as our largest vessel ever built and is progressing towards delivery in the third quarter of CY2020. Now, with Molslinjen Express 5, we’re integrating the proven capabilities from our Australian, Philippines and Vietnam shipyards to improve competitiveness, reduce build times and maintain steady employment levels.”

Express 5 will have capacity for 1,610 passengers, space for 450 cars (or 617 lane metres for trucks plus 257 cars) over two vehicle decks and an operating service speed of 37 knots. It is powered by an LNG-capable, medium-speed power plant. The vessel was designed by the same Austal Australia team which developed the signature raked-bow hull for Express 4 in 2017, and includes Austal’s proprietary Motion Control and Marinelink-Smart systems.

Austal Philippines President Wayne Murray said: “This is the third large, high-speed ferry we have started in less than two years, including the largest ferry ever built in the Philippines – the 109m FSTR for Fjord Line. Following on from FSTR, and the 118m trimaran ferry Banaderos Express we’re constructing for Fred Olsen Express, we’re very excited to be working on the very latest and greatest for Molslinjen.”

Molslinjen CEO Carsten Jensen said: “Our valued customers tell us they have enjoyed the outstanding comfort and performance of Express 4, so we’re very much looking forward to Express 5 joining the Molslinjen fleet and offering a superior on-board experience to even more of our customers.”

Express 5 will operate on Molslinjen’s Bornholm route between Ystad and Rønne, following delivery anticipated in 2022.

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