Construction on a new 32-metre passenger ferry, designed by Incat Crowther for Western Australian ferry operator Rottnest Fast Ferries, has commenced at Austal Philippines.

The new ferry will operate on the popular Perth to Rottnest Island tourism route with the 32-metre aluminium catamaran set to have an operational capacity of up to 400 passengers and five crew seated over three decks. The vessel will also feature extensive cargo and luggage space for passengers, including bicycle storage areas on the main and mid decks.

The main deck of the vessel will boast seating for 202 passengers and will also feature a large bar and kiosk area, as well as five bathrooms. The vessel’s mid-deck will feature seating for 143 passengers – including 68 passengers in a spacious aft deck which has been designed to protect customers from the elements. The aft deck also provides access to the vessel’s open-air sun deck which is fitted with 56 seats.

Operational efficiency has been optimised via the installation of two 1029kW MAN D2862 diesel engines driving fixed pitch propellers. The vessel will have an operating speed of 25 knots and will complete the nearly 30-kilometre journey from Hillarys Boat Harbour in Perth to Rottnest Island in 45-minutes.

Incat Crowther’s Technical Manager Dan Mace said, “Incat Crowther is pleased to collaborate with Rottnest Fast Ferries in the development and delivery of this next-generation vessel following the success of the existing Incat Crowther-designed Harbour Masteron the Perth to Rottnest Island route.”

In a joint statement, Rottnest Fast Ferries Directors Luke Crispin and James Mulholland said, “Incat Crowther has paid close attention to the operational details that are required to deliver an exceptional passenger experience on our iconic Perth to Rottnest Island route. Incat Crowther’s team has supported us every step of the way through the shipbuilding process, and we are very confident that the new vessel will deliver a world-class customer experience for our passengers.”

The new vessel is expected to be in operation in December, ahead of the peak tourist season in Western Australia.