AUSTRALIAN shipbuilder Austal announced it had cut metal in its Western Australia facility on an 83-metre trimaran for JR Kyushu of Japan.

The vessel was developed in Henderson at Austal’s maritime design centre.

Austal CEO David Singleton said the trimaran’s unique hull was “revolutionising” the commercial and defence vessel markets for high-speed ships.

“This vessel configuration was first developed by Austal and has been shown to reduce sea sickness in heavy seas by around 80%. As a result, the trimaran hull form is becoming increasingly popular with the high speed passenger ferry industry,” he said.

“We are particularly pleased to be building a ship in Australia for export to Japan, a country which has a world class shipbuilding industry of its own and to a customer with such a high profile in passenger transport as JR Kyushu. It is hard to imagine a better endorsement of the vessel design and capability than to be able to sell into such a discerning market as Japan. The vessel will be in service between South Korea and Japan in time for the 2020 summer Olympics.”

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Mr Singleton said 11 Austal trimarans were already in operation around the world, with another eight under construction and a further five on order.

The 83 metre trimaran, with a capacity for 502 passengers and an operational speed of 37 knots, will service JR Kyushu Jet Ferry’s key strategic route between Fukuoka, Japan and Busan, South Korea.

The vessel will feature a very high quality customised interior, developed by respected Japanese design house, Don Design Associates, led by Mr Eiji Mitooka, famous for the luxuriously appointed interiors of JR Kyushu’s high-end passenger trains.

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