AUSTAL has announced that Austal Vietnam has launched Hull 397, a 94-metre high-speed catamaran for the National Infrastructure Development Company of Trinidad and Tobago, from the company’s shipyard in Vung Tau. 

The vehicle-passenger ferry, to be known as APT James, is the first vessel to be built by Austal Vietnam following an official opening of the shipyard in November 2018. 

The vessel is to be delivered to NIDCo in the second half of the 2020 calendar year. 

Austal CEO David Singleton said the launch of the ‘Auto Express 94’ catamaran was a fantastic accomplishment, especially during the COVID19 pandemic.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the performance of the 450-strong Austal Vietnam team, launching this impressive new vessel, their very first, at this challenging time in world history,” Mr Singleton said. 

“To their great credit and like all of our shipbuilding teams around the world, the Austal Vietnam team have continued working diligently and effectively during the COVID-19 pandemic to complete and launch APT James, while meeting all applicable Government Health and Safety guidelines.

“This highly anticipated and exciting new ship for NIDCo is going to have a very positive and immediate effect on Trinidad and Tobago’s ‘sea bridge’ by improving the overall performance, reliability and amenity of this essential inter-island ferry service.”


The Austal Auto Express 94 is an all-new aluminium catamaran design, with capacity for 926 passengers and 250 cars, travelling at speeds up to 37.5 knots.

The ship will feature the very latest in Austal’s ‘smart ship’ technology.

Austal Vietnam has already commenced construction on the shipyard’s next project, a new 41 metre high speed catamaran ferry for SGTM of Mauritius, announced in January 2020.