AUSTRALIAN shipbuilder Incat Tasmania has been awarded a contract to construct a high-speed catamaran for service in South Korea.

The 76-metre vessel was ordered by South Korean company Daezer Construction and will operate as a passenger ferry.

Work has already commenced on the vessel, which will have the capacity to carry up to 990 passengers and crew. Delivery is scheduled for the first quarter of 2023.

The ferry will be operated by Daezer on the route between the city of Pohang and the island of Ulleung, which sits 117 nautical miles off the eastern coast of South Korea.

Incat Tasmania chairman Robert Clifford said Incat is no stranger to South Korean waters, having delivered its first vessel, Sunflower, to the region in 1995.

Sunflower served Ulleung island for 25 years and was only recently retired by Daezer in compliance with South Korean ship age limits.

“This new craft will benefit from Incat’s evolved, tried and proven hullform with its new bow arrangement, and will lead the local market in terms of seakeeping for vessels of its size,” Mr Clifford said.

“The 76-metre [vessel] is expected to be a successful model for the future with the first of this type due for delivery to another South Korean operator, Seaworld Express Ferries, at the end of March this year.”

Incat Tasmania CEO Tim Burnell said the new order is good news for the company, particularly during COVID-19.

“At Incat we are fortunate to have the best quality, most highly experienced workforce in the global fast ferry industry and we are pleased to add this new vessel to those recently delivered to our customers around the world,” he said.

The announcement of the contract closely follows the launch of Santa Monica earlier this month, ordered by Seaworld Express Ferries for service between islands Jindo and Jeju.