FERRY operator SeaLink has launched a new ambulance vessel in Queensland.

Local shipbuilder Commercial Marine Australia custom-built the 12-metre vessel Medicat for the Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS).

The $1.77 million vessel was launched from the slipway at Hemmant in Brisbane. It was designed to help QAS transport patients between the South Moreton Bay Islands and the mainland.

The vessel has room for three patients on stretchers, with a capacity for 16 people including the vessel master and ambulance officers.

SeaLink marine and tourism CEO Donna Gauci said the custom-built vessel has enhanced safety and more capacity than a previous ferry that provided transport for patients.

“Delivering innovative solutions to service our community and being able to support the QAS in their commitment to provide, the highest possible care to the members of our community who are in their greatest time of need, is both rewarding and humbling,” Ms Gauci said.

“We are very proud of the partnership between SeaLink, QAS and shipbuilder Commercial Marine Australia.

“CMA’s commitment to delivering above client expectations is again evident in their commitment to deliver another meticulously finished vessel.”

Queensland minister for health and ambulance services Shannon Fentiman said an “excellent working relationship” with SeaLink has means patients are transferred safely with QAS support on board.

“This new vessel means we can transfer not one, but three patients at a time under QAS supervision, to the specialist care they need,” she said.

“It is another great example of innovative solutions that benefit not only our patients but our staff too.

“The Palaszcuk government will continue to support the QAS in delivering their first-class essential service to the Southern Bay Island communities.”

Ms Fentiman described the new vessel as Australia’s “most modern waterborne patient care transportation”.