AUSTAL and Swedish company Gotlandsbolaget have signed a memorandum of understanding to develop a construction contract for the Gotland Horizon X catamaran concept.

Gotland Horizon X is a high-speed aluminium catamaran that would use gas turbines in a combined cycle to transport up to 1450 passengers, cargo and vehicles between the Swedish mainland and the island of Gotland.

Under the terms of the MOU and proposed construction contract, the catamaran would be designed by Austal and constructed at the Austal Philippines shipyard.

Austal CEO Paddy Gregg said Austal was ready to deliver a catamaran that is not only the largest, longest, and most technologically advanced ferry design developed by the company, but would also enable Gotlandsbolaget to achieve their climate-neutral emissions targets.

“Gotland Horizon X is an incredibly exciting project that is going to redefine commercial ferry capabilities, with a multi-fuel and hydrogen capable combined cycle powerplant and a class-leading, efficient hull design; leading the transition to decarbonisation of commercial ferries,” Mr Gregg said. 

“This MOU further strengthens our commitment to Gotlandsbolaget to deliver a high-speed catamaran that meets climate-neutral emissions targets, while also providing an exceptional customer experience for passengers.”

Gotlandbolaget CEO Håkan Johansson said his team can move forward in supplementing its existing fleet of larger passenger and cargo vessels with a high-speed catamaran.

“We are diligently working on producing an attractive and winning tender to maintain responsibility for operating the ferry route between Gotland and the (Swedish) mainland,” Mr Johansson said.

“We are convinced that a high-speed catamaran can significantly enhance the traffic.

“Our primary focus is on securing the route contract, but even if we are unsuccessful, the new catamaran could play a relevant role for both us and Gotlandstrafiken. Serving Gotland and the mainland is part of our DNA, and we plan to continue to do so.”

Going forward, Austal plans to use Austal’s proprietary DeepMorpher AI technology to further develop and finalise an energy efficient hull that minimises energy requirements and optimises seakeeping.