CONSTRUCTION of a new passenger ferry, which will operate in Western Australia, has commenced at Austal’s Philippines shipyard.

Australia’s Incat Crowther designed the 32-metre vessel for ferry operator Rottnest Fast Ferries.

The new ferry was designed with an operational capacity for up to 400 passengers and five crew seated over three decks. The vessel will also feature extensive cargo and luggage space.

Incat Crowther said the installation of two 1029kW MAN D2862 diesel engines driving fixed pitch propellers would optimise efficiency.

It said the vessel will have an operating speed of 25 knots and would be able to sail from Perth to Rottnest Island in 45 minutes – a voyage of nearly 30 kilometres.

“Delivery of this next-generation vessel following the success of the existing Incat Crowther-designed Harbour Masteron the Perth to Rottnest Island route,” Incat Crowther technical manager Dan Mace said.

In a joint statement, Rottnest Fast Ferries directors Luke Crispin and James Mulholland said Incat Crowther had paid close attention to the operational details required to deliver “an exceptional passenger experience” on the Perth to Rottnest Island route.

“Incat Crowther’s team has supported us every step of the way through the shipbuilding process, and we are very confident that the new vessel will deliver a world-class customer experience for our passengers,” they said.

The new vessel is expected to enter operation in December, ahead of the peak tourist season in Western Australia.