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Austal delivers 20th vessel built in Balamban

The newly built high-speed trimaran Bañaderos Express, which has been turned over to Fred.Olsen Express, is on its way to the Canary Islands. (Contributed)

Shipbuilder Austal Philippines Pty. Ltd. said it has completed and delivered the largest high-speed trimaran ever built in the Philippines.

Called the Bañaderos Express (Austal Hull 395), the 118-meter Austal Auto Express trimaran was commissioned by Fred.Olsen Express, an inter-island ferry service in the Canary Islands.

It was the second trimaran commissioned by Fred.Olsen under a A$190 million contract announced in December 2018. The first vessel, Bajamar Express (Austal Hull 394) was constructed by Austal Australia and delivered in July 2020.

After its maiden voyage from the Philippines to the Canary Islands, Bañaderos Express will offer a dedicated trimaran service on the route between Santa Cruz, Tenerife, and Agaete, Gran Canaria beginning the fourth quarter of 2021.

In a statement, Austal president and general manager Wayne Murray said the trimaran was the second largest high-speed vessel to be constructed during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

It was also the 20th vessel built by Austal at its facility in the West Cebu Industrial Park (WCIP) in Balamban, Cebu since 2012.

“Bañaderos Express is a real milestone for Austal Philippines as it is the 20th vessel constructed here at the Balamban shipyard since we opened in 2012. In just 10 years, our team has constructed 18 catamarans and two trimarans, including the two largest high-speed ferries ever built in the Philippines, for operators located around the world,” Murray said.

Austal is now working on the 115-meter Express 5 for Molslinjen of Denmark, Murray said.

Murray said the delivery of Bañaderos Express was a very proud moment for the Balamban team of 1,000 employees.

“We are understandably very pleased to deliver such an impressive ship to Fred Olsen Express, soon after delivering Fjord FSTR for Fjord Line of Norway, earlier in 2021. Now, we continue our efforts on delivering the largest high-speed ferry ever built in the Philippines, again, the 115-meter Express 5 for Molslinjen of Denmark,” he said.

“Austal Philippines is not only delivering world-class ships for customers around the world, but we’re developing Filipino shipbuilding capability, right here in Balamban,” he added. (Ventures Cebu)

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