The distance between Malta and Sicily falls right under the maximum distance (70 miles) and time (2 hours) of one-way transit with the same revenue generating load that makes this particular design and propulsion systems' fuel consumption commercially viable, in the current and recent petro-environment. But, I still like the name Maltese Falcon better.
Tuesday, 7th April 2009 - 14:46 CET
"Virtu orders new €60m catamaran"
Virtu Ferries have signed a contract for the building of a new catamaran by Austal Ships Pty Ltd., of Western Australia.
The vessel will be one of the largest aluminium hull catamarans in Europe, the company said.
The new catamaran, an Austal Auto Express 107 will be named Jean de la Valette and will be delivered in August 2010. It will replace the Maria Dolores on the Malta-Sicily route.
Virtu Ferries said that the Austal 107 was chosen following a long and rigorous selection process; it was judged the best vessel for the route due to its versatility and all round efficiency, as well as being tailor-made for the route’s requirements, based on passenger feedback.
It will have a seating capacity for 800 passengers on two decks, with three catering outlets and a central shopping area. The passenger decks will offer a passenger-friendly seating density of two to three seats per row, as well as an upper deck lounge area overlooking the vessel’s bow. A central staircase will lead to a first class seating area featuring a separate catering facility and two VIP lounges. Outdoor seating will also be available for more than 110 passengers, in both economy and VIP lounges.
An additional new feature, particular to this vessel at the request of Virtu, is a dedicated lounge for commercial vehicle drivers providing a restful environment.
The vehicle deck will carry 230 cars or 45 cars and 342 truck lane metres equivalent to 23 trailers. This will enable Virtu Ferries to efficiently service the growing needs of private passengers with cars and campers, tour operators with coaches and commercial vehicles and trailers with accompanied cargo.
The vessel will be certified to carry dangerous cargo such as LPG, Diesel and Petrol in bulk.
Virtu Ferries managing director Henri Saliba said “The demand for cargo traffic between Malta and Sicily since we joined the EU has exceeded our expectations. This is a €60 million investment that will cater for the demands of the Maltese commercial, industrial and tourism sectors into the future and provide a scheduled year round service."
The vessel will be powered by 4 MTU 20V 8,000 M71L Diesel Engines at 9,100kW each driving Rolls-Royce KaMeWa propulsion water jets, giving an approximate speed of 39 knots. The latest sea-keeping technology, Austal Ride Control, will be installed for maximum passenger comfort in heavy weather conditions.
The vessel will be built in accordance with the requirements and under the survey of Det Norske Veritas, conforming to International Maritime Organisation HSC Code, and Malta Flag State and Italian Port State Regulations. Registration, as with all Virtu vessels, will be under the Malta Flag.
Virtu Ferries have been operating high speed ferries between Malta and Sicily since 1988.
The Jean de la Valette will have an overall length of 106.5 metres and a beam of 23.8 metres.