Virtu Ferries has signed a newbuild contract with Incat Tasmania Pty. Ltd. to build a High Speed Wavepiercer Passenger/Vehicle Catamaran for their Malta – Sicily route. It is company policy to invest only in the latest technology and offer the best possible service to both our present and future customers.
At 1,000 tons deadweight, the vessel will be the largest RoPax Catamaran ever built for operation in the Mediterranean, and the second largest in the world. The vessel will have a capacity of 900 passengers in four luxury lounges on two passenger decks, and additional outside seating. The full span of the garage deck is designed to carry 23 heavy commercial trailers, equivalent to 490 truck lane meters or 167 cars. At a cruising speed of 38 knots, the Malta to Sicily crossing will, as with the Jean De La Valette, take approximately 100 minutes. Incat Tasmania are the world leaders in building large environmentally friendly high speed ferries with an emphasis on eco operations and fuel efficiency. Incat vessels, both commercial and military, are to be found in all four corners of the world.
Using state-of-the-art Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and hydrodynamic free-running model test techniques, the well proven Incatwave piercing catamaran hull form has been further developed for this exposed route. The hydrodynamic tests were undertaken by Seaspeed Marine Consulting Ltd at the Haslar Ocean Basin and Ship Tanks in Gosport, UK – facilities normally associated with UK Ministry of Defence projects.
The already well-proven Incatwave piercing catamaran hull design has been further optimised to minimise fuel consumption and maximise comfort and sea-keeping performance, in line with established Green Policies being recommended by the international maritime industry. The hydrodynamic tests has allowed Incat to optimise hull design to achieve the required passenger comfort and sea-keeping qualities at the desired contract speed in simulated sea conditions prevailing in the Malta Channel.
Virtu Ferries has been operating high speed ferries for 28 years and apart from the Malta-Sicily route operates ferries between Venice and Adriatic Ports in Croatia and Slovenia as well as between Tarifa, Spain and Tangiers, Morocco.
The new vessel will be deployed on Virtu’s core route between Malta and Sicily alongside the Jean De La Valette. The current schedule of daily return voyages between the two neighbouring EU islands will be further increased to better connect Malta to mainland Europe. Virtu is also looking into further market driven route expansion. A second vessel will also increase flexibility and reliability. The company is undertaking a number of initiatives to increase incoming tourism and better serve the Maltese and Italian business communities.
The new ferry will be built under DNV-GL Classification Society Rules and will comply with IMO High Speed Craft HSC 2000, the Malta Flag Statutory Regulations and Italian Port State requirements. As with all other Virtu vessels, the new ferry will fly the Malta Flag.