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Virtu Ferries' new catamaran on schedule

Date: 15/09/2010

The super high speed catamaran being built for Virtu Ferries, the operators of the Malta-Sicily high speed car/passenger ferry service, by Austal Ships, Henderson, Western Australia, is in its final stages and on schedule for delivery to owners.

The Jean de la Valette, one of the largest catamarans in the world, will be the largest high speed Catamaran operating in the Mediterranean.

The vessel's four engines generate 36,400 kw giving a cruising speed of 39 knots.

Like the current vessel on the Malta-Sicily route, the Maria Dolores, it will make the crossing to Pozzallo in 90 minutes and to Catania in three hours.

With a tunnel height of more than four metres at full deadweight of 850 tonnes, the Jean de la Valette is an all-weather vessel that will provide a daily all-year round link between Malta and Sicily, further promoting commercial, cultural and inter-community activities.

The latest cutting-edge technology has been employed to ensure passenger comfort even in adverse weather conditions.

In the case of the Jean de la Valette, the Austal Ride Control System for passenger comfort makes use of two 10 square metre "T" foils, the largest fitted in a vessel of this kind.

Jean de la Valette will carry 800 passengers in separate lounges and will have additional outside on deck seating for 120 passengers in both club class and economy.

This feature, like many others, has been incorporated as a result of passenger requests.

The garage will carry 156 cars or 65 cars and 14 trailers.

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