MANILA - A Philippine-built high-speed ferry that can accommodate 1,200 passengers is now on its way to Denmark after departing from its shipyard in Balamban, Cebu, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.
Danish shipping company Fjord Line commissioned Austal Philippines to build the 109-meter catamaran ferry that can also carry 400 cars, the DFA said in a statement.
Fjord FSTR started sailing to Hirtshals, Denmark from Cebu on March 5, the DFA said.
"The delivery of the ship is a significant milestone as it is the first wholly constructed ship in the Philippines to carry passengers and cargoes in Denmark. It also reflects the vibrant relations between our two countries," Philippine Ambassador to Denmark Leo Herrera-Lim said.
The ferry will operate between Denmark and Norway, the DFA said. It has 3 different restaurants, a children's area, and a duty-free shop, the DFA said. The launch of the ship coincides with the 75th anniversary of Philippine-Denmark diplomatic relations.
Austal is an Australian-based global shipbuilding company, which operates a shipyard in Balamban, Cebu.
Austal said FSTR, is the largest aluminum vessel ever constructed in the Philippines and the largest ferry, by volume, to be constructed by Austal in any of the company’s shipyards worldwide.
“It’s impressive to see a large high-speed ferry like this delivered in the best of times, but for the team to deliver this new vessel during a global pandemic is simply outstanding," said Austal CEO Paddy Gregg in a statement on the company's website.
After FSTR, Austal Philippines is set to deliver two more vessels to international clients built at the company’s newly expanded shipyard, according to company president Wayne Murray.
“With the delivery of FSTR, we’re now preparing for the launch of Hull 395, Bañaderos Express; a 118-meter trimaran ferry under construction for Fred. Olsen Express of the Canary Islands. Following closely behind that, we have the 115-meter Express 5 under construction for Molslinjen of Denmark,” Murray said.
The 2 other ships are set to be delivered in the second and third quarters of this year, Austal said.