Incat Tasmania launched its new 110 metre high speed vehicle / passenger ferry for Virtu Ferries on 22 December. The craft will commence sea trials in mid January prior to delivery to her new owner.
Saint John Paul II will be the largest high speed catamaran in the Mediterranean when she enters service and with a service speed up to 38 knots it will complete the crossing from Malta to Sicily, berth to berth, in around 90 minutes.
Four MTU 5800 M71L diesel engines provide propulsion through four Wärtsilä LJX 1500SR waterjets.
With 1000 tonnes deadweight, capacity is 924 passengers and crew while on the vehicle decks space is provided for 490 metres of freight or up to 167 cars. There are two vehicle ramps fitted; one stern and one on the port side forward. Each ramp is capable of carrying vehicles of up to 50 tonnes.
The design was modelled by Revolution Design and Seaspeed Marine Consulting and extensively tank tested and optimised at the QinetiQ testing facility in the UK.
Interestingly, this is the second Incat ship named in honour of a Pope; in 2013 Buquebus named their Incat 99 metre craft Francisco in honour of Argentina-born Pope Francis.