Fast ferries will help Haitian earthquake victims.
The US Maritime Administration (MARAD) has announced that Austal-designed and built 113 metre high speed catamaran Huakai, now laid up in the US, is being sent to Haiti to assist with relief efforts.
Completed in 2009 for Hawaii Superferry the vessel is one of five MARAD controlled ships being mobilised for Haiti relief and will be crewed by Hornblower Marine Services personnel. She can transport people, vehicles and other cargo at speeds of up to 40 knots.
Austal says the catamaran"s capabilities in the humanitarian effort are greatly enhanced by its shallow draft and large loading ramp. The 20 metre stern quarter, bi-fold ramp enables the ship to be loaded and unloaded without relying on shore-side facilities such as port cranes, which are not in use following the earthquake.
?Sending these ships will help those on the front line of this effort to save as many lives in Haiti as possible,? US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood said.
Huakai is the second of two high speed vehicle ferries built for Hawaiian ferry operator Hawaii Superferry (HSF) which are now the property of the US Maritime Administration MARAD after HSF filed for bankruptcy in mid-2009. Austal says it is working with MARAD and Hornblower Marine Services to facilitate the deployment of Huakai and will be supplying the vessel master.