Saudi Arabia donated two Austal built high speed ferries to Egypt on December 05 to improve the standard of ferry services across the Red Sea. It seems that this goodwill gesture comes as a replacement to ferries lost by Egypt in 2006 and 1991.
Some of the interesting features of these ferries are:
- Two Auto Express 88 high speed vehicle-passenger catamaran ferries were ordered in 2007 and cost about $130 million.
- The two Austal built ferries, called ‘Riyadh’ and ‘Cairo’ will operate on a 100 nautical mile route between Duba in Saudi Arabia and Egypt’s Safaga.
- Auto Express 88 high speed vehicle-passenger catamaran ferry data:
- length overall: 88 metres
- beam: 24 metres
- draft: 4.3 metres
- crew: 18
- capacity: 1,200 passengers, 120 cars, 15 trucks
- speed: 37 knots achieved during sea trials, three knots in excess of contract requirements
- powered by MTU engines
- The handing over ceremony in Jeddah was attended by King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and the Egyptian President Mohammed Hosni Mubarak.
Here is a photograph of the ferry from Austal.
Full data sheet of Auto Express 88 of Austal is here as pdf.
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