Best High Speed Concept Award
The Natchan Rera, the first of Incat’s impressive 112 metre Wave Piercing Catamarans, has been recognised at Europe’s annual ferry industry event, the Shippax Ferry Shipping Onboard Conference, attended by some 300 ferry shipping executives.
Japan’s Higashi Nihon Ferry won the coveted ShipPax Hispeed Concept Award, recognising the implementation of an integrated ferry system with state-of-the art port terminals as well as the largest diesel powered high speed ferry with separate truck and car decks. The ship’s “innovative and high-grade accommodation, with a walk-around internal promenade and the first escalator installation in a lightweight fast ferry,” also received special mention.
The ShipPax Award was launched as a means to stimulate innovative solutions, promoting noteworthy design features across various categories on newly-delivered ferries, ro-ro and cruise vessels and is considered as the most prestigious trade award in this sector of the industry.
To the winner in each category, a diploma is issued and sent to respective ship owners and builders. The diploma is accompanied by a glass sculpture, handed over to the ship owner to be displayed onboard the award-winning vessel.
The Natchan Rera operates across Japan’s Tsugaru Strait between the islands of Honshu and Hokkaido, approximately halving the time currently taken for voyages between Aomori and Hakodate by conventional ferries and greatly enhancing the convenience of regular passenger services. On 2nd May she was joined in service by a second Incat 112 metre ferry, the Natchan World and both offer a crossing time of one hour and 45 minutes on the 61 nautical miles passage.
Together, the two largest catamarans ever built in Australia, provide greater seakeeping qualities and passenger comfort, even over the world-renowned Incat 98 metre class, on this often turbulent crossing.
The Natchan Rera and the Natchan World sail at loaded speeds of approximately 40 knots with capacity to carry 355 cars or 450 lane metres of trucks and 193 cars. While Incat’s 112 metre design can accommodate up to 1200 persons, both Japanese vessel’s luxurious accommodation has been custom designed and laid out to cater for 800 persons in unprecedented levels of style and comfort.
With the delivery of the Natchan World, Higashi Nihon Ferry is fulfilling the second part of its plan to expand the prospect of its ferry business by changing from the existing cargo-centred strategy to the creation of a hospitality business with a high added value targeted at the customer.