Incat Chairman Extols Virtues of Japan’s New Shallow-Draught 112m Craft
The latest vessel yet to be built by Incat has been launched at the Hobart shipyard. The second ferry for Higashi Nihon Ferry will join her sister Natchan Rera, completed by Incat last August, in service across Japan’s Tsugaru Strait between the islands of Honshu and Hokkaido.
At nearly 11,000 gross tonnes the new 112 metres long Natchan World is one of the largest vessels built by Incat. Yet she will operate with a loaded draught of just 3.83 metres, enabling her to operate into the shallowest of ports. Despite this however, the launch operation did cause Incat Chairman Robert Clifford a few anxious moments.
“So much for global warming and sea level rises”, Mr Clifford said.
“The ship was launched at the lowest high tide I have had to contend with in 50 years of boat and shipbuilding. The level reached at 0600hrs on Monday 18th February was 150mm less than predictions, owing to the continued good weather. We had no choice but to launch however, as the next predicted suitable tide is not until 5th May, some 2 months away.
“I have watched closely the high tides suitable to launch ships for 50 years, and have seen no signs at all, of the much talked about increases in sea levels,” Mr Clifford exclaimed.
Drivers crossing the River Derwent via the Bowen Bridge will now be treated to a glimpse of the Natchan World’s eye catching livery, the design of which was publicly sought in Japan.
The theme was “Parade”, with over 500 children under 12 years old responding to the call for the ferry’s colourful look. Mr. Toshikazu Yamaoka, an artist living in Kyoto, chose “lovely creatures” and integrated them into the livery.
Higashi Nihon Ferry President Mr Shinji Koga explains “Throughout the hull, we can feel an unconstrained concept anchored in a child’s unique perspective. Original designs were copied as much as possible to make the most of childlikeness seen in the touch of lines drawn. We can see various companies in the sea beyond the ages and species parading together on a rhythmical music note.”
Before leaving Hobart for Japan the Natchan World will be officially named in a ceremony at the Incat shipyard on Tuesday 8th April. “The name was chosen because passengers and local residents have already become very familiar with the name “Natchan” and we wanted to keep the friendliness that “Natchan” has acquired,” said Mr Koga.
With Natchan World Incat has reached the pinnacle in high speed craft luxury and comfort, with this its most valuable export to date. Operating at speeds of approximately 40 knots and with capacity for up to 800 persons and 355 cars, or 450 lane metres of trucks and 193 cars, the Natchan World is almost identical to her sister, Natchan Rera.
Some changes have been implemented, including a new form of relaxation for Executive Class passengers which cannot be experienced in any flights, trains or cruise ships. Here, instead of individual seats, there are small booth style compartments for two to four passengers. In each compartment, passengers are free to take off their shoes and lie down. Massage chairs will be installed in the same cabin as well. Families and couples will enjoy not only their time in private with amazing comfort but also the vast scale of ocean view in front of each booth.