VIP treatment for catamaran
A sleek new catamaran is to replace the worn-out 'luxury' launch used to show overseas VIPs around the harbour.
The Government yesterday invited tenders for the construction of the new vessel, expected to reach speeds in excess of 25 knots, compared with the nine-knot capability of the Tin Hau.
Legco last year approved the $17.8 million budget for the replacement vessel after reports that the Tin Hau was prone to breaking down and had a bad record of making guests seasick.
The Marine Department specified a 22-metre-long catamaran which would be more stable on the water and able to accommodate 40 VIPs compared with the present 24.
A spokesman said: 'This will be the first twin-hull passenger-carrying vessel under the control of the Marine Department.' The 27-year-old Tin Hau will remain in use until the catamaran is brought into service next May.