Stabiliser on ferry will give safe ride

PASSENGERS travelling on the Shanghai Free Flying Transport and Yacht Co's new 40-metre, high-speed catamaran will sail in comfort and safety, ensured by a state of the art stabilising system developed by Western Australian shipbuilder Austal Ships.

Named Free Flying, the vessel can accommodate 450 people on two air-conditioned decks.

It will operate between Shanghai, Zhoushan Qundao and Ningbo.

Because of the sea conditions in which the vessel will operate, Free Flying has been fitted with Ocean Leveller - Austal's fully computerised stabilising system, that will increase passenger comfort and reduce the incidence of motion sickness.

''Wong Dao Heng, vice-director of the Shanghai Free Flying Transport and Yacht Co, demanded only the best for their vessel,'' said Austal chairman and managing director John Rothwell.

''Ocean Leveller represents a major breakthrough for ship operators worldwide, who are conscious of passenger comfort and safety on board high speed vessels,'' he said.

Apart from comfort, many new route possibilities may be opened up as a result of the development of the stabilising system, he added.

The delivery of Free Flying to Shanghai will bring the number of vessels built by Austal Ships which are in service in China to 21.

Another three are under construction.

The Free Flying has a moulded beam of 11.5 metres, moulded depth of 3.8 metres and draft of 1.4 metres.