The Republic of Timor-Leste and Damen Shipyards Group have signed a contract for a new ropax ferry
The vessel will operate a route between Timor-Leste’s capital Dili, the Oecusse enclave and the island of Ataúro, providing regular transport for passengers, vehicles and goods on the north coast of the island.
A statement explains “With an ageing vessel currently in operation, the Port Authority of Timor-Leste IP (APORTIL) recognises the need to maintain the safety and reliability of its fleet, hence the investment in a new ship. In a project co-financed by Timor-Leste and the Government of Germany, the ropax ferry 6716 is scheduled to begin operations in 2021, and will lower operation costs, increase service reliability and improve employment opportunities due to the improved transportation networks. In preparation for the ferry’s arrival, over the next 19 months APORTIL will undertake work to improve and build support infrastructure.”
The extension of these maritime passenger connections will initially include a connection between Dili and Com, in addition to those already in place between Díli, Ataúro and Oecusse, with the aim of improving the quality of life of the populations in these areas.
In a speech delivered at the contract signing, Timor-Leste Minister of Transport and Communications José Agustinho da Silva said “This new ferry will help to connect Dili with other ports on the south and east coasts of Timor-Leste and improve access to market, education and institutions in Dili and provide other important services to Timor-Leste.”
The ferry will have a width of 16 m, a draft of 3.3 m and a length of 67.3 m, and its deck, with a 27-tonne axle load, will reach 4.8 m in height. The vessel is capable of a maximum speed of 10 knots and will have a carrying capacity of 380 passengers.
Damen’s design and proposal engineer on the project, Gökçe Koc, explained why the vessel is ideal for Timor-Leste. “The vessel’s two Yanmar engines, delivering 837 kilowatts of power to a 1.6 m fixed pitch propeller, give it the power to manoeuvre safely when docking as well as on the open water. It’s a remarkably stable vessel and combines high levels of comfort for the passengers along with high performance for the operator. APORTIL couldn’t have made a better choice.”
Damen will conduct the design and management of the project at its head office in the Netherlands and the vessel will be constructed at Damen’s Yichang Shipyard in China.