The new 66 metre Apetahi Express high speed catamaran ferry, constructed by Austal Vietnam, was delivered to The Degage Group of French Polynesia in June 2023. This catamaran, which is operating between Pape’ete (Tahiti) and Vaitape (Bora Bora) in French Polynesia, is The Degage Group’s 6th commercial ferry designed and constructed by Austal. 

Apetahi Express was customised by Austal’s Australian and Vietnamese design and engineering teams to meet the exacting demands of inter-island transport, and this new catamaran delivers outstanding new capability; with multiple indoor and outdoor decks for passengers and a large cargo space accommodating up to 16 tonnes of cargo.

The new catamaran features a length overall of 66.4 metres, beam of 15.2 metres and draft of 1.8 metres. Over two passenger decks, the vessel can accommodate 574 passengers, with an additional 80 seats available on an external sun deck. 
Crew accommodation includes 7 two-berth cabins and 2 single-berth cabins. The vessel has four passenger access ramps and can carry up to 16 tonnes of cargo loaded via two cranes.

Fitted with four diesel engines and four waterjets, as well as Austal’s renowned Motion Control System (including active interceptors) and the latest MARINELINK-Essentials program, the new ferry achieved a speed of 38 knots during sea trials.
During the design of Apetahi Express, The Degage Group placed an emphasis on reducing CO2 emissions and improving fuel efficiency. 

By optimising the aluminium hull design, Austal has achieved a significant reduction in resistance that not only lowers fuel consumption but also improves seakeeping and delivers a more comfortable ride for passengers.

Austal has previously designed and built five vessels for The Degage Group, comprising two 69 metre monohull cruise ships (Austal Hulls 172 and 173), a 56 metre vehicle passenger catamaran ferry (Austal Hull 266), an 80 metre vehicle passenger catamaran ferry (Austal Hull 201) and a 49 metre vehicle passenger ferry (Hull 421).

Video credit: Austral