Oman’s HSSV Fast Transport Catamarans

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TSV-72 concept(click to view full) The US Navy’s JHSV ships won’t be the only ones of their kind. Oman, which already operates a pair of 65m Austal fast catamarans as civil ferries, has decided to add a pair of slightly larger ships for military use. The USA’s JHSVs are 103m in length, but Oman has […]
Austal TSV - 72m concept

TSV-72 concept
(click to view full)

The US Navy’s JHSV ships won’t be the only ones of their kind. Oman, which already operates a pair of 65m Austal fast catamarans as civil ferries, has decided to add a pair of slightly larger ships for military use.

The USA’s JHSVs are 103m in length, but Oman has picked an “HSSV” based on Austal’s smaller 72m TSV design. Cargo payload drops far faster than length, from 600t fully loaded for the JHSV to just 320t for the HSSV, which also carries 69 crew with 69 fixed berths and can seat 250.

Contracts & Key Events

Shinas ferry in Oman

(click to view full)

July 10/14: Oman. Navy Recognition reports that Oman is the HSSV customer. It’s not a scoop, exactly – the “HSSV 72” entry on Austal’s web site now lists “Oman” in the field marked “Country.” It would appear that Austal’s prior civil work to enter this market has paid off.

The 72.5m vessels are a bit larger than the 65m Hormuz and Shinas ferries that Oman bought as a fast civilian transportation service. They can haul 320 tonnes and seat up to 250 people, over and above their crew of 69 with their 69 fixed berths. Sources: Austal HSSV | Navy Recognition, “Austal contract for two 72m High Speed Support Vessels is for the Royal Navy of Oman”.

March 10/14: Contract. Austal announces a USD$ 124.9 million contract from a confidential Middle Eastern customer to deliver a pair of 72 metre High Speed Support Vessels (HSSVs), plus initial support:

“The HSSVs will be deployed with a similar mission to the Joint High Speed Vessels currently being constructed by Austal… in Mobile, Alabama…. including helicopter operations, rapid deployment of military personnel and cargo, and search and rescue operations.”

The HSSVs will be built in Henderson, Western Australia, with final delivery scheduled before the end of 2016. Sources: Austal, “Austal awarded contract for two 72m High Speed Defence Support Vessels”.


Dec 10/12: Infrastructure. The Omani Vessel Maintenance Services Agreement has shifted a bit, but Austal is still in charge, and they’ll be investing more in the Omani ports at Shinas and Khasab. Beyond its Regional Service Centre in Muscat, Austal has offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Sources: “Austal secures fleet maintenance contract”.

Nov 29/10: Speed. Shinas becomes the world’s fastest diesel powered vehicle passenger ferry, hitting 56.6 knots during passage from Wedam to Muscat, in light wind and a half metre swell. The average speed for the entire journey was also impressive, at 52.5 knots. Austal adds that:

“By fortunate coincidence the record was broken during the celebrations to commemorate the 40th Oman National Day and the birthday of HM Sultan Qaboos, the ruler of Oman.”

Sources: Austal, “Oman Ferries Continue To Set Records”.

April 1/10: Infrastructure. Austal picks up a contract to deliver vessel maintenance services for NFC’s high speed ferries, plus 2 Oman Coast Guard rescue boats, for a period of up to 5 years. The most important aspect is the expansion of Austal’s service network in the region:

“Work will be performed by Austal at various regional ports within the Sultanate of Oman, including the capital city, Muscat. Austal’s service presence in the Middle East now includes hubs for the Red Sea (Egypt) and Oman, with a regional office in the UAE to open in coming months.”

The military contract would take over 4 years to arrive, but it’s deals like this that make a big difference to a firm’s eventual export success. Sources: Austal, “Oman Service Contract”.

May 15/06: Civil ships. Austal announces that Oman is buying its 690t civilian ferries:

“The Sultanate of Oman and Austal today signed a contract for two 65 metre, 50 knot, multi-purpose passenger-vehicle catamaran ferries following a competitive international tender process.

The identical aluminium vessels, scheduled for delivery in 2007 and early 2008, have the capacity to carry 203 passengers and 56 cars or 54 lane metres of trucks plus 40 cars. The ferries are to provide a new tourism service to Oman’s ruggedly spectacular northern coastline [DID: Musandam peninsula] and will be the flagship vessels in the Sultanate’s expanded marine transport and security network…. With fifteen vessels now operating in the Middle East, and ten in nearby Turkey, this prestigious contract further cements Austal’s commitment to, and understanding of, the unique needs of the region.”

By the beginning of 2014, Oman’s NFC had other high-speed ferries. They eventually ordered 3 x 52m fast ferries from Italy, and deliveries began in 2010. Sources: Austal, “The Sultanate of Oman Orders Two Multi-Purpose High Speed Ferries”.

2 civil ferries ordered from Austal

Additional Readings

* Austal – Austal HSSV 72.

* Oman – National Ferries Company.

* Austal – Shinas and Hormuz. Each vessel is 65m and 690t.

* DID – The USA’s JHSV Fast Catamaran Ships. A larger 103m version of the HSSV, displacing up to 2,500t. It was also adopted after familiarity had been built with civilian HSVs, and Austal beat fellow Australian firm Incat.

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