Incat Tasmania is a manufacturer of high-speed craft (HSC) catamaran ferries. Its greatest success has been with large, sea going passenger and vehicle ferries, but it has also built military transports and since 2015 it has built smaller river and bay ferries. Based in Derwent Park, a suburb of Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, it was founded by Bob Clifford.
The company builds vessels using aluminium construction, wave-piercing and water-jet technology. Vessels have been constructed up to 112 metres in length with a size of 10,800 gross tons and with cruising speeds of up to 58 knots (107 km/h).
The company began in the 1970s as the Sullivans Cove Ferry Company in suburban Hobart and built four small ferries before International Catamarans was formed in 1977 by a partnership between founder Bob Clifford and marine architect Philip Hercus. This partnership created plans for what was probably the first large wave piercing catamaran in the world. However the partnership was dissolved in 1988 with Clifford remaining in Hobart trading as Incat Tasmania while Hercus returned to Sydney to establish 'Incat Designs (Sydney),' a design only company that became Incat Crowther after a merger in 2005. Incat Crowther has no association with Incat Tasmania and its ships are built by other companies. Incat Tasmania has its own in house design company, Revolution Design.
In 1989 Incat Tasmania moved to its present location on Prince of Wales Bay which allowed it to build larger ships and in 1990 Incat delivered its first 74-metre fast catamaran ferry. At the same time several other companies also began to build large aluminium vehicle carrying ferries. This new type of ship was revolutionary and over the next decade fast cats replaced most hydrofoil and hovercraft services as well as well as many monohull ferries. The success of this new type of ferry led to other ship builders around the world using their yards to build large vehicle carrying aluminium catamarans. However many ferry operators preferred traditional monohull designs and the limited market for fast cats became crowded with manufacturers bidding low to keep their shipyards working.
After the inevitable collapse of the industry, two builders of large catamaran ferries survived, Incat and its Perth based rival Austal. However Incat had needed to downsize and after a brief stint in receivership, the company continued building ferries and developing larger and more efficient designs. With diversification into smaller bay ferries in 2015 and the recovery of the market for large vehicle carrying ferries, Incat Tasmania's workforce expanded rapidly from 2015.
Large wave piercing passenger and vehicle ferries
In 1990 Incat was one of the pioneers of large, fast catamaran ferries and they have been its core product ever since. The type of ship was different to earlier ferries and its instant success led to Incat becoming a major player in the industry. Over the years innovation has led to the ships becoming bigger, faster, more fuel efficient and much more stable on rough seas. Vehicle decks are often movable to make way for high trucks or extra cars.
Ships in this category have been built from 74 to 112 metres long and from 3,000 to 10,800 gross tons. The 99-metre Francisco (Hull 069) is the worlds fastest ship in commercial service and can achieve speeds up to 58 knots (107 kmh).
Smaller passenger ferries
Incat began by building small ferries under 37 metres, but from 1990 it concentrated on larger vehicle carrying catamarans. However, in 2015 the company resumed building smaller ferries and in that year it delivered river ferries for operation in London, Hobart and Sydney. Since then it has designed and built more smaller ferries including a 35-metre Bellarine Express (Hull 090) for the commuter run on Port Phillip between Portarlington and Melbourne Docklands.
Several catamarans built by Incat have entered naval services, including HMAS Jervis Bay with the Royal Australian Navy and HSV-X1Joint Venture, Spearhead and HSV-2 Swift, which served with the United States Armed Forces.
In the mid 1990s Incat built three K class ferries. They are 70 to 80 metres long, low profile passenger vessels without wave piercing bows or the distinctive centre bow that characterise all other larger Incat ferries. Two were built by Incat in Hobart and a third was built by a Chinese partner. Plans for further Chinese built K Class ferries did not eventuate and Hull NF08 remains the only Incat vessel not built in Hobart.
Oil rig tender
Most offshore oil rigs are exposed to rough open seas with crew transfers by helicopter and freight needs served by platform supply vessels. However Azerbaijan's offshore oil rigs are in the calmer waters of the Caspian Sea, the world's largest lake, so crew transfers can be comfortably and more economically undertaken by water. Several fast catamarans have been built to transfer both crews and cargo for this market including Incat Hull 074 Muslim Magomayev delivered in 2015. The size of catamarans that can be built for this niche market is restricted by the 16.5 metre width of locks on the Volga-Don Canal that connects the Caspian Sea with the Black Sea and the Mediterranean.
Brooke Street Pier
From 1990 Incat had almost exclusively built large catamarans, but this changed in 2014 when the company diversified into something that was not even a ship, although it did float. An earlier Brooke Street Pier ferry terminal on Hobart's waterfront needed replacement and Incat was commissioned to build an 80 x 20-metre floating pontoon. Hull 077 was towed 8 km from Incat's shipyard to Sullivans Cove before finishing work was done on site. In addition to ferry berths, the pier hosts a restaurant, a cafe and a number of stalls.
Luxury super yachts
The market for opulent motor yachts has grown rapidly this century and while the market is mostly for monohull vessels, catamarans are beginning to make inroads. Incat has released several designs ranging from 80 to 112 metres which are shown on their website, but so far there have been no orders.
In its early years Incat built smaller boats and ferries with little to distinguish it from other boat yards except for a willingness to experiment and innovate. But the revolutionary Hull 023 completed in 1990 was quite different and was the first of the type of ferry that Incat is best known for today with its large capacity, high speed, wave piercing hulls and distinctive centre bow. As one of the first large aluminium vehicle carrying catamarans in the world, it contributed to the big changes in the ferry industry that occurred in the 1990s.
|Image||Hull No||Length / Class||Gross Tonnage||Delivered||Latest name||Operator||Notes|
| launched 1984|
|Scrapped at Marchwood in 2008|
|Scrapped at Esbjerg in 2009|
|The first large, aluminium, vehicle carrying catamaran built by Incat and one of the first in the world. Has operated in 3 continents|
|Laid up in Piraeus|
|Formerly known as Condor 10|
|Refitting at Busan|
|Formerly Elanora operated by El Salam Maritime|
|The last Incat vessel fitted with a bow door|
|Built in Panga, China under contract from Incat as part of a plan to build K class vessels there. Only one was built in China|
|Operated under various names in the Irish Sea by Stena Line from 1996 to 2011. Now operates in South Korea|
|Named Condor Express from 1997 to 2015 and operated as a Channel Islands ferry by Condor Ferries.|
|Until 2015 owned by Condor Ferries, named Condor Vitesse|
|Formerly HMAS Jervis Bay|
|Operates in conjunction with Incat 060|
Steam Packet Company
|Previously HSV-X1 Joint Venture|
|Operates between Taiwan and China. Formerly ran as The Cat from eastern USA to Canada and Bahamas|
|Formerly the US military's USAV Spearhead (TSV-X1). Now operates in conjunction with Incat 046|
|Previously Norman Arrow|
|Connects Sado island in Eastern Japan with the main island of Honshu. Under construction (2013)|
|Fastest ship in the world|
|Delivered to Norway 16 November 2011|
|Delivered 9 February 2015. Operates on Derwent River, Hobart|
|Launched 2014, named after Muslim Magomayev|
|Entered service October 2015|
|Entered service October 2015 Article on Thames Clippers Hunt Class catamarans.|
|Pier, completed November 2014 Displacement 4,200 tons (not Gross Tonnage)|
|Entered service 23 December 2015|
|Entered service 23 December 2015|
|Entered service March 2016|
|Entered service March 2016|
|Entered service 26 June 2017|
|Entered service December 2017 as Emerald 6, renamed January 2018|
|Entered service June 2017. 1,000 pass, 417 cars.|
|For service in Malta, due to commence operations in March 2019.|
|405 passengers. In service on Port Phillip between Melbourne Docklands and Portarlington|
|35 knots cruising speed. 1,200 passengers, 215 cars, 595 lane metres of ro-ro cargo. Cost 74 million Euro. For Canary Islands, May 2019|
|Operates on Port Jackson, Sydney. seats 400|
|To operate between Port of Spain and Scarborough. |
|To operate between Melbourne & Geelong as a compliment to the existing Melbourne to Portalington service.|
In the Length / Class field of the table WPC means the vessel is a Wave Piercing Catamaran. The three K Class vessels were a low profile design without the wave piercing bows and the capacity to carry less cars than traditional Incat designs.
In the competitive ferry industry, ships often change operators, especially in Europe. Other ferries have alternated between summer service in the northern and southern hemispheres every six months. Some Incat vessels of the 1990s have been operated by up to six shipping companies with regular name changes.
Gross Tonnage is a measure of a ship's enclosed volume rather than its weight or displacement, so similar ships can have differing Gross Tonnages due to factors such as if a viewing platform is fully enclosed or open to the weather.
- Offshore Solutions Incat
- "Earlier Vessels". Incat. Archived from the original on 18 April 2012. Retrieved 30 April 2012.
- "History". Incat. Archived from the original on 5 October 2013. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
- "M/S OUR LADY PATRICIA (1986)". Fakta om Fartyg. Retrieved 30 April 2012.
- "M/S OUR LADY PAMELA (1986)". Fakta om Fartyg. Retrieved 30 April 2012.
- "85 Metre Wave Piercing Catamaran". Incat. Archived from the original on 4 October 2013. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
- "70 Metre Fast Crew Boat". Incat. Archived from the original on 4 October 2013. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
- David Beniuk (14 September 2014). "Oil-industry cat a crooner's cruiser as Incat's Muslim Magomayev heads to Azerbaijan's Caspian oilfields". Mercury.
- Incat Builds Arrive in London in Style Sea Breezes 7 December 2015
- $12 million floating waterfront masterpiece takes shape The Mercury 24 May 2014
- New Manly fast ferries opened to public without Opal card access ABC News 29 December 2015
- 4 Brand New Boats Manly Fast Ferry 18 March 2016
- Aussie doctor lends her name to newest ferry Transport for New South Wales 15 November 2016
- Incat ferries bound for Denmark & Sydney Harbour The Mercury 21 April 2017
- Victor Chang joins Sydney's ferry fleet Transport for New South Wales 18 August 2017
- Pemulwuy arrives in Sydney Transport for New South Wales 30 August 2017
- New ferries to cater for population boom along Parramatta River Sydney Morning Herald 2 October 2017
- Ferry McFerryface wasn't public pick for new ferry name until Andrew Constance's captain's pick Daily Telegraph 30 January 2018
- Incat Builds New Ferry for Denmark Ships Monthly 29 April 2016
- "Virtu's new catamaran will be among the world's largest". Times of Malta. 8 January 2019. Archived from the original on 28 January 2019.
- Incat Insider newsletter, issue 049 Incat
- My Fast Ferry Launched at Incat Incat 10 July 2018
- Media related to Incat at Wikimedia Commons
- Official website
- Revolution Design, Incat's in house naval architects