A New Australian Cat for Japan

First Incat 112 metre High Speed Ferry Delivered to Higashi Nihon FerryHeralding a new era in Japanese ferry transportation, the impressive new Incat 112 metre Wave Piercing Catamaran Natchan Rera has been delivered to Higashi Nihon Ferry.

 Specifically designed and built to meet the requirements of Higashi Nihon Ferry, the Incat 112 metre Natchan Rera (Incat Hull 064) delivers a craft well equipped to handle the demanding challenges of a providing a vital ferry service between the islands of Honshu and Hokkaido.

 Commenting on the handover of the craft at Hobart, Incat Chairman Robert Clifford said, “Construction of the world’s largest, most fuel efficient diesel-powered high speed catamaran is a proud moment for all Incat staff.

 “Incat has been leading the way at the cutting edge of high speed ferry design, development and innovation for many years and the completion of Natchan Rera demonstrates the company’s position as a world-leader in the high-speed catamaran market.

 “These vessels are set to revolutionise the Japanese ferry industry.  Never before has such a technologically advanced ship operated in the Japanese market. Never before has Incat built such a large ship and for a new customer in an area with such enormous potential for Incat High Speed Craft.” he said.

 The order for the Natchan Rera, and a sister to follow next year, is a major part of the on-going Higashi Nihon Ferry business development plan for the expansion of regular passenger services across Tsugaru Strait between the ports of Hakodate on the island of Hokkaido and Aomori on the island of Honshu. The luxury vehicle-passenger ferry will approximately halve the time currently taken for voyages between Aomori and Hakodate by the existing ships and greatly enhance the convenience of regular passenger services.

 The Chief Executive of Higashi Nihon Ferry, Mr Shinji Koga comments, “We gained confidence in high speed ferries after a research visit to Europe in the autumn of 2005. As a result of our visit, during which we were impressed by the Incat 91 metre ferry sailing with Mols-Linien in Denmark and the 98 metre ferry sailing on the English Channel with Brittany Ferries, we were convinced to introduce a high speed ferry on the route between Hakodate and Aomori.

“Several Shipyards contacted us intensively but we nominated Incat without any hesitation, not only because of the state-of-art skills Incat possesses, but also the passion of Chairman Clifford and all the Incat members towards the Wave Piercing Catamaran.

“I have no doubt that Natchan Rera will become our Treasure Ship. By the same token, I am sure she will represent the firm and solid partnership between Australia and Japan, including Tasmania and Hokkaido, as well as Incat and our parent company, the Libera Group,” Mr Koga said. 


In 1998 Incat conceived that a larger Wave Piercing Catamaran was required to fill a market niche for a larger high speed ferry.  After several years of research the 112 metre design emerged as a ship capable of meeting or exceeding all design brief goals. 

The Natchan Rera is the first physical result of that research. Ordered in May 2006 the new craft will operate at speeds of approximately 40 knots while offering capacity for up to 355 cars or 450 lane metres of trucks and 193 cars. While Incat’s 112 metre design can accommodate up to 1500 persons the Natchan Rera‘s luxurious accommodation has been custom designed and laid out to cater for 800 persons in high levels of luxurious style and comfort.  

The largest catamaran ever built in Australia the new ferry will provide greater seakeeping qualities and passenger comfort, even over the world-renowned Incat 98 metre class, on this often turbulent crossing. 

The Natchan Rera is powered by four MAN 20V 28/33D diesel engines, each rated 9000 kW at 1000 rpm and delivering a low weight when compared to other engines in its class. The advantages of engine durability, efficiency, low noise and low maintenance costs make it the engine of choice for Incat vessels, not least of all impressive fuel consumption, burning less kg per cargo tonne per hour than any other high speed catamaran. The ship will burn a very frugal 120 grams of fuel for every tonne of cargo per mile travelled.   

The vessel is also environmentally compliant with low NOx of <10g/kWh. The fact that these vessels are built to be as light as possible, consume clean diesel fuel and then burn less kilo fuel per cargo tonne per hour than any other high speed catamaran makes the environmentally progressive Natchan Rera a vessel which is well prepared for the future.

Hull 064 Principal particulars

 Length overall:       112.60m

Beam (moulded):    30.50m

Draught:                 approximately 3.93m

Speed:                   40 knots

Fuel consumption:   <190g/kWh

Deadweight:          Up to 1450 tonnes

Total persons:         800 persons

Vehicle Deck:         450 truck-lane metres plus 193 cars or a total of 355 cars.