|Reigning Champions Returned
Incat has received further confirmation of its status as builders of the world’s finest high speed ships by once again scooping the award for MOST SIGNIFICANT NEW BUILD – FAST FERRY at the renowned biennial event for the ferry, fast ferry and cruise industry, The Cruise and Ferry Exhibition and Conference.
The award was presented to builders Incat and owners Bollinger/Incat USA for the US Army Theater Support Vessel TSV-1X Spearhead in front of around 800 industry professionals at a gala dinner at the Hilton London Metropole.
Shipping professionals crowned the 98 metre Spearhead as the ship most deserving of the title amidst fierce competition from other nominees, including: Austal Ships and EuroFerrys for EuroFerrys Pacifica; HDW and Superfast Ferries for the medium speed ships Superfast IX + X and Austal Ships and New World Fast Ferry for New Ferry LXXXI / LXXXII / LXXXIII.
Speaking from the shipyard in Hobart, Incat Australia Pty Ltd Managing Director Craig Clifford said “Incat to some extent were ‘reigning champions’ having also taken the Most Significant New Build – Fast Ferry award at the last Cruise & Ferry event in 2001 with the 96 metre Evolution 10 Benchijigua Express for Fred. Olsen Lines, so this year’s win was particularly pleasing.”
BBC TV current affairs presenter John Humphrys announced the winner after judging by a panel including Trevor Blakeley, Chief Executive of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects; Michael Crye, President of the International Council of Cruise Lines; and Len Roueche, CEO of IMTA-Interferry.
The award goes to the owner and builder of the vessel voted by the panel of judges to have made the most significant impact on the industry as a whole. This may be due to a combination of factors such as speed, capacity, range and size, design or other factors at the discretion of the judges.
In November 2002, when Incat delivered Spearhead for service with the US Army, expectations were high. As the Army’s first Theater Support vessel the ship would be utilised on missions to maximise its speed and flexibility, being required for both sustainment deliveries and the movement of Army prepositioned stocks, and troop units.
Leaving Hobart soon after handover Spearhead headed directly to the Persian Gulf to be part of the major military build-up in the region.
Today Spearhead is currently deployed within the Central Command Area of Responsibility in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. She has sailed approximately 30,000 nautical miles and her operations to date have covered most of the western part of the CENTCOM Theater from Jordan to Kuwait. The craft has carried troops and hauled over 1500 pieces of military cargo, just about everything in the inventory except for tracked vehicles.
Speaking of the award while en route back to Australia an elated Incat Chairman Robert Clifford said, “The US Army is to be warmly congratulated for having the foresight and vision to acquire what leading professionals in the shipping industry recognise as a superior high speed ship.”
“It is thanks to military visionaries such as the US Army’s Program Executive Office for Combat Support and Combat Service Support (PEO CS &CSS), Col. Genaro Dellarocco, Project Manager – Force Projection, that Spearhead has been put into the fight as seen throughout the world following recent events in the Persian Gulf” Mr Clifford said.
Mr Clifford continued “In taking Spearhead to the fight the US Army has taken the vision to the next step – not just studying and talking about the concept, but actually moving forward and doing it.”
Incat is currently constructing another 98 metre craft, HSV 2 Swift, for the US Navy and is on target for a mid 2003 delivery.