The Saint John Paul II, delivered to Virtu Ferries on 6th February 2019, by shipbuilders Incat Tasmania, has been selected for the prestigious notation “Significant Ship 2018”, by the highly respected Royal Institute of Naval Architects (RINA). The Institute was founded in London in 1860, with the aim of advancing “the art and science of ship design.” Members of the Institute occupy positions of high standing in the maritime industry worldwide, including universities and leading maritime institutions. RINA publishes a highly select annual list describing the most innovative and important commercial vessels designs delivered during the year by shipyards worldwide.
Saint John Paul II is described by Robert Clifford, Chairman Incat, as the “most revolutionary built by the yard.” Over the last decade Incat has delivered 44 large commercial fast ferries as well as smaller craft. The standard, well-tried, Incat Wavepiercer Hull design was modified after extensive hydrodynamic model trials, using the latest computational fluid dynamics methodology, in the state-of-the-art UK Ministry of Defence Ocean Basin Research facility in Gosport Hampshire. This cutting-edge research was headed by Seaspeed Marine Consulting Limited UK. This is the first time such research model testing has been carried out on high speed vessels of this tonnage and is a world first for Incat, Seaspeed and the Maltese maritime industry. The result is a hull specifically designed for Mediterranean weather conditions.
Passengers have a choice between travelling Club Class on the Bridge Deck or Euro Class on the Main Deck. Significantly, although the vessel is classed, by international classification society DNV GL, to carry 900 passengers, there are 1134 seats on board, including 138 outside on the two passenger decks, this to ensure enough selective seating for everyone. The interior design, with additional space in all lounges, is an added attraction. The garage is designed to carry 23 heavy commercial trailers or 167 cars. In commissioning the interior design of the vessel, Virtu has relied on 30 years of surveyed passenger feedback on the Malta Sicily route and the experience gained from building the other 6 vessel that preceded Saint John Paul II. The Saint John Paul II complies with the International Maritime Organisation HSC Code 2000 rules, as amended, the Malta Flag Statutory Requirements, Italian Port State Rules and EU Directive 1999/35/EC.
Members of the public will be invited to visit the vessel at the Virtu Terminal in the coming weeks, an announcement to this effect will be made via the local media. Virtu is a 100% Maltese owned company and it is with pride that all Virtu vessels fly the Malta Flag.