Shipbuilder Incat Tasmania launched a 110m vehicle/passenger ferry Saint John Paul II from the shipyard at Derwent Park in Hobart Tasmania on 22 December 2018.

The ship will commence sea trials in January prior to delivery to her new owner, Virtu Ferries, for service between Malta and Sicily.

The vessel is named Saint John Paul II in honour of the Pope who served from 1978 to 2005, so revered the Pope has often posthumously, but unofficially, been referred to by Catholics as ‘St John Paul the Great’.

She is the second Incat ship named in honour of a Pope; in 2013 Buquebus named their Incat 99 metre ship Francisco in honour of Argentina-born Pope Francis.

The new 110m wave-piercing catamaran will be the 15th fast ferry Virtu has acquired, and will be the largest high-speed catamaran in the Mediterranean with a service speed up to 38 knots. This will enable her to complete the crossing from Malta to Sicily, berth to berth, in around 90 minutes.

Work commenced on HSC Saint John Paul II in 2017, and together with other export orders this has been a catalyst for the significant increase in workforce numbers at Incat over the past two years.