Recently, the Republic of Timor-Leste and Damen Shipyards Group signed a contract agreeing provision of a new RoPax Ferry 6716.

The vessel will operate a route between the Timor-Leste capital Dili, the Oecusse enclave and the island of Ataúro, providing regular transportation of passengers, vehicles and goods on the north coast of the island.

The contract was signed at the Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão Hall of the Ministry of Finance, Díli, by the Minister of Transport and Communications, José Agustinho da Silva, and by the regional director of Damen Shipyards, Gysbert Boersma.

With an ageing vessel currently in operation, the Port Authority of Timor-Leste IP (APORTIL) recognises the need to maintain the safety and reliability of its fleet, hence the investment in a new ship.

In a project co-financed by Timor-Leste and the Government of Germany, the RoPax Ferry 6716 is scheduled to begin operations in 2021, and will lower operation costs, increase reliability of the service, and improve employment opportunities due to the improvement in transportation networks.

In preparation for the ferry’s arrival, over the next 19 months APORTIL will undertake work to improve and build support infrastructures.

The extension of these maritime passenger connections will initially include a connection between Dili and Com, in addition to those already in place between Díli, Ataúro and Oecusse, with the aim of improving the quality of life of the populations in these areas.

The new ferry will help to connect Dili with other ports on the south and east coasts of Timor-Leste and improve access to market, education and institutions in Dili and provide other important services to Timor-Leste.

The RoPax Ferry 6716 will have a width of 16m, a draft of 3.3m and a length of 67.3m, and its deck, with a 27-ton axle load, will reach 4.8min height. The vessel is capable of a maximum speed of 10 knots and will have a carrying capacity of 380 pax.