It’s not a speedboat and it’s definitely not an F1 superboat. Call it the bullet ferry or a super catamaran if you will, but whichever way you look at it, the Shinas is probably as fast as it gets on water in a passenger ferry anywhere in the world.
At least for the next two months, until its sister ship Hormuz commences services on the same route. Shinas, the world’s fastest passenger ferry and diesel-powered at that, starts its services in Oman today.
With top operating speeds of nearly 52 and 56 knots (96km/hr and 104km/hr) respectively, the diesel powered Shinas and Hormuz built by Australia-based Austal for the National Ferries Company will make going to Musandam from Muscat an easy affair.
Both the Shinas and Hormuz are 65m multi-purpose passenger-vehicle catamaran ferries with a capacity to carry 208 passengers and 56 cars each. Announcing the launch of Shinas last Saturday to a select group of
dignitaries, professionals from the hospitality industry and the media, officials from the National Ferries Co, fully owned by the Ministry of National Economy, said that the Shinas would cover the 225 nautical mile approximately 420km) route between Muscat and Khasab in a little more than five hours.
The select group was also taken on a two hour-long demo run under Capt Alistair Yeats’ command that showed off the vessel’s high-speed capabilities.
A mountainous region separated from the rest of the sultanate by the UAE, Musandam has beckoned tourists, both domestic and inbo-und, for years, but getting there was a bit of a problem till now. The peninsula could earlier be accessed only by a weekly flight or by a ten hour drive that also involved passing through four immigration posts.
(Go to Shinas Video Online to see a two-minute long clip of the Shinas during its high speed trials in Australia. The ferry is powered by four MTU 20 cylinder 1163 series diesel engines, each producing 6,500kW and driving Roll-Royce-Kamewa waterjets- the wake reveals the full power of the engines)