shoulder season


Commissioned: 1997
Classification: Lloyds of London +1A1 HSLC R1 Car Ferry
Home Port: Nassau, Bahamas
Decommissioned: still active
Fate: still active
General characteristics
Displacement: 5,617 tons
Length: 91.3 m
Beam: 26 m
Draught: 3.7 m
Propulsion: 4 Ruston 20 RK 270 medium-speed diesel, 38,000 bhp
Speed: 43 knots
Safety Equipment: 10 x 100-person life rafts, 4 escape slides
Capacity: Passengers, 762
Automobiles, 240
Complement: 22
Access: Ro-Ro stern loading

HSC INCAT 046 is a wave-piercing catamaran passenger-vehicle ferry. It has operated under various marketing names, including Devil Cat, The Cat, The Lynx, and now T&T Express.

Vessel characteristics

HSC INCAT 046 is a 91-metre vessel built by InCat Australia in Hobart, Tasmania in 1997 as hull 046. She is a sister ship to HSC Express (holder of a Trans-Atlantic speed record), HSC Max Mols and HSC Master Cat, all of which are Incat91 models.

INCAT 046 is constructed from marine grade aluminium alloys. Each water-borne hull is subdivided into multiple watertight compartments connected by an arched bridging structure with a central forward hull above the smooth water line. Each water-borne hull carries 2 engines which drive water jets mounted on the transom.

Vehicles are stowed in and between both waterborne hulls in a configuration of rising and descending decks which load from a single level transfer bridge at the stern. The main passenger deck is immediately above the vehicle decks and consists of a cafe, gift shop, children's play area and passenger seating lounges, as well as an outside observation deck that runs the width of the ship at the stern. The passenger seating lounges have overhead television monitors which play movies, or television broadcasts, as well as a continuously updated map showing the vessel's GPS coordinates. A smaller secondary passenger deck is located one deck up and has a bar immediately aft of the wheelhouse.

Service history

TT-Line (1997-1998, 2000-2001, 2001-2002)

HSC INCAT 046 was constructed for TT-Line and operated across Australia's Bass Strait on the world's longest distance high speed ferry service (marketed as Devil Cat), between Station Pier, Port Melbourne, Victoria to The Esplanade, George Town, Tasmania. Typical service speed was 80 km/h with fares averaging $100 (AUD) one-way in peak season (Dec-Jan) and $92 one-way in shoulder season (Jan-Apr). Weather conditions in the Bass Strait occasionally led to cancellation during storms and heavy seas. The vessel's ride during choppy conditions led to its nickname "Spew Cat". The ship was sold to Bay Ferries after the first season, but during the 2000-2001, 2001-2002 summer peak periods it was charted to again run the George Town - Station Pier route as the Devil Cat. Bay Ferries (1998-2002)

The INCAT 046 was sold to Bay Ferries in 1998 for service on that company's Gulf of Maine route between Yarmouth, Nova Scotia and Bar Harbor, Maine under the marketing name The Cat. The vessel departed Hobart on April 26, 1998, arriving in Yarmouth on May 20, 1998 to great fanfare from American and Canadian news media.

The vessel operated seasonally on the Yarmouth-Bar Harbor route from May-October. HSC INCAT 046 was sold in early 2002 to Incat as a trade-in by Bay Ferries for the newer and larger capacity HSC The Cat (which in the case of this vessel, is its official registered name).Interisland Line (2002-2003)

The vessel was leased by Incat to the Interisland Line, a New Zealand company, for which it was used in the Cook Strait that year, using the marketing name The Lynx, however operating issues relating to its wake saw the vessel returned to Incat in early 2003 where it was laid up in Hobart.Bay Ferries (2003-2006)

Bay Ferries subsequently repurchased the vessel and leased it under a wet charter (crewed and operated by Bay Ferries) for a route in Trinidad and Tobago between Port of Spain and Scarborough. Bay Ferries maintained the Interisland Line's marketing graphics on the vessel and referred to it as The Lynx during this period.Government of Trinidad and Tobago (2006-present)

The vessel was purchased from Bay Ferries by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago's Ministry of Works and Transport in 2006. She maintains the official registered name of INCAT 046 but is marketed as the T&T Express and is operated by Bay Ferries Management Ltd. on behalf of the government. She operates the interisland service between Port of Spain and Scarborough in conjunction with the T&T Spirit (HSC INCAT 060).

Sister ships

  • HSC Express, operated by P&O Irish Sea. Express is fitted with an additional lounge towards the stern on the upper deck and has a large panoramic window.
  • HSC Max Mols, operated by Mols Linien.
  • HSC Master Cat

External links


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