SHIP REVIEW | Maggie Cat – New shuttle and whale watching ferry to serve Australia’s Magnetic Island


Australian shipping operator SeaLink Travel Group was looking to improve its existing passenger and baggage service between Townsville and Magnetic Island in the state of Queensland, as well as run seasonal whale watching tours. The company was looking for a vessel with an upper deck offering 360 degree viewing capability and selected a local catamaran to be built by Brisbane-based Commercial Marine Australia (CMA).

SeaLink requested a light, robust, fuel-efficient vessel equipped with new technology. The result is Maggie Catwhich will be Sealink’s flagship to Magnetic Island, with capacity for 340 passengers and four crew on three decks.

Photo: AMC

The all-aluminum vessel has an overall length of 30.8 meters, a beam of nine meters, a draft of 2.1 meters and a displacement of 115 tonnes. It features a narrower overall beam than coolgaree cat, a former SeaLink vessel. While ships are interchangeable, newer ones Maggie Cat is configured for the shorter and more frequent Magnetic Island service while coolgaree cat will serve the Townsville–Palm Island route.

Boarding is via a center port boarding gate and upper aft boarding gates. The main deck features 186 seats in a combination of cabin and forward-facing types, with deep windows giving the cabin a light and airy feel with excellent exterior visuals but the comfort of air conditioning.

Also located on the main deck is a large gazebo offering light refreshments as well as multiple onboard storage spaces.

Photo: AMC

The upper deck can accommodate 64 people inside an air-conditioned cabin in addition to 26 outdoor seats on the aft deck. Much of the space is dedicated to securing containerized cargo, with room for nine pieces of luggage. The coamings of this bridge have been reinforced to cope with the impact of trolleys while the loading doors are specifically located to work with the existing infrastructure.

Photo: AMC

The solarium has 48 seats and offers 360 degree visibility for tourists visiting the island. This area of ​​the ship also provides an ideal platform for whale watching.

All passenger seats were provided by Beurteaux Australia.

Maggie Cat is powered by two Caterpillar C32 main diesel engines, each delivering 895 kW at 2,000 rpm. Two VEEM interceptor fixed-pitch propellers are driven by the main engines via Twin Disc gearboxes. In recent sea trials, the vessel exceeded 31 knots, although she can achieve a fuel-efficient operational speed of 25 knots at full load and low main engine MCR. CMA said this would provide increased time between major engine overhauls.

Photo: AMC

Caterpillar also provided the vessel’s auxiliary engine and two C4.4 generators. These power an extensive navigation and communications suite that includes Icom radios, Plastimo compass and Simrad radar, sonar, depth sounder, autopilot, GPS and AIS. Ultimate Marine Power supplied the external lights, cameras and audio systems as well as the ship’s steering system while MET Services installed a monitoring system.

Photo: AMC

Jotun paint has been used for exterior surfaces while Flotex floors and G James windows are also installed. Ayres Composite Panels provided work on the ceilings.

The ship’s emergency equipment includes Survitec equipment, Systems Advantage firefighting system, RFD life raft and lifeboat from Barefoot Inflatable Boats.

Maggie Cat has already started operational crossings with SeaLink, providing rapid transport services for residents and tourists visiting North Queensland alongside coolgaree cat.

Photo: SeaLink

Click here to read more stories, reports, opinion pieces and ship reviews from this month’s Passenger Ship Week.

Maggie Cat
Vessel type: Commuter and Tourist Ferry
Classification: NSCV 1C/1D
The port of record: Townsville, Australia
Flag: Australia
Owner: SeaLink Travel Group, Australia
Designate: Incat Crowther, Australia
CAD software: AutoCAD
Manufacturer: Australia Merchant Navy
Hull construction material: Aluminum
Superstructure construction material: Aluminum
Bridge construction material: Aluminum
Plate cutout: Router
Total length: 30.8 meters
Waterline length: 30.3 meters
Shine: 9.0 meters
Disorganized: 2.1 meters
Depth: 2.8 meters
Shift: 115 tons
Main engines: 2 x Caterpillar C32, each 895 kW @ 2000 rpm
Gearboxes: 2 x dual disc
Propulsion: 2 VEEM Interceptor propellers
Auxiliary engines: caterpillar
Generators: 2 C4.4 tracks
Steering system: Ultimate Marine Power
Rudder: Foiled stainless steel
Maximum speed: 31 knots
Cruising speed: 25 knots
Hydraulic equipment: Ultimate Marine Power
Electronics provided by: Ultimate Marine Power
Radar: Simrad
Sounder: Simrad
Radio: I come
Sonar: Simrad
Automatic pilot: Simrad
Compass: Plastimo
GPS: Simrad
Tracer: Simrad
AIS: Simrad
Audio/video system: Ultimate Marine Power
Surveillance system: Meteorological services
Cameras/night vision: Ultimate Marine Power
Other electronic devices: Ultimate Marine Power
Capstan/windlass: Muir
Anchors: Manson
Paints/Coatings: jotun
The Windows: G James
Seats: Australia
Exterior lighting: Ultimate Marine Power
Floor/deck surface finishes: Flotex
Interior fittings/furnishings: Ayres composite panels
Security equipment: Survitec
Firefighter equipment: Advantage of systems
Liferafts: RFD
Lifeboats: Barefoot inflatable boats
Fuel type: Diesel
Fuel capacity: 4,800 liters
Fresh water capacity: 1,700 liters
Sewer/black water capacity: 500 liters
Lodging: Solarium; kiosk
Crew: 4
Passengers: 340
Operational area: North Queensland, Australia

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