Francisco pictured during sea trials in June. Photographer: Robert Heazlewood (c) Incat Crowther

Francisco pictured during sea trials in June. Photographer: Robert Heazlewood (c) Incat

Incat’s newest high-speed ferry, dubbed the world’s fastest ship, has been christened during a ceremony in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The 99-meter vessel, named Francisco in honor of the Argentine Pope, uses LNG-powered gas turbine engines and waterjets to reach top speed of 58.1 knots, or 66 miles per hour. In addition to its speed record, the vessel also claims the first high speed dual-fuel vehicle and passenger ferry.

The Francisco commenced service Wednesday on the Rio Plato between Buenos Aires and Montevideo, Uruguay.

Francisco’s high speed can be attributed to the combination of Incat’s catamaran design, the use of lightweight, strong marine grade aluminium, and power produced by the two 22MW GE LM2500 gas turbines driving Wartsila LJX 1720 SR waterjets. Of course for the sake of passenger experience, the vessels extensive and luxurious interior added significant (and necessary) weight increases, the Incat team worked to maximize weight savings during construction wherever possible.

SEE ALSO: Dual-Fuel Ferry Claims World’s Fastest Ship

The Francisco was constructed by Australian ferry builder Incat Tasmania for South American company Buquebus. The ship is the eighth and largest Incat vessel to be operated by Buquebus and their associated companies.

The Francisco’s speed was put to the test during sea trials in June, topping out at a whopping 58.1 knots with water ballast removed and both gas turbines operating on LNG. Incat admits that, of course, there are some speed boats out there that would trump that top speed, but not any with a carrying capacity of 1,000 passengers, 150 cars, an an enormous 1,100 square meter duty free shop.

President of Argentina, Christina Fernandez de Kirchner, became “Godmother” of the vessel and jointly presided over the ceremonial ribbon cutting Monday night along with President of Uruguay, Jose Mujica.

The fastest previous vessel built by Incat was Juan Patricio, also delivered to Buquebus, with a top speed at 53.8 knots. Juan Patricio was delivered in 1996 and remains in commercial service.

The Francisco is the fourth Incat built vessel with service speed over 50 knots.

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