Sealink behind the wheel of brand new $7m Palm Island ferry made by Thornlands Aluminium Marine

ALL ABOARD: Minister for Transport Mark Bailey, Redlands MP Kim Richards, Aluminium Marine ship yard owner Steve Cordingley, and SeaLink North Queensland general manager Chris Briggs on board the Coolgaree Cat.
ALL ABOARD: Minister for Transport Mark Bailey, Redlands MP Kim Richards, Aluminium Marine ship yard owner Steve Cordingley, and SeaLink North Queensland general manager Chris Briggs on board the Coolgaree Cat.

A SHIP builder in Thornlands has put the finishing touches on a 32 metre ferry designed and built for operation at Palm Island.

SeaLink Travel Group North Queensland general manager Chris Briggs will inspect the nearly complete vessel, which was named after the main bay of Palm Island and can carry approximately 320 people and is valued at more than $7 million.

Aluminium Marine owner and ship builder Steve Cordingley said he was proud to produce a world-class vessel from his Thornlands workshop.

"Working on the Coolgaree Cat has been an incredibly rewarding experience, especially as it has meant our team could safely continue working throughout the COVID-19 restrictions," he said.

The vessel was a group effort from the designer, Incat Crowther, to the ship builder at Aluminium Marine, and SeaLink.

SeaLink Travel Group CEO Clint Feuerherdt said the vessels was not only purpose designed for specific Palm Island seakeeping conditions, but also proudly manufactured in Queensland.

"We have taken our extensive knowledge of local operating conditions, and worked with the world-renowned naval architects and engineers at Incat Crowther, to produce a locally manufactured vessel.

BRAND NEW: Coolgaree Cat is named after the main Palm Island Bay where the vessel will operate.

BRAND NEW: Coolgaree Cat is named after the main Palm Island Bay where the vessel will operate.

"We're incredibly proud to have been able to continue building the vessel through COVID-19 restrictions, keeping the team at the shipping yard employed, and we look forward to bringing the Coolgaree Cat up to Palm Island to further support the local community and a return to tourism," Mr Feuerherdt said.

Incat Crowther technical director, Dr Andrew Tuite said in partnership with the operations team at SeaLink in Townsville, Incat Crowther developed a ferry for unique operating conditions experienced to Palm Island.

"The team used the project to support Aluminium Marine, and the Queensland shipbuilding industry, as it transforms from a traditional shipbuilding industry into a smart-ship manufacturing sector," he said.