Katso Kisen of Japan has ordered a large ropax vessel to replace one of its older ships, according to Japanese ferry sources.

The company, which operates it ferry services under the name Jumbo Ferry, has signed up for a 1,100-lane metre freight, 800 passenger ropax at domestic shipbuilder Naikai Zosen at its Innoshima shipyard.

The 131.5m vessel is set for delivery in September next year and will operate between Kobe, Sakate and Takamatsu — ports that are located on the coastline of the sheltered Seto Inland Sea.

Further details about the vessel’s design have not been disclosed.

The newbuilding is expected to replace the oldest of Kato Kisen’s two existing 3,600-gt ferries that were built in 1989 and 1990, respectively.

Naikai Zosen specialises in building ro-ro and ropax vessels at its Innoshima shipyard. Most have been ordered by Japanese shipowners.

IHS Ships Register lists the Innoshima yard as having orders for a 14,300-gt ro-ro vessels for Kuribayashi Steamship, two 12,500-gt ro-ro vessels for Shunzan Kaiun, and two 14,200-gt ropax vessels for Miyazaki Car Ferry.

All vessels on order are scheduled to be delivered between now and 2022.

Naikai Zosen also includes ropax vessels in the wider newbuilding portfolio of its larger Setoda shipyard.

In October, the Setoda yard received an order for an 8,000-gt container carrying ropax from Japanese ferry operator Marix Line for delivery in December this year.