Red Funnel orders high-speed ferry from Wight Shipyard Co

Red Funnel orders high-speed ferry from Wight Shipyard Co
Red Jet 7 will be built by Wight Shipyard Co (Image: Red Funnel)

Cross-Solent ferry operator Red Funnel has ordered a 41-metre high-speed catamaran from Wight Shipyard Co. on the Isle of Wight.

The order for Red Jet 7 marks the first major investment by the consortium of UK and Canadian pension funds that acquired Red Funnel in July 2017.

“We are thrilled to announce that Red Jet 7 will be built on the Isle of Wight,” said Kevin George, Red Funnel CEO. “The order represents a £7 million investment in the local economy and will secure a wide range of skilled jobs in East Cowes and in the local supply chain. I am delighted that our new investors are showing, at such an early stage, their commitment to the future of Red Funnel, the Isle of Wight and local businesses.”

Red Jet 7 will be a sister ship to Red Jet 6, which was built by Wight Shipyard in 2016 and was the first fast ferry to be constructed in the UK in more than 16 years.

“There can be no better endorsement than a customer placing a repeat order and I would particularly like to thank Red Funnel for its belief in our product and the quality of our work on the Isle of Wight,” said Peter Morton, managing director at Wight Shipyard. “I am extremely proud of my colleagues at Wight Shipyard who I am convinced now build the finest high-speed ferries in the world. This contract follows the two boats we recently completed for MBNA Thames Clippers in London and with final contracts for our first export order being negotiated, the prospects for the Wight Shipyard and the 85 jobs on the island are healthy.”

Like Red Jet 6, the new Red Jet 7 will feature a central passenger cabin with leather seats, which will be insulated from the hulls to reduce vibration and cabin noise. Other onboard amenities will include USB charging points, LED coloured lighting, a toilet, a travel information system showing connecting services for public transport in real time, and an air-handling system designed to dry, cool or warm the air automatically. Passengers will also have free access to a high bandwidth, ship-to-shore wi-fi system.

Red Jet 7 will also be one of the greenest ships in Red Funnel’s fleet and be equipped with four main MTU 2000 series diesel engines, each connected to a Hamilton DRP-500QD waterjet unit. This configuration will reduce fuel consumption, provide high levels of in-service reliability and ensure emissions will meet International Maritime Organization Tier II regulations. The use of waterjets rather than propellers will aid manoeuvrability and improve stopping power, while keeping wash to an absolute minimum.

Other technical innovations to reduce fuel consumption include the use of vinyl rather than paint on the superstructure, and the application of the latest Teflon hull coating to minimise drag through the water.

The installation of a rescue boat on the stern will also enable Red Jet 7 to operate outside the Solent.

“Red Jet 7 will be virtually identical to Red Jet 6 which has proved to be efficient, comfortable and popular with our customers,” said George. “Once Red Jet 7 joins the fleet next summer we will have three large modern Red Jets each capable of carrying 277 passengers in comfort in all weather conditions. The introduction of Red Jet 7 will represent a further 51% increase in capacity for the Red Jet service.”

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