Wight Shipyard Company completes largest-ever ferry export order

Wight Shipyard Company completes largest-ever ferry export order
Wight Shipyard Company
The new ferries will provide services in Malta

Isle of Wight-based Wight Shipyard Company (WSC) has delivered four new ferries to Maltese tour operator Captain Morgan, a subsidiary of Fortina Investments.

Designed by One2Three Naval Architects and WSC’s in-house design team, the four vessels were built simultaneously and represent the Isle of Wight-based shipyard’s largest ferry export order to date. All four ferries are lighter and more fuel efficient than any vessels the yard has built before.

Two of the newbuilds are 20-metre-long catamarans, which will replace existing vessels on the historic harbour cruise route around the two natural harbours surrounding the capital city of Valletta and the ‘Three Cities of Malta’ (Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua).

These vessels are designed to stop frequently in the ports surrounding the sheltered harbours and will operate at speeds of between 8-10 knots, but will have a top speed of 20 knots. Each one can accommodate 197 passengers and three crew members, with open-plan seating on both the main and upper decks, as well as a wheelhouse main steering station on the second deck level for maximum visibility.

WSC has also built two 33-metre-long, medium-speed ferries, which will provide a new ‘hop-on, hop-off’ service along the east coast of Malta up to the island of Gozo. In addition, the vessels will replace a number of older ships that transport commuters between Malta, Gozo and Comino.

Both vessels will operate at speeds below 20 knots, but they can reach a top speed of 30 knots. Their main decks feature an enclosed air-conditioned cabin with seating and a kiosk/bar, while their upper decks have an overhanging roof to protect passengers from the rain. Each ferry can carry 298 passengers and four crew members.

All four of the newbuilds will achieve considerable fuel savings compared to their predecessors – according to WSC, one per cent of weight saving in these vessels equates with one per cent of fuel savings. This will significantly reduce operating costs and help to lower emissions across the fleet.

“We are proud of being able to produce four large ferries within a year, despite the restrictions and changes to working brought about by the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic,” said Jo Daly, chief operating officer at WSC. “This is testament to the outstanding team that made such a quick completion possible whilst still achieving the same high build standards and attention to detail that WSC has become synonymous with.”

In future, the vessels will form an integral part of Fortina Investments’ iSeeMalta concept, which will enable visitors to purchase a single pass for access to the ferry service, city sightseeing buses and public transport, as well as to Heritage Malta sites and other attractions.

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Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson
14 September 2020

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