UK-based ferry company Red Funnel has placed an order with compatriot Wight Shipyard for another 41 meter high-speed catamaran.
The order for Red Jet 7 marks the first major investment in Red Funnel by the consortium of UK and Canadian pension funds which acquired the cross-Solent ferry operator in July 2017. As explained, the decision underpins the new owner’s commitment to Red Funnel’s Southampton-West Cowes route and to the future growth of the Island’s economy by injecting GBP 7 million (around USD 9 million).
Red Jet 7 will be a sister ship to Red Jet 6 which was built by Wight Shipyard on the Isle of Wight in 2016. That order from Red Funnel restarted the construction of fast-ferries in the UK and on the Isle of Wight after a gap of 16 years.
“Red Jet 7 will be virtually identical to Red Jet 6… Once Red Jet 7 joins the fleet next summer we will have 3 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,” Kevin George, Red Funnel CEO, commented.
Red Jet 7 is expected to be one of the greenest ship in Red Funnel’s fleet with a host of design features to reduce fuel consumption and protect the environment, Wight Shipyard said.
According to Wight Shipyard, the use of waterjets rather than propellers will aid manoeuvrability and provide good stopping power whilst keeping wash to an absolute minimum. The ship will be fitted with four main diesel engines, each one connected to a waterjet unit. This configuration helps to reduce fuel consumption and provides high levels of in-service reliability.
Other technical innovations to reduce fuel consumption include the use of vinyl instead of paint for the superstructure to reduce weight and the application of the latest Teflon hull coatings to minimize drag through the water. The installation of a rescue boat on the stern will also enable the vessel to operate outside the confines of the Solent.