Category: Member news

Wightlink supports customers with visual impairments to travel by ferry

Wightlink supports customers with visual impairments to travel by ferry

Sight for Wight CEO Lisa Hollyhead with Wightlink Port Operations Lead Mike McHale at Ryde Pier

Finding your way around Wightlink’s ports is now easier for people with visual impairments.

The ferry company has teamed up with Isle of Wight charity Sight for Wight to produce and install special QR codes at the entrance to each port. When an individual scans the code with their mobile phone, they will get an audio and video description of the layout of the terminal so they can walk around it with confidence.

More than 50 locations on the Island have now signed up to place the QR codes on their premises and Hampshire and Isle of Wight Police have also taken up the initiative.

Sight for Wight’s Chief Executive Lisa Hollyhead came up with the idea of QR codes with information after Covid restrictions meant many shops made changes to their premises to allow for social distancing and regular customers with visual impairments suddenly had problems getting around.

“Ferryports are busy places so it’s important for all customers to know where to buy tickets, how to find the toilets and where to queue to board their sailings,” says Lisa. “We are pleased that Wightlink has come on board with our Hello Everyone initiative.”

Details about the scheme and the QR codes are available on Wightlink’s website https://www.wightlink.co.uk/tickets/accessible-travel

Wightlink Commercial Director Phil Delaney adds: “We want everyone to feel at home in our terminals and be able to find their way around. This is an excellent idea and we are very happy to install the codes at all our ports.”

P&O Ferries leads the way on the decarbonisation of its fleet

P&O Ferries leads the way on the decarbonisation of its fleet with emission reduction and pioneering fuel efficiency measures

  • P&O Ferries cut almost 50,000 tons of carbon emissions from its operation in 2023 with the introduction of a new hybrid ferry and its new dedicated initiative to reduce fuel consumption – the Fleet Support Centre for Fuel and Energy Efficiency.
  • This follows a reduction of over 85,000 tons in 2022, achieved through partnerships with other operators to enable the company to sail less frequently – and other measures to improve the technical efficiency of its vessels.

P&O Ferries has today shared promising results from its new fuel and energy efficiency initiative following significant measures to reduce carbon emissions in 2023. The introduction of P&O Ferries’ new dedicated Fleet Support Centre for Fuel and Energy Efficiency, alongside the introduction of the new hybrid ferry P&O Pioneer, has contributed to a reduction of almost 50,000 tons of carbon emissions from the fleet during 2023.

P&O’s Fleet Support Centre for Fuel and Energy Efficiency

P&O’s Fleet Support Centre, based at the company’s Dover headquarters, uses the latest SmartShip technology and fuel meters onboard each ferry. This gives the company a wealth of new data that can be used to track and reduce fuel and energy consumption. The ability to see granular data on fuel consumption for each route and vessel allows P&O Ferries to investigate any changes in consumption and see the result of efficiency efforts straight away.

The data also gives deep insight into the impact of different variables such as: the weather, operating system, method of operating the vessel and its schedule. Close collaboration with the ship teams  and other stakeholders is critical to the success of fuel reduction in using the data to optimise vessel performance.

Since the rollout across the P&O Ferries’ fleet in recent months, the Fleet Support Centre’s new approach has reduced fuel consumption and related emissions on key routes during 2023, with further fuel reductions of 5% expected for 2024.

Examples of the initiative’s results so far include:

  • On the Hull-Rotterdam route, a change in speed and consumption was noted as the vessels adjusted to keep on schedule. A slight adjustment to the schedule allowed the vessels to keep to a consistent speed and resulted in a fuel reduction of 3.6% ton per leg.
  • On the Larne-Cairnryan route, the two vessels were showing different fuel consumption despite operating the same route. Deeper analysis of their operating systems and the route showed a 7% decrease in fuel consumption in 2023.
  • On the Dover-Calais route, the new system allowed P&O Ferries to find the most effective way to operate its new hybrid ferry P&O Pioneer, which uses a technologically advanced system with battery packs that optimises efficiency and significantly reduces emissions. This new approach ensures the vessel consumes the least fuel necessary for effective operations.

P&O Pioneer’s impact on emissions

P&O Pioneer was introduced on the Dover-Calais route in June 2023. The vessel’shybrid technology and innovative double-ended design (meaning that she does not need to turn around to leave the port) means that she uses up to 40% less fuel per crossing compared to our other vessels on the Dover-Calais route. This reduces carbon emissions by 6.49 tons per crossing – this is broadly equivalent to driving an average diesel car for 23,500 miles. P&O Ferries’ second hybrid ferry, P&O Liberté will come into service in March 2024, completing the replacement of the oldest generation of vessels in the company’s cross-Channel fleet.

Owen Barry, Director of Maritime Operations at P&O Ferries, said:

“P&O Ferries is committed to decarbonising its operation and our two new hybrid ferries, P&O Pioneer and P&O Liberté have shown that we are a step ahead in reducing our fuel consumption and related emissions. But for us to continue to drive down our emissions we have taken steps to digitalise our entire fleet so we have useful and reliable data on how our vessels are performing.

“We believe that our approach is leading the sector by combining the latest technology with a dedicated, experienced in-house team who work in close collaboration with our crew to get the best performance from every vessel in our fleet. We have already seen a solid reduction of fuel compared to 2022 and we expect another 5% decrease during 2024.”

Pet cabins to be available on Commodore Clipper this summer

Pet cabins to be available on Commodore Clipper this Summer

(29 January 2024) CONDOR is introducing pet friendly cabins onto a second vessel to reflect the popularity and positive feedback received from passengers.

Following the installation of six cabins on Condor Islander for the ship’s entry into service last November, the company is to convert a similar number on Commodore Clipper for the start of the Summer season.

John Napton, Condor’s CEO, said: ‘We are seeing more pet travel in recent years and the reaction from passengers travelling on Islander has been overwhelmingly positive, so we have listened and are now extending this to Clipper.

‘Our figures show that in 2019, we carried 12,700 pets on our routes from the UK to Jersey and Guernsey and inter-island, whereas in 2022 that figure had soared to 16,600, an increase of 30%.’

The six cabins on Clipper will each feature hard, laminate flooring and an outside deck will be accessible for exercise. Pets can still be carried in a vehicle or appropriate carrier on the car deck on Clipper, Islander, along with Condor Liberation and Condor Voyager.

‘Condor is continually investing in its fleet and services and an important part of this is listening to our passengers. We anticipate that the cabins, which will be converted in time for the busy Summer, to be very popular,’ added Mr Napton.

‘Duck Tail’ installation on Brittany Ferries’ Pont Aven

Pont-Aven ‘Duck Tail’ installation could boost flagship-ferry’s fuel efficiency by 10%

Hull model HSVA

(24 January 2024) Brittany Ferries’ flagship vessel Pont-Aven is preparing for important upgrades to her hull. A ‘duck tail’ is about to be added to her stern, as part of her annual technical stop. The work will increase the ship’s length by around 3 metres, improving hydrodynamic performance. It is expected to boost fuel economy by around ten per cent when Pont-Aven returns to service.

Hydrodynamics is an important part of the sustainability jigsaw for any shipping company. Reducing resistance while moving through water cuts fuel consumption and therefore emissions. It’s why sleek design is such an important feature for Brittany Ferries’ newest vessels like Santoña and Salamanca. But it’s also why a Duck Tail was chosen as a retro-fit option for Pont-Aven which began operations in 2004.

The project started with Computational Fluid Dynamic simulations developed by the design office of Chantiers d’Atlantique in France. Engineers first considered the ship’s bulbous bow. A dozen proposed design tweaks were put through the programme, however all revealed little benefit in terms of fuel savings. That meant turning to the stern.

“When we looked at improvements in stern design, results of the CFD simulations were far more promising,” explained Brittany Ferries’ research and projects manager Brice Robinson. “In fact the data pointed to a significant reduction of around ten percent with the addition of a Duck Tail, which was very exciting.”

The next step was to put theory to the test. Brice and his team flew to Germany to a 300m long test pool at the Hamburg Ship Model Basin (HSVA) in Hamburg. This was where Pont-Aven’s hull had originally been tested in 2002 by Meyer Werft. Original design drawings for Brittany Ferries vessel, allowed a 7-metre scale model of Pont-Aven’s hull to be re-crafted, complete with stern modifications.

In total, three different duck tail shapes were tested, all of which backed up data from the Computational Fluid Dynamic simulations. “The improvement was obvious the moment the first model took to the water,” added Brice Robinson. “Extending the hull immediately changed the way it sat, flattening the turbulent wake behind the transom* thereby reducing drag around the stern. This should be even more significant when applied to our flagship, as it will help compensate for the additional weight of her scrubber system, fitted in 2015.”

Scrubbers work like a catalytic convertor on a car, stripping air quality pollutants like sulphur and particulates from smoke emissions. Pont-Aven was one of five ships in the Brittany Ferries’ fleet to benefit from a clean-ship investment of around €90 million in scrubber installation, supported by ADEME.

Having identified the most effective duck tail design, work was scheduled to coincide with Pont-Aven’s planned technical break this November. Brittany Ferries has also turned to drive-train partner Wartsila. To boost efficiency further, the partners are investigation improved propeller design. This could lead to a further improvement of around 5% of propulsion efficiency when retro-fitted to Pont-Aven at a later date.

*transon = cross-section of the stern

New Isles of Scilly vessels remain on target for 2026 as contracts signed

New Isles of Scilly vessels remain on target for 2026 as contracts signed

(18 Jan 2024) The Isles of Scilly Steamship Group (ISSG), the primary provider of passenger and freight transport to the Isles of Scilly, has signed landmark contracts with shipbuilder Piriou, which will secure the long-term future of passenger travel and freight supplies to and from the islands.

The signing of the contracts means that two new ships will be delivered in 2026, making journeys faster, more comfortable, and environmentally sustainable, whilst improving reliability.

The Group, which operates passenger and cargo links between Penzance and St Mary’s, as well as an airline with flights to the islands year round, has signed contracts for a new 600-seat passenger vessel, Scillonian IV, and a freight vessel. Brittany-based Piriou has been developing designs for the two vessels since its appointment as preferred ship builder in September 2023, work which will continue over the coming months, with construction to begin in spring 2024. The new passenger ship will provide improved comfort, reliability and speed, whilst the new freight vessel will significantly improve cargo capacity.

The new vessels will be delivered using finance provided by long-term partner to ISSG, Lombard (part of NatWest Group). The solution puts in place modern vessels that will future-proof transport to and from the Isles of Scilly, providing economic certainty for the islands and securing a lifeline link for the community on Scilly.

Stuart Reid, CEO of ISSG said: “Our vessel project team and partners have been working very hard to put in place the final elements of a long-term plan which commenced in 2019. Signing these contracts allows us to provide a strong and sustainable solution that meets the travel and freight requirements of the Isles of Scilly for generations to come. We announced in September that we had selected Piriou as our preferred shipbuilder and have been working with the team to refine our designs and ensure we have vessels that meet, and exceed, the needs of this unique route.

We have put in place rigorous measures to ensure the project is delivered on time and on budget, including appointing project managers to oversee the build at Piriou’s shipyard in Vietnam. I would like to thank both Piriou and Lombard (part of NatWest Group) for the productive and collaborative working relationship which has allowed us to reach this point. My sincere thanks also go to our employees, customers, islanders, and the businesses we support for providing vital feedback on these plans, which have helped us to refine final designs.”

Ian Howard, Chair of ISSG said: “The Group has been serving the islands since 1920 and was set up by islanders to promote the long-term interests of the community. Signing contracts for these new ships represents a continuation of that mission and I am immensely grateful to the project team we put in place to arrive at this outcome.

We are working from a position of financial strength and profitability. Our policy of retaining cash within the business and taking long-term strategic decisions in the best interests of the islands, has allowed us to progress with our plans. We look forward to working collaboratively with all partners, customers and stakeholders to ensure we have two new ships we can all be proud of, helping to secure a long-term future for the Isles of Scilly.”

Vincent Faujour, President of Piriou said: “We have worked closely with ISSG since we were announced as preferred shipbuilder, to develop the most suitable designs and related costings. Signing these contracts means we have reached an important milestone in the project, with the first phase of the build due to start in the coming months.

Being based in Brittany, we are less than 150 miles from Penzance and the islands, and we look forward to building on the long association between this region of France and our friends across the English Channel. Piriou is well placed to deliver these vessels, having extensive knowledge, experience, and expertise with ship building.”

Now that contracts are signed and finance is in place, final preparations will be made over the coming months to ensure works start on schedule in the spring. Both vessels will be built by Piriou in Vietnam, before being transported to Concarneau, Brittany for commissioning. The Group’s existing passenger vessel, Scillonian III, which is currently undergoing her annual schedule of maintenance, has been a workhorse for the islands since 1977 and will continue to serve the route during the 2024 and 2025 seasons.

The new vessels will feature a range of new technologies, helping to improve resilience, comfort and reliability. The new passenger vessel will carry up to 600 people (a 24% increase on current levels) whilst reducing journey times. It will feature roll and pitch reduction systems, thereby enhancing passenger comfort, and is designed utilising modern propulsion technologies that improve efficiency and reduce environmental impact. The vessel is also designed to integrate further enhancements as technology develops.

The new freight vessel will also include a range of improvements on the current vessel, including a much-enhanced cargo capacity and an improved capacity for perishable, chilled and frozen goods, meaning that supplies can be transferred between the mainland and the islands more reliably all year round. The freight vessel will incorporate a passenger lounge with accommodation for 12 passengers.

Contracts between the Group and Piriou were signed following a significant amount of work between parties to refine vessel designs and took into account valuable feedback from consultation with communities on the Isles of Scilly.

There are also advanced plans for a new inter-island freight vessel which the Group will provide an update on shortly following further feedback from the island communities.

Isles of Scilly Travel are the UK’s best ferry route for wildlife spotting

It’s official! Isles of Scilly Travel are the UK’s best ferry route for wildlife spotting for the 2nd year in a row

Marine animals taken from Scillonian III

For the second year in a row, the Scillonian III crossing between Penzance and the Isles of Scilly has been named the UK’s highest diversity ferry route for wildlife spotting by charity ORCA.

A total of 645 individual animals were spotted by volunteers from the decks of the passenger ferry – with common dolphins recorded on almost every survey.

It comes as ORCA, which is dedicated to studying and protecting whales, dolphins and porpoises in UK waters, completed another season of vital cetacean monitoring surveys on board Scillonian III, owned and operated by the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group.

Sharon Sandercock, Marketing and Communications Manager for the Group, said: “Our passengers often tell us their journey on Scillonian III is a huge part of the whole island experience and it’s easy to see why.

“Not only are the views of the Cornish coastline incredible, but the opportunities for spotting wildlife are second to none and make for a truly memorable journey.”

ORCA’s highly-trained marine mammal surveyors conducted 13 surveys from Scillonian III between March and November 2023.

There were a total of 645 individual animals seen – 234 more than in 2022 – including whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals and fish.

Common dolphins were the species recorded most frequently, on almost every survey, with 495 animals seen throughout the year.

And four times as many Risso’s dolphins were seen this year compared to last year, which may be due to their prey, cephalopods, being more abundant in the area.

The highlights of the year included a feeding frenzy of common dolphins and a breaching tuna, as well as a large pod of common dolphins playing in the bow wave of Scillonian III – a sight enjoyed by the ORCA survey team, crew and passengers.

The surveys were conducted by 39 ORCA volunteer marine mammal surveyors, many of whom are from the local area, who travelled a distance of 1,600km while surveying.

More than 5,000 individual animals have been recorded since the surveys started in 2009, with 16 different species seen. These include killer whales, humpback whales, bottlenose dolphins, basking sharks, seals, tuna and leatherback turtles.

The charity tries to replicate the same survey dates each year to ensure the data is comparable and now has a highly valuable dataset collected onboard.

Lucy Babey, ORCA’s Head of Science and Conservation, said: “2023 has shown once again why the surveys we do in this part of the world are amongst the most diverse in all of the regions where we collect data on whales, dolphins and porpoises.

“We are so proud to work with the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group, placing our incredible volunteer marine mammal surveyors on board to monitor the amazing animals that we see on the crossing between Penzance and St Mary‘s, and we can’t wait to see more wonderful whales in 2024 and beyond.

FACT BOX

Total tally of species sighted:

  • Harbour porpoise: 57 animals
  • Common dolphin: 495 animals
  • Bottlenose dolphin: 8 animals
  • Risso’s dolphin: 22 animals
  • Unidentified dolphin: 38 animals
  • Minke whale: 5 animals
  • Grey seal: 6 animals
  • Unidentified seals: 2 animals
  • Tuna: 12 animals

Wightlink supports University of Portsmouth scientists to attract more marine species to Ryde Pier

Wightlink supports University of Portsmouth scientists to attract more marine species to Ryde Pier

Kristy Johnson, Benjamin Hazell, Georgios Georgiou and Abby Easton prepare to install the BioHuts 

Marine scientists from the University of Portsmouth have been underneath Wightlink’s historic Ryde Pier to place new habitats on the 200-year-old structure. 

The students swam beneath Ryde Pier Head close to the FastCat terminal and securely fixed three ‘BioHuts’ to the metal piles. The large cages, containing oyster shells and hessian rope, will remain there for two years and will be monitored for signs of marine life inside. Similar projects elsewhere in the Solent have seen several species of fish and even endangered European eels swimming in and around the BioHuts. 

Project leader, Georgios Georgiou has already been carrying out assessments of the rich seagrass meadows under the Pier: “We need to help the environment as much as possible. Providing new habitats will increase biodiversity by encouraging juvenile fish and cuttlefish to set up home inside them so populations can increase. We expect the cages will quickly become colonised by marine flora, then marine creatures are likely to follow.” 

Wightlink Chief Executive Keith Greenfield says: “Wightlink is committed to looking after the environment we sail through every day and we are pleased to support University of Portsmouth marine scientists with their research projects. Our customers and colleagues are fascinated by the marine life of the Solent.” 

Three University of Portsmouth undergraduates took part in the installation with Georgios. They were BSc Marine Biology students Abby Easton, Kristy Johnson and Benjamin Hazell. Earlier in 2023, research student Emma Chappell installed cuttlefish ‘nurseries’ beneath the pier. 

In 2017, Wightlink worked with Sandown-based ARC Consulting to install six artificial rockpools, known as Vertipools™ at Fishbourne Harbour. The triangular-shaped basins are now covered with weed and early surveys found more than 30 species living inside them. 

“Seagrass beds, salt marshes and kelp forests play an invaluable role in the Solent environment,” adds Georgios. “This research will provide us with the information on the health and productivity of these ecosystems, along with initiating conservation and rewilding efforts, that will improve the biodiversity associated with these ecosystems across the Solent.” 

Isles of Scilly Steamship Group names Piriou as the shipbuilder of choice for construction of its new passenger ferry Scillonian IV and cargo vessel.

Isles of Scilly Steamship Group names Piriou as the shipbuilder of choice for construction of its new passenger ferry Scillonian IV and cargo vessel

(13 Sept 2023) The Isles of Scilly Steamship Group has named Piriou as its preferred shipbuilder to build and deliver two new vessels for the Group. 

In April, the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group announced a private financing solution for the replacement of the vessels and the intent to select a preferred shipyard. This announcement continues the next stage of the Group’s plan.

Piriou is a long-established ship builder with over 50 years’ experience building more than 600 vessels. It has over 1,400 highly-skilled employees, including an in-house design team and production facilities in Europe, Africa, and Asia. Piriou has a strong balance sheet with an annual turnover of over €300m.

Appointing Piriou comes after months of thorough evaluation, technical questioning and site visits to France and Vietnam, as part of the Group’s due diligence processes.

The Isles of Scilly Steamship Group and Piriou will commence detailed design work with the intention of signing contracts in October 2023 for the new Scillonian IV passenger ship and a new cargo vessel to replace the current Gry Maritha.

Construction of both vessels will commence in Piriou’s Vietnam yard in spring 2024. The vessels will then be transferred to Piriou’s yard in France for commissioning and testing, ready for delivery ahead of the 2026 season.

Working with a team of experts, the project will be managed by the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group’s two on-site project managers to make sure that there is constant representation at the shipyard and to ensure that the build programme remains on budget and on time for delivery.

The new faster passenger ferry will be designed to provide passengers with greater comfort through improved stabilisation, accessibility and an overall enhanced experience, in line with feedback received during the Group’s consultation with visitors and residents on Scilly.

The new cargo vessel will have increased freight capacity and provide comfortable transport for up to 12 passengers per sailing during the winter. Both vessels will use the latest propulsion technology with improved environmental credentials along with the capability to be upgraded as green technologies mature.

Stuart Reid, CEO, of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group said:

“This is a big step forward and an important milestone for our vessel replacement programme, which will deliver new and improved vessels for the Isles of Scilly. The selection process started with over 30 shipyards which have been evaluated by our experienced project team. The project team, consisting of a mix of technical expertise, shipbuilding experience and the four masters of our current vessels, worked through a series of bids delivered by the shipyards.  Visits took place to shortlisted shipyards to complete our extensive due diligence. The project team was unanimous in its decision to appoint Piriou as its preferred shipyard on the basis of experience, technical expertise in delivering specialist ferries and competitiveness.”

Ian Howard, Chairman of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group said:

“Piriou has an excellent reputation for building both passenger ferries and cargo vessels. Its naval architects and senior management team have conducted multiple visits to Penzance and the Isles of Scilly and have a full understanding of the challenges of the route and infrastructure to support the new vessels. We are very excited to be working with Piriou and building vessels which will deliver significant service enhancements.”

Vincent Faujour, President of Piriou shipyard said:

“We are delighted and honoured to be named as the preferred shipyard by the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group for construction of its new passenger ferry Scillonian IV and new cargo vessel. As we have been building and maintaining lifeline ferries for decades, we know how important this project is for the communities depending on the sea link services to the Isles of Scilly. Working closely with the Group’s project team, our teams in Brittany and Vietnam are already fully dedicated to deliver to the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group the most suitable vessels, designed for rough seas, with increased comfort and a reduced environmental footprint. Finally, as Concarneau and Penzance have been twin towns since 1982, I must say it is a real pleasure to participate in a project that will strengthen the links between Cornwall and the Breton “Cornouaille”.”

UK transport gets greener with arrival of first hybrid high speed passenger ferry 

UK transport gets greener with arrival of first hybrid high speed passenger ferry 

The first of three new hybrid boats joins the Uber Boat by Thames Clippers fleet

12 September 2023 – From today, sightseers and commuters in London can make more eco-friendly journeys. Earth Clipper, Europe’s first hybrid high speed passenger ferry, built to the High-Speed Craft Code, and the first of three new Uber Boat by Thames Clippers passenger ferries to operate with zero tailpipe emissions in Central London, starts sailing. 

Leading the way in passenger boat design, Earth Clipper gives an almost 90 per cent reduction in CO2e compared with running solely on conventional marine diesel. The 18th high-speed catamaran in the Uber Boat by Thames Clippers fleet takes strides in improving the ambitious sustainability credentials of the business while also laying strong groundwork for the wider marine sector.

The hybrid boat will operate solely on battery power while transporting commuters and sightseers through the Capital – in the Central Zone, between Tower and Battersea Power Station piers – and recharge while using biofuelled power outside of central London. Offering an emissions reduction of 16.5 per cent when compared with running on biofuel alone throughout all parts of the route. 

As well as being the first hybrid boat for the business, it is also its largest at 40m long – almost the length of two tennis courts laid end to end – and has a capacity of 230 passengers. Earth Clipper has also been designed for optimum passenger experience with the cabin featuring large windows which look out onto the iconic views along the Thames and offers the onboard café service that Uber Boat by Thames Clippers passengers know and love.

“This is a momentous day for us, and something we’ve been working towards for some time” says Sean Collins, Uber Boat by Thames Clippers co-founder and CEO, “Being able to offer greener transport through the capital is no small feat but something we’re incredibly passionate about at Uber Boat by Thames Clippers. 

“We are committed to not only utilising the most advanced technology to drive down our carbon footprint, but also to playing our part in breaking new ground to advance that technology as much as we can. The new boats push the boundaries in catamaran design to deliver a future-friendly option that can be made even greener as and when technology allows. We’re excited to announce too, that Earth Clipper will be joined by two sister vessels; Celestial and Mars Clipper will also join the fleet this year as we work towards our targets of reducing carbon emissions by 50 per cent by 2030 and achieving net zero by 2040 for the overall business.”

The business plans to introduce a hybrid system as a minimum with any new vessels and where possible, fully electrified or zero emission technology. In addition to the three hybrid catamarans, work is under way to deliver London’s first fully electric Zero Emission Cross River Ferry between Canary Wharf and Rotherhithe by the spring of 2025 – the first of its kind in the UK. The company’s plans to 2030 include an investment of £70 million in new fleet.

Sean believes strongly in protecting and preserving the river Thames and the communities close to the river. For over 20 years the business has been at the forefront of innovation for the river marine sector and is committed to supporting the sustainable growth of infrastructure and economic development on and around the river to ensure its long-term importance to Greater London.

Earth Clipper was built at Wight Shipyard Co in East Cowes on the Isle of Wight, where the two sister vessels are currently being completed. An investment that has been transformational and significant for the local economy on the Isle of Wight, with 65 people building the boat over the past year and 14 apprentices involved.

Uber Boat by Thames Clippers offers services that run as far east as Barking Riverside and out to Putney in the west. The business is now in its 24th year of operation and in 2023 alone, will carry over 5 million commuters and visitors through London on the river. 

For more information and to book, visit www.uberboatbythamesclippers.com.  

Wightlink investigates microplastics on Isle of Wight beaches

Wightlink investigates microplastics on Isle of Wight beaches

Vanessa Skipper and pupils from Dover Park Primary search for microplastics on Ryde beach

Wightlink has joined the campaign to find out more about microplastics pollution on Isle of Wight beaches. 

The ferry company has signed up with Just One Ocean and the University of Portsmouth to take part in The Big Microplastics Survey. This is a global citizen science project to gather information about how microplastics are affecting coasts, rivers and lakes and everyone is welcome to join in. 

Across the world, it’s estimated eight million tonnes of plastic gets into our oceans every year. Tides and currents break down some of it into tiny particles known as microplastics. They can have a major impact on marine wildlife as they spread through ecosystems and get into the foodchain. 

Staff from Wightlink have already joined marine scientists at the University of Portsmouth and children from one of its partner schools – Dover Park in Ryde – to examine an area next to Ryde pier. No complicated equipment is needed to carry out microplastics surveys, only household sieves and buckets. More surveys are planned, and the results will contribute to an international database. 

David Jones from Just One Ocean adds: “Plastic pollution poses a significant threat to marine and coastal ecosystems, and human health. We are grateful to Wightlink for carrying out microplastic surveys on Ryde beach to add to our data. Anyone is welcome to take part in this citizen science initiative and contribute their results to the international database.” 

Louise Lea from Wightlink took part in the survey on Ryde beach. She says: “Surveying Island beaches for microplastics is just part of Wightlink’s Green Solent Project. This initiative aims to protect the land, air and sea that surrounds our three routes linking the Isle of Wight with the mainland.” 

Wightlink’s flagship Victoria of Wight is England’s first large ferry powered by hybrid energy and the company is planning to introduce an all-electric ferry with zero carbon emissions. 

To find out how to get involved in The Big Microplastics Survey see: http://justoneocean.org/portfolio/big-microplastic-survey