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Ferry industry’s future looking shipshape with nine new passenger ferries set to launch from 2019

The ferry industry is continuing to invest for the future and plan for growth with nine new passenger vessels set to launch from 2019, says the industry body Discover Ferries. Half of Discover Ferries’ 12 members are introducing new additions to their fleets from next year, following the launch of two new ferries this year.

Emma Batchelor, Director of Discover Ferries, says: “The introduction of these nine new passenger ferries is great news, not only for the shipping sector but, more importantly, also for the millions of holiday makers who value comfort and space when they travel. These ships, which are set to enter service from next year, clearly demonstrate the confidence that the industry has in the future of ferry travel and its popularity.

“This also sends a clear message that ferry travel is continuing to thrive and passengers should book their ferry travel for next year with confidence, whether they are sailing across the Irish Sea, around London, the British Isles or into mainland Europe.”

The latest industry figures show that more than 38 million passenger journeys[1] are made by ferry to UK islands, the Isle of Man and Ireland, France, Spain and Holland. The new ships include cruise ferries, as well as the largest catamaran to operate on the Thames.

In the first quarter of 2019, MBNA Thames Clippers will launch its biggest-ever boat. Catamaran Venus Clipper – currently under construction by the Wight Shipyard Co in East Cowes on the Isle of Wight ­­– will be the nineteenth vessel in the company’s fleet of fast ferries. The addition of Venus Clipper will add flexibility across MBNA Thames Clippers’ busy network of routes in what will be its twentieth year of serving the capital’s commuters and visitors. With a capacity of 222 passengers Venus Clipper has been designed with commuters in mind, with 50 more seats on board than its sister Hunt-class vessels Mercury Clipper and Jupiter Clipper, which joined the fleet in summer 2017. The contract with Wight Shipyard Co to build Venus Clipper continues a long-running association between the two businesses and makes a significant economic contribution. In all, more than 100 businesses in the Southeast region are involved in the delivery supply chain. Venus Clipper represents a £3.8 million investment for MBNA Thames Clippers and should enable the river bus service to carry an additional 300,000 passengers annually.

In July 2019, Brittany Ferries new £175 million state-of-the-art new ship named the Honfleur, will enter service on the popular Portsmouth-Caen route. The ship is being built in the Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellshaft shipyard in Germany and will be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG). LNG emits less carbon dioxide than diesel following combustion and burns with no smoke. It is entirely free of sulphur and produces very low emissions of nitrogen oxide and particulate matter. In LNG-electric propulsion, four engines feed electric generators and two electric propulsion motors. This quieter and more efficient form of power delivery reduces vibration, meaning an even smoother ride for passengers and the most advanced sustainable travel option. Every aspect of Honfleur’s interior has been carefully considered with the digital age in mind. Free Wi-Fi will come as standard in all cabins and public spaces, and a digital information lounge will serve as her focal point. Quiet lounges, panoramic views and reading areas will complement cabins designed to sooth and reflect the unique ambience of a short voyage by sea. For the latest updates please visit destinationhonfleur.com.

Irish Ferries has just unwrapped an amazing Christmas present in the form of its super new cruise-ferry W.B. Yeats, which arrives on the Irish Sea this week! The fabulous €144 million vessel will be the largest, most technically advanced ferry on the Irish Sea, sailing in style between Holyhead and Dublin throughout the winter. Designed to meet the operational seasonality of Irish Ferries’ business, the W. B. Yeats will then transfer onto the company’s Dublin/France routes for the March to September 2019 season. This magnificent ship offers a cruise-style experience and superior comfort for up to 1,800 passengers, with a dedicated car deck providing capacity for 300 passenger cars and deck space of 2,800 lane metres for up to 165 freight vehicles. The 440 spacious cabins include luxury suites with stunning private balcony sea views and a dedicated butler service.

Irish Ferries has also ordered a second new cruise ferry which will start sailing between the UK and Ireland in 2020. This cruise ferry will also be built in Germany, at a cost of €165.2 million. When built, this new ship will be the largest cruise ferry in the world in terms of vehicle capacity, offering space for up to 1,500 cars, or up to 330 freight trucks. It is expected to weigh in at approximately 67,300 tonnes and is designed to sail between Holyhead and Dublin in tandem with Irish Ferries’ current flagship Ulysses. The additional capacity of the new ship on the Holyhead/Dublin route will, by 2020, allow W.B. Yeats to sail between Ireland and France year-round. Alongside the recent investment in W.B Yeats, this brings Irish Ferries total investment to €315 million for these two vessels.

Caledonian MacBrayne ferry customers will also benefit from a liquefied natural gas (LNG) passenger ferry when its MV Glen Sannox enters service next year.  The innovative dual fuel vessel was announced at Ferguson Marine Engineering Limited’s (FMEL) Port Glasgow shipyard and is the first of two LNG ferries being built as part of a £97 million contract on behalf of Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL).  The 102-metre, roll-on/roll-off ferry, is designed to carry 127 cars or 16 HGVs or a combination of both and up to 1,000 passengers.   She can operate on both liquefied natural gas (LNG) and marine gas oil (MGO) – LNG is significantly cleaner and will help to reduce emissions to meet ambitious Scottish Government targets.

Stena Line has an ambitious fleet investment programme, part of which involves the construction of three new RoPax vessels destined for the Irish Sea currently under construction at the AVIC Shipyard in China.  The first of the new vessels will commence operation on the Dublin to Holyhead route in early 2020, with the remaining two ships to be introduced on the Belfast to Liverpool route in 2020 and 2021. These E-Flexer vessels will be bigger than today’s standard RoPax vessels at 215 meters long with a freight capacity of 3,100 lane meters and the space to carry 120 cars and 1,000 passengers.  They will also be among the most energy efficient ferries in the world with significantly lower CO2 emissions per freight unit against comparable RoPax tonnage.

Looking ahead to 2021, DFDS will introduce the largest ferry it has ever operated on the English Channel, at 3,100 metres. The ferry, which is being built in China, will be able to carry 1,000 passengers. It will also behighly efficient and environmentally friendly with an expected reduction in oil consumption of around 30%. The ship will offer a host of exciting new features for passengers, including a shopping mall, innovative digital experience and re-configured premium lounge. The company will charter the ship from Stena RoRo and operate it for 10 years with an option to purchase it after that.

The upcoming launches follow the introduction of two new ferries this year – Red Funnel Ferries’ high speed catamaran Red Jet 7 and Wightlink’s hybrid car ferry Victoria of Wight, both of which operate between the Isle of Wight and the south coast. Red Funnel Ferries will also be launching a new £10m state-of-the-art freight ferry next spring. The new freight ferry will provide additional year-round freight capacity between Southampton-East Cowes, which last year handled 53% of all freight movements across the Solent.


Discover Ferries press office

Contact:  Abby Penlington / Emma Batchelor

Email: [email protected]   | Tel: 07763 806459

[1] Source Discover Ferries IRN FerryStat