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RED OSPREY © Frank Lose

RED OSPREY © Frank Lose

Red Funnel to invest GBP 100 million in three new cross-Solent ferries

FerryRed Funnel is embarking on a three-ship GBP 100 million fleet renewal programme for its service between Southampton and East Cowes, on the Isle of Wight. The three new passenger/vehicle ferries will replace the company’s three ageing Raptor-class vessels, two of which are now 30-years old.

Red Funnel is expected to go out to tender for the three new ferries later this year and hasn't ruled out building then in the UK. However, deliveries aren't expected until 2028 or 2029.

The three ferries to be replaced are the sisterships RED EAGLE, built 1996; RED FALCON, built 1994; and RED OSPREY, built in 1994. All three ferries were constructed by Ferguson Shipbuilders and can each carry 892 passengers and over 200 cars.

In confirming the ferry operator's fleet renewal programme, Red Funnel's Fran Collins, said: "We are raising investment for three new ferries. The ships will be smaller and more agile than the three car ferries that we use now, but between them they will have similar capacity."

At the moment the three new ferries will be hybrid vessels, powered by conventional diesels. Red Funnel is not yet ready to take the battery-powered vessel route.

Ms' Collins said that Red Funnel "would very much like the ships to be powered by electricity," but said that there was "insufficient" power supply on the UK's south coast.

RED JET 4 sold to South Korea

Meanwhile, after 21-years service for Red Funnel on its high-speed passenger service from Southampton to West Cowes the fast ferry RED JET 4 has left the waters of the Solent for a new life in South Korea for Nam Hae Express Co and will be used on the company's services to popular tourist destination in the country, including Mokpo and Jeju Island.

RED JET 4 will join the other six fast ferries in the Nam Hae fleet, which also includes four conventional passenger/vehicle ferries.

© Shippax

Jun 10 2024

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