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New Isle of Wight freight ferry hailed as part of the revival of British shipbuilding…
The ferry operator Red Funnel is set to take delivery of its first dedicated ro-ro freight ship following the vessel’s launch at the Cammell Laird yard in Birkenhead.
Red Kestrel is due to begin operations between Southampton and the Isle of Wight in May following a period of trials and training.
Built at a cost of £10m, the 1,070gt vessel is designed to provide additional year-round capacity for the East Cowes route, which handles more than 50% of all freight movements across the Solent.
At 74m in length, Red Kestrel will provide 265 lane metres of ro-ro freight capacity – sufficient for 12 HGVs – and will carry up to 12 passengers and six or seven crew.
The ship has been designed to have a minimal environmental impact, with a hull shape that reduces wash and a fuel-efficient propulsion package which meets the latest Tier III emission regulations.
Powered by twin Cummins QSK38 diesel main engines and featuring two Rolls Royce US 155FP azimuth thrusters, Red Kestrel has a service speed of 12.5 knots and will complete the crossing time within 60 minutes.
It has been brilliant to see the Red Kestrel being built alongside the iconic RRS Sir David Attenborough
Red Funnel CEO Fran Collins said she was delighted by the addition of a new ship.
'We're thrilled that not only will Red Kestrel increase our total capacity and enhance convenience for our cross-Solent customers, but we also take tremendous pride in supporting the revival of world-class shipbuilding in this country.'
Cammell Laird chief operating officer Tony Graham described Red Kestrel as a 'wonderful state-of-the-art ferry' that marked a revival of British shipbuilding.
'Shipbuilding is back in a serious way on the Mersey and it has been brilliant to see the Red Kestrel being built alongside the iconic RRS Sir David Attenborough, which is the largest commercial vessel built in Britain for a generation,' he added.
'It is tremendous to see more ship owners and ferry operators choosing to build in the UK,' Mr Graham said. 'This is very much in line with the government's National Shipbuilding Strategy, which aims to recalibrate British shipbuilding as a major job and wealth creator now and into the future.'