‘Red Jet 6’ on schedule

Mon, 18 January 2016

 ‘Red Jet 6’, UK ferry company Red Funnel’s largest ever Hi-Speed passenger ferry is currently under construction at East Cowes on the Isle of Wight. The £6m aluminium catamaran is the first fast ferry to be built on the Island for 15 years and is due for delivery in June 2016.

The vessel will enter service on the Southampton- West Cowes route this July. Red Jet 6 is being built at Endeavour Quays in East Cowes by Shemara Refit LLP, a company that was set up for and got its name from the recent successful and extensive restoration job it performed on the 1928-built private yacht Shemara.

According to the shipbuilder’s owner Peter Morton moving from classic yacht restoration to a fast ferry newbuild is not quite the leap that it might sound like: “The Isle of Wight has one of the world’s best skilled workforces for high tech shipbuilding. We put a great team together for the Shemara rebuild and so knew we would have no trouble sourcing an excellent workforce here for RedJet 6. Looking around the build hall you will see that we have some staff who cut their teeth on RedJet 1,2 and 3 which were built just up the river here. These old hands are passing on the skills to the next generation; our youngest apprentices”.

Peter also believes that the idea of building aluminium fast ferries on the island again is one with legs: “There are about 1500 fast ferries worldwide. 60% of these are 20 years old or more, and if you consider the usual lifespan for a vessel of this sort is 20 years, it’s clear that there is potential for further builds in the future, and it’s something we are talking about with potential future clients”.

In a break with tradition, RedJet 6 will be fitted with four main engines rather than two. Each MTU 2000 series diesel will power a separate MJP 500 waterjet unit. This configuration will help reduce running costs, provide high levels of in-service reliability and ensure emissions comply with IMO Tier II regulations.

Other technical innovations to help reduce running costs include the use of vinyl instead of paint for the superstructure to reduce weight and the application of the latest Teflon foul release hull coating rather than traditional antifouling to minimise drag through the water and maintenance downtime.

‘Maritime Journal’ visited the build mid January 2016, and can report that hull frames, transom and BHDs from the transom to the bow are now in position on the hull jig with gussets and tripping brackets 99% complete. Both hulls from the transom to the bow are also 99% complete, excluding hatches.

The vessel’s double bottom/superstructure bottom extruded planks are being welded together – and the superstructure fabrication and welding has recently begun. Machinery arrangement and propulsion engineering work will commence shortly.

Source: Jake Frith

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