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Four ferry first

Light weight ferry specialist Wight Shipyard Co (WSC) has achieved a UK first by building four ferries simultaneously at its yard in Cowes, IOW.

Jo Daly, COO, WSC, said: “We are proud of being able to produce four large ferries within a year, despite the restrictions and changes to working brought about by the worldwide pandemic Covid19. This is testament to the outstanding team that made such a quick completion possible whilst still achieving the same high build standards and attention to detail that WSC has become synonymous with.”

The bespoke vessels for Captain Morgan Holdings Ltd, a subsidiary of Fortina Investments Ltd, have been created to be lighter and more fuel efficient than anything that the yard has built before. Meticulous attention is paid to the weight of every element of the materials and equipment used on the builds, which has led to outstanding weight reductions on all four of the ferries offering substantial fuel savings. Every one percent of weight saving equates to one percent of fuel saving.

Steeped in history Valletta’s Grand Harbour is a geological site of significant interest dating back to prehistoric times where many of the ancient wharfs still exist. The two newbuild 20m harbour catamarans will replace existing vessels which already service the historic harbour cruise around the two natural harbours surrounding the capital city of Valletta and the 3-cities. The 20m is designed to be a slower harbour waterbus for frequent stopping in ports surrounding the sheltered waters around the capital. It is designed for optimum efficiency achieving speeds of between 8-10 knots, with a top speed of 20 knots.

The two 33m medium speed vessels will service a new commuter/tourist hop-on hop-off service along the east coast of Malta as far as the island of Gozo. The main aim for these vessels is to move commuters and tourists quickly in and out of different locations around the coast. The vessels offer flexibility and comfort; operating below 20 knots and achieving a top speed of 30 knots under high speed code. They also replace a number of older existing vessels which transport commuters between the islands of Malta, Gozo and Comino.

The vessels will achieve considerable fuel savings and reduced operating costs in comparison with the older boats they are replacing; helping to achieve sustainability targets and obtain lower emissions across the fleet. It is anticipated that current traffic congestion around Malta will be eased by large volumes of people using water transport not cars or buses.

The builds have been received in good time and on budget, despite challenges brought about by the worldwide pandemic including necessary changes to safe working practises. Going forward, these vessels will form an integral part of Fortina Investments’ innovative iSeeMalta concept, providing visitors with access through a single pass to the ferry service, city sightseeing buses and public transport, as well as to Heritage Malta sites and other attractions.

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