WightLink Hybrid Ferry Launched

22nd February 2018


The new Wightlink hybrid ferry has been launched from Cemre shipyard, Yalova in Turkey. Houlder has been working with Wightlink on the G Class vessel, designed for operation between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight, for over five years.  The team was originally responsible for the concept design and production of a Technical Requirements document before aiding shipyard selection and providing technical support during the build.

When Houlder won the tender to design the vessel, the brief specified an energy efficient ferry with a reduced carbon footprint compared to other vessels of a similar size. Houlder is a strong supporter of green technology, so designed the vessel as a diesel-electric hybrid ship operating on Marine Gas Oil (MGO) and batteries. Battery electric hybrid power was selected due to space, availability of fuel and overall flexibility.

The G Class hybrid ferry is part of Wightlink’s Investing for the Future programme. The programme also includes new two-tier boarding ramps at Portsmouth and Fishbourne. These enable more efficient loading and unloading at the terminals.  The Wightlink hybrid ferry’s power storage allows operation on a reduced number of generators, reducing emissions and operating noise, importantly, giving fewer disruptions for local residents.

The vessel also has a number of other ingenious energy saving features such as LED motion sensitive lighting, elevators that put power back into the ship’s electrical system and heating that uses waste heat from the engines. The engines are being supplied by Wartsila and the batteries are by Corvus Energy. Its battery packs are designed to smooth out power demands so the engines run closer to optimum efficiency.

The vessel has a total length of 89.7m and a breadth of 19.4m. It has a draught of 2.6m. It can transport 1208 people and 178 cars.

Once the design was finalised, and Cemre shipyard, Yalova Turkey had won the construction tender, Houlder was named Wightlink’s owner representative and technical advisor. This role included ongoing plan approval on the Shipyards detailed design and drawings. Throughout the build, Houlder engineers have made regular site visits to inspect progress of vessel production and to ensure the quality, standards and shipbuilding progress meet the needs of the owner.

Principal Naval Architect David Wing (pictured) who attended the launch commented ‘It is always exciting to see a new vessel in the water. The Wightlink G Class vessel, with its green energy innovations, represents a major step in ferry design and operation.  We are delighted to have been involved in the project from its very conception”

Houlder will continue to support the Wightlink hybrid ferry as it goes into service. John Burrows, Chief Executive of Wightlink commented;

“The 89.7m, 1208 passenger capacity Victoria of Wight is part of our Investing for the Future programme. This also includes a range of other improvements to our service such as new two-tier boarding ramps at Portsmouth and Fishbourne, designed to ease loading and unloading and to reduce the vessels turnaround time in port.

This work represents the latest phase of a relationship between our two companies that dates back over 30 years.  The Houlder team has consistently delivered to a high standard and, importantly, helped us innovate to the long term benefit of our passengers and the communities we serve.”

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