Merseyside shipbuilder Cammell Laird has staged the ‘float-off’ for a new £10m ferry it has built for Isle of Wight ferry operator Red Funnel.
Red Kestrel, a new freight-only RoRo vessel, will operate between Southampton and Isle of Wight. The vessel will officially join the fleet on arrival in Southampton, and enter service in May, following a trials and training period.
The launch event, marks the debut of Red Funnel’s first dedicated RoRo freight ship since the company’s inception almost 200 years ago.
Fran Collins, chief executive of Red Funnel, said: “The addition of a new ship is always an exciting time for everyone in the company and we look forward to taking delivery in April.
“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.
“It’s a very special feeling for all of us and we’re in good hands with Cammell Laird. They have been a brilliant partner and we’re very grateful for all their tremendous work.”
Red Kestrel is Red Funnel’s first ship to be designed for freight traffic. As a freight vessel she is limited to 12 passengers and constructed specifically to provide additional year-round freight capacity.
Tony Graham Cammell Laird chief operating officer, added: “Cammell Laird would like to thank Red Funnel for placing its trust in us to build this wonderful state-of-the-art ferry, drawing on all our marine engineering expertise.
“We are especially proud to be working for a British ferry company, winning the contract against international competition. Today marks an important milestone in the project and we are proud to see the Red Kestrel join a collection of ferries that Cammell Laird has built in recent years.
“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.”