A new Diesel Electric Hybrid ferry being built for the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company will be flagged with the Isle of Man Ship Registry, extending a longstanding relationship between the two Manx organizations.
The Steam Packet Company announced in July that it had signed a contract with South Korea’s Hyundai Mipo Dockyard for a purpose-built roll-on/roll-off passenger (RoPax) vessel. The new ship will replace the firm’s conventional ferry, Ben-my-Chree, offering considerably more passenger space, enhanced on-board facilities, and greater freight capability.
The Isle of Man Ship Registry is one of the world’s leading registers of ships and superyachts. Its fleet already includes the Ben-my-Chree and the Steam Packet Company’s wave-piercing high-speed catamaran, Manannan.
Chris Martin, a Senior Surveyor at the Isle of Man Ship Registry, said the registry’s role will include liaising with the Steam Packet Company, its chosen classification society Lloyd’s Register, and the shipyard during the build. The team will also advise on any novel design features to ensure compliance with international conventions. Once the new ferry enters service, the registry team will continue to provide advice and regulatory oversight.
He said: “The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company is less than a mile down the road from our office and we have always had a good working relationship. We are very pleased to see that continuing with this new vessel.
“It is the Company’s first new-build vessel in 23 years, so it is an exciting project for the Steam Packet Company and the Isle of Man. From the registry’s side, there is a lot more involvement when you are dealing with a new-build compared to flagging an existing ship. Our experience of new-build commercial vessels puts us in a great position to provide support throughout the construction process and beyond.”
A Diesel Electric Hybrid power system will be one of a number of features aimed at making the new ship as environmentally efficient as possible. It will also need to be capable of tolerating winter weather conditions in the Irish Sea when sailing between Douglas and Heysham, Lancashire. London-based design and engineering consultancy Houlder has been appointed to act as a technical advisor during the design and build process.
Construction is due to start in the middle of next year, with delivery scheduled for spring 2023. Once in service, the Ben-my-Chree will be retained as a back-up vessel, enhancing the security of the Steam Packet Company’s passenger and freight links, and providing increased capacity during major annual events such as the Isle of Man TT and Classic TT.