Red Kestrel completion sends ‘strong message’ to global maritime industry, says Cammell Laird COO as £10m ferry is officially named
The completion of the £10million Red Kestrel for Isle of Wight ferry operator Red Funnel has sent a strong message to the global maritime industry about Cammell Laird’s ferry building capabilities, according to the Merseyside shipbuilder’s Chief Operating Officer Tony Graham.
The state-of-the-art ferry is Red Funnel’s first dedicated Ro-Ro freight ship and will enter service in May, operating between Southampton and the Isle of Wight.
A Cammell Laird delegation led Mr Graham travelled to Southampton last week for a traditional ship naming ceremony. Around 200 invited guests looked on as Karen George, wife of Red Funnel’s Chairman, Kevin George, christened Red Kestrel by breaking a bottle of champagne across the stern of the vessel.
Mr Graham said: “Cammell Laird would like to thank Red Funnel for placing its trust in us to build this wonderful state-of-the-art ferry. Completing this ship sends a very strong message to the global maritime industry about Cammell Laird’s ferry building capabilities after we won the contract against international competition.
“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 We are proud to see the Red Kestrel join a collection of ferries that Cammell Laird has built in recent years.”
In total, the project used 45 British supply chain businesses and generated 3,000-man hours of work for Cammell Laird’s apprentices. Cammell Laird further employed 200 direct workers, 200 sub-contractors and 10 apprentices on the contract.
The naming ceremony was also attended by the Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP, Minister of State for Employment at Department of Work and Pensions, whose speech highlighted the importance of British craftmanship, supporting local jobs and the revival of world-class shipbuilding in this country.
Fran Collins, CEO of Red Funnel, added: “Today has marked a very special occasion in the history of Red Funnel. The addition of a new ship is always an exciting time for everyone, and Red Kestrel marks an important new direction for us as our first-ever freight ship.
“With the growth in the Isle of Wight economy over recent years, we had reached a point where we could no longer fulfil the growing demand. Following extensive research, we identified that to increase capacity on our passenger vessels, we would need a dedicated freight ferry to assist with the freight side of the business.
“Red Kestrel is designed to provide additional year-round freight capacity for our Southampton to East Cowes route, which currently handles 53% of all freight movements across the Solent.
“Our investment marks a vote of confidence that the UK and Isle of Wight economies are going to continue to grow and we can support this growth with the additional sailings Red Kestrel will provide.”
As a freight vessel, Red Kestrel is limited to 12 passengers and constructed specifically to provide additional year-round freight capacity for Red Funnel’s Southampton to East Cowes route. At 74m in length, she will provide 265 lane metres of roll-on/roll-off freight capacity, allowing for 12 HGVs.
To minimise the environmental footprint, the hull shape has been designed specifically to reduce wash and a propulsion package has been selected to make her highly fuel efficient. The use of proven azimuth thrusters supplied by Rolls Royce will also make the ship very manoeuvrable. Her dedicated drivers-only lounge offers comforts and features such as access to hot/cold food, reclining leather seats with foot rests, free Wi-Fi and ample charging points.