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Friday, September 11, 2020 

Wight Shipyard (WSC) claims a UK first by building four ferries, two of 20m and two of 33m in length, simultaneously at its yard in Cowes, IOW, for a Maltese operator.

WSC says this is its largest ferry export order to date. The vessels, for Captain Morgan Holdings, a subsidiary of Fortina Investments, were designed by Australian Naval Architect One2Three, with the aim of being lighter and more fuel efficient than any of the yard's previous vessels.

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 two newbuild 20m harbour catamarans, with capacity for 197 passengers, will replace existing vessels which already service Valetta's natural harbours. With frequent stopping points the design aims for optimum efficiency at speeds of between 8-10 knots, with a top speed of 20 knots. They are powered by two MAN D2676 LE434 engines, each rated 270kW at 1800 rpm, coupled to ZF500 marine transmissions and twin CJR 5-blade dynamically balanced FP propellers.

The two 33m vessels meanwhile will service a new commuter/tourist hop-on hop-off service along the east coast of Malta as far as the island of Gozo, again replacing older vessels on a commuter service between Malta, Gozo and Comino. With a maximum speed of 30 knots, a higher power is needed; supplied by two MAN D2862 LE466 engines each rated at 749kW, coupled to ZF3050 marine transmissions and CJR 5 FP propellers. The layout of the 33m provides for a capacity of 298 passengers and four crew.

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