Following Red Funnel’s failure to secure planning permission for the proposed development of the terminal area in East Cowes, Wightlink Ferries was delighted to received conditional planning permission from Isle of Wight Councillors just 24hrs later for improvements to port facilities at the company’s Fishbourne car ferry terminal.
Members of the planning committee voted unanimously in favour of the scheme. Work will begin in the autumn to install a new double deck boarding ramp to enable vehicles to embark and disembark more quickly and quietly. These works at Fishbourne are an integral part of Wightlink’s £45million investing for the Future programme. The project also includes improvements to the terminal facilities at Portsmouth Gunwharf, which received unanimous planning approval from Portsmouth City Council in March. on 28th April Wightlink announced the signing of a contract to build a new ship for the Portsmouth-Fishbourne route. The new ferry will be the most environmentally friendly ever to serve the isle of Wight, will cost over €30 million and enters service in 2018. The new ship, yet to be named, will be slightly larger than Wightlink’s flagship St. Clare. it will use hybrid battery technology, as well as conventional fuel, to reduce emissions and make the vessel quieter. The new ferry will have two fixed vehicle decks to hold the equivalent of 178 cars and space for more than 1,000 people on board with luxurious and comfortable seats and cafés. The experienced Cemre shipyard in Turkey has won the contract to carry out the work with that facility currently building the Bastø VI for Bastø Fosen.
Starlight Ferries started a new cross- Solent service on 9th May between Yarmouth and Lymington, continuing each week throughout the summer with one crossing very early on Monday mornings and another very late on Friday evenings to prove the concept. if this Pilot Stage shows sufficient interest the operator expects to increase the frequency, adding ferries on other days in the week. Filling the gap left by cuts to ferry crossings operated by Wightlink, this new foot passenger service using a former RNLI Mersey Class lifeboat, the Mersey Rose, hopes to prove the demand for early morning and late night ferries during its six month pilot. The project has been possible using Crowd Funding.
locals have contributed lots of £100, £500 or £1,000. The cost of their journeys during the pilot scheme will be deducted from their initial contribution.
Red Funnel encountered considerable disruption 16th-26th April when the 4,075gt/1996 built Red Eagle developed a fault with one of her Voith Schneider propeller units. Repairs required the vessel to be dry docked at A&P Falmouth. The company cancelled four round trip sailings per day.
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