First look at new ferry designs for Isles of Scilly

Written by Nick Blenkey
Ferry at sea

Image: BMT

BMT has now released the first details of its cutting edge designs for new vessels to serve the Isles of Scilly, off the southwest tip of the U.K.

The Isles of Scilly Steamship Company (ISSC) is planning a new fleet consisting of a 72-meter, 600-passenger ferry to link the islands with the U.K. mainland, a 45-meter cargo ship and an inter-island launch.

The striking new ferry will carry passengers on three decks with a contemporary, comfortable seating arrangement, onboard coffee shop and retail area.

It will be capable of a speed of 18 knots, reducing journey time by 20%; anti-roll fins to improve the stability of the crossing; increased cargo capacity with the ability to carry chilled and frozen goods; improved access for passengers with reduced mobility, and a hybrid propulsion system to reduce emissions.

The 45 meter dedicated cargo ship will have an increased cargo capacity, including more space for chilled and frozen goods; an 8-tonn crane and a lounge for up to 12 passengers.

The new inter-island launch will be capable of 12 knots, allowing for significantly faster journey times between the largest island in the Scillies, St Mary’s and the off-islands, a 50% increase in cargo capacity, compared with the existing launch, and a reduced fuel consumption of 55%.

The next step will be entering discussions with shipyards on potential build programs. The company has partnered with international shipbroker Blair Reid, which specializes in the sale and procurement of new ferries.

Blair Reid is currently in contact with 32 shipyards across the U.K. Europe and the Far East to acquire expressions of interest and to identify potential build slots and build cost.

“We have carried out an extensive consultation process and we have listened to what the Isles of Scilly community has identified as priorities in improving the service. Their needs have been at the forefront of the design process,” said Steamship Company CEO Stuart Reid, “We are proud of the proposals, which will ultimately enhance the excellent cargo and passenger services we operate today and serve generations of travelers for years to come.”

The design, developed in partnership with BMT, involved consultation with islanders and stakeholders last summer. It found resilience, reliability, journey time and affordability to be the most important factors for future services.

“Green technology is at the heart of the new designs; we aspire to minimize environmental impact at the earliest opportunity whilst ensuring the reliability and resilience of this vital lifeline service,” said director Kevin George. “In future, we want to have the ability to adapt and modify the chosen propulsion system to ensure we meet the Government’s target of decarbonization of the marine sector by 2050 and to keep the vessels aligned with evolving environmentally friendly technology.”

Sylvain Julien, director of naval architecture at BMT, said: “BMT is committed to leading the way in designing vessels that reduce the environmental footprint, and we welcome the opportunity to work in partnership with ISSG and the island community to work towards enhanced operations and increased sustainability by leveraging our deep understanding of advanced ferry designs.”

ISSC is currently working with the Council of the Isles of Scilly and Government on financing options.

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