Thames Clippers is expanding its fleet with its first fast ferry UK shipyard order in more than 25 years.
Two new 170 passenger capacity vessels will be built at the Wight Shipyard Company on the Isle of Wight to join London’s growing river transport network in summer 2017.
The £6.3million investment will see the creation of 75 new jobs across the Isle of Wight and London plus MBNA Thames Clippers will be creating two new dedicated apprenticeship roles.
Thames Clippers founder and chief executive Sean Collins said: “In 2016 alone the MBNA Thames Clippers fleet will carry over four million commuters and visitors around London.
“We are investing in an expanded fleet, built in the UK, as well as exploring new options for piers to enhance London’s infrastructure and maximise the River Thames as a thoroughfare.
“Our commitment to enhancing the London river transport network is moving at a considerable pace.
“This is the first order for the new ship yard following its rebrand.
“The experience and track record of the company means that we have found a new innovative yard with ambition who shares our vision for high quality, safe and environmentally efficient fast ferries.
“The complex nature of the tidal Thames means that it takes a specialist design and build team.
“We are thrilled to have found the right partners using One2three Naval Architects to design the vessels and a UK shipyard for the build, to make this important investment within the British Isles.”
The two new fast ferries will join the MBNA Thames Clippers’ river bus service in central London and add 14% additional capacity to the company’s network.
Peter Morton, chief executive of Wight Shipyard Company. said: “Wight Shipyard (formally Shemara Refit LLP) is delighted to be awarded the contract to build two new 35 metre high speed ferries for MBNA Thames Clippers. The company operates a large fleet of high profile ferries on the River Thames and this new order signifies that use of the river as a means of commuter transport is growing quickly.
“We are particularly pleased these are the first high speed ferries to be built for the company in England as in the past all new MBNA Thames Clippers fast craft have been built in Australia. Having successfully completed the 40 metre Red Jet 6 for the Red Funnel Group we are confident we will deliver high quality ferries for MBNA Thames Clippers and look forward to a long partnership with them.”
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