IOM chooses Houlder again for new hybrid ferry

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UK-based design and engineering consultancy, Houlder has won another contract with the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company (IoMSPC), acting as technical advisor in the design and build of its latest battery hybrid ferry. The new purpose-built ro-pax vessel will meet the challenging requirements of increased vessel capacity and comfort, as well as tolerating harsh Irish Sea conditions throughout the annual cycle of vessel operations.

The vessel will be constructed by one of the world’s major shipbuilders, Hyundai Mipo Dockyard (HMD), based in Ulsan, South Korea. It is due for delivery in Spring 2023 and will bring high levels of on-board facilities and an enhanced freight capability to the island. It is also intended to be more environmentally efficient and manoeuvrable in poor conditions.

The project presents two key design challenges, including providing a dependable lifeline throughout winter and can consistently tolerate the harsh conditions of the Irish Sea in its route between Douglas and Heysham. Additionally, the new vessel will provide increased passenger capacity, especially important during the two weeks of the Isle of Man motorcycle event, the annual TT.

Houlder will guide the shipyard during the build of this new vessel, ensuring it meets the design specification, as well as advising IoMSPC on technical and regulatory aspects, to ensure a high quality and timely delivery. Houlder will use its experience of the local regulation, knowledge of the routes, and operational and technical expertise to ensure a smooth process from concept to delivery.

David Wing, Ship Design & Engineering Director, Houlder, said, “We are delighted to be working with the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company again on its latest project and providing pragmatic solutions to the various technical and logistical considerations for the new vessel. Solving design challenges and meeting ambitious targets, whether technical, operational or environmental, is where we do our best work.

“The Isle of Man has significant ambitions for growth in tourism to the island and, IoMSPC is the only company to offer passenger and freight ferry services. There are many challenges in this brief including the vessel’s size constraints in tight ports while meeting lane metre requirements for freight, as well as meeting environmental expectations for the vessel’s life-span which includes reducing local emissions while in port. We are looking forward to working with Hyundai Mipo Dockyard and IoMSPC to ensure a smooth and successful delivery of this new vessel.”

Jim Royston, Fleet Operations Manager, Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, commented, “Our relationship with Houlder dates back many years, with our last major project together being the conversion of Manannan from a military transport ship to a passenger catamaran. This latest partnership ensures we have technical experts providing us with pragmatic solutions to challenges being faced by the vessel’s operational profile. Houlder is acting as our advisor to the shipyard to ensure they deliver a vessel of a quality and standard in keeping with the demanding route and the high expectations of our customers. We look forward to working with Houlder again on this exciting new project.”

Houlder has a wealth of experience in the passenger vessel sector, supporting ferry operators with new build designs, upgrades and conversions. New builds include vessels for the Gosport Ferry Company and Wightlink. The company has also undertaken conversion and upgrade works for P&O Ferries, Condor Ferries as well as previous conversion projects and new designs for the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company.

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