Isles of Scilly Steamship Group share new designs for faster greener Scillonian ferry

  • Watch the Isle of Scilly Steamship Group's design video

The new look for the fourth generation Scillonian ferry has been revealed in the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company's £40 million pound fleet upgrade.

The state-of-the-art designs show off a larger 75-metre ship which will be able to carry 600 passengers with new lifts to give equal access to all three of its decks.

The ferry will be much faster than the previous one, travelling at speeds of 18 knots resulting in a 20 per cent quicker journey. That works out as roughly reducing a normal three hour crossing by 45 minutes.

The crossing to the islands will also be a much smoother journey, with anti-roll fins under the water's surface to steady the ship on the journey from the mainland.

Anti-roll fins are a new addition to help passengers feel less nauseous. Credit: Isle of Scilly Steamship Group / BMT

The new Scillonian will also be powered with a hybrid battery/diesel engine to reduce emissions and noise.

The new inter-island launch will be capable of 12 knots, allowing for significantly faster journey times between St Mary’s and the off-islands; a 50 per cent increase in cargo capacity and will have a reduced fuel consumption of 55 per cent.

The 45-metre dedicated cargo ship to replace the Gry Maritha will have an increased cargo capacity, including more space for chilled and frozen goods, a crane which can lift eight tonnes, and a comfortable lounge for up to 12 passengers.

Chief Executive of ISSG, Stuart Reid, said they have paid close attention to what islanders need.

He said: "We have carried out an extensive consultation process and we have listened to what the Isles of Scilly community have identified as priorities in improving the service. Their needs have been at the forefront of the design process.

"We are proud of the proposals, which will ultimately enhance the excellent cargo and passenger services we operate today and serve generations of travellers for years to come."

Scillonian III sailing from Penzance to St Marys. Credit: ITV West Country

The current third generation of the Scillonian passenger ferry has been sailing locals and holidaymakers to the islands since 1977.

During its four decades of service, it has only suffered 10 days of mechanical failure - most notably in 2019 when passengers were stranded on the Isles of Scilly for four days.

Residents have been sharing their excitement for the new fleet with people like Richard Hobbs from Tresco saying: "I refuse to ever set foot on the Scillonian III ever again which means I can only fly off and onto the islands. This new boat gives me as an islander greater flexibility."

Georgia May from St Mary's says the island's visitors will really notice the difference.

She said: "I've had people in my store who come on really stormy days who've had to buy new clothes because they've been poorly onboard the current ship. So I think the look of this new ship is brilliant."

Tim Jones owns Newfort House Self Catering on St Mary’s. He says the new design is brilliant and very exciting.

He said: "The Scillonian III has been a great ship, but is now really showing her age, with the new design they have also introduced stabilisers to help counteract the rolling, and hopefully we will not have so many seasick passengers (we call the old ship the Vomit Comet!)."

The Company is currently working with the Council of the Isles of Scilly and Government on financing options but estimates the final cost will come in between £30-40 million.

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