Isle of Wight freight ferry named Red Kestrel

A new £10m freight ferry for the Isle of Wight has been named at a ceremony in Southampton.

Red Kestrel is the first freight-only roll-on-roll-off vessel to operate between Southampton and East Cowes.

Operator Red Funnel hopes the vessel, which can can carry up to 12 full-sized lorries, will free up space on its conventional car ferries.

It arrived on the south coast last week after being designed and built at Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead.

The vessel will initially sail four times a day on the Southampton to East Cowes route.

Following sea trials, it will enter service next month.

Red Funnel Chairman Kevin George said the vessel offered “flexibility in capacity.”

“The business has reached the stage where at times we are full for freight and sadly turning bookings away. This is a great solution for our customers and shareholders.”

Speaking at the naming ceremony held on the dockside in Southampton, employment minister Alok Sharma said the ship was a “vote of confidence in the economy of Southampton and the Isle of Wight”.

Story from BBC News, Hampshire & Isle of Wight

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