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Guinness World Records: New Ferry for Isle of Man Steam Packet Select World's Most Efficient Engine

3rd February 2021
A new ferry for the Irish Sea, Manxman will be powered by what the Guinness World Records described as the ‘world’s most efficient four-stroke diesel engine’. The newbuild ro-pax is for the Isle of Man Steam Packet and the flagship is due to enter service in 2023.  A new ferry for the Irish Sea, Manxman will be powered by what the Guinness World Records described as the ‘world’s most efficient four-stroke diesel engine’. The newbuild ro-pax is for the Isle of Man Steam Packet and the flagship is due to enter service in 2023. Credit: IOM Steam Packet-twitter

A new ferry to serve on the Irish Sea will be powered by what the Guinness World Records describes as the ‘world’s most efficient four-stroke diesel engine’.

The ferry to be named the Manxman as Afloat previously reported will be the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company’s new flagship due for delivery in 2023.  

Technology group Wartsila has been chosen to supply the new vessel with two eight-cylinder and two 10-cylinder engines, which are recognised for a high level of fuel efficiency which reduces exhaust emissions.

The Wartsila 31 engines will be installed at the Hyundai Mipo Dockyard (HMD) in South Korea where Manxman is being constructed. Delivery of the engines to the shipyard is expected to commence in early 2022.

Work on physically constructing a replacement for the conventional ferry, Ben-my-Chree, is due to start later this year. 

Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward says reliability, efficiency and low operating costs were all key considerations in the Company’s selection.

He explained: ‘This is a major investment in our fleet and the ultimate aim for when we introduce the new addition is to provide an even higher level of service to the Island community and our customers. Alongside our drive for greater efficiency and lower emissions levels, there is also an ever-increasing focus on the environmental aspects of marine transportation so we were naturally keen to select an engine that can deliver sustainable operations.

‘We’ll continue to work closely with Wartsila design engineers and the ship builder HMD and look forward to seeing this come to fruition after many months of planning.’

James Royston, Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Fleet Operations Manager, added: ‘After considering many marine engine manufacturers, Wartsila was selected for a number of factors. The firm not only has the experience and track-record required for such a project but the engine’s diesel consumption is on average around eight-per-cent lower than similar sized engines available on the market.

‘In terms of system integration and operational optimisation, we will be able to run a variety of engine combinations to ensure they are always running as close to their most efficient, while suiting both Manxman and the routes it will serve.’

Full details of the hybrid propulsion system, which includes energy storage batteries and waste heat recovery, will be provided once the full system design is completed.

Published in Ferry
Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!

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