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Passenger Ship Technology

Red Jet 7 – at the top of the energy efficiency game

Tue 12 Jun 2018 by Rebecca Moore

<i>Red Jet 7</i> – at the top of the energy efficiency game
Red Jet 7 was delivered to Red Funnel in June this year

Red Funnel’s newbuild fast ferry Red Jet 7, its lightest vessel to date, has some technical differences when compared with its sister ship, which have been included to allow access to some proposed new routes

UK ferry operator Red Funnel’s new high-speed catamaran Red Jet 7 surpasses sister vessel Red Jet 6 as it is even lighter and therefore more energy efficient – and there are other differences between the two vessels.

The £7M (US$9M) addition to Red Funnel’s Red Jet fleet was ordered from Wight Shipyard on the Isle of Wight in August 2017, following an international tender. Red Jet 6 was also built by Wight Shipyard in 2016.

The final fit out and commissioning of onboard systems will take place with the vessel alongside at East Cowes, followed by extensive sea trials and crew training in the Solent. It will be named in a ceremony at the end of July.

Red Funnel chiairman Kevin George explained the background of the fleet’s latest vessel to Passenger Ship Technology.Red Jet 3 is now 19 years old and in terms of economic life, we think it is time to invest in a new vessel.”

“The vessel has 190 seats, whereas Red Jets 4, 6 (and Red Jet 7) have 275 seats. This matches the growth in our business as it gives us extra capacity and meets peak demand periods,” he explained.

Red Jet 3 is currently for sale.

Red Jet 7 is very similar to Red Jet 6, but there are a few key contrasts, namely its weight.   

“We did a full study on how we could save weight on every single item and this led to 200 items where we were able to save weight”

Wight Shipyard chief executive Peter Morton told Passenger Ship Technology “There was a view to make this boat more fuel efficient than Red Jet 6, therefore we have refined some of the building techniques.”

The shipyard conducted research and a full study on how it could save weight on the latest catamaran – leading to the high-speed ferry being four tonnes lighter than its predecessor. “We did a full study on how we could save weight on every single item and this led to 200 items where we were able to save weight,” said Mr Morton.

He explained that the company used timber aluminium, which is a lighter aluminium. The shipyard also developed gluing techniques which saved using aluminium plate and cut down on welding costs. Mr Morton said “We refined a lot of engineering techniques to use lightweight engineering details… all ferry operators ask to use less fuel, and if you build a boat lighter you use less fuel.” He said Red Jet 7 would travel at the same speed as Red Jet 6, but “at the same speed we expect to see fuel savings directly related to weight.”

While the vessel has the same propulsion configuration as sister Red Jet 6 with four main MTU 2000 series diesel engines and four waterjets, Red Funnel used waterjets from HamiltonJet rather than MJP, which provided the waterjets for Red Jet 6.

Mr George explained “I believe that Hamilton waterjets are more efficient for this type of build of vessel as they are already skid mounted and can be fitted into the stern of the vessel rather than the support arrangements having to be engineered.

The vessel’s Red Jet sister ships use waterjets rather than propellers, too. Red Funnel said this was to aid manoeuvrability and provide the best possible stopping power, while keeping wash to a minimum.

New role, new features

Red Jet 7 will have a few extra features compared to its sister ship because the ferry operator plans to operate the vessel outside its normal waters of the Solent to further afield, such as the south coast of the UK. Mr George explained that Red Funnel was hoping to offer a new service – offering excursions to passengers from cruise ships that stop in Southampton. The company plans to run a trial in Q3 this year, with the aim of having a range available next year.

Mr George said “We have previously carried out excursions and we think there is a market for that. We are seeing lots of interest from cruise lines [for expeditions] and the best way of selling the excursions is to work with the various agencies and cruise lines to promote the excursions.

“We have made sure the vessel is provisioned with all the things we need in case we want to operate out. This vessel will have a few extra features that will enable us to operate outside of our Category D waters. The main difference is the need to carry a rescue boat.”

Therefore, Wight Shipyard has built davits in order to carry a rescue boat for occasions when the catamaran operates outside  the Solent. The vessel would only carry a rescue boat when operating out of its usual Category D waters.

The company is considering equipping Red Jet 6 with davits as well.

 Aside from these changes, the two vessels share the same technology and energy efficient features.

Each MTU 10V 2000 M72 series diesel engine develops 900 kW at 2,250 rpm and will power a separate waterjet.

Two Perkins Sabre 63 kW 415V three phase 50 Hz generators are being used to provide electrical power.

Other technical innovations to help reduce fuel consumption include using vinyl instead of paint on external surfaces above the waterline to reduce weight and applying the latest Teflon hull coatings to minimise drag through the water.

Another way in which this vessel and Red Jet 6 differ from the other Red Jets is that high-speed vessels now being constructed must comply with IMO’s International Code of Safety for High-Speed Craft, which requires a double bottom, giving added protection from hitting submerged objects and rocks.

A major benefit for shipyard and ferry operator is the geographical closeness between the two. Mr Morton said “Red Funnel worked very closely with us – we had an open door policy and it was much easier for them, they could walk in and out of the yard the whole time, rather than send people halfway round the world – this is better for both parties.”


Red Jet 7



41.12 m

Beam (moulded)

10.87 m

Draught (loaded)

1.3 m


38 knots

Passenger capacity

275 seated and four wheelchairs 

Main engines

MTU 10V 2000




Perkins Sabre 63 kW 415V three phase 50 Hz

Trim control

Humphree interceptors 

Gyro compass




Air conditioning



Dehutech DT-3000

Bridge equipment


Bilge pumps


Sewage treatment



Navaho MediaCat





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