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Red Funnel Confirms Three New Ferries Will Serve The Island

Cross-Solent operator, Red Funnel, has confirmed it plans to order three new vehicle ferries to serve its East Cowes to Southampton route.

It's current fleet is, on average, 30 years old and beginning to show its age. Red Falcon, Red Osprey and Red Eagle have been reconfigured, stretched, and extended with extra decks multiple times since they were first launched in the 90s.

Built before accessibility for physically impaired passengers was a priority, each vessel has only one lift to serve the car decks, and a moving accessible platform serving the passenger decks.

The investment of around £100 million in new ships comes after a testing year for the service which has seen mass cancellations due to technical failures.

It's reported the new ships would be smaller than the current vessels but would have a similar capacity.

Unlike rival firm, Wightlink, Red Funnel has hinted its new ships would be powered by diesel engines due to there being an inadequate supply of electricity on the south coast to charge vessels powered solely by battery.

It's understood the tender for shipyards to build the new ferries could be issued at some point this year, though Islanders will have to wait until at least 2028 to see them arrive on the Solent.

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