Britain’s leading aluminium shipbuilder, The Wight Shipyard Co. has secured the new build of two passenger catamarans for operation on the ever-growing Thames commuting and sightseeing line for Uber Boat by Thames Clippers.
Building on the shipyard’s proven technology and sustainability credentials and employing some of the highest-skilled personnel in modern shipbuilding based at the iconic Wight Shipyard in East Cowes, the new contract is a significant coup for both the business and the Isle of Wight.
Speaking about the contract, Peter Morton, CEO of The Wight Shipyard Co. commented: “We are delighted that Uber by Thames Clippers has awarded us the contract to build the next generation of Clipper-class vessels utilising the very latest battery-power technology and re-charging options.
“The Wight Shipyard Co. has built a reputation for meeting and exceeding the demands of a global client base, especially in terms of sustainability where our concentration on weight reduction, build quality, hydro-dynamics and efficiency yields real, tangible results and savings. With the fusion of modern drive technology, we have a highly compelling proposition today.”
The hybrid design will allow the new Uber Boat by Thames Clippers vessels to operate solely on battery power to transport both commuters and sightseers along the Thames throughout the Capital’s central zone between the Tower Bridge and Battersea Power Station piers and recharge while using bio-fuel power outside of Central London.
The technology is not reliant on shore-based charging with the new boats using excess power from the bio-fuel engines to re-charge their batteries for the Central London stretch.
Furthermore, the vessels built by The Wight Shipyard Co. will be some of the quietest ever seen in the passenger boat industry and will stand as future-proofed examples of environmental excellence. Sean Collins, Founder and CEO of Uber Boat by Thames Clippers recently commented: “For over 20 years we have been at the forefront of innovation for the river marine sector. We are committed to supporting the sustainable growth, infrastructure and economic development on and around the river to endorse the river’s importance to London as a form of transport.
“As a business, we are continuing to embrace the emerging technological advances that will see us continue to develop our fleet and infrastructure, thereby supporting a sustainable future in our industry.”
The Wight Shipyard Co. has been a trusted builder of Thames Clipper vessels since 2017 when the shipyard received its first commission. Since then, three of the innovative, high-spec and highly durable Thames Clippers have been built and are a much-loved part of London’s waterway as well as being a vital and eventually net zero carbon commuting option.
And it’s a partnership that is determined to achieve environmental targets as Sean Collins continues: “Uber Boat by Thames Clippers is committed to achieving net zero with all new builds by 2025 and for its wider fleet, infrastructure and environmental footprint by 2040.
“We’re looking ahead with this hybrid design, ensuring easy conversion to green hydrogen or another renewable energy source – something we’re also focusing heavily on with the new projects we’re undertaking thanks to recent DfT funding. It is the next step in our strategy to net zero and, ultimately, tailpipe zero.”
Peter Morton is unequivocal in his support for the approach: “At The Wight Shipyard Co. we are firmly on the side of those forward-thinking owners and operators that are revolutionising the industry. Our employees have true global expertise in delivering on the net zero challenge for shipbuilding and we are very proud of what is being achieved, as well as receiving awards such as the Queen’s Award for Enterprise, that are the rubber-stamp on our innovative and cost-effective approach to modern shipbuilding.
“We thank Sean and his team at Thames Clippers for not only recognising that The Wight Shipyard Co. is at the forefront of the aluminium shipbuilding industry but for trusting us to deliver their future. We won’t let them down.”