05 February 2018

RoPax Vessel Gets Ready for Freight and Passenger Trade with Complete Refit  

Original Isle of Wight Ferry Group Prepares Ship for the Summer

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Shipping News Feature UK – The £3 million refurbishment of the Red Funnel RoPax ferry Red Eagle which we first reported in September last year, is now well under way in Southampton. The ship was dry-docked at A&P's yard in Falmouth earlier this month to facilitate her annual survey and the painting of the hull and superstructure. The opportunity was also taken to strip-out the existing passenger lounges in preparation for the main part of the refurbishment which was awarded to Southampton based Trimline Ltd.

The fabrication of the aluminium shells which will form the two new lounges on A Deck was entrusted to Wight Shipyard Co, another local supplier based in East Cowes. Now, the two lounges have now been transported by barge to Southampton in preparation for being lifted on board in the next few days. The Red Eagle’s new look will be revealed in early March when the ship returns to service between Southampton and East Cowes.

Red Eagle was the last of three Raptor Class RoPax ferries ordered by Red Funnel from Ferguson Shipbuilders at Port Glasgow in the early 90’s. Replacing Netley Castle, Red Eagle entered service in 1996 and travels 45,500 miles every year between Southampton and East Cowes. To accommodate a strong growth in traffic, the ship was lengthened in 2005 by 9.6 metres and an additional through car deck was added with capacity for 70 cars or small vans. The work was carried out by Remontawa shipyard in Gdansk.

Although Red Funnel’s actions, a company with roots going back to 1820, were doubtless prompted by the lucrative Summer passenger market, freight drivers on the short hop will also benefit from some of the upgrades aboard the Red Eagle which include a significant increase in the number of internal seats as well as a new galley, new toilets, a new pet lounge and a purpose built Signature Lounge offering a premium club experience. The Red Eagle’s new look will be revealed in early March when the ship returns to service between Southampton and East Cowes.

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