The naming of Wightlink’s environmentally friendly flagship, Victoria of Wight has marked the completion of a £45million investment in the Fishbourne to Portsmouth route. The new £30 million hybrid energy car ferry can carry 178 cars and more than a thousand passengers. She was officially named by Her Royal Highness Sophie the Countess of Wessex at a ceremony at Wightlink’s Fishbourne terminal.
“I was proud to see our brand new ship being named by Her Royal Highness,” said Wightlink’s Chief Executive Keith Greenfield. “The arrival of Victoria of Wight heralds the completion of our £45million investment to improve the speed and efficiency of the route between Fishbourne and Portsmouth. Her hybrid energy system and host of environmental features will provide a cleaner and greener journey across the Solent for our customers.”
After the ceremony Her Royal Highness was given a tour of the new ship, spending time with guests who designed the new ferry, as well as the crew members who will be onboard the new ship as she is gradually phased into service this Autumn. Following a lunch onboard, prepared by local chef Robert Thompson using locally sourced ingredients, the Countess of Wessex viewed the ship’s bridge and learned about the new ferry’s environmental credentials from Captain Tom Vincent and Fleet Commodore Peter Hayes.
Powered by hybrid energy, Victoria of Wight uses a combination of battery power and conventional engines to minimise emissions. Its eco-friendly features also include a lift that can generate electricity through kinetic energy, onboard water heated by warmth generated by the engine and motion sensor LED lighting in lesser-used areas of the ship.
There was also an opportunity for Her Royal Highness to meet some of Wightlink’s local suppliers, including Paul Griffin from Briddlesford Farm Dairy near Wootton, which provides all the milk used onboard Wightlink’s fleet.