Red Funnel has confirmed that it is bringing fast ferry construction back to the UK with the announcement that its new passenger ferry Red Jet 6 will be built in East Cowes on the Isle of Wight.

After receiving tenders from shipyards around the world, the company has placed an order for a 40m high-speed catamaran with Shemara Refit LLP for delivery in summer 2016. Costing £6m, Red Jet 6 will be the first vessel of her kind to be built in the UK for 15 years.

Kevin George, the line's CEO, said: "Red Jet 6 will serve the Isle of Wight for many years and we believe that it is important for as many young Islanders to be involved as possible. We will be inviting local schools to participate in mini projects and will be seeking to develop our existing support with the Royal Yacht Squadron Isle of Wight Foundation to ensure apprenticeship opportunities are open to young Islanders. In the competitive world of ship building, it is fantastic news that Red Jet 6 will be built for the Isle of Wight, on the Isle of Wight, by the Isle of Wight.”

The new vessel will be configured to carry 275 passengers, who will experience a quiet, spacious and well-lit cabin fitted with leather seats and a sophisticated air-handling system designed to dry, cool or warm the air automatically. A new high bandwidth ship-to-shore Wi-Fi system has been specified which will be free for customers and the latest travel information system will be installed to show connecting services for buses, coaches, trains and flights in real-time. Provision has also been made to carry 22 bicycles.

Red Funnel is also inviting its customers and members of the public to submit their ideas and suggestions for features they would like to see fitted or introduced on Red Jet 6. Some of the more challenging ideas will be given to local students to try and develop practical solutions.

For more information see www.redfunnel.co.uk/redjet6

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