VESSEL REVIEW: Jupiter Clipper – Thames low-wash ferry fleet expands


MBNA Thames Clippers has just taken delivery of Jupiter Clipper, the second in a series of 35-metre, low wash, catamaran fast ferries for operation in London.

Designed in Australia, the role of the vessels is to provide rapid passenger transport services on the River Thames in Central London on various routes ranging from Putney in the west to Royal Woolwich Arsenal in the east.

The two new 172-capacity passenger vessels took 10 months to build, and Thames Clippers now has the largest fast commercial passenger fleet operating solely in English waters.

"The new boats have been designed and built to accommodate the unique tidal conditions of the River Thames, allowing them to navigate its shallow reaches and pass under London's famous but sometimes low bridges," commented Peter Morton, CEO of builder Wight Shipyard.

The two new low wash river vessels are catamarans with twin symmetric hulls of all welded construction. The hull structure is designed for frequent and repeated berthing at London's floating piers with particular attention paid to potential contact with obstructions in the water in weather conditions that can reasonably be expected in the area of operation. 

Customers enter the air conditioned passenger cabin port and starboard, forward and aft. Accommodation is provided for 172 persons in comfortable Beurteaux seating. Panoramic and roof windows maximise opportunities for passengers to enjoy London's iconic skyline. LCD screens enable seated passengers to view safety messages, service and tourist information and on board refreshment menus. For convenience, outboard seating is provided with USB points for recharging mobile phones.

Separating the main cabin area from the forward seating space is a kiosk which offers passengers a range of snacks and beverages. The kiosk block is also shared with access to an electronics space and the cabin-top wheelhouse.

The wheelhouse is equipped with the latest in electronic, navigation and communication equipment to comply with the High Speed Craft Code. There are two forward facing adjustable seats with the captain sitting on the centreline, and the mate to port.

Toilet and baby changing facilities are provided and on the outside deck a further design feature is more room than on previous vessels to accommodate 12 bicycles.

Jupiter Clipper
Type of vessel:Ferry
Classification:Lloyds+A1 SSC Passenger Catamaran HSC G1 + LMC
Owner:MBNA Thames Clippers, UK
Builder:Wight Shipyard, UK
Construction material:Aluminium
Length overall:35.37 metres
Length waterline:32.69 metres
Breadth moulded:8.3 metres
Hull depth moulded:2.15 metres
Load draught:1.03 metres
Tonnage:155GT; 61NT
Main engines:2 x Scania DI16 072M, each 625kW @ 2,100rpm
Gearboxes:2 x ZF2000, 1.5:1
Propulsion:2 x Rolls Royce/Kamewa 40A3 waterjets
Generators:2 x Perkins Sabre, each 42kW 400v 3-phase 50HZ

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Baird Maritime / Work Boat World