The Isle of Man Ship Registry has been selected as the flag state to oversee construction of two new rail-enabled Ro-Pax ferries that will connect New Zealand’s North and South Islands.
State-owned transport operator KiwiRail has commissioned the future-proofed vessels to modernise its fleet of ferries serving the Cook Strait.
KiwiRail’s Interislander service connects New Zealand’s State Highway and national rail networks between the capital city Wellington in the North Island and Picton in the South Island. The service carries approximately 850,000 passengers, 250,000 cars and up to NZ$14 billion (US$9.73 billion) worth of freight annually.
The selection of a shipyard is due to be completed in the next few months.
The two 220-metre ferries, which are being designed by Denmark’s OSK-ShipTech, will each be capable of carrying about 1,900 passengers. They will also have a capacity of approximately 3,600 lane metres, allowing them to transport a combination of vehicles including up to 40 rail wagons.
The ships are expected to enter service in the mid-2020s, replacing the existing three-vessel Interislander fleet.
The vessels will be diesel electric hybrid-powered, with diesel generators and batteries providing electrical power for azimuth thruster propulsion. The ferries themselves may be adaptable to new fuel sources as these become available.
The best maritime site on the web. The sea's our scene!