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Second large ferry export for Wight Shipyard

Peter Morton CEO Wight Shipyards, Mauricio Orozco Ultramar

UK shipbuilder Wight Shipyard Co has completed its second export order. The order placed by Ultramar, the largest ferry operator in Mexico, consists of two 37m fast ferries which will be transported to Cancun Mexico at the beginning of July.

“Working with Ultramar is a good match for WSC, our standards and attention to detail are of paramount importance to produce not only an on-time build, but one of superior quality. Ultramar provide both commuter and holiday destination vessels and the level of fitout is far higher than normal commuter boats. Stages for lives bands, multi coloured LED lighting above and below the waterline and very powerful sound systems were a first for us,” said Peter Morton, CEO WSC.

Peter pointed out that the critical issues for these newbuilds were timely delivery and the weight saving target that needed to be achieved. Fuel costs are high in Mexico and are of paramount importance to Ultramar. The vessels were designed by Incat Crowther, which has a long-standing relationship with Ultramar and WSC whose previous export order to Austria was also an Incat Crowther Design.

Ultramar said that one of the main reasons for choosing WSC for the build was that the yard has a strong reputation for delivering on time, something it said has struggled with in the past. These builds will also have been completed in the short turnaround time of 10 months.

Ultrama lightweight fast ferry lifted into water at Wight Shipyard


In addition, the vessels come in 20,000 kg lighter than comparable models and 3,000 kg than design which means faster, more fuel-efficient vessels. This has been achieved by using new construction techniques developed by WSC, the use of light-weight materials and an attention to detail. The weight savings are achieved by investigating each of the thousand pieces of equipment used in the construction and sourcing the lightest most efficient parts and materials. Because the focus has been on efficiency, the engines in these vessels are capable of achieving their service speed at lower MCR, something that Ultramar specified.

Both vessels have the capacity to accommodate 459 passengers over 3 decks, with bright airy mid deck seats, accessed from a central staircase in the main cabin and two external staircases leading to a top deck with seating for 122 passengers.

The vessels are powered by two MTU 12V4000 M63 engines with output at 2 x 1500 kW (2012 hp) @ 1800 rpm. Gearboxes are two ZF 7600’s with propulsion being supplied by two fixed pitch propellers supplied by Southampton’s CJR Propulsion who also suppled their new curved hydrodynamic designed rudders.

Ultramar Fast Ferry built by Wight Shipyard IOW


“WSC has exceeded our expectations in both finish and performance,” said Mauricio Orozco from Ultramar.

“The whole team are a delight to work with. They are such a professional team with each manager an expert in their field. There is a need for more vessels and there is no question that WSC will be building them. Previously all our boats were built in the USA”.

WSC was selected to do the build after both Germán Orozco and Mauricio Orozco Ultramar visited both RedJet 6 & 7 and the MBNA Thames Clippers to witness first-hand the superb quality and timely deliveries WSC can offer.

On completion, the ferries will be operating between Cancun and Isla Mujeres primarily, however they will also be capable of supporting the Playa del Carmen to Cozumel route which requires vessels to have a much higher free board due to sea conditions and specific docking restrictions.

WSC secured its first large ferry export order for Twin City Liner (TCL) in Vienna earlier this year. Put into operation by Central Danube Region Marketing & Development as a commuter and sightseeing vessel on the River Danube, it’s Wight Shipyard’s first multi-million-pound export order for a 250-passenger river ferry. The Ultramar delivery is set to pave the way for future ferry building and export for WSC and shipbuilding on the Isle of Wight, UK.

Principal particulars

Builder: Wight Shipyard Co

Designer: Incat Crowther

Length Overall: 37.00m

Length waterline: 36.70m

Beam: 8.75m

Passengers: 459

Speed: 24 knots @75 per cent MCR


Main engines: Two MTU 12V4000 M63 marine diesel engines, each 1500 kW @1800 rpm

Emissions: IMO Tier II

Gearboxes: Two ZF 5055, rated 2.731:1

Propulsion: Two fixed pitch propellers

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