MBNA Thames Clippers’ latest newbuild Venus Clipper is its most efficient vessel to date
UK shipbuilder Wight Shipyard completed its third and largest vessel for MBNA Thames Clippers, after building 38-m Venus Clipper to a 10-month build schedule.
Wight Shipyard said MBNA Thames Clippers had some “very particular” requirements for its latest newbuild. The new Clipper had to be able to transport passengers between numerous floating piers at a speed not less than 25 knots at full load draft. The vessel’s catamaran hullform uses twin symmetric hulls and has been designed by Australia’s One2three Naval Architects. Its 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 and harsh weather conditions, the shipyard said.
Venus Clipper is classed by Lloyds Register/DNV GL and obtained the notation DNVGL +1A1 HSLC Passenger R4 HSC (A) EO meeting the delegated survey requirements for capacity and seating for a minimum of 220 passengers, with space for two wheelchairs.
The two main diesel engines are Scania DI16 077Ms, fitted one to each machinery space, rated to 662kW (900hp) @ 2300 rpm. They are of the four-stroke water cooled type, turbocharged and with charge air cooling. With regards to propulsion, the vessel is equipped with two Rolls Royce/Kamewa 40A3 waterjets fitted to each hull. The waterjet system comprises RR/Kamewa proprietary control and monitoring system complete with docking joystick and backup controls. To complete the power and propulsion system, there are two ZF2000 series reversing marine gearboxes fitted, directly coupled to the main engines.
The wheelhouse is arranged in accordance with survey requirements with all-round vision for safe navigation in confined waters and frequent berthing. The outfit includes forward control and a monitoring console incorporating all engine and waterjet controls, alarms and navigation equipment, monitoring panel and electrical panels.
External vinyl wrapping by Indigo Graphics was chosen instead of paint because it is much lighter.
With a high emphasis on safety, the vessel is equipped with two Zodiac 151-person open reversible life rafts, fitted in forward position with two RFD Ferryman 30 and 85-person open reversible life rafts in aft position. Both yard and operator had to complete a safety evacuation test as a standard requirement for a first-in-class vessel.
Wight Shipyard completed its first two vessels for MBNA Thames Clippers back in August 2017, the 35-m low wash catamarans Mercury Clipper and Jupiter Clipper.
MBNA Thames Clippers managing director Sean Collins said “MBNA Thames Clippers are very pleased to receive our third build by Wight Shipyard Co, bringing our total fleet to 19 vessels. Venus Clipper was delivered on time and on budget to full specification and with an exceptional standard of British workmanship. It was especially gratifying that there was continuity with the personnel involved in our previous two builds, that enabled the main construction stage to be delivered with a seamless process. The end result came in under its designed weight, which contributes to Venus Clipper being our most efficient vessel to date.”
The new vessels have been designed and built to accommodate the tidal conditions of the River Thames, allowing them to navigate its shallow reaches and pass under London’s bridges.