Houlder celebrates IOMSPC Manxman project

Team Houlder recently received the 2024 Shippax RoPax award for their part in the design and build of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company’s (IOMSPC) new battery hybrid RoPax ferry, Manxman.

Having been awarded the design contract in 2019, and having then provided consultancy services throughout the project, the recent ceremony marked the culmination of a lengthy and rewarding project for the team. It also offers an opportunity to reflect on Houlder’s role.

Houlder’s team of naval architects initially worked with IOMSPC to produce a concept specification and general arrangement for the ferry. This was sent to many shipyards worldwide with the invitation to tender for the build contract. In total, 27 shipyards submitted tenders and, through a long process of evaluation, the partners whittled that down to five prospective yards. These yards had the potential to deliver a vessel of the required quality within the timeframe, and to suit IOMSPC’s needs and budget. Further technical questions reduced the shortlist down to just two, and in July 2020 after a long week of negotiations in Seoul and Ulsan, the team signed a contract to build with Hyundai Mipo Dockyard (HMD).

Following this, as technical advisors for IOMSPC, Houlder’s design and engineering team acted on behalf of the shipowner to develop appropriate design solutions for implementation by the shipyard – alongside the usual reviewing of calculations and technical details. The team often pre-empted questions from the shipyard and guided them as to the owner’s requirements. In this role, with an overview of the longer-term project, the team could also monitor progress, support timely decision making from the owner and builder, and ensure strong working relationships were maintained between all parties.

David Wing, Project Director at Houlder, commented: “We are incredibly proud of the work we’ve done with the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company on the Manxman. It is exciting to see the vessel in action now – and I’ve even been lucky enough to revisit the vessel as a passenger. A project of this scope and scale requires the hard work and dedication of so many partners, so when you see the results of that collaboration, it is incredibly rewarding – even more so as it’s contributing to a more sustainable marine industry. We commend the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company on their approach throughout this project and congratulate them on the results.”

Featuring Wärtsilä’s hybrid diesel electric propulsion package, Manxman boasts the world’s most efficient 4-stroke diesel engine for the crossing. The battery system is used for zero emissions in port and delivers extra power to the bow thrusters for manoeuvring in port. Sustainability was a priority throughout the design and engineering and this extended to the finishing. To minimise the project’s full lifecycle carbon footprint, the project used the best of local suppliers, resources and expertise, for example the interior designers.

Jim Royston, Fleet Operations Manager at IOMSPC added: The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company and Houlder have a long-running partnership. Houlder brought a huge amount of passenger ship design experience and had recently worked with Wightlink, designing and assisting the build of its flagship Victoria of Wight. Houlder’s consultancy helped us avoid the pain of wrong decisions or poor choices on the design, plan approval, makers selection, and build process. It has been fantastic to collaborate with them and we are proud of the final vessel, which makes a valuable contribution to the Isle of Man.”

Over the years Houlder and IOMSPC have worked together on many major projects, including the design and installation of the additional lounges on the Ben-my-Chree, plus conversion of the 050 – INCAT to the HSC Manannan, which at the time was the largest fast ferry conversion project in the world. To find out more about the Manxman project, watch this recap of the welcome ceremony.

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