Houlder continues technical advisory services in construction of new purpose-built IOMSPC battery hybrid ferry

Houlder has played an integral role in the design and construction of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company’s (‘IOMSPC’) new battery hybrid ferry, floated out earlier this month. The contract, awarded in 2020, is the second time the consultancy firm has worked with IOMSPC on a new build project. The vessel, which is set to enter service by the end of Q2 2023, posed several design challenges due to increased vessel capacity, as well the need to tolerate harsh Irish Sea conditions throughout the annual cycle of vessel operations.

Using its naval architecture credentials, Houlder has acted as a technical advisor to IOMSPC – offering insight into regulations and compliance. It has also ensured that local surveyors and the shipyard commissioned to construct the vessel – one of the world’s major shipbuilders, Hyundai Mipo Dockyard (HMD), South Korea – adhered to all European standards.

“We’ve seen a growing trend among shipowners seeking this type of advisory service in relation to their build projects, which has opened doors to new roles for the Houlder team” says David Wing, Project Director at Houlder.

David continues “owners are increasingly requiring technical advice and guidance into the areas of projects that fall outside of their usual experience. This is where our passenger ship design and technical ship development experience comes into play. We find solutions to challenges to avoid costly delays and ensure the project is delivered smoothly. This includes posing the right questions to the shipyard and developing a trusting relationship between the owner and the shipyard – negotiating space for both parties to act in their own best interests.”

With the project commencing in 2020, COVID restrictions posed various obstacles, with fewer on-site visits taking place due to travel restrictions, and disruptions to typical communications – including the time difference between the UK and South Korea. These obstacles were overcome by Houlder through adjustments to how the team conveyed complex points, to avoid ambiguity, as well as finding new communications channels through which project discussions could take place.

Commenting on working with Houlder, Jim Royston, Fleet Operations Manager at IOMSPC said: “Throughout this project, Houlder has effectively integrated with the IOMSPC team, which has been hugely beneficial to this build. We last worked with Houlder on a newbuild back in the early 1990’s, and a lot has changed since then in terms of regulations and design standards. Through an in-depth understanding of our operations, Houlder has provided frictionless mediation between ourselves and HMD, offering constructive perspectives on challenges faced, and working proactively to minimise delays relating to class society approval. Essentially, it’s a service we didn’t know we needed, but one we’re incredibly grateful to now have access to.”

The vessel – Manxman – is currently docked and undergoing system fitting and sea trials, following an initial floating earlier this month.

For more information on the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, click here.

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