The Isles of Scilly Steamship Group has named French shipbuilder Piriou, based in Concarneau, Brittany, as its preferred shipbuilder to build and deliver two new vessels for the Group.
In April 2023, the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group announced a private financing solution for the replacement of its existing vessels and the intent to select a preferred shipyard. This announcement continues the next stage of the Group’s plan.
Piriou is a long-established shipbuilder with over 50 years’ experience building more than 600 vessels. It has over 1,400 skilled employees, including an in-house design team and production facilities in Europe, Africa, and Asia, and has an annual turnover of over €300m. Appointing Piriou comes after a long evaluation, technical questioning and site visits to France and Vietnam. The Isles of Scilly Steamship Group and Piriou will commence detailed design work with the intention of signing contracts in October 2023 for the new Scillonian IV passenger ship and a new cargo vessel to replace the current Gry Maritha.
Construction of both vessels will commence in Piriou’s Vietnam yard in spring 2024. The vessels will then be transferred to Piriou’s yard in France for commissioning and testing, ready for delivery ahead of the 2026 season. The project will be managed by the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group’s two on-site project managers to make sure that there is constant representation at the shipyard and to ensure that the build programme remains on budget and on time for delivery.
The new faster passenger ferry will be designed to provide passengers with greater comfort through improved stabilisation, accessibility and an overall enhanced experience, in line with feedback received during the Group’s consultation with visitors and residents on Scilly. The new cargo vessel will have increased freight capacity and provide comfortable transport for up to 12 passengers per sailing during the winter. Both vessels will use the latest propulsion technology with improved environmental credentials along with the capability to be upgraded as green technologies mature.
Stuart Reid, CEO Isles of Scilly Steamship Group said: “This is a big step forward and an important milestone for our vessel replacement programme, which will deliver new and improved vessels for the Isles of Scilly. The selection process started with over 30 shipyards which have been evaluated by our experienced project team. The project team, consisting of a mix of technical expertise, shipbuilding experience and the four masters of our current vessels, worked through a series of bids delivered by the shipyards. Visits took place to shortlisted shipyards to complete our extensive due diligence. The project team was unanimous in its decision to appoint Piriou as its preferred shipyard on the basis of experience, technical expertise in delivering specialist ferries and competitiveness.”
Isles of Scilly Steamship Group Chairman Ian Howard said: “Piriou has an excellent reputation for building both passenger ferries and cargo vessels. Its naval architects and senior management team have conducted multiple visits to Penzance and the Isles of Scilly and have a full understanding of the challenges of the route and infrastructure to support the new vessels. We are very excited to be working with Piriou and building vessels which will deliver significant service enhancements.”
Vincent Faujour, President Piriou shipyard said: “We are delighted and honoured to be named as the preferred shipyard by the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group for construction of its new passenger ferry Scillonian IV and new cargo vessel. As we have been building and maintaining lifeline ferries for decades, we know how important this project is for the communities depending on the sea link services to the Isles of Scilly. Working closely with the Group’s project team, our teams in Brittany and Vietnam are already fully dedicated to deliver to the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group the most suitable vessels, designed for rough seas, with increased comfort and a reduced environmental footprint. Finally, as Concarneau and Penzance have been twin towns since 1982, I must say it is a real pleasure to participate in a project that will strengthen the links between Cornwall and the Breton ‘Cornouaille’.”