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Wednesday, March 20, 2019 

UK shipbuilder Wight Shipyard is becoming involved with a new company set up to build the most capable and efficient explorer vessels in this growing market.

Arksen is developing, building and supporting semi-autonomous, hybrid explorer vessels, responsibly designed from the ground up to have the least impact on the environment when travelling to remote corners of the world’s oceans. Wight Shipyard has been appointed to develop the Arksen series vessels, including the Arksen 70, Arksen 85 and Arksen 100, in a team comprising fellow south coast businesses Humphreys Yacht Design (exterior) and Design Unlimited (interior).

“Ship building on the Isle of Wight goes back hundreds of years. The Isle of Wight builds the finest aluminium vessels in the world and this explorer yacht range fits perfectly alongside our high-speed ferry building operation,” said Peter Morton, CEO Wight Shipyard.

“My aim with Arksen is first and foremost to develop exceptional products to the highest build standards with their full lifecycle in mind; from sourcing to recycling at end of life. We share similar values with Arksen, so are delighted that we will build these forward-thinking explorer vessels with them. This project will be a great boost for the Marine manufacturing businesses on the Isle of Wight.”

The first Arksen to be built will be the semi-autonomous, hybrid explorer Arksen 85. Tank testing has begun, and the team is hoping for a Summer 2019 start date with a 10-month build schedule. Part of the conccept involves Arksen owners committing to donate 10% of seagoing time to the Arksen Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation set up to provide project funding, facilitate scientific research and create innovative media to inspire a greater understanding of the fragility of the ocean.

Arksen is the brainchild of UK based tech entrepreneur and investor Jasper Smith who has set his sights on the marine industry. “We are working closely with Wight to design and build vessels to be the best in class in efficiency and fuel economy, as well as understand the procurement process and the supply chain for the components that we use in and during construction to ensure the vessels are fully recyclable at the end of their life,” said Smith. “This cradle to grave approach is one that we believe will be common place in the industry within the next 10 years, but we are proud to be pioneering it with our suppliers.”

As a leading high-speed craft and aluminium ship builder Wight Shipyard has recorded success in the fast ferry sector since its inception, delivering high-performance designs and comfortable passenger accommodation in fuel-efficient hull forms. Its latest newbuild, recently delivered to MBNA Thames Clipper, is the yard’s seventh build in two years. Previous notable builds include the renovation of the historic motor yacht MY Shemara, Red Funnel’s Red Jet 6 & 7, another two MBNA Thames Clippers, Scotland’s Jacobite Cruises and TCL’s Fast ferry.

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