AN ISLE of Wight shipyard has joined forces with a new company set up to build the most capable and efficient explorer vessels on the market.

Arksen is developing, building and supporting semi-autonomous, hybrid explorer vessels, responsibly designed to have the least impact on the environment and take adventurers to the most inaccessible corners of the world’s oceans.

Wight Shipyard Co, based in East Cowes, has been appointed to develop the fleet of Arksen series vessels in a team also comprising fellow south coast businesses, Humphreys Yacht Design (exterior), and Design Unlimited (interior).

Peter Morton, chief executive of Wight Shipyard Co, said: "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.

“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 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 Arksen team first aims to develop a semi-autonomous, hybrid explorer concept vessel.

Arksen 85 will be the first in build with tank testing having already begun.

The team is hoping for a summer 2019 start date with a ten-month build schedule.

Wight Shipyard’s latest newbuild ferry delivered to the MBNA Thames Clipper is the yard’s seventh build in two years and features the very latest in cutting edge design.

Previous notable builds include the renovation of the historic motor yacht MY Shemara, Red Funnel’s Red Jet 6 and 7, another two MBNA Thames Clippers, Scotland’s Jacobite Cruises and TCL’s fast ferry.