One of Red Funnel’s foot passenger vessels – Red Jet 4 – will not return to service, following a passenger decline and cost concerns, the Isle of Wight ferry firm has confirmed.

Red Jet 4, built by North West Bay Ships in Tasmania in 2003, with capacity for 271 seated passengers and up to four crew, has been out of action since the end of 2023.

Earlier this week, the County Press revealed the vessel was up for sale.

The cross-Solent operator said it had only ‘partially renewed’ the boat’s certification and was prioritising the Cowes to Southampton route’s remaining Red Jet vessels.

In an update today (Thursday, March 21), the Red Funnel CEO, Fran Collins, has confirmed that Red Jet 4 will never serve the Solent route again.

Isle of Wight County Press: Red Jet 4Red Jet 4

Now two decades old, the vessel will not return due to 'economical' concerns and the firm’s priority on ensuring the reliability and punctuality of Red Jets 6 and 7.

Fran Collins also shared that the Red Jet service has seen a 'near 30 per cent drop in passenger volumes since 2019', which, coupled with ‘rising overheads’, makes Red Jet 4 unsustainable.

Red Jet 6 is currently operational, while Red Jet 7 is undergoing essential repairs to her propulsion system – with the cross-Solent operator aiming to have the ferry back in service ‘within days’.

The announcement comes after the resignation of eight directors at the company and follows major disruption with both Red Jet and the East Cowes to Southampton vehicle ferry service.

The disruption led to customers and politicians slamming the service.

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As previously reported by the County Press, Red Jet 4 has had interest from ‘other operators’.

A listing on website shows a catamaran with redacted branding for sale through broker Lager Maritime Corp.

It is on the market for $3.15 million.

A temporary timetable is in place on the Red Jet until at least Friday.

Red Jet 6 has resumed a one-boat service on the route, with additional sailings operated by Blue Funnel.