Stevedoring and ancillary services company Southern Maritime Services (SMS) has handled the unloading of a newly-built Gosport ferry at Portsmouth International Port (PIP).

The 250 tonnes vessel, named Harbour Spirit, was discharged after arriving on board the cargo ship Amoenitas from Croatia and was unloaded into the water before making the short crossing to her new home in Gosport.

She is similar in size and layout to the existing ferry fleet and will replace the 1966-built pair, MV Gosport Queen and MV Portsmouth Queen, on the route between Gosport and Portsmouth. Harbour Spirit will carry up to 300 passengers and will include more modern facilities and better cycle storage.

SMS Director Paul Kempton explained: “The new ferry was unloaded using ship’s cranes in a tandem heavy lift and required a precise and careful discharge operation. It was fitting that we were able to deliver the new ferry through Portsmouth utilising the port’s facilities and the expertise of local service companies.”

SMS is one of the leading stevedoring companies at PIP, including handling all the port’s cruise ship callers.