The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) temporarily granted Red Funnel and Wightlink ferry companies permission for all car ferry passengers to remain in their cars for the duration of the crossings to the Isle of Wight to support the government’s social distancing guidance in response to the coronavirus pandemic by allowing passengers to remain in vehicles on crossings.
Passengers can stay in their cars during two daily crossings each way between Southampton and East Cowes, while other scheduled sailings operate normally.
Vehicle space is offered on the 1800 and 2100 sailings from Southampton and‑ at 1930 and 2230 from East Cowes, but capacity is limited due to a need for greater space between vehicles to ensure there are adequate clear pathways.
All onboard catering services have been suspended for the foreseeable future. Both Red Funnel amd Wightlink are running a two-ship service due to the reduced demand for the car ferry crossings.
The photographs, by Phil Kempsey, show: Victoria of Wight (2018/8041 grt) leaving Southampton after refit on 6 March 2020, and Victoria of Wight’s empty lounges on a crossing from Portsmouth to Fishbourne.