The Solent's newest ferry has arrived in Southampton.

Red Kestrel, the newest addition to Red Funnel’s fleet, arrived this morning.

The new 74m freight-only ro-ro (roll on-roll off) vessel, sailed away from Cammell Laird’s Mersey shipyard last week, following 14-months in development.

Her arrival into the Solent was assisted by tug, Willpower, giving her crew a well-deserved rest following successful sea trails, and guaranteeing Red Kestrel’s safe, on-time arrival.

Fran Collins, CEO of Red Funnel, said, “We are all very excited to have welcomed Red Kestrel to her new home in Southampton ahead of her official naming ceremony next week.

“The addition of a new ship is always an exciting time for everyone at Red Funnel. We’re thrilled that not only will Red Kestrel increase our total capacity but will be Red Funnel's first dedicated Ro-Ro freight ship since the company’s inception almost 160 years ago.”

Red Kestrel will operate between Southampton and the Isle of Wight and will officially enter service in May.

As a freight vessel, she is limited to 12 passengers and constructed specifically to provide additional year-round freight capacity for Red Funnel’s Southampton to East Cowes route.

She will be officially named on Thursday at a ceremony to be attended by VIP guests, including Minister of State for Employment, Alok Sharma. Reverend Phillip Hand from St Michael’s in Southampton will be blessing Red Kestrel at the ceremony.

Photos by Alex Anderson, Maritime Filming UK