VT Halter Marine has launched the US Virginia Department of Transportation’s (VDOT) new ferry, named Powhatan.

The ferry was built as part of a contract awarded to VT Halter Marine in November 2016. The contract covered the design, construction and delivery of the vessel.

VDOT’s Jamestown-Scotland Ferry Service will operate Powhatan at Scotland Wharf in Surry County, Virginia.

Jamestown-Scotland Ferry System currently operates a fleet of four ferry boats, including Pocahontas, which was designed and built by VT Halter Marine, as well as delivered in 1995.

VDOT Hampton Roads District engineer Chris Hall said: “The launching of the Powhatan will add more capacity and travel time reliability for ferry passengers on both sides of the James River.”

Capable of carrying around 499 passengers and up to 70 vehicles, Powhatan will replace the Virginia vessel, which was built in 1936.

Measuring 270ft x 65ft x 15ft in size, Powhatan is designed to accommodate 150 of its total passengers in the passenger cabin located on the upper deck.

“The launching of the Powhatan will add more capacity and travel time reliability for ferry passengers.”

Powhatan is also developed and certified in accordance with the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) Rules for Building and Classing Steel Vessels for Service on Rivers and Intracoastal Waterways, US 46 CFR, Subchapter H, Passenger Vessels.

The vessel complies with the accessibility requirements of the Proposed Accessibility Guidelines for Passenger Vessels, United States Access Board.

VT Halter Marine CEO Ronald Baczkowski said: “We hope that the Powhatan delivers many years of great performance on par with the prior ferry, the Pocahontas that we had designed, built and delivered in 1995.”

VT Halter Marine is the marine operations of Vision Technologies Systems (VT Systems) and is specialised in the design and construction of medium-sized ships in the US.