Incat 96 metre for Isle of Man Steam Packet Co

Incat 050 purchased for Irish Sea Service

Incat welcomes news that long time operator of Incat vessels, the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, has purchased Incat 050 from Allco Finance Group for Irish Sea service.

The ship, which will be renamed, will replace a monohull fast craft and serve primarily the Liverpool – Douglas route. The 96 metre Wave Piercing Catamaran will be the largest diesel-powered high speed craft on the Irish Sea and will significantly enhance the service the Steam Packet can offer due to its faster cruising speed, greater vehicle and passenger capacity, freight backup capacity and increased levels of passenger comfort.

Isle of Man Steam Packet Chief Executive, Mark Woodward said: “The purchase is a real step forward for the Company and represents a significant investment, with a total project cost approaching £20 million. Over the past few years, we have looked at a number of possible vessels and we believe we have found the craft that most ideally meets our requirements for a versatile, high capacity vessel which is capable of serving our passengers expectations for increased comfort and reliability.”

A higher operational wave limit than the vessel she replaces will provide improved sea-keeping capability and its capacity to carry larger vehicles such as lorries and coaches will give the vessel far greater flexibility to meet the needs of the Isle of Man as well as providing additional cover for the Company’s core Ro-pax vessel.

Mr Woodward said: “The new ship will increase our capacity substantially. As well as comfortably exceeding the Company’s investment obligations under the User Agreement with the Isle of Man Government, it also reinforces the Company’s commitment to provide the highest quality service to the Manx community.”

In line with the Isle of Man Steam Packet’s strategy of improving customer service, the craft will have more space dedicated to passengers, and a wider range of facilities. An extensive structural refit to increase capacity from approximately 400 persons to more than 800 persons will be carried out by Burgess Marine with the full support of FSL in Portsmouth, UK.

The project has four key phases; a new aft accommodation module, a new sky lounge, a stern loading ramp, and a complete new interior including the overhaul of the existing passenger accommodation.

Nicholas Warren, Director of Burgess Marine comments: “This project is not only great news for the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, but also great news for Burgess Marine, FSL and Portsmouth. It firmly signifies that here in the UK we have the shipbuilding expertise to support such a major project on an aluminium fast ferry. As our business grows the two key partnerships with FSL and Incat are becoming increasingly critical; without these partnerships refits on this scale would not be possible”.

The new look craft, complete with a new Manx name, will be incorporated into the Steam Packet’s existing fleet for the beginning of the summer 2009 season.

Incat 050 was built in Tasmania in 1998 and after a period of commercial service in Australia & New Zealand, was chartered to the US Military for evaluation purposes in 2001. Because of its most recent use, it has significantly less hours of service than a vessel of comparable age, and is ideally suited for the substantial refit proposed to provide passengers with the best quality and up to date facilities which will equal or better anything found on similar vessels operating around the British Isles.