Vessel Profile: Spirit of Rathlin

Spirit of Rathlin departing Wiklow. Courtesy of AMS.

Profile of the Rathlin Island passenger and vehicle ferry SPIRIT OF RATHLIN. Includes an overview of her history, technical specifications, and photographs.

Stena Europe | Stena Line

STENA EUROPE at Rosslare, 01.06.23. Image: © Gordon Hislip.

Stena Line’s Stena Europe is a Swedish-built multipurpose ferry which normally serves the route between Fishguard and Rosslare.

Master Jet (ex Seacat Isle of Man / Snaefell)

SNAEFELL captured arriving in Belfast on July 4th 2008. Copyright © Alan Geddes.

The 2nd of Hoverspeed’s 5 74m “Seacat” car carrying catamarans was built by International Catamarans (InCat) in Australia and launched as Hoverspeed France on April 28th 1990.  Despite being hull number 26, she was launched some months before hull 23 (Seacat Tasmania), but 3 months after hull 25 (Hoverspeed Great Britain).   All 5 of these “SeaCat” vessels where built to the same “Mark 1” design and specification, with a further 4 built afterwards for other operators to modified specifications.  4 out of the 5 original 74m long Seacat’s would operate from Belfast over the years, with the only craft never to operate from the port being that launched as Seacat Tasmania. InCat 026, in common with the other original Hoverspeed ‘SeaCat’s’ was well-travelled over the years.  While initially she operated on Hoverspeed’s own English Channel services from July 1991, she was chartered out to Sardinia Express (and renamed Sardegna Express) the following June.  However, that charter … Read more

A Look Inside: Stena Lagan visit, 2/11/15

Stena Lagan, alongside VT2, Belfast. Viewed from the freight yard at VT2. Taken following a visit to Stena Lagan on 2nd November 2015. With many thanks to Captain Stephen Millar for his hospitality.

Having been invited aboard by Senior Master, Captain Stephen Millar, I boarded the Stena Lagan on a bright November afternoon with my companion for the visit, Scott Mackey, passing a very full looking Stena Performer berthed at VT1. After introducing ourselves at the guest services desk in the lobby, we were escorted to the crew quarters by the Chief Officer in order to meet Captain Millar. After coffee in the tidy and modern looking crew mess area, we joined Captain Millar on the bridge. I am still taken aback by how spacious the bridges on these modern vessels are compared to the older generations! Captain Millar is certainly very knowledgeable and experienced, and was only too happy to talk about his experiences on his current ship and others. We spotted Stena Superfast VIII swinging off her berth at VT4, and having seen our attempts to take some photos through the … Read more

Stena Mersey, an onboard tour in photographs – July 2015

Stena Mersey stern view with ramps lowered, Victoria Terminal 2, Belfast. © Steven Tarbox

A walk through Stena Mersey recorded in photographs, starting upon entering the main vehicle deck and walking towards the bow end of the passenger accommodation on deck 5, finishing with a view of the bridge on deck 7.  All pictures unless otherwise stated were taken onboard Stena Mersey during her Monday layover in Belfast during July 2015, and are © Copyright Steven Tarbox/NIFerrySite unless otherwise stated.  This page is extremely image heavy and so may take a while to load on slower connections.  There are plans to eventually replace this page as part of a wider rebuild of galleries across this site, which should improve loading times.  2014’s interior gallery is archived here for those who wish to compare. Since this onboard tour was photographed, the Stena Plus lounge on both STENA LAGAN and STENA MERSEY has been relocated.  Photographs of the improved Stena Plus lounge and the area occupied by … Read more

Vessel Profile: MV CANNA

Canna. Courtesy of the Department for Infrastructure (DFI).

Canna Introduction CANNA was the 7th of 8 island class vehicle and passenger ferries built to operate lifeline services to the Hebrides for Caledonian MacBrayne.  The island class design was by Burness Corlett, and based on that of a military landing craft.  The vessels are notable for lowering their ramps whilst still approaching the slipway.  This is to avoid grounding the shallow-draughted vessel and is possible due to the 2-stage folding action of the ramp itself.  When the ramp is deployed only the rearmost section lowers until it contacts the slipway.  The front section of the ramp then unfolds allowing vehicles and passengers to disembark. Prior to entering service between Ballycastle and Rathlin Island, CANNA had a varied career in Scottish waters.  She replaced her sister ship BRUERNISH on the Rathlin Island route in April 1997. In 2017 CANNA was replaced by the purpose-built SPIRIT OF RATHLIN after almost 20 years of unbroken service … Read more

Seacat Danmark | Former SeaCat Ferry

Hoverspeeds 4th Seacat vessel, Seacat Danmark, pictured in Dover

Seacat Danmark (also known as Golden Blaze,  Zara Jet, Pescara Jet, SeaCatamaran Danmark, Hoverspeed Boulogne, Hoverspeed Belgium) The 4th and final but one of Hoverspeed’s 74m “Seacat” car carrying catamarans built by International Catamarans (InCat) in Australia, was launched as SEACAT BELGIUM on February 15th 1991.  All 5 of these vessels where built to the same “Mark 1” design and specification, with a further 4 built afterwards for other operators to modified specifications. SEACAT BELGIUM commenced service on the 18th of March 1992 between Dover and Calais/Boulogne having been renamed HOVERSPEED BOULOGNE.  On April 11th 1992 she moved to inaugurate the new Folkestone to Boulogne route, where she stayed until she moved to the North Channel in April 1993 to operate between Belfast and Stranraer. In May 1993 she was again renamed, this time to SEACATAMARAN DANMARK, and moved to Scandinavia to operate between Fredrikshavn and Gothenburg.  However, due to ice she could … Read more