Seacat Danmark | Former SeaCat Ferry

By: Steven Tarbox
Last updated:
Hoverspeeds 4th Seacat vessel, Seacat Danmark, pictured in Dover
SEACAT DANMARK pictured in Dover's Western Docks. She was the vessel which re-establieshed the short-lived Belfast to Heysham car and passenger service. Copyright © Scott Mackey

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 not operate past February 1994. This meant that she was designated as the vessel to cover the other Seacats during refit periods, a role she performed every year up until 1997. and so she returned to Folkestone to again operate to Boulogne until mid-March 1994.  A further name change to SEACAT DANMARK occurred for her return to the Fredrikshavn – Gothenburg route, which she operated from mid-March until the end of the following January (1995).  This time however SEACAT DANMARK did not return to Boulogne, instead going back to Belfast to cover the Stranraer service for a few days at the end of February.  From March 1995 right through to September 1996 SEACAT DANMARK returned to her Scandinavian route, operating for Color Seacat from March 1996 with an adjusted route of Gothenburg – Fredrikshavn-Langesund.

Postcard showing SEACATAMARAN DANMARK Danmark in Gothenburg. She was better known in our waters as SEACAT DANMARK
Postcard showing SEACATAMARAN DANMARK Danmark in Gothenburg. She was better known in our waters as SEACAT DANMARK

Her main stint in our waters then followed, when she ran a service between Belfast and Heysham in Lancashire in September 1996, an operation run by Sea Containers Ferries (Scotland).  SEACAT DANMARK moved back down to the English channel to operate Dover-Calais between January and March 1997, with her home port changed to Newhaven in February that year.  Another return to her Scandinavian route between March and June followed, after which she was laid up in Belfast.  She returned to service in August operating Belfast-Stranraer, before moving to the IOMSPCo routes from Douglas to Belfast, Liverpool, and Dublin.  From the end of March 1999 to the end of March 2000, SEACAT DANMARK operated from Belfast again.  This time she operated to both Heysham and Douglas.

Official Color Line postcard of SEACAT DANMARK (front) and SEACAT NORGE from when the vessels operated on charter together in Scandinavia.
Official Color Line postcard of SEACAT DANMARK (front) and SEACAT NORGE from when the vessels operated on charter together in Scandinavia.

SEACAT DANMARK final stint in Scandinavia took place between the end of March 2000 and mid-August 2000, this time for fellow Sea Containers company Silja Line, on her usual route.  She then had another brief spell operating between Dover and Calais until she was sold in April 2004 to a company called Seacat 2 (a partnership between Sea Containers and SNAV) and renamed PESCARA JET.  Mediteranean operator SNAV then took her on charter until 2007 when they purchased her outright.  She was briefly renamed ZARA JET in 2005, before reverting to PESCARA JET in 2006.  PESCARA JET was sold on to Golden Blaze of Greece in 2011 and renamed GOLDEN BLAZE.  Most recently she was sold again in 2014 to Colonia Express of Uruguay and renamed ATLANTIC EXPRESS.  From early 2015 she has operated from Colonia to Buenos Aries, a route in which she competes with her part sister ship Atlantic III operating for Buquebus.

Technical Data

 Current Name

Atlantic Express

IMO Number




Building Yard

InCat Tasmania Pty Ltd., Hobart, Tasmania

Hull Number


Year Completed


Owner (in NI Service)

Sea Containers

Operator (in NI Service)

Sea Containers Ferries (Scotland)/Isle of Man Steam Packet


Det Norske Veritas – DNV +1A1 HSLC R1 Car Ferry “A” EO NAUT B
In service (original)


Call sign (in UK service)


Length overall





Gross Tonnage



Design – Two slender, aluminum hulls connected by two main bridging beams and intermediate transverse sections with centre bow structure at fwd end.

Subdivision – Each hull is divided into vented watertight compartments divided by transverse bulkheads. One compartments in each hull prepared as short- range fuel tanks and one as a long-range fuel tank.

Fabrication – Welded aluminium construction using longitudinal stiffeners supported by transverse web frames and bulkheads.


Main Engines – 4 x resiliently mounted Ruston 16RK270 marine diesel engines at 4050 kW each.

Water Jets – 4 x Lips LJ115DX. Two waterjets configured for steering and reverse.

Transmission – direct drive.

Ride Control – A ‘Maritime Dynamics’ active ride control system is fitted to maximise passenger comfort. The system combines active trim tabs aft and optional T-foil with active fins located at the forward end of each hull.

Alternator – 4 x Caterpillar 3306 142kw (nominal) marine, brushless, self- excited alternators



Speed (Max/Operational)



450 passengers and 84 cars.
Cargo Access

Bow door/visor and stern doors leading directly onto the car deck

Flag (whilst serving NI)

Bahamas (Nassau)/UK (Newhaven)/UK (Liverpool)


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