Ferry News

New Isle of Man Ferry MANXMAN Takes to the Water

The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company’s new ferry MANXMAN was floated out in Korea last week. The 133m long ship will replace the BEN-MY-CHREE next year, relegating that ship to backup duties.

MANXMAN will have capacity to carry 949 passengers, 319 more than BEN-MY-CHREE. The Diesel-electric hybrid powered ship will also have twice as many cabins and “enhanced” passenger facilities compared to the ship she replaces. 

Despite only being 8 metres longer than the older ship, due to the constraints of Douglas harbour, MANXMAN will also offer increased freight capacity.

Video showing the hull of MANXMAN nearing completion with the Wärtsilä main engines being lifted into place. Isle of Man Steam Packet Company.

The ferry, which is the Steam Packet’s first new-build since BEN-MY-CHREE was delivered in 1998, was designed by U.K.-based Houlder and builder Hyundai Mipo Dockyard (HMD). 

The Steam Packet’s relationship with Houlder goes back over 20 years to when the architect was involved in the BEN-MY-CHREE project in its previous guise as Hart Fenton.

Houlder also designed the conversion of the Steam Packet’s catamaran MANANNAN from a military vessel.

From keel laying to floating out in just over four months

Construction of MANXMAN, for which steel-cutting only began last August, has been swift.

Steel cutting for the ship which would become MANXMAN starts on the 20 August 2021. Image: Isle of Man Steam Packet.
Steel cutting for the ship which would become MANXMAN starts on the 20 August 2021. Image: Isle of Man Steam Packet.

The keel was laid on Friday 24 December 2021 with the laying of the first of 36 “mega” blocks. 

These prefabricated steel sections were all constructed prior to the keel laying and are pre-painted in Steam Packet livery ready for welding together. 

A video showing the construction of one of the “mega blocks” used to build MANXMAN. Isle of Man Steam Packet.

By the end of January, all four main engines had been delivered from Europe and installed as well as other large machinery such as sewage treatment plants and the main switchboards.

MANXMAN is now complete up to the bottom of her upper vehicle deck, and completion of the superstructure is expected to be swift.  As can be seen in the below simulation video, the majority of blocks have already been assembled together to form the hull.

Once the superstructure is complete final fitting out will take place before the vessel is delivered to the Steam Packet in time for entering service next spring.  

The project is being managed and supervised on IOMSOCo’s behalf by Sea Quest Marine who have a presence at HMD in Korea. 

One of four Wärtsilä 31 main engines is lowered into the hull of MANXMAN. Image: Isle of Man Steam Packet.
One of four Wärtsilä 31 main engines is lowered into the hull of MANXMAN. Image: Isle of Man Steam Packet.

Interior design is being looked after by London-based SMC Design. Their previous projects include cruise ships and the DFDS Dover refits.  SMC is also overseeing the acquisition of specially curated art collection for MANXMAN. 

The new ship will be classed by Lloyds.

Steven Tarbox

Steven is a former retail professional and a ferry writer and photographer. He created NI Ferry Site as a web design project in 2014 to be a news and information source for everyone with an interest in ferries, with a particular focus on Northern Ireland. Steven is the editor of the website and looks after all of the technical aspects.
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