A photographic look back at some of the ferries which have operated to or within Northern Ireland, including those which operated both for present operators and those which no longer exist. Part 4 focuses on the Isle of Man Steam Packet and Seacat.
Tynwald Members are being presented with a ‘once-in-a-generation opportunity’ to take strategic control of the Island’s sea services on behalf of the nation. The Isle of Man Government has negotiated a deal to purchase the IoM Steam Packet Company.
Press release The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company has launched a public consultation as it considers operating services to and from the Port of Larne in Northern Ireland to help boost visitor and other traffic. The ferry company currently operates into Albert Quay, Belfast, but is investigating the merits of relocating to Larne, which could provide a service for heavier vehicles such as vans, motorhomes, coaches and freight that cannot be accommodated through Belfast. A professional research company has been engaged to conduct a public survey, which it is hoped people who have used the Douglas-Belfast route will respond to. The survey, which is open to all, is available online, with links shared from the Steam Packet Company’s social media channels and shared directly with some customers who have used the route. It can be viewed at www.islandglobalresearch.com/steampacketsurvey and is expected to run for three weeks. Isle of Man ... Read more
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
No additional vessel available during the Isle of Man TT races The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company (IOMSPCo) have announced that they are currently set to offer fewer sailings to the Isle of Man during next years TT racing season. This is due to P&O’s decision not to extend the charter of their fast craft Express, as reported earlier this month. In recent years IOMSPCo have sub-chartered Express from P&O to provide additional sailings to the Isle of Man during this peak period, departing to Douglas from P&O’s Larne port rather than the regular IOMSPCo port of Belfast. This news comes on the back of an announcement that visitor numbers arriving by ferry during the races where at their highest since 2007 this year. IOMSPCo however have said that they have approached several companies with a view to chartering vessels over the TT period, but so-far no vessels appear to be ... Read more