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
Public conformation that Express WILL be dropped from Larne-Troon at the end of this season. In an interview with the Larne Times, a P&O spokesperson has confirmed that the fast craft HSC Express will NOT have her charter renewed at the end of her current season, and that notice has already been given to the owners of the craft that this is the case. Express currently operates the seasonal service between Larne and Troon, as well as providing support to the Isle of Man Steam Packet during the TT racing season. This year marks the 15th year in a row that Express has been chartered by P&O, and her 10th operating on their North Channel services. Last week, NI Ferry Site published the news that staff and crew had been told that Express would not operate next year, however this interview provides public confirmation. As we stated last week, P&O maintain that they ... Read more
News has reached NIFS that in the past few days, P&O staff have been told by the company that the charter of HSC Express will NOT be renewed at the end of the current season in October, and is currently being offered for sale by her owners. This confirms previous speculation that Express was indeed up for sale. Officially speaking, P&O are searching for an alternative craft to operate the service from next season onwards, however, it is hard to see where such a craft would be available from given the declining numbers of fast craft in North European waters. The P&O Larne – Troon service is, of course, the last remaining fast craft service linking Northern Ireland and Scotland, with the only other fast craft serving Northern Ireland being the IOMSPCo InCat Manannan Picture credit: HSC Express. Copyright © Scott Mackey.
Due to ongoing technical problems with the fast craft Manannan, Isle of Man Steam Packet Company will be using P&O’s ‘Express‘ tomorrow morning. She will return to P&O for the evening sailing to Troon. She will leave Larne at 07:00 arriving in Douglas 09:45, departing Douglas 11:00 and returning to Larne at 13:45 in plenty of time for her 16:00 departure to Troon. Tomorrows Belfast – Douglas sailing is of course cancelled, as are Manannan’s Liverpool sailings. Liverpool passengers are being transferred to the Ben My Chree sailings from Heysham instead. Image: HSC Express. Copyright © Scott Mackey.