Ferry News

WESTPAC EXPRESS confirmed as the new Dublin to Holyhead fast-craft.

Sale of JONATHAN SWIFT agreed. 

In an announcement this morning, Irish Continental Group have stated that the Irish Ferries Austal AutoExpress catamaran JONATHAN SWIFT has been sold to Balearia Eurolineas Maritimas S.A (Balearia) for €15.5m.  The sale means that WESTPAC EXPRESS, which is currently being refurbished at Belfast’s Harland & Wolff, will replace her on the Dublin to Holyhead route.  With the value of JONATHAN SWIFT having already been written down, it means ICG will generate a book profit of €14m.  However, it would appear that ICG have made around €3m profit in the transactions of acquiring WESTPAC EXPRESS and selling JONATHAN SWIFT before charter income from the former is considered.  WESTPAC EXPRESS was purchased for US$13.25m in April 2016, and is a larger craft than the one she replaces.  Crucially she can carry 16 HGV’s in a drive-through loading configuration, something the vessel she replaces cannot offer.  It has been reported that JONATHAN SWIFT will be delivered to her new owners by the end of this coming April.

UPDATE 8/3/18:  Irish Continental Group have stated in their annual results for 2017, released today, that WESTPAC EXPRESS will be renamed HSC DUBLIN SWIFT

WESTPAC EXPRESS arrives in Belfast for conversion into a civilian ferry at Harland & Wolff on 14/01/18. Copyright © Scott Mackey.
WESTPAC EXPRESS arrives in Belfast for conversion into a civilian ferry at Harland & Wolff on 14/01/18. Copyright © Scott Mackey.

The Irish Ferries announcement is reproduced in full below:

Released : 30 Jan 2018 07:00

Sale of Jonathan Swift

ICG announces that it has entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (“MOA”) for the sale of the High Speed Craft “Jonathan Swift” to Balearia Eurolineas Maritimas S.A.

The agreed consideration of €15.5 million less brokers commission is payable in cash on delivery less a 10% deposit to be held in escrow. The vessel is to be delivered by the end of April 2018.

The “Jonathan Swift” which was commissioned by and delivered to ICG in 1999 and has since operated on the company’s Dublin – Holyhead route. This vessel will be replaced in our fleet by the 2001 built High Speed Craft “Westpac Express”, which was recently redelivered following a period of twenty months on external charter. She is currently undergoing a refurbishment programme to bring her up to Irish Ferries passenger service standards.

The “Jonathan Swift” was delivered to the group in 1999 at a cost of €38.8m. The disposal will generate a book profit for ICG of approximately €14.0m.

The proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes.


Title picture: JONATHAN SWIFT.  Copyright © Scott Mackey.

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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