With more than 10,000 miles already under her belt, the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company’s latest recruit is scheduled to arrive in Portsmouth tomorrow.
Incat 050 left Valetta in Malta on Sunday on the final leg of her voyage from Tasmania.
The vessel, which will replace Viking, primarily serving the Liverpool-Isle of Man route, visited Fremantle in Australia, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia and Port Said on the Suez Canal during its delivery voyage.
Once in Portsmouth, the vessel will go to the FSL Naval Dock Yard for a substantial refit, ahead of entering service in 2009.
Chief Executive Mark Woodward flew out to meet the Incat 050 when it arrived at the Suez Canal and is delighted that Manx primary schools have been charting the vessel’s progress, contacting the ship by email and satellite phone to put questions to the crew.
“It’s been an incredible journey for all those involved,” said Mr Woodward. “Thankfully, the voyage has, so far, passed without any major incidents and that is, in part, down to the careful planning that we undertook in the weeks between securing the purchase and embarking on the voyage to Portsmouth.
“We did have to make an unscheduled stop in Gibraltar to pick up some consumables that weren’t ready to be collected in Malta. But with the end now in sight, everyone is just hoping for a smooth transit on the last part of our journey into Portsmouth.”
Incat 050 was built in Tasmania in 1998 and served three years as a passenger and vehicle carrier in Australia and New Zealand, before being chartered to the US Military.
The 96-metre wave-piercing catamaran will be the largest vessel of its type in the Irish Sea, significantly enhancing the service the Company can offer due to its faster cruising speed, greater vehicle and passenger capacity, freight back-up capacity and increased levels of passenger comfort.