The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company is pleased to announce it has agreed to purchase a large fast craft vessel.

The ship, currently known as Incat 050, will replace our existing fast craft Viking and serve primarily the seasonal Liverpool – Douglas route. The 96 metre wave piercing catamaran will be the largest vessel of its type in the Irish Sea and will significantly enhance the service the Company can offer due to its faster cruising speed, greater vehicle and passenger capacity, freight backup capacity and increased levels of passenger comfort.

Chief Executive, Mark Woodward said: “The purchase is a real step forward for the Company and represents a significant investment, with a total project cost approaching £20 million. Over the past few years, we have looked at a number of possible vessels and we believe we have found the craft that most ideally meets our requirements for a versatile, high capacity vessel which is capable of serving our passengers expectations for increased comfort and reliability.”

A higher operational wave limit will provide improved sea-keeping capability and its capacity to carry larger vehicles such as lorries and coaches will give the vessel far greater flexibility to meet the needs of the Isle of Man as well as providing additional cover for our Ropax vessel Ben-my-Chree.

Mark said: “The new ship will increase our capacity substantially. As well as comfortably exceeding the Company’s investment obligations under the User Agreement with the Isle of Man Government, it also reinforces the Company’s commitment to provide the highest quality service to the Manx community.”

In line with the company’s strategy of improving customer service, the new vessel will have more space dedicated to passengers, and a wider range of facilities. The Company plans an extensive refit of the vessel and will extend the passenger accommodation before re-branding and giving it a new Manx name. It will be incorporated into the Company’s existing fleet for the beginning of the summer 2009 season.

Incat 050 was built in Tasmania in 1998 and after a short period of commercial service in Australia & New Zealand, was chartered to the US Military for evaluation purposes in 2001. Because of its most recent use, it has significantly less hours of service than a vessel of comparable age, and is ideally suited for the substantial refit proposed to provide passengers with the best quality and up to date facilities which will equal or better anything found on similar vessels operating around the British Isles.

 Incat 050 vs Viking

  Incat 050 Viking

Passenger Capacity



Vehicle Capacity



Freight Capacity

225+ lane metres


Wave Height Restriction



Service Speed

35 knots

32 knots