The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company’s new vessel Manannan is in line for a top award.

The marine engineering company Burgess Marine, which carried out the refit on Manannan, has been shortlisted for the Queen's Award for Enterprise for the refit of the vessel in Portsmouth.

The 96-metre catamaran underwent a substantial refit and refurbishment which saw her benefit from additional and bespoke structural alterations creating an entirely new internal passenger layout.

Manannan was purchased in Tasmania and undertook a month-long 11,868 mile trip to Britain in July 2008. She entered service in May 2009 and had a highly successful and busy schedule during her debut TT period followed by an equally successful summer season.

She is the largest vessel of her type in the Irish Sea, significantly enhancing the Company’s service due to a faster cruising speed, greater vehicle, passenger and freight back-up capacity and increased levels of passenger comfort. The extensive work has included the construction of completely new aft accommodation in place of the existing military helipad, and a much enlarged skylounge on the top deck. New passenger areas include an entirely new bar and cinema lounges, all of which have contributed to the vessel’s increased seating capacity of more than 800 passengers. Since entering service Manannan has continued to attract positive comment from passengers and industry commentators alike.

Manannan was built in 1998 and served three years as a passenger and vehicle carrier in Australia and New Zealand, before being chartered to the US Military.

Nick Warren, Managing Director of Burgess Marine, said: ‘The project was totally innovative; it had never been done before. It was the world's largest fast ferry conversion. We increased passenger capacity by 125 per cent, and added 760 sq m to the ship. We basically converted it from a military role to a passenger one, and that's never been done with a fast craft before.’

Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘This is exciting news for the Island and all at the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, and I would like to thank all those involved in what has been an immense and challenging project. We are proud to be able to say that we have successfully completed the most extensive conversion of an aluminum vessel anywhere in the world. The design, construction and fit out of Manannan ensures that Islanders have the very best in fast craft services and I am delighted that this has been recognized by the nomination for the Queens Award for Enterprise.’

Winners will be announced on the Queen's birthday on April 21, and presented by the Queen's Lord Lieutenant.

Photo for PR149 Manannanin line for topaward FINAL300909