Momentous moment in South Korea as keel laid for new flagship vessel


An official ceremony has been held in South Korea to mark the beginning of the formal construction of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company’s new flagship ferry, Manxman.

The keel-laying ceremony, which traditionally invites good luck in the construction of a ship and throughout her life, took place at Hyundai Mipo Dockyard in Ulsan on Christmas Eve.

Attended by project managers, Naval architects and surveyors working on the vessel, alongside officials from the shipyard, the milestone event saw the first block of the ship lowered into the building dock and a coin placed under the keel.

The centuries-old tradition is also said to bring luck to the captain and crew during the life of the ship.

Manxman, which is due to replace the Ben-my-Chree when she comes into service in 2023, will be able to carry 949 passengers and have 495m² additional space for freight and vehicles.

Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Managing Director Brian Thomson said: ‘The laying of the keel is one of the most significant dates in that ship’s life and, in effect, marks her birth.

‘Not only was it wonderful to mark such a significant landmark and hold a ceremony respecting maritime custom but it also signifies that after years of careful planning, along with plate and panel work and block construction in recent months, the construction of Manxman can now begin in earnest.

‘The project team is working incredibly hard and, as a Company, we are looking to the future with anticipation and excitement as we keep the Island community up-to-date with the progress.’

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