FerriesInternational Catamarans (Incat)Isle of Man Steam Packet Company (IoMSPCo)Past and Present

HSC Manannan (Incat 050) – Past and Present

IMO Number: 9176072

HSC Manannan

ex Incat 050, HSV-X1 Joint Venture

© Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

© Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

Aluminium ‘Incat 96’ Catamaran built in 1998 by Incat Australia Pty Ltd, Hobart, Australia  (Yard No. 050) for as a car and passenger ferry for Incat Chartering Pty Ltd, Hobart, Australia

Technical Data

  • Length: 95.47m (Overall( 86.00m (Waterline)
  • Breadth: 26.58m
  • Draught: 3.67m (Max)
  • Tonnage: 5029 – 5743 gross/2057 net/800 deadweight
  • Engines: 4 x Caterpillar 3618 marine diesel
  • Power: 28800 kW.
  • Speed: @ Lightship condition 50+ knots Speed with deadweight @800 t – 37.5 knots
  • Capacity: 600 – 363 – 600 total persons including crew/ 330 truck lane metres at 2.7m wide, 370 car lane metres
  • Call Sign: 2BXK7
  • IMO Number: 9176072
  • MMSI Number: 235070199
  • DNV id Number: 20065
  • Official Number: 740844
  • Registry: Nassau/Bahamas 🇧🇸, United States of America 🇺🇸, Nassau/Bahamas 🇧🇸, Douglas/Isle of Man 🇮🇲
  • Sister ships: Artemis (051), Villa De Agaete (052), Bencomo (053), Bentago (055), Volcan De Teno (056)

Current AIS Location

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January 19th 1998: Keel struck.

November 7th 1998: Launched.

November 14th 1998 – November 15th 1998: Trials

November 1998: Delivered to Incat Chartering Pty Ltd, Hobart, Australia.

December 10th 1998 – April 18th 1999: Chartered to Transport Tasmania, Melbourne for services Port Melbourne – Georgetown. Marketed as “DEVIL CAT”.

© Glenn Towler

© Glenn Towler

May 1999: Chartered to Fast Cat Ferries.

May 10th 1999: Services Wellington – Picton and marketed as TOP CAT.

November 3rd 2000: Ceased services and sailed to Hobart for lay-up.

July 24th 2001: Chartered to the United States Department of Defense (DoD) and renamed HSV-X1 JOINT VENTURE (High Speed Vessel – Experimental 1). The vessel was to be jointly operated by the US Navy and US Army (hence ‘Joint Venture’) as a testbed for future uses within the United States armed services. Trials were to include rapid sealift capability, air operations, small boat operations, special forces operations and mine countermeasure operations. Due to the vessels shallow draft she was able to enter shallow waters, an area a traditional vessel couldn’t reach.

To make her more suitable for her future roll a large section of the original passenger accommodation area was removed to make way for the installation of a helo-deck capable of accommodating large military helicopters. A large quarter ramp was also fitted to enable large military vehicles to be embarked plus the internal fit-out was modified to suit troop transportation.

© Incat

A stern view showing the extensive modifications made, including a flight deck and quarter ramp © Incat

September 11th 2001: HSV-X1 Joint Venture departed Tasmanian waters just as the twin towers of the World Trade Center fell in New York. The ship which had been chartered for experimental purposes did participate in a number of exercises and experiments but quite quickly went into service in the “War against Terrorism”.

© Incat  © Incat

© Incat

March 20th 2003: Took part in the opening stages of “Operation Iraqi Freedom” entering the shallow waters of the Persian Gulf, near the southern Iraqi port of Umm Qasr, acting as an afloat forward staging base for Marine Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Teams and Navy SEAL commandos.

August 14th 2003: Arrived in Hobart, Tasmania for a maintenance period.

© Glenn Towler

© Glenn Towler

2006: Registered to HSV 050 Residuals Pty Ltd, Sydney, Australia.

2008: Charter completed. Returned to Australia and renamed INCAT 050.

May 19th 2008: Sold to Isle Of Man Steam Packet, Douglas, Isle Of Man.



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 rebranding 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.

Source: The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

© Glenn Towler

© Glenn Towler (Hobart, 17/06/2008)

June 24th 2008: Left Hobart via Fremantle – Colombo Jeddah – Suez – Valletta – Gibraltar for Portsmouth.

July 16th 2008: Arrived in Portsmouth for major rebuilding/refurbishment work by Burgess Marine at the Fleet Support Limited (FSL) shipyard within HMNB Portsmouth.

© Chris Hunsicker

© Chris Hunsicker (Portsmouth harbour, 26/07/2008)

“An extensive structural refit to increase capacity from approximately 400 persons to more than 800 persons will be carried out by Burgess Marine with the full support of FSL in Portsmouth, UK.

The project has four key phases; a new aft accommodation module, a new sky lounge, a stern loading ramp, and a complete new interior including the overhaul of the existing passenger accommodation.

Nicholas Warren, Director of Burgess Marine comments: “This project is not only great news for the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, but also great news for Burgess Marine, FSL and Portsmouth. It firmly signifies that here in the UK we have the shipbuilding expertise to support such a major project on an aluminium fast ferry. As our business grows the two key partnerships with FSL and Incat are becoming increasingly critical; without these partnerships refits on this scale would not be possible”.

The new look craft, complete with a new Manx name, will be incorporated into the Steam Packet’s existing fleet for the beginning of the summer 2009 season.”

Source: Incat

Before Rebuild

© Incat

After Rebuild

© Incat

May 2009: Renamed MANANNAN.

Soon after arrival in the UK, the Steam Packet Company’s CEO Mark Woodward announced the vessel’s new name; Manannan, reflecting on the company’s desire to focus on its Manx heritage while sharing in the mystique of the God of the Sea and protector of the Isle of Man.

Given the comprehensive nature of the refit, the Manannan has been completely updated to ensure that she complies with the most up-to-date safety requirements. The wide-ranging refit has been particularly challenging and the project team has successfully implemented solutions to a number of technical issues. Recognising the challenges it faced during the course of the project, the Isle of Man Steam Packet has applied significant resource and relevant expertise to the refit to bring the vessel into service in time for the busy Manx TT Race season and summer period.

With the full support of Incat, over 90% of the materials used in the project had been loaded onboard in Hobart and travelled to Portsmouth with the vessel. The car deck, swiftly converted in to a workshop, suited prefabrication perfectly. As BVT Portsmouth delivered the portal steel deck supports and cross-tie sections Burgess Marine secured these in place and began the installation of the aft accommodation block in its prefabricated modules.

On 1st May 2009 the Manannan left Portsmouth for sea trials off the Isle of Wight. Having removed 45 tonne of weight in the form of the heavy duty tank loading ramp and helicopter landing pad, then added over 760 sq metres of passenger accommodation the vessel made her operational speed with ease. Shortly thereafter the conversion was completed both on time and within budget. The Manannan subsequently left Portsmouth for the Isle of Man where she will now proudly serve the Isle of Man Steam Packet Co as the flagship passenger vessel.

Mark Woodward confirms the Manannan is scheduled to enter service on the Douglas – Liverpool route on 22nd May. “Forward bookings for this year’s busy TT Race season are up on last year and with the Manannan’s extra capacity, the company will be able to accommodate extra last-minute bookings over the TT period,” he said.

Source: Incat

© Isle of Man Steam Packet Company  © Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

© Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

May 10th 2009 – May 11th 2009: Portsmouth to Douglas.

May 22nd 2009: Services Douglas – Liverpool.

© Alan Geddes

© Alan Geddes (Belfast, 26/10/2010)

© Robert Foy  © Robert Foy

© Robert Foy

© Robert Foy (Liverpool, 16/06/2012)

© Alan Geddes

© Alan Geddes (Belfast, 15/07/2012)

March 23rd 2016: Made heavy contact with the Victoria Pier in Douglas Harbour on arrival from Liverpool at 22:30. Five passengers were taken to hospital with minor injuries and the following day’s sailings were cancelled with passengers being transferred to the Ben-my-Chree. The vessel suffered damage to the port side, causing the front of the hull to be bent to the left. The collision was attributed to a systems control failure.

© Malcolm Cranfield

© Malcolm Cranfield (Liverpool, 11/08/2018)

October 12th 2019: Suffered engine failure in one of her four engines.

October 14th 2019 – October 15th 2019: Services running on three engines until fourth repaired.

“In summer season, she operates daily sailings from Douglas to Liverpool, and weekly/twice weekly sailings to Belfast and Dublin. During the winter, Manannan remains in Douglas on reserve and sails to Liverpool to have her annual overhaul before returning for the summer season.”

© Robbie Cox  © Robbie Cox

© Robbie Cox

© Robbie Cox (Dublin, 28/05/2023)

© Luke Wilson

© Luke Wilson (River Lagan, Belfast 09/08/2023)

September 15th 2023:

“Damage to one of the Manannan’s engines has led to the rescheduling of sailings between the Isle of Man and Liverpool, the ferry operator has said.

The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company said the engine would require a “full rebuild” and the vessel would continue to run on three for the rest of 2023.”.

October 29th 2023: Came off service at Douglas.

December 1st 2023: Left Douglas for Liverpool.

December 1st 2023: Arrived Birkenhead for extended refit.

© Robert Foy © Robert Foy © Robert Foy

© Robert Foy (Birkenhead, 01/12/2023)

December 17th 2023: Left dry-dock and moved to Liverpool Pier Head.

© Ian Collard

© Ian Collard (Liverpool, 17/12/2023)

December 19th 2023: Moved to Tranmere.

January 14th 2024: Returned to Liverpool.

January 15th 2024: To Tranmere Basin and laid up.

March 12th 2024: Due berthing trials at the new Steam Packet terminal, Liverpool but berthed at the Steam Packet berth at the Pier Head.

© Ian Collard

© Ian Collard (Liverpool, 12/03/2024)

March 13th 2024: Berthing trials at the new Steam Packet terminal, Liverpool.

© Ian Collard

© Ian Collard (Liverpool, 13/03/2024)

© Robert Foy © Robert Foy © Robert Foy

© Robert Foy (Liverpool Waterloo Lock RORo Terminal, 13/o3/2024)

March 13th 2024: Sailed to Douglas.

© Steam Packet © Steam Packet © Steam Packet © Steam Packet                                                                                © Steam Packet

🆕 © Steam Packet

March 21st 2024: Left Douglas and sailed to Dublin before returning to Douglas.

March 22nd 2024: Took up service Douglas – Liverpool/Belfast.

© Trevor Kidd © Trevor Kidd © Trevor Kidd © Trevor Kidd © Trevor Kidd                                                                                                                © Trevor Kidd

🆕 © Trevor Kidd (Belfast, 03/04/2024)

All information is believed to be correct and no responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions. All items included in this article are subject to © copyright. We would like to take this opportunity of thanking: Incat, The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, Ian  Collard, Robbie Cox, Malcolm Cranfield, Robert Foy, Alan Geddes, Chris Hunsicker, Trevor Kidd, Glenn Towler, Luke Wilson and Andreas Wörteler for their assistance in producing this feature.

Article © Nigel Thornton and Ray Goodfellow (Dover Ferry Photos Group)

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