The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company’s new flagship has arrived in UK waters for the first time. MANXMAN arrived in Southampton for final outfitting, after a journey of around 10,000 nautical miles from South Korea.
So far on the journey to Douglas from her builders yard at Ulsan, MANXMAN has visited Hong Kong, Singapore, Colombo, Muscat, Jeddah, the Suez Canal, Marsaxlokk in Malta, and Southampton.
MANXMAN promises to be an upgrade on the vessel it replaces on the lifeline Isle of Man ferry routes, BEN-MY-CHREE. The new £78m Diesel-electric hybrid ferry, which was purpose designed and built for Isle of Man services, has significantly more passenger capacity than the older ship.
Once MANXMAN is in service, BEN-MY-CHREE will be relegated to being a backup ship for the Steam Packet. The Dutch-built vessel has been a real workhorse for the company, providing year-round service as the main ferry to the Isle of Man for the past 25 years. The primary conventional route is from the Isle of Man to Heysham. However, there are winter weekend calls at Liverpool when the fast craft MANANNAN isn’t sailing. MANXMAN will also continue the calls BEN-MY-CHREE currently makes to Belfast.
The Steam Packet is currently building a new ferry terminal at Liverpool. Although the interior of the facility is now well progressed, latest reports suggest it won’t open until Spring 2024. The new site replaces the iconic landing stage terminal. It will mean that the MANXMAN will be able to berth at Liverpool, whereas the limitations of the landing stage, meant that the BEN-MY-CHREE has previously used the 12 Quays Stena Line terminal at Birkenhead.
MANXMAN was designed in partnership with UK-based naval architects Houlder and the shipyard, Hyundai Mipo Dockyard. Interior design is by London-headquartered SMC design who have also worked on cruise ships such as QUEEN MARY 2 and SPIRIT OF DISCOVERY and the 2022 refits of DFDS’ Dover ferries.
Finnish company Wärtsilä supplied four of its record breaking 31 series engines to power MANXMAN, as well as the electrical, propulsion machinery such as thrusters, and battery energy storage systems for the hybrid vessel. Wärtsilä also supplied the bridge console, navigation, and ballast water treatment systems.