Page last updated at 09:40 GMT, Monday, 11 May 2009 10:40 UK

New Manx fastcraft vessel docks

New Manx fastcraft vessel docks

The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company's new £18m fastcraft Manannan has arrived in Douglas harbour.

The 96m (314ft) long catamaran sailed from Portsmouth on Monday morning. Its scheduled arrival on Saturday was delayed because of severe weather.

It is planned that Manannan will enter service on 22 May after undergoing final trials and local finishing work.

The vessel has undergone a complete refurbishment and has seating capacity for more than 800 passengers.

'Largest' vessel

It also has a car deck capable of holding about 200 cars.

Steam Packet Company bosses picked the name to reflect its Manx heritage - in manx mythology Manannan is god of the sea and protector of the Isle of Man.

The ferry will operate Liverpool-to-Douglas sailings and will replace the Viking ferry, which has carried more than a million passengers in over 3,000 sailings in seven years on the route.

Manannan will be the largest vessel of her type in the Irish Sea, with a faster cruising speed than other ferries.

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