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Friday, 1 September, 2000, 05:30 GMT 06:30 UK
World's largest ferry launched
Ulysses under construction at Aker-Finnyards
The Ulysses under construction in Finland
The world's largest passenger ferry - which will begin running in the Spring between Holyhead and Dublin - is being launched on Friday.

The Irish Ferries ship the Ulysses will have capacity to carry enough vehicles to fill a three-mile stretch of road.

Ulysses under construction
The forward deck being built
The ship was built at the Aker-Finnyards shipyard in Finland.

The introduction of the superferry will increase already stiff competition on the Irish Sea with rivals Stena.

Irish Ferries intend to keep the fast-ferry the Dublin Swift - currently running on the Holyhead route.

Company chiefs are still deciding whether the slower conventional ferry, the Isle of Innismore, will eventually be transferred to the Pembroke Dock run.

The Ulysses - named in honour of James Joyce's epic novel - can reach Dublin from the Anglesey port in under two hours, about the same time as its sister ship the Swift.

But the ferry has much more room to carry passengers and vehicles.

It will have the capacity to take 2,000 travellers, 1,300 cars and 260 lorries and coaches.

The company expects to take delivery of the ferry in February, undertaking docking exercises in the Welsh and Irish ports before bringing it into service.

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