#FerryNews - Completing a maiden high-speed craft (HSC) crossing on Irish Ferries Dublin-Holyhead route this morning is Dublin Swift, replacing a smaller craft that has served for almost two decades, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The Dublin Swift docked in Holyhead this morning just after 11.00.
The newcomer takes over from HSC Jonathan Swift which has operated since 1999 on the core Irish Sea route. The car-carrying catamaran becomes the largest fast-ferry on the Irish Sea and has entered service in the shoulder season in advance of the busy high-season months on the Ireland-Wales link.
Dublin Swift operates at 35 knots to maintain the same frequency of sailings with twice daily return crossings likewise to the replaced Jonathan Swift. ICG sold the fastferry to Spanish operators to serve a career in the Meditteranean linking the Balearics.
Prior to introduction, Dublin Swift underwent a refurbishment programme in Belfast following a charter overseas, so to bring the HSC up to Irish Ferries standards for 820 passengers and space for 200 vehicles. Onboard facilities are located on one deck, compared to the double deck arrangment on Jonathan Swift.
The facilities of Dublin Swift include a dedicated TV Snug, cafeteria, self-service restaurant and games area.
Passengers have a selection of spacious seating accommodation in the standard cabin, or plush reclining seats with views to sea, in-seat recharging points and complementary refreshments in the Club Class Lounge. This area of the fastferry is positioned at the bow. Free Wi-Fi is offered throughout.
The HSC brings increased capacity on the core Irish Sea route also operated by flagship Ulysses and ropax Epsilon.
The 8,403 gross tonnage Dublin Swift, (formerly Westpac Express) was in 2016 acquired by ICG, parent company of Irish Ferries for $13.25 million. Built in 2001 by Austal Ships Pty to their in-house 101m Auto-Express design. The yard in Fremantle, western Australia is also where Jonathan Swift was custom built for ICG.
Dublin Swift is also the only fast ferry operating between Ireland and Britain, though the Isle of Man is served by the Steam-Packet's fastferry Manannan on seasonal routes including the Dublin link.