|Archive 90: Sea Containers' Incats|
Photographs © John H. Luxton 1994 - 2010
SEACAT ISLE OF MAN was launched as HOVERSPEED FRANCE for Sea Containers by Incat of Tasmania in 1991. After a spell on charter as SARDEGNA EXPRESS in 1992 she returned to Sea Containers as HOVERSPEED BOULOGNE. In 1994 she was chartered to the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company for whom she operated during the 1994 and 1995 summer seasons. The above photographs show her at Liverpool and Douglas in summer 1994 and in Canada Graving Dock during January 1995 whilst undergoing refit.
SEACAT ISLE OF MAN was sub-chartered to Condor Ferries in early 1995. In 1996 she was chartered to Colorline and operated as SEACAT NORGE. During her period of operation on the Baltic she was fitted with additional escape walkways which ran across the top of the vessel from the bridge / observation deck. These walkways terminated at lowerable stairs which could be dropped down onto the open deck at the rear of the ship. These walkways were removed after 2007 when she re-entered Irish Sea service. By now the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company was part of the Sea Containers empire.
|SEACAT ISLE OF MAN is seen near the Liverpool Bar (above) on a spring evening in 1997. The escape walkways fitted for Baltic service can be clearly seen.|
|The above photographs show SEACAT ISLE OF MAN at Prince's Landing Stage during the 1997 TT Festival.||Summer 1997|
SEACAT SCOTLAND seen in Canada #3 Dock, Liverpool in October 1997. She had been undergoing maintenance prior to a winter charter to Argentina. She was a favoured vessel for charters to warmer climes during the northern hemisphere winter due to her enhanced air conditioning.
In 1998 Sea Conatiners acquired the interests of Holyman-Sally which included the Incat vessels DIAMANT (left) and RAPIDE (right) which entered the Sea Containers fleet. Both vessels were refitted in spring that year at Canada Graving Dock by Cammell Laird subsidiary Wright and Beyer.
|Both RAPIDE and DIAMANT would both see service on the Irish Sea in the next few years.|