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From US military vessel to Isle of Man ferry.

THIS IS the new ferry that will run between Liverpool and the Isle of Man.

But the former US military vessel will not be carrying military helicopters to Douglas.

Instead, the ferry will be fitted out by new owners The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company to provide a speedy service for passengers.

The firm today announced a pounds 20m deal for the catamaran currently known as Incat 050.

She was built in Tasmania in 1998, and after a short period of commercial service in Australia and New Zealand, was chartered to the US military in 2001.

The pounds 20m purchase price includes a substantial refit to convert the vessel to a commercial ferry.

Steam Packet Company chief executive Mark Woodward said the work would probably take place in southern England, instead of a Merseyside shipyard, "for logistical reasons".

Incat 050 will replace the company's current fast vessel Viking from summer next year.

She is bigger and faster and will cut journey times from two hours 40 minutes to about two hours 15 minutes.

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NEW FERRY: The US military vessel
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:May 19, 2008
Words:182
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