The Fast Ferry Page


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At present there are 3 fast ferries routes from Northern Ireland to Scotland and one to England ( Heysham )


[SeaCat] operate an Incat catamaran running from Belfast to Troon . The original Seacat port of Stranraer has now been closed , leaving only Stena running to Stranraer. Seacat has managed a deal with Stena which will allow them to use Stranraer as a foul weather port.
They were the first company to operate a fast ferry from N.I. with the Belfast to Stranraer route .Seacat Scotland and her sister ship the Seacat Danmark both now ply the Belfast to Troon route.
Secat Scotland

The newly arrived SuperSeacat 2 runs a service from Belfast to Heysham .This is the first regular fast ferry service from Northern Ireland to England . Her early days were hampered by bad weather which raised some bad press.
The SuperSecat 2 is the only mono hull fast ferry operating on the Irish Sea. She was built in Italy and at present still retains Italian Captains. Seacat added extra stabilising systems to the ship before it entered into service on the N. Irish sea crossing.


P&O operate the newly arrived Superstar Express from Larne to Cairnryan . [Superstar Express]

The Superstar Express is an Austal Catamaran and marks a change from the mono hull design of the Jetliner. Built in Fremantle , Australia the new ship appears to have better sea keeping capabilities than the Jetliner and a higher significant wave height limit of 3.5 meters. However the absence of any bow thrusters may prove to be a problem when berthing in inclement weather , only time will tell. The Super Star Express originally ran from Portsmouth to Cherbourg for P&O Portsmouth and is capable of carrying up to 900 souls. Powered by 4 MTU 20V1163TB73L diesel engines producing 6.5mw of power per engine , she is capable of speeds in excess of 40 knots. The ship is fitted with the Ocean Leveller ride control system which incorporates T-Foils at the bow ( to counter pitching ) and Flaps ( to conter rolling ) at the stern. At present it looks like P&O's fast ferry service will be limited to an eight month season ending around Halloween.



Stena operate the worlds largest and fastest passenger ferry running from Belfast to Stranraer , the Stena Voyager. The two sister ships Stena Explorer and the Stena Discovery run from Dublin to Holyhead and Harwich to the Hook of Holland respectively.


Irish Ferries run their own fast ferry, named after the great Irish writer , the Jonathan Swift operating from Dublin to Holyhead. The Austal catamaran provides competition to Stenas HSS on the same route . Although dogged with crewing and technical difficulties from the start , it appears that the operation is settling down. The ship has been retro fitted with bow thrusters to aid in port manoeuvering. She is of a similar design to P&O's Superstar Express.

-JetlinerStena VoyagerSeacat ScotlandSuper SeaCat 2Jonathan SwiftSuper Star Express
TypeMonohullCatamaranWave Piercing CatamaranMonohullAustal
Compsite nose
Length Over All (meters) 95m 127.0m 74.3m100m86.6m82.3m
Gross Tonnage4,67519,6383,000--5,500
Operating Speed
( Knots )
354035 383938
CapacityUp to
577 Passengers
160 cars
12 coaches and 55 cars
1500 Passengers
375 cars
50 x 16m
100 cars
450 Passengers
80 cars
774 Passengers
175 cars
800 Passengers
200 cars
10 coachs
75 cars
800 Passengers
175 cars
Crossing Timeapprox
1 Hr.
approx 1 Hr 40mapprox 1 Hr 30mins-approx 1 Hr 49minsapprox
1 Hr.

01st May 2000

P&O's Jetliner has now been replaced by the Superstar Express. The Jetliner has been returned to her owners in Bergen, Norway.
Seacat has started its new SuperSeacat 2 monohull service on the Belfast - Heysham Route.


Wing In the Ground

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This page was last updated on 21st June 2000