Sea Containers has announced a record breaking year for the Ancona, Italy - Split, Croatia joint venture route.
The seasonal service (June-September) carried nearly 59,000 passengers and 13,250 vehicles representing an increase of 52 percent
on the previous year. The craft has been moved to Ravenna, Italy for its winter lay-up. The service will resume in June 2003 until 15 September.
David Collins of Sea Containers passenger transport division said: "The success of the route has vindicated our investment in this service and ensures that the service has become a firm fixture in the Adriatic. The excellent passenger figures for 2002 ensure that the vessel will be back in service next year."
The service began in 2000 with 'Atlantic II', a Sea Containers owned
74m wave-piercing catamaran which
had previously operated on the River Plate between Argentina and Uruguay. This craft also operated the service in 2001.
To provide extra capacity to meet increasing demand, the Austal-built high-speed catamaran, 'Felix' was introduced in June this year. It has capacity for 676 passengers, 156 vehicles plus up to ten coaches and operates in the now familiar 'Croazia Jet' livery.
The craft makes the 130 mile (210 km) crossing in 41/2 hours, at a cruising speed of up to 36 knots. On-board facilities include a business class section with private bar, two passenger decks and large duty free shop. The service is jointly operated by the Italian ferry operator SNAV and Sea Containers' subsidiary company Hoverspeed.