Incat announced the acquisition of its latest 367.5 ft high speed catamaran by France’s LD Lines. The largest ever fast ferry to operate on the cross channel routes between England and France will enter service between Dover and Boulogne on 29 May 2009.
The new fast ferry will be the first-ever freight carrying high speed vessel to operate across the Dover Straits and LD Lines becomes the first-ever French ferry company to operate high speed ferries on the short sea routes from Dover. The vessel is also the world’s largest diesel-powered catamaran and it is the first Incat 367.5 ft to operate in Europe. At nearly 11,000 gross tonnes the new craft is one of the largest vessels yet built by Incat.
The new fast ferry will increase frequency from the current two to six return sailings daily. All types of tourist traffic will be carried including cars, caravans, motorhomes, coaches and foot passengers, in addition to freight. The fast ferry will operate up to four return sailings daily between Dover (Eastern Docks) and Boulogne with a crossing time of one hour ; from Dover at 0415 ; 0745 ; 1230 and 1900 and from Boulogne at 0700 ; 1045 ; 1700 and 2230.
Two return sailings daily to Boulogne and one to Dieppe (Monday – Friday) will continue to be operated by the conventional ferry, which introduced the earlier than planned start of the new Dover – Boulogne service in February 2009. Crossing time by conventional ferry is one hour 45 minutes.
Both vessels will initially operate into the Port of Boulogne’s existing ferry berths, but following completion of Boulogne’s new Hub Port Ro Ro terminal from 1 July 2009, the Incat fast ferry will then transfer to inaugurate and operate into the first linkspan of the new Hub Port Terminal. The conventional ferry will continue to operate into the current Port of Boulogne berth.
LD Lines’ ferry route network comprises Portsmouth – Le Havre; Rosslare (Southern Ireland) – Le
Havre; Newhaven – Dieppe; Dover – Boulogne and Dover – Dieppe.
The vessel has been specifically built for the European market by Incat for MGC Chartering an Irish based leasing company providing a wide range of financial solutions to ferry operators including longer term bareboat charters of both new and second hand vessels. MGC has over 25 years of experience in aviation leasing and in founding MGC Chartering has adapted that aviation model to the needs of the ferry market. The new craft will operate at speeds of approximately 40 knots providing capacity for up to 417 cars or 567 lane metres of truck space and 195 cars. The accommodation is designed to cater for up to 1200 passengers in high levels of stylish comfort.