Irish Continental Group who own Irish Ferries have sold the Jonathan Swift vessel to a Spanish ferry operator for €15.5 million.
Due for delivery to Balearia in April 2018, the Jonathan Swift has operated on the Holyhead to Dublin route for around 17 years. Purchased at a cost of €38.8 million, the long term service provided by the ferry is expected to generate a profit of approximately €14 million. Funds which will be used for 'general corporate purposes' within Irish Continental Group.
The catamaran vessel built by Australian manufacturer Austal Ships, was the first high-speed craft operated by Irish Ferries. Designed to allow quick turnarounds at port, Johnathan Swift is equipped with a bow door, allowing vehicles to drive on at either end and drive straight off at the end of the journey. On its entry into service in July 1999, Jonathan Swift increased Irish Ferries' capacity by 50%.
The Johnathan Swift is to be replaced by the high-speed Westpac Express, which was built in 2001 and is back at Irish Ferries for refurbishment after being chartered to the US Military Sealift Command. In March 2011, the Westpac Express was deployed as part of the US response to the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.