piece from 1979 to be placed under the keel of the new vessel |

A piece from the Isle of Man will fulfill a centuries-old tradition and rest under the Steam Packet Company’s new ship, the Manxman, when it is built in South Korea next year.

A keel piece is considered a symbol of good fortune and is placed under the keel block to bless a ship during its construction.

Treasury Minister David Ashford MHK and Bill Henderson MLC, a member of the Department responsible for Coins and Currency, greeted Steam Packet Chairman Lars Ugland at government offices.

They presented a wreath issued in 1979 to mark Tynwald’s millennium, after being approached by the company and educated about the tradition.

The coin, which depicts a ship, was chosen because of its reference to the island’s strong maritime history.

It will be taken to South Korea by Mr. Ugland, when he visits the Hyundai Mipo shipyard next year.

Mr Ashford said: “The long and proud history of the Steam Packet continues with the construction of the Manxman, which I am sure will be a valuable asset to our Island community for many years to come.

“The government’s investment in the company in 2018 was aimed at providing long-term stability to the island’s ferry operations, and I am extremely happy to see this project moving forward.

“The keel piece presented today will, I am sure, play its part in the good fortune and the good progress of the project while respecting a strong tradition of shipbuilding.”

Mr. Ugland said: “It is an honor and great pleasure to receive this coin on behalf of the Steam Packet Company and I am delighted that the tradition of a bowling pin continues.

“The tradition is to hold a handover ceremony for the keel pieces at the shipyard at an early stage in the ship’s construction, often at the same time as the keel laying. However, for the Manxman, it will take place on December 24. It has not yet been decided when the keel piece will be secured to the bottom or mast of the vessel.

He added: “The Manxman project really got off the ground in August when the first steel was cut. This element is now completed ahead of the construction phase, which is expected to last six months, with the ship expected to enter service in spring 2023.

“This is a very exciting time for the company and we look forward to keeping the island community updated on the progress of the new flagship Isle of Man Steam Packet Company ferry ahead of its commissioning.”

Mr Henderson concluded by adding that he was delighted to be associated with the project in this manner through the banking and finance division of the Treasury and for the assistance of the staff there in supplying the coin.

For more information on the project, visit steam-packet.com/blog

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