Virtu Ferries has purchased a new high-speed ferry for the Mġarr - Valletta voyage, indicating its commitment to the route, the company said on Thursday.

It said the €7 million HSC 'Gozo Express', registered under the Maltese flag, was designed by the Australian high-speed ferry designers Incat Crowther. 

The Gozo Express has an overall length of 42.2 metres, with a carrying capacity of 322 passengers, in air-conditioned lounges on two decks and outside seating for 40 passengers on the upper deck. 

It is capable of a maximum speed of more than 38 knots, and a service speed of 35 knots.

It successfully completed sea trials in December and is expected to be delivered to Virtu Ferries by mid-March. 

Gozo Express will replace the 'SES San Pawl' and will operate alongside the 'SES San Franġisk'.

The 'SES San Pawl' will be redeployed on the company’s Venice to Croatia route as part of the Venezia Lines.

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