Scottish ferry air-freighted to Kazakhstan

Aug. 17, 2007 at 1:43 AM
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INVERNESS, Scotland, Aug. 17 (UPI) -- A ferry that until recently operated on Loch Ness in Scotland was shipped to Kazakhstan by air Thursday so the president can tour a copper mine in style.

The Spirit of Skye was purchased by a Kazakh copper company, The Scotsman reports. It's estimated the company spent $800,000 on the ferry, equally divided between the purchase price and installing up-market furnishings like leather couches for President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

The 8.5-ton ferry left Prestwick Airport on an Antonov 22, the world’s largest cargo plane.

The vessel served as the Loch Ness Express for the past three years. Before that, it was on a run to Skye for a brief period.

David Gray, managing director of Ace Marine, which designed the boat, said the buyer wanted the boat to be available in Kazakhstan by Sept. 1. Sending it across Europe by river and canal would have taken far too long, especially because it is too high to pass under many bridges.

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