Northern Ireland's shipbuilding story has entered a new chapter after a maritime tech business won £60m in funding for a project which could bring 1,000 jobs to Belfast.
The £60m for the consortium led by Artemis Technologies - headed by Olympic sailing medallist sailor Iain Percy - includes £33m to spend on developing zero-emissions ferries.
The project - which also involves Belfast Harbour, Creative Composites, Queen's University and Bombardier among other companies - will initially create 125 jobs but is expected to lead to over 1,000 in the next decade.
Artemis Technologies is the only recipient in Northern Ireland of the UK Research and Innovation Strength in Places Fund, announced today.
Artemis Technologies is a spin-off from sailing team Artemis Racing.
Mr Percy said: "When we launched Artemis Technologies, we decided to base ourselves in Belfast because of the incredible aerospace and composite engineering talent available.
"Belfast's local expertise, coupled with the city's rich shipbuilding heritage and our own America's Cup yacht design experience, will ensure Belfast is the global lead in zero emissions maritime technology.
"For years, we've been designing low energy, high performance solutions for some of the fastest yachts on the planet, and we will now utilise that knowledge, and along with our partners, apply it to build the world's most environmentally friendly high-speed ferries, capable of carrying up to 350 passengers."
He said the company's concept of an electric hydrofoil propulsion system would allow vessels to operate with up to 90% less energy and zero emissions.
"As cities across the world seek ways to reduce pollution and ease traffic congestion, the transformative vessels to be produced right here in Belfast, will have a global role to play in delivering the connected maritime transport system of the future."
And he said the project would put Northern Ireland "at the centre of the revolution in water transport".
First Minister Arlene Foster said: "We are all proud of Belfast's maritime and shipbuilding heritage. However, it is even more exciting to look towards a future which can see Northern Ireland once again leading the way with world-class manufacturing and cutting-edge technology.
"I pay tribute to all those involved in the project which demonstrates so clearly the benefits of collaboration between business, academia and government at all levels. This investment can support economic growth locally, but its impact could be felt globally through solutions to more sustainable transport."
Bombardier's chief operating officer Michael J Ryan said its expertise would bring a depth of experience to support Artemis.
Suzanne Wylie, chief executive of Belfast City Council, said the investment would help the economy here recover more quickly from the effects of the pandemic.