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All three massive cranes are now loaded onboard the Offshore Heavy Transport (OHT) ship Albatross at Cork Dockyard. Departure from Cork Harbour on a 3,800–nautical mile voyage to Puerto Rico later is scheduled for later this week.

As Afloat.ie reported previously, the cranes have been asembled from kit form having first been shipped by sea from Fenit in County Kerry to the Doyle Shipping Group Terminal at Rushbrooke in Cork Harbour.

 

Published in Cork Harbour

#FloatingDock - Dublin based Corrib Shipping Group’s management of a newly acquired cargoship that went into a floating dry-dock in the Netherlands last month brings memories of a similar former structure in Cork Dockyard, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The cargoship Ziltborg is the fifth in the fleet of the Irish group but is owned by Wagenborg. They are based in Delfzij where in the previous report a photo features only a close up of the ship's bow while in the Dutch floating dry-dock.

Another connection with Ireland was Dutch shipping magnet Cornelius Verolme who in 1957 was invited by the fledging State owned Irish Shipping Ltd (ISL) that set up a repair dockyard at the Rushbrooke dockyard (origins dating from 1853) to purchase and assist in the development of Irish shipbuilding industry. This led to the establishment of the Verolme Cork Dockyard.

In 1984 however V.C.D. closed and also that same year saw the collapse of ISL. Since then there have been interim owners of the dockyard and in 1995 Cork Dockyard was in the hands of Burke Shipping. The Cork family owned business still controls the dockyard and in late 2015 the shipping and logistics agency was rebranded as Doyle Shipping Group (DSG). 

As reported on Afloat, Cork Dockyard is where currently large scale marine engineering activity is underway as three giant Liebherr cranes towering 85m high having been erected on site are bound for San Juan, Puerto Rico. The ship-to-shore container cranes had been manufactured at Liebherr's plant near Killarney and from there taken to the port of Fenit, Co. Kerry and shipped by sea to Cork Dockyard for assembly. Such activity evokes memories of the yard’s former floating dry-dock, again a unconventional structure that was unique in Irish waters.

The floating dry-dock was higher than the dockyard's quay and was berthed east of where the heavy-lift ship Albatross is to be loaded with the cranes. This will involve rails at the quayside to transfer the ship-to-shore container cranes before shifting berths to Ringaskiddy and eventually departure from Cork Harbour this week.

Likewise of the much higher cranes to be exported by the ship across the Atlantic to the Carribean, the floating dry-dock was too equipped with cranes. They were perched atop at the entrance of the structure.

Cork Dockyard continues to repair and overhaul ships using a conventional land-based graving dry-dock. The facility is now unique as the only drydock left in the State following the recent closure in Dublin last month. By coincidence, the graving dry-dock was opened in 1957, the same year of Verolme's notable entry into Irish maritime industry that saw 33 ships built under his stewardship as they slipped down into the River Lee. The yard at its peak employed more than 1,500, however the last vessel built in this State at V.C.D was Naval Service flagship, L.E. Eithne in 1984. 

It was more than a decade ago that a visit was made to Cork Dockyard especially to observe the Siren on board the floating dry-dock which remained under new owners. Siren, a former Trinity House Lighthouse tender had sailed previously onto the silver screen in Neil Jordan’s ‘Micheal Collins’. In the film she featured as an Irish Sea mail-boat taking senior Irish delegation officials to the pivotal ‘Treaty’ negotiation talks of 1921 held in London with the British Government.

Priot to the film-making, Siren had been based during the early to mid-1990’s in both Dun Laoghaire Harbour, along the East-Pier followed by those in Dublin Port at Sir John Rogersons Quay. Siren had until then served as a survey ship in Irish waters and among ports spent some time based in Waterford City.

The presence of the aforementioned heavy-lift ship, Albatross in an Irish port is rare. The former bulk-carrier, Tordis Knutsen which was converted to carry such large loads has at Rushbrooke been accompanied within the port by another newly acquired vessel but directly Irish owned tug DSG Titan. The green-hulled tug that at first glance strongly resembles to a pair of Dublin Port tugs, is seen in the related report photograph alongside the Albatross.

The tug’s prefix, DSG as previously referred is that of Doyle Shipping Group. They chartered in the Albatross on behalf of Liebherr to transport the ship-to shore container cranes across the Atlantic Ocean. 

Published in Cork Harbour

#ResearchNavy - A Russian research vessel built during the Soviet era along with the Naval Service's newest patrol vessel LÉ Samuel Beckett (P61) are at Cork Dockyard, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Geolog Dmitriy Nalivkin of 1,935 tonnes was built in Turku, Finland during 1985. She originally had the Soviet symbolism of the 'hammer & sickle' and star on the funnel.

Three decades later and her current owners are understood to be the Marine Arctic Geological Expedition Murmansk (MAGE).

The 71m vessel is berthed alongside the quay at the facility in Rushbrooke so to have an exchange of crew personnel.

Among the other vessels at the shiprepair facility is the general cargoship Arklow Rambler also taking a riverside berth.

As previously alluded the LÉ Samuel Beckett, the 2,256 tonnes OPV is undergoing her first scheduled annual maintenance with work carried out in the dry-dock.

The OPV90 or 'Beckett' class vessel was built last year from the UK yard of Babcock Marine & Technology in Appledore north Devon.  

She was commissioned in May and entered service also that month.

Published in Cork Harbour

#Ports&ShippingReview: Over the last fortnight, Jehan Ashmore has reported on the shipping scene, where Stena Line close HSS operated Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead summer sailings leaving the Irish port with a revived excursion service to Howth.

For the second year running, Seatruck Ferries voted Irish Sea Shipping Line of 2014 at the Export & Freight Transport & Logistics Awards.

French container shipping giant CMA CGM signs three major trade agreements.

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Irish ports of Dublin and Cork.

The European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) enhance cooperation between organisations and cruise and ferry ports.

One of the UK's largest port owners, Peel Ports Group has Irish Exporters Association (IEA) membership.

Cork Dockyard win Irish Lights contract in face off stiff competition from UK and French yards.

A sideways launch of Arklow Beacon, brings to four out of six of Arklow Shipping's newbuild series of 'green' hull designed cargoships.

 

Published in Ports & Shipping

#CorkDockyard – Following a previous snap-shot of Cork Dockyard, which focused on L.E. Eithne, the quays of the ship-repairs and maintenance facility is also where a coastal tanker and a seismic support vessel are berthed, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The 4,972dwt products tanker Forth Fisher belongs to Cumbrian based James Fisher Everard. She along with sister Galway Fisher which was also in Cork Harbour having anchored off Cobh yesterday beyond the Spit Bank lighthouse.

The pair are frequent callers along with other fleetmates to the Whitegate Oil Refinery, transporting cargoes to the ports along the west coast including Galway Harbour.

Further downriver at Cork Dockyard, the seismic support vessel, Mainport Elm, which is a type of vessel used to conduct surveys for the energy and exploration industry.

The Marshall Islands flagged vessel is part of a fleet of seismic vessels including tugs operated by Cork based Mainport Group, which also has the contract to serve the Kinsale Gas Field carried out by the multi-role support vessel Pearl.

In 2011, Mainport signed for their first purpose built seismic support vessel from the Piasau Shipyard in Miri Malaysia which completed Mainport Cedar a year later. In 2013 she was delivered straight into a charter service.

Mainport Elm -seismic survey ship

Seismic survey ship, Mainport Elm also berthed at Cork Dockyard. Photo: Jehan Ashmore

A sister also followed, Mainport Pine with keel-laying taken place in 2012 and delivered earlier this year. Likewise of her sister, she was placed directly into charter service.

In recent years, there has been more oil and gas exploration activity off the south and west coasts, in which Cork Harbour's strategic location has served as a base.

As previously reported, an example to the type of vessel supporting the sector was Bourbon Clear, a platform supply vessel (PSV) which docked in Ringaskiddy last year.

 

Published in Cork Harbour

#CorkDockyard – Among the shipping seen at Cork Dockyard yesterday was the Naval Service 'flagship' L.E. Eithne (P31) which was berthed in the graving dock, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The Helicopter Patrol Vessel (HPV) is at the shipyard and repair facility where on the same site at a neighbouring slipway she was launched three decades ago from Verolme Cork Dockyard (VCD). She along with L.E. Aoife (P22) and L.E. Aisling (P23) were built by VCD, they were commissioned into service in 1979 and 1980 respectively.

L.E.Eithne represents the last custom built patrol vessel for the Naval Service from that of the VCD yard and notably the last ever ship completed in the republic in 1984. As previously reported on Afloat.ie, as part of last year's The Gathering, a commemoration of Cork's shipybuilding workers and heritage over 160 years was held in Cobh.

Shipbuilding in Cork Harbour has long gone, however on the far side of the Celtic Sea, it is pleasing to note of the third option to build another Naval Service OPV90 class was confirmed by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny T.D. and Minister for Defence with the same yard of Babcock Marine in north Devon.

The contract of the €54m newbuild follows the class leadship, L.E. Samuel Beckett (P61) and sister L.E. James Joyce currently under construction at the yard in Appledore and due in early 2015.

The third 'playright' OPV90 sister is expected to be delivered into service in 2016.

 

Published in Cork Harbour

#CorkHarbour – Cork Harbour Open Weekend (14-15 September) as previously reported will also include a Harbour Photographic Exhibition of close to 200 photographs covering all aspects of the development of Cork Dockyard, the ships built and repaired.

The Cork Dockyard Ships & Shipbuilding photo exhibition sponsored by the Port of Cork Company was launched last week in advance of the Verolme Workers Gathering Weekend and is currently on view at Cobh Heritage Centre until 15 September.

The photographic display also includes photographs of the shipyard workers tracing the strong local history of shipbuilding in Cork Harbour, which was recognised at a ceremony held last weekend at the former Verolme Cork Dockyard, now the site of a ship-repair only business.

Meanwhile, Cork photographer Robert Bateman whose original work features in the exhibition has published a fascinating gallery online to celebrate the Verolme Workers Gahering weekend. View the gallery here.

 

Published in Port of Cork

#VerolmeWeekend – To mark the finale of Cork Dockyard Workers Gathering Weekend, the last Mayor of Cobh Town Council, John Mulvihill Jnr, attended yesterday a plaque unveiling dedicated to shipyard workers to include Verolme Cork Dockyard in Rushbrooke, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Among the large crowd of former VCD employees, family and friends, was John Brennan who was master of ceremonies at Cork Dockyard, (formely VCD) which is a ship-repair only facility that is part of the Doyle Shipping Group.

Conor Doyle of the Doyle Group spoke of the wonderful history of shipbuilding in Cork Harbour and he said the group remained committed to the dockyard which has the 'potential' for further development should the demands from the offshore energy industry require.

During the proceedings, poetry and song celebrated the lives and workers of shipbuilding yards throughout Cork Harbour in a history that stretches beyond VCD's formation in 1959 but back to 1860.

An anchor was restored recently for the memorial occasion and where a bottle of champagne was smashed against it by Delia Webster of Cobh Tourism.

The Port of Cork, Cork Dockyard, Cobh Tourism and Irish Rail organised the commemorative weekend which involved a shipping lecture programme held in the Commodore Hotel, tours of L.E. Aoife alongside Cobh's waterfront. A mass in St. Colman's Cathedral was held and where a baptismal font was restored by former VCD staff.

Also part of the weekend was a photographic exhibition of ships built at VCD which remains open to the public in the Cobh Heritage Centre until 15 September.

The commemorative plaque was unveiled by Henk Ven der Puil,  son of the late Gerard Van Der Puil, Managing Director of VCD. Father Michael Leamey performed a blessing of the plaque..

At its prime VCD employed more than 1,200 people working in ship-building, ship-repair, offshore platform modules and many other engineering enterprises.

During its quarter century existence, VCD built a total of 33 vessels, mostly for Irish concerns, among them Irish Shipping Ltd (ISL), B+I Line (including the last 'Leinster' as previously posted), Arklow Shipping and overseas clients and notably the bulker Irena Dan.

VCD - Cork Dockyard LE Niamh

Naval ship LE Niamh in dry dock. Photo: Jehan Ashmore

The first vessel built was Irish Rowan, other ships built for ISL included the 75,000dwt Irish Spruce, a 'Panamax' bulker completed in the early 1970s.

L.E. Eithne (P31) was commissioned as the last vessel out of five built for the Naval Service and indeed she is also the last ever ship to be launched from the Rushbrooke shipyard in 1984.

Following the plaque unveiling, nostalgic tours of the dockyard took place which included access to the large series of building halls, the ship launch slipways and dry-dock / graving dock, where the Naval Service OPV L.E. Niamh (P52) was undergoing an overhaul.

VCD building halls

The building halls. Photo: Jehan Ashmore

VCD surviving cranes

The remaining cranes. Photo: Jehan Ashmore

 

Published in Cork Harbour

#corkharbour – A Cork Harbour photographic exhibition of close to 200 photographs covering all aspects of the development of Cork Dockyard, the ships built and repaired, and the people working there, will be staged at Cobh Heritage Centre until the 15th September.

For over 150 years Cork Harbour and the River Lee has long been associated with both shipping and shipbuilding, with the relationship between Cork Dockyard and Irish Shipping Limited (ISL) dating back to 1941, when a wholly owned subsidiary of ISL was set up by the Dept. of Industry and Commerce (Cork Dockyard Limited) to take over the operation of the dockyard.

In 1946, the Irish Naval Service was established and three "Flower Class" Corvettes began a relationship with Cork Dockyard that has endured to this day and led to the subsequent building of five naval vessels at Rushbrooke.

In 1959, the name of the dockyard changed from Cork Dockyard Ltd, to Verolme Cork Dockyard Ltd which brought the facility onto an international level regarding reputation, quality, expertise, training and of course the arrival of many Dutch families who settled into the Cobh community and to this day are an intrinsic part of the fabric of the area.

At its prime there were over 1,200 people working in Verolme Cork Dockyard, from ship building, ship repair, offshore platform modules and many other engineering enterprises.

Speaking at the official opening of the photograph exhibition in Cobh, Captain Michael McCarthy Commercial Manager Port of Cork said. "Cork Dockyard or the 'Yard' as it was known locally was not only a big employer, but a very important cog in the shipping industry within Cork Harbour. It is important to reflect back to the time when major companies such as Irish Steel, Fords, Dunlop, Whitegate oil refinery and indeed Irish Shipping were located and dependent on the river. In 1984 when Verolme Cork Dockyard, Irish Shipping, Dunlop and Fords all closed this had a devastating effect on the local community and the economy."

He continued: "However, to the great credit of the Verolme Management, the extensive training undertaken by the Company through its trainee, apprentice, technician and Management training schemes and the lifetime skills it imparted, stood many of the workforces in good stead when the dockyard closed in 1984. In fact, I think it is fair to say that the success of the Pharmaceutical and IT Industries in the Cork region benefitted from the training many personnel received at Verolme Cork Dockyard."

According to Michael McCarthy Commercial Manager Port of Cork, he believes that Cork Dockyard has a potentially vibrant future particularly in the offshore oil and gas support role, offshore wind energy and wave and tidal.

He said: "Although it may never return to its former glory days in shipbuilding, I can see its potential in employment for our young people and training prospects. It is still one of the most unique facilities in the country and when we see how Harland and Wolfe capitalised on their asset, it is very important that we keep an open mind on its undoubted potential."

The Cork Dockyard photograph exhibition, which is sponsored by the Port of Cork, will run until 15th September in Cobh Heritage Centre and admission is free.

Published in Cork Harbour

#PORTS & SHIPPING REVIEW - Over the last fortnight Jehan Ashmore has reported from the shipping scene where Irish passengers left wintery conditions by embarking on a cruise directly from Dublin Port which was bound for sunnier climes in Iberia and the Atlantic isles.

A multi-cat workboat, Island Kestral was acquired by Wicklow based Island Shipping, the vessel will be chartered to offshore projects including the renewables industry sector.

Following the fate of the WW1 Battle of Jutland cruiser HMS Caroline, which is to remain in Belfast, the 98-year vessel is to be made into a tourist visitor attraction, likewise of London's HMS Belfast, another veteran but from WW2.

Those considering a career at sea, should take note that the National Maritime College of Ireland (NMCI) is to host a 'Open' Day next Tuesday (23 October) at the campus based in Ringaskiddy.

What's in a name...Stena Line, a household name, but did you realise that the Swedish owned ferry giant derives its name from founder Sten A. Ollsen, and this year celebrates its 50th anniversary. How did the company become to where it is today, operating 19 routes which includes Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead, served by the HSS Stena Explorer, which is to return to the route for 12 days during the festive and new year periods.

While Irish Sea rivals, Irish Ferries is to add a third ferry on to the Dublin Port-Holyhead route also to cover for the festive and new year sailings. The unprecedented transfer of the Isle of Inishmore will join the route's existing tonnage, Ulysses and fast-ferry Jonathan Swift, to provide additional capacity during the busy season.

Those with a strong interest in liners, should head for the London Ship Show next Saturday (27 October). Among the exhibitors are maritime booksellers, artists, model-makers, traders in memorabilia and ephemera postcards. There will be talks about P&O Cruises 175th anniversary 'Grand Event' in the Solent which featured the Arcadia that sailed to Dublin.

A major international conference on Ocean Energy was held in Dublin's Convention Centre and facing opposite the venue, a scientific weather buoy was positioned on the Liffey.

Passengers travelling on ferry routes will be able to have the same travel rights given to those flying or taking the train, when the National Roads Authority is to implement on 18 December.

A record breaking single cargo shipment of 56,000 tonnes of coal, was set in Belfast Harbour, when the bulk-carrier Ocean Breeze docked in the port having sailed from Virginia in the U.S.

Irish Rail which operates Rosslare Europort is to undergo a strategic review, which is predominantly served by the ferry sector, could be transferred to potentially different ownership.

Today the tallship Tenacious is having an 'Open' Day, where the public can board the 65m barque berthed at Sir John Rogersons Quay in Dublins Docklands between 10.00am-12.30pm and 2-4pm.

The hard-working lighthouse tender ILV Granuaile is undergoing a docking survey in Cork Dockyard. The vessel was built in Galati on the River Danube, Romania for the Commissioners of Irish Lights whose headquarters are in Dun Laoghaire, which is the vessel's homeport.

Published in Ports & Shipping
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