#PaxmansBoxboat– Thea II the containership that featured in ‘Rivers with Jeremy Paxman’ on Channel 4, has completed the first sailing for BG Freight Line’s new Liverpool-Cork service this morning, writes Jehan Ashmore.
In the penulimate episode of the River series that focused on the Mersey, the 360 TEU capacity container Thea II was boarded by the former BBC Newsnight anchorman for a hop along the Manchester Ship Canal. In stark contrast to Thea's routine operations on the inland 36 mile /58km canal connecting to Liverpool, the vessel now has sea-going duties. The 94m vessel is currently berthed at the Port of Cork’s Tivoli Container Terminal.
BG Freight Line which is a fully-owned subsidiary of Peel Ports Group, operator of the Port of Liverpool, have introduced the new weekly container service to Cork. This is the first time that the two ports have been connected directly with a container lo-lo service. BG Freight Line also operate an Irish Sea feeder service network in which Afloat.ie monitored Thea II at the weekend call to Dublin Port.
As for new Mersey-Lee service, this will provide a quay-to-quay route for tank operators, and door-to-door opportunities into the North of England, Midlands and Scotland - regions previously only accessible via Dublin.
It is also intended that the new service will also allow customers from the south of Ireland to also make onward deep-sea services now calling at Liverpool, particularly from Canada, the east coast of the US and the Mediterranean.
In addition to Thea II, the Cork-Liverpool route will also be initially served by a sister RMS Veritas. At the end of the each week, whatever ship is serving will continue to offer services between Belfast, Greenock and Liverpool.
As Afloat reported last year, BG Freight will take delivery of four tailor-made short-sea feeder vessels optimised for the company’s Irish Sea Hub services. One of the new build ‘Green Vessels’ due to come into service in 2018, BG Diamond will operate on the new route.
Returning to Thea II, this containership begin service on the Manchester Ship Canal in 2014 having increased capacity of more than 100 TEU per sailing to that of the Coastal Deniz. When this containership was employed on the canal it too featured on a UK TV series ‘Ade to Sea’ as previously reported on Afloat.ie. On that occasion it was presenter comedian, Ade Edmondson who also boarded this ship along the waterway.