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Seven Ferry Operators Express Interest to Run Seasonal Dun Laoghaire Service

5th March 2015
Seven Ferry Operators Express Interest to Run Seasonal Dun Laoghaire Service

#FerryDunLaogaire? – Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company has received seven expressions of interest from operators to provide a seasonal-only ferry service to Holyhead, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Afloat.ie has contacted the DLHC following last Friday's advert deadline for potential ferry operators to operate on the 52 nautical mile route.

A month ago, Stena Line confirmed the permanent closure of the historic Ireland-Wales link.

Prior to the ferry company responses, DLHC annnounced that any new operator would not be serving the route until at least 2016.

Following the responses, a spokesperson on behalf of DLHC said they 'will now consider these'. The harbour company added, 'final configurations would be a matter for discussion and agreement with a new provider, and would be in keeping and take account of the Harbour Company's Masterplan'.

As part of the Masterplan, the site of St. Micheal's Pier is where a major residential redevelopment is proposed.

For more than 170 years there has been a ferry service running between Dun Laoghaire and Holyhead from where Stena Line has served the Irish Sea service since 1990.

In additon to conventional ferry tonnage, they introduced a small 'Lynx' fast-ferry in 1993 which was replaced by the world's largest fast craft, the HSS Stena Explorer in 1996.

Stena's decision to withdraw operations in the south Dublin Bay port, leaves a berth available for a new ferry operator in Dun Laoghaire Harbour using the terminal at St. Michaels Pier.

According to the advert document the berth is 140 metres long with a maximum depth of 5.8 metres. In addition the berthing facility is described as having a shore to ship ramp, which can easily be modified to facilitate the configuration of a new vessel.

Afloat.ie adds that St. Michaels Pier has two berths, one is custom-built to only accommodate the specialist requirements of the HSS Stena Explorer.

The second adjacent berth was also used by Stena Line when a 'Lynx' craft as previously referred but had returned in more recent years to the route. The Stena Lynx III served during the shoulder seasons when the HSS Stena Explorer had operated a year-round service until 2011.

The 19,638 tons HSS remains at her homeport of Holyhead and likewise at a custom-built berth in the inner harbour of the Welsh port.

Also in Anglesey is the Stena Superfast X, which made a delivery voyage last week from Poland having had a major refit. The 30,551 tons newcomer has yet to enter service on the Holyhead-Dublin Port route in competition with Irish Ferries

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