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Irish Ferries has chosen W. B. Yeats as the name for its new €144 million cruise ferry now being built in Germany for service on routes between Ireland, UK and France. The name was chosen after it had drawn ‘strong support’ from the public in an online competition that attracted nearly 100,000 entries.

According to a spokesman: ‘it was clear from the poll that there is widespread public affection for W. B. Yeats, due in the main to the magnificence of his writings and his contribution to Irish society, theatre and the arts generally’.

Acclaimed as one of the greatest poets of the 20th century and one of Ireland’s foremost literary figures, W. B. Yeats was born in Dublin and educated in Ireland and London.

Recipient of a Nobel Prize for Literature, he helped to found Dublin’s Abbey Theatre. Amongst the poems for which he is most fondly remembered is ‘The Lake Isle of Innisfree’, a composition inspired by his many holiday visits to Sligo, where, in a churchyard beneath Ben Bulben, his remains now rest.

The decision by Irish Ferries to name their new vessel W. B. Yeats is one that continues the tradition adopted by the company of selecting names drawn from the world of Irish literature.

Commenting, its managing director, Andrew Sheen said: “In choosing W. B. Yeats from the many whose works are revered by Irish people and students of literature the world over, we have selected one that will give the new vessel its own distinct identity and stir memories of a poet who is held in high esteem by so many, here and abroad”.

In addition to the weight of public support that W. B. Yeats received, operational factors that influenced its choice included the importance of picking a name that would have a high degree of public recognition and appeal in those overseas markets into which the vessel will operate and from which Ireland draws a significant volume of its tourism and trade.

Ships’ registration, regulation and other operational and legal aspects also ranked amongst the factors that needed to be considered, as was the desire to choose a name that would sit comfortably alongside those other great literary figures whose names adorn other vessels in the Irish Ferries fleet.

Noting that W. B. Yeats is one that will need no introduction to people across the world, Andrew Sheen said: “It is a name that will convey a sense of the magnificence and grandeur that passengers can expect when travelling on our new vessel, sailings of which are expected to commence on the Dublin – Holyhead and Ireland – France routes from mid-Summer next year”.

When built, the W. B. Yeats will have space for 1,885 passengers and crew, 1,200 cars and 440 cabins including luxury suites with their own private balconies. Other facilities will include a Club Class lounge with direct passenger access from the car decks, á la carte and self-service restaurants, cinema, shopping mall, choice of bars and lounges and exclusive areas for freight drivers. Pet owners will also be comforted in knowing that dedicated facilities for pets are also being provided on board.

Noteworthy in the context is that Sandymount, where Yeats was born, is located on the city’s southern coastline from where residents can look out upon the shipping channel into Dublin port along which the vessel that will bear his name will sail.

Leitrim woman wins free travel for life after suggesting Yeats’ name

The choice of W. B. Yeats as the name for the new vessel has proven to be a lucky link for Co. Leitrim woman, Lee Maxwell from Manorhamilton. Living close to Yeats’ beloved Co. Sligo, Lee’s good fortune in being chosen from the huge number of participants who suggested the poet’s name is said by Irish Ferries to be proof of what a ‘magical’ choice the name W. B. Yeats is. Picked from the thousands who shared her choice, Lee’s prize of free travel for life will be presented to her shortly.

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When it arrives here next July, Irish Ferries says it will be the largest and most luxurious cruise ferry operating on the Irish Sea. Little wonder then that it would be built in a very large shipyard indeed.

Yesterday, Afloat.ie reported on the keel laying ceremony that took place in the shipyard of Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft where it is being built with a photograph of the Irish Ferries delegation, led by managing director Andrew Sheen, that was present to witness the proud occasion.

In this view of the giant yard taken at the event, a number of those present can be seen dwarfed by the huge keel section as they examine it close up, and by the overall scale of the shipyard building itself in which the new ferry is being built. All going well, the vessel is expected to arrive into Ireland in mid-2018, July being the date mentioned.

Afloat.ie readers have been making suggestions for the new ship's name here

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A delegation of senior Irish Ferries officials today attended the keel laying ceremony for a new €144million, 55,000 tonnes cruise ferry being built on behalf of the company in Flensberg, Germany.

Due to be delivered next July, the new vessel will be the largest and most luxurious ferry ever to sail on the Irish Sea. It will enter year-round service on the Dublin – Holyhead and Ireland – France routes.

On board, it will have space for 1,885 passengers and crew, 440 cabins including luxury suites with their own private balconies, and almost 3km of car deck space. Other facilities will include a Club Class lounge with direct passenger access from the car decks, á la carte and self-service restaurants, cinema, shopping mall, choice of bars and lounges, exclusive areas for freight drivers, and dedicated facilities for pets.

In accordance with tradition on such occasions, Andrew Sheen presented the shipyard with a ceremonial coin, specially commissioned by Irish Ferries to mark the occasion, which was placed within the keel section to remain there throughout its construction in order to bring good luck and calm seas for the vessel.

Afloat.ie readers have being suggesting names for the new ferry here, 'Seamus Heaney' is a popular choice and 'Brian Ferry' gave us a chuckle

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#StormEwan - Hot on the heels of last week’s Storm Doris, there is further ferry disruption today (Sunday 26 February) as Storm Ewan brings strong gusts to the East Coast.

Irish Ferries has cancelled its 8.45am and 2.30pm sailings from Dublin to Holyhead, as well as its 11.50am and 5.15pm return trips, all on the Swift, due to the adverse weather conditions forecast for the Irish Sea.

Met Éireann has issued a Status Orange national weather warning and gale warning as south to southwest winds are expected to reach Force 8-9 with storm force gusts on coasts from Malin Head to Carnsore Point to Valentia and on the Irish Sea.

Small craft are also warned as west to southwest winds will reach Force 6 or higher from Valentia to Slyne Head to Malin Head.

The most damaging gusts of up to 120kmh are expected along southern coasts, with a wind warning issued for Wexford, Cork, Kerry and Waterford until early this afternoon.

A Status Yellow warning is in place over mean wind speeds upwards of 50kmh and gusts of up to 110km in all other coastal and some Midlands counties in Leinster.

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#Old&New – Fresh from annual dry-docking is Isle of Inishmore of Irish Ferries, that recently resumed Rosslare-Pembroke duties, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The 34,000 gross tonnage cruiseferry had undergone routine maintenance work at A&P Falmouth, Cornwall. This year marks 20 years since Isle of Inishmore made a debut in 1997 for owners, Irish Continental Group. The custom built ship firstly began operations for ICG's ferry division on the Dublin-Holyhead route.

Built by Van der Giessen-de-Noord, Krimpen aan den Ijssel, Rotterdam, Isle of Inishmore carries 2,200 passengers. This makes the cruiseferry still one of the largest in terms of capacity in northern-western Europe. In fact she carries more than that of flagship Ulysses of 1,875, though the larger 50,000 gross tonnage giant carries more cars and trucks.

Last month Isle of Inishmore had relieved Ulysses on the Dublin-Holyhead route, which saw the flagship drydock instead at Cammell Laird, Birkenhead. Currently at the Merserside facility is fastferry Jonathan Swift following completion of similar work. The craft having vacated the dry-dock shifted to the nearby wet basin.

Aside shiprepairs, Cammell Laird also build vessels including the £6.2m newbuild, Strangford II which was completed last year for the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) in Northern Ireland. In recent days reports the Belfast Telegraph, the 28 vehicle ferry finally began service on Strangford Lough following teething problems with vehicle loading ramps as previously reported.

As for Isle of Inishmore’s return to the ferry scene at Rosslare Europort (see report: Irish Rail 30th) this led to relief cruiseferry Oscar Wilde head also for Cornwall. An overhaul of the eldest fleetmember at the south-west UK shipyard will be carried out prior to taking up seasonal service to Cherbourg, France that begins on 1 March.

The fifth member of Irish Ferries fleet, the chartered-in ropax, Epsilon has in recent weeks carried out freight-only runs between Dublin and Rosslare. They have taken place in between routine rosters on weekly Dublin-Holyhead sailings. In addition the Italian flagged ropax sailings on the year-round operated Irish capital-continent connection to Cherbourg.

This morning Epsilon docked at the Normandy port. At the same time French service rival, Stena Line (albeit serving out of Rosslare) saw relief ropax Stena Nordica also make an in-bound call.

Published in Ferry

#Overhauls- Ulysses flagship of Irish Ferries departed today fresh from annual overhaul having dry-docked at Cammel Laird, Birkenhead on Merseyside, writes Jehan Ashmore.

From Birkenhead the 50,000 gross tonnage Ulysses the 1,875 passenger/ 1,342 car capacity giant proceeded in the early hours along the north Wales coast to Holyhead. The repositioning passage is understood to have almost taken seven hours with an arrival at Anglesey just after 08.00hrs.

Currently occupying a dry-dock of the Merseyside facility is that of Dublin-Holyhead fleetmate, high-speed craft HSC Jonathan Swift. The 800 passenger/200 cars fastferry is also undergoing routine maintenance work. Launched in 1999 as an Austal built Auto Express 86m fastcraft ferry in Fremantle Australia, the 5,000 tonnes catamaran is the only such type of vessel operating between Ireland and the UK.

For almost two decades the ‘Dublin Swift’ as she is marketed has been the workhorse of the Irish Sea operating on the 1 hour 49 minute crossing. Each crossing is at 40knots /80kph on the 60 nautical miles / 111 Kms route which totals annually to an impressive 162,000 Kms.

There is another fastcraft, Manannan but this ferry only operates between the Isle of Man and Liverpool and seasonal calls elsewhere to include Dublin Port.

Providing sailing coverage whilst Ulysses was off service and now that of Jonathan Swift fast is that of Isle of Inishmore which in recent weeks was transferred from Rosslare-Pembroke. The cruiseferry having taken the roster of Ulysses. This is set to change as Ulysses resumes on an afternoon crossing bound to Dublin, permitting Isle of Inishmore to also receive attention of annual overhaul.

Taking her place on the Rosslare-Pembroke service since late last year so to cover demands of seasonal capacity on the busy Dublin route, is Oscar Wilde which does not sail at this time of year to France. The cruiseferry however is to resume service with a crossings from the Wexford port to Cherbourg beginning in March.

Returning to the Dublin-Holyhead route which is also operated by ropax Epsilon. As previously reported on Afloat, the chartered Italian flagged ferry made her first sailing of 2017 on the weekend round trip Dublin-Cherbourg connection.

 

Published in Ferry

#FrenchFerry - The first sailing in 2017 of Epsilon on the Ireland-France route of Dublin-Cherbourg operated by Irish Ferries took place yesterday, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Under overcast skies yet flat calm seas, Epsilon departed Dublin Bay in mid-afternoon where the only vessel at anchorage was asphalt/bitumen tanker Iver Ability. The 106m ship is at the centre of cargo ‘issues’ following an investigation of a fire due to a reaction on board during tranport of bitumen into Dublin Port last summer and has since remained at anchor.

The New Year marks as the fifth year of the chartered Italia flagged Epsilon under Irish Ferries operations but based on ‘economy’ class service on the French route. Three months into service the prefix of the ropax name, Cartour Epsilon was dropped. This was to remove the connection with previous operator, Caronte & Tourist SPA, Italy from where she served routes to Sicily.

At the time of posting Epsilon is docked in Cherbourg having completed the 17 hour 30 minute crossing from Dublin Port with an arrival this morning. As of this afternoon in the Normandy port is where rival Stena Line’s ropax, Stena Horizon departed and is bound for Rosslare tomorrow morning. Also in port is Brittany Ferries Barfleur one of several in the fleet serving on the English Channel in this context Cherbourg-Poole.

In addition the ropax 500 passenger/500 car capacity Epsilon serves during the week Dublin-Holyhead crossings and is due to dock in Dublin tomorrow morning before resuming such duties. Epsilon supports Walsh route regulars the fastcraft Jonathan Swift and flagship Ulysses currently off service, see report on Cammell Laird.

Taking the roster of Ulysses is routine Rosslare-Pembroke ferry Isle of Inishmore which in turn has been replaced on the southern corridor by Oscar Wilde. The cruiseferry during the winter does not operate out of Rosslare routes to France but is scheduled to resume service at the start of March, albeit only serving Cherbourg. The seasonal-only shorter route to Roscoff resuming in May.

Epsilon (E) is the name given to the fifth letter of the Greek alphabet which is apt given the ropax is also the firth vessel to join the current Irish Ferries fleet serving the UK and France. The flagship Ulysses resembles the appearance of a €144m cruiseferry on order to Flensburger Schiffbau (FSG) scheduled for delivery in May 2018. Emissions 'scrubber' technology is not included in the contract price.

The 50,000 gross tonnage cruiseferry will accommodate 1,885 passengers and crew. The newbuild will have 435 cabins, 2,800 lane metres of freight vehicle space with room for 165 freight vehicles and an additional dedicated car deck with capacity for 300 passenger cars.

According to Irish Continental Group (ICG), parent company of Irish Ferries, the cruiseferry will be designed to best meet the operational seasonality of their business. ICG commented that it is likely that the new cruiseferry will be introduced on routes served by Epsilon. 

The same German shipyard have recently received a letter of intent from Brittany Ferries to construct a 42,000 tonnes newbuild notably powered by liquefied natural gas LNG, a first for the Breton based operator. The 42,000 tonnes cruiseferry scheduled for delivery in May 2019 is to serve on the English Channel. The route is also from Normandy on the Caen (Oustreham)-Portsmouth link.
 
In April this year Brittany Ferries will reopen the seasonal Cork-Roscoff sailings served by flagship, Pont-Aven. Last season the cruiseferry was fitted with sulphur emission ‘scrubbers’ to meet an EU Sulphur Directive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Published in Ferry

#IrishSea - “Averse conditions in the Irish Sea” have prompted the cancellation of six Irish Ferries sailings between Dublin and Holyhead tomorrow (Friday 23 December), as The Irish Times reports.

Passengers scheduled to travel from Dublin on the 8.45am and 10.45am ferries are advised to catch the 8.05am departure instead, while afternoon travellers are asked to make their trip later on the 8.05pm or 8.55pm sailing.

Those coming from Holyhead at 11.50am, meanwhile, will be accommodated on the next sailing some two hours later, though late afternoon travellers will have to wait till the early hours of Saturday morning (24 December).

The cancellations come as Storm Barbara sweeps in from the North Atlantic across the north of Scotland, bringing with it a high risk of stormy weather conditions in the coastal counties of Connacht and Ulster.

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#IrishFerries - Irish Ferries a division of owners Irish Continental Group (ICG) reported a 1.6pc rise in revenues in the year so far, and said it has a low level of exposure to sterling.

As the Independent.ie writes the company behind Irish Ferries, which operates between Ireland and Britain, said in a trading update that the impact of the plunge in sterling since the Brexit vote in June had so far been offset by lower costs.

The company said it had a low level of net sterling exposure. In the 10 months to the end of October, (ICG) consolidated revenue was €280.2m, up 1.6pc from a year ago, it said.

Net debt stood at €25.6m at the end of the period, compared to €44.3m at the end of 2015. Construction of a new cruise ferry announced on May 31 remains on schedule for delivery in May 2018, the company said.

For more detailed financial trading figures released by ICG click here 

Afloat adds that their ropax ferry MV Kaitaki (formerly Isle of Inishfree) remained on charter, operating in New Zealand, while four container ships (see EUCON trading results report) acquired in late 2015 were fully deployed in the period.

Also previously covered on Afloat, the charterer of the HSC Westpac Express exercised their option to extend the charter for a further period of up to 12 months to October 2017. The charter is subject to usual US government procurement regulations and the charterer has further options to extend the charter up to mid 2021.

The construction of a new 50,000 gross tonnage cruise ferry costing €144m announced in May this year remains on schedule for delivery in May 2018.

Published in Ferry

#NewFerry- Irish Continental Group (ICG) has entered into an agreement, with German company Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesselschaft & Co.KG (FSG) to build a cruise ferry for ICG at a contract price of €144 million.

Afloat adds that the proposed design of the newbuild strongly resembles that of current flagship Ulysses. 

The new cruise ferry will accommodate 1,885 passengers and crew, with 435 cabins and with capacity for 2,800 lane metres of freight (165 freight vehicles) plus an additional dedicated car deck with capacity for 300 passenger cars.

The Agreement between ICG and FSG provides that the cruise ferry is scheduled for delivery in May 2018. 20% of the contract price will be paid in instalments during the construction period. The balance of 80% will be paid on delivery. ICG intend to utilise a combination of existing cash resources and loan facilities to finance the cruise ferry. The pre-delivery instalment payments to FSG will be protected by means of bank guarantees.

This cruise ferry will be designed and built to the highest standards of cruise shipping, and equipped with efficiency and comfort in mind. Emissions scrubber technology (not included in the above price) and ballast water systems will meet current and known future environmental regulations and will deliver optimal fuel consumption while minimising related costs. The cruise ferry will be powered by four main engines delivering 33,600KW of power which will ensure a high degree of service reliability similar to that already achieved by the existing owned fleet of modern cruise ferries.

The cruise ferry will be designed to best meet the operational seasonality of our business. This flexibility in design includes the ability to service all of Irish Ferries existing routes, and will provide even greater route management options. The cruise ferry will also adhere to Ice Class specification which will allow for a wide geographic area of operation.

Passenger facilities will be spread over 4 decks and will offer a choice of 435 cabins to include suites with their own private external balconies, along with deluxe and standard class accommodation. In addition to a superb choice of bars, restaurants (to include both á la carte and self-service options), special provision has been made for premium Club Class passengers, with a dedicated lounge featuring private access direct from the vehicle decks. A choice of state of the art entertainment options and cinemas, dedicated facilities for freight drivers, as well as retail outlets and onboard facilities for pets, will ensure that all our passengers will be comfortable and engaged throughout their journey.

It is likely that this new cruise ferry will be introduced on routes served by the chartered ship MV Epsilon, (currently year round services Dublin - Holyhead midweek, and Ireland - France on weekends). The cruise ferry will provide additional freight and tourism capacity on both routes and will deliver a much enhanced onboard experience for all customers. In addition to increased capacity, the cruise ferry will deliver significant cost savings to the group and improved route and fleet management efficiencies.

Referring to the announcement Eamonn Rothwell, Chief Executive Officer, commented that; "This investment underpins the confidence the Group has in both the freight and passenger tourism markets between Ireland, Britain and France. The construction of a cruise ferry of this size will offer a premium experience for all our customers, in line with our commitment to deliver the best in service, in reliability and flexibility across all our routes. We also expect to be well positioned to accommodate the changing expectations of our customers, and to benefit from significant operational and financial benefits following the delivery in 2018."

Published in Ferry
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Marine Science Perhaps it is the work of the Irish research vessel RV Celtic Explorer out in the Atlantic Ocean that best highlights the essential nature of marine research, development and sustainable management, through which Ireland is developing a strong and well-deserved reputation as an emerging centre of excellence. From Wavebob Ocean energy technology to aquaculture to weather buoys and oil exploration these pages document the work of Irish marine science and how Irish scientists have secured prominent roles in many European and international marine science bodies.

 

At A Glance – Ocean Facts

  • 71% of the earth’s surface is covered by the ocean
  • The ocean is responsible for the water cycle, which affects our weather
  • The ocean absorbs 30% of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere by human activity
  • The real map of Ireland has a seabed territory ten times the size of its land area
  • The ocean is the support system of our planet.
  • Over half of the oxygen we breathe was produced in the ocean
  • The global market for seaweed is valued at approximately €5.4 billion
  • · Coral reefs are among the oldest ecosystems in the world — at 230 million years
  • 1.9 million people live within 5km of the coast in Ireland
  • Ocean waters hold nearly 20 million tons of gold. If we could mine all of the gold from the ocean, we would have enough to give every person on earth 9lbs of the precious metal!
  • Aquaculture is the fastest growing food sector in the world – Ireland is ranked 7th largest aquaculture producer in the EU
  • The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest ocean in the world, covering 20% of the earth’s surface. Out of all the oceans, the Atlantic Ocean is the saltiest
  • The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean in the world. It’s bigger than all the continents put together
  • Ireland is surrounded by some of the most productive fishing grounds in Europe, with Irish commercial fish landings worth around €200 million annually
  • 97% of the earth’s water is in the ocean
  • The ocean provides the greatest amount of the world’s protein consumed by humans
  • Plastic affects 700 species in the oceans from plankton to whales.
  • Only 10% of the oceans have been explored.
  • 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean each year, equal to dumping a garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute.
  • 12 humans have walked on the moon but only 3 humans have been to the deepest part of the ocean.

(Ref: Marine Institute)

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