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Displaying items by tag: Celtic Link Ferries

Celtic Link Ferries ro-ro freight-ferry Finnforest (1978/15,525grt) is currently on a six month charter to Italian shipping operator, SNAV on the Naples-Palermo, Sicily route, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The Finnforest has since 1999 served several Scandinavian routes. In 2008 Celtic Link Ferries purchased the Finnforest and continued chartering arrangements with Finnlines on the Helsinki-Gdynia route in the Baltic Sea. The charter ceased earlier this year with the vessel returning to Dublin for dry-docking in July. The Finnforest then proceeded into lay-up in Waterford. On the 30 September the Finnforest departed Waterford's city-centre quays bound for the Mediterranean Sea.

Also joining Finnforest on the Naples-Palermo route are the passenger cruise ferries SNAV Snav Lazio and Snav Sardegna which were transferred in early October from another route of SNAV (Societa Navigazione Alta Velocita) extensive ferry network of services from Italy to Corsica, Sardinia, Croatia and Sicily.

The cruise ferries vessels had previously served on P&O Ferries English Channnel route as sisters Pride of Portsmouth and Pride of Le Havre. Launched for Olau Line, the German built twins replace the SNAV Campania and SNAV Sicilia, former North Sea Ferries (later P&O Ferries) sisters Norland and Norstar. The sisters were withdrawn from the Naples-Palermo service and are reported to have sailed for Jeddah. It is uncertain if the 1973 built pair will see further service in the Red Sea or are heading further east.

The Finnforest was built in South Korea as one of the successful 'Searunner' class of vessels ordered by Stena Rederi during the 1970's. Finnforest's half-sister Diplomat (1978/16,776grt) is on charter too by the Wexford based company. The Diplomat had operated Celtic Link Ferries Rosslare-Cherbourg route until late 2009 before also going to lay-up at Waterford. In April, the Diplomat was chartered to Marine Express to operate in the Caribbean on routes between Peurto Rico and the Dominican Republican.

In 2008 Louis Dreyfus Armateurs ferry subsidiary LD Lines chartered the new 26,500 grt ro-pax Norman Voyager from Liverpool based Meridian Marine Management for the Portsmouth-Le Havre route. In addition a Le Havre-Rosslare round-trip was scheduled at the weekends. LD Lines then switched the French port to neighbouring Cherbourg. The service to Ireland was short-lived with the French company abandoning the route. Subsequently the Norman Voyager was was sub-chartered by LD Lines to Celtic Link Ferries. The 800 passenger / 200 vehicle /120 truck ro-pax currently operates three sailings per week in each direction.
Published in Ports & Shipping
8th September 2010

Celtic's Caribbean Connection

The O'Flaherty Brothers of Wexford have a diverse range of shipping interests ranging from a fishing trawler fleet, a short-sea coaster and ferries under the Celtic Link Ferries banner, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The shipping family can now also claim to have operations in the far-flung seas of the Caribbean Sea through the chartering of their freight-ferry Diplomat (1978/16,776grt) which was replaced late last year by Norman Voyager (2008/26,500grt) on the Rosslare-Cherbourg route.

Celtic_Link_Ferries

Celtic Link Ferries former French  freight-ferry, Diplomat laid-up at Waterford earlier this year is now serving in the Caribbean Sea. Photo: Jehan Ashmore/ShipSNAPS

Diplomat spent the winter laid-up at Waterford, where the 32-year vessel was one of the largest vessels to dock at the city-centre quays and formed a temporary albeit floating landmark.

In April the veteran departed Irish shores to take up a new career in the Caribbean. The Diplomat now serves three weekly round trips for Marine Express between the ports of Mayaguez and the capital of San Juan in Peurto Rico and Rio Haina and San Domingo, the capital in the Dominican Republic, which shares the large island of Hispaniola with Haiti.

In an earlier career, the Diplomat whilst serving as the Baltic Ferry, was requistioned by the British Military of Defence as part of the Falkland Islands task force in the war with Argentina in 1982. The vessel saw action which involved Royal Air Force Harrier Jump-Jets landing on the cargo-deck using the aircraft's unique vertical take-off lift (VTOL) capability.

Another vessel under the O'Flaherty sphere of operations, Finnforest (1978/15,525grt), a sistership of Diplomat and built from a series of successful Searunner-class vessels ordered by Stena Rederi, returned to Dublin early this year. The vessel had spent several years on charter to Finnlines serving in the Baltic Sea between Helsinki and Gdynia, Poland.

Finnforest like the Diplomat underwent dry-docking at Dublin, with both vessels heading afterwards for lay-up periods at Waterford. Finnforest remains laid-up awaiting a charter while berthed alongside the city-centre's disused quays on the Co. Kilkenny side of the River Suir.

Published in Ports & Shipping
Page 6 of 6

Sharks in Irish waters

Irish waters are home to 71 species of shark, skates and rays, 58 of which have been studied in detail and listed on the Ireland Red List of Cartilaginous fish. Irish sharks range from small Sleeper sharks, Dogfish and Catsharks, to larger species like Frilled, Mackerel and Cow sharks, all the way to the second largest shark in the world, the Basking shark. 

Irish waters provide a refuge for an array of shark species. Tralee Bay, Co. Kerry provides a habitat for several rare and endangered sharks and their relatives, including the migratory tope shark, angel shark and undulate ray. This area is also the last European refuge for the extremely rare white skate. Through a European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) project, Marine Institute scientists have been working with fishermen to assess the distribution, diversity, and monthly relative abundance of skates and rays in Tralee, Brandon and Dingle Bays.

“These areas off the southwest coast of Ireland are important internationally as they hold some of the last remaining refuges for angel shark and white skate,” said Dr Maurice Clarke of the Marine Institute. “This EMFF project has provided data confirming the critically endangered status of some species and provides up-to-date information for the development of fishery measures to eliminate by-catch.” 

Irish waters are also home to the Black Mouthed Catshark, Galeus melastomus, one of Ireland’s smallest shark species which can be found in the deep sea along the continental shelf. In 2018, Irish scientists discovered a very rare shark-nursery 200 nautical miles off the west coast by the Marine Institute’s ROV Holland 1 on a shelf sloping to 750 metres deep. 

There are two ways that sharks are born, either as live young or from egg casings. In the ‘case’ of Black Mouthed Catsharks, the nursery discovered in 2018, was notable by the abundance of egg casings or ‘mermaid’s purses’. Many sharks, rays and skate lay eggs, the cases of which often wash ashore. If you find an egg casing along the seashore, take a photo for Purse Search Ireland, a citizen science project focusing on monitoring the shark, ray and skate species around Ireland.

Another species also found by Irish scientists using the ROV Holland 1 in 2018 was a very rare type of dogfish, the Sail Fin Rough Shark, Oxynotus paradoxus. These sharks are named after their long fins which resemble the trailing sails of a boat, and live in the deep sea in waters up to 750m deep. Like all sharks, skates and rays, they have no bones. Their skeleton is composed of cartilage, much like what our noses and ears are made from! This material is much more flexible and lighter than bone which is perfect for these animals living without the weight of gravity.

Throughout history sharks have been portrayed as the monsters of the sea, a concept that science is continuously debunking. Basking sharks were named in 1765 as Cetorhinus maximus, roughly translated to the ‘big-nosed sea monster’. Basking sharks are filter feeders, often swimming with their mouths agape, they filter plankton from the water.

They are very slow moving and like to bask in the sun in shallow water and are often seen in Irish waters around Spring and early Summer. To help understand the migration of these animals to be better able to understand and conserve these species, the Irish Basking Shark Group have tagged and mapped their travels.

Remarkably, many sharks like the Angel Shark, Squatina squatina have the ability to sense electricity. They do this via small pores in their skin called the ‘Ampullae of Lorenzini’ which are able to detect the tiny electrical impulses of a fish breathing, moving or even its heartbeat from distances of over a kilometre! Angel sharks, often referred to as Monkfish have a distinctively angelic shape, with flattened, large fins appearing like the wings of an angel. They live on the seafloor in the coastal waters of Ireland and much like a cat are nocturnal, primarily active at night.

The intricate complexity of shark adaptations is particularly noticeable in the texture of their skin. Composed of miniscule, perfectly shaped overlapping scales, the skin of shark provides them with protection. Often shark scales have been compared to teeth due to their hard enamel structure. They are strong, but also due to their intricate shape, these scales reduce drag and allow water to glide past them so that the shark can swim more effortlessly and silently. This natural flawless design has been used as inspiration for new neoprene fabric designs to help swimmers glide through the water. Although all sharks have this feature, the Leafscale Gulper Shark, Centrophorus squamosus, found in Ireland are specifically named due to the ornate leaf-shape of their scales.