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The Irish Ferries W.B. Yeats ran into heavy weather on its Dublin to Cherbourg route last Sunday morning (13th March) resulting in damage to its upper car deck as the video below shows.

The 200-metre long ferry was forced to turn around and return to Dublin Port in the strong winds and big seas as her track of the day below shows. 

Irish Ferries W.B. YeatsIrish Ferries W.B. Yeats

In a statement, Irish Ferries confirmed that Sunday’s "W.B. Yeats sailing from Dublin to Cherbourg was impacted by heavier weather than forecast which caused some minor damage on the upper car deck. The ship returned to Dublin, which is the normal protocol when these events happen. Irish Ferries rerouted passengers impacted, and apologise for the weather-related disruption.”

MV W.B. Yeats is a RORO passenger and freight vessel. She arrived in Dublin for the first time on 20 December 2018 and entered service in January 2019.

Afloat sources say the ship offloaded its cargo on return to Dublin and headed to the repair dock on Belfast Lough.

Published in Irish Ferries
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At the French channel port of Calais yesterday, a €863 million major infrastructure extension was inaugurated that aims to significantly facilitate the transit of freight and passenger ferry traffic.

The port extension, which has taken six years to complete, sees the creation of three ferry stations with “floating gangways” allowing passenger and heavy goods vehicles to be loaded and unloaded on four lanes simultaneously compared with two previously, offering a time saving of 30% per stopover.

A 3-kilometre sea wall has been built, 65 hectares of land has been landscaped, including 45 hectares reclaimed from the sea, and 39 buildings for the operation and reception of port customers have been built too.

LloydsLoadingList has more on the ports UK counterpart at the Port of Dover, which also welcomed newcomer Irish Ferries onto the premier short-sea route in June. 

Published in Ferry

P&O Ferries restored a fifth ship service on the Dover-Calais route, with the recent arrival of Pride of Burgundy at the Port of Dover, this follows new competition from Irish Ferries which last week launched UK-France sailings.

As MultiModal reports, the return of P&O's 28,000-ton Pride of Burgundy, with its first sailing in over a year, brings additional capacity to carry 120 lorries in freight-only mode, making two return journeys each day. The addition of a fifth ship comes in response to growing demand from British and European customers and will expand options for those requiring rapid and reliable transportation of goods between pivotal markets.

First announced in April, the Pride of Burgundy’s return, follows P&O Ferries’ ground-breaking space sharing agreement (with operator DFDS) on the Dover-Calais route, and the introduction of a second lift-on lift-off (LOLO) ship to double capacity between Hull-Zeebrugge.

Peter Hebblethwaite, Managing Director of P&O Ferries, said: “I am delighted to see the restoration of our Dover-Calais fleet to its pre-pandemic strength of five, with the resulting increase in departures and frequency enabling us to take back market leadership on the English Channel and further improve our customer service. Pride of Burgundy will reinforce our cost-effective freight service by increasing capacity and flexibility on the route – a vital artery of trade upon which thousands of businesses and consumers rely.

“With the support of our parent company, DP World, the world’s leading provider of smart logistics solutions, we are committed to bolstering our offering to customers and ensuring optimal efficiency in the flow of goods between the UK and Europe. With international trade at the heart of economic recovery, continual investment in our Dover-Calais route will encourage supply chain resilience by connecting people, businesses and nations.”

Published in Ferry

Ferry rivals, DFDS & P&O have today entered into a mutual space charter agreement on the Dover-Calais route to shorten freight customers’ waiting times.

The new agreement according to DFDS on the premier short-sea route will also improve the flow of freight traffic across this vital arterial trade link between the UK and France and the rest of the EU member states. 

Freight drivers will be able to board the next available sailing when they arrive at the Port of Dover or the Port of Calais, regardless of which of the two ferry companies is operating the crossing. This will ensure customers benefit from more flexibility, with a sailing every 36 minutes. It will reduce the amount of waiting time at the port saving our freight customers up to 30 minutes on their overall journey time.

Whilst the agreement means that capacity is shared, all commercial activities remain entirely under the control of each operator. 

The new agreement is for freight vehicles only and does not apply to sailings on the Dover-Dunkirk route, which is solely operated by DFDS and will continue to provide a convenient alternative from Dover, with regular sailings and easy access to the Northern European road network.

Filip Hermann, Vice-President and Head of Channel Routes for DFDS, said: “Our focus is always to improve the ferry offering to freight customers. With this new space charter agreement in Dover-Calais we offer faster crossings and flexibility to relieve congestion and keep trade flowing”.

The two ferry companies carry more than 2.5 million lorries across the English Channel every year, making it the busiest trade route between the UK and Europe, maintaining the flow of essential items including food, medicines and other materials into and out of the UK.

As Afloat previously reported, operator, Irish Ferries next month is to launch a brand new service on Dover-Calais route with the transfer of Isle of Inishmore from Rosslare-Pembroke duties.

Initially, sailings on the UK-France link will be based only for freight customers, providing hauliers with an inclusive UK landbridge post-Brexit connection, as this also includes the operators main Irish Sea route of Dublin-Holyhead.  

Published in Ferry

Irish Ferries and Stena Line, the two key players in Ireland’s ferry industry, are today calling for the reopening of the Common Travel Area (CTA) at the earliest opportunity. They also welcome comments made last week by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, when he talked about the possibility of restoring the Common Travel Area (CTA) between Ireland and Britain as an “initial first step” for the travel and tourism sectors.

With virus levels now low in Ireland and the UK, and vaccination programmes progressing in both countries, Irish Ferries and Stena Line are calling on Ministers and industry stakeholders to urgently look at restoring the long-standing CTA agreement for Irish and UK citizens, and permit unrestricted travel between Britain and the island of Ireland.

Paul Grant, Trade Director for the Irish Sea, at Stena Line said: “COVID-19 infections are now at low levels and vaccination levels are increasing significantly in both countries. In the UK for example 66% of adults have now received their first dose and 30% have had both, so there is now a real need to focus on solving some of the economic impacts of the pandemic, and an obvious starting point are the hard-hit tourist, hospitality and travel sectors. With the restoring of travel between the islands of Ireland and Britain, we can start to rebuild these sectors locally in advance of the full resumption of international travel, which may take more time to agree and deliver.”

Andrew Sheen, Managing Director for Irish Ferries commented: “The ferry industry has played a key role in helping to keep vital food and medical supply lines open during the height of the pandemic. With the current UK infection rate of 48 cases per 100,000 population comparable to the lowest in Europe, we need to acknowledge the shared land border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and eliminate the discrepancies and loopholes on travel restrictions on the island. Irish Ferries and Stena Line welcome the Tánaiste’s recent comments on the possibility of restoring the CTA in advance of the full resumption of international travel and would urge the Irish Government to prioritise its implementation.”

The issue with the CTA has arisen due to differing approaches by the Irish and UK governments. The Irish Government requires passengers from Britain to have a negative PCR test and they must also quarantine for 14 days on arrival. The UK Government has never imposed requirements for testing or quarantine for people travelling from anywhere on the island of Ireland to Britain. The Northern Ireland Assembly also has never imposed testing or quarantine on anyone travelling from Britain.

Both companies are also stressing that they need time to prepare for the resumption of travel. Urgent clarity is needed regarding dates so that the ferry companies can ensure they are ready from an operational perspective.

Published in Ferry
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As Irish Ferries is to become a rival to P&O Ferries on the Dover-Calais market, the ferry firm is set to respond on the UK-France route by deploying a fifth vessel.

The DP World-owned company announced its ro-pax Pride of Burgundy vessel would return to the route in June.

It’s a service the vessel operated for the best part of 26 years before P&O Ferries reduced capacity in response to the pandemic and the cessation of cross-Channel passenger traffic.

More from The Loadstar here.

Published in Ferry

Irish Ferries has announced the addition of the RoRo passenger ferry Blue Star 1 to its Rosslare–Pembroke Dock route.

The ship is being chartered from the Attica Group and delivery is expected in early April.

Blue Star 1 was built in 2000 by the Van der Giessen de Noord shipyard in the Netherlands, the same shipyard that in 1997 built Irish Ferries’ Isle of Inishmore which is currently servicing the Rosslare–Pembroke Dock route.

Irish Ferries’ pending addition to the fleet has the capacity to carry up to 1,500 passengers, 100 freight vehicles and up to 700 cars depending on freight volume.

The ship offers a host of quality facilities including 192 cabins for freight drivers/passengers, self-service restaurant, café/bar, Club Class lounge, onboard duty-free shop, children’s play area and spacious outdoor decks.

Irish Ferries says the tripling of cabin numbers will facilitate more single occupancy cabins for freight drivers.

Irish Ferries managing director Andrew Sheen said: “We are very pleased to add a quality ship of the calibre of the versatile Blue Star 1 to the Irish Ferries fleet. This ship will be the fastest RoRo passenger ship operating between Britain and Ireland and this will help ensure schedule integrity.

“The introduction of this ship underlines our commitment to the Rosslare-to-Pembroke route, the primary shipping corridor between Ireland and South Wales.

“It also underlines our commitment to the significant contribution that this route makes in facilitating trade for both exporters and importers as well as facilitating essential passenger movements and future tourists as the country reopens post-COVID-19.”

The news comes just says after Irish Ferries launched a new service on the Dover–Calais route set to begin this June — a first for the market leader for freight and passengers between Britain and the Ireland.

Published in Irish Ferries
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With Irish Ferries to launch a first ever service on a UK-France route next month, the company also announced the addition of a passenger ro-ro ferry Blue Star 1 to its Rosslare to Pembroke Dock route.

The ship (to replace Isle of Inishmore) is being chartered from the Attica Group and delivery is expected in early April 2021.

Blue Star 1 was built in 2000 by the Van der Giessen de Noord shipyard in the Netherlands, the same shipyard that in 1997 built Irish Ferries Isle of Inishmore, currently servicing the Rosslare to Pembroke Dock route.

The Blue Star 1 has the capacity to carry up to 1,500 passengers, 100 freight vehicles and up to 700 cars depending on freight volume.

The ship offers a host of quality facilities including 192 cabins for freight drivers/passengers, self-service restaurant, café/bar, Club Class lounge, onboard duty-free shop, children’s play area and spacious outdoor decks. The tripling of cabin numbers will facilitate more single occupancy cabins for freight drivers, a welcome development for our freight customers.

Andrew Sheen, Irish Ferries Managing Director, said: “We are very pleased to add a quality ship of the calibre of the versatile Blue Star 1 to the Irish Ferries fleet. This ship will be the fastest RoRo Passenger ship operating between Britain and Ireland and this will help ensure schedule integrity. The introduction of this ship underlines our commitment to the Rosslare to Pembroke route, the primary shipping corridor between Ireland and South Wales. It also underlines our commitment to the significant contribution that this route makes in facilitating trade for both exporters and importers as well as facilitating essential passenger movements and future tourists as the country re-opens post COVID-19”.

Published in Irish Ferries

A first for Irish Ferries, as the subsidiary of Irish Continental Group plc (ICG) has announced a new service on the Dover – Calais route.

The service is planned to start in June 2021, with the transfer of Isle of Inishmore (see newer ship for Rosslare-Pembroke Dock route) to the UK-France route. Additional capacity will be added in the coming months.

Irish Ferries is the market leader for freight and passengers between Britain and the Republic of Ireland, a leadership position that has been built on the twin pillars of customer focus and investment in purpose built ships for each route. An Irish Ferries spokesman said:

We are very excited about launching our services on the best short sea ferry market in the world and we believe we can bring more choice for customers in the years ahead.

As part of our commitment to the movement of freight on and off the Island of Ireland to both the UK and Europe, this additional capacity on the Dover – Calais route will significantly strengthen the capacity and reliability of the landbridge for exporters and importers.

Hauliers will now have one operator providing an inclusive service on the Dublin - Holyhead, Rosslare - Pembroke and Dover - Calais routes. This will allow exporters and importers easier, cheaper, and quicker access to our European markets via the Common Transit Convention.

It is intended to offer passenger services on the route. The initial level of passenger services offered will be dependent on the easing of Covid-19 travel restrictions.

Doug Bannister, Chief Executive, Port of Dover, said: “We are delighted to welcome Irish Ferries to Dover. This announcement gives the millions of customers across the UK and the Republic of Ireland who value the intrinsic benefits of the shortest sea crossing to Europe, the prospect of even more choice. We believe the inclusive landbridge product will be popular with Irish exporters and will strengthen the just in time supply chain into the European Union. This is a clear signal of market confidence in the Dover route and will complement the resilient services currently provided. We wish Irish Ferries every success and look forward to having them on the route in the summer and working together as part of the Dover team building the future success of the Short Straits.”

Jean-Marc Puissesseau, Chairman, Port of Calais, said: “the commencement of the service operated by Irish Ferries emphasises the strategic position of the port of Calais in the trade between Ireland, the United Kingdom and the continent. It is a clear sign of confidence just a few weeks before the opening of the new port of Calais

Published in Irish Ferries

Irish Ferries, owned by the Irish Continental Group, has reported lower revenues and earnings for 2020 due to Covid-19 travel restrictions on its passenger business.

Irish Continental Group said its revenues for the year fell by 22.5% to €277.1m from €357.4m in 2019, while EBITDA slumped 51.5% to €42.1m from €86.8m.

Overall the group generated an operating loss of €10.4m compared to operating profits of €64.9m in 2019.

ICG Chairman John B McGuckian said that 2020 was an exceptionally challenging year for the group due to the restrictions placed on travel due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

But the chairman said that while these restrictions brought large-scale disruption and reductions in its passenger business, the other parts of the business proved resilient throughout the entire year. 

More details reports RTE News here. 

Published in Irish Ferries
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Ireland's Offshore Renewable Energy

Because of Ireland's location at the Atlantic edge of the EU, it has more offshore energy potential than most other countries in Europe. The conditions are suitable for the development of the full range of current offshore renewable energy technologies.

Offshore Renewable Energy FAQs

Offshore renewable energy draws on the natural energy provided by wind, wave and tide to convert it into electricity for industry and domestic consumption.

Offshore wind is the most advanced technology, using fixed wind turbines in coastal areas, while floating wind is a developing technology more suited to deeper water. In 2018, offshore wind provided a tiny fraction of global electricity supply, but it is set to expand strongly in the coming decades into a USD 1 trillion business, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). It says that turbines are growing in size and in power capacity, which in turn is "delivering major performance and cost improvements for offshore wind farms".

The global offshore wind market grew nearly 30% per year between 2010 and 2018, according to the IEA, due to rapid technology improvements, It calculated that about 150 new offshore wind projects are in active development around the world. Europe in particular has fostered the technology's development, led by Britain, Germany and Denmark, but China added more capacity than any other country in 2018.

A report for the Irish Wind Energy Assocation (IWEA) by the Carbon Trust – a British government-backed limited company established to accelerate Britain's move to a low carbon economy - says there are currently 14 fixed-bottom wind energy projects, four floating wind projects and one project that has yet to choose a technology at some stage of development in Irish waters. Some of these projects are aiming to build before 2030 to contribute to the 5GW target set by the Irish government, and others are expected to build after 2030. These projects have to secure planning permission, obtain a grid connection and also be successful in a competitive auction in the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS).

The electricity generated by each turbine is collected by an offshore electricity substation located within the wind farm. Seabed cables connect the offshore substation to an onshore substation on the coast. These cables transport the electricity to land from where it will be used to power homes, farms and businesses around Ireland. The offshore developer works with EirGrid, which operates the national grid, to identify how best to do this and where exactly on the grid the project should connect.

The new Marine Planning and Development Management Bill will create a new streamlined system for planning permission for activity or infrastructure in Irish waters or on the seabed, including offshore wind farms. It is due to be published before the end of 2020 and enacted in 2021.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE. Is there scope for community involvement in offshore wind? The IWEA says that from the early stages of a project, the wind farm developer "should be engaging with the local community to inform them about the project, answer their questions and listen to their concerns". It says this provides the community with "the opportunity to work with the developer to help shape the final layout and design of the project". Listening to fishing industry concerns, and how fishermen may be affected by survey works, construction and eventual operation of a project is "of particular concern to developers", the IWEA says. It says there will also be a community benefit fund put in place for each project. It says the final details of this will be addressed in the design of the RESS (see below) for offshore wind but it has the potential to be "tens of millions of euro over the 15 years of the RESS contract". The Government is also considering the possibility that communities will be enabled to invest in offshore wind farms though there is "no clarity yet on how this would work", the IWEA says.

Based on current plans, it would amount to around 12 GW of offshore wind energy. However, the IWEA points out that is unlikely that all of the projects planned will be completed. The industry says there is even more significant potential for floating offshore wind off Ireland's west coast and the Programme for Government contains a commitment to develop a long-term plan for at least 30 GW of floating offshore wind in our deeper waters.

There are many different models of turbines. The larger a turbine, the more efficient it is in producing electricity at a good price. In choosing a turbine model the developer will be conscious of this ,but also has to be aware the impact of the turbine on the environment, marine life, biodiversity and visual impact. As a broad rule an offshore wind turbine will have a tip-height of between 165m and 215m tall. However, turbine technology is evolving at a rapid rate with larger more efficient turbines anticipated on the market in the coming years.

 

The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme is designed to support the development of renewable energy projects in Ireland. Under the scheme wind farms and solar farms compete against each other in an auction with the projects which offer power at the lowest price awarded contracts. These contracts provide them with a guaranteed price for their power for 15 years. If they obtain a better price for their electricity on the wholesale market they must return the difference to the consumer.

Yes. The first auction for offshore renewable energy projects is expected to take place in late 2021.

Cost is one difference, and technology is another. Floating wind farm technology is relatively new, but allows use of deeper water. Ireland's 50-metre contour line is the limit for traditional bottom-fixed wind farms, and it is also very close to population centres, which makes visibility of large turbines an issue - hence the attraction of floating structures Do offshore wind farms pose a navigational hazard to shipping? Inshore fishermen do have valid concerns. One of the first steps in identifying a site as a potential location for an offshore wind farm is to identify and assess the level of existing marine activity in the area and this particularly includes shipping. The National Marine Planning Framework aims to create, for the first time, a plan to balance the various kinds of offshore activity with the protection of the Irish marine environment. This is expected to be published before the end of 2020, and will set out clearly where is suitable for offshore renewable energy development and where it is not - due, for example, to shipping movements and safe navigation.

YEnvironmental organisations are concerned about the impact of turbines on bird populations, particularly migrating birds. A Danish scientific study published in 2019 found evidence that larger birds were tending to avoid turbine blades, but said it didn't have sufficient evidence for smaller birds – and cautioned that the cumulative effect of farms could still have an impact on bird movements. A full environmental impact assessment has to be carried out before a developer can apply for planning permission to develop an offshore wind farm. This would include desk-based studies as well as extensive surveys of the population and movements of birds and marine mammals, as well as fish and seabed habitats. If a potential environmental impact is identified the developer must, as part of the planning application, show how the project will be designed in such a way as to avoid the impact or to mitigate against it.

A typical 500 MW offshore wind farm would require an operations and maintenance base which would be on the nearby coast. Such a project would generally create between 80-100 fulltime jobs, according to the IWEA. There would also be a substantial increase to in-direct employment and associated socio-economic benefit to the surrounding area where the operation and maintenance hub is located.

The recent Carbon Trust report for the IWEA, entitled Harnessing our potential, identified significant skills shortages for offshore wind in Ireland across the areas of engineering financial services and logistics. The IWEA says that as Ireland is a relatively new entrant to the offshore wind market, there are "opportunities to develop and implement strategies to address the skills shortages for delivering offshore wind and for Ireland to be a net exporter of human capital and skills to the highly competitive global offshore wind supply chain". Offshore wind requires a diverse workforce with jobs in both transferable (for example from the oil and gas sector) and specialist disciplines across apprenticeships and higher education. IWEA have a training network called the Green Tech Skillnet that facilitates training and networking opportunities in the renewable energy sector.

It is expected that developing the 3.5 GW of offshore wind energy identified in the Government's Climate Action Plan would create around 2,500 jobs in construction and development and around 700 permanent operations and maintenance jobs. The Programme for Government published in 2020 has an enhanced target of 5 GW of offshore wind which would create even more employment. The industry says that in the initial stages, the development of offshore wind energy would create employment in conducting environmental surveys, community engagement and development applications for planning. As a site moves to construction, people with backgrounds in various types of engineering, marine construction and marine transport would be recruited. Once the site is up and running , a project requires a team of turbine technicians, engineers and administrators to ensure the wind farm is fully and properly maintained, as well as crew for the crew transfer vessels transporting workers from shore to the turbines.

The IEA says that today's offshore wind market "doesn't even come close to tapping the full potential – with high-quality resources available in most major markets". It estimates that offshore wind has the potential to generate more than 420 000 Terawatt hours per year (TWh/yr) worldwide – as in more than 18 times the current global electricity demand. One Terawatt is 114 megawatts, and to put it in context, Scotland it has a population a little over 5 million and requires 25 TWh/yr of electrical energy.

Not as advanced as wind, with anchoring a big challenge – given that the most effective wave energy has to be in the most energetic locations, such as the Irish west coast. Britain, Ireland and Portugal are regarded as most advanced in developing wave energy technology. The prize is significant, the industry says, as there are forecasts that varying between 4000TWh/yr to 29500TWh/yr. Europe consumes around 3000TWh/year.

The industry has two main umbrella organisations – the Irish Wind Energy Association, which represents both onshore and offshore wind, and the Marine Renewables Industry Association, which focuses on all types of renewable in the marine environment.

©Afloat 2020

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