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Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

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Displaying items by tag: Irish Ferries

#FerryNews - Irish and British unions have called for an urgent meeting with Irish Ferries to discuss pay plans for a new 'super-ferry' due this autumn.

SIPTU, RMT and Nautilus reports the Irish Examiner are seeking assurances over conditions for the crew of the W.B. Yeats, which is expected to join the Dublin-Holyhead route in September.

SIPTU's Jerry Brennan says they want to ensure that new terms and conditions will not undercut existing arrangements on the Irish Sea.

To read a comment by the SIPTU representative, click here.

Published in Ferry
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#FerryNews - Ulysses has returned to service today (Thursday 26 July), having completed a sailing from Dublin Port to Holyhead this morning.

The Irish Ferries flagship left Belfast Dry Dock yesterday evening (Wednesday 25 July) after a month of extended repairs on a problem propeller shaft.

Epsilon, the ferry drafted to replace Ulysses on the current summer schedule, is expected to remain on standby should any further technical issues be encountered.

Afloat.ie's own Jehan Ashmore will be sailing on Ulysses later today.

Published in Ferry
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#FerryNews - Hundreds of holidaymakers who were forced to rearrange their travel plans after Irish Ferries cancelled all sailings of the WB Yeats to France this summer have now been told that their rescheduled crossings have also been cancelled.

As The Irish Times reports, the ferry company has transferred around 80 bookings with the ill-fated WB Yeats onto Epsilon but its scheduled crossing from Ireland to France this weekend has now been cancelled so it can ferry passengers on the Dublin-Holyhead route.

Irish Continental Group, which owns Irish Ferries, confirmed on Monday that repairs on its Ulysses vessel were more serious than originally anticipated and it will be out of service for up to two weeks.

For more on the ferry disruption during the peak-holiday season, click here. 

Published in Ferry

#FerryNews - Technical issues for Irish Ferries Ulysses remain unresolved as they are more serious than originally anticipated, forcing the operator to cancel further sailings than expected during the peak season on the busy Dublin-Holyhead route.

Ulysses since late last month has been out of service due to problems with a propeller shaft that led to the largest ferry on the Irish Sea to receive repairs in Harland & Wolff, Belfast. The ferry was due to return to service last Wednesday, 4th July. 

According to a statement issued today by Irish Continental Group (parent company of Irish Ferries), the cruiseferry reported technical issues of the starboard controllable pitch propeller on the (Sunday) 24th June. The investigation and repairs to the vessel were expected to take no longer than 5 days allowing the cruiseferry to resume service on the (Wednesday) 4th July. Service engineers have informed the operator, that the issue is more serious and the cruiseferry will be out of service for a further period of 1 to 2 weeks. 

Irish Ferries added that despite their best efforts they were unable to find replacement tonnage in what is now the peak tourism season.

This is the first major technical problem to beset the Ulysses since introduction of the 50,938 gross tonnage cruiseferry in 2001. The vessel remains docked in Belfast Dry-Dock from where it entered on the 28th June. Afloat had previously tracked the cruiseferry make an overnight passage from Dublin Port on 26th June to Belfast Lough from where anchorage took place off Bangor before the dry dock could accommodate the 209m cruiseferry.

Irish Ferries said it would be contacting affected passengers and has adjusted the schedules of other vessels to minimise the disruption to customers as much as possible.

The operator said it will continue to run the schedule (Ex: Dublin – 08:05 & 20:55 and Ex: Holyhead – 02:40 & 14:10) using their alternate vessel Epsilon and will increase the number of Dublin Swift sailings with an additional round trip in the evening.

The disruption follows last month's announcement from ICG of another delay to newbuild delivery of cruiseferry W.B. Yeats. The cruiseferry which is similar in appearance to Ulysses but larger at around 55,000 tonnes is now set to enter service this autumn on the Dublin-Holyhead.

Originally, W.B. Yeats was to debut on the continental connection linking the capital and Cherbourg, France followed by a launch on the service to Wales in September.

 

 

Published in Ferry

#FerryNews - Operator Irish Ferries has said all sailings on the Ulysses vessel which serves the Dublin to Holyhead route have been cancelled for the next week.

As the The Irish Times reports, the ferry operator said the ship has been taken out of service due to a “technical issue” and to allow repairs be completed.

A spokeswoman for Irish Ferries said there is a problem with a propeller shaft necessitating the ship going to dry dock for a number of days and it is expected the Ulysses will return to normal service by the middle of next week.

In a statement (for updates click here) the company said all passengers affected are currently being advised and will be accommodated on an alternative ship or sailing.

For more on this story, click here.

Afloat adds the flagship departed Dublin Port this evening and is bound for Harland & Wolff, Belfast to undergo repairs. 

Published in Ferry

#FerryNews -Irish Ferries last September announced that work had started in a German shipyard on a €144 million ship that would be the pride of its fleet. It said that, in accordance with tradition, a specially commissioned ceremonial coin would be placed in the keel during construction to “bring good luck and calm seas for the vessel”.

As The Irish Times writes, the coin has not done its job.

The “WB Yeats”– as the new boat was named following a public competition that attracted tens of thousands of submissions – has been dogged by bad luck, and its failure to arrive in Ireland on schedule ahead of a busy season of summer crossings has done untold damage to the reputation of Irish Ferries and left the holiday plans of tens of thousands of Irish passengers all at sea.

News that things were going awry with the luxury ferry – which has space for 1,885 passengers and crew, 440 cabins including suites with private balconies, and 3km of car deck space – first reached The Irish Times on April 20th. “There are rumours that Irish Ferries new €144m ship, which is scheduled to take passengers from Dublin to Cherbourg from July, is delayed by a few weeks,” a mail from a reader and would-be passenger started.

“The rumour is they are going to take the existing bookings and tell everyone they are going to be accommodated on the boat from Rosslare instead,” it continued.

To read more on the story click here.

Published in Ferry

#FerryNews - The National Transport Authority (NTA) which regulates sea travel to and from Ireland has said it is examining whether thousands of passengers impacted by Irish Ferries cancelling its summer sailings on the WB Yeats are entitled to compensation.

As The Irish Times writes, the NTA said it was “extremely disappointed” by the cancellations which will see all crossings from July 30th to September 17th scrapped .

All told approximately 19,000 passengers in addition to 10,000 passengers already affected by a previous wave of cancellations in April have had holiday planes thrown into disarray.

An NTA spokesman said those affected were entitled to full refund or an alternative sailing “at the earliest opportunity, under comparable conditions and at no additional cost”.

He said they may also “be entitled to claim compensation depending on length of delay in arrival at [THE]final destination and depending on the cause of that delay”.

The NTA is the national enforcement body for maritime passenger rights under EU Regulations and the spokesman told The Irish Times that it was “considering in light of this development how [EU RULES ]will apply to ensure that passengers impacted by this announcement receive the protections provided for”.

Passengers have expressed anger at frustration at the difficulties they have encountered in trying to make contact with the company since the cancellations were announced.

To read more on a flood of calls from customers, click here. 

Published in Ferry

#FerryNews - A bill of up to €7 million faces Irish Ferries for cancelling scheduled French services following delays by a German shipbuilder in finishing a new craft for the company.

The ferry operator writes The Irish Times, was forced to cancel sailings of its new ship, the WB Yeats, from Dublin to France, beginning on July 30th, because its builder, Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft (FSG), had told the Irish firm that the craft would not be ready on time.

Industry analysts at stockbrokers Goodbody and Investec calculated that the cancellations, along with the resulting compensation and rebooking of passengers on alternative services, could cost €4.5 million.

Eamon Rothwell, chief executive of the ferry company’s parent, Irish Continental Group, recently estimated that earlier cancellations, also resulting from FSG’s failure to finish the WB Yeats on schedule, would cost €2.5 million.

As a result, the delay in finishing the WB Yeats leaves the shipping group facing extra costs of €7 million at its busiest time of year.

To read more on this story, click here. 

As previously covered on Afloat the newbuild cruiseferry had originally been scheduled to launch sailings earlier on July 12th, click related report here. 

Published in Ferry

#FerryNews - Ulysses, Irish Ferries cruiseferry on the Dublin-Holyhead route has sailings cancelled today (2 May) and up to Friday (4 May). 

According to the operator's website this is due to technical reasons. All of the cruiseferry's operated sailings in both directions on the Ireland-Wales route are cancelled. 

Passengers instead can be accommodated on the route's fastferry, HSC Dublin Swift and the ropax ferry Epsilon.

For updated sailing information click the link here and also for contact details.

The 50,938 gross registered tonnes flagship Ulysses is the largest ro-ro ferry operating on the Irish Sea. Since introduction in 2001, the cruiseferry has held a strong reliable track record of service maintaining the core short-sea route. 

The cruiseferry is no longer docked at Dublin Ferryport Terminal 1 having proceeded upriver to berth in Alexandra Basin.

 

Published in Ferry

#FerryNews - Irish Ferries former first fastferry, Jonathan Swift departed Dublin Port today under new name Cecilia Payne for Spain, a day after a larger replacement craft Dublin Swift took over Dublin-Holyhead sailings, writes Jehan Ashmore.

In January Irish Continental Group (ICG) parent company of Irish Ferries announced that it was to sell the high-speed craft (HSC) to Balearia Eurolineas Maritimas S.A. for an agreed consideration of €15.5 million. 

Jonathan Swift is an Austal-Auto Express 86m catamaran which spent a career spanning almost two decades on the core Ireland-Wales route when launched into service in 1999. The 800 passenger/200 car catamaran built by Austal Ships Pty, Australia, became the first fast-ferry ordered by ICG.  

At a ceremony in 1999 held at Dublin Ferryport Terminal 1, the high-speed craft (HSC) Jonathan Swift was christened by Cecilia Larkin, then the partner of then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

During the past 18 years, the craft marketed as the 'Dublin Swift' operated crossings in just 1 hour 49 minutes. When introduced, the HSC operated alongside cruiseferry Isle of Inishmore which was replaced in 2001 by larger conventional tonnage in the form of Ulysses. In more recent years the flagship was joined by the chartered-in ropax Epsilon.  

Departures today of both HSC took place in the afternoon and around ten minutes appart from the capital. This involved Dublin Swift (ICG acquired in 2016 and subsequently chartered overseas), first to pass the Kish Bank Lighthouse and bound for Wales. Astern, Cecilia Payne likewise set a similar course until rounding the lighthouse and then headed for the Bay of Biscay. The next port call is La Coruña in Galicia, northern Spain and eventually the Mediterranean where new owners Balearia await delivery.

When Cecilia Payne debuts in the Mediterranean on 1 June, it is thanks to the 35 knot capable catamaran that reduced sailings times will be made available on two routes: The Dénia (mainland)-Ibiza route and Ibiza-Palma, each taking only 2 hours to complete.

The craft's name of Cecilia Payne has been chosen by Balearia in recognition of the famous Anglo-American astronomer and astrophysicist. She was honoured for her work on the stars and as the first woman to teach at the famed Harvard University.

Published in Ferry
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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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