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Displaying items by tag: SteamPacket

Around 300 passengers enjoyed spectacular views of the Isle of Man’s coastline on this year’s Ben-my-Chree round-the-island cruise which was held last Saturday following Midsummer's day. 

The ropax which the IOM Steam-Packet operates on the route to Heysham, England, departed Douglas at 19:00hrs on the special cruise which first went across the bay towards Onchan Head, swinging back around and continuing south. From there the cruise which included a meal as part of the fare offered further stunning views of Port Erin Bay followed by Peel and its castle. 

The fine evening meant that the crew were able to open up Deck 5 to allow passengers to get a great look at the coastline from the vehicle deck. There was also a refurbished motorised horse tram on the deck which made a great vantage point and photo opportunity.

It was an enjoyable evening for all with stunning coastal views, delicious food and musical entertainment from Douglas Town Band’s oompah act, Baron Otto's Blaskapelle, who performed several sets in the ship’s bar throughout the cruise.

Published in Ferry

#ferries - Manx minister for Enterprise wants to see fewer sailings operating at low capacity.

According to Manx Radio, the 2018 Isle of Man Passenger Survey results show the number of people travelling by sea dropped by 6% last year.

Tynwald (the island's Parliament) recently approved a plan for the future of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, after the government purchased the ferry operator last year.

Laurence Skelly is keen to attract more tourists to fill the empty seats.

To listen and watch the Minister speak on the radio station click the link here. 

Published in Ferry

#ferries - The Isle of Man Steam Packet's fastcraft Manannan arrived to Dublin Port yesterday to carry out berthing trials against the backdrop of port capacity restrictions and challenges posed by Brexit, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Prior to entering the port by the 850 passenger/200 vehicle Manannan, a routine yet busy succession of ferry and ro-ro freight ships departed through Dublin Bay. They were all bound for the UK to the ports of Holyhead, Liverpool and Heysham.

The Steam-Packet confirmed to Afloat.ie that the Manannan conducted the berthing trials on two berths to determine if either could be used as a back-up in the event access to the normally used berth (at Terminal No.1, the port's busiest) should it be restricted or out of action.

Acquired by the Manx Government last year, the ferry operator is set to resume seasonal service linking Douglas and Dublin on Thursday, 18 April in advance of the Easter Bank Holiday weekend. The 96m Manannan which has operated on the Irish Sea since 2009 is however first scheduled to resume on another seasonal service this week between Douglas and Belfast when sailings start on Sunday, 7 April.

Afloat monitored Manannan carry out the first berthing trial in Dublin where Stena Line operate out of Terminal 2. The terminal is located adjacent to where rivals Irish Ferries use the port's busiest ferry facility at Terminal 1. Also berthed there was another fastcraft, Dublin Swift which during the St. Patrick's Festival began a second summer season for Irish Ferries on the core Irish Sea route to Holyhead in tandem with Ulysses and the chartered-in ropax Epsilon.

In addition at Terminal 1 last month saw the introduction of Irish Ferries much anticipated new giant cruiseferry W.B. Yeats (onto the Dublin-France service) which has doubled in the number sailings by up to 4 weekly on the continental link to Cherbourg. Up to then Epsilon served this route and Oscar Wilde since September, following the apparent closure of Rosslare based routes to France (see below).

W.B. Yeats which at 51,388grt is the largest ferry ever to operate out of Ireland and also brings a Brexit related boost to capacity on the direct link to mainland Europe though seemingly at the expense of Rosslare Europort and the south-east region. As in December, Irish Ferries announced they would unlikely resume services to France in 2019 but added they would keep this situation under review. In the meantime the 1987 built Oscar Wilde remains in dry-dock at Harland & Wolff, Belfast, so what beckons for the future of this cruiseferry?

As widely reported in the media, Dublin Port has imposed restrictions by placing a limit on the number of cruiseships calling to the capital. This is due to Brexit which will force the port to handle increased amounts of freight and cargo directly from mainland Europe, as distinct to depending on services that make up the UK land-bridge to mainland Europe. This will lead to more considered allocation of berths and in particular at Alexandra Basin where a major redevelopment is ongoing as part of the port's Masterplan. 

The second of Manannan's Dublin berthing trials took place upriver at Ocean Pier (notably not a ferry passenger terminal). Located here at this same berth linkspan in Alexandra Basin (East) is where the latest Brexit-Buster the newbuild ro-ro freight ship Laureline made a maiden call last week. The giant ship is among the operator, CLnD's fleet including Celine but docks at the adjacent Alexandra Basin from also where direct services run to Zeebrugge in Belgium and Europe's largest port, Rotterdam in The Netherlands.

Laureline which is around the same size in gross tonnage terms of W.B. Yeats, is to return for only the second time to Dublin Port today with an arrival around lunch-hour.

Published in Ferry

#FerryNews- The new ferry terminal planned for Liverpool the IOMToday reports have included images that have been unveiled.

The pictures have been released ahead of a public display in Liverpool this week. A planning application is due to be submitted next month.

The images show that the new building would be glass fronted with a steel frame, with passengers welcomed in English and Manx above the main door.

Infrastructure Minister Ray Harmer MHK said: ’The proposed terminal has been designed to combine a high standard of civil engineering with a high quality building.’

Car passengers will enter from the road currently under construction as part of Liverpool’s city centre connection project, with bus and taxi spaces provided.

Foot passengers will be able to enter along the access bridge, which is at the rear of the Alexandra Tower.

Freight vehicles will wait to board boats in a designated area next to the river.

For more on the development. click here. 

Published in Ferry

#FerryNews - IOM Today reports of a newly-formed lobby group that says it has ’serious concerns’ about the ’strategic vulnerablility’ of Douglas port.

Isle of Man Maritime Ltd, a not-for-profit company which has replaced the Isle of Man Shipping Association, points out the harbour is too small to handle the larger roll-on, roll-off vessels that are now the norm.

And it says there is no contingency plan should there be a serious incident in the harbour which blocks it to other sea traffic.

It issued the statement after Tynwald last month backed an £80m strategy to redevelop Douglas harbour and attract more cruise liners to the island.

The Shipping Association had proposed a £35m-40m scheme for a fixed deep water landing stage on the seaward-side of the breakwater that protects Douglas harbour.

For further reading of this development, click here. 

Published in Ferry

#FerryNews-  The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company has reported an upturn in visitor numbers last year.

Booking data reports Manx Radio from the ferry operator shows an increase of 3.4% in ferry passengers compared to 2016.

It comes in spite of Cabinet Office figures indicating a sharp fall in visitors to the Island last year - findings which have come under doubt from parts of the tourism industry.

Passenger departures from Liverpool, Birkenhead, Belfast and Dublin are all up, with only a small decrease in those coming from Heysham.

Steam Packet Chief Executive Mark Woodward says continued investment in promotion of the Island, as well an increased UK marketing budget, are factors in the continued growth in numbers.

Published in Ferry

#FerryNews - This morning the first Dublin-Isle of Man sailing for season 2018 began with fastferry Manannan departing on time at 10.45 in advance of the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The fast ferry service taking 2hrs 55mins is operated by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company. Manannan made an arrival to the Irish capital having departed on the outward leg from Douglas at 07.00.

In recent days Manannan also resumed daily operated Isle of Man sailings to Liverpool and yesterday began serving through Belfast. These sailings compared to the Dublin route are marginally shorter taking 2hrs 45mins on the Ulster link.

On occasions when conventional ropax Ben-My-Chree provides these services, the sailing times are longer on both the Irish routes. 

The Steam-Packet has more than 900,000 offer seats available during the season. Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘The return of our fast craft Manannan is always an exciting and busy time for us, and we are looking forward to welcoming our passengers on board. It is always great to see a combination of Island residents heading off on their travels, along with curious visitors on their way to discover our special island!’

Manannan can take 200 vehicles and 850 passenger and crew. There are a variety of seating areas, including two cinema lounges, a large bar area at the stern and the Coast-to-Coast cafe that offers a wide selection of food options.

On the upper deck is the enlarged skylounge providing accommodation for the Niarbyl Reserved Lounge, the Manannan Premium Lounge and the Manannan Executive Club. 

Published in Ferry

#Larne - The Isle of Man Steam Packet is to undertake berthing trials in the Northern Irish port of Larne, writes IOM Today. 

The fast craft Manannan is to used as the company assesses the suitability of alternative ports ’to allow for flexible and robust contingency planning’.
Similar to the trials conducted at Holyhead in 2016.

Manannan will return to service on March 31.

After spending the winter in Manx waters, where annual maintenance procedures were undertaken, the vessel is scheduled to sail to Merseyside on March 1 for dry docking and other specialist work before resuming daily services between Douglas and Liverpool.

The Steam Packet has previously operated sailings between Larne and Douglas during the TT festival, using the charter fast craft P&O Express.

A freight-only ferry, Seatruck's ro-ro Arrow on charter to the Steam Packet adds Afloat has been wintering in Larne that has a uniquely rail-connected integrated ferryport terminal. The Arrow has been used to support the operator's ropax ferry Ben-My-Chree during busy periods on island's main route to Heysham. 

To read more from the Manx newspaper click here.

Published in Ferry

#Dredging - The Isle of Man Steam Packet is running into problems at Heysham, its main port in England.

The ferry company according to IOMToday is blaming a ‘failure of an agreed dredging programme’ for disruption to Douglas-Heysham services from today, Friday to next Monday.

A revised schedule for ropax Ben-my-Chree services has been announced.

This is due to a combination of tidal conditions and a lack of agreed dredging at Heysham means there will be insufficient under keel clearance for the vessel to operate its planned sailings.

For information on the following re-scheduled sailngs click here

Published in Dredging

#IOMferry – Seasonal sailings between Isle of Man and Dublin Port are timetabled for next weekend (21-22 Dec.) with night-time crossings made in both directions.

Once again, Ben-My-Chree now in her 15th year of service, operates these winter Douglas-Dublin round trip sailings. The ro-pax ferry departs the island capital on Saturday night (19.30) on the 4 hour 45 minute crossing. Return sailing time from Dublin Port is on the Sunday (01.00).

These sailings times will be repeated again on the Steam Packet route during the first weekend after Christmas (27-28 Dec.). To consult sailings schedule visit: www.steam-packet.com/timetables and for latest updates on sailings click this link.

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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