Displaying items by tag: Ferry news
#FerrytoMed - The Fastnet Line ferry Julia which ran the Cork-Swansea link until the route closed in 2011, has been sold on from a floating accommodation owner to a Mediterranean based ferry operator, writes Jehan Ashmore.
C-Bed, a Dutch company specialising in accommodating workers offshore on ships during the construction of wind-farm turbine sites, sold the vessel to Moby Lines. The Italian operator is to launch the ferry this summer on a new France-Corsica route.
The change of ownership will be the first time Wind Perfection will resume in a ‘ferry’ role since Fastnet Line’s Julia operated the year-round service on the Celtic Sea. In recent years the Wind Perfection was stationed on the Irish Sea at a wind-farm installation site off the outer approaches leading to Heysham, Lancashire.
The new Moby Line service on the Nice-Bastia route is to begin in June and will be part of a network of routes from French and Italian mainland to ports on Corsica, Sardinia and Elba.
By introducing the 1,850 passenger/325 car/30 truck capacity Wind Perfection to be renamed Moby Zaza, the newcomer will be in direct competition with Corsica-Sardinia Ferries. Likewise of Fastnet Line, the route will operate overnight crossings of 9 hours albeit not as long the 11 hours duration on the Celtic Sea.
At 22,161 tonnes Julia was easily the largest ever ferry to sail on the southern Ireland-Wales service that Fastnet Line began in 2010 having acquired the 1981 German built ferry from a Finnish Bank through the Cork Tourism Co-Operative Society Limited. Because of the initiative by the co-operative that founded Fastnet Line, the company was dubbed “the peoples ferry“.
The restored route followed the withdrawal by Swansea Cork Ferries with the sale of the Superferry.
Today, it is exactly four years ago when Fastnet Line announced on 2 February, 2012 that the route would close and that there would be no sailings in that year, following a failed examinership with the direct loss of 78 jobs.
Despite the efforts of Fastnet Line, they were unable to attract sufficient year-round freight business and seasonal UK based tourist market. The venture failed to secure funds of €1m plus to enable further trading on the Celtic Sea. The company claimed expected losses of €30 million in direct tourist spending in the Munster region and over €20 million in south Wales.
In 2013, a report concluded any attempt to reinstate the service was not feasible due the "economic and competitive climate”.
This leaves the current southern corridor routes confined to short-sea services operated from Rosslare to southern Wales. They are Stena Line sailing to Fishguard and Irish Ferries running to Pembroke (see, new director for Milford Haven).
#Bigferries – Stena Britannica of 65,000 tonnes along with a sister are the largest cruiseferries in tonnage terms to serve in UK waters, however the giant North Sea ferry is off service for an unscheduled dry-docking, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The German built ferry completed in 2010 has been undergoing sea trials off the Dutch coast this morning.
According to the Stena Line, there will be no departures by Stena Britannica on the UK-Dutch route until the ferry returns to service later today, Monday, 1st February. The first sailing departs Hoek van Holland tonight at 22.00hrs. In the meantime sailings continue to operate by sister Stena Hollandica, for further information click, here.
The sisters are also the largest of the Stena Line Group fleet of around 35 ships serving 23 routes in the UK, Republic of Ireland, Scandinavia and the Baltics. In addition the extensive route network links key ports and road and rail connections across Europe and Russia.
Listed below is information on the Stena pair along with the remaining giant cruiseferries that make up the five largest such ships operating in UK waters, among them Irish Ferries, flagship, Ulysses.
The top five largest cruiseferries in UK Waters
Stena Britannica, built: 2010; tonnage: 64,600; length: 240.0m; passengers: 1,200; cars: 230; trailers: 300; flag: UK
Stena Hollandica, built: 2010; tonnage: 63,600; length: 240.0m; passengers: 1,200; cars: 230; trailers: 300; flag: Netherlands
Pride of Hull, built: 2001; tonnage: 59,925; length: 215.4m; passengers: 1,360; cars: 205; trailers: 263; flag: Bahamas
Pride of Rotterdam, built: 2000; tonnage: 59,925; length: 215.4m; passengers: 1,360; cars: 205; trailers: 263; flag: Netherlands
Ulysses, built: 2001; tonnage: 50,938; length: 209.0m; passengers: 1,875, cars: 1,342; trailers: 300; flag: Cyprus
Afloat previously reported on P&O Ferries giant cruiseferries that also operate a North Sea service on the Hull-Rotterdam route, the 59,925 tonne sisters Pride of Hull and Pride of Rotterdam. In early January, P&O announced an 11% year-on-year increase in HGVs crossings on this Dutch service.
This leaves the ‘smallest’ giant, as previously referred Irish Ferries Ulysses, the largest ferry on the Irish Sea that returned on the Dublin-Holyhead route following an overhaul at A&P Falmouth.
Ulysses is in the 15th year of operating the Ireland-Wales link since the Aker Finnyards built cruiseferry was ordered for Irish Continental Group’s (ICG)’s ferry division.
The then newbuild replaced the 34,071 tonnes Isle of Inishmore, which this weekend completed drydocking overhaul at Cammell Laird, Birkenhead. The cruiseferry at the weekend made an en route call to Dublin Port where she remains prior to resuming duties on the Rosslare-Pembroke route.
#VisitJersey - Condor Ferries is to support Visit Jersey with over £1 million this year on marketing of the Channel Islands.
In giving the vote of thanks at a Chamber of Commerce lunch at which Catherine Leech, Director of Visit Jersey was present, Ken Soar, non-executive director of Condor Ferries confirmed the ferry company’s fincancial support to Visit Jersey. He also confirmed that Condor is committed to working closely with the island’s tourism organisation to bring more visitors to Jersey.
In a keynote speech to the chamber, Ken Soar said: “Condor Ferries is an active and wholehearted supporter of the vital work that Visit Jersey does to promote our beautiful island to visitors.
“You don’t need me to tell you that, in many ways, 2015 was a difficult year for Condor Ferries. The introduction of Condor Liberation didn’t go as smoothly as we’d planned, and I know that some of you may have travelled on disrupted services. Of course we are sorry for those disruptions but we are striving to get better and better, despite the headline grabbing disruptions. Our Overall service reliability remains high and, even in the recent unprecedented storms, our freight ships battled through to keep our Islands supplied with freight services such as the food, wine and coffee that we have all enjoyed today.
“To our 400 Condor staff who have worked tirelessly this last year in the most testing of situations both operational and the weather - to deliver people, cars and freight to their destinations, I also offer my personal and the company's appreciation and thanks
“This year, as in previous years, Condor Ferries will spend more than a million pounds promoting Jersey as a great destination to potential visitors from the UK, France and beyond.
“With our shared commitment, investment and energy, we can all make sure that more people visit Jersey – and that is definitely something for which we should all give a vote of thanks!”
#FerryNews - Aran Island Ferries has confirmed it will continue sailings between Inis Mór and the mainland after meeting with Government officials on Tuesday evening (26 January).
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Galway councillors had been seeking a solution to the Aran Islands transport crisis as the non-PSO ferry route was set to end this Sunday over a long-running passenger levy dispute.
But as Galway Bay FM reports, a deal has now been reached to keep ferries running across Galway Bay between Rossaveal and Kilronan into the spring, which entails a subvention from the Department of the Gaeltacht – though the 80c passenger levy remains an issue.
In other news, Galway County Council has denied claims that it is taking legal action against the Department of the Gaeltacht over an alleged €7 million debt related to harbour works on Inis Mór and Inis Meain.
Galway Bay FM has more on the story HERE.
#NewFreightService – Irish hauliers trading to Iberia, will have added choice as Brittany Ferries are to charter a conro vessel to launch a new Poole-Bilbao freight route to begin service next month, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The 12,079 tonnes conro Pelican with capacity for 100 unaccompanied trailers and 12 drivers, had been on long term charter to the French Ministry of Defence. The 1999 built vessel is to serve Brittany Ferries for one-year with an option to extend.
Pelican will carry out two round-trips per week on the UK-Spain service. Previously, LD Lines until 2014 had run two routes from Poole but to other northern Spanish ports and also operated an Iberian link to Ireland via France but that too closed in the same year.
Brittany Ferries reported a 20 per cent increase in freight traffic across all routes and that 2016 has also started strongly. The introduction of the Pelican with additional capacity it is hoped by the company will drive even more business through Poole.
"There is a very limited charter market for this type of vessel and we were delighted to find a cost-effective vessel on the French International Register," commented Simon Wagstaff, Brittany Ferries' freight director. This will allow us to operate effectively, but also to balance the books in this important area of our activity."
The charter of Pelican will assist Brittany Ferries to meet growing demand from freight customers and free up more garage space on other ships on their Spainish network. The conro is owned by Compagnie Martime Nantaise (MN) which also operates and manages a fleet of mostly ro-ro vessels serving on the international charter market.
Notably, MN also manage the 1896 built three-masted barque Belém, (which has called to Irish ports), on behalf of the Belem Foundation for the Caisses d’Epargne group. The long career of the historic barque built in Dubigeon Nantes had involved several owners, among them, Arthur Ernest Guinness who during the 1920 had her sailing as the Fantôme II.
Sunday 31 January will be the last day of ferry sailings in Galway Bay between the largest of the Aran Islands and the mainland – and Galway councillors have directed their ire at Gaeltacht Minister Joe McHugh for the transport crisis.
As Galway Bay FM reports, Inis Mór is the only one of the Aran Islands that does not have a Public Service Obligation contract in place or its ferry service.
Islanders have been hit by sharp fare increases for a number of years after the ceasing of the State-subsidised contract for ferry services on a route that has seen an overall drop in passenger numbers by one-fifth in just six years.
Galway Bay FM has more on the story HERE.
The Passage East Ferry Company, which runs car ferry services across the River Suir between Passage East and Ballyhack, is putting itself on the market due to the pending retirement of its founder and operator Derek Donnelly.
In continuous operation since 1982, the company – which employs 16 people full time and has turned over around €1.6 million per year over the last five years – experienced a 5.4% rise in passenger numbers in 2015.
Accountants Crowe Horwath expect the sale "will generate significant interest, not in the domestic and international markets". The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.
#ArrowHead – Seatruck Ferries have the 65-trailer Arrow covering in on the Dublin-Liverpool route until the vessel is to be withdrawn tomorrow, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Arrow will complete her duties for Seatruck when she sails from Dublin Port tomorrow morning bound for Liverpool from where she had been in lay-over mode since mid-December. In the previous month, a sister the R-class 1,057 freight lane metre, Clipper Ranger was introduced on the route as the third ship following customer demand for additional mid-week unaccompanied trailer sailings.
Currently Clipper Ranger is in drydock at Cammell Laird, Birkenhead and is scheduled to be back in service on the central Irish Sea route next week. Also serving the route are the 150-trailer FSG class sisters Seatruck Power and Seatruck Progress each with a 2,166 freight lane metre capacity.
The Arrow during its stint this month for Seatruck was chartered back from the Isle of Man Steam Packet which almost two years had begun a long-term charter. The Steam-Packet have Arrow to give added flexibility to cover scheduled maintenance periods and if required enhanced level of backup supporting ropax Ben-My-Chree.
Their fastferry, Manannan is also berthed at the Birkenhead drydock facility in preparation to resume seasonal duties in the Spring.
Last month Arrow returned to Merseyside having provided back-up for conventional tonnage of Channel Islands operator Condor Ferries over the festive season.
Likewise of the Steam-Packet they have a fast-ferry, but differ in that they have two such craft serving Guernsey and Jersey.
#FerryTrio – A total of three Stena ferries docked in Rosslare Harbour at the same time last week, reports the Wexford People. This was the first time the company has simultaneously had so many of its ships in the Europort.
Ian Davies, Route Manager, Irish Sea South, Stena Line, said: 'The Stena Europe, Stena Horizon and Stena Flavia took over three berths of Rosslare Europort as we prepared for the £4.4m refit of our Irish Sea fleet. The Stena Flavia arrived in port on Tuesday, January 12, to provide cover for the Stena Horizon on the Rosslare to Cherbourg route which has now sailed to Harland and Wolff in Belfast for its annual refit.'
Over the next two months as reported on Afloat,ie, seven Stena Line vessels, will visit Harland & Wolff in Belfast on a carefully sequenced timetable to facilitate a range of specialist works including annual inspections, passenger facility upgrade work as well as ongoing technical enhancements.
The Stena Flavia has already began sailing on the Rosslare to Cherbourg route replacing Stena Horizon, until March 6. Afloat adds the former Celtic Link Ferries operation was acquired by Stena in 2014 with the transfer of Celtic Horizon to the operator.
Stena Horizon has been at the Belfast yard since January 14 and afterwards will cover the Dublin to Holyhead route in place of Stena Superfast X and Stena Adventurer dockings until around March 6.
#Overhauls – Ulysses, flagship of Irish Ferries returned to Dublin-Holyhead service yesterday while their high speed craft (HSC) Jonathan Swift went for annual overhaul at Cammell Laird, Birkenhead on Merseyside, writes Jehan Ashmore.
On foot of Ulysses repositioning voyage from A&P Falmouth, Cornwall back to Dublin (see, report on P&O HGV crossings) this saw the 800 passenger/200 car capacity 'Swift' make a departure bound for the shipyard and marine engineering facility.
Following P&O Ferries recent announcement to confirm the Larne-Troon ‘seasonal route’ would not reopen in 2016, this further compounds Irish Ferries position as the sole operator of a year-round fast-ferry craft on Irish Sea 'cross channels' routes between Ireland and the UK.
Despite P&O's axeing of the Northern Ireland-Scotland connection, the company continues operating the year-round Larne-Cairnryan link provided by two ropax sisters in competition with route rivals, Stena Line. Likewise this operator on the North Channel runs a service between Belfast and Cairnryan and served by a pair of ‘Superfast’ sisters.
It is more than a year ago when Stena withdrew the Highspeed Sea-Service (HSS) craft Stena Explorer on the Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead route in September 2014. This led to Stena consolidate existing services on the Dublin-Holyhead route and by introducing Stena Superfast X in March 2015 alongside Stena Adventurer.
Competing on the central corridor, Irish Ferries Jonathan Swift built by Austal in Australia is an Auto-Express 86m catamaran christened by Ceclia Larkin in 1999. The craft is to remain for overhaul work at the Birkenhead facility until 28th January. This leaves the Dublin–Holyhead route in the hands of route regulars, Ulysses and ropax Epsilon during this slack time of the year.
Since providing capacity over the festive season and refit cover, Isle of Inishmore is to depart Dublin Port tonight and also bound for a Birkenhead overhaul. On completion she is return to normal Rosslare-Pembroke duties currently covered by Oscar Wilde.
Also berthed at Cammell Laird's wet basin is the only other Irish Sea fast-ferry, the 820 passenger /200 car Manannan, albeit this craft operates the ‘seasonal-only’ UK-Manx link, Liverpool-Douglas for the Isle of Man Steam Packet. The InCat built 96m catamaran from Tasmania dating to 1998, also runs on other Steam Packet routes during busy spells and on summer months.