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Displaying items by tag: WB Yeats

#ferries - Once again W.B. Yeats first scheduled sailing albeit freight-only on the Dublin-Holyhead route has been deferred, it was meant to begin today with a morning sailing bound for the Welsh port, writes Jehan Ashmore

The Irish Ferries freight website lists the W.B. Yeats instead with a departure from Dublin Port next week, Monday, (21 January) on the 20.55 crossing to Holyhead, with an arrival in Anglesey on the Tuesday, just after midnight at 00.10hrs.

As highlighted before, W.B. Yeats first sailing originally timetabled was to have taken place almost a week ago on 13 January. Currently maintaining services is Oscar Wilde and Epsilon. 

If the new €147m cruiseferry does carry out this first maiden commercial sailing on Monday, it would be held in the same week when sailings are to accommodate 'passengers'. As Irish Ferries previously confirmed to, W.B. Yeats inaugural passenger and freight service is scheduled for next Friday (25 January) departing Dublin in the early hours at 02.00.


Published in Ferry

#ferries - It's almost a month ago when W.B. Yeats made a delivery voyage to Dublin Port, since then the Irish Ferries new cruiseferry has until recently included occupying a quayside where the 'Brexit-Busters' routinely berth, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The main priority of W.B. Yeats at its new homeport, was firstly to carry out berthing trials at both linkspans used by Irish Ferries located at the multi-user Terminal 1. This is from where the 1,885 passenger and crew/1,200 vehicle new ship, was to have started service today to Holyhead with an inaugural (initial freight-only) sailings to the north Wales port. 

According to the operator's freight website, however the latest update is for sailings to start this Saturday. As for passenger and freight services, they are scheduled to begin on January 25th. 

In the meantime other passenger and freight sailings are been maintained, though this morning Ulysses departed for dry-dock in Birkenhead. In addition W.B. Yeats is also to operate crossings between Dublin and Cherbourg, France, beginning mid-March.

On completion of the Terminal 1 trials in Dublin, the 194m cruiseferry with 2,800 freight lane metres had berthed within Alexandra Basin from where freight only operator CLdN ro ro S.A. introduced last year, Delphine and Celine. The sisters are the world's largest freight ro-ro ships of their type that serve on direct routes to mainland Europe, Zeebrugge in Belgium and Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

The CLdN pair, each an impressive 74,000 gross tonnage and at 234m long with space for 8,000 freight lane metres, have been dubbed the Brexit-Busters. Their nicknames were given as they provide a clear alternative trading route of the UK landbridge via the Irish Sea and English Channel or use of the Eurotunnel.

Afloat contacted the Irish Continental Group, parent company of Irish Ferries, as to why W.B. Yeats had taken up a berth within Alexandra Basin?  The operator responded 'no comment'.

It would appear Irish Ferries have seized an opportunity in between the sailing schedule of the Brexit-Busters, to shift W.B. Yeats into Alexandra Basin. This involved the vessel vacate from a 'layover' mode while alongside the North Wall Quay Extension (beside the East-Link bridge).

During a visit by Afloat to the port, on the W. B. Yeats first of two stints spent in Alexandra Basin, could be seen the cruiseferry's port side bow shell door that was partially open, while facing the berth's (No. 6) ro-ro linkspan. Otherwise for the most part the newbuild over the festive period and into the New Year had berthed (No. 18) next to the East-Link. It is at this particular berth where vessels tend not to be operating for a variety of reasons, unless cruiseships.  

W.B. Yeats, however was on the move again yesterday, having shifted from another 'layover' berth along the south quays, another first for the newbuild. The cruiseferry this time having returned to the opposite bank but to Alexandra Basin (East) which adjoins where the Brexit-Busters berth. At this adjacent quay is another ramp linkspan where CLdN operate services to continental Europe albeit using smaller tonnage.

The moving of W.B. Yeats in between these linkspans in both neighbouring basins, suggests the operator is examining various scenarios in the use of ro-ro facilities throughout the port. These facilities along with 'ferry' terminals are running at record levels to meet the demands fueling the Irish economy, and where the port is making preparations for a No Deal Brexit. 

Against this backdrop of W.B. Yeats debut into commercial service, the Irish Government have been making Brexit port related contingency measures in Dublin and at Rosslare Europort. While looming on the horizon, in the UK, is this evening's momentous Houses of Commons Vote on Brexit to accept or reject the Withdrawal Agreement with the EU. 

The importance of Ireland-EU trade it is predicted by experts in the shipping industry, will see a trend for ships in size similar to CLdN's, particularly post-Brexit, and will become increasingly more important in operating direct transport trading links between Ireland and mainland Europe.

Such key trade routes has seen the Brexit Busters make use of a custom-built rotating ramp linkspan (Berths 31/32). This unique linkspan of the port, permits flexibility for next-generation ro-ro giants to use either quays subject to where other nearby ships are allocated. The linkspan is part of new infrastructure invested in the Alexandra Basin Redevelopment Project.

The ABR project forms phase 1 of Dublin Port's Masterplan up to 2041. Ongoing works involve quay reconfiguration to increase space and accommodate larger and deeper drafted cargoships in addition capable of accepting some of the world's largest cruiseships. This is take place at a dedicated double berth cruise-terminal, marking another new chapter for the port.

Published in Ferry

#ferries - W.B. Yeats maiden sailing as previously reported on has changed date according to the Irish Ferries freight website, though the rescheduled sailing remains based on a freight-only basis, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Orginally, the first sailing was due to depart from Dublin tonight, however the inaugural sailing on the Irish Sea is instead scheduled for this Tuesday, (January 15th). This is to take place in the morning with the 08.05 sailing bound for Holyhead, Wales.

Further research has revealed albeit on the operator's passenger website, that at the same time W.B. Yeats maiden sailing departs the Irish capital, Oscar Wilde with a 1,450 passenger capacity, is also to leave then and operate to a full service. Sailings taking passengers too, Irish Ferries has confirmed to Afloat, will see W.B. Yeats start such services on January 25th.

As for this Tuesday's sailings, both W.B. Yeats and Oscar Wilde are scheduled to arrive in the Anglesey port just 10 minutes apart with the brand new €147m cruiseferry to arrive first with a docking time scheduled for 11.20. Passengers on board Oscar Wilde will also be able to get close-up views of the new 51,000 gross tonnage cruiseferry when in Holyhead's outer ferryport. 

Another change next week on the core Ireland-UK landbridge route involves Ulysses, the route's main cruiseferry since 2001, which is to go off service for routine annual dry-docking.

In addition ro-pax Epsilon which underwent dry-docking, is to resume sailings also on Tuesday, though today the chartered-in ferry with limited passenger capacity, is docked in Cherbourg.

Due to conducting dry-docking in Brest, Brittany, Epsilon has recently made a repositioning passage to Normandy so to enable offering a sailing tonight from the French port to Dublin, where the vessel is due to arrive tomorrow morning.

Otherwise sailings on the direct Ireland-France routes have been almost non-existent of recent months, however this is all about to change with the debut of W.B. Yeats from mid-March.

As for Rosslare based routes connecting Cherbourg and Roscoff, Irish Ferries last month announced they are unlikely to operate such services between the Wexford port and France this year. The operator added that they will continue to keep this situation under review and stated W.B. Yeats will operate from Dublin to Cherbourg up to 4 days per week.


Published in Ferry

#ferries - Irish Ferries new cruiseferry W.B. Yeats is finally to enter service by making a maiden commercial sailing on the Dublin-Holyhead route this Sunday, albeit the giant ship will only take freight vehicles and drivers, writes Jehan Ashmore.

According to the operator's freight website, the first sailing to be operated by W.B. Yeats is from Dublin Port on January 13th with a scheduled departure time of 20.55hrs. The €147m cruiseferry of around 51,000 gross tonnage can handle 1,200 vehicles, is to sail the core Irish Sea crossing with an arrival time in the north Wales port the next day at 00.10hrs. 

The first full service including passengers is to take place later this month as previously reported on, when the 1,885 passenger and crew capacity cruiseferry departs the Irish capital on Friday, 25th January. On the occasion of this maiden crossing, however the sailing is to depart in the early hours at 02.00hrs.

The debut of WB Yeats which has 440 cabins, will see the ship take over the routine sailing roster of Ulysses. The 2001 built ferry is to undergo an annual dry-docking, leaving Oscar Wilde to maintain sailings based on carrying both passengers and freight. 

Before this take place, as a matter of reflection it is almost a month since W.B. Yeats docked in the Irish capital for the first time, having made a delivery voyage from Germany..

The shipyard, Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft located in Flensburg was beset with delays in completing the 194m long newbuild. The delays FSG cited were due to the delivery of interior components for public areas and electrical systems installed in the hull and deckhouse.

After months behind schedule, which led to cancellation of thousands of high-season holidays makers booked on the Dublin-Cherbourg route, W.B. Yeats will now first enter service instead on the Ireland-Wales route. It was originally planned to have the new ferry take up this service in September following the end of last year's summer sailings on the Dublin-Cherbourg route.

As for the French connection, Irish Ferries have given a mid-March date for the launch on the direct route to continental Europe. 

Published in Ferry

#DublinBay - A dredger docked in Dun Laoghaire Harbour just days before Christmas Day, remains in port due to space restrictions in neighbouring Dublin Port, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The hopper dredger Freeway which Afloat tracked upon arrival to Dublin Port in October, had carried out dredging works until ceasing operations for the festive season.

Freeway departed the capital and across Dublin Bay to arrive in Dun Laoghaire Harbour on 22 December, following permission sought from Dun Laoghaire Harbour to lay-up for the holiday period.

It is common prectice, Afloat adds for dredgers based in Dublin Port, to dock at the North Wall Quay Extension (next to the East-Link bridge) during dredging campaigns. The inaugural call of Irish Ferries giant newbuild cruiseferry W.B. Yeats however at 194m long has taken up a commanding presence along the North Wall. 

The lack of quay space on the North Wall for the 92m Freeway is also attributed in part to the long-term berthed Shingle. The 32m vessel has lain idle since detained more than four years ago.

By coincidence, both the dredger and cruiseferry are Cypriot flagged. On related note to ferries, the North Wall is where operator P&O Ferries use berths at Terminal 3. The linkspan coupled by the frequent ferries occupy the remaining length of the North Wall.

Since the W.B. Yeats has shifted berths to the North Wall, the cruiseferry had returned to Terminal 1 to undergo further berthing including trials at a nearby linkspan. The 1,800 passenger/1,200 vehicle cruiseferry is currently back at the North Wall, though further research reveals the new ship is to shift berths on New Year's Day.

The cruiseferry is to enter service next month, initially to Holyhead and from mid-March, connecting the capital to Cherbourg, France. 

As for the Freeway, it is scheduled to depart Dun Laoghaire Harbour on Wednesday. This will see the dredger return to Dublin Port to resume work. 

#FerryNews - According to the Irish Ferries website, online bookings for W.B. Yeats, indicate that the brand new €144m luxury cruiseferry is to enter service a month after Christmas Day, but firstly on the Dublin-Holyhead route, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Afloat has identified that the maiden commercial crossing of W.B. Yeats, the 1,800 passenger/1,200 vehicles, is to take place between Ireland and Wales next year, with a sailing scheduled on 25 January.

The timing for the maiden crossing, was echoed on the ferry's facebook page in regards to a query, if the new ship will be open to the public in advance of service, however Irish Ferries responded that there will be no public open days but that sailings on the Dublin-Holyhead route from January will be available. 

The 54,000 gross tonnage newbuild currently docked next to Dublin's East-Link bridge, was to have orginally entered on the route to Wales in September, following the debut of the W.B. Yeats on the Dublin-Cherbourg route this summer. As well documentated at this stage, delays caused by contractors supplying the German shipyard prevented such plans. 

Irish Ferries recenty revealed a revised date to launch W.B. Yeats on the Dublin-Cherbourg route that is to begin in mid-March, though the operator this week accounced Rosslare-based routes to French ports of Cherbourg and Roscoff are unlikely to resume in 2019.

The decision to withdrew the direct routes to mainland Europe, drew widespread critism from the public, the haulage sector and policitians alike. Irish Ferries however stated that they will continue to keep this situation under review.

In the meantime in the run up to the busy festive period, Irish Ferries have both Ulysses and Oscar Wilde maintaining services on the Dublin-Holyhead route.

The chartered in ropax Epsilon, will continue operating on the year-round operated Dublin-Cherbourg route. It is still possible to sail from Rosslare-Cherbourg before the year ends, given Wexford based sailings to France ceased in recent months. For example Afloat has also identified a sailing from Rosslare to Cherbourg on 29 December.

On the Rosslare-Pembroke route, Isle of Inishmore will operate too up to the festive period on the route linking south Wales.

As usual there will be no sailings operated during Christmas Day and St. Stephen's Day.

Also according to the operator's booking site, Ulysses is to take a final crossing from Dublin to Holyhead on 6 January, this would suggest an off-service period for routine dry-docking. 

During the months of January and February, been the quietest time, it is routine for ferry operators to dry-dock ferries for annual dry-docking maintenance. 

For the latest information on all routes, sailings and updates, it is advisable to consult the operator's website here.


Published in Ferry

#DublinPort - On the same day of W.B. Yeats maiden delivery voyage to its Irish homeport of Dublin Port today, having docked first at the main ferry terminal, the 54,000 tonnes newbuild by mid-afternoon shifted berths, writes Jehan Ashmore

The 1,800 passenger/1,200 vehicle W.B. Yeats custom built for ICG's division, Irish Ferries, to serve primarily the Dublin-Cherbourg route from mid-March 2019, shifted berth to vacate for fleetmate flagship, Ulysses. This is to facilitate the slightly smaller, 50,000 tonnes fleetmate which is due this evening (17.25) to make a routine inbound crossing from Holyhead, Wales.

W.B. Yeats built by German shipyard FSG at a contract cost of €144m, arrived mid-morning docking at Dublin Port at Berth 49, located at the port's main ferryport at Terminal 1. However, a change of berth took place upriver to Terminal 3, close to the Tom Clarke (East-Link) road toll lift-bridge.

This terminal is where P&O Ferries are based, see related photo story on plans by the Government to buy land in ports in the event of a hard Brexit.

The 194m long vessel which is Cypriot flagged, is to remain close to the East Link, while alongside the North Wall Quay Extension for at least the next week, given the festive period.

It is understood that a departure is set for the day after St. Stephen's Day.

No doubt further crew training will be underway, in advance to whatever are the requirements of the operator.  

Published in Dublin Port

#ferrynews - W.B.Yeats has at last completed the final leg in a delivery voyage to Dublin Port by making a maiden call to the Irish capital this morning, though amid controversy, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The Irish Continenal Group (ICG) which ordered the 54,000 gross tonnage ferry from German shipbuilders, FSG in Flensburg, was beset with delays from contractors supplying the yard. This prevented the debut of the 1,800 passenger/1,200 vehicle newbuild enter service this summer on the Dublin-Cherbourg route, causing cancellations to thousands of holidaymakers.

Irish Ferries now has the largest ferry ever to operate on the direct Ireland-France route when services to and from mainland Europe are scheduled from mid-March 2019.

Among the facilities, given names connected to W.B. Yeats, one of the most significant figures of 20th century literature, is The Maud Gonne Bar & Lounge and Innisfree Club Class Lounge. There's also the entertainment venue of The Abbey & The Peacock Cinema & Lounge. As for accommodation there are 440 cabins including Luxury suites incorporating private balconies and a dedicated butler service. 

The arrival to Dublin Port, however of the Cypriot flagged 194m cruiseferry is against the backdrop of Brexit and reaction from a variety of quarters, as ICG recently announced they are unlikely to operate the long running Rosslare based routes to France in 2019. The company added they will continue to keep this situation under review and said the W.B. Yeats will operate from Dublin to Cherbourg (see recent call) up to 4 days per week.

The decision drew swift critism from the Irish Government which has called on Irish Ferries to reconsider its plans, by retaining the use of the south-east port. This given the backdrop of whatever Brexit scenario looms on the horizon. 

Irish Ferries also commented that "a majority of our customers have a clear preference for the more central location and easy access of Dublin".

Some customers however of Irish Ferries, went online to the ferry's facebook to express their disquiet. While the Irish Road Haulage Association speaking on RTE Radio One yesterday said that the “vague statement” that Irish Ferries is “unlikely” to operate a service between Rosslare and France next summer, means “they are open to negotiation”.

Should Irish Ferries pull out of Rosslare, Stena Line already operate a service between Rosslare and Cherbourg, having taken over Celtic Link in recent years. Stena Line's senior executive, Ian Hampton speaking on RTE Radio, warned that a no-deal Brexit may affect food shipments as traders seek to bypass Great Britain.

When W.B. Yeats is introduced in early 2019, the ship will also be the biggest ever ferry to serve any route from Ireland, eclipsing Irish Ferries Ulysses. The Finnish built cruiseferry when introduced in 2001, became the flagship of the fleet on the Dublin-Holyhead route to cope with increasing demand during the boom of the 'Celtic Tiger'.

The Ulysses continues operating the core Irish Sea service, as does the Oscar Wilde, which having stopped Rosslare-Cherbourg (and seasonal Roscoff service) in recent months, also serves the year-round operated Dublin-Cherbourg route. 

Oscar Wilde, which at 31 years old, no longer features on the operators website depicting the ferry 'fleet' which would seem to suggest other plans for the ageing ferry. 

The rest of the fleet are the chartered in ropax Epsilon serving both Holyhead and Cherbourg out of Dublin. The seasonal only fastferry Dublin Swift also on the Anglesea port route and final member of the fleet, Isle of Inishmore which links Rosslare and Pembroke in south Wales. 


Published in Ferry

#ferry - The decision by Irish Ferries not to run ferry services from Rosslare to France from next year writes The Irish Times, is based simply on the judgment that a Dublin service will be more profitable, industry figures believe.

The company’s parent Irish Continental Group paid €147million for the WB Yeats, its new “cruise ferry” which can cater for 1,885 passengers and 1,200 vehicles, and which has just arrived in Ireland (see, Rosslare call yesterday). 

Maritime sources said the decision may have boiled down to a simple one: which port, Dublin or Rosslare, can deliver the most business – and so payback – for the new ship.

Irish Ferries will continue to serve Pembroke in south Wales from Rosslare while Stena will continue services on its Rosslare to Fishguard and Rosslare to Cherbourg, France, route.

In a statement on Monday, Irish Ferries informed potential passengers it was unlikely to operate a service between Rosslare and France in 2019. The company said it would continue to keep this situation under review.

The new WB Yeats ship will operate from Dublin to Cherbourg up to four times per week.

Further coverage on the story can be read here. 

Published in Ferry

#ferry - Irish Ferries W.B. Yeats inaugural call to France yesterday for berthing trials in advance of starting service from Dublin in 2019, is to be followed today with a call to Rosslare Europort before finally completing the maiden delivery voyage to the capital, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The €144m cruiseferry built in Germany for parent company Irish Continental Group (ICG), was originally to begin service this summer. Delays by contractors supplying the shipyard, caused much disruption to high-season holidaymakers, that led to a revised entry of service on the Dublin-Cherbourg route now scheduled for mid-March.

Despite yesterday's facebook announcement from Irish Ferries to inform customers that they are unlikely to operate a service between Rosslare and France in 2019, Afloat adds according to online tracking, the Cypriot flagged W.B. Yeats is scheduled to arrive in Rosslare Europort at around 12 noon today.

The call by the new cruiseferry is to enable berthing trials and is no doubt just a practical exercise to cover all contingency scenarios across the company's route network. 

Minister's Response on Rosslare routes future

In response to the announcement, a statement was issued late last night from the Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin TD regarding Irish Ferries Rosslare service. "I note Irish Ferries' communication this evening regarding their Rosslare service.

The service is an important transport service for the South East region. From a tourism perspective, while it mainly facilitates Irish tourists holidaying in France, it also brings French and other European tourists to the South East region.

Given the importance of these services, I have asked my officials to engage with the company."

Afloat adds if the outcome of no Rosslare based service arises in 2019, the Europort however will maintain direct links to mainland Europe as Stena Line operate a Rosslare-Cherbourg service.

Competition however could arise (taking the place of Irish Ferries), as according to The Irish Times yesterday, an operator already serving between Ireland and the UK, has approached the Wexford port to consider a service given the potential of a post-Brexit and thus releasing pressure out of Dublin Port. The capital's port is notably where 80% of freight from Ireland currently goes through the port via the UK landbridge with onward links chiefly through Dover to mainland Europe.

For further related coverage albeit from yesterday, including reaction from the Irish haulage sector, click here. 

Historical Backgound 

The south-east port is where Irish Ferries has operated established routes to France for decades, as the Cherbourg service is a legacy of predecessor Irish Continental Line (ICL) having been launched in 1978. The route to Normandy was followed with a service to Roscoff in neighbouring Brittany but opened by the current operator in 1995, however services including those connecting Cork had ceased before 1998.

In that year, a single ship took over both the remaining Rosslare based routes on the direct Ireland-France routes when the 1982 built Normandy was introduced, but the ageing ferry was eventually replaced by current cruiseferry, Oscar Wilde.  

As for the year-round operated route from Rosslare to Cherbourg, this ended prematurely this year, having taken place several months ago. This was a strategic move by the operator, as the Rosslare based cruiseferry Oscar Wilde was redeployed to assist ropax Epsilon on the Dublin-Cherbourg route, given the delay of W.B. Yeats that was to enter during the summer months serving Normandy.

The second route out of Rosslare, to Roscoff in neighbouring Brittany, however was based on a seasonal only basis.

Should both routes not resume service in 2019, this would mark the end of an association of direct passenger and freight links between Ireland and France. The company can trace its origins through predecessors that began the first direct continental service launched 50 years ago, albeit between Rosslare and Le Havre in 1968.

So what next awaits the future of Oscar Wilde? given the former Scandinavian ship was launched 31 years ago.

Published in Ferry
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