#WorldLargest - An historic milestone in Dublin Port took place late last night as Celine, the world’s largest short-sea ro-ro freight ferry completed a commercial maiden voyage from mainland continental Europe, writes Jehan Ashmore.
On arrival from Zeebrugge, Belgium, a pair of tugs assisted the giant Celine to dock in Dublin Port just after 23.00hrs.
At 234m long the sheer length of the new ship was demonstrated in that Alexandra Basin East’s Ocean Pier is 242m. The measurement of the ship does not take into account the length of the ship's stern loading ramps when lowered into position at the berth's linkspan which itself is part of the overall pier length. As such Celine's bow has extended beyond the pier out into the port’s main internal shipping channel, unlike fleetmate Valentine of just 162m (see photo related story).
At 74,000 gross tonnage, Celine is easily the biggest capacity ro-ro freight ferry to Dublin Port having sailed on the Rotterdam-Zeebrugge to the Irish capital with up to 8,000 freight lane meters. The next largest regular ro-ro ship using Dublin is Irish Ferries cruiseferry giant Ulysses of 50,000 gross tonnage and around half the freight unit capacity.
Ships such as Celine serving direct Ireland-continent services have raised concerns with landbridge routes via the UK, notably Holyhead, see story posted on Afloat yesterday.
Celine can handle 600 freight units which will provide Irish exporters with additional capacity and greater flexibility by trading with markets in continental Europe, particularly in post-Brexit. The range of cargoes includes unaccompanied trailers, tank containers, project cargo, new cars and a capacity for 12 driver accompanied units. The ro-ro ship however will also include a North Sea link from Belgium to the UK.
Landlocked based operators, CLdN Ro Ro S.A. of Luxembourg had placed the order for Celine to South Korean yard of Hyundai Heavy Industries at their Mipo Dockyard in Ulsan. Celine also has green credentials in that the newbuild is 'LPG ready' which brings greater flexibility to operations.
The debut of Celine also marks a significant era for CLdN /Cobelfret Ferries as the newbuild is the first of a major intensive fleet expansion programme with a sister due for delivery later this year. The programme is for 12 newbuilds, so far six have been completed. They will join an extensive short-sea network across northern Europe.
Asides the ports mentioned that Celine is serving, other members of the 24 strong ro-ro fleet also operate other routes calling to Gothenburg, Esbjerg, Hirtshals, Santander and Porto.