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Keeping Watch of Brexit: Giant Ro-Ro Christened Celine Underway to Mainland Continental Europe

21st April 2018
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Bridge 'dressed overall' on the occasion of Celine's christening ceremony held in Dublin Port yesterday. This evening the giant ro-ro is on passage in the English Channel, in the east-bound shipping lane off the French coast and is due to Zeebrugge, Belgium tomorrow morning. Bridge 'dressed overall' on the occasion of Celine's christening ceremony held in Dublin Port yesterday. This evening the giant ro-ro is on passage in the English Channel, in the east-bound shipping lane off the French coast and is due to Zeebrugge, Belgium tomorrow morning. Photo: JEHAN ASHMORE

#DublinPort - Celine, the world's largest short-sea ro-ro ship that was christened yesterday in Dublin Port, is this evening sailing through the English Channel off the Contentin Peninsula, France, on the direct continental link to mainland Europe, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The 74,000 gross tonnage Celine is under the command of Captain Sergey Loik and his fellow all Russian crew of 27 that operate the giant ro-ro vessel that departed Dublin Port last night.  Celine is bound for Zeebrugge, Belgium and is due to arrive tomorrow morning. 

Powering the 234m ro-ro freightship, is a Hyundai B&W main engine which generates 21,060kw (28,642hp) and when operating at full ahead ballast, Celine can achieve 19 knots. In port, if required, three bow-thrusters are available in confined conditions and also if weather dictates. 

Attending yesterday's naming ceremony the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar commented that if Brexit goes wrong, Ireland would need to have more trade links with Europe.

With all the media coverage focused on Brexit, one could easily construe that Celine is exclusively a floating motorway bypassing the UK, but in fact the ship's schedule includes a call to Britain. The route diagram involves Dublin-Zeebrugge-Killingholme (UK)-Zeebrugge-Dublin. Killingholme in England is located along the Humber Estuary entering the North Sea. In addition, Celine makes fortnightly calls to Rotterdam. 

Celine can only be accommodated in Dublin Port's Alexandra Basin where redevelopment is ongoing as part of the Port Masterplan, this has included new berthing infrastructure to permit the 8.16m draft Celine and newer sister, Delphine to dock. Furthermore, a capital investment by the Dublin Port Company of over €1 billion is to be spend over the next decade.

The Maltese flagged newbuild has a 503 freight-trailer unit capacity and lane metres space is just shy of 8kms. If the ro-ro vessel was to be fully loaded in terms of cars, the maximum would be 3,795 spread across the cavernous decks of the ship that in total towers more than 50m.

Among the principle guests accompanying the ship's godmother, Geraldine O'Reilly, wife of Dublin Port CEO Eamon O'Reilly, was guest of honour An Taoiseach and Christian Cigrang, CEO of CLdN who commented that the company launched two continental routes in 2010 when Ireland was in the depths of a recession. 

Also docked yesterday at the adjacent quay was another CLdN fleetmate, Mazarine, having recalled this ship when covering for UK periodical, Ships Monthly, as then this smaller leadship class ro-ro launched the Irish capital-continental connection and notably in the same year of 2010. Prior to then CLdN services operated through Rosslare Europort.

It was last October when Celine's Dublin debut took place, as for the christening ceremony some 300 guests attended. Among them those from the shipping sector, haulage customers and the ro-ro vessel's South Korean builders, Hyundai Mipo Shipyard. Shuttle buses whisked guests to the ro-ro ship's uppermost exposed vehicle deck affording commanding views of the port estate and backdrop of Dublin mountains.

At this top deck is where guests explored the spacious bridge and had views overlooking the expanse of this vehicle deck complete with funnel offset to port. Beyond, the funnel is the stern where all cargo is loaded and discharged through the ramp of the Valletta registered vessel. 

On the main vehicle deck, guests gathered to be treated with a reception presentation of Irish music with performances to include John Sheahan of The Dubliners. Songs were specially commissioned with a backdrop of impressive aerial footage of Celine arriving to the port the day before. The lavious occasion concluded with a quayside lunch alongside the newly named Celine. 

Published in Dublin Port
Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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