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Dun Laoghaire News

#DirectDock - ILV Granuaile the Commissioners of Irish Lights tender today directly docked alongside the aids to navigation authority HQ in Dun Laoghaire Harbour which involved weaving a navigation around the inner harbour’s marina, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The docking of ILV Granuaile this morning at Irish Lights striking joint administration and marine maintenance depot was for general operational work which includes the exchange of various types of navigation buoys as when required. The use of pulling along the depot's quay is relatively normal otherwise the routine berth for ILV Granuaile whose homeport is the harbour is that of nearby St. Micheals Wharf. In these circumstances the vessel's own tenders assist in transferring equipment to and from the depot. 

As for the ships prefix, ILV Granuaile, this stands for Irish Lights Vessel which was built in 2000 in Romania at the Dutch owned Damen Shipyards at Galati from where she entered the Black Sea. After refitting in the Netherlands, the 2,625 gross tonnage ILV Granuaile became a game changer for CIL in terms of design particularly with technology in the form of ‘dynamic positioning’. The use of DP mode enables superior shiphandling capabilities for pinpoint deployment of navigational aids and notably in confined quarters. 

In the year of the new millenium a maiden delivery voyage to Dun Laoghaire Harbour took place almost 17 years ago in January 2000. The ship has a crew of 16 personnel. She is the first 'custom' built tender of all three General Lighthouse Authorities (GLA's) to have a ship configuration layout of working deck aft and superstructure amidships / forward. Asides Irish Lights the other GLA's are Trinity House (England & Wales) and Northern Lights (Scotland & Isle of Man) serving these waters. 

The ILV Granuaile had previously today arrived from Belfast to berth at St. Michaels Wharf and has since returned this afternoon. It is on the adjacent quay where former Holyhead fast-ferry HSS Stena Explorer was in use until seasonal sailings finally ended in September 2014. This was followed by an official announcement by Stena to confirm no service would return in 2015 and hence their withdrawal ending the historic era of the Welsh ferry link. This left ILV Granuaile as the only large commercial vessel regularly using Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

As Afloat highlighted the former ferry terminal is available to let, noting yesterday was the final day for proposals and offers to rent the entire building. Asides ILV Granuaile, St. Michaels is host to the small commercial excursion vessel St. Bridget operated by Dublin Bay Cruises whose main season linking also Dublin Port and Howth Harbour ceased in late summer. Festive cruises however are running just in Dublin along the River Liffey and on occasions up to the port's Poolbeg Lighthouse.

It should be noted that during the majority years of ILV Granauile career, the vessel would also moor close to the western bight within Dun Laoghaire Harbour. From an anchorage, buoys would be towed back and forth from the ship and marine depot ashore. This practise albeit romantic involved tug-buoy tender Puffin though this entailed a more time-consuming and expensive process.

Puffin was subsequently sold in 2011 to Shannon Workboats and in which Afloat took a trip on board the Bristol-built boat from Rusal's Aughinish Alumina plant jetty to Foynes Port. By coincidence the hull colour of Puffin changed from grey to blue likewise of her former larger fleetmate.

The tender boat name unchanged has been noted recently berthed at the Claddagh beside Galway Port.

Published in Lighthouses

#Floatels - The idea of floatels is still been worked out by Dublin City Council as it decides whether to move ahead with the idea of this concept of homes on big boats for students, workers or tourists. 

As the Dublin Inquirier writes some councillors are eager to explore the idea more. Some council officials seem less eager. But as the Dublin debates it, Dún Laoghaire Harbour is pressing ahead.

In the summer Afloat.ie reported that Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company put the idea of floatels for tourists out to tender. It received several responses and is now in advanced negotiations with a provider, said spokesperson Carolyn Hanophy.

“[We] hope to make a definitive decision about launching the Dún Laoghaire Harbour Flotel in the coming weeks,” she said.

For much more on the proposed floatel in Dublin click here. 

Published in Dublin Bay

With An Bord Pleanala due to give its decision on permission for a giant cruise liner berth in Dun Laoghaire Harbour in the coming weeks after almost a year of delays, the Save Our Seafront movement is pulling out all the stops in its continuing opposition writes W M Nixon.

A Public Meeting is scheduled for the Kingstown Suite in the Royal Marine Hotel on Thursday 27th October at 7.00pm, and speakers including Richard Boyd Barrett TD and Cllr Melissa Halpin will outline the two main options for the Government as the SOS movement sees it.

According to SOS, Minister for Transport Shane Ross - in conjunction with Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council - will have to choose between trying to continue with the existing Harbour Company as a commercial quango only nominally under the control of the council, or alternatively they can choose to dissolve the Harbour Company and bring the harbour under the full democratic control of the Council.

Save Our Seafront are totally in favour of the second option, and in support of this, they have issued a very hard-hitting statement giving detailed criticism of many aspects of the administration of the Harbour Company.

Looking to the future, they hope to see Dun Laoghaire Harbour moving forward with the establishment of a public national watersports centre and a Diaspora Museum, with the harbour protected as a fully public amenity accessible to all.

dun laoghaire harbourDun Laoghaire Harbour as it is today, with an attractive mix of fully sheltered berthing and semi-sheltered sailing space ideal for training, fresh air and a mood of spiritual uplift. Photo: Peter Barrow

Published in Dublin Bay

Today's winner of the DMYC Kish race from Dun Laoghaire harbour reached the lighthouse on the edge of Dublin Bay in approximately 51–minutes. The J109 Jalapeno may have completed what organisers believe is a course record in the blustery westerly conditions that prevailed. A full photo gallery is here.

On the return leg, a squall blew through the course with 30–plus knots recroded, resulting in 14 boats retiring.

The 41–boat fleet included a wide variety of craft, including many cruisers who never normally race, according to race organisers, Olivier Prouveur and Neil Colin.

Results are below as a PDF file. Photo gallery is here.

 

Published in DMYC

#FinalLink – The final chapter of Stena Line’s history with Dun Laoghaire Harbour was marked this morning when a barge used to dismantle the former HSS berth departed under tow, writes Jehan Ashmore.

MTS Indus towed the barge SB-5018 that was used in the harbour as a floating platform. The red-hulled barge was moored next to the ferry terminal linkspan at Berth No. 5 on St. Micheals Pier.

The specialist custom built linkspan for berthing operations of HSS Stena Explorer lasted for almost two decades of the Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead route that closed two years ago this month. The loss-making route led Stena to consolidate existing operations out of neighbouring Dublin Port on a route also to the north Wales port. 

Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company are looking for a new operator to restore the seasonal service next year, but using the adjacent Berth No. 4 alongside St. Micheals Pier. This linkspan was last used in 2011 by a smaller fast-ferry, Stena Lynx III. 

Originally the plan was to tow the Stena HSS linkspan away from the port, by placing on board the barge, however the breakers torch was used instead on site at the ferry terminal.

This is where the Swedish registered barge also acted as a support to the specialist linkspan (see yesterday’s report photo) from where the tug departed and is under way ironically bound for Holyhead. The port in Anglesey is operated by the Swedish owned ferry operator whose headquarters are based in Gothenburg.

Dismantling work by the contractors in Dun Laoghaire had begun earlier this summer to remove all Stena owned berth infrastructure at the site of the purpose built ferry terminal. This paved the way for the introduction of the revolutionary HSS Stena Explorer fast-ferry catamaran craft in 1996.

Asides the linkspan, gone are now the passenger gangways and associated equipment at No 5 berth. The concrete supporting columns of the gangway however remain as well as the jetty and associated dolphin structure.

Not all the dismantling work was carried out on the barge. Other parts were broken up onshore from where vehicles from the HSS Stena Explorer used to disembark or arrive at the marshalling area. It was from here that awaiting trucks were loaded to be disposed by scrap merchants.

Published in Ferry

#LinkspanScrap -A tug arrived in Dun Laoghaire Harbour this morning to remove a barge involved in the process to dismantle infrastructure of the former Stena HSS berth, writes Jehan Ashmore.

MTS Indus had sailed from Brixham in the UK to moor alongside the barge that arrived earlier this summer at St. Michaels Pier, from where Stena Line for almost two decades had operated as the only major client of Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company.

Stena’s pioneering HSS fast-ferry service to Holyhead launched in 1996 was revolutionary, bringing a completely new concept of ferry travel on the Irish Sea and setting new technical innovation globally. The HSS Stena Explorer was the first of a trio of HSS1500 (number reflecting passenger capacity) class craft capable of also carrying large freight trucks.

In more recent years, Stena suffered heavy losses and the near 20,000 gross tonnage craft was withdrawn in 2014, though an existing route from Dublin Port to the Welsh port was consolidated with the introduction of larger second replacement ferry.

Contractors at the Dun Laoghaire ferry terminal began work earlier this summer to dismantle all Stena related infrastructure consisting of the adjoining passenger gangway, linkspan and associated equipment at No 5 berth. These constituent parts were broken up on site, using the barge as working platform as well to torching work carried on shore on the site of the vehicle marshalling area, from where scrap merchants loaded trucks for removal.

Yesterday it was observed the lashing of equipment on the barge in addition to containers, portacabins and heavy machinery used in the works. According to DLHC, the MTS Indus was expected to tow the red-hulled barge to the Holyhead today. The north Wales port which is operated by Stena, however may not have the tug arriving until tomorrow, again weather permitting.

The works carried along the centre of the Dun Laoghaire Harbour waterfront also saw the removal of the pontoon located next to Berth No. 4. This is now the only berth complete with linkspan on St. Michaels Wharf.

With the completion of the work to remove Stena infrastructure, Berth 4 will now be made available for a new operator, should DLHC be successful in securing a suitable client in a tender process to resume a seasonal-only service next year.

Published in Ferry

#Exhibition - For Glas Journal 2016, two series of handmade books will be displayed in the National Maritime Museum of Ireland, Dun Laoghaire, within an installation of projected harbour arms, forming a ‘place ballet’ of familiarity and attachment.

The journals (exhibition between 10-25 September) have been made through collaborations with people who live, work and feel associated with different locations in Dún Laoghaire Harbour.
Participants included: former and current residents of the old Coast Guard Station; individuals who work or have worked with the Commissioners of Irish Lights; RNLI Life Boats volunteers and staff; personnel of the Ferry Terminal; the Quay Fish Shop; MGM Boats and the Marina; individuals associated with St. Michael’s Rowing Club.

In addition to the harbour’s four yacht clubs, Dún Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club; Royal Irish Yacht Club; Royal St. George Yacht Club; National Irish Yacht Club; and individuals employed by the Irish National Sailing School and the Dún Laoghaire Power Boat School.

A personalised 'Glas Journal' was made for each location and the books record what their harbour space means to these individuals. More than 30 participants agreed to take part in the documentation of ‘their’ place in the harbour.

For more information on the project, click here

Published in Coastal Notes

#FinalCaller – Five masts, each 221ft towered above Dun Laoghaire Harbour’s Carlisle Pier as US luxury operator, WindStar Cruises motor sail-assisted flagship Wind Surf made the last call of the season, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The 14,000 gross tonnage Wind Surf had made a cruise turn around in the south Dublin Bay harbour. With a 312 capacity, Wind Surf was among eight callers this year bringing around 10,000 tourists and crew to the harbour's hinterland and visitor attractions.

In fact, Wind Surf has been the most frequent visitor since Dun Laoghaire welcomed back cruiseships on a more concerted basis that began in 2011. The cruiseship business is the only commercial shipping sector since Stena Line withdrew their HSS fast-ferry service to Holyhead, Wales in 2014.

WindStars customers arrived at Carlisle Pier to board Wind Surf that departed yesterday evening, it was observed the departure involved a pilot cutter from Dublin Port to guide the vessel into the bay. While at the same time some of her self-furling computer operated sails were unveiled. 

The cruise first port of call is an anchorage visit off Dunmore East today on the Waterford estuary. She then heads for Tresco, Scilly Isles, Brest, France, followed by a day at sea in the Bay of Biscay bound for Ferrol and Vigo in Spain, Leixoes in neighbouring Portugal and culminating in the capital, Lisbon. From thereon, Wind Surf returns to her programme of Mediterranean cruising.

According to DLHC a variety of cruise calls from vessels holding 100 to almost 3,000 passengers arrived from the newly refurbished Hebridean Sky to the larger newcomer, TUI Cruises Mein Schiff 1 that anchored offshore aswell as Celebrity Silhouette, which made an appearance last year.

Six out of the 8 cruise ships visiting this summer berthed alongside Carlisle Pier from where passengers had the short stroll to the town centre.

Welcoming visitors to the town were Dun Laoghaire County Council town ambassadors and volunteers from the DLR Volunteer centre that created a great atmosphere.

Carolyn Hanaphy of Dun Laoghaire Harbour today said “We await the planning decision from An Bord Pleanala about our proposed cruise berth, such that we can attract over 100,000 cruise passengers per year.”

The season for 2017 will see half the total of callers, when four calls are scheduled by two cruiseships. Again they will be made by repeat cruise clients, WindStar represented by their Wind Surf and Star Legend.

Published in Cruise Liners

#FerryLinks – The Laser Radial World Championships hosted in Dun Laoghaire Harbour, is where participants of the prestigious championships, had use of a rather unusual launch facility, a ferry-linkspan, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Numerous lined-up laser trailers took to the incline of the linkspan on St. Michaels Pier (east) last in commercial use by Stena Lynx III in serving Holyhead. As a ferry correspondent, it was an odd sight to observe, even five years after the small fast-ferry plied the Ireland-Wales link. 

The absence of the larger HSS Stena Explorer fast-ferry last year (following closure in late 2014) marks the end of almost 190 years of continuous service to this year. The historic route dates to 1826. This summer work began to dismantle the former Stena HSS berth on St. Micheals Pier (west), including passenger gangway and related infrastructure, though the jetty remains (see; Scrapyard to Beatyard report).

Returning to the recent work to the ‘laser’ related linkspan, this has also included removal of the berth’s pontoon, to increase the length of St. Michaels Pier for commercial ships. However, Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company have this berth allocated for the restoration of a seasonal-only Wales ferry service, when this berth is available from 2017. Secondly, should an operator be successfully secured following an E-tender process.

If required, the linkspan can be adapted to suit the operator (if introducing conventional tonnage) as St. Micheals Pier, is the site of an original terminal completed in 1969. The facility was designed for first generation car-ferries, following a temporary terminal on the East Pier's jetty. This is where Dublin Bay Cruises excursion boat St. Bridget berths. 

Over the decades, St. Michael’s double linkspans have asides the harbour’s most famous and familiar last route in operation to Holyhead, have included another second route. That been to Liverpool and in which the service ran until 1990. Predating the Merseyside link, other routes were to Heysham, Lancashire and later Fishguard in Pembrokeshire. 

It was the Earl William, of Sealink British Ferries (in which Stena tookover) that operated the Dun Laoghaire-Liverpool (Bootle Docks) service. SBF took over, following B&I Line's closure in 1988 of the route out of Dublin Port. The service however, only lasted for just two years, as final sailings took place in early 1990.

As an avid ferry enthusiast and having taken a round-trip, it was odd to have a Dun Laoghaire ferry take a passage across Dublin Bay, in that the course set was straight towards Baily Lighthouse on Howth Peninsula and via the North Burford buoy. As distinct to the departure of Holyhead bound ferries that having rounding the East Pier Lighthouse headed for the South Burford buoy off Dalkey Island.

Asides, Earl William, a succession of conventional ferries and freight ferries, have berthed at St. Michaels Pier. The Holyhead’s routes largest and longest serving ferry, St. Columba, that became Stena’s Hibernia / Stena Adventurer exclusively berthed at Carlisle Pier. These ferries would arrive closely together into Dun Laoghaire at dawn, one from England, the other Wales. 

Carlisle Pier, which was had a rail-connected terminal is where the older ‘mailboats’ berthed on both pier sides. On the east berth, is where in recent years, small cruiseships have called alongside, most recently, the impressive sail-assisted Wind Surf.

Currently, only large deep draft cruiseships anchor offshore, however there are controversial plans for a new cruise-berth jetty (awaiting An Bord Pleanala decision). The proposed €18m single-berth facility, if granted planning permission would almost occupy the centre of the harbour.

Against this backdrop is the already granted Dublin Port €30m two-berth cruise terminal.

 

Published in Dublin Bay

#ProfitsSink - Dun Laoghaire Harbour will welcome tomorrow a mid-season cruise caller, this will be against the backdrop of losses by the port company last year, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Celebrity Silhouette of 122,400 gross tonnage, and a combined passenger and crew total of 4,000, is to make a return 'anchorage' visit off the south Dublin Bay harbour following a debut call in 2015. A proposed new cruise liner berth submitted by Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company is still awaiting a decision by an Bord Pleanala.

Accounts for the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company reveal a €6.3 million loss reports The Times, after Stena Line officially confirmed that is was to withdraw HSS services ‘permanently’ from the port to Holyhead last year. Not to be confused Afloat adds with the final season of HSS Stena Explorer sailings that actually took place the previous year when the fast-ferry ceased in September 2014.

The company had previously said that it was focused on finding a new operator to continue the long history of ferry links between Dun Laoghaire and Britain.

In its latest annual report it said that while it still hoped to resume some ferry services to Holyhead, it was also looking at new uses for the St Michael’s Pier terminal building.

When Stena Line ceased to operate the route in February 2015 seven expressions of interest were received as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Also reported on Afloat was the dismantling and removal of the former Stena HSS berth-linkspan and associated passenger gangway structure. Since that report, Afloat has learnt that the custom-built linkspan at St. Micheal’s Pier has been removed on site and not taken away by barge. 

The process of removing HSS related port infrastructure are scheduled to take up to next month. DLHC added that harbour facilities will only become available for use by a potential new ferry operator but not until 2017.

Published in Ferry
Page 7 of 21

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