Menu

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Ferries and Ferry News from Ireland
Ferry 'fiasco' as Scottish (SNP) ministers sued by their own company (Afloat adds, CalMac which operates Western Isles services: Hebridean & Clyde) over the Northern Isles (Orkney & Shetland) contract awarded to private operator Serco. Above AFLOAT's photo of a CalMac Firth of Clyde serving ferry, Caledonian Isles which runs between Ardrossan and the Isle of Arran.
The Scottish National Party (SNP) Government is facing the “fiasco” of being sued by its own ferry company, writes The Herald. Connectivity and Islands minister Paul Wheelhouse today confirmed that the state-owned ferry operator CalMac had raised legal proceedings over…
Fastferry Manannan is to remain berthed in Douglas Harbour over the winter months while Ben-My-Chree maintains service. As for freight ro-ro Arrow (seen entering the Manx capital) is on charter though will be available to ensure freight transport is continued.
The Isle of Man Steam Packet's fastferry, Manannan is to remain in Manx waters this winter. According to EnergyFM, the passenger /vehicle craft concluded the 2019 season earlier this month, maintaining a 100% technical reliability record during the whole summer,…
Newbuild leadship of Stena's E-Flexer class, Stena Estrid departs the AVIC Weihai Shipyard, Shandong in China, bound for its new home on the Irish Sea between Ireland and Britain. Manned by a much-reduced crew of 27, with no passengers on board, the ship will undertake a delivery voyage of well over 10,000 miles, taking just over one month and making a number of stops on the way, before finally arriving in Wales from where it will start service in January on the Holyhead to Dublin route. Also above AFLOAT adds is Brittany Ferries chartered-in E-Flexer tonnage (top-left) for UK-Spain service and a pair of Stena E-Flexers.
The newest ferry bound for Irish Sea service, Stena Estrid has departed the AVIC Weihai Shipyard in north-western China and is making its delivery voyage to Wales from where it is to operate on the Holyhead-Dublin route. Stena Estrid is the…
Plans to replace ferry Ben-My-Chree with new tonnage. The existing ropax operates the main Manx-UK route: Douglas-Heysham
The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company wants public opinion on a new ship.  The ferry operator reports Manx Radio, wants to know your thoughts, as it prepares for 'major investment in its fleet'. The company has plans to replace…
W.B. Yeats berthed at the two-tier linkspan in Dublin Port at the main ferry terminal (No. 1)
Irish Continental Group, the parent company of Irish Ferries has reported revenue of €308.8m in the first ten months of 2019, an increase of 8.2pc on the same period last year. As the Independent.ie writes, ICG said a "significant" proportion…
CGI image of Liverpool's new ferry terminal to be used by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Co. Image supplied by architects The Manser Practice.
A completion date for the new £38m Liverpool landing stage for Isle of Man ferries has been delayed. According to IOMToday, it will be in the summer, as the completion date for the ferry terminal was given as February 2021,…
Single Use Plastic: Brittany Ferries is in a drive to reduce and eventually eliminate the use of single use plastics on board its fleet of ferries including AFLOAT adds the ropax Kerry launched recently onto the year-round Cork-Santander service.
French operator, Brittany Ferries is realising the benefits of its drive to reduce and eventually eliminate the use of single use plastics on board its fleet of ferries by purging almost 5.7 million items of plastic per year. The operator…
Condor Ferries has been sold to Brittany Ferries and Columbia Threadneedle Investments. AFLOAT's photo is of ropax Commodore Clipper (larger version of Isle of Man Stream Packet's Ben-My-Chree).  The ferry is seen approaching St. Peter Port, Guernsey having sailed from Portsmouth in the UK. In the background is the island of Herm.
Channel Islands operator Condor Ferries has been sold to an investment consortium involving Brittany Ferries, ending months of speculation. The French ferry operator reports ITV News, have acquired a 25% stake alongside new majority owner, Columbia Threadneedle Investments. The current owners,…
Reverend Stephen Miller, Senior Chaplain at the Mission to Seafarers, based in Hong Kong, blesses the Stena Estrid at the signing ceremony in China, for Stena Line’s newest ferry. The leadship of the E-Flexer-class is expected to enter the Dublin-Holyhead route in January
The first of five new ferries from China, Stena has received and expects to have the vessel (see: following trials) operating on the key Dublin to Holyhead route by January. According to the Belfast Telegraph, Stena Estrid will be formally…
Operating on Scotland's west coast is CalMac's Hebridean Isles as AFLOAT captured in this scene at Kennacraig on the Mull of Kintyre from where the ferry serves Islay. Built in 1985, the ferry is one of the oldest in the fleet which this winter will be undergoing a record £9m investment overhaul. The veteran vessel on several occasions stood in on Scotland's east coast for NorthLink Ferries where private operator Serco last month was awarded a £450m contract by the Scottish Government to continue maintaining Northern Isles services to Orkney and Shetlands Islands. See below: news update on the contract.
The largest ferry operator in Scotland, state-owned Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) is to spend more than £9 million targeted at vessel resilience in a response to challenges of an increasing average age of fleet. According to CalMac, this is in addition…
An Isle of Man based campaign wants people to "charge whilst you cross" when cars are on board the Steam-Packet ferry (from Heysham) as captured in this AFLOAT photo of ropax Ben-My-Chree entering Douglas Harbour.
In an aim to introduce electric vehicle charging points, a campaign has been set up to apply this on board ferries of the Isle of Man Steam Packet. David Dorricott from the Mountain View Innovation Centre based outside the (harbour town…
Replacing the ropax Connemara is the 1,000 passenger capacity Kerry (above), the latest addition to Brittany Ferries fleet. AFLOAT adds the 2,040 vehicle lane metre capacity Kerry is operating Cork-Santander sailings, that opened in 2018 firstly using the also Italian (Visentini) built Connemara which today was welcomed to the shipping register of France.
Brittany Ferries’ Connemara has been welcomed today to the shipping register of France, creating jobs for French seafarers and bringing to 11 the number of ships of the fleet sailing under the red, white and blue of the tricolour. Afloat…
Stena Estrid, the first of three next generation RoPax ferries destined for the Irish Sea, has successfully completed sea trials in China’s Yellow Sea. The newbuild built at the AVIC Weihai Shipyard is pictured during sea trials and is now on schedule to start operating on the Dublin to Holyhead route in early 2020.
Operator Stena Line has announced that the first of its three new E-Flexer class ferries destined for the Irish Sea, Stena Estrid has successfully completed sea trials in China’s Yellow Sea. Following three days of extensive testing, the new vessel…
A Stena E-Flexer class newbuild, Cote D'Opale is to be chartered to operator DFDS for the Dover-Calais route in 2021. AFLOAT adds the leadship in the new series of E-Flexers built in China, Stena Estrid is to make a debut for Stena on the Irish Sea route of Dublin-Holyhead with sailings operating in early 2020.
Danish operator DFDS recently announced another milestone at the Avic Shipyard in Weihai, China, as the keel was officially laid on the new charter vessel, Cote D'Opale, the name which was previously reported on Afloat.ie Owner of the newbuild Stena-E-Flexer…
Holyhead Port: UK Government minister Michael Gove made the admission during a meeting with Welsh Government AMs. Above: AFLOAT adds the ferries Ulysses (Irish Ferries) and Stena Adventurer (Stena Line) which compete on the route to Dublin Port, use the berths at Salt Island which is joined by a causeway to Holyhead on Holy Island off Anglesey, north Wales.
The UK Government reports NorthWalesLive, has not considered the impact of Boris Johnson's Brexit plan will have on Holyhead Port, a minister has said. Michael Gove (who visited the ferryport in August) is the UK Government's Brexit planning minister and…
The Freight Transport Association has warned of the additional admin burden facing NI transport companies. Above: Lorries in the compound of the VT2 Terminal, Belfast Harbour
Industy representives have warned that exit declarations on goods shipped from Northern Ireland ferryports to the rest of the UK will burden traders with yet more Brexit red tape. The warning reports BreakingNews.ie, comes as the UK Government’s risk assessment…

Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

Featured Webcams

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Events

tokyo sidebutton
sovscup sidebutton
vdlr sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
viking sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating