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Displaying items by tag: Storm Ciaran

The seasonal Isles of Scilly Steamship ferry service has ended for the year as veteran Scillonian III sailed its last round-trip of Penzance Harbour-Hugh Town, St Mary's, the largest isle of the archipelago off Cornwall, England, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The much-loved Scillonian III with a 485 passenger capacity, had opened the season in April, throughout the summer months and into autumn, however Storm Ciaran led to an abrupt end of the season by the 1977 built passenger and cargo-ship. The last sailing according to the operator’s social media, took place on 31 October, as all the following scheduled sailings were cancelled, day after day given the adverse weather persisted, including on the season’s intended final day, 5 November.

Afloat consulted the operator’s website for next year’s seasonal service, which starts on 18 March. In the meantime, the Steamship continue to operate the year-round essential freight-service by Gry Maritha in addition to passenger ‘Skybus’ services to and from the mainland.

As Afloat previously reported, the Scilly Steamship Group have chosen a French shipbuilder in a £42m contract from private funding for three new vessels to maintain lifeline links to the Isles of Scilly. The newbuilds comprise of a 600 passenger ferry to be named Scillonian IV, a cargo ship and an inter-island freight catamaran which are all scheduled to be in service by March 2026.

The Steamship Group previously held community engagement events on St. Mary’s, the largest of the five inhabited Isles of Scilly, regarding the vessel replacement programme, and they will continue to be held in the outlying islands this month. Members of the Steamship Group will be host along with the new vessels project team which have invited and encouraged island communities to attend.

First of the public meetings resumed yesterday, having begun on Bryher, at the island’s community centre and forthcoming engagement events will be held on the other outlying islands of St Martin’s, St Agnes and Tresco.

With the season of Scillonian III’s sailings concluded, the 1,255 gross tonnage ferry entered the more sheltered inner harbour of Penzance for the winter layover, however it will be by no means a quiet period for the ship’s crew and maintenance team. As the vessel is to undergone routine period of maintenance in preparation for getting all 'ship-shape' in advance of welcoming passengers and carrying freight in Spring, 2024.

As Afloat previously reported, Harland & Wolff Group propose to build new vessels and operate to Scilly, using a passenger ferry, cargo-ship and fast-ferry on the same route between Penzance and St. Mary's. The announcement comes after three years of developing specific designs and a detailed costing model for the newbuilds.

The shipyard group in October held a second series of public consultations on Scilly regarding the company’s proposal to build and operate year-round passenger and freight services connecting Cornwall and the isles.

Harland & Wolff's proposal would put it in direct competition with the established Isles of Scilly Steamship Company which celebrated its centenary in 2020.

Published in Ferry

The UK’s coastguard has warned the public to take safety at the water seriously after videos were shared online of people walking into danger on Whitby’s East Pier as Storm Ciarán lashed the country this week.

As Marine Industry News reports, one video showed a woman being swept off her feet by a wave that crashed across the pier, which was since temporarily closed to public access.

In a statement, Steve Hart, senior coastal operations officer for HM Coastguard said: “Our advice is if there is a storm weather warning in place and if you don’t need to travel, just stay in.

@coffeemad74 the stupidity of some people baffles me. #respectnature #stupidpeople ♬ original sound - itsonlyme

“It’s not worth risking your life for a picture or a selfie and it’s not worth risking our volunteers lives either, who would potentially have to go out on a rescue and pull you out of the water.”

Marine Industry News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Water Safety

All of the 90-boats fleet in the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre were kept safe and secure through Storm Ciarán, which ravaged the Brittany coast and the English Channel with gusts of over 80 knots on Wednesday night (1 November).

On Thursday morning (2 November) the winds eased off and as the tide dropped the seas around the docks in Lorient La Base, allowing skippers and technical teams from the Class 40s and Ocean Fifty classes there to be able to carry out a full check of boats and their mooring lines ahead of another storm expected Saturday (4 November).

In Le Havre, where the 40 IMOCAs are securely tied up in the Paul Vatine basin, a chop was whipped up to nearly a metre by the storm-force winds in the enclosed docks. The winds peaked in Le Havre at the end of the morning.

“We remained very vigilant especially when the dock gates opened between noon and 1.10pm, with a one-meter surge, which caused the pontoons to rise by that much. Fortunately, the wind dropped at the same time and there was no damage,” race director Francis Le Goff said.

All day, race direction continued to work on scenarios for a new start in collaboration with Christian Dumard, meteorologist for the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre.

Le Goff said: “The possibility mentioned yesterday of seeing the IMOCAs set off on Sunday is now no longer possible, in particular because of the strengthening of the westerly wind, which is going to impact heavily on the coast around Le Havre.”

Added to this is a time constraint with the gates of the Le Havre basins closing at 3.30pm for sunset at 5.30pm that day. So no start on Sunday.

The decision-making process was shared by the IMOCA class sports commission which represents the 40 duos entered in this class. The race direction team is working on a starting scenario, the first option at the moment being Tuesday 7 November at the very beginning of the morning, with an IMOCA exit out of the docks the morning open gate (from 5am to 6.15am). Other scenarios after this date are also studied. The preferred option for the course now is a direct route to Martinique.

“For the Class40 and Ocean Fifty, for which nothing was already considered possible before Monday, there is no change. The goal is always to go at the first opportunity, in collaboration with the classes, for next week,” Le Goff added.

With Storm Ciarán approaching, Brittany Ferries Cherbourg-Rosslare ferry was affected by such weather related conditions and was diverted to the Port of Cork yesterday, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The Salamanca in the morning arrived to Cork with an unscheduled call from Cherbourg and berthed at the Ringaskiddy Ferry Terminal from where passengers disembarked and vehicles were discharged. Salamanca also normally operates the Rosslare-Bilbao route. 

Following completion of unloading at Ringaskiddy, the first E-Flexer series ship to enter Cork Harbour shifted berths to enable the inbound Armorique which was making a routine mid-week call from Roscoff.

Salamanca had moved to take shelter alongside the Cork Container Terminal opposite of the Deep Water Terminal, where bulk-cargo operations continued. Among them involved yesterday evening’s arrival of Arklow Rambler, which Afloat tracked its maiden call to the port, albeit earlier than scheduled, (see previous related coverage) and discovered the Salamanca was also in port.

The impact of Storm Ciaran subsequently took place off the south coast, however the brunt of the weather battered north-west France. Overnight gusts of 115kph were reported in Brest, in western Brittany as the full affects from the Atlantic storm also swept across southern Britain and the English Channel.

A red warning weather alert for the Channel Islands was in effect which led to operator, Condor Ferries cancelling crossings in advance with further wet and windy weather ahead for the weekend.

On the Brittany Ferries Irish website, it stated that weather related delays and or cancellations will occur today (2 Nov.) and forecasts will be monitored over the net 24 hours.

The Ireland-France route cruiseferry, Armorique is to sail this evening with a scheduled departure of 18:30 to Roscoff.

The Salamanca is to remain in Ringaskiddy and in an (update 3 Nov) the cruiseferry is currently alongside at Cobh. On return to the south-east port, Salamanca will be able to resume services out of Rosslare with a scheduled departure at 23:30 tommorrow (3 Nov) to Bilbao.

This weekend’s final Roscoff-Ringaskiddy round trip (operated by flagship, Pont-Aven) is also cancelled.

The seasonal route is however to be extended for the first time with winter sailings scheduled to take place this month and into December, with Armorique taking over the roster next weekend of the flagship’s France-Ireland-France rotation.

Following a winter refit during the first six weeks of 2024, Armorique will then reopen the Cork–Roscoff earlier than before, returning on 9 February 2024 with Pont-Aven rejoining in March to provide a two-ship service.

Published in Brittany Ferries

Storm Ciaran is set to sweep across the north-west quarter of France, on Wednesday night.

Atlantic Storm Ciaran will blast a powerful windstorm into Ireland, the UK, and France on Thursday, with more storms as we head into next weekend.

The unusual weather pattern established over the North Atlantic and Europe over the last few weeks will continue and worsen as we head into November, according to the Severe Weather Europe website.

It is this huge system which has required the 40-strong IMOCA fleet that was set to start the International Transat Jacques Vabre on Sunday tied to the dock in Le Havre.

It looks set to be an exceptional storm with winds of over 80-90kts off the coast, according to the race organisers who have been tracking its course and declaring it a 'weather bomb'.

This very deep depression is said to be comparable to the storm that France experienced in 1999, which caused a lot of damage. “It’s a very explosive depression, with very strong winds and especially heavy seas,” commented competitor Damien Seguin (APICIL) from the Transat Jacques Vabre yesterday.

Indeed, gusts of 110 to 120 km/h are expected inland and even more at sea, as Yoann Richomme (Paprec Arkéa) commented this morning: "At sea, forecasts show 80 knots, gusts of more than 100 knots (more than 185 km/hour), in seas with waves of 12 meters. This is unthinkable and no rescue could provide assistance to a sailor in case of need."

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About Brittany Ferries

In 1967 a farmer from Finistère in Brittany, Alexis Gourvennec, succeeded in bringing together a variety of organisations from the region to embark on an ambitious project: the aim was to open up the region, to improve its infrastructure and to enrich its people by turning to traditional partners such as Ireland and the UK. In 1972 BAI (Brittany-England-Ireland) was born.

The first cross-Channel link was inaugurated in January 1973, when a converted Israeli tank-carrier called Kerisnel left the port of Roscoff for Plymouth carrying trucks loaded with Breton vegetables such as cauliflowers and artichokes. The story, therefore, begins on 2 January 1973, 24 hours after Great Britain's entry into the Common Market (EEC).

From these humble beginnings however, Brittany Ferries as the company was re-named quickly opened up to passenger transport, then became a tour operator.

Today, Brittany Ferries has established itself as the national leader in French maritime transport: an atypical leader, under private ownership, still owned by a Breton agricultural cooperative.

Eighty five percent of the company’s passengers are British.

Key Brittany Ferries figures:

  • Turnover: €202.4 million (compared with €469m in 2019)
  • Investment in three new ships, Galicia plus two new vessels powered by cleaner LNG (liquefied natural gas) arriving in 2022 and 2023
  • Employment: 2,474 seafarers and shore staff (average high/low season)
  • Passengers: 752,102 in 2020 (compared with 2,498,354 in 2019)
  • Freight: 160,377 in 2020 (compared with 201,554 in 2019)
  • Twelve ships operating services that connect France, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Spain (non-Covid year) across 14 routes
  • Twelve ports in total: Bilbao, Santander, Portsmouth, Poole, Plymouth, Cork, Rosslare, Caen, Cherbourg, Le Havre, Saint-Malo, Roscoff
  • Tourism in Europe: 231,000 unique visitors, staying 2.6 million bed-nights in France in 2020 (compared with 857,000 unique visitors, staying 8,7 million bed-nights in 2019).