#FerryDunLaogaire? – Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company has received seven expressions of interest from operators to provide a seasonal-only ferry service to Holyhead, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Afloat.ie has contacted the DLHC following last Friday's advert deadline for potential ferry operators to operate on the 52 nautical mile route.
Prior to the ferry company responses, DLHC annnounced that any new operator would not be serving the route until at least 2016.
Following the responses, a spokesperson on behalf of DLHC said they 'will now consider these'. The harbour company added, 'final configurations would be a matter for discussion and agreement with a new provider, and would be in keeping and take account of the Harbour Company's Masterplan'.
As part of the Masterplan, the site of St. Micheal's Pier is where a major residential redevelopment is proposed.
For more than 170 years there has been a ferry service running between Dun Laoghaire and Holyhead from where Stena Line has served the Irish Sea service since 1990.
In additon to conventional ferry tonnage, they introduced a small 'Lynx' fast-ferry in 1993 which was replaced by the world's largest fast craft, the HSS Stena Explorer in 1996.
Stena's decision to withdraw operations in the south Dublin Bay port, leaves a berth available for a new ferry operator in Dun Laoghaire Harbour using the terminal at St. Michaels Pier.
According to the advert document the berth is 140 metres long with a maximum depth of 5.8 metres. In addition the berthing facility is described as having a shore to ship ramp, which can easily be modified to facilitate the configuration of a new vessel.
Afloat.ie adds that St. Michaels Pier has two berths, one is custom-built to only accommodate the specialist requirements of the HSS Stena Explorer.
The second adjacent berth was also used by Stena Line when a 'Lynx' craft as previously referred but had returned in more recent years to the route. The Stena Lynx III served during the shoulder seasons when the HSS Stena Explorer had operated a year-round service until 2011.
The 19,638 tons HSS remains at her homeport of Holyhead and likewise at a custom-built berth in the inner harbour of the Welsh port.
Also in Anglesey is the Stena Superfast X, which made a delivery voyage last week from Poland having had a major refit. The 30,551 tons newcomer has yet to enter service on the Holyhead-Dublin Port route in competition with Irish Ferries.