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Storm Barbara Continues to Cause Ferry Cancellations

23rd December 2016
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STORM BARBARA: The second storm of the winter has led to further ferry cancellations and disruption this festive season. In this file photo, ferries are seen berthed at Dublin Port terminals 1 and 5 as cruiseship Delphin, built during the Soviet era was also capable of carrying cars STORM BARBARA: The second storm of the winter has led to further ferry cancellations and disruption this festive season. In this file photo, ferries are seen berthed at Dublin Port terminals 1 and 5 as cruiseship Delphin, built during the Soviet era was also capable of carrying cars Photo: DPC

#Cancellations - Storm Barbara continues to cause ferry cancellations but also freight operations on the Irish Sea notably those serving Dublin Port in the busy run-up to the festive season.

Strong winds involving a ro-ro freight ferry arriving to Dublin this morning required tugs to assist while berthing at Terminal 5. A freight sailing tonight on a route to the UK has been cancelled. 

The bad weather may pose a concern for passengers with possible further ferry cancellations closer to Christmas Eve in particular on the core Holyhead-Dublin services. Thousands of passengers make the trip annually from the UK to reach the capital and beyond. The route from Wales is operated by two operators, Irish Ferries and Stena Line.

At Dublin Port's main passenger ferry facility, Terminal 1 is where Irish Ferries fast-craft Jonathan Swift remains berthed in port due to cancellations as covered on Afloat yesterday. Sailings of the fast-craft's Dublin-Holyhead sailings today are cancellled due to the what the operator describes as 'adverse weather conditions'. 

Irish Ferries advises that 'fast-craft' passengers will be accommodated on alternative sailings using the other Holyhead-Dublin cruiseferry Ulysses. Also currently operating on time is the ropax Epsilon. 

Recently introduced by Irish Ferries is Oscar Wilde to boost capacity on the Dublin route which too however was affected by the bad weather. The cruiseferry’s morning sailing to Holyhead was cancelled and also this afternoon's sailing at 16.45hrs from the Welsh port to Dublin. Passengers are to be accommodated on tomorrow's 02.30hrs sailing, Saturday 24 December (Christmas Eve).

There have been no Stena Line cancellations reported so far today on their Holyhead-Dublin service which is operated by a pair of ferries. Stena have said that Storm Barbara is to bring wet and windy conditions to the UK and Ireland. The operator added that unfortunately this may cause disruption to some scheduled sailings today and Saturday (Christmas Eve). 

It is advisable to check all ferry operator websites for the latest sailing information for times and (dates of operation given the festive season) and those on France-Ireland services.

 

Published in Ferry
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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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!

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