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ICG Cuts First Steel for Irish Ferries New €144m Cruiseferry in German Yard

10th April 2017
Pictured (L-R) Mr. Eamonn Rothwell – Chief Executive – Irish Continental Group plc; Mr. Rüdiger Fuchs – CEO – Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft mbH & Co. KG (FSG); Mr. Andrew Sheen – Managing Director – Irish Ferries and Mr. David Ledwidge – Chief Financial Officer – Irish Continental Group plc.  Pictured (L-R) Mr. Eamonn Rothwell – Chief Executive – Irish Continental Group plc; Mr. Rüdiger Fuchs – CEO – Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft mbH & Co. KG (FSG); Mr. Andrew Sheen – Managing Director – Irish Ferries and Mr. David Ledwidge – Chief Financial Officer – Irish Continental Group plc. Photo: ICG / FSG

#ICGnewbuild - Senior management of Irish Continental Group (ICG),parent company of Irish Ferries, visited the German shipyard of Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesselschaft & Co.KG that is to build a new €144m cruiseferry.

It is almost a year to when ICG announced the contract for the 50,000 gross tonnage cruiseferry to the FSG yard.

Eamonn Rothwell, Chief Executive of ICG accompanied by Andrew Sheen, Managing Director of Irish Ferries on Friday visited the FSG yard in Flensburg to oversee the cutting of the first steel plate for use in the construction of their cruise ferry. The newbuild is scheduled for delivery in mid 2018.

Commenting at the ceremony Mr Rothwell said "This first steel cutting is more than symbolic and starts the practical construction of our new build. This investment underpins the confidence the Group has in both the freight and passenger tourism markets between Ireland, Britain and France”.

When in service, the cruiseferry will accommodate 1,885 passengers and crew, with 435 cabins and with capacity for 2,800 lane metres of freight (165 freight vehicles). An additional dedicated car deck with also provide capacity for 300 passenger cars.

 

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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