Menu

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Strong Irish Ferries Presence at Keel Laying Ceremony

11th September 2017
1156 Views
Led by Irish Ferries managing director, Andrew Sheen (centre right), the group included David Ledwidge (left), chief financial officer, Irish Continental Group Plc and Capt. Brian McKenna (right). With them is Rüdiger Fuchs (centre left), CEO of shipbuilders Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft. Led by Irish Ferries managing director, Andrew Sheen (centre right), the group included David Ledwidge (left), chief financial officer, Irish Continental Group Plc and Capt. Brian McKenna (right). With them is Rüdiger Fuchs (centre left), CEO of shipbuilders Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft.

A delegation of senior Irish Ferries officials today attended the keel laying ceremony for a new €144million, 55,000 tonnes cruise ferry being built on behalf of the company in Flensberg, Germany.

Due to be delivered next July, the new vessel will be the largest and most luxurious ferry ever to sail on the Irish Sea. It will enter year-round service on the Dublin – Holyhead and Ireland – France routes.

On board, it will have space for 1,885 passengers and crew, 440 cabins including luxury suites with their own private balconies, and almost 3km of car deck space. Other facilities will include a Club Class lounge with direct passenger access from the car decks, á la carte and self-service restaurants, cinema, shopping mall, choice of bars and lounges, exclusive areas for freight drivers, and dedicated facilities for pets.

In accordance with tradition on such occasions, Andrew Sheen presented the shipyard with a ceremonial coin, specially commissioned by Irish Ferries to mark the occasion, which was placed within the keel section to remain there throughout its construction in order to bring good luck and calm seas for the vessel.

Afloat.ie readers have being suggesting names for the new ferry here, 'Seamus Heaney' is a popular choice and 'Brian Ferry' gave us a chuckle

Published in Ferry
Afloat.ie Team

About The Author

Afloat.ie Team

Email The Author

Afloat.ie is Ireland's only full-time marine journalism team.

Have you got a story for our reporters? Email us here.

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
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club

Featured Brokers

mgm sidebutton

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Events (2019)

corkweek sidebutton
tokyo sidebutton
roundireland sidebutton
wave regatta
sovscup sidebuttonvdlr sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
viking sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

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

Please show your support for Afloat by donating