#FerryNews - Technical issues for Irish Ferries Ulysses remain unresolved as they are more serious than originally anticipated, forcing the operator to cancel further sailings than expected during the peak season on the busy Dublin-Holyhead route.
Ulysses since late last month has been out of service due to problems with a propeller shaft that led to the largest ferry on the Irish Sea to receive repairs in Harland & Wolff, Belfast. The ferry was due to return to service last Wednesday, 4th July.
According to a statement issued today by Irish Continental Group (parent company of Irish Ferries), the cruiseferry reported technical issues of the starboard controllable pitch propeller on the (Sunday) 24th June. The investigation and repairs to the vessel were expected to take no longer than 5 days allowing the cruiseferry to resume service on the (Wednesday) 4th July. Service engineers have informed the operator, that the issue is more serious and the cruiseferry will be out of service for a further period of 1 to 2 weeks.
Irish Ferries added that despite their best efforts they were unable to find replacement tonnage in what is now the peak tourism season.
This is the first major technical problem to beset the Ulysses since introduction of the 50,938 gross tonnage cruiseferry in 2001. The vessel remains docked in Belfast Dry-Dock from where it entered on the 28th June. Afloat had previously tracked the cruiseferry make an overnight passage from Dublin Port on 26th June to Belfast Lough from where anchorage took place off Bangor before the dry dock could accommodate the 209m cruiseferry.
Irish Ferries said it would be contacting affected passengers and has adjusted the schedules of other vessels to minimise the disruption to customers as much as possible.
The operator said it will continue to run the schedule (Ex: Dublin – 08:05 & 20:55 and Ex: Holyhead – 02:40 & 14:10) using their alternate vessel Epsilon and will increase the number of Dublin Swift sailings with an additional round trip in the evening.
The disruption follows last month's announcement from ICG of another delay to newbuild delivery of cruiseferry W.B. Yeats. The cruiseferry which is similar in appearance to Ulysses but larger at around 55,000 tonnes is now set to enter service this autumn on the Dublin-Holyhead.
Originally, W.B. Yeats was to debut on the continental connection linking the capital and Cherbourg, France followed by a launch on the service to Wales in September.