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W.B. Yeats Maiden 'Freight' Sailing Re-Scheduled to Next Week On Tuesday

13th January 2019
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Night-time scene of W.B. Yeats while alongside the North Wall Quay Extension (close to East-Link bridge) in Dublin Port. Night-time scene of W.B. Yeats while alongside the North Wall Quay Extension (close to East-Link bridge) in Dublin Port. Photo: Jehan Ashmore

#ferries - W.B. Yeats maiden sailing as previously reported on Afloat.ie has changed date according to the Irish Ferries freight website, though the rescheduled sailing remains based on a freight-only basis, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Orginally, the first sailing was due to depart from Dublin tonight, however the inaugural sailing on the Irish Sea is instead scheduled for this Tuesday, (January 15th). This is to take place in the morning with the 08.05 sailing bound for Holyhead, Wales.

Further research has revealed albeit on the operator's passenger website, that at the same time W.B. Yeats maiden sailing departs the Irish capital, Oscar Wilde with a 1,450 passenger capacity, is also to leave then and operate to a full service. Sailings taking passengers too, Irish Ferries has confirmed to Afloat, will see W.B. Yeats start such services on January 25th.

As for this Tuesday's sailings, both W.B. Yeats and Oscar Wilde are scheduled to arrive in the Anglesey port just 10 minutes apart with the brand new €147m cruiseferry to arrive first with a docking time scheduled for 11.20. Passengers on board Oscar Wilde will also be able to get close-up views of the new 51,000 gross tonnage cruiseferry when in Holyhead's outer ferryport. 

Another change next week on the core Ireland-UK landbridge route involves Ulysses, the route's main cruiseferry since 2001, which is to go off service for routine annual dry-docking.

In addition ro-pax Epsilon which underwent dry-docking, is to resume sailings also on Tuesday, though today the chartered-in ferry with limited passenger capacity, is docked in Cherbourg.

Due to conducting dry-docking in Brest, Brittany, Epsilon has recently made a repositioning passage to Normandy so to enable offering a sailing tonight from the French port to Dublin, where the vessel is due to arrive tomorrow morning.

Otherwise sailings on the direct Ireland-France routes have been almost non-existent of recent months, however this is all about to change with the debut of W.B. Yeats from mid-March.

As for Rosslare based routes connecting Cherbourg and Roscoff, Irish Ferries last month announced they are unlikely to operate such services between the Wexford port and France this year. The operator added that they will continue to keep this situation under review and stated W.B. Yeats will operate from Dublin to Cherbourg up to 4 days per week.

 

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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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