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Response of Ferry Firms to Concerns of West Cork Locals Reporting Rise in Visitor Numbers

11th April 2020
Rosslare Europort in this photo for AFLOAT which adds in these challenging times the Co. Wexford ferryport is now the nearest to West Cork. As according to EchoLive, Brittany Ferries have suspended all passenger services until further notice on the Cork-Roscoff route and Rosslare-Bilbao. AFLOAT adds however a 'freight' service is maintained to Spain and a new Rosslare-Roscoff route was to have launched last month. This leaves the 'south' of the country with only one Ireland-mainland Europe route, Stena Line's Rosslare-Cherbourg service. As for Rosslare's short-sea services linking the UK, Irish Ferries connect to Pembroke operated by Isle of Inishmore (on left) while Stena Line also serves south Wales to Fishguard using Stena Europe also berthed at the harbour. Rosslare Europort in this photo for AFLOAT which adds in these challenging times the Co. Wexford ferryport is now the nearest to West Cork. As according to EchoLive, Brittany Ferries have suspended all passenger services until further notice on the Cork-Roscoff route and Rosslare-Bilbao. AFLOAT adds however a 'freight' service is maintained to Spain and a new Rosslare-Roscoff route was to have launched last month. This leaves the 'south' of the country with only one Ireland-mainland Europe route, Stena Line's Rosslare-Cherbourg service. As for Rosslare's short-sea services linking the UK, Irish Ferries connect to Pembroke operated by Isle of Inishmore (on left) while Stena Line also serves south Wales to Fishguard using Stena Europe also berthed at the harbour. Photo: Jehan Ashmore

Among communities of West Cork towns there are growing concerns as people make their way to holiday homes and caravan parks this week, despite the 2km radius travel restriction put in place by the government.

Locals took to social media, reports EchoLive, to express their concerns and reported seeing an increase in UK vehicle registrations in coastal areas of the county.

Ferry companies who are still operating between the UK and Ireland have advised that passengers should only travel for essential purposes.

Simon Palmer, Communications Manager for Stena Line, which is still operating its ferry service from Fishguard in Wales to Rosslare Harbour in Wexford, said that passenger numbers over the Easter weekend were low.

Speaking to The Echo, he confirmed that a total of 26 passengers are due to arrive into Rosslare on Stena Line ferries over the weekend.

Five passengers are due to travel on Saturday, seven on Sunday and fourteen on Monday.

He said that those passengers who have already travelled to Ireland from Wales were deemed to be taking essential travel.

More on the story including a response from an Irish Ferries spokesperson on the situation click here. 

Published in Ferry
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

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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