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Ferries Face 'Mandatory' Masks on Stena Ships Whereas Already 'Advisable' on Irish Ferries

11th June 2020
The 'Ferry Faces' of Stena Line's 'Seamaster' class Stena Adventurer arrives in Dublin Port ahead of Irish Ferries Ulysses when approaching in Dublin Bay. Both ferries compete on the core Irish Sea short-service route linking Holyhead, north Wales. The 'Ferry Faces' of Stena Line's 'Seamaster' class Stena Adventurer arrives in Dublin Port ahead of Irish Ferries Ulysses when approaching in Dublin Bay. Both ferries compete on the core Irish Sea short-service route linking Holyhead, north Wales. Photo: Jehan Ashmore

Operator Stena Line from next week will introduce the mandatory wearing of face coverings for passengers as distinct to Irish Ferries last month's advisory to don such health related attire, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The Covid-19 related measures are intended to safeguard both the health of passengers and crew in addition to ensure maximum safety to those travelling by ferry. Both operators have also issued information on passengers, bookings, amendments and cancellation policies in these times of Covid-19. 

Stena Line has said from next Monday, 15 June, the wearing of face coverings will be mandatory whilst in ports or onboard their vessels though with exceptions.

Exceptions to this rule are children under the age of three and anyone with a breathing condition, illness or disability that prevents or hinders them from wearing a face covering.

As for those taking night sailings that arrive on the morning of Monday 15 June, face coverings will be required from departure the night before on Sunday, 14 June.

For furher information see Stena Line homepage and for answers to FAQ's which can be consulted on the operator's Coronavirus information page.

Likewise, Irish Ferries which too is constantly monitoring a rapidly evolving situation in relation to Covid-19 issued an information update of 29th April, which advised passengers must have a face mask / face covering when travelling with the Irish ferry company.

As part of Irish Ferries FAQ click here, the issue of masks according to the Irish authorities now recommend in the wearing a cloth face covering in situations where it is difficult to practice social distancing.

Additionally, it is now mandated by the French Authorities for passengers to wear a face mask when onboard ships in French waters and in Cherbourg port (with children under 11 years exempt).

As Afloat reported earlier today Irish Ferries W.B. Yeats returned to the Irish capital on completion of the first 'cruiseferry' operated Dublin-Cherbourg sailings of the summer which was to start in March but was delayed to the Covid situation. The service finally began on Tuesday with an overnight arrival to Cherbourg yesterday. 

In the meantime up to this week, the year-round operated Ireland-France route was maintained during the winter and was extended into Spring. During these months the route was covered by the 'economy' ropax ferry Epsilon.

Further important travel information from the Irish Government's Dept. of Foreign Affairs is available 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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