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Displaying items by tag: Bételgeuse

Two vessels from the French Navy based in the Breton naval port of Brest, are to make a four-day visit to Dublin Port during the course of St. Patrick's Day festivities. The minehunter CMT Cassiopée (M642) and mine-route survey craft Altaïr (M771) are to arrive tomorrow morning, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The French vessels are to moor alongside Sir John Rogersons Quay, noting they will not be open to the public. Despite that, the naval ships will be accessible to view at close quarters along the city-centre quayside and the addition of easy road access from the north quays using the nearby Samuel Beckett swing-bridge.

CMT Cassiopée is a 'Tripartite' class minehunter built for the navies of France, Belgium and The Netherlands. The class were conceived in the 1970's and built during the following decade. The French built the mine-hunting equipment, the Belgians provided the electronics and the Dutch constructed the propulsion unit.

Displacing 615 tonnes, Cassiopée (see photo) was built by the Direction des Constructions Navales (DCN) shipyard in Lorient and entered service in 1984. The 51.5m minehunter has a crew of 49. Over the years several of the Tripartite class were sold to the navies of Bulgaria, Indonesia, Latvia and Pakistan.

In January 2009 the Cassiopée was joined by the L.E. Emer (P21) in Bantry Bay to commemmorate the 30th anniversary of the Whiddy Island Oil Refinery disaster and the sinking of the French supertanker the Bételgeuse.

Like the Cassiopée the minehunter BRS Altaïr (M771) was also built in 1984 but at the Chantier (Socarenam) shipyard at Boulogne-sur-Mer. At 28m long the craft (photo) is one of the three Antar class which has a 250 tonnes displacement and a crew of 23.

The French Naval call to the capital was to coincide with a visiting task force group from the German Navy. The task force of two frigates and a support ship were due to visit at the weekend but this was cancelled due to humanitarian relief operations off Libya. To read more about this and the task force vessels click here.

Published in Ports & Shipping

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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