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Displaying items by tag: Finnlines

#Cobelfret – Finnlines have acquired ro-ro freighter Dorset from Cobelfret, which spent a brief spell late last year (see report/photo) on their Irish operations, Dublin- Zeebrugge and also to Rotterdam, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The sale to Finnlines earlier this year sees the 2,606 lane-metre vessel renamed Finnmerchant of 23,235 tonnes serve a new Baltic Sea route between Hanko,Finland and Rostock, Germany.

In addition the move to Scandinavia comes only a year later to when a Cobelfret subsidiary, C-Bulk Shipping purchased the 2003 built vessel launched as Longstone along with sister, Beachy Head.

It was in the previous spring of 2013 that the pair become surplus to the UK's Ministry of Defence (MoD) requirements as part of a Private Finance Initiative contract involving all six 'Point' class sisters.

The sale in 2014 of Longstone to Cobelfret and renaming as Dorset followed a career with Foreland Shipping. That operator was previously Andrew Weir Shipping (AWSR Ltd) who originally ordered the vessel as part of quartet of Point class sisters from FGS yard in Flensberg, Germany.

The remaining Point-class pair where built by Harland & Wolff which completed Hartland Point first. Her sister, Anvil Point made history as she became the last ever ship to be completed at the famous yard when she was launched into Belfast Lough in 2003.

Another Irish connection with the Scandinavian operator came in the form of Celtic Ferries, whose ro-ro freighter, Finnforest, was chartered to serve in the Baltic.

Finnforest was originally built for Stena as one of the 'Searunner' class in which a sister, Diplomat became Celtic Link Ferries first ship running Rosslare-Cherbourg sailings. 

Celtic Link Ferries final Ireland-France sailing came to an end more than a year ago (March 31, 2014).

From thereon, the operations of CLF were officially acquired by Stena Line and this included the chartered Celtic Horizon on the 17 hour crossing.

The ro-pax was given a revised renaming, Stena Horizon and marked the operators first ever Ireland-mainland European route.  

Published in Ports & Shipping

#FinnishFerry –Following an inspection of Finnarrow due to a 'stabiliser incident' in Holyhead at the weekend, the chartered Finnish ferry requires further attention. The 25,996 tonnes vessel, having departed Anglesey today with a tug bound for Scotland, writes Jehan Ashmore.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Stena Line yesterday reactivated the fastcraft HSS Stena Explorer, with an earlier than planned opening of the Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead, a seasonal-only operated service which otherwise would not resume until late March.

In the meantime Stena Explorer is providing back-up operations for passengers, in the absence of Finnarrow sailings on the Dublin Port-Holyhead route. A second route ferry, Stena Adventurer, is as usual maintaining sailings on the Dublin Port-Holyhead route.

Passengers due to travel with Stena Line should note the 'latest' information on sailing times. In addition passengers should take particular note of certain sailings for 'foot' passengers and  'vehicle-only' sailings. For information visit: www.stenaline.ie/ferry/latest-sailing-information/

The 'Adventurer's fleetmate Stena Nordica firstly headed for the St. Georges Channel route, having been replaced on the Dublin route by the chartered Finnarrow in late January.

Stena Nordica is currently running Belfast-Cairnryan sailings, while the 'Superfast' sisters each take turns for annual maintenance at Harland & Wolff, Belfast.

Published in Ferry

#FERRY REFIT – In readiness for annual refit, Stena Line's Dublin-Holyhead two-ship service, is to be relieved shortly by a chartered Finnish ro-pax ferry, Finnarrow (1996/25,996grt) which carried out 'berthing trials' in Dublin Port yesterday, writes Jehan Ashmore.

When the Stena Nordica (2000/24,206grt)  is away in dry-dock, Finnarrow will take her roster in tandem with the route's second ro-pax Stena Advanturer. The relief ferry is owned by Finnlines and she has a 274 passenger capacity, space for 800 cars and can handle 154-freight trailer units.

In order for Finnarrow to perform berthing procedures at the single linkspan used exclusively by Stena Line at Dublin Ferryport (Terminal 2), the Stena Nordica departed the port into the rough sea of Dublin Bay. During this time she circled the Dublin Bay Buoy and throughout the bay, before returning to the berth just vacated by Finnarrow, so to resume her scheduled afternoon sailing to Holyhead.

Finnarrow had earlier this week set sail from the German Baltic Sea port of Travemünde and arrived at the Welsh port on Wednesday lunchtime, where she also undertook berthing trails.

Ironically both Stena Nordica and Finnarrow served together on Stena Line's Karlskrona-Gdyania route several years ago, where the latter vessel was also chartered out on their Harwich-Hook van Holland route.

The Finnarrow, which unusually for a Scandinavian operator, was built in Indonesia, when ordered for original owners Rederi AB Gotland. Under her current role, she is part of the Finnlines (Grimaldi Group) of operations running 14 ro-pax vessels between six countries and eleven ports throughout the Baltic and North Sea.

 

Published in Ferry
Celtic Link Ferries ro-ro freight-ferry Finnforest (1978/15,525grt) is currently on a six month charter to Italian shipping operator, SNAV on the Naples-Palermo, Sicily route, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The Finnforest has since 1999 served several Scandinavian routes. In 2008 Celtic Link Ferries purchased the Finnforest and continued chartering arrangements with Finnlines on the Helsinki-Gdynia route in the Baltic Sea. The charter ceased earlier this year with the vessel returning to Dublin for dry-docking in July. The Finnforest then proceeded into lay-up in Waterford. On the 30 September the Finnforest departed Waterford's city-centre quays bound for the Mediterranean Sea.

Also joining Finnforest on the Naples-Palermo route are the passenger cruise ferries SNAV Snav Lazio and Snav Sardegna which were transferred in early October from another route of SNAV (Societa Navigazione Alta Velocita) extensive ferry network of services from Italy to Corsica, Sardinia, Croatia and Sicily.

The cruise ferries vessels had previously served on P&O Ferries English Channnel route as sisters Pride of Portsmouth and Pride of Le Havre. Launched for Olau Line, the German built twins replace the SNAV Campania and SNAV Sicilia, former North Sea Ferries (later P&O Ferries) sisters Norland and Norstar. The sisters were withdrawn from the Naples-Palermo service and are reported to have sailed for Jeddah. It is uncertain if the 1973 built pair will see further service in the Red Sea or are heading further east.

The Finnforest was built in South Korea as one of the successful 'Searunner' class of vessels ordered by Stena Rederi during the 1970's. Finnforest's half-sister Diplomat (1978/16,776grt) is on charter too by the Wexford based company. The Diplomat had operated Celtic Link Ferries Rosslare-Cherbourg route until late 2009 before also going to lay-up at Waterford. In April, the Diplomat was chartered to Marine Express to operate in the Caribbean on routes between Peurto Rico and the Dominican Republican.

In 2008 Louis Dreyfus Armateurs ferry subsidiary LD Lines chartered the new 26,500 grt ro-pax Norman Voyager from Liverpool based Meridian Marine Management for the Portsmouth-Le Havre route. In addition a Le Havre-Rosslare round-trip was scheduled at the weekends. LD Lines then switched the French port to neighbouring Cherbourg. The service to Ireland was short-lived with the French company abandoning the route. Subsequently the Norman Voyager was was sub-chartered by LD Lines to Celtic Link Ferries. The 800 passenger / 200 vehicle /120 truck ro-pax currently operates three sailings per week in each direction.
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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