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Displaying items by tag: Flagship

#NavalService - The Irish Naval Service flagship LÉ Eithne has recently been accredited as the first in the fleet to achieve "paperless navigation” writes Jehan Ashmore

The 1984 custom-built P30 class Helicopter Patrol Vessel (HPV), Afloat adds notably the last Irish built vessel for the Naval Service and of any ship in the Republic, now has Warship Electronic Chart Display and Information System (WECDIS).

The milestone took place this day last week, where the electronic systems according to the INS will greatly enhance navigation safety, situation awareness & tactical planning capabilities.

L.É Eithne is in the same company of the ageing P40's Coastal Patrol Vessel (CPV) pair, L.É. Orla and L.É. Ciara which also date to 1984, though they were originally commissioned for the UK Royal Navy. 

The remaining patrol vessels of the fleet are all Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV), beginning with the elder pair of P50 Róisín class L.É. Róisín and L.É Niamh, the latter completed in 2000. The reference to '80' refers to the length overall (LOA) of each of the sisters built by Appledore Shipbuilders, north Devon.

They are to recieve mid-life extension survey refits involving a Scottish marine consultancy firm.

A further trio, known as enhanced Róisín class followed suit, again from the same UK shipbuilder site but under management of Babcock Marine. They are the P60 OPV90's L.É. Samuel Beckett, James Joyce and William Butler Yeats.

The latest newbuild, again a OPV90 class, L.É. George Bernard Shaw was completed this year, though it would appear that the 2,250 tonnes vessel is the final to be built at the yard, following announcement of closure.

L.É. George Bernard Shaw is currently not part of the 8-strong fleet. As reported earlier this year, the €67m OPV newbuild is according to the IDF to be formally named and officially commissioned into the Naval Service this year.

Plans are afoot to replace LÉ Eithne with a new Multi Role Vessel MRV (a first for the INS), following the Budget, where total Defence spending across the three branch forces (air corps, army and navy) is to increase to €946m next year.

Published in Navy

#FinnishFlagship - Finnish Navy flagship FNS Hämeenmaa will be visiting Dublin Port as part of celebrations to mark the centenary year of the Nordic nation’s independence, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The visit of the minelayer flagship to the capital this week (24th-27th May) is to follow the Finnish Navy´s annual training exercises held in the Baltic Sea, North Sea and the Atlantic.

There will be a unique opportunity to visit the Finnish Naval ship as an ‘open ship’ event is organised for this Wednesday, May 24th between 17.00 and 18.30. The flagship will be docked at Sir John Rogerson's Quay.

The Finnish Navy has bases in Turku, Kirkkonummi, Raseborg and the capital, Helsinki with a combined crew of around 1400. The theme of the Finnish Defence Forces' Finland 100 Jubilee Year is National defence is everybody's business.

FNS Hämeenmaa is the leadship of her namesake class of a pair of 77m minelayers, the sister is FNS Uusimaa. The flagship which has a crew of 60 was built in 1992 by Finnyards, Rauma in south-west Finland. Only last year the 1,300 displacement minelayer was modernised. The yard is currently under ownership of STX Finland Cruise Oy.

Both minelayers during the mid 2000's underwent a major upgrade at Aker Finnyards (now part of STX) that had yards in Rauma, Turku and Helsinki. The Aker group was contracted by ICG parent company of Irish Ferries, to build the cruiseferry Ulysses. The Irish Ferries flagship entered the Welsh service to Holyhead in 2001.

Published in Naval Visits
Seasonal sailings on Irish Ferries Rosslare-Roscoff port route start tomorrow, this brings an increase in the number of services to France from three to four, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The 16-hour route is served by the 31,000 tonnes cruiseferry Oscar Wilde which can take 1,500 passengers and nearly 600 vehicles. Irish Ferries also sail from Rosslare to Cherbourg on the year-round route which takes around 17.5 hours. The company have a May Break offer based on 2 adults and a car, for one-way from €99.

Also operating on the same route to Normandy are Celtic Link Ferries which run the modern sleek Italian built 800 passenger /200 vehicle ro-pax ferry Norman Voyager. Short wine breaks are from €200 return for a car, driver and a two-berth outside cabin. Additional passengers can travel for €10 each way and subject to sailing schedules passengers can stay in Cherbourg for up to five hours.

A third operator to France is Brittany Ferries which sails on the Cork-Roscoff route and which is served by their 'flagship' Pont-Aven. The €100m ferry has a swimming pool and this is unique to any route operating out of Ireland. The company are offering one-way fares from €70 per person based on a car with four adults in an inside cabin.

Sailings depart Saturday's from Cork and arrive in the Breton port 14 hours later, making the route the shortest and fastest of the four continental services.

Published in Ferry
Brittany Ferries seasonal service between Cork (Ringaskiddy) and Roscoff starts this Saturday, writes Jehan Ashmore.
As usual the £100m 'flagship' Pont-Aven re-opens the 11-hour route with the first inbound sailing from the Breton port arriving at Ringaskiddy ferry terminal at 10.00hrs.

The German built 41,700grt vessel stays at the port for an 8 -hour turn-around before making the seasons inaugural outbound sailing to France at 16.00hrs.

Pont-Aven can arguably claim to be the most luxurious 'cruiseferry' operating to Ireland as the vessel has a small number of luxury cabins  incorporating balconies and uniquely to feature a swimming pool.

The swimming pool and leisure area can be covered over by a retractable roof. The option of the 'open-air' swimming pool may prove more popular with her 2,400 passengers as the cruiseferry also operates on a triangular route roster between Roscoff-Plymouth and Plymouth-Santander

Pont-Aven also operates a second Spanish route, Santander-Portsmouth in tandem with Cap Finistère. The 32,728grt cruiseferry last week opened a new route for Brittany Ferries also from Portsmouth to Bilbao, for details click here.

The Bibao route had closed in September when P&O Ferries withdrew from the service which since 1993 has been run by Pride of Bilbao. The 37,583grt was on charter from the Irish Continental Group (ICG) the parent company of Irish Ferries until its sale late last year to a Baltic Sea ferry operator between Helsinki-(Tallinn)-St.Petersburg, for more information click here.

Published in Ferry

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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