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Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Displaying items by tag: Goods

#FERRIES–On 19th February 2008 the Stranraer Police were alerted to an unaccompanied freight trailer which had been off loaded from the Larne to Stranraer Ferry. The officers noticed that the trailer was giving off a strange odour and that it was not placarded. They confirmed with the loading terminal at Larne that the content of the trailer was declared as peat.

When the driver arrived at 8 o clock that evening he told the police that the cargo was aluminium smeltings known locally as "skulls", a by product from smelting and that it gave off dangerous gases and could go on fire if it got wet. He gave the police a copy of the manifest which confirmed that the freight was aluminium smeltings.

The shipper was Tinnelly International Transport, a road haulier who is no longer trading, but was investigated following an incident where an explosion occurred aboard an Irish Sea Ferry on 8th July 2007. During this earlier investigation it was revealed that there is no need to placard the trailer carrying this material under EU legislation while on the road, however under the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code it must be declared to the shipping company and the trailer must be placarded for transport by sea.

At the Magistrates Court in Larne on Friday 2nd December 2011, Mr McGivern, the driver of the tractor unit that delivered the trailer to the Port of Larne, pleaded guilty to failing to declare a cargo of dangerous goods known as Aluminium Skulls and was fined £3,000 with contribution to costs of £1,000.

Tinnelly International Transport were found guilty of failing to declare the cargo and failing to placard the vehicle, and was fined £10,000 and costs of £6,000.

On summing up the magistrate, Mr Alcorn said:

I am satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the charges are proved.  It is only by the grace of God that something didn't happen.  There might have been 500 lives lost.

The driver knew what he was transporting and he risked every life on the ferry.

Mr Alcorn compared the situation to that of the Princess Victoria which still resonates in Larne to this day.  None of the guilty parties have set foot in this court in the lead up to this trial, whereas all the witnesses have been brought from Northern Ireland and Scotland because of a "couldn't care less attitude".

Captain Bill Bennett, Area Operations Manager ( Northern Ireland) for the MCA stated that

"This was a serious breach of the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code with a cargo which is known to give off gases and to explode if it comes in contact with water. P&O Ferries had already banned the product for transportation on their vessels.

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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