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Displaying items by tag: Irish Ferries

When it arrives here next July, Irish Ferries says it will be the largest and most luxurious cruise ferry operating on the Irish Sea. Little wonder then that it would be built in a very large shipyard indeed.

Yesterday, Afloat.ie reported on the keel laying ceremony that took place in the shipyard of Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft where it is being built with a photograph of the Irish Ferries delegation, led by managing director Andrew Sheen, that was present to witness the proud occasion.

In this view of the giant yard taken at the event, a number of those present can be seen dwarfed by the huge keel section as they examine it close up, and by the overall scale of the shipyard building itself in which the new ferry is being built. All going well, the vessel is expected to arrive into Ireland in mid-2018, July being the date mentioned.

Afloat.ie readers have been making suggestions for the new ship's name here

Published in Ferry
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A delegation of senior Irish Ferries officials today attended the keel laying ceremony for a new €144million, 55,000 tonnes cruise ferry being built on behalf of the company in Flensberg, Germany.

Due to be delivered next July, the new vessel will be the largest and most luxurious ferry ever to sail on the Irish Sea. It will enter year-round service on the Dublin – Holyhead and Ireland – France routes.

On board, it will have space for 1,885 passengers and crew, 440 cabins including luxury suites with their own private balconies, and almost 3km of car deck space. Other facilities will include a Club Class lounge with direct passenger access from the car decks, á la carte and self-service restaurants, cinema, shopping mall, choice of bars and lounges, exclusive areas for freight drivers, and dedicated facilities for pets.

In accordance with tradition on such occasions, Andrew Sheen presented the shipyard with a ceremonial coin, specially commissioned by Irish Ferries to mark the occasion, which was placed within the keel section to remain there throughout its construction in order to bring good luck and calm seas for the vessel.

Afloat.ie readers have being suggesting names for the new ferry here, 'Seamus Heaney' is a popular choice and 'Brian Ferry' gave us a chuckle

Published in Ferry
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#StormEwan - Hot on the heels of last week’s Storm Doris, there is further ferry disruption today (Sunday 26 February) as Storm Ewan brings strong gusts to the East Coast.

Irish Ferries has cancelled its 8.45am and 2.30pm sailings from Dublin to Holyhead, as well as its 11.50am and 5.15pm return trips, all on the Swift, due to the adverse weather conditions forecast for the Irish Sea.

Met Éireann has issued a Status Orange national weather warning and gale warning as south to southwest winds are expected to reach Force 8-9 with storm force gusts on coasts from Malin Head to Carnsore Point to Valentia and on the Irish Sea.

Small craft are also warned as west to southwest winds will reach Force 6 or higher from Valentia to Slyne Head to Malin Head.

The most damaging gusts of up to 120kmh are expected along southern coasts, with a wind warning issued for Wexford, Cork, Kerry and Waterford until early this afternoon.

A Status Yellow warning is in place over mean wind speeds upwards of 50kmh and gusts of up to 110km in all other coastal and some Midlands counties in Leinster.

Published in Ferry

#Old&New – Fresh from annual dry-docking is Isle of Inishmore of Irish Ferries, that recently resumed Rosslare-Pembroke duties, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The 34,000 gross tonnage cruiseferry had undergone routine maintenance work at A&P Falmouth, Cornwall. This year marks 20 years since Isle of Inishmore made a debut in 1997 for owners, Irish Continental Group. The custom built ship firstly began operations for ICG's ferry division on the Dublin-Holyhead route.

Built by Van der Giessen-de-Noord, Krimpen aan den Ijssel, Rotterdam, Isle of Inishmore carries 2,200 passengers. This makes the cruiseferry still one of the largest in terms of capacity in northern-western Europe. In fact she carries more than that of flagship Ulysses of 1,875, though the larger 50,000 gross tonnage giant carries more cars and trucks.

Last month Isle of Inishmore had relieved Ulysses on the Dublin-Holyhead route, which saw the flagship drydock instead at Cammell Laird, Birkenhead. Currently at the Merserside facility is fastferry Jonathan Swift following completion of similar work. The craft having vacated the dry-dock shifted to the nearby wet basin.

Aside shiprepairs, Cammell Laird also build vessels including the £6.2m newbuild, Strangford II which was completed last year for the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) in Northern Ireland. In recent days reports the Belfast Telegraph, the 28 vehicle ferry finally began service on Strangford Lough following teething problems with vehicle loading ramps as previously reported.

As for Isle of Inishmore’s return to the ferry scene at Rosslare Europort (see report: Irish Rail 30th) this led to relief cruiseferry Oscar Wilde head also for Cornwall. An overhaul of the eldest fleetmember at the south-west UK shipyard will be carried out prior to taking up seasonal service to Cherbourg, France that begins on 1 March.

The fifth member of Irish Ferries fleet, the chartered-in ropax, Epsilon has in recent weeks carried out freight-only runs between Dublin and Rosslare. They have taken place in between routine rosters on weekly Dublin-Holyhead sailings. In addition the Italian flagged ropax sailings on the year-round operated Irish capital-continent connection to Cherbourg.

This morning Epsilon docked at the Normandy port. At the same time French service rival, Stena Line (albeit serving out of Rosslare) saw relief ropax Stena Nordica also make an in-bound call.

Published in Ferry

#Overhauls- Ulysses flagship of Irish Ferries departed today fresh from annual overhaul having dry-docked at Cammel Laird, Birkenhead on Merseyside, writes Jehan Ashmore.

From Birkenhead the 50,000 gross tonnage Ulysses the 1,875 passenger/ 1,342 car capacity giant proceeded in the early hours along the north Wales coast to Holyhead. The repositioning passage is understood to have almost taken seven hours with an arrival at Anglesey just after 08.00hrs.

Currently occupying a dry-dock of the Merseyside facility is that of Dublin-Holyhead fleetmate, high-speed craft HSC Jonathan Swift. The 800 passenger/200 cars fastferry is also undergoing routine maintenance work. Launched in 1999 as an Austal built Auto Express 86m fastcraft ferry in Fremantle Australia, the 5,000 tonnes catamaran is the only such type of vessel operating between Ireland and the UK.

For almost two decades the ‘Dublin Swift’ as she is marketed has been the workhorse of the Irish Sea operating on the 1 hour 49 minute crossing. Each crossing is at 40knots /80kph on the 60 nautical miles / 111 Kms route which totals annually to an impressive 162,000 Kms.

There is another fastcraft, Manannan but this ferry only operates between the Isle of Man and Liverpool and seasonal calls elsewhere to include Dublin Port.

Providing sailing coverage whilst Ulysses was off service and now that of Jonathan Swift fast is that of Isle of Inishmore which in recent weeks was transferred from Rosslare-Pembroke. The cruiseferry having taken the roster of Ulysses. This is set to change as Ulysses resumes on an afternoon crossing bound to Dublin, permitting Isle of Inishmore to also receive attention of annual overhaul.

Taking her place on the Rosslare-Pembroke service since late last year so to cover demands of seasonal capacity on the busy Dublin route, is Oscar Wilde which does not sail at this time of year to France. The cruiseferry however is to resume service with a crossings from the Wexford port to Cherbourg beginning in March.

Returning to the Dublin-Holyhead route which is also operated by ropax Epsilon. As previously reported on Afloat, the chartered Italian flagged ferry made her first sailing of 2017 on the weekend round trip Dublin-Cherbourg connection.

 

Published in Ferry

#FrenchFerry - The first sailing in 2017 of Epsilon on the Ireland-France route of Dublin-Cherbourg operated by Irish Ferries took place yesterday, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Under overcast skies yet flat calm seas, Epsilon departed Dublin Bay in mid-afternoon where the only vessel at anchorage was asphalt/bitumen tanker Iver Ability. The 106m ship is at the centre of cargo ‘issues’ following an investigation of a fire due to a reaction on board during tranport of bitumen into Dublin Port last summer and has since remained at anchor.

The New Year marks as the fifth year of the chartered Italia flagged Epsilon under Irish Ferries operations but based on ‘economy’ class service on the French route. Three months into service the prefix of the ropax name, Cartour Epsilon was dropped. This was to remove the connection with previous operator, Caronte & Tourist SPA, Italy from where she served routes to Sicily.

At the time of posting Epsilon is docked in Cherbourg having completed the 17 hour 30 minute crossing from Dublin Port with an arrival this morning. As of this afternoon in the Normandy port is where rival Stena Line’s ropax, Stena Horizon departed and is bound for Rosslare tomorrow morning. Also in port is Brittany Ferries Barfleur one of several in the fleet serving on the English Channel in this context Cherbourg-Poole.

In addition the ropax 500 passenger/500 car capacity Epsilon serves during the week Dublin-Holyhead crossings and is due to dock in Dublin tomorrow morning before resuming such duties. Epsilon supports Walsh route regulars the fastcraft Jonathan Swift and flagship Ulysses currently off service, see report on Cammell Laird.

Taking the roster of Ulysses is routine Rosslare-Pembroke ferry Isle of Inishmore which in turn has been replaced on the southern corridor by Oscar Wilde. The cruiseferry during the winter does not operate out of Rosslare routes to France but is scheduled to resume service at the start of March, albeit only serving Cherbourg. The seasonal-only shorter route to Roscoff resuming in May.

Epsilon (E) is the name given to the fifth letter of the Greek alphabet which is apt given the ropax is also the firth vessel to join the current Irish Ferries fleet serving the UK and France. The flagship Ulysses resembles the appearance of a €144m cruiseferry on order to Flensburger Schiffbau (FSG) scheduled for delivery in May 2018. Emissions 'scrubber' technology is not included in the contract price.

The 50,000 gross tonnage cruiseferry will accommodate 1,885 passengers and crew. The newbuild will have 435 cabins, 2,800 lane metres of freight vehicle space with room for 165 freight vehicles and an additional dedicated car deck with capacity for 300 passenger cars.

According to Irish Continental Group (ICG), parent company of Irish Ferries, the cruiseferry will be designed to best meet the operational seasonality of their business. ICG commented that it is likely that the new cruiseferry will be introduced on routes served by Epsilon. 

The same German shipyard have recently received a letter of intent from Brittany Ferries to construct a 42,000 tonnes newbuild notably powered by liquefied natural gas LNG, a first for the Breton based operator. The 42,000 tonnes cruiseferry scheduled for delivery in May 2019 is to serve on the English Channel. The route is also from Normandy on the Caen (Oustreham)-Portsmouth link.
 
In April this year Brittany Ferries will reopen the seasonal Cork-Roscoff sailings served by flagship, Pont-Aven. Last season the cruiseferry was fitted with sulphur emission ‘scrubbers’ to meet an EU Sulphur Directive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Published in Ferry

#IrishSea - “Averse conditions in the Irish Sea” have prompted the cancellation of six Irish Ferries sailings between Dublin and Holyhead tomorrow (Friday 23 December), as The Irish Times reports.

Passengers scheduled to travel from Dublin on the 8.45am and 10.45am ferries are advised to catch the 8.05am departure instead, while afternoon travellers are asked to make their trip later on the 8.05pm or 8.55pm sailing.

Those coming from Holyhead at 11.50am, meanwhile, will be accommodated on the next sailing some two hours later, though late afternoon travellers will have to wait till the early hours of Saturday morning (24 December).

The cancellations come as Storm Barbara sweeps in from the North Atlantic across the north of Scotland, bringing with it a high risk of stormy weather conditions in the coastal counties of Connacht and Ulster.

Published in Ferry

#IrishFerries - Irish Ferries a division of owners Irish Continental Group (ICG) reported a 1.6pc rise in revenues in the year so far, and said it has a low level of exposure to sterling.

As the Independent.ie writes the company behind Irish Ferries, which operates between Ireland and Britain, said in a trading update that the impact of the plunge in sterling since the Brexit vote in June had so far been offset by lower costs.

The company said it had a low level of net sterling exposure. In the 10 months to the end of October, (ICG) consolidated revenue was €280.2m, up 1.6pc from a year ago, it said.

Net debt stood at €25.6m at the end of the period, compared to €44.3m at the end of 2015. Construction of a new cruise ferry announced on May 31 remains on schedule for delivery in May 2018, the company said.

For more detailed financial trading figures released by ICG click here 

Afloat adds that their ropax ferry MV Kaitaki (formerly Isle of Inishfree) remained on charter, operating in New Zealand, while four container ships (see EUCON trading results report) acquired in late 2015 were fully deployed in the period.

Also previously covered on Afloat, the charterer of the HSC Westpac Express exercised their option to extend the charter for a further period of up to 12 months to October 2017. The charter is subject to usual US government procurement regulations and the charterer has further options to extend the charter up to mid 2021.

The construction of a new 50,000 gross tonnage cruise ferry costing €144m announced in May this year remains on schedule for delivery in May 2018.

Published in Ferry

#NewFerry- Irish Continental Group (ICG) has entered into an agreement, with German company Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesselschaft & Co.KG (FSG) to build a cruise ferry for ICG at a contract price of €144 million.

Afloat adds that the proposed design of the newbuild strongly resembles that of current flagship Ulysses. 

The new cruise ferry will accommodate 1,885 passengers and crew, with 435 cabins and with capacity for 2,800 lane metres of freight (165 freight vehicles) plus an additional dedicated car deck with capacity for 300 passenger cars.

The Agreement between ICG and FSG provides that the cruise ferry is scheduled for delivery in May 2018. 20% of the contract price will be paid in instalments during the construction period. The balance of 80% will be paid on delivery. ICG intend to utilise a combination of existing cash resources and loan facilities to finance the cruise ferry. The pre-delivery instalment payments to FSG will be protected by means of bank guarantees.

This cruise ferry will be designed and built to the highest standards of cruise shipping, and equipped with efficiency and comfort in mind. Emissions scrubber technology (not included in the above price) and ballast water systems will meet current and known future environmental regulations and will deliver optimal fuel consumption while minimising related costs. The cruise ferry will be powered by four main engines delivering 33,600KW of power which will ensure a high degree of service reliability similar to that already achieved by the existing owned fleet of modern cruise ferries.

The cruise ferry will be designed to best meet the operational seasonality of our business. This flexibility in design includes the ability to service all of Irish Ferries existing routes, and will provide even greater route management options. The cruise ferry will also adhere to Ice Class specification which will allow for a wide geographic area of operation.

Passenger facilities will be spread over 4 decks and will offer a choice of 435 cabins to include suites with their own private external balconies, along with deluxe and standard class accommodation. In addition to a superb choice of bars, restaurants (to include both á la carte and self-service options), special provision has been made for premium Club Class passengers, with a dedicated lounge featuring private access direct from the vehicle decks. A choice of state of the art entertainment options and cinemas, dedicated facilities for freight drivers, as well as retail outlets and onboard facilities for pets, will ensure that all our passengers will be comfortable and engaged throughout their journey.

It is likely that this new cruise ferry will be introduced on routes served by the chartered ship MV Epsilon, (currently year round services Dublin - Holyhead midweek, and Ireland - France on weekends). The cruise ferry will provide additional freight and tourism capacity on both routes and will deliver a much enhanced onboard experience for all customers. In addition to increased capacity, the cruise ferry will deliver significant cost savings to the group and improved route and fleet management efficiencies.

Referring to the announcement Eamonn Rothwell, Chief Executive Officer, commented that; "This investment underpins the confidence the Group has in both the freight and passenger tourism markets between Ireland, Britain and France. The construction of a cruise ferry of this size will offer a premium experience for all our customers, in line with our commitment to deliver the best in service, in reliability and flexibility across all our routes. We also expect to be well positioned to accommodate the changing expectations of our customers, and to benefit from significant operational and financial benefits following the delivery in 2018."

Published in Ferry

Irish Ferries has linked up with An Garda Siochana, to support their forthcoming ‘Chris Crossing’ charity boat row across the Irish Sea, the aim being to raise some €50,000 for the National Neurosurgical Centre at Beaumont Hospital.

Planned in memory of Garda Chris Byrne, who passed away in March 2016 as a result of a brain tumour, the event is being undertaken by 12 Gardaí from Dublin’s Store Street station. The 12-15 hours crossing from Dublin to Holyhead will take place in late May/early June, depending on weather conditions.

Irish Ferries will provide transport and other logistics support required to guarantee the success of the undertaking.

As part of the build-up, celebrities from the worlds of sport and entertainment will participate with Gardai in staging on-street rowing demonstrations at two Dublin city centre locations on Saturday, April 30th when they will row the equivalent of 500 metres as part of a Top Gear-themed time challenge. Participants also plan to raise money through a bucket collection at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium prior to the Ireland v Holland soccer international on May 29th.

A wider appeal for subscriptions asks members of the public to text Beaumont to 50300 to make a €4 donation, or online at www.beaumontfundraising.ie

 

Published in Coastal Rowing
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Page 5 of 17

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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