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Displaying items by tag: Marine Express

Diplomat, the original ferry that started operations for Celtic Link Ferries in 2005 has been sold to Indian ship-breakers after serving a spell on charter in the Caribbean, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Since leaving the Rosslare-Cherbourg port route in late 2009, the Diplomat has run between Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) and San Juan (Peurto Rico) for Marine Express. For more click HERE. The freight-ferry was built by Hyundai Heavy Industries in Ulsan, South Korea in 1978 and she was the final 'Searunner' class of 11 ordered by the Stena Rederi.

Launched as the Stena Tranporter, the career of the 16,000 tonnes has spanned over three decades in which the 151m vessel changed through several owners and subsequent vessel renamings.

It was when she served under the name Baltic Ferry, that her most notable career took place in 1982 during her wartime deployment as part of the
Falklands Islands Task Force. The 151m vessel was requisitioned by the British Ministry of Defence which saw the ship engaged in military operations when RAF Harrier Jump-Jet aircraft transferred store supplies from the deck of the ship as part of the war-effort in the South Atlantic Ocean.

In 2001 the vessel undertook ferry operations to Ireland as the European Diplomat on the Dublin-Liverpool route for the P&O (Irish Sea) route network. The following year she was transferred on the direct route to France until P&O pulled the plug on the continental service in December 2004, leaving Irish Ferries as the sole operator.

It was not until February 2005 that the route resumed service but this time under new owners Celtic Link Ferries. The O'Flaherty brothers, owners of a large fishing fleet in Kilmore Quay purchased the vessel and renamed her Diplomat. See PHOTO.

For the next four years she built up a steady customer loyalty between freight-hauliers drivers and car-only accompanying passengers who were accommodated in the ship which had a limited passenger certificate for 114 passengers. In addition she had a license to transport livestock.

Currently Celtic Link Ferries operate the ferry Norman Voyager but the 800-passenger / 200-car ro-pax vessel will only remain on the route until an October debut of a larger sistership the Cartour Beta.

The vessel is running this season between Italy and Sicily and with an added deck the 27,552 tonnes vessel has an increased capacity for passengers, cars and enhanced range of facilities. Recently the company had run a competition to name the new vessel which is to begin a five-year charter on the service between Wexford and Normandy.

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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