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Displaying items by tag: St.Georges Channel

Holidaymakers now have the added option of  fast-ferry sailings on Stena Line's Rosslare-Fishguard port route which is to resume tomorrow, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The high season service is operated by the fast-ferry Stena Lynx III which is marketed as the Stena 'Express' . The summertime service runs between 1 July - 4 September and the fast-ferry is scheduled to take 120 minutes for the crossing.
Stena Lynx III has a capacity for over 600 passengers and 120-cars, to see a virtual tour of the wave-piercing catamaran craft click HERE. Measuring 81m long the 4,113 gross tonnes craft was built in 1996 by fast-ferry specialists InCat in Hobart, Tasmania. In recent years she maintained sailings between Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead when the HSS Stena Explorer was temporily taken off service.

In addition to the 'Express' service the St. Georges Channel route is served by the year-round operated conventional ferry, Stena Europe (1981/24,828 grt). The 1,386 passenger / 564-vehicle ferry recently underwent a £2m refurbishment and takes a more leisurely passage time of 3 hours 30 minutes.

For information on both fast-ferry and conventional ferry sailing schedules click HERE.

Published in Ferry

Fast-ferry Stena Lynx III departed Dun Laoghaire for Fishguard Harbour on a repositioning voyage today, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The 80m craft built in Hobart, Tasmania is due to dock at the Pembrokeshire port this afternoon in advance of seasonal sailings on Stena Line's Fishguard-Rosslare.The Stena 'Express' fast-ferry service is to resume in just over a fortnight's time. Sailings are scheduled to a daily single round trip between 1 July-4 September.

The 627 passenger / 120 car capacity fast-ferry will operate in tandem with the year-round operated conventional ferry-service served by the Stena Europe. Passage times are 120 minutes for the fast-ferry service while the Stena Europe takes 3 hours 30 minutes to sail across the St. Georges Channel.

In the same week that the fast-ferry takes up summer sailings from Fishguard, the small French flagged cruiseship Le Diament is to make the first of three calls in July and once in August.

The motoryacht-like vessel which can accommodate 226 passengers is the first cruise caller of the season and is run by the only French-owned cruise operator Compagnie De Iles Du Ponant.

Published in Ferry
4th April 2011

Stena's Southern Sailings

Sailings on Stena Line's Rosslare-Fishguard port route remain for freight-users only until the passenger ferry returns from essential maintenance this week, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The passenger ferry Stena Europe is currently in dry-dock at the A&P Group's Falmouth facility and is scheduled to resume normal service with the first sailing at 14.30hrs from Fishguard on Thursday 7th April. The corresponding first outbound sailing from Rosslare is on the same day with the 21.15hrs sailing.

In the meantime freight-only ferry Stena Seafarer is operating the St. Georges Channel route having arrived at Rosslare on a repositioning voyage from Belfast on 29th March.

Stena Seafarer (1975 / 10,957grt) was one of a trio of freight-ferry sisters that served the Larne-Fleetwood port route until its closure in December. Like her sisters Stena Leader (1975 / 12,879grt) and Stena Pioneer (1975 / 14,426grt) they were built at the West German shipyard of J.J. Sietas in Hamburg.

Stena Seafarer's sisters remain laid-up in Belfast and with each vessel over 35 years in service it would seem likely there are nearing the end of their careers, at least on the Irish Sea.  

To provide additional passenger capacity the Stena 'Express' fast-ferry service will return to the southern corridor route between 1 July-4 September. The high-season sailings as usual will be operated by the InCat built Stena Lynx III which is to operate a daily single round trip in tandem with Stena Europe.

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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