The ferry giant Stena Line says a no-deal Brexit remains the "worst possible scenario" and a lack of clarity has made it "almost impossible" to plan for.
The company writes NorthWalesLive, warned no-deal brought the "high potential for significant delays and congestions" at Holyhead - the UK's second busiest passenger port.
This comes a day after Michael Gove (visited Holyhead), the minister in charge of Government preparation for no-deal, said ports are "geared up" for Brexit and should avoid any significant delays and congestion.
The UK is currently on course to leave without a deal on October 31 unless a compromise deal can be reached or Parliament intervenes to prevent no-deal.
More on the story can be read here
The port authority in Holyhead, Stena Line says free port status for the town could bring "immediate opportunities" but also had a message for UK Government.
The ferry giant according to NorthWalesLive, was commenting after Boris Johnson's Government unveiled plans for 10 free ports across the UK after Brexit.
They allow firms to import goods and then re-export them outside of normal tax and customs rules.
While Stena said free port status could bring benefits, their message to the UK Government was that reaching a deal with the EU remains the "best possible solution".
Ian Hampton, Stena Line Brexit spokesperson, said: "Holyhead is the second largest roro port in the UK and the largest port facility owned by the Stena Line Group, so naturally the Company is currently seeking further clarification from the UK Government on all the proposals that are being issued to help ensure the prosperity of the UK in a post-Brexit era.
For further reading on this development click here.
Following another successful volunteer program in 2018, two more employees from a ferry company are preparing for a three-month adventure, joining the Mercy Ships hospital ship ‘Africa Mercy’.
In addition to fundraising and raising awareness for the humanitarian NGO, Stena Line also aims to contribute the unique technical and naval competence held by its employees to the work of Mercy Ships.
In the next few days two Stena Line Able Seamen, Martina Thowsen and Alexander Gustafsson, will commence their journey in the Las Palmas ship yard where the hospital ship Africa Mercy is scheduled for maintenance before continuing the journey down to the coast of Senegal. Exactly what their specific tasks will be depends on the ship’s needs at the time, but they both up for the challenge.
“I feel very prepared for what is yet to come and want to thank my colleagues at Stena Line who have shared with me their very valuable experience and knowledge”, says Alexander Gustafsson, Able Seaman at Stena Nautica, operating on the Varberg - Grenaa route.
There are more than 200 different roles required to run the Africa Mercy ship and even though medical care is the substantive part of the operation, other professions are much needed including carpenters, mechanics, security officers and chefs to mention just a few. Onboard there will be around 50 different nationalities sharing their knowledge and onboard experiences as part of the team.
“I am looking forward to meeting people from other cultures and countries, but most of all I am looking forward to contributing to this great cause. Even though I’m not working with the medical care team, on Africa Mercy I will still be helping to improve people’s lives”, says Martina Thowsen, Able Seaman on Stena Scandinavica, which operates the Gothenburg - Kiel route.
The volunteer program is part of Stena Line’s sustainability strategy, which combines three dimensions of sustainability; economic, ecological and social. The program was launched in 2017 and employees from all eight of the shipping company’s regions are encouraged to apply. In accordance with Mercy Ship´s values, all volunteers work for free. Stena Line guarantees leave of absence and provides overhead expenses and all necessary vaccinations.
At the 2019 Travel Media Awards, travel writers, bloggers and influencers from all over Ireland have voted Stena Line Best Ferry Company for the seventh year in succession.
More than 200 guests gathered at the Travel Media Awards event which was held in the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin. They are the only awards that call on members of the media to vote for their favourite travel companies.
Now in their ninth year, the awards comprise of 26 categories which are voted for by a wide cross section of media in Ireland, independently audited and managed by Technological University Dublin (TUD).
Diane Poole OBE, Stena Line’s Travel Commercial Manager, Irish Sea South, was thrilled to pick up the award on behalf of Ireland’s market leading ferry company.
“This award is very special to us as it is voted for by travel media across Ireland, who play such an important role in communicating what the travel industry has to offer Irish holidaymakers,” said Diane.
“To know that media have travelled with us, sampled our service and hold us in such high regard is very pleasing and this award is a fantastic independent endorsement of the Stena Line product, the quality of our service and our facilities on-board.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of the journalists, bloggers and influencers who voted for us – and also pay tribute to our amazing employees who go the extra mile every day to make sure that our customers have the best possible travel experience.
“At Stena Line, we never stand still and are always looking at ways to improve our service for travel and freight customers – which is reflected by continued investment in our routes and fleet. In this respect, we’re all looking forward to welcoming three new E-Flexer ships on our Irish Sea routes over the next couple of years, starting with the Stena Estrid which is on schedule to enter service on our Dublin to Holyhead route in early 2020,” concluded Diane.
The three new E-Flexer vessels, currently under construction in China, represent a significant multi-million pound investment by Stena Line in the Irish Sea region.
The Stena Estrid will be first to arrive on the Dublin to Holyhead route early next year, followed by the Stena Edda on the Belfast to Liverpool route in spring 2020. The third ship will also be introduced on the Belfast to Liverpool route in 2021.
All three vessels will be larger than today’s standard RoPax vessels at 215 meters long with a freight capacity of 3,100 lane meters and the space to carry 120 cars and 1,000 passengers.
The company is the largest ferry operator on the Irish Sea, with routes as mentioned above between Ireland and Britain and also Belfast to Heysham, Belfast to Cairnryan and Rosslare to Fishguard.
In addition they are the only operator to offer a direct service from Rosslare to Cherbourg with three return crossings a week on the Ireland-France route.
#DublinPort - A major operator in Dublin Port, Stena Line has set a new company record for freight on its service to Holyhead, carrying a total of over 250,000 units in 2018.
The milestone was achieved today, when Patrick van der Vijver from Hannon Transport completed the 08.10 hrs crossing from Dublin to Holyhead.
Patrick had the honour of transporting the freight unit on the Stena Adventurer. To celebrate the record-breaking achievement on the Irish Sea, he was presented with a bottle of champagne and free car + 2 crossing on the route by Stena Line’s Onboard Services Receptionist Rob Owen and Onboard Services Manager Sharon Kelly as pictured above.
Ian Davies, Stena Line Trade Director (Irish Sea South) said: “Achieving over a quarter of a million freight units on our Dublin-Holyhead service is a major business achievement for our region. Dublin – Holyhead is a crucial trading link between Ireland and Britain as evidenced by this record volume of freight traffic in 2018. Stena Line has worked hard over the last number of years to develop this service".
"We have striven to improve service levels, reliability and punctuality, working with our valued freight customers to optimise our respective businesses. We are also investing in the future with the Dublin – Holyhead route being chosen by Stena Line as the first European route to take delivery of the first of its new generation ferries, current under construction, in early 2020. Crucially, the new vessel will offer over 3 000 lane meters of freight capacity, a 50% increase on the vessel it will take over from.”
The company is the largest ferry operator on the Irish Sea, running services between Ireland and the UK in addition to Ireland and France, that together total 238 weekly sailings.
#FerryNews - A Scandinavian ferry operating between Sweden and Denmark, the Stena Jutlandica has now completed its first month of operation as a battery hybrid vessel and the positive experiences from the first weeks of service have exceeded expectations.
“It's really exciting to be running with electrical power on the Stena Jutlandica. This project is an important part of our focused efforts to find ways of reducing our impact on the environment. As both the size and cost of batteries decrease, battery operation is becoming a very attractive alternative to traditional fuel for shipping as it should be possible to completely eliminate emissions in the future,” says Erik Lewenhaupt, Head of Sustainability at Stena Line.
The battery project is being carried out in steps. Step One, which is presently underway, is about switching to electrical operation to reduce the use of diesel generators, as well as for maneuvering and powering the bow thrusters when the ship is in port.
In Step Two, battery power will be connected to two of the four primary machines, which means that the Stena Jutlandica will be able to run on electrical power for about 10 nautical miles inside the archipelago out to Vinga Lighthouse (Gothenburg, Sweden).
During Step Three, all four primary machines will be connected to the batteries and the ship will be able to cover the 50 nautical miles between Sweden and Denmark solely on electrical power. A number of positive effects have already been noted after just one month.
“We've been able to significantly reduce our use of the diesel generators and now only need to use one instead of three. Another positive effect concerns safety. Having constant access to electricity, we minimize the risk for power outages”, says Johan Stranne, Senior Chief Engineer on the Stena Jutlandica.
In Step One alone, the environmental savings from using battery power for reduced generator usage and maneuvering in port amounts to approximately 500 tons of fuel saved and 1,500 tons of reduced CO2. This corresponds to the annual emissions from approximately 600 cars.
The rationale for execution in multiple steps is to enable testing and assessment while the project is underway. If the project is successful, battery power can be considered for other vessels within the Stena Line fleet. Work on Step Two has begun and the goal is for implementation within approximately three years.
The technical solutions in Step One have been developed by Stena Teknik in collaboration with the Callenberg Technology Group, with half of the funding for the project coming from the Swedish Transport Administration and the EU.
#FerryNews - Scandinavian based ferry giant Stena Line is conducting a pilot study in which artificicial intelligence is implemented on board. The use of AI is an important part of the Swedish operators efforts to reduce fuel consumption and environmental impact.
In close cooperation with Hitachi technology company, an AI model is developed to use on board. The model will anticipate the most fuel efficient way of operating a particular vessel on a particular route, and will be a support for captains and pilots.
If the model is successful, it will contribute significantly to achieving the annual goal of reducing fuel consumption on board by 2.5 percent.
"The model goes through a large number of scenarios before proposing the most optimal route and best fuel optimization settings during the trip. Thanks to AI we now have the opportunity to take into account a large number of factors, such as currents, weather conditions, water depth and speed through water in more combinations than previously possible to do manually, says Lars Carlsson, Head of AI on Stena Line .
The model is under development and it would not have been possible to move on in the project without a dedicated captain and crew. Therefore, the pilot study is conducted on board Stena Scandinavica (Afloat adds an enlarged sister of Stena Adventurer on the Irish Sea). The study is been supervisised by Senior Master Jan Sjöström, who has worked with fuel optimization on Stena Line for the past 40 years.
"As the model is still developing, at the moment, it is perhaps more we who assist AI than the other way around, but it's an incredibly fun and rewarding process. We have made adjustments after each trip for about four weeks and it's great to see how fast it learns and constantly improve, "says Jan Sjöström, Senior Master of Stena Scandinavica.
The goal is to create such a model that it can provide an ultimate decision base for the captain and officers on board when planning a trip. For example, if AI could provide accurate predictions about current conditions, which is one of the more complex factors today, it would help even the most experienced captain or mate.
In addition, the model can also contribute to knowledge and knowledge transfer to the next generation.
"Planning a cruise and steering a ship in a safe and fuel efficient way is a craft. Exercise gives skill, but if a new captain or mate is assisted by AI, the person can quickly learn to fuel optimize. This, in turn, contributes to a more sustainable journey, "says Jan Sjöström.
Stena Line has an overall goal that all operations will be assisted by AI in 2021. The pilot study at Stena Scandinavica, which operates the Gothenburg-Kiel route, is the first of several tests with AI assistance aboard in 2018. The project will be evaluated by the end of the year . Thereafter, it is decided how the operator will proceed with the implementation of AI Assistance on its 38 vessels.
"We are proud to work with Stena Line to develop and implement AI technology that will create value for both the company and the environment. By working together, thus combining business expertise with data and AI, Hitachi and Stena Line have managed to show how digitization can be used to optimize existing conditions and thus create better results, "says Ram Ramachander, Chief Digital Officer at Hitachi Europe Ltd .
The ferry operator is already assisted by AI in several areas, such as administration, finance, service and customer experience.
Hannon Coach launched its Glasgow Express in February and following a successful six months is now planning to offer the service to customers in Derry, Enniskillen, Coleraine, Ballymena, Cookstown, Strabane and Newcastle.
The current Belfast to Glasgow service operates twice daily in both directions.
Hannon Coach director, Aodh Hannon said the planned growth in the service is a direct response to increasing demand.
To read more including comments from the director on the new additional services, click here.
#FerryNews - Eight ferries operating for Stena Line on the Irish Sea have received the prestigious Jones F. Devlin Award from the Chamber of Shipping of America (CSA), acknowledging the skills and dedication of the men and women responsible for safe vessel operations.
According to the CSA, the Jones F. Devlin Awards publicly recognise ‘outstanding achievement’, exemplifying ‘devotion to duty and to the principles of maritime safety, which is worthy of the highest commendation.”
This year, eight Stena Line ferries on the Irish Sea, along with a ninth ship operating on the Gdynia to Karlskrona route have been recognised for operating between two and five consecutive years without a lost-time accident.
The awarded ferries are:
· Stena Adventurer on the Dublin to Holyhead route
· Stena Horizon on the Rosslare to Cherbourg route
· Stena Superfast VIII on the Belfast to Cairnryan route
· Stena Mersey, Stena Lagan and freightferry Stena Precision on the Belfast to Liverpool route. Afloat adds the Irish Sea route is also to be joined by Stena Forerunner which too was given the award. The '4Runner class freightferry is currently on the English Channel as it makes a repositioning voyage to Belfast from Rotterdam.
· Stena Baltica on the Gdynia to Karlskrona route
Bjarne Koitrand, Technical Operations Director at Stena Line said: “Safety for our passengers and employees always comes first at Stena Line, and forms a very important part of the Stena Line Group’s strategy for a sustainable future. This achievement reaffirms the positive trend we have seen in the Lost-Time-Injury-Frequency during the last years.”
Stena Line Trade Director (Irish Sea South) Ian Davies also commented on his pride at a ‘remarkable’ achievement.
“For a ship to operate for three consecutive years without a single lost time accident is a fantastic achievement – for eight of our Irish Sea fleet to pick up this award is truly remarkable,” said Mr Davies. “We really couldn’t be more proud of all our colleagues on the Irish Sea.”
#FerryNews - A former Irish Sea freightferry has in recent days returned to familiar duties running between Northern Ireland and England, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The 120 trailer-unit Stena Scotia entered service on the Belfast-Heysham route to cover a sister, Stena Hibernia which went off service for dry-docking at Harland & Wolff.
Up until 2013, Stena Scotia had operated the Irish Sea route.The 13,017grt vessel had sailed last week from Killingholme on the Humber Estuary, from where Stena Line operate a freight-only service to Hoek van Holland.
Prior to the Irish Sea transfer, Stena Scotia's role on the North Sea was to permit the Dutch route's routine vessel Stena Transit to undergo dry-docking. Otherwise, Stena Scotia also operates from the same Humber port but to Rotterdam.
Earlier in the summer Afloat reported on a pair of larger Belfast-Heysham chartered-in vessels each with a 151 trailer capacity. They are the Stena Precision and Stena Performance which are to be returned to owners Seatruck for operations on the Warrenpoint-Heysham route.