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Displaying items by tag: Dublin Swift

Irish Ferries high-speed craft Dublin Swift finally returned to service on the Dublin-Holyhead route with holidaymakers travelling during this summer's key peak-season month, writes Jehan Ashmore.

With the easing of Covid-19 travel restrictions introduced last month, Irish Ferries this week resumed the HSC Dublin Swift service, offering customers an alternative faster option on the Irish Sea's only direct cross-channel fast-ferry service between Ireland and the UK.

Asides the conventional cruiseferry Ulysses and ropax Epsilon, each taking 3 hours 15 minutes to complete, the Dublin Swift's passage time is just 1 hours 49 minutes. This is achieved by the HSC's 35 knot capability when running between the Irish capital and the north Wales port in Anglesey.

Dublin Swift's sailing schedule sees two sailings in each direction daily and with travel restrictions in many countries currently being relaxed, Irish Ferries have introduced additional measures across their fleet to ensure that both passengers and crew can ‘Travel Safe’.

In pre-pandemic times, such fast-ferry operations on the Ireland-Wales link would of begun much earlier, with the season starting in April.

Facilities on Dublin Swift include a Club Class lounge, Brassarie, Cafe, TV lounge, Gaming Zone and Wi-fi connection is available. In addition an on board shop. Noting, that the Irish Ferries website cites that due to the impact of Covid-19, not all advertised ship facilities may be open.

The HSC Dublin Swift, likewise of its predecessor, Jonathan Swift was built by Austal-Ships, Freemantle, Australia in 2001 and can carry 900 passengers, 200 cars and 16 trucks. The twinned hull craft originally entered service for Irish Ferries in 2018 having been acquired as secondhand tonnage.

This year is the first summer season that Irish Ferries can also offer customers an inclusive UK 'land-bridge' service with the opening in June of their new service on the Dover-Calais route. The new UK-France service followed the transfer of cruiseferry Isle of Inishmore from the Rosslare-Pembroke route currently served by the chartered-in Greek flagged ferry Blue Star 1.

In addition, Irish Ferries run direct Ireland-France services on the Dublin-Cherbourg route served by cruiseferry W.B. Yeats. The largest ship of the fleet is supplemented with additional capacity at weekends by Epsilon. This Italian registered ropax was chartered to launch the Ireland-France route in 2014..

The ro-pax ship assists to cater for Brexit related freight market demand on the direct service to continental Europe.

Published in Irish Ferries

#FerryNews - Completing a maiden high-speed craft (HSC) crossing on Irish Ferries Dublin-Holyhead route this morning is Dublin Swift, replacing a smaller craft that has served for almost two decades, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The Dublin Swift docked in Holyhead this morning just after 11.00. 

The newcomer takes over from HSC Jonathan Swift which has operated since 1999 on the core Irish Sea route. The car-carrying catamaran becomes the largest fast-ferry on the Irish Sea and has entered service in the shoulder season in advance of the busy high-season months on the Ireland-Wales link. 

Dublin Swift operates at 35 knots to maintain the same frequency of sailings with twice daily return crossings likewise to the replaced Jonathan Swift. ICG sold the fastferry to Spanish operators to serve a career in the Meditteranean linking the Balearics. 

Prior to introduction, Dublin Swift underwent a refurbishment programme in Belfast following a charter overseas, so to bring the HSC up to Irish Ferries standards for 820 passengers and space for 200 vehicles. Onboard facilities are located on one deck, compared to the double deck arrangment on Jonathan Swift. 

The facilities of Dublin Swift include a dedicated TV Snug, cafeteria, self-service restaurant and games area.

Passengers have a selection of spacious seating accommodation in the standard cabin, or plush reclining seats with views to sea, in-seat recharging points and complementary refreshments in the Club Class Lounge. This area of the fastferry is positioned at the bow. Free Wi-Fi is offered throughout.

The HSC brings increased capacity on the core Irish Sea route also operated by flagship Ulysses and ropax Epsilon.  

The 8,403 gross tonnage Dublin Swift, (formerly Westpac Express) was in 2016 acquired by ICG, parent company of Irish Ferries for $13.25 million. Built in 2001 by Austal Ships Pty to their in-house 101m Auto-Express design. The yard in Fremantle, western Australia is also where Jonathan Swift was custom built for ICG. 

Dublin Swift is also the only fast ferry operating between Ireland and Britain, though the Isle of Man is served by the Steam-Packet's fastferry Manannan on seasonal routes including the Dublin link.  

 

Published in Ferry

#FerryNews - Dublin Swift, the marketing name Irish Ferries use for Jonathan Swift which has been sold to Spanish operators, has been put to use again albeit as the new name given to a replacement high-speed craft, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The sucessor HSC, Westpac Express is to take on the name Dublin Swift at Harland & Wolff's Belfast Dry Dock, having entered the facility yesterday afternoon. The HSC had been on charter to the US Military Sealift Command since Irish Ferries parent Irish Continental Group (ICG) acquired the craft in June 2016. The craft had been flagged to the US but has changed to Cyprus. 

The vehicle carrying catamaran HSC built by Austal Ships Pty, Fremantle, western Australia, to their in-house 101m Auto-Express design was redelivered to ICG at the end of November 2017.

Afloat has monitored HSC Westpac Express since arrival in Belfast Port two months ago, having made a stopover call to Holyhead. Invariably, this involved berthing trials prior to taking up service with a scheduled introduction on the Dublin-Holyhead route in April.

On arrival in Belfast, the 2001 built HSC berthed at H&W's Ship Repair Quay adjacent to Belfast Dry Dock to undergo internal refurbishment and maintenance. Work continues to convert the HSC from military requirements (included armoured vehicles) to civilian use. This will enable a refurbishment programme to bring the craft up to Irish Ferries standards.

When Dublin Swift enters service next month, the HSC will bring increased capacity on the Dublin-Holyhead route in partnership with Ulysses. The flagship which is also Cypriot flagged operates with the chartered-in ropax Epsilon which provides more freight-orientated capacity.

The charter of Epsilon will expire in November this year, though ICG has two further one-year options on the Italian flagged 'no-frills' marketed ferry which also serves at weekends on Dublin-Cherbourg round-trips.

Epsilon had previously occupied Belfast Dry Dock for refit. On completion, the ropax resumed service last month albeit with a delayed sailing, firstly on the France route. This was followed by weekday operated sailings on the Wales route.

Jonathan Swift in 1999, became the first fast-craft ferry for Irish Ferries. The custom-built HSC having made the delivery voyage via the Suez Canal from the same Austal yard but based on their 86m Auto-Express design. Due to the marketing name (painted on the hull: see story) of the craft for almost the past two decades, the fastferry has also became known as the 'Swifty'.

In more recent years, HSC Jonathan Swift, became the last fast-ferry remaining on Ireland-UK services, with exception albeit of seasonal operated sailings linking the Isle of Man. It was during the 1990's that the heyday of fast-ferries made their presence on the Irish Sea, in particular services through Belfast.

Dublin Swift's most direct rival came in the form of the High Speed Sea-Service (HSS) Stena Explorer until the Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead route closed with the final season ending in 2014.

The move by Stena Line to abandon the route led to the operator consolidating existing services on the Dublin-Holyhead route that began in 1995. Currently, sailings are by Stena Superfast X while routemate, Stena Adventurer is also in dry-dock for annual refit overhaul.  Taking on relief duties is ropax Stena Horizon.

Published in Ferry

#Super&Swift- Irish Ferries HSC (high-speed craft) Jonathan Swift is currently the only such vessel operating on the Irish Sea, since the HSS Stena Explorer was withdrawn from service last September, writes Jehan Ashmore.

As Easter approaches, the competition for market-share on the Dublin-Holyhead route rises, with Stena Line set to launch Superfast X this month on the core Irish Sea route alongside Stena Adventurer.

Rivals, Irish Ferries fast-ferry is marketed as the Dublin 'Swift' which is partnered by Ulysses. In addition during weekdays sailings are provided by ro-pax Epsilon.

Stena Line, last month officially confirmed the permanent closure of the Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead with no service by the HSS Stena Explorer in 2015.

This uniquely positions Irish Ferries Jonathan Swift as the only Irish Sea fast-ferry until P&O Ferries resume the Express fast-craft operated Larne-Troon seasonal route on 31st March.

Also joining this fast-ferry league will be the Isle of Man Steam Packet's Manannan which also reopens a seasonal service. Firstly, the Liverpool-Douglas route on 26th March.

Returning to Stena Line, Superfast X boasts 10 decks and a 1,200 passenger capacity ferry fresh from a recent major refit that took three months to complete in Poland.

Both passenger motorists and freight vehicle deck capacity will be almost 2kms long. High sided freight-trailers of up to 4.65 metres will also be accommodated.

Upon entry of Superfast X, she will directly replace the smaller Nordica which heads off for a new career on the Strait of Dover.

Published in Ferry

#CancelledSailings – Met Eireann's marine weather foreceast currently has an 'orange' status warning of a gale in effect which has caused some cancellation of ferry sailings on the Irish Sea. In addition, the weather service has issued a 'yellow' warning for small craft. 

The weather has caused cancellation of today's Irish Ferries high-speed craft Jonathan Swift operated sailings on the Dublin-Holyhead route. Passengers, however will be transferred to Ulysses conventional ferry sailings which continue to operate as normal. For latest information, click HERE.

Due to adverse weather conditions the Isle of Man Steam Packet Co.'s route between Douglas and Heysham have also led to cancelled sailings operated by the ro-pax ferry Ben-My-Chree. Todays 14.15 sailing from Douglas has been cancelled.

In addition further possible disruption may arise on the UK-Isle of Man link, on sailings later today and for tomorrow (Tuesday, 24 February), to consult latest information updates, click HERE.

Travellers are advised to check other ferry operators (listed below) for the latest sailing information updates.

Stena Line

P&O Ferries

For details of Met Eireann's coastal reports and conditions for sea crossing's forecast visit this LINK.

Published in Ferry

#DublinSwift – The are currently no fast-ferries operating at all on the Irish Sea, not due to bad weather, but for the annual refit of Jonathan Swift, the only such craft running throughout the year, on Irish Ferries Dublin-Holyhead route, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Irish Ferries which markets the fast-craft as the Dublin 'Swift' is currently undergoing maintenance at the Cammell Laird dry-dock facility, Birkenhead. Her brief absence from the route started during the week, however she to resume service on Tuesday 5 February with the 08:45 sailing from Dublin Port.

Also berthed in Birkenhead, is Irish Ferries cruiseferry Isle of Inishmore, which too is undergoing annual refit. As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the flagship Ulysses, the largest ferry on the Irish Sea, was also refitted at the same facility recently, as she returned earlier this week to the Dublin-Holyhead service.

So where are the rest of the fast-ferries?...well, there's three to be found in 'hibernation' mode. Firstly, facing opposite Birkenhead, the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company's fast-ferry Manannan is laying over for the winter in Liverpool docks, until required to operate routes to Douglas in the Spring.

Stena Line's HSS Stena Explorer is in lay-up at her berth in the inner harbour in Holyhead, where she is to remain until resuming her seasonal-only service starting on 22 March and running through the peak-season until September.

Finally the third fast-ferry, P&O's Express is berthed alongside Donegall Quay, Belfast, though this is not where she operates from, but on the seasonal Larne-Troon service.

Also to be found in Belfast is the laid-up HSS Stena Voyager, one of a trio of HSS 1500 series built in Finland. She became redundant more than a year ago following change of Scottish ferryport from Stranraer to Cairnryan, from where a pair of 'Superfast' ferries operate the North Channel route to Belfast.

Published in Ferry

#FERRY DISRUPTION – Due to adverse weather conditions at sea, 'all' of Irish Ferries fast-craft sailings on the Dublin-Holyhead route operated by the Jonathan Swift are cancelled for tomorrow (Sunday 30 December).

Passenger booked on the cancelled 'Swift' fast-craft sailings will be transferred to alternative cruiseferry sailings served by Ulysses and Isle of Inishmore.

To keep up to date with the latest sailing schedule plus pre-recorded contact service and further information click HERE or by contacting 0818300400 in Ireland / 08717300400 in the UK. In addition check-in times are also given, which vary depending on what mode of transport is been used.

For details on other ferry operators with latest sailing information visit: www.aaireland.ie/AA/AA-Roadwatch/Ferry.aspx

 

Published in Ferry

#FERRY BOOST - Irish Ferries French route cruiseferry Oscar Wilde as previously reported is to undergo its annual dry-dock maintenance next month, however, she is to operate Christmas and New Year sailings between Rosslare-Pembroke Dock, writes Jehan Ashmore.

In mid-October Afloat.ie reported that the Welsh route cruiseferry Isle of Inishmore is to transfer to Dublin-Holyhead route to boost capacity over the busy festive season.

Each of Isle of Inishmore's sailings will provide space for an additional 2,200 passengers and more than 850 cars. She will join the central corridor route's cruiseferry Ulysses and fast-ferry Jonathan Swift otherwise marketed as the Dublin Swift. For sailing schedules including separate panel for sailings served by Isle of Inishmore click this LINK.

Irish Sea rivals Stena Line are to bring back HSS fast-craft Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead sailings for 12 days over the festive and New Year period, for schedule click HERE. In addition Stena also operate year-round Dublin-Holyhead sailings using two conventional ferries marketed as Superferries.

Published in Ferry

#FERRY NEWS - With winds of up to 100mph, Scottish ferry sailings on the North Channel routes from Northern Ireland, have been affected with two cancellations on Stena's Belfast-Cairnryan services, according to Channel 4 News.

P&O had no reported cancellations on its Irish Sea routes but is advising passengers to check in normally and expect delays. In addition some Scottish domestic ferry services were cancelled on some routes operated by Caledonian MacBrayne, while other services were disrupted.

To read more about the weather disruption across the Scottish central belt remains which remains on-high alert for storms while Northern Ireland and the north of England are subject to a severe weather warning click HERE. For the latest weather visit www.metoffice.gov.uk/

Sailing updates from Stena Line's Belfast-Cairnryan service can be viewed by clicking HERE and for information on delays on Belfast-Liverpool service click HERE. For sailing updates on routes operated by P&O click this LINK.

For the rest of the Irish Sea ferry routes, including those operated by Stena Line and Irish Ferries it would be also advisable to check each route from the operator's websites.

Irish Ferries Dublin Swift fast-ferry sailings to and from Holyhead have been cancelled, though cruiseferry sailings remain operating. To keep updated visit the 24hrs sailing update posted on the homepage of www.irishferries.com and for Irish weather coverage by visiting www.met.ie

Published in Ferry
P&O Ferries seasonally-only operated fast-ferry sailings between Larne-Cairnryan and also to Troon closed yesterday, leaving only two fast-ferries running Irish Sea cross-channel routes this winter, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The fast-ferry Express (1998/5,902grt) which was first introduced on P&O Ferries North Channel routes, which will continue to be operated year-round using conventional tonnage. On the route to Cairnryan, a pair of conventional ferries maintain sailings and a freight-only ferry serves Troon.

As for the remaining winter-serving fast-ferries they are Stena Line's HSS Stena Voyager (1996/ 19,638grt) between Belfast-Stranraer, in tandem with conventional ferries. Next month this route will close as the Scottish terminal relocates to a new ferryport nearby at (Loch Ryan Port) Cairnryan.

In addition two sister-ferries, which are undergoing modifications and an upgrade for their two-year charter on the North Channel, will directly replace the two-hour passage times it takes for the HSS fast-ferry and the ferries Stena Caledonia and Stena Navigator which take 2hrs 50 minutes.

With the introduction of the new tonnage to the Belfast-Cairnryan route, sailings times will be reduced to 2hrs 15mins. Ironically the new ferries which albeit will be the largest to serve on any North Channel route will actually be some 15 minutes slower on the newer-shorter distance route compared to the HSS fast-ferry operated Belfast-Stranraer sailings.

The second fast-ferry service is operated on Irish Ferries Dublin-Holyhead route using Jonathan Swift (1999/5,989grt) which is marketed as the Dublin 'Swift'. She runs year-round in addition to the cruiseferry Ulysses.

Also operating fast-ferry craft is the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company's Manannan (1998/5,029grt) but this is on the none cross-channel route between Douglas and Liverpool.

Published in Ferry
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About Stena Line

Stena Line is one of Europe's leading ferry companies with 37 vessels and 17 routes in Northern Europe operating 25,000 sailings each year. Stena Line is an important part of the European logistics network and develops new intermodal freight solutions by combining transport by rail, road and sea. Stena Line also plays an important role for tourism in Europe with its extensive passenger operations. The company is family-owned, was founded in 1962 and is headquartered in Gothenburg. Stena Line has 4,300 employees and an annual turnover of 14 billion SEK.

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