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Ferries and Ferry News from Ireland
The 162,000 kms ‘Swifty’ Returns to Service
#DublinSwift- Jonathan Swift, Irish Ferries fastferry returned fresh to the Dublin-Holyhead service this week, following annual drydocking maintenance in Birkenhead, writes Jehan Ashmore. The central corridor route, which is a distance of 60 nautical miles (111 Kms) takes Jonathan Swift only…
Sail to the Six Nations Rugby in Dublin
#RUGBYFerry – Following the Irish rugby victory against the Welsh, Irish Ferries has space for fans wanting to watch the next RBS Six Nations match, when England encounter the team in green back on home ground in Dublin on 10…
Steep Rise Set for Aran Islands Ferry Fares
#Ferries - Ferry fares for people travelling between Inis Mór in the Aran Islands and the mainland are set to almost double from tomorrow 1 February, as RTÉ News reports. Island Ferries founder Paddy O'Brien has cited increased fuel costs…
Ferry & Cruise Exhibitors at Holiday World Show, Dublin
#HolidayWorldDublin- The annual Holiday World Show, Dublin is underway having opening yesterday in the RDS Simmonscourt Complex, Ballsbidge. As previously reported, Eoghan Corry's Expert Travel Clinics will include talks on those considering taking a cruise. The FREE travel clinic (see…
Famous Mersey Ferry to be Withdrawn Awaits Uncertain Future
#MerseyFerry- Royal Daffodil, as previously reported on Afloat.ie, is due to be withdrawn from the Mersey Ferries fleet. She is to lay-up at the Duke Street Basin in Birkenhead, from the end of the month on shore power, following dry…
P&O Invest in Major Upgrade of Scottish Ferryport
#FerryPort – Work has begun on a major upgrade of the Scottish ferryport of Cairnryan, on Loch Ryan, according to The Irish News. The renovation of part of the P&O Ferries division-owed port comes after rival Stena Line invested millions…
Ferry Fare Offers for Rugby Fans
#RugbyFerry – Special sporting offers from Stena Line are available for those heading off to the RBS Rugby Six Nations Ireland v Wales game in the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff on 2 February. For motorists, there is a lead-in fare from…
Stena Nordica Covers Rosslare-Fishguard Sailings as Route Ferry Goes for Refit
#FerryREFITS – Stena Line's charter of Finnarrow, which as previously reported on Afloat.ie, entered service on the Dublin Port-Holyhead route allowed Stena Nordica to relief the Rosslare-Fishguard ferry, and not as previously indicated go straight to annual refit. Instead Stena…
Not a 'Fast-Ferry' to Be Seen on the Irish Sea
#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,…
Ferry Circles Dublin Bay Buoy in Readiness for Refit
#FERRY REFIT – In readiness for annual refit, Stena Line's Dublin-Holyhead two-ship service, is to be relieved shortly by a chartered Finnish ro-pax ferry, Finnarrow (1996/25,996grt) which carried out 'berthing trials' in Dublin Port yesterday, writes Jehan Ashmore. When the…
Marine Notice: Liability of Carriers of Passengers by Sea in the Event of Accidents
#MarineNotice - The latest Marine Notice from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) draws attention to EU regulations pertaining to the liability of carriers of passengers by sea in the event of accidents. The new EU Regulation 392/2009…
Ferry Operator Rolls Out Green Carpet to ‘Gathering’ Tourists
#FERRY & COACH – In support of the Government's 'The Gathering' initiatives, Irish Ferries is rolling out its own 'green carpet' in pledges worth up to EUR60,000, so to attract overseas visitors from Britain to Ireland this year. Commenting on…
HSS Off-Service till Second Year of Seasonal Summer Sailings
#HSS FASTCRAFT – Now that the HSS Stena Explorer has completed her Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead sailings on the day before Little Christmas, it would seem to be part of human nature to only value something when it is lost and only…
Irish Ferries Fleet Start Dry-Docking Schedule
#FERRY NEWS- This morning Irish Ferries Dublin-Holyhead route cruiseferry Ulysses departed for Birkenhead, on the Mersey, for annual maintenance at the Cammell Laird dry-docks facility, writes Jehan Ashmore. In place of Ulysses, the Isle of Inishmore has taken up her…
Rosslare Ferries Past and Present Profiles
#FERRY FOCUS – Two Rosslare Europort ferries, past and present are profiled in the latest issue of Ships Monthly. Normandy having served a near decade long career with Irish Ferries and Celtic Horizon as previously reported on Afloat.ie which has…
Weather Conditions Cause Cancellation of Some Ferry Services
#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…

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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