Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Ferries and Ferry News from Ireland
Stena Line celebrates today the 25th anniversary of its ferry operations of the Dublin Port-Holyhead service which has seen in excess of 12m passengers, almost 3m cars and 3.5m freight units on the route.  Earlier this year the E-Flexer newbuild Stena Estrid entered service as the first of three ‘next generation’ ferries commissioned for Irish Sea services..
Ferry operator Stena Line celebrates today the 25th anniversary of its Dublin Port-Holyhead service – a quarter of a century that has seen the company carry in excess of 12 million passengers, almost 3 million cars and 3.5 million freight…
RoPax ferry Stena Horizon has been stuck off the north Wales coast while at anchor off Moelfre on Anglesea for several days due to a Covid19 outbreak. Afloat adds Stena Horizon normally operates Rosslare-Cherbourg duties, however according to NorthWalesLive the ropax is to return to Wexford on Thursday (for more see below). Above AFLOAT's file photo of the ropax repositioning from Rosslare to Dublin Port, noting on the horizon the Kish Bank Lighthouse.
At anchor off Anglesey, Wales is a Stena Line ferry which has been at sea for days after a Covid-19 outbreak, however the ropax ship could set sail this week after crew all tested negative for a second time. Stena…
An exterior rendering of the New Zealand 'Interislander' ferries whose operator Kiwirail has chosen to flag the pair of newbuilds under the Manx flag and added to the Isle of Man Registry which is a Category One member of Red Ensign Group and International Registry. Each newbuild will be capable of 1,900 passengers,3,600 lane metres and 40 sixty-foot rail wagons. As AFLOAT reported previously among the KiwiRail fleet is Kaitaki intially chartered in from Irish Continental Group. The former Isle of Innisfree was ICG's first custom-built cruiseferry for Irish Ferries service in 1995 on the Irish Sea but replaced by larger tonnage. This led to a succesion of charter spells, before KiwiRail finally acquired the ferry in 2017 for €45m.
A pair of rail-enabled RoPax ferries for a New Zealand operator have chosen the Isle of Man Ship Registry as the flag state to oversee construction of the newbuilds that will connect the south Pacific Ocean nation's north and south…
Return of Duty Free Shopping on the Irish Sea ferry in 2021?  Operator, Stena Line said there would be 'significant savings' on alcohol and cigarettes under new prices. Above AFLOAT's photo of the Duty-Free Shop sign on board ropax Commodore Clipper operated by Condor Ferries (UK-Channel Islands) and onward connection to mainland Europe via St. Malo, France. They are the only English Channel operator offering Duty-Free shopping, where passengers over the age of 17 are entitled to use their personal allowance to buy items for personal use without paying UK tax or Duty. This is because the Channel Islands are already outside of the EU. Conder's website also state to bear in mind local legislation at the port of arrival may differ regarding permissible ages to purchase or consume alcohol or tobacco products.
Ferry operator Stena Line is "preparing for the return of duty free" - which could even revive the Holyhead booze cruise after Brexit, reports NorthWalesLive. Recent weeks and months has seen major concern over the impact of Brexit on trade…
Dublin Port remains the main Irish port for passengers, accounting for 96.6% of all journeys in the second quarter of 2020. Above at the port Afloat adds are rival operators at adjoining ferry terminals.
Ferry passenger numbers travelling through Irish ports fell by 88.3% during the height of the Covid-19 lockdown earlier this year. According to the Central Statistics Office's Statistics of Port Traffic published yesterday, 88,000 people travelled through Irish ports in the…
EU-UK border checks from January mean that transport companies and hauliers face delays at British ports on the Irish Sea (ferry above) and English Channel, potentially disrupting the fastest and cheapest transit route currently between Ireland and mainland Europe.
Companies in the shipping industry, reports The Irish Times, will respond to “unanswered demand” for more direct ferry services to mainland Europe if Brexit congests the key UK “landbridge” route, the State’s maritime development agency said. Hauliers have said the…
The MV SVENJA arrived from Hong Kong, Singapore, Durban, Belem and then Galway on Thursday morning with the new Aran ferry
A new fast ferry for the Aran islands was unloaded in an operation lasting several hours in Galway Bay on Friday. The new 40m (131ft) vessel, costing several million euro, was built in Hong Kong. It will be operated by…
Port of Cork - showing the Pont Aven ferry to France (left) and Independent Quest cargo ship (right) safely docked after passage from USA
The Minister for Transport has today announced the publication of an important report by the Irish Maritime Development’s Office (IMDO) which reassesses Ireland’s Maritime Connectivity and concludes that there is sufficient capacity on existing continental services to accommodate displaced landbridge…
While lorries entering UK from Ireland will not face checks until July of next year, the same checks will be introduced from January 1 on traffic travelling from UK into Ireland. Above AFLOAT adds un-accompanied truck-trailers towed during disembarkation at the south Wales ferry port of Pembroke in Milford Haven. Note the two-tier linkspan serving Irish Ferries 122 freight unit capacity cruiseferry Isle of Inishmore operating on the Rosslare route.
In Welsh ferry-ports where there is a lack of investment is likely to result in largescale hold-ups for vehicles crossing from Britain. Hundreds of trucks crossing from Britain to Ireland every day could face major traffic hold-ups from January 1st…
The new chair of Interferry is Christophe Mathieu, Brittany Ferries CEO. AFLOAT adds this afternoon (16.00hrs) the operator's flagship cruiseferry Pont-Aven (above off Cobh, Cork Harbour) is to make a final end of 'season' sailing of the Ireland -France route of Cork-Roscoff, however their year-round Ireland-Spain service of Rosslare-Bilbao continues.
The trade association representing the worldwide ferry industry, Interferry has announced Brittany Ferries CEO Christophe Mathieu as the new chair of its board of directors. According to LloydsLoadingList, he was elected at the association’s annual general meeting earlier this week…
TD Verona Murphy said she has been approached by drivers who have made the claims.
Ferry operators are denying claims truck drivers have to share cabins with people they do not know. Wexford TD Verona Murphy, former president of the Irish Road Haulage Association, said she has been approached by drivers who have made the claims.…
The affected crew member is from the ropax Stena Horizon AFLOAT adds is serving as a relief ferry on the Dublin-Holyhead (above off the Welsh port's breakwater).  All 'close contacts' have also been advised to self-isolate and get a Covid-19 test.
An Irish Sea ferry crew member from Stena Line is self-isolating after testing positive for coronavirus. Company bosses said the worker had no symptoms when they left the Stena Horizon on Wednesday, but later tested positive for Covid-19. The ropax…
IMDO has published its Shipping Report for period Q2 of 2020 which outlines trends within Ireland’s shipping industry and how its refleccts the wider economy. The most impacted shipping sector caused by Covid-19 has been the Ferry Sector. Above Rosslare Europort, the nearest Irish port to continental mainland Europe.
The Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) has published its iShips Index of its Quarterly Shipping Report for the period Q2 of 2020 which covers and outlines trends within Ireland’s shipping industry, and as a result, the wider economy. Below Afloat…
Afloat tracked Scottish west isles operator CalMac's largest ferry Loch Seaforth into the Irish Sea to Cammell Laird, Birkenhead on Merseyside having arrived last week to undergo annual dry-dock maintenance. Loch Seaforth (built by the same German shipyard of Irish Ferries W.B. Yeats), carried out sea trials from Scotland in 2014 when the 8,478 tonnes ferry went as far south off Wicklow Head. Above the port side of the 116m Scottish ferry.
Scottish Government-owned ferries will undergo a £29m maintenance contract which been given to Mersey-based Cammell Laird over Dales Marine, which operates in the Garvel Dry Dock in Greenock on the Clyde. The decision has sparked concern over the impact on…
Pride of Hull departed its UK namesake port city (above on Humberside) on the North Sea bound for Rotterdam when an engine room fire took place. AFLOAT's photo of the giant cruiseferry is one of the largest in Europe has a capacity for 1,360 passengers,  250 cars and 400 freight vehicles. Among facilities is a traditional Irish Pub Bar. P&O's operations on the Irish Sea comprise of the Dublin-Liverpool service and the North Channel link of Larne-Cairnryan.
P&O Ferries operator on the Irish Sea in addition to a North Sea 'landbridge' link to mainland Europe served by Pride of Hull was stranded with almost 300 passengers on board after an engine room fire. The fire took place…
Stena Embla at CMI Jinling Weihai Shipyard
Ferry company Stena Line has announced that Stena Embla, the last of its three new ferries destined for the Irish Sea, has successfully completed its sea trials in China’s Yellow Sea. Stena Embla is the latest new Stena Line next…

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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