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The Irish Sea shipyard of Cammell Laird, Birkenhead on Merseyside built Red Funnel's new freight ferry, Red Kestrel seen off Southampton today. The 12 HGV capacity vessel completed an inaugural sailing on Solent waters this morning to East Cowes, the Isle of Wight.  Also above is one of three 'Raptor' class ropax ferries berthed at the Hampshire port.
As Afloat featured last month the naming ceremony of UK Isle of Wight operator's Red Funnel’s new freight ferry, Red Kestrel which officially entered service today following successful sea trials in the Solent. Red Kestrel which was built by Cammell…
Sailings on Brittany Ferries have been cancelled this weekend on routes linking France and Spain. AFLOAT adds this is not the first time the flagship Pont-Aven has been off-service this month as Armorique deputised on the French route twice on 4th May (as above off Cobh) and 19th May while Pont-Aven was (and currently) remains dry-docked in Brittany for repairs at Damen Shiprepair, Brest. Armorique had transferred from English Channel duties linking Portsmouth and Caen (Ouistreham) in Normandy and where on 6 June the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings in WW2 will be commemorated.
Several scheduled sailings the Irish Examiner reports between Cork and mainland Europe have been cancelled by Brittany Ferries. All planned sailings to and from Roscoff, France have been cancelled until May 31. The routes affected are Roscoff to Cork tomorrow,…
WB Yeats berthed in Alexandra Basin earlier this year before its switch to the Dublin-Cherbourg route
Exporters have generally welcomed next week’s changes to ferry timetables that, between Irish Ferries and Stena Line, will see a sailing from Ireland to Cherbourg every day of the week on alternating weeks, as AgriLand reports. The change from next Monday 27…
Fast ferry Dublin Swift which operates a seasonal only service on the Dublin-Holyhead route is accompanied by conventional tonnage that sail year-round.
Irish Continental Group (ICG) which own Irish Ferries have through their shareholders unanimously backed under-fire chairman John B. McGuckian and supported the group's executive pay policy. Earlier this week, shareholder advisory firm Glass Lewis, writes The Irish Examiner, called for…
Over 90% of shareholders approve remuneration levels of the ferries operator which in recent months introduced newbuild cruiseferry W.B. Yeats. Above AFLOAT adds is ICG's managing director Eamonn Rothwell and master of ceremonies Glenda Gilson at a reception held on board to welcome the new cruiseferry in Dublin Port.
The Irish Continental Group (ICG) has said it is totally prepared to meet the challenges posed by Brexit, whatever way those challenges emerge. At the group’s annual general meeting, John McGuckian, ICG chairman, said, “we’re confident that whatever happens, we…
Holyhead was adopting a “suck-it-and-see approach” to dealing with post-Brexit life, the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly heard.
#ferries - The Port of Holyhead has shown “no sense of emergency” about Brexit, while Dublin Port bemoaned the huge expense preparing for a no-deal exit that might not happen, the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly heard. As The Irish Times writes…
The former operator of the Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead route, Stena Line whose fastcraft HSS Stena Explorer above in Dun Laoghaire Harbour AFLOAT adds carried out a final crossing in 2014. The following year the operator confirmed it would not return to operations on the historic Ireland-Wales link dating to 1835.
#dublinbay - Potential developers numbering seven in total have registered their interest in the disused ferry terminal in Dun Laoghaire Harbour. The building at St Michael's Pier, reports Herald.ie, has been empty since 2014, and Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown Council invited applications…
Among the numerous Sustainability measures is 'Partnerships' as Stena Line signed the UK Chamber of Shipping pledge “Women in Maritime” and introduced a long-term partnership with EuroPride
#ferries - Artificial Intelligence (AI) assisted vessels to save fuel, battery power propulsion, huge reduction of single use plastic on board, continued low level of crew and passenger accidents and an increased rate of female leaders. These are some of…
Bus & Boat: The new joint ferry service involves Bus Eireann in a partnership with Doolin Ferry Company. Afloat adds the Co. Clare based operator's Doolin Express (introduced in 2017) is seen berthed alongside the quay.
#ferries - A new service has been launched by Bus Éireann in partnership with Doolin Ferry Company for people to explore the Wild Atlantic Way, reports GalwayDaily. The new Route 350 which operates from Galway offers a combined bus and…
File photo of Frazer Aisling Gabrielle which launched the first ever car ferry route on Carlingford Lough almost two years ago in July, 2017.  The service linking counties Louth and Down this year experienced a busy period over the Easter bank holiday weekend.
#ferries - More than 6,000 passengers travelled aboard the Carlingford Lough Ferry over the Easter bank holiday weekend. To accommodate demand for the service, Independent.ie reports, that the ferry company had two vessels in operation on Easter Sunday and Easter…
DFDS ro-ro freight ferry Gardenia Seaways AFLOAT adds berthed at the Port of Felixstowe, Suffolk in the UK when operating to Vlaardingen, the Netherlands. The 32,000grt ship during its career has also operated from other North Sea ports to mainland Europe.
#ferries - In the UK the Department for Transport is cancelling contracts to provide extra ferry services after Brexit. As BBC News reports, ending the contracts with Brittany Ferries and DFDS could cost the taxpayer more than £50m. (See related Eurotunnel…
Ben-My-Chree is seen moving away (astern) from a dry-dock at Cammell Laird, Birkenhead on Merseyside yesterday following completion of routine annual overhaul.
#ferries - The ferry Ben-My-Chree operated by the Isle of Man Steam Packet has been confirmed by the company of its return to Manx waters yesterday. Manx Radio reports the ferry's arrival (in Douglas) follows what the operator called  "successful…
MV Glen Sannox should have been in service last year, Afloat adds on the Scottish south-west coast route of Ardrossan-Brodick, Isle of Aran on the Firth of Clyde.
#ferries - A pair of long-awaited lifeline ferries to serve Scotland's island communities have been delayed indefinitely and it could add millions of pounds to the cost of the £97m project, a senior minister has revealed. One of the ferries,…
Rosslare Europort is served by three ferries which operate on routes to the UK (south Wales) and France (Normandy) but no longer served is Brittany. AFLOAT also adds (on the left) Irish Ferries cruiseferry Isle of Inishmore which operates to Pembroke and Stena Line's ropax Stena Horizon which calls to Cherbourg. The remaining ferry that uses the Co. Wexford harbour is Stena Europe (currently in dry-dock, see Ferry News: 17th April ) which has been temporarily replaced by Stena Nordica on the route to Fishguard.
#ferries - At the end of last year Irish Continental Group (ICG) announced its decision not to run its Irish Ferries services this summer to France from Rosslare, Co Wexford, the move was met with both surprise and shock in…
Rival operators DFDS and P&O Ferries berthed at the Port of Dover
#ferries- Operator P&O Ferries is suing the UK government over its £33m settlement with Eurotunnel, in the latest controversy over the Department for Transport’s (DfT) fraught no-deal Brexit preparations. As writes The Guardian, the department was forced into the £33m…
Underway is fast craft Manannan of the Isle of Man Steam Packet which operates sailings on seasonal services linking Liverpool, Dublin and Belfast.
#ferries - Manx minister for Enterprise wants to see fewer sailings operating at low capacity. According to Manx Radio, the 2018 Isle of Man Passenger Survey results show the number of people travelling by sea dropped by 6% last year.…

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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