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Ferries and Ferry News from Ireland
Ferry Runs Aground off Doolin for Three Hours
The capsized Rolex Fastnet Race entrant Rambler 100 was not the only vessel that got into difficulties yesterday as an Aran Islands ferry became stranded off Doolin Pier, according to a report in today's Irish Times. Rose of Aran, a…
Sponsorships of Ice-Sea Giants
A two-year title sponsorship deal has been signed by Irish Sea ferry operator, Stena Line and the ice-hockey team the Belfast Giants, writes Jehan Ashmore. Next month the team are to play in a special pre-season game against the Nottingham…
New Vessel on the Horizon for Celtic Link Ferries
Celtic Link Ferries have named their new vessel Celtic Horizon, a 27,552 tonnes ro-pax ferry which is to enter the Rosslare-Cherbourg port route in October, writes Jehan Ashmore. A competition to name the vessel (see photo) drew a wide response…
Former Irish Sea Freight-Ferries Reach Mediterranean and Black Sea Ports
With less than a week in service on the Larne-Troon port route, the ro-ro freight ferry Norcape has replaced the European Mariner which is reportedly sold to Turkish ship-breakers, writes Jehan Ashmore. The Norcape (1979/14,087grt) entered service on 17 July…
Ferry With 'Tourist Office' Celebrates 100,000th Passenger
Operators of the Cork-Swansea port route, Fastnet Line celebrated their 100,000th passenger late last month, after opening the service in March 2010, writes Jehan Ashmore. While down on its initially forecasted target, it should be noted that, between January to…
Celtic Link Ferries First Ferry Goes to the Breakers
Diplomat, the original ferry that started operations for Celtic Link Ferries in 2005 has been sold to Indian ship-breakers after serving a spell on charter in the Caribbean, writes Jehan Ashmore. Since leaving the Rosslare-Cherbourg port route in late 2009,…
Stena Line to Resume ‘Express’ Service
Holidaymakers now have the added option of  fast-ferry sailings on Stena Line's Rosslare-Fishguard port route which is to resume tomorrow, writes Jehan Ashmore. The high season service is operated by the fast-ferry Stena Lynx III which is marketed as the Stena…
Family Fun Day Cruise’s from Belfast
With summertime in full-swing, Stena Line are running a 'Family Fun Day Cruise' on their Belfast-Stranraer port route on certain dates during July and August, writes Jehan Ashmore. The 'cruise' onboard the ferry Stena Navigator (for virtual tour click HERE)…
Seasonal Scenes Set for Fishguard
Fast-ferry Stena Lynx III departed Dun Laoghaire for Fishguard Harbour on a repositioning voyage today, writes Jehan Ashmore. The 80m craft built in Hobart, Tasmania is due to dock at the Pembrokeshire port this afternoon in advance of seasonal sailings…
Countdown to Name New Celtic Link 'Ferry'
Celtic Link Ferries are to introduce a new ship in October and the company are running a competition to name the vessel on the Rosslare-Cherbourg port route, writes Jehan Ashmore. The multi-million euro new vessel will offer a more extensive…
The Ferry Fortnight to "Seas the Opportunity"
This weekend sees the start of the National Ferry Fortnight (14-28 May) an initiative to heighten consumer awareness of the extensive ferry network operating to and from the UK, writes Jehan Ashmore. The ferry fortnight which is now in its…
Seasonal Services Set Sail ‘Four’ France
Seasonal sailings on Irish Ferries Rosslare-Roscoff port route start tomorrow, this brings an increase in the number of services to France from three to four, writes Jehan Ashmore. The 16-hour route is served by the 31,000 tonnes cruiseferry Oscar Wilde which…
National Ferry Fortnight: 'Seas the Opportunity'
Ferry companies operating throughout Britain and Ireland are gearing-up for the third annual National Ferry Fortnight which is to run between 14-28 May, writes Jehan Ashmore. The fortnight is to highlight the advantages of sea, rather than air travel and…
Celtic Link Ferries Look Forward to New Ferry
Celtic Link Ferries are to introduce a replacement ferry on their Rosslare-Cherbourg port route later this year, writes Jehan Ashmore.The current ship serving the route to France is a modern 26,500 tonnes ro-pax ferry Norman Voyager which entered service for…
Former US Navy Fast-Craft Re-opens Seasonal Dublin Route
A former US Navy vessel USS Joint Venture (HSV-XI) is set to return for a second season operating Douglas-Dublin Port sailings this Friday, writes Jehan Ashmore. The first sailing of the year from the Isle of Man sees the use…
Ulysses Celebrates 10 Years of Irish Sea Service
The flagship of the Irish Ferries fleet Ulysses celebrates her 10th anniversary on the Dublin-Holyhead port route, writes Jehan Ashmore. At 50,938 gross tonnes, the cruiseferry which has space for 1,875 passengers and 1,342 vehicles, remains the largest ferry operating…

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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