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Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Ferries and Ferry News from Ireland
Seatruck to Launch New Freight Route
#NEW FREIGHT ROUTE – A new route between Belfast-Heysham is to be launched by Irsh Sea freight-only specialist Seatruck Ferries early next month, according to The Irish Trucker. The new service will be opened on 7 May using the sisters…
Plans for Wind-Farms Won’t Affect Manx Ferry Operator
#MANX FERRY – The IOM Today reports that the Manx Government is drawing up plans to ensure that any wind-farms built within the waters off the island would not affect ferry routes. Work on the Isle of Man Marine Plan…
Free Wi-Fi All Round With Irish Ferries
#FREE FERRY WI-FI - Free Wi-Fi is now available on all of the Irish Ferries fleet after an expansion of the facility was completed on routes serving on the Irish Sea and on services to French ports . Wi-Fi access…
Brittany Ferries 'Flagship' Sets Sail for Summer Season
#FERRY TO FRANCE – Brittany Ferries flagship Cork-Roscoff route is underway, as the first sailing in 2012 of the seasonal-only operated service started last weekend and runs to early November. Serving on the 14 hour route which is the shortest…
Bank Holiday Marks Start of Manx Sailings
#ISLE OF MAN FERRY – This Easter bank holiday weekend marks the start of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Co.'s seasonal-only Dublin-Douglas ferry service, with a sailing scheduled to depart this evening, writes Jehan Ashmore. The wave-piercing catamaran fastcraft…
Ferry For Falmouth
#FERRY NEWS – European Endeavour (2000/ 24,046grt), the largest of three ferries running for P&O's Dublin-Liverpool route departed from the capital's port this afternoon bound for A&P Groups dry-dock facility in Falmouth, writes Jehan Ashmore. The former Dover-Calais serving ferry…
Winds of Change face former Fastnet Ferry and Sistership
#FERRY NEWS - With the acquisition of Fastnet Line's Julia to C-BED as previously reported, the Dutch owned company's fleet rises to three floating hotels which are used to accommodate workers in offshore wind-farm energy installations, writes Jehan Ashmore. All…
Former Fastnet Ferry to Become Floating Hotel
#FERRY NEWS – The former Fastnet Line ferry Julia (1981 / 22,161grt) is to embark on a new life as a floating dormitory for workers building and servicing offshore wind turbines in the North Sea, according to The Examiner. The…
Seasonal Start for Three In A Row
#FERRY NEWS – By this weekend three seasonal-only operated routes from the island of Ireland will have resumed service since the recent change of the clocks marking the start of summertime, writes Jehan Ashmore. Sailings started today on Stena Line's…
Summer Debut for Final Seatruck Newbuild
#FERRY NEWS – The final of the quartet of new ro-ro freight vessels, Seatruck Precision was launched last week from the FSG Flensburg Yard, Germany, according to the Irish Trucker. The compact and energy-efficient vessel, which has a capacity of…
Foyle Ferry Returns to Service
#FERRY NEWS – After a gap of six months the Greencastle-Magilligan ferry service across Lough Foyle reopened over the St. Patrick's weekend, writes Jehan Ashmore. The return of the 10-minute cross border route, which offers an alternative to a road…
National Ferry Fortnight Launched
#FERRY FORTNIGHT – With today's St. Patrick's Day festivities, the national event also coincides with the launch of our nearest neighbour's National Ferry Fortnight (17th-30th March) campaign held in the UK, writes Jehan Ashmore. Each year around 13m people travelled…
Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead Service to Start Earlier than Planned
#FERRY NEWS- Stena Line have changed the resumption date of Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead HSS fast-craft operated sailings to 30th March,  two days earlier than originally planned and as previously reported on Afloat.ie The seasonal-only service is to operate a daily single…
Collision Captain's Case Sent to Crown Court
#FERRY NEWS - BBC News reports that the captain of the cargo ship that collided with a passenger ferry in Belfast Lough could face up to two years in prison as his case has been sent to Crown Court. Miroslaw…
Early Start for 'Ferry Fortnight'
#FERRY NEWS – St.Patrick's Day coincides with the start of the UK's annual National Ferry Fortnight (17-30 March) campaign which includes the participation of over 50 routes, including those operating on the Irish Sea, writes Jehan Ashmore. This year's event…
Captain Charged with Drink Offence After Belfast Lough Collision
#FERRY NEWS - The captain of the cargo ship Union Moon, who was arrested after his vessel collided with a passenger ferry in Belfast Lough, has been charged with 'excess alcohol by the master of a ship'. BBC News reports that…

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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