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After sailing from Heysham the IOM Steam Packet's ropax Ben-My-Chree arrives at Douglas Harbour.
#FerryNews - Isle of Man Steam Packet has confirmed it will be ready for new laws designed to clean up shipping. Under new laws, writes IOMToday, fuel will have to be cleaner and more efficient under a global directive to…
The maritime transport company ICG encountered difficulties due to the delay of delivering to Irish Ferries, the new cruiseferry W.B .Yeats as seen in this computer image.
#FerryNews - Profits in Irish Continental Group (ICG) almost halved to €29.7 million in the six months ended June 30, the latest figures show. As The Irish Times reports, ICG whose ferry division Irish Ferries, saw revenue grew slightly to…
At a plaque ceremony held on board Stena Forerunner to mark the inaugural call of the ro-ro freightferry to Belfast which took place on 26 August. The 4Runner Mk II class freightferry boosts capacity on the route to Liverpool (Birkenhead). Afloat adds in the background is another North Sea freightferry transferred to the Irish Sea, Stena Scotia though which operates on the route to Heysham.
#FerryNews - Captain Marcel Schaar of the ro-ro freightferry Stena Forerunner was welcomed to Belfast Harbour this week by the port's CEO Joe O’Neill and Anna Breen, Stena Line's Freight Commercial Manager (Irish Sea North). The inaugural call of the…
Berthed in Rosslare, Stena Europe which saw a drop in vehicle traffic travelling from Ireland to Fishguard
#FerryNews - An estimated 3,000 fewer vehicles travelled from Ireland to Fishguard in south Wales in the first quarter of the year. UK Government figures seen by the County Echo reveal the number of vehicles travelling from Rosslare to Fishguard…
Captain Steve Millar and crew members of Stena Lagan when berthed in Belfast Harbour. Afloat adds in the centre background is Harland & Wolff and a tug underway from SMS Towage in addition on right a Stena ro-ro freightferry.
#FerryNews - Eight ferries operating for Stena Line on the Irish Sea have received the prestigious Jones F. Devlin Award from the Chamber of Shipping of America (CSA), acknowledging the skills and dedication of the men and women responsible for…
Insight given in Tynwald (Manx Parliament) answers including the proposed new ferry berth in Liverpool, at the Princes Half-Tide Dock
#FerryNews - Manx Radio reports that tenders are now in, to build the road that would take passengers to and from the new vessel berth in Liverpool's Princes Half Tide Dock. An Infrastructure Department is considering specifying the use of…
The Isle of Man Steam-Packet fleet berthed in Douglas Harbour including Afloat adds the chartered-in ro-ro freighter Arrow.
#FerryNews - It may be the summer recess at the Tynwald, the Isle of Man's parliament, but questions are still being asked about the Steam Packet. As IOMToday reports there are 12 separate questions surrounding the ferry company (see acquired…
The Glen Sannox, launched last year on the Clyde, will not now enter service on the Scottish Western Isles services until around July 2019
#FerryNews -  A pair of ferries being built on the Clyde, Scotland for the publicly owned operator CalMac in a £100 million deal have been hit by new delays, the Scottish Government has confirmed. As The National reports, the roll-on…
Delays to a Douglas-Liverpool crossing were caused due an ill passenger while on board a sailing yesterday morning.
#FerryNews - Isle of Man Steam Packet's fastferry Manannan has been forced to turn around midway into a sailing to Liverpool (yesterday) morning. A passenger reports Manx Radio took ill on board around half an hour into the crossing, requiring…
Honfleur's first mate Fleur Le Derff, the newbuild's naval-architect Brice Robinson and head of building Michel Bollman prepares the coin for the keel-laying ceremony at FSG Flensburger. The same German shipyard Afloat adds that constructed Irish Ferries W.B. Yeats which was due to have entered service in late June in the run-up to this year's high-season.
#FerryNews - Honfleur, Brittany Ferries newbuild cruiseferry celebrated a second milestone with a keel-laying ceremony this week. The occasion marked a leap forward in sustainable design, one that is at least as significant as the ship’s innovative liquefied natural gas (LNG)…
IOM Steam Packet's fastferry Mannanan operates the Liverpool link on Merseyside.
#FerryNews - There have been concerns raised that the new Liverpool landing stage for the Isle of Man ferry will not be ready in time. As IOMToday reports passenger watchdog TravelWatch has released a statement in which it states its ’concern’…
Stena Forerunner seen recently docked in Harwich, UK from where the 210 trailer unit ship is to depart the Essex ferryport on the North Sea coast and be deployed to Irish Sea service this month. The Chinese built ship is the third of the Stena 4 Runner MK II class and similar to half-sister Stena Carrier, which made a notable call to Dun Laoghaire Harbour earlier this summer but only for maintenance and survey related work.
#FerryNews - Responding to growing market-led demand, Stena Line is planning to upweight its freight capacity on the busy Belfast – Liverpool (Birkenhead) route this month. The operator will initially deploy the 3,000 lane metre Stena Forerunner, before replacing it…
Afloat took this photo albeit during a brief shower showing Stena Scotia just days before the freightferry returned to the Irish Sea. The 1,692 lane metres capacity Japanese built ship berthed at the North Sea port of Killingholme on the Humber Estuary where Stena Line also operate freight-only routes to Hoek van Holland and Rotterdam.
#FerryNews - A former Irish Sea freightferry has in recent days returned to familiar duties running between Northern Ireland and England, writes Jehan Ashmore. The 120 trailer-unit Stena Scotia entered service on the Belfast-Heysham route to cover a sister, Stena…
Afloat took this photo last Friday of a North Sea overnight ferry, Pride of York docked in King George Dock, Port of Hull. An incident took place on board during Sunday's return crossing from Zeebrugge, Belgium, that involved an ill-passenger taken off by helicopter.
#FerryNews - A North Sea ferry docking in Hull, England was delayed for an hour and a half after a man had to be airlifted to hospital. The Pride of York, operated by P&O ferries, reports HullLive was returning to…
Among the trade unions calling for a meeting with Irish Ferries over pay for crew of W.B. Yeats, Afloats adds is the British based RMT (National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers)
#FerryNews - Irish and British unions have called for an urgent meeting with Irish Ferries to discuss pay plans for a new 'super-ferry' due this autumn. SIPTU, RMT and Nautilus reports the Irish Examiner are seeking assurances over conditions for…
Purchased from Norway earlier this year, Dún na Séad II is expected to halve journey times between Cape Clear and the mainland
#FerryNews - A new fast ferry has just been commissioned for Cape Clear Island Ferries after completing various surveys and sea trials and a number of modifications to comply with Irish MSO standards. Dún na Séad II was purchased in…

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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