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Ferries and Ferry News from Ireland
Ireland-Spain: a historic first as ropax Connemara operated by Brittany Ferries makes a maiden arrival to Santander Bay this afternoon off the northern Spanish coastal region of Cantabria. The 'direct' continental route opens up new tourism potential and improved trade access opportunities.  Up to 2014, there had been an Ireland-Spain service (albeit via France) operated by LD Lines.
#FerryNews - Connemara, Brittany Ferries chartered ropax completed a maiden Cork-Santander crossing this afternoon, marking the historic first arrival of an Ireland-Spain ferry service, writes Jehan Ashmore. Under glorious blue skies, Connemara arrived into Santander Bay and docked at the…
Total revenues in Irish Ferries dipped by 2.4% to €52.3m in the four months to the end of April. Above: Image of the delayed German built 55,000grt cruiseferry W.B. Yeats.
#FerryNews - Irish Ferries parent company, Irish Continental Group (ICG) said its revenues rose by 1.4% to €96.4m in the first four months of the year. A trading statement from the company reported an increase in its consumer and freight…
Freight vehicle check-in booths at the Port of Holyhead: A solution for a 'seamless border' that is acceptable to Brexiteers remains elusive
#FerryNews - At the centre of the Conservative Party is an ongoing spat over post-Brexit customs arrangements that shows a solution remains out of reach. As the Daily Post writes, Theresa May’s preferred new “customs partnership” model was instantly shot…
EUROPE DAY: Close up of the bow of Brittany Ferries chartered ropax Connemara which today (lunchhour) departed on the new first ever 'direct' Ireland-Spain ferry route service: Cork-Santander, the city famous for its cuisine is located in the northern region of Cantabria. The 500 passenger/195 vehicle ropax is the first ferry to link Ireland with two mainland continental countries, France and Spain. In recent years there had been an Ireland-Spain service (albeit via France) operated by LD Lines.
#FerryNews - Europe Day aptly coincided with Brittany Ferries albeit delayed start of the first ever direct Ireland-Spain ferry service when Connemara departed Cork at lunchhour today bound for Santander, writes Jehan Ashmore. Almost berthed adjacently to Ringaskiddy Ferry Terminal…
Swedish operator, Stena Line outlines its yearly overview: 'A Sustainable Journey'
#FerryNews - Swedish based operator, Stena Line which operates services across northern Europe continues to deliver on its ambitious sustainability strategy. This involves 15% lower sulphur emissions, reduced plastic on board and a decreased number of accidents among the seagoing…
The Manx Government is to acquire the Isle of Man Steam Packet (otherwise known as the Steam-Packet) whose pair of ferries (one fast-ferry) are seen above docked in Douglas Harbour. BBC News adds that in 2017, the government rejected the Steam Packet company's offer which included investing £65m in "two state-of-the-art vessels"
#FerryNews - In an announcement today, the Manx Government has plans to acquire the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company (IoMSPC) for £124m. If approved by Tynwald later this month, BBC News writes the deal would see the government commit…
Connemara (note in revised all-white livery) makes a first call to Cork Harbour yesterday morning having arrived without passengers nor freight from Santander, Spain. Today, the chartered ropax made a debut for Brittany Ferries, albeit on the French route from Cork but instead of calling to Roscoff, the ferry diverted to Brest and berthed this afternoon.
#FerryNews - Brittany Ferries new chartered Connemara has completed a maiden voyage overnight from Cork however instead of arriving in Roscoff, the ropax ferry diverted to Brest from where the ship this afternoon has just berthed, writes Jehan Ashmore. The…
A close up view of Douglas Harbour's ferry terminal and visible (on the left), one of two ro-ro ramp linkspans and associated covered passenger walkways.
#FerryNews - IOM Today reports of a newly-formed lobby group that says it has ’serious concerns’ about the ’strategic vulnerablility’ of Douglas port. Isle of Man Maritime Ltd, a not-for-profit company which has replaced the Isle of Man Shipping Association,…
Baltic Sea cruiseferry Viking Grace with newly installed 'rotor' sail, the first passenger ship to have this sail-assisted feature in the world. Afloat adds at time of writing the 57,565grt cruiseferry is on the final (eastbound) leg of the routine Stockholm (Sweden)- Åland Islands-Turku (Finland) service. The cruiseship was built in the west Finnish port.
#FerryNews - Scandinavian operator, Viking Line based in Finland, has announced that its LNG fuelled cruiseferry M / S Viking Grace has become the first passenger ship in the world to utilize wind power through mechanical rotor driving. The rotor sail…
Ulysses, Irish Ferries 50,938grt cruiseferry on the Dublin-Holyhead route where sailings are cancelled on those operated by the largest ro-ro ferry on the Irish Sea. In this file photo the Finnish-built Ulysses is seen berthed at Dublin Ferryport Terminal 1.
#FerryNews - Ulysses, Irish Ferries cruiseferry on the Dublin-Holyhead route has sailings cancelled today (2 May) and up to Friday (4 May).  According to the operator's website this is due to technical reasons. All of the cruiseferry's operated sailings in…
Connemara was originally to launch a new Ireland-Spain route (today) with an inbound sailing from Santander, however work on the ropax at Astander's yard, Santander (above) is underway to prepare the ferry fully. Instead a revised date of the inaugural outward crossing (from Cork) will be next Sunday, 6th May. The ferry will have an all-white livery and not the 'économie' branding blue wave scheme as depicted in the image posted on Afloat when the new service was announced in January.
#FerryNews - The new Cork-Santander route, the first ever direct ferry service connecting Ireland and Spain, originally scheduled to start today, has been delayed to next weekend, writes Jehan Ashmore. Afloat had noted the change of sailings and confirmed with…
A scene no more: High-speed craft (HSC) Jonathan Swift increases speed near the Dublin Bay Buoy on a routine crossing to Holyhead. Today the HSC departed the capital on a delivery voyage to new Spanish owners, Balearia who are to launch the craft on routes in the Mediterranean.
#FerryNews - Irish Ferries former first fastferry, Jonathan Swift departed Dublin Port today under new name Cecilia Payne for Spain, a day after a larger replacement craft Dublin Swift took over Dublin-Holyhead sailings, writes Jehan Ashmore. In January Irish Continental…
New to the Irish Sea, Dublin Swift a high-speed craft ferry completed its maiden voyage this morning from Dublin to Holyhead.
#FerryNews - Completing a maiden high-speed craft (HSC) crossing on Irish Ferries Dublin-Holyhead route this morning is Dublin Swift, replacing a smaller craft that has served for almost two decades, writes Jehan Ashmore. The Dublin Swift docked in Holyhead this…
Afloat adds the new ferry is of the Stena E-Flexer series a new design built in China. One of these newbuilds will be chartered from Stena RoRo to DFDS service on the premier shortsea Dover-Calais route in 2021. As previously reported on Afloat, Stena E-Flexers are to be introduced on the Irish Sea to serve Stena Line based out of Belfast.
#FerryNews - A new ferry for DFDS's Dover-Calais route will be able to carry 3,100 lane metres of cargo and 1,000 passengers. It will be built in China and deployed on the Channel in 2021. According to DFDS, the Channel…
Arriving: Stena Carrier swings off North Wall Extension, Dublin Port (to a river-berth) two days before the freight-only vessel ended a charter to P&O Ferries on their Liverpool service. The quay which also forms part of Alexandra Basin is to be shortened to enable a larger turning-circle (for considerably bigger ships) to dock as part of the major redevelopment works that is Phase One of the Dublin Port Masterplan.
#FerryNews - Stena RoRo's charter of a vessel to P&O Ferries Dublin-Liverpool route ended at the weekend following the return of European Endeavour fresh from annual refit, writes Jehan Ashmore. The charter of Stena Carrier to rivals, P&O was expected…
Fire broke out in the engine room of DFDS Finlandia Seaways, which has led to the closure of the Scotland-mainland Europe (ro-ro freight) service: Rosyth-Zeebrugge. Afloat adds the Belgium port is where operator, CldN's newly christened ro-ro Celine (the 'Brexit-Buster') arrived last Sunday following a voyage from Dublin Port.
#FerryNews -A North Sea ferry operator, DFDS has axed its freight service between Rosyth, Scotland and Zeebrugge in Belgium following a fire on one of its ships. The vessel reports BBC News, is out of action following the blaze 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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