Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

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…
Ulysses leaving Holyhead in March 2017
#FerryNews - Ulysses has returned to service today (Thursday 26 July), having completed a sailing from Dublin Port to Holyhead this morning. The Irish Ferries flagship left Belfast Dry Dock yesterday evening (Wednesday 25 July) after a month of extended…
A pair of E-Flexer ro- ro ferries representing the 7 and 8 ships of the series have been ordered by Stena which are planned to enter the ferry company's network in 2022.
#FerryNews - An option to build a seventh and eighth of the E-Flexer ro ro class has been decided by Stena. The two vessels will be deployed within the ferry company's route network with a planned delivery in 2022. Additionally,…
Stena Europe berthed in Fishguard Harbour, south Wales
#FerryNews- Operator Stena Line continues to remain committed to the Fishguard-Rosslare ferry route, Welsh county councillors have been assured. Capt Ian Davies, Stena Line’s trade director for the Irish Sea, told councillors Kevin Doolin and Myles Pepper that the company…
This weekend’s sailing to France cancelled to accommodate Dublin-Holyhead route as Irish Ferries say repairs on Ulysses as previously reported on Afloat, are more serious than originally anticipated and it will be out of service for up to two weeks.
#FerryNews - Hundreds of holidaymakers who were forced to rearrange their travel plans after Irish Ferries cancelled all sailings of the WB Yeats to France this summer have now been told that their rescheduled crossings have also been cancelled. As…
Ulysses seen in Belfast Dry-Dock (one of two such facilities) of Harland & Wolff, where further work will involve disruption by up to a fortnight before the cruiseferry can return to service on the Dublin-Holyhead route.
#FerryNews - Technical issues for Irish Ferries Ulysses remain unresolved as they are more serious than originally anticipated, forcing the operator to cancel further sailings than expected during the peak season on the busy Dublin-Holyhead route. Ulysses since late last…
Passenger numbers don't justify routes between Ireland and the Isle of Man. Afloat adds the Irish services operated mostly by fastferry Manannan are: Belfast-Douglas and the slightly longer crossing connecting Dublin and the Manx capital.
#FerryNews - Passenger ferry numbers reports Manx Radio for Irish routes to and from the Isle of Man don't justify the cost of laying the services on. That's the conclusion of the outgoing chair of the Isle of Man Steam…
On Friday, 6th July, St. Bridget will make its inaugural visit to Bray with 100 passengers on board
On Friday 6th July at 7 pm some local maritime history will be made in Bray Harbour when the St. Bridget will make its inaugural visit to Bray with 100 passengers on board. The St. Bridget will dock at the…
A problem with a propeller shaft has forced the cancellation of sailings of Irish Ferries’ Ulysses flagship for the next week. Afloat adds the cruiseferry is this evening bound for Belfast to undergo repairs.
#FerryNews - Operator Irish Ferries has said all sailings on the Ulysses vessel which serves the Dublin to Holyhead route have been cancelled for the next week. As the The Irish Times reports, the ferry operator said the ship has been taken…

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!

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

mgm sidebutton
bjmarine sidebutton
xyachts sidebutton

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton
isora sidebutton

Featured Events

tokyo sidebutton
sovscup sidebutton
vdlr sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
viking sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating