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Displaying items by tag: Stena Line

Ferry firm Stena has posted major losses for the first six months of the year after the pandemic devastated travel.

Coronavirus has seen passenger numbers slashed and freight reduced on Stena Line's key routes - including those from Holyhead, Liverpool and Heysham to ports in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Now Stena AB Group has posted figures from the first six months of the year.

The Stena Line ferry operation had losses of –1,014 Swedish Krona (SEK) (Around -£87m) over the period - the bulk of these losses in the first three months of the year.

For further breakdown Business Live has more of the operator's results.

Published in Ferry

In the North Channel a ferry carrying hundreds of passengers narrowly avoided smashing into a British nuclear-powered submarine killing many and sparking a maritime disaster.

A ferry officer, reports BelfastLive, spotted the nuke sub's periscope at the last minute and took action to avoid the collision in the Irish Sea two years ago, an investigation has discovered.

The near-disaster happened in 2018 but the results of a two year probe into what could have been the worst sea disaster to hit the UK in many years was released only last night.

The ferry usually operates between Northern Ireland and Scotland, carrying up to 1300 passengers and 660 cars between Belfast and Cairnyan.

The submarine was on patrol having recently left its base at Faslane, in Scotland.

The crew of the partially submerged Royal Navy nuclear submarine had underestimated the speed of the Stena Superfast V11 vessel.

They had thought they were 1,000 yards from the oncoming ferry and in trying to avoid it, turned towards it. The investigation discovered they were only 250 yards from it.

For further reading into the incident click here.

Published in Ferry

Six ferries of Stena Line's Irish Sea fleet will dry-dock at Harland and Wolff’s famous Belfast shipyard this summer for a range of repairs and upgrades.

Currently the Stena Europe (see related relief ferry), which operates on the Rosslare-Fishguard service, is dry-docked in Belfast with the final works project due to be completed on the Stena Superfast VIII (Belfast-Cairnryan service) at the end of September. This is part of the significant docking programme by the Irish Sea’s largest ferry operator.

2020 marks more than 40 years of Stena ships in Belfast’s iconic Harland and Wolff (H&W) shipyard. In April 1980 the firm’s predecessor (Sealink BR) took delivery of the Belfast-built MV Galloway Princess (later Stena Galloway) which operated on the Northern Ireland routes for many years.

Stena Line continues to select the H&W shipyard for docking works on their Irish Sea ferry fleet, with orders totalling £2.5m.

Paul Grant, Stena Line’s Trade Director said: “Despite the dramatic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on our business, regular ship upgrades and maintenance works are a very important element in our ship management operation. They help us to maintain our excellent reliability record and keep our Irish Sea fleet to the forefront of the ferry sector.”

He added: “Whilst Stena Line has already committed a significant investment to the Irish Sea by introducing two new ships – Stena Estrid (Dublin-Holyhead, Jan 2020) and Stena Edda (Belfast-Liverpool, March 2020) with a third ship to follow for our Belfast-Liverpool service in early 2021, it’s also important that we continue to improve, develop and invest in our existing fleet of vessels, which is exactly what this contract will do.”

John Petticrew, Managing Director of Harland & Wolff said: “Since InfraStrata acquired the Harland & Wolff shipyard, we have built a strong working relationship with Stena Line, demonstrated through the repeat business we have seen with four ships in the yard since our acquisition.”

Belfast-based Paul Grant is head of the company’s Irish Sea operations. His long career at Stena Line includes a short spell working on the mentioned MV Galloway Princess. “We’re delighted that we are continuing our relationship supporting our local shipyard Harland and Wolff and the other local companies involved.  Stena Line continues to support Northern Ireland and have operated throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, ensuring that essential supply lines reach their destinations and enabling the flows of freight and travel customers” he said.

The ferry operator is the largest serving on the Irish Sea, with the biggest fleet offering the widest choice of routes including, combined passenger and freight serviceS: Belfast-Cairnryan, Belfast-Birkenhead (Liverpool), Dublin-Holyhead and Rosslare-Fishguard.

As well as a freight only route, Belfast-Heysham. A total of up to 238 weekly sailing options between Ireland and Britain. Stena Line also offers a direct service linking Rosslare and Cherbourg with three return crossings a week.

Published in Ferry

Ferry operator Stena Line has announced that it will be reducing freight capacity on its Belfast - Liverpool (Birkenhead) service due to a decline in freight demand as a consequence of the Coronavirus crisis.

As a result the freight only vessel Stena Forecaster will be removed from service resulting in a reduction of 10 trips per week.

Paul Grant, Stena Line’s Irish Sea Trade Director said: “Since the start of the Coronavirus crisis we have been closely monitoring the market and adapting our capacities to meet the prevailing demand.”

On March 9th, Stena Line launched its largest ship ever on the Belfast – Liverpool route, the brand-new Stena Edda. The newbuild replaced the smaller Stena Lagan and at the time increased capacity for both freight and travel customers.

In early 2021, Stena Line will replace Stena Mersey with a further new ship, Stena Embla. These two new RoPax ferries will increase freight capacity by almost 30% and will double passenger capacity compared with the vessels they replace.

Paul Grant added: “From 2021, a combination of the two largest ships ever to sail between Belfast and Liverpool, Stena Edda and Stena Embla will help us to grow our freight and travel business. Stena Edda and Stena Embla will raise onboard facilities to a whole new level, with 175 cabins including six suites plus enhanced freight facilities and faster loading and disembarkation processes. Despite all of the current difficulties Stena Line remains confident about the future and are well placed to respond to customer and market demands.”

Published in Ferry

Ferry operator Stena Line which employs dozens of temporary jobs are set to lost at Holyhead Port, reports NorthWalesLive. 

The Swedish owned ferry company announced last month it planned to furlough 600 employees with 150 redundancies across the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

It has emerged 40 will be temporary posts at Holyhead Port, which are set to be axed at the end of the month.

Ynys Mon MS Rhun ap Iorwerth has expressed concerns about the job losses, but a company boss said they were having to make tough decisions.

“This shows the inherent vulnerability of people on temporary or zero hours contracts," said Mr Iorwerth.

For more including a response from Ian Davies, Trade Director, Irish Sea South, Stena Line and his reference to the impact of Ireland currently imposing a 14 self-isolation policy for anyone entering the country, click here

Published in Ferry

Ferry operator Stena is reducing its Belfast Harbour services as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The firm, which normally operates seven ships on 138 sailings a week from Belfast, has temporarily berthed one ship (Afloat tracked to ro-ro freighter Stena Forecaster) and cut sailings to 108 a week.

Earlier this week, the firm said it would furlough staff and make redundancies across its UK and Ireland operations.

Stena sails from Belfast to Heysham, Liverpool and Cairnryan.

It is understood freight volumes have fallen since the crisis began but that non-freight traffic has collapsed.

More on this BBC News story here including what is happening to the ferry sector serving the Republic when yesterday Afloat reported the Irish government approved an “emergency provision” of a maximum of up to €15m (£13.2m).

This is the cost of maintaining five passenger ferry services in response to Covid-19.

Published in Ferry

Ferry firm Stena Line, based in Sweden, will furlough 600 employees and make 150 redundant across the UK and Ireland, it said (yesterday), as a result of the impact of the new coronavirus on the volume of traffic on its routes.

"This urgent measure is an unavoidable response to the on-going global COVID-19 crisis, that has had a hugely damaging effect on travel and transport across Europe," the privately held company said in a statement.

The company said it was experiencing a huge decline in travel bookings and freight volumes and that passenger figures were not expected recover until well into 2021.

"As a result of the significant reduction in revenue, the firm is forced to take tough decisions in order to cut costs and ensure that their vital supply lines of essential goods to the UK and Ireland are protected," it said.

Those who have been furloughed will keep 80% of their salaries, with the company making up the difference in circumstances where the Irish and UK Government schemes don't cover the full amount.

Both shore-based and sea-based employees will be impacted by the furlough decision and redundancies and consultation with unions has begun. The company has already laid off 950 staff in Scandinavia.

For more RTE News reports here.

Published in Ferry

Ferry operator Stena Line in response to the impact of the Coronavirus as it tightens its grip on everyday life across Europe, has moved to reassure freight and travel customers.

The operator is taking every precaution possible to help ensure the safety of customers and employees, whilst maintaining the supply lines for vital medical goods and food supplies.

In the last few weeks Stena Line’s European business has been impacted significantly by COVID-19, but despite crippling trading circumstances, the biggest ferry company in Europe remains resolute in its determination to keep services going in strict adherence to Government guidelines on travel, as well as the very latest medical advice on helping to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

Stena Line is asking customers to adhere to Government travel guidelines and the firm has put a host of measures in place to keep its customers and employees safe when travelling on its vessels. To assist passengers who need to reschedule their trips, Stena Line has also committed to waiving amendment fees for all travel bookings, until 30th April 2020.

All of Stena Line’s ferries are continuing to run on schedule, however, some services have restricted passenger numbers in order ensure strict social distancing guidelines are adhered to.

Stephen Bryden, Group Head of Onboard Sales & Services said: “We really are in uncharted waters right now so we are having to dig deep and use all of our experience and take the advice of the Governments where we operate, and their medical experts, to help us navigate our way through this crisis to. Keeping our customers and colleagues safe while keeping our important services operational is our main priority at the moment.”

“We are acutely aware of the responsibility we have to help maintain vital supply lines between the UK and Ireland, as well as Continental Europe. Our services and work colleagues will be put under immense strain in the weeks and months ahead. We appreciate people will still need to travel for essential reasons and we will be there to support them.”

“Now, more than ever, Freight supply lines are vital to help keep the supermarkets stocked and ensure critical medicines and medical equipment are delivered. We will do everything within our means to keep these important logistics routes open and functioning.”

Recently Stena Line has introduced a large number of additional measures on top of its existing high health and safety standards in a bid to help safeguard its passengers and crew during the COVID-19 crisis including the following:

· Staged embarkation and disembarkation, with all arriving passengers asked to clean hands

· Hand sanitisers available for customers and staff use throughout

· ‘High contact’ surfaces sanitised on a regular basis

· Freight drivers have their own cabin

· Social and Counter Distancing measures in line with governmental recommendations

· Electrostatic Fog Machine for deep cleaning of specific areas (Irish Sea routes)

· Cashless payments are requested in all payment points

· Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits for and staff

· Use of contactless thermometers to help should someone show any symptoms

· All newspapers & magazines removed to reduce the risk of cross contamination

· Isolation cabins have been allocated and set aside should they be needed

· Daily staff briefings for crew and strict guidelines to adhere to

· Detailed Evacuation Plan (ship and shore) for affected customers/crew

Stena Line will continue to operate its Ireland and UK sailing schedules as normal, however, given the now daily changes in prevailing circumstances and Government advice, sailing schedules are naturally under constant review.

For the very latest information, Stena Line customers are advised to contact:  01 907 5555 (Ireland) and 03447 707 070 (UK)

For information on the Coronavirus click HERE. 

Published in Ferry

On the Irish Sea ferry company Stena Line has told staff they won't be paid their normal sick pay during the Covid-19 pandemic, a union has said.

The Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMT) said the ferry giant has removed its normal sick pay rules - which entitles workers to full pay when they are off - leaving them only entitled to the statutory minimum of £94.25 per week.

The RMT attacked the move and one worker said it risked staff going to work even if they are feeling ill - potentially increasing the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

The move impacts staff at ports like Holyhead and Liverpool in the UK, Dublin in Ireland and crew on vessels.

North Wales Live reported that a source close to the company said the move was needed to protect the firm's future during the coronavirus crisis.

For more on this ferry development from WalesOnLine click here

The longest serving Dublin-Holyhead ferry operated by Stena Line departed the Irish capital this morning bound for Falmouth in the UK to undergo annual dry-docking, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Stena Adventurer built in South Korea was launched onto the Irish Sea central corridor route in 2003, is to dry-dock at A&P Falmouth, Cornwall and where a refit of some passenger facilities is also to take place. This is to update passenger facilities among them a 'Hygge' Lounge, a feature on board the new Stena Estrid, the operator's first E-Flexer ropax class built in China which last month entered service. 

Taking over the sailing roster of Stena Adventurer is the Stena Estrid. As for newbuild's own roster this in turn is to be covered by Stena Superfast X, which transpires has made a return to its former Irish Sea route to maintain a two-ship service. This follows a stint on the Rosslare-Cherbourg route as Afloat previously reported. 

Prior to the Superfast X return to the Ireland-Wales route, a repositioning passage saw the German built ferry depart the Wexford port and arrive at Anglesey yesterday. On Monday, the Ireland-France route's routine ropax ferry Stena Horizon returned from A&P Falmouth having completed a planned dry-docking.

Afloat yesterday evening tracked Stena Adventurer enter Dublin Port following a non commercial sailing from Holyhead, as the ferry did not berth at the ferryport Terminal 2 but instead headed upriver to Ocean Pier, Alexandra Basin East.  

According to an Afloat source, Stena Adventurer berthed in the Basin for a Marine Survey Office (MSO) audit. At the same time this allowed relief ferry Stena Superfast X to berth at the nearby ferryport's No. 51 berth, before the 'Adventurer' departed for dry-docking. 

The Stena Adventurer remained in Alexandra Basin overnight before departing this morning. The 210m long ferry is expected to arrive at Falmouth tomorrow morning and enter A&P Falmouth's Dry-Dock No.2.

Published in Ferry
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Ireland's Commercial Fishing 

The Irish Commercial Fishing Industry employs around 11,000 people in fishing, processing and ancillary services such as sales and marketing. The industry is worth about €1.22 billion annually to the Irish economy. Irish fisheries products are exported all over the world as far as Africa, Japan and China.

FAQs

Over 16,000 people are employed directly or indirectly around the coast, working on over 2,000 registered fishing vessels, in over 160 seafood processing businesses and in 278 aquaculture production units, according to the State's sea fisheries development body Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM).

All activities that are concerned with growing, catching, processing or transporting fish are part of the commercial fishing industry, the development of which is overseen by BIM. Recreational fishing, as in angling at sea or inland, is the responsibility of Inland Fisheries Ireland.

The Irish fishing industry is valued at 1.22 billion euro in gross domestic product (GDP), according to 2019 figures issued by BIM. Only 179 of Ireland's 2,000 vessels are over 18 metres in length. Where does Irish commercially caught fish come from? Irish fish and shellfish is caught or cultivated within the 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ), but Irish fishing grounds are part of the common EU "blue" pond. Commercial fishing is regulated under the terms of the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), initiated in 1983 and with ten-yearly reviews.

The total value of seafood landed into Irish ports was 424 million euro in 2019, according to BIM. High value landings identified in 2019 were haddock, hake, monkfish and megrim. Irish vessels also land into foreign ports, while non-Irish vessels land into Irish ports, principally Castletownbere, Co Cork, and Killybegs, Co Donegal.

There are a number of different methods for catching fish, with technological advances meaning skippers have detailed real time information at their disposal. Fisheries are classified as inshore, midwater, pelagic or deep water. Inshore targets species close to shore and in depths of up to 200 metres, and may include trawling and gillnetting and long-lining. Trawling is regarded as "active", while "passive" or less environmentally harmful fishing methods include use of gill nets, long lines, traps and pots. Pelagic fisheries focus on species which swim close to the surface and up to depths of 200 metres, including migratory mackerel, and tuna, and methods for catching include pair trawling, purse seining, trolling and longlining. Midwater fisheries target species at depths of around 200 metres, using trawling, longlining and jigging. Deepwater fisheries mainly use trawling for species which are found at depths of over 600 metres.

There are several segments for different catching methods in the registered Irish fleet – the largest segment being polyvalent or multi-purpose vessels using several types of gear which may be active and passive. The polyvalent segment ranges from small inshore vessels engaged in netting and potting to medium and larger vessels targeting whitefish, pelagic (herring, mackerel, horse mackerel and blue whiting) species and bivalve molluscs. The refrigerated seawater (RSW) pelagic segment is engaged mainly in fishing for herring, mackerel, horse mackerel and blue whiting only. The beam trawling segment focuses on flatfish such as sole and plaice. The aquaculture segment is exclusively for managing, developing and servicing fish farming areas and can collect spat from wild mussel stocks.

The top 20 species landed by value in 2019 were mackerel (78 million euro); Dublin Bay prawn (59 million euro); horse mackerel (17 million euro); monkfish (17 million euro); brown crab (16 million euro); hake (11 million euro); blue whiting (10 million euro); megrim (10 million euro); haddock (9 million euro); tuna (7 million euro); scallop (6 million euro); whelk (5 million euro); whiting (4 million euro); sprat (3 million euro); herring (3 million euro); lobster (2 million euro); turbot (2 million euro); cod (2 million euro); boarfish (2 million euro).

Ireland has approximately 220 million acres of marine territory, rich in marine biodiversity. A marine biodiversity scheme under Ireland's operational programme, which is co-funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and the Government, aims to reduce the impact of fisheries and aquaculture on the marine environment, including avoidance and reduction of unwanted catch.

EU fisheries ministers hold an annual pre-Christmas council in Brussels to decide on total allowable catches and quotas for the following year. This is based on advice from scientific bodies such as the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. In Ireland's case, the State's Marine Institute publishes an annual "stock book" which provides the most up to date stock status and scientific advice on over 60 fish stocks exploited by the Irish fleet. Total allowable catches are supplemented by various technical measures to control effort, such as the size of net mesh for various species.

The west Cork harbour of Castletownbere is Ireland's biggest whitefish port. Killybegs, Co Donegal is the most important port for pelagic (herring, mackerel, blue whiting) landings. Fish are also landed into Dingle, Co Kerry, Rossaveal, Co Galway, Howth, Co Dublin and Dunmore East, Co Waterford, Union Hall, Co Cork, Greencastle, Co Donegal, and Clogherhead, Co Louth. The busiest Northern Irish ports are Portavogie, Ardglass and Kilkeel, Co Down.

Yes, EU quotas are allocated to other fleets within the Irish EEZ, and Ireland has long been a transhipment point for fish caught by the Spanish whitefish fleet in particular. Dingle, Co Kerry has seen an increase in foreign landings, as has Castletownbere. The west Cork port recorded foreign landings of 36 million euro or 48 per cent in 2019, and has long been nicknamed the "peseta" port, due to the presence of Spanish-owned transhipment plant, Eiranova, on Dinish island.

Most fish and shellfish caught or cultivated in Irish waters is for the export market, and this was hit hard from the early stages of this year's Covid-19 pandemic. The EU, Asia and Britain are the main export markets, while the middle Eastern market is also developing and the African market has seen a fall in value and volume, according to figures for 2019 issued by BIM.

Fish was once a penitential food, eaten for religious reasons every Friday. BIM has worked hard over several decades to develop its appeal. Ireland is not like Spain – our land is too good to transform us into a nation of fish eaters, but the obvious health benefits are seeing a growth in demand. Seafood retail sales rose by one per cent in 2019 to 300 million euro. Salmon and cod remain the most popular species, while BIM reports an increase in sales of haddock, trout and the pangasius or freshwater catfish which is cultivated primarily in Vietnam and Cambodia and imported by supermarkets here.

The EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), initiated in 1983, pooled marine resources – with Ireland having some of the richest grounds and one of the largest sea areas at the time, but only receiving four per cent of allocated catch by a quota system. A system known as the "Hague Preferences" did recognise the need to safeguard the particular needs of regions where local populations are especially dependent on fisheries and related activities. The State's Sea Fisheries Protection Authority, based in Clonakilty, Co Cork, works with the Naval Service on administering the EU CFP. The Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine and Department of Transport regulate licensing and training requirements, while the Marine Survey Office is responsible for the implementation of all national and international legislation in relation to safety of shipping and the prevention of pollution.

Yes, a range of certificates of competency are required for skippers and crew. Training is the remit of BIM, which runs two national fisheries colleges at Greencastle, Co Donegal and Castletownbere, Co Cork. There have been calls for the colleges to be incorporated into the third-level structure of education, with qualifications recognised as such.

Safety is always an issue, in spite of technological improvements, as fishing is a hazardous occupation and climate change is having its impact on the severity of storms at sea. Fishing skippers and crews are required to hold a number of certificates of competency, including safety and navigation, and wearing of personal flotation devices is a legal requirement. Accidents come under the remit of the Marine Casualty Investigation Board, and the Health and Safety Authority. The MCIB does not find fault or blame, but will make recommendations to the Minister for Transport to avoid a recurrence of incidents.

Fish are part of a marine ecosystem and an integral part of the marine food web. Changing climate is having a negative impact on the health of the oceans, and there have been more frequent reports of warmer water species being caught further and further north in Irish waters.

Brexit, Covid 19, EU policies and safety – Britain is a key market for Irish seafood, and 38 per cent of the Irish catch is taken from the waters around its coast. Ireland's top two species – mackerel and prawns - are 60 per cent and 40 per cent, respectively, dependent on British waters. Also, there are serious fears within the Irish industry about the impact of EU vessels, should they be expelled from British waters, opting to focus even more efforts on Ireland's rich marine resource. Covid-19 has forced closure of international seafood markets, with high value fish sold to restaurants taking a large hit. A temporary tie-up support scheme for whitefish vessels introduced for the summer of 2020 was condemned by industry organisations as "designed to fail".

Sources: Bord Iascaigh Mhara, Marine Institute, Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, Department of Transport © Afloat 2020

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