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Celtic Charter Finnforest to Italians

18th October 2010
Celtic Charter Finnforest to Italians
Celtic Link Ferries ro-ro freight-ferry Finnforest (1978/15,525grt) is currently on a six month charter to Italian shipping operator, SNAV on the Naples-Palermo, Sicily route, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The Finnforest has since 1999 served several Scandinavian routes. In 2008 Celtic Link Ferries purchased the Finnforest and continued chartering arrangements with Finnlines on the Helsinki-Gdynia route in the Baltic Sea. The charter ceased earlier this year with the vessel returning to Dublin for dry-docking in July. The Finnforest then proceeded into lay-up in Waterford. On the 30 September the Finnforest departed Waterford's city-centre quays bound for the Mediterranean Sea.

Also joining Finnforest on the Naples-Palermo route are the passenger cruise ferries SNAV Snav Lazio and Snav Sardegna which were transferred in early October from another route of SNAV (Societa Navigazione Alta Velocita) extensive ferry network of services from Italy to Corsica, Sardinia, Croatia and Sicily.

The cruise ferries vessels had previously served on P&O Ferries English Channnel route as sisters Pride of Portsmouth and Pride of Le Havre. Launched for Olau Line, the German built twins replace the SNAV Campania and SNAV Sicilia, former North Sea Ferries (later P&O Ferries) sisters Norland and Norstar. The sisters were withdrawn from the Naples-Palermo service and are reported to have sailed for Jeddah. It is uncertain if the 1973 built pair will see further service in the Red Sea or are heading further east.

The Finnforest was built in South Korea as one of the successful 'Searunner' class of vessels ordered by Stena Rederi during the 1970's. Finnforest's half-sister Diplomat (1978/16,776grt) is on charter too by the Wexford based company. The Diplomat had operated Celtic Link Ferries Rosslare-Cherbourg route until late 2009 before also going to lay-up at Waterford. In April, the Diplomat was chartered to Marine Express to operate in the Caribbean on routes between Peurto Rico and the Dominican Republican.

In 2008 Louis Dreyfus Armateurs ferry subsidiary LD Lines chartered the new 26,500 grt ro-pax Norman Voyager from Liverpool based Meridian Marine Management for the Portsmouth-Le Havre route. In addition a Le Havre-Rosslare round-trip was scheduled at the weekends. LD Lines then switched the French port to neighbouring Cherbourg. The service to Ireland was short-lived with the French company abandoning the route. Subsequently the Norman Voyager was was sub-chartered by LD Lines to Celtic Link Ferries. The 800 passenger / 200 vehicle /120 truck ro-pax currently operates three sailings per week in each direction.
Published in Ports & Shipping
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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