#ArklowWillow- According to organisers of a Irish Shipping Ltd reunion this evening in Dublin, today marks the 30th anniversary of the liquidation of the former state-owned shipping company in 1984, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Following the outbreak of WWI in 1939, the Irish Goverment realised the perilous state of not having a strategic fleet under its control and so led to the formation of ISL which secured vessels to bring strategic vital food supplies to the shores of our dependent island.
As the decades passed a deep-sea global fleet developed. These Irish flagged ships were named from a theme based on tree species, for example Irish Willow. She was a general cargo ship of some 1,700 tonnes that served a career with the company from 1956 to 1969.
It is apt that an Irish cargoship currently has almost the same name, the Arklow Willow which is berthed in Dublin Port undergoing routine maintenance. In addition that the Arklow Shipping Ltd owned drybulk cargoship should be the only vessel from a 45-strong fleet to be named after a type of tree too!
At the time of ISL's collapse this day three decades ago on 14 November 1984, the state-company had only 7 vessels in service.
Arklow Willow is the final sister of a trio of 'W' class Japanese built vessels berthed in Dublin Graving Dock Ltd. At 14,001 dwt Arklow Willow is the largest in this class, though there are larger fleetmates also in terms of deadweight tonnes.
They are the South Korean newbuilds Arklow Spirit as previously reported (and newer sister Spray) at 34,919dwt and are also the largest Irish-flagged cargoships notably since the sad demise of ISL.
Arklow Willow had recently arrived from Corunna, north-west Spain and the 136m long vessel occupies the 200m long Graving Dock No.2. This differs to last month's double dry-docking as previously reported of the smaller Arklow Ranger and Jeanie Johnston, which shared the dry-dock located in Alexandra Basin.
Dublin Port Company have submitted plans to re-develop the basin costing €200m which would form phase one of the port's Masterplan 2040. The project would involve the re-use of the site of the drydock which as a result would face closure.