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Another 'Mediterranean' Ferry On Charter But for DFDS Rosslare-Dunkirk Operations

20th March 2021
Pelagos, a ropax which ran in the Mediterranean, is to start service for DFDS Rosslare-Dunkirk route next week. The former Liverpool Seaways was owned by the Danish company which had a brief spell operating on the Irish Sea until ending in January, 2011 (as seen in photo) of the ro pax's final arrival to Dublin Port, following DFDS passenger operated sailing from Birkenhead (Liverpool). At adjacent berth, Anglia Seaways, a DFDS freighter which too that day ended service, though note still sporting the pale blue livery of the previous operator Maersk/Norfolkline. Pelagos, a ropax which ran in the Mediterranean, is to start service for DFDS Rosslare-Dunkirk route next week. The former Liverpool Seaways was owned by the Danish company which had a brief spell operating on the Irish Sea until ending in January, 2011 (as seen in photo) of the ro pax's final arrival to Dublin Port, following DFDS passenger operated sailing from Birkenhead (Liverpool). At adjacent berth, Anglia Seaways, a DFDS freighter which too that day ended service, though note still sporting the pale blue livery of the previous operator Maersk/Norfolkline. Credit: Jehan Ashmore

Following Irish Ferries two-month charter in February of a Meditteranean ferry, DFDS, operator of the new Rosslare Europort-Dunkirk freight route is to introduce a ferry from Marseille next week, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Pelagos, will become the fifth ferry so far involved since DFDS launched the direct Ireland-mainland Europe service in early January. This to bypass Brexit, benefitting freight hauliers by avoiding the British land-bridge and potential delays associated in UK-EU customs paperwork.

The debut of Pelagos is to replace a ferry, the Drotten that only entered service in late January.

Afloat confirmed with DFDS as to when the Pelagos starts serving hauliers on the direct Ireland-France route. The link that transits the entire English Channel and into the Celtic Sea takes almost 24 hours to connect continental Europe.

The operator stated that Pelagos will take over from Drotten, which is scheduled to make a final outbound sailing from Rosslare on Monday night. On the next day, Pelagos will then be slotting into service also from Rosslare by taking up a sailing bound for Dunkirk.

As of other ropax's that have come and gone on the route, Pelagos is a product of the popular Visentini shipyard built class ropax, which had been in the Mediterranean. A repositioning voyage took five days as the ferry arrived to the northern France port on Thursday.

The 114-freight trailer unit ferry has been chartered back to its previous owner DFDS which as their Liverpool Seaways served DFDS Dublin-Birkenhead (Liverpool) route more than a decade ago.

As Afloat reported then the Liffey-Mersey link (incl. 'foot' passengers) was DFDS final presence on the Irish Sea when it closed in January, 2011. The Danish operator having in July 2010, for the first time entered the Irish Sea market. Albeit, merely 'months' later their other Irish Sea routes and vessels were sold to Stena Line.

Returning to Rosslare where Drotten, it is understood whose operator Destination Gotland AB, require the vessel back in the Baltic Sea to serve between the Swedish island and the mainland.

Drotten, had only entered service in late January, having replaced DFDS Optima Seaways, which launched the new route by making a maiden sailing, two days post-Brexit on 2nd January.

Earlier this month, DFDS announced it was to introduce their Ark Dania, as the route's fourth vessel next month. A maiden call in Dunkirk is scheduled on 1st April.

With this fast-changing ferry scene, Afloat take a recap on the current three-strong fleet, prior to the pending departure of Drotten to Scandinavia.

The ferries involved are Visby, same class of the Drotten, and also chartered from the Swedish operator. In addition the Visentini ropax Kerry on charter from Stena RoRo.

Published in Rosslare Europort, Ferry
Jehan Ashmore

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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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About Rosslare Europort

2021 sees Rosslare Europort hitting a new record with a total of 36 shipping services a week operating from the port making it one of the premier Irish ports serving the European Continent. Rosslare Europort is a gateway to Europe for the freight and tourist industries. It is strategically located on the sunny south-east coast of Ireland.

Rosslare is within a 90-minute driving radius of major Irish cities; Dublin, Cork and Limerick. Rosslare Europort is a RoRo, RoPax, offshore and bulk port with three RoRo berths with a two-tier linkspan, we also have a dedicated offshore bulk berth.

Exports in Rosslare Europort comprise mainly of fresh products, food, pharmaceuticals, steel, timber and building supplies. While imports are largely in the form of consumer goods such as clothes, furniture, food, trade vehicles, and electronics.

The entire Europort is bar-swept to 7.2 meters, allowing unrestricted access to vessels with draughts up to 6.5 metres. Rosslare Europort offers a comprehensive service including mooring, stevedoring and passenger-car check-in for RoRo shipping lines. It also provides facilities for offshore, dry bulk and general cargo.

The port currently has twice-daily round services to the UK and direct services to the continent each day. Rosslare Europort has a fleet of Tugmasters service, fork-lift trucks, tractors and other handling equipment to cater for non-standard RoRo freight.

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