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Cork-Swansea ferry campaign hope for plain sailing

16th March 2009

There’s no help like self-help, and a community initiative in West Cork hopes to achieve an extraordinary feat. A Cork-Swansea ferry campaign, currently raising €3m to reopen the sea crossing, is on the brink of acquiring a ship to operate the sea crossing service – worth up to €50m in tourism revenue to the region, a valuable sailing and boating destination.

Campaign representatives travelled to Finland to bid for the 28-year-old car ferry which once plied the sea between Helsinki and St Petersburg, and, although the group’s bid fell short of the reserve, it was the highest of four. A meeting has been arranged in Helsinki to negotiate the purchase of the Julia, a 1,400-passenger and 400-car capacity ferry. If they’re successful in their purchase bid, Captain Frank Allen – a former director of marine operations for the old Cork-Swansea service – will sail the 340-cabin vessel back to Cork. The ferry will then undergo modifications to qualify for certification under Irish law and should be in service for the summer season.

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