Displaying items by tag: Marine Express
Launched as the Stena Tranporter, the career of the 16,000 tonnes has spanned over three decades in which the 151m vessel changed through several owners and subsequent vessel renamings.
It was when she served under the name Baltic Ferry, that her most notable career took place in 1982 during her wartime deployment as part of the
Falklands Islands Task Force. The 151m vessel was requisitioned by the British Ministry of Defence which saw the ship engaged in military operations when RAF Harrier Jump-Jet aircraft transferred store supplies from the deck of the ship as part of the war-effort in the South Atlantic Ocean.
In 2001 the vessel undertook ferry operations to Ireland as the European Diplomat on the Dublin-Liverpool route for the P&O (Irish Sea) route network. The following year she was transferred on the direct route to France until P&O pulled the plug on the continental service in December 2004, leaving Irish Ferries as the sole operator.
It was not until February 2005 that the route resumed service but this time under new owners Celtic Link Ferries. The O'Flaherty brothers, owners of a large fishing fleet in Kilmore Quay purchased the vessel and renamed her Diplomat. See PHOTO.
For the next four years she built up a steady customer loyalty between freight-hauliers drivers and car-only accompanying passengers who were accommodated in the ship which had a limited passenger certificate for 114 passengers. In addition she had a license to transport livestock.
Currently Celtic Link Ferries operate the ferry Norman Voyager but the 800-passenger / 200-car ro-pax vessel will only remain on the route until an October debut of a larger sistership the Cartour Beta.
The vessel is running this season between Italy and Sicily and with an added deck the 27,552 tonnes vessel has an increased capacity for passengers, cars and enhanced range of facilities. Recently the company had run a competition to name the new vessel which is to begin a five-year charter on the service between Wexford and Normandy.
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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.