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Displaying items by tag: Dublin Port

28th September 2011

Fram From the Fjords and Beyond

Hurtigruten's polar expediton cruiseship Fram (2007/11,647grt) docked at the Cobh cruise terminal in Cork Harbour today, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The rather stout looking vessel which is 114m long on a beam of 20m was built in Italy to operate primarily as a cruiseship in artic waters. She differs to the rest of her fleetmates which operate Hurtigruten's coastal voyage along the fjords of Norway between Bergin to Kirkenes, near the Russian border.

Fram operates on cruises from Norway to Spitsbergen, Greenland, and Europe. She also cruises in Antarctic waters and explores the Chilean fjords. She can handle 400 passengers in 254 berths. On board there is a reception area, a large top-deck glass-enclosed observation salon positioned forward, bar, restaurant, library, shop and leisure facilities, including gym, sauna and jacuzzi. For further information and deck plans click HERE.

Throughout her interior she has traditional and modern artwork from a selection of Norwegian and Greenlandic artists. To read more on her Antarctic cruises and other destinations click HERE.

On this particular cruise, she had departed from Bergin and called to several Scottish ports prior to berthing in Belfast and docking in Dublin yesterday. This evening she heads for the Isles of Scilly, followed by a call to Portsmouth before disembarking her passengers in Hamburg.

Published in Cruise Liners
The Royal Navy's HMS Portland (F79) a 4,900 tonnes displacement Type 23 Duke –class frigate built as the last of fifteen such vessels a decade ago is on a weekend visit to Dublin Port, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Launched in 1999 at the shipyard of the then Marconi Marine at Scotstown on the Clyde, she then entered service two year later. During her contractor's sea trials she achieved a top speed of 30.8 knots and claims this as a record across the entire class.

She measures 133m (436ft) long and on a beam of 16.1m (52.9ft) and has a crew compliment of 185 in total. An array of highly sophisticated arnament is packed on board in addition she can convey a Lynx helicopter. Propulsion is derived from a combined use of diesel and gas (CODLAG) .To read more about the penultimate Type 23 class and her sisters click HERE

Published in Navy
Within hours of each other two ultra-luxurious vessels departed Dublin Port this morning, firstly the five star-rated cruiseship Hebridean Princess, and then followed the Bikini registered Cary Ali, a private charter mini-motoryacht, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Hebridean Princess, a former 600-passenger car-ferry, converted to carry only 50 guests, reached Carlingford around noon, where she is at anchor off the Co. Louth listed medieval heritage town. On the far side of Ulster, the cross-border waterway on Lough Foyle received two of three scheduled cruise-calls, but bad weather prevented Prisendem from anchoring off Greencastle in July.

As for Cary Ali, she is a 87ft long was built in 2007 by Nordhavn to a design of Jeff Leishman. From her stern flew the flag of the Marshal Islands in the Pacific Ocean. Inside the four-decked vessel there is the main salon, a dining room, galley and three guest staterooms, and a master cabin (click HERE). In total eight people can be accommodated. In addition she has a jacuzzi, fly-bridge and is equipped with a tender and has crew of four.

She has a speed of 24-knots and is equipped with 50hp bow and stern thrusters. To read more about the luxurious motoryacht including facts and figures click HERE.

The Cary Ali had berthed at the 100-berth marina of the Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club which caters lesiure craft up to 20 metres and is centrally located on the south side of Dublin Port. The facility has accommodated larger motoryachts over the years. Though even larger motoryachts such as Battered Bull, a Feadship 52m has berthed further upriver at Dublin City Moorings.

Published in Cruise Liners
The World's smallest luxury cruiseship the Hebridean Princess, which in recent years was chartered to Queen Elizabeth II, docked in Dublin's docklands yesterday. She berthed on the south quays facing The Convention Centre, where a special event was hosted by the British Embassy on behalf of the monarch during her historic first state visit in May, writes Jehan Ashmore.
At only 2,112 tonnes and 70m long, the diminutive vessel berthed at Sir John Rogersons Quay last evening after picking up a pilot from the cutter Liffey in Dublin Bay. She had sailed overnight from Pembroke Dock and her call to the capital has allowed her passengers to spend a full day today touring attractions as she will remain moored again tonight before departing tomorrow.
Hebridean_Princess
Hebridean Princess berthed at Sir John Rogersons Quay. Photo Jehan Ashmore

Operated by Hebridean Island Cruises, the 5-star vessel which is for only 50 guests, has a reputation for exceptional service, fine dining and has a crew of 38. Accommodation is in thirty spacious, elegant and well-appointed cabins. On Princess Deck is located 'The Isle of Arran' (for deck plans click HERE) Suite which at 340sq ft is the largest and most expensive. The suite comprises a large separate dayroom, a spacious bedroom and a luxuriously equipped Victorian-style marble bathroom. In addition 10 cabins are designed especially for the single traveller. She has appeared in 1st place in UltraTravel Magazine's "10 Coolest Cruises"

Normally the Glasgow registered vessel operates throughout the Scottish highlands and islands, to lochs and remote mainland locations made accessible due to her small size. It is in these same waters that the Hebridean Princess has sailed in another guise as the humble car-ferry Columba (photos) for Caledonian MacBrayne. She was built in 1964 by Hall Russell, Aberdeen and served in this role until 1989 when she was sold and underwent an extensive conversion for the ultra-luxury cruise market.

Her three-day stay to Dublin is part of a Grand Celtic Cruise which started in Cardiff and which will include a call to Carlingford Lough tomorrow, followed by Strangford Lough, Bangor, Ballycastle, the Scottish isles of Jura and Crinan before disembarking in Oban, her home-port. The 10-night cruise inclusive of three-gala dinners cost €4,195 per person for a double cabin and €6,292 per person in a single-cabin.

A decade before Columba was launched, the Royal Yacht Britannia (5,682 tonnes) was commissioned in 1954. She was laid-down two years previously at John Brown & Co. Ltd, Clydebank and the year before she entered service she was launched by HM Queen Elizabeth II. For over four decades she served as the royal yacht until decommissioned in 1997. Her final foreign mission was to convey the last governor of Hong Kong and Prince of Wales from the former colony after its handover to China. She is now permanently moored as an exhibition ship in Edinburgh (Leith) for details click HERE.

Earlier this month Queen Elizabeth's namesake the 2010 built Cunard Line cruiseship Queen Elizabeth made her maiden Irish call to Dublin followed by Cork (Cobh). To read more on Dublin call click HERE and for Cork (Cobh) click HERE.

Published in Cruise Liners
With the recent closure of Stena Line fast-ferry services from Dun Laoghaire and Rosslare, this leaves just four such services operating this winter between Ireland and Britain. By November only half of these services will be running on routes out of Dublin and Larne, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Currently three of these four services are employed on North Channel routes. P&O Ferries operate their fast-craft Express (1998/5,902 grt) on the one-hour route to Cairnryan which is also served by conventional ferry sisters that take two-hours. Since March the fast-ferry also joined the freight-ferry on the Troon route for the start of seasonal summer sailings which are to end on 3rd October.

The third service between Belfast-Stranraer is in the hands of rivals Stena Line which maintain the HSS Stena Voyager (1996/19,638 grt) on sailings but only to around mid-November. She will be replaced by conventional sister-ships which will be introduced on the North Channel's newest port when services switch from Stranraer to a new terminal close to Cairnryan.

Finally the fourth fast-ferry is Irish Ferries marketed 'Dublin Swift' service which runs on the Dublin-Holyhead route served by Jonathan Swift (1999/5,989 grt). The craft built by Austal in Fremantle, operates alongside the conventional cruise-ferry Ulysses.

Stena Line's decision to terminate HSS Stena Explorer sailings between Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead this day last week follows fast-ferry Stena Lynx III's end-of-season Rosslare-Fishguard sailings earlier this month.

From next year, Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead sailings are to be seasonal-only and according to Stena Line they hope to resume fast-ferry sailings in April or May though no exact date has been set. Unlike the central corridor route which was entirely dependent on HSS operations, the Rosslare-Fishguard route remains operating year-round with the conventional ferry Stena Europe.

As a result of the discontinued fast-ferries, the HSS Stena Explorer is now spending a lay-up period in the Welsh port for the winter. The smaller Stena Lynx III is also 'wintering' but in on the opposite side of the Irish Sea in Dun Laoghaire, where the vessel has done so in previous years.

The lay-up of both fast-ferries in Dun Laoghaire and Holyhead is ironic considering that neither ports' are connected by the very craft that used to share sailing rosters in recent years. In addition the wintering of these catamaran craft is the first time that this has occurred since the pioneering Stena Sea Lynx fast-ferry launched such sailings in 1993.

This first 'Lynx' provided seasonal sailings on the route with conventional car-ferry Stena Hibernia, the former St. Columba, custom-built in 1977 for Sealink /British Rail. She was given a second name under Stena ownership, the Stena Adventurer and remained on the 57 nautical-mile route until replaced in 1996 by the year-round operated HSS Stena Explorer.

Apart from cross-channel fast-ferry services, the Isle of Man is served by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Co. Ltd's routes linking the islands capital Douglas with Belfast, Dublin, Heysham and Liverpool (Birkenhead) in the winter. These routes include seasonal services which are operated by a combination of conventional tonnage using Ben-My-Chree and fast-ferry Manannan (1998/5,089grt), a former US Navy vessel, to read more click HERE. For sailing schedules, vessel type deployed on route and for fares click HERE.

Published in Ferry
With today's historic Irish rugby victory over Australia, fans of the green jersey, who happen to be on a cruise-ship with Cunard Line or P&O Cruises, will be able to continue watching games of the Rugby World Cup, writes Jehan Ashmore.
One of the ten participating cruise ships, Cunard Line's Queen Elizabeth (90,901 gross tonnes) owned by Carnival Corporation, made her maiden 'Irish' call to Dublin Port and Cobh last week, is showing live or recorded games within 24 hours from the original kick-off. This will enable games to be shown at convenient times for the participating cruise ships in their various locations.

A total of 24 matches are being shown, starting from the opening game and will include all four Home Nations' matches, quarter-finals, semi -finals, bronze final and then the final on 23rd October. Of course there will be other fans on board from Wales, Scotland, England and elsewhere watching the fixtures throughout the cruise-ships various sporting bars, pubs and other venues.

Carnival Corporation's UK entertainment services general manager, Paul Wright, said: "The Rugby World Cup is of great interest to many of our passengers and we're pleased that nobody will miss out by being on holiday with us throughout this time. At any one time we could have more than 19,000 passengers collectively on board and rooting for one of the Four Nations to bring home the trophy".

He added: "Most people have a sport that they follow and some times, like on a cruise ship, you won't have access to your favourite sport, which means a lot to fans. On our last cruise on Independence of the Seas, we had popular sports shown in state rooms and certain bars around the ship, of course football was the most common sport shown".

Incidentally Independence of the Seas has also called to Cobh since her Irish debut in 2007 and at 154,407 tonnes is the largest ever cruise-caller to Cork Harbour. She surpasses Cunard Line's flagship Queen Mary 2 of 148,528 tonnes which too berthed at Cobh last Wednesday, four days after Queen Elizabeth's inaugural visit.

Published in Cruise Liners
At 13.07hrs Stena Line's HSS 1500 fast-craft ferry HSS Stena Explorer pulled away from her berth for the last time this year on the Dun Laoghaire Harbour-Holyhead route, as she headed for the harbour mouth several crew members waved from the stern to shore-based colleagues on the link-span, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Only yesterday, sailings on the daily single-round trip operated route had to be cancelled due to adverse weather conditions on the Irish Sea caused by the tail end of Hurricane Katia. The decision with today's closure was made well in advance and comes as no surprise as the Stena Explorer (1996/19,638grt) "has traded at a financial loss for several years" according to her owners Stena Line. Around 53 staff in Dun Laoghaire will be affected by the decision.

The core reason to withdraw the HSS on the 120-minute route which is not to re-open until the 2012 season, rests with the high operating costs of the fuel-thirsty fast-ferry which is powered by four gas-turbine engines. In addition the route's generated most of its turnover during the period May-September, leaving the remaining months unsustainable, as such the company wants the route to be seasonal-only in the long-term.

HSS_Stena_Explorer

HSS Stena Explorer departs Dun Laoghaire Harbour on her final sailing this season. Photo: Jehan Ashmore

Passengers and freight customers will instead need to use the company's other Dublin Bay route between Dublin Port and Holyhead. The 3 hour 15-minute central corridor route is served by two ro-pax vessels, Stena Adventurer (2004/43,532 grt) and Stena Nordica (2000/24,206 grt) which operate to a year-round schedule, for times click HERE.

What is not certain is the precise date for resumption of Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead services as Stena Line have only indicated that they hope to reopen in April or May nor it is outlined as to what type of fast-craft would operate the route next year.

With today's break in service for at least the next six months, this is the most significant absence of the revolutionary HSS (High Speed Sea Service) 1500 fast-ferry which made her official maiden voyage on the route from Dun Laoghaire on 10th April 1996. The only other notable occasions when the HSS was off-service was for the short spells to allow for annual dry-docking, refit, repairs or when the route in recent years was partially operated by Stena Lynx III.

The 1500 referred to the number of passengers the Stena Explorer could accommodate. She was the first of the three Finish-built HSS 1500 catamaran vehicle capable carrying craft to enter service on three routes from the UK. The next sister completed HSS Stena Discovery entered service in the same year between Harwich-Hook van Holland and the final of the trio HSS Stena Voyager entered the Belfast-Stranraer route in 1997. Several years ago the HSS ceased operating on the Dutch route and the HSS currently serving on the North Channel is due to be replaced by conventional ferries in mid-November as previously reported on Afloat.ie, to read more click HERE.

On the Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead service the HSS enjoyed the boom years, and at its peak there were five daily round trips. From 2006 onwards the routes fortunes began to decline due to the ending of duty-free sales, competition from low-cost airlines, and the increasing cost of fuel.

In order to stave off further losses, a series of cost cutting measures were implemented over the next five years. Firstly the sailing frequency was reduced then the passage times were increased to reduce fuel consumption at the expense of faster crossings. In addition the company resorted to withdrawing the Stena Explorer during the shoulder months surrounding the summer and as previously mentioned these sailings were covered by the Stena Lynx III.

When the Stena Explorer returned for the summer months, the Stena Lynx III switched to her normal high-season spell on Rosslare-Fishguard sailings in tandem with regular route vessel Stena Europe. This year she served as usual on the St. Georges Channel route with the last high-season sailing completed on 4 September.

Stena Lynx III remained initially at Fishguard until making a repositioning voyage to Dun Laoghaire via the Kish Lighthouse last Wednesday. She berthed adjacent to the now disused HSS berth link-span on St. Michaels Wharf. The Tasmanian built craft has spent previous winter layover periods in Dublin and last year in Dun Laoghaire whereas the Stena Explorer is expected to do so in her home port of Holyhead.

At the neighbouring Carlisle Pier, the former terminal where numerous steam-packets, 'mailboats' and the conventional Sealink/British Rail car-ferries served (the last being the Stena Adventurer better known as St. Columba built in 1977) there are plans for a national diaspora museum.

The centrepiece landmark building would form as part of the masterplan proposed by the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company as part of a concerted effort to offset the reduced role of ferry operations. The masterplan is also to attract cruiseship business amongst other proposals envisaged.

Published in Ferry
Jewel of the Seas, one of four 90,000 tonnes Radiance Class cruise ships operated by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (RCCL) departed Dublin Port this evening bound for Cork Harbour, writes Jehan Ashmore.
During the cruisecall of the near 300 metre-long vessel, she took on bunkers from the 70m short-sea coastal tanker Keewhit (2,332dwt) which arrived from Liverpool this morning. The procedure to transfer fuel is relatively commonplace particularly with larger cruiseships calling the capital. To see photo of Keewhit transferring fuel in a similar operation which took place when the Grand Princess visited Dublin earlier this year, click HERE.

The 2,500 passenger Jewel of the Seas has a nine-deck centrum which has glass lifts which allows light to flow throughout the spacious and airy ship. Activities range from golf to climbing, a spa and sumptuous restaurants.

When the 2004 built cruiseship docks at the dedicated cruise berth at Cobh in the early hours of tomorrow she will also be sharing the deepwater berth with the 2001 built Silver Whisper. The ultra-luxury vessel accommodates only 388 passengers and is operated by SilverSeas Cruises. To read more about the vessel click HERE.

Both vessels are scheduled to depart Cobh around teatime tomorrow and this will be followed by preparations of the picturesque town which is to welcome the maiden call to Cobh of Queen Elizabeth on Saturday. To read more about the newest vessel of the Cunard Line fleet click HERE. The 2010 built vessel will firstly make an inaugural call to Dublin on Friday prior to the Cobh call which coincides with Cork Harbour Open Day, for event details visit www.corkharbour.ie

Published in Cruise Liners
One of the last surviving West Country ketches tallships out of a fleet of around 700, the Bessie Ellen was making passage through the Irish Sea yesterday from Falmouth bound for Liverpool, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The 120-foot vessel was built by WS Kelly in Plymouth and for most of her 107-year career she traded in transporting aggregates, china clay, clay, grain, peat, salt and other bulk cargoes between Britain and Ireland. She would be a typical example to the type of vessel that would of employed the services of the Dublin Bay 'Hobblers', the name of the boats that race out to provide pilotage duties, to read more about this and yesterday's Hobblers Challenge click HERE.

Bessie Ellen is rigged with eight sails which cover 330 sq m and this would be the only source of power to transport her hold which had a cargo capacity for 150 tons. Her original owner was the North Devon home-skipper Captain John Chichester who named the ketch after two of his daughters. The crew would be limited to between four to six persons, a captain, mate, deckhands and cook.

By the Second World War most of these numerous working cargo sailing ships were being taken over by power-driven vessels. They were becoming increasingly redundant and laid-up rotting away in creeks, fortunately there was sufficient cargo for Bessie Ellen up to 1947.

She was purchased by Danish owners for where she carried a profitable trade in scrap metal, even so sail-power was not enough and she had an engine installed. Trade increased and she was too small to serve her owners Capt. Moller up to the 1970's. In 1983 there were plans to convert the vessel for charter but this fell-through.

Her current owner Nikki Alford brought the vessel in 2000 and over the next three years she was refitted to original rigging specifications and re-emerged in her new career as a sail training vessel. She runs day-long sailing cruises and longer sailing expeditions and educational programmes. Accommodation is for 20 persons in bunks and another 12 is set aside for guests.To read more about the ketch click HERE.

In recent years another West Country traditional sailing vessel the staysail-schooner Kathleen and May made an historic voyage to Dublin in 2008 with a commercial cargo of French wine. This would be the first cargo she conveyed since 1961, also the last year in which the last Arklow owned cargo-carrying schooner the De Wadden would trade, though she was fitted with an engine. The schooner is now preserved in Liverpool, click this LINK.

Katheleen and May made a second delivery to Dublin in 2009 again for Fair Wind Wine and the company (CTMV) also chartered the schooner Etoile de France in advance of St. Patrick's Day. The final CTMV wine cargoes were on board the Bessie Ellen and Notre Dame de Romengol during the last Dublin Docklands Maritime Festival held in 2010. The small French coastal cargo vessel or "gabare" built in 1945 at Camaret, near Brest is classified by the French government as an historic monument.

Also last year the oldest sailing tallship in Europe, the French barque Belem attended the inaugural Hoist the French Sail, French Week in Dublin. The 1896 built Belem was specially chartered in to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Alliance Francaise in Dublin.

Several years ago Belem called to the capital to deliver wine but this was a trade-only publicity exercise prior to the CTMV wine cargoes. Apart from wine she is also associated with Sir Arthur Ernest Guinness of the family brewing dynasty, who owned her as a private 'yacht' under the name of Fantôme II. To read more about the fascinating history of this barque click HERE.

Published in Tall Ships
Ten boats comprising of men's, women's and mixed crews from four East Coast skiff rowing clubs set off yesterday on the end-of-season Hobblers Challenge, a gruelling 25km rowing race from Dun Laoghaire Harbour to the Kish Lighthouse and back, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Ringsend based St. Patrick's Rowing Club boat Naomh Padraig, under the coxswain of Ken Cunningham, crossed the winning line at the harbour-mouth in a time of 2:57:36 to take the coveted cup. In addition to breaking the three-minute barrier, the St Patrick's men shaved almost six minutes off the time of last year's victors, Stella Maris Rowing Club, also from Ringsend.

Courtown Harbour Rowing Club took second place in a time of 3:3:19 and third place honours went to Stella Maris Rowing Club with a time of 3:16.00. The hosts of the Hobblers Challenge, St. Michaels Rowing Club based out of the Coal Harbour, passed under the high walls of the East Pier Lighthouse and battery some two minutes later in fourth place.

The annual event (for race-route click HERE) was only re-introduced onto the race calendar last year after a break of several years. The skiffs were launched at the Coal Harbour slipway where they headed over to line-up for the starter's gun opposite the Hobbler's Memorial located on the publicly accessible Eastern Breakwater which is between the Stena Line HSS fast-ferry berth and the Dun Laoghaire Marina.

In attendance to greet the start of the race in memorial of the Dublin Bay hobblers was the RNLB Anna Livia of the local RNLI lifeboat station. The bronze memorial depicts a tower of lifejackets in commemoration of three young Dun Laoghaire hobblers who after piloting and unloading the schooner Jealous of Me in Ringsend, failed to return home.

This occupation was carried out by men also from Ringsend, Dalkey and other harbours and it was the first crew to reach a ship and throw a hook on the deck who would win the business of pilotage and unloading in Dublin Port.

Crews would think nothing of rowing out to the Kish Bank on the hope of spotting a ship. If they waited offshore and no passing trade appeared along the East Coast the craft doubled as a bed if it became too late to row home. The craft were much larger and heavier compared to the present day skiff and it is in these oarstrokes that the Hobblers Challenge follows the original race of the hobblers during the 18th and 19th centuries.

It was apt that on the same day of this year's Hobblers Challenge, the 107-year-old ketch Bessie Ellen, a former cargo-carrying vessel that represented one of the last such sail-trading ships operating in the Irish Sea, was making a passage to the east of the Kish Bank.

To read more about the un-manned Kish Lighthouse click this HERE, and for the 150 cargo tons capacity ketch built in 1904 click HERE.

Published in Dublin Bay
Page 39 of 49

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