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#FREIGHT FERRY NEWS- Seatruck Power (2011/19,722grt) made her debut on the Dublin-Liverpool route last week, bringing an additional boost to freight capacity and follows her sister which only entered service in December, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The newbuild joins the leadship Seatruck Progress (see related report) on the central corridor service and another pair are due for completion by mid-year and are to be deployed on Seatruck's other Irish Sea routes.

The quartet, were all ordered from the Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft (FSG) yard in Germany. At 142m long, each of the 150-unit capacity newbuilds carry an additional 35 units compared to the 'P' class vessels, in which two of these vessels have been replaced from the Liverpool route.

Each sister has space for 2,166 lane freight metres spread across four decks, where on this particular deck hazardous and refrigerated cargo can be handled. They are also designed to carry rolling project cargo and heavy-lift items.

Published in Ferry

#FREIGHT FERRY - The third of four newbuilds, Seatruck Performance was launched at the FGS Flensburg Yard, Germany, last week, according to The Motorship.

The first of the newbuildings, Seatruck Progress, is now operating on the Dublin-Liverpool route. The second in the series, Seatruck Power, will join this route in mid-February (see previous report HERE). The third vessel, Seatruck Performance, will begin operations in the Irish Sea in April and the final ferry will be launched at FSG at the end of March and is due to enter service in June.

All four ships will operate mainly in the Irish Sea. They are 142m long and 25m wide, boast a freight-carrying capacity of 2,166 lane-metres on four decks and can carry up to 155 trailers.

The FSG ships are the most efficient and modern in the Seatruck fleet, and will be the biggest to operate out of the port of Heysham, the length being determined by the size of this port.

FSG engineers designed the ships for eco-friendliness and low fuel consumption. Compared to conventional ships, they are said to consume up to 30% less fuel, saving costs and representing a significant contribution to environmental protection.

Published in Ferry

#FERRY NEWS -Seatruck Ferries newbuild freight-only ferry, Seatruck Progress carried out berthing trials in Dublin Port yesterday in preparation to her debut on the Liverpool route over the festive period, writes Jehan Ashmore.

This was the inaugural call to the capital, though she had sailed across Dublin Bay earlier this month (as previously reported - click HERE) during her delivery voyage to Liverpool from German shipbuilders FGS Flensburger.

At 142 metres long and with a beam of 24 metres, the four decked ro-ro vessel, offers more capacity to the routes existing pair of 'Point' class vessels, as she can handle an extra 35 trailer units (each of 13.5m) than the Clipper Point and Clipper Pennant.

In February, the newcomer's second sister out of four on order, Seatruck Power is set to join her on the central corridor route.

Seatruck are the only Irish Sea operator dedicated to the carriage of un-accompanied freight traffic, though the vessels can cater for driver accompanied units with a limited number of cabins.

Published in Ferry

#FERRY NEWS-Seatruck Progress (5,300 dwt) the new freight-only ro-ro, due to enter Seatruck Ferries Dublin-Liverpool service this month, as previously reported on Afloat.ie, sailed past Dublin Bay on Tuesday. She continued her overnight delivery voyage to arrive in Liverpool yesterday, fresh from German builders, FGS Flensburg, writes Jehan Ashmore.

As the newbuild approached Dublin Bay, she set a course to the east of the Burford Bank buoys where she continued her voyage to Liverpool, entering the Bootle docks through Langton Lock.

The Douglas registered ro-ro is to be joined by her fleetmate, Seatruck Power on the central corridor service next February. Each of the 21-knot quartet measure 142m long, have a beam of 24m and cater for 2,166 lane freight-metres with the use of an added upper fourth deck.

The increased capacity will enable un-accompanied trailer units to reach 70 on each of the sailings, which are currently served by smaller 'P' series ro-ro's Clipper Point and Clipper Pennant. These vessels were also commissioned by Seatruck from Spanish shipyards and entered servvice several years ago. 

Seatruck which is a subsidiary of the Danish-owned Clipper Group, is set to expand the fleet as the Irish Sea's only freight-only operator with  a futher  pair of the same class from FGS, which are due for delivery in the first-half of 2012. According to Seatruck, these newbuilds are likely to be deployed on the company's other Irish Sea routes.

Published in Ferry

#FERRY NEWS-Seatruck Progress (photo), the first of two 18,900 gross tonnes ro-ro newbuilds due to enter  on Seatruck Ferries Dublin-Liverpool route, is en -route in the English Channel today from  German builders, FGS Flensburg, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Her sister Seatruck Power is due to join her fleetmate on the central corridor service by mid-February. In addition Seatruck have on order another pair of the same class from FGS which are to be completed in 2012 and are likely to be deployed on the company's other Irish Sea routes.

The new quartet each measure 142m and will offer 2,166 lane freight-metres spread over four decks. They will each have a capacity of 150 units, 35 more than Seatruck's current P Series vessels in which Clipper Point and Clipper Pennant are currently employed on the route.

The company operate 80 sailings per week on four routes: Dublin-Liverpool,Dublin- Heysham, Warrenpoint-Heysham and Larne-Heysham. The newbuilds will also be the largest vessels ever to operate out of Heysham.

In the last two years freight volumes doubled and Seatruck has 20% of the Irish Sea market as against 3.7% in 2004. This year Seatruck will ship 300,000 units on the Irish Sea and with the fleet expansion this total will grow substantially in 2012.

Published in Ferry
# FERRY NEWS- Next month, Seatruck Ferries will introduce Seatruck Progress, the first of four new 5,300dwt 'Heysham' max freight-only vessels on the Dublin-Liverpool service, according to a report in LloydsList.com
Seatruck Progress was launched in August from the FGS Flenberg Yard in Germany, she has a capacity for 150 trailer-units, 35 more than the central corridors existing 'P' class sisters Clipper Point and Clipper Pennant with the extra lane metres totalling 2,166m coming from a fourth deck. The older sisters will both be replaced when the second newbuild Seatruck Power (for previous report click HERE) comes on stream in mid-February 2012.

Seatruck, which claims 20% of the Irish Sea market compared to just 3.7% in 2004, says it will transport 300,000 units in 2011 on its four routes: Dublin-Liverpool, Dublin-Heysham, Warrenpoint-Heysham and Larne-Larne. With the introduction of the newer larger vessels, Seatruck is aiming at the 45% of Irish Sea freight market that is still driver-accompanied.

Alistair Eagles, MD of Seatruck (Irish Sea) says that his company's share of unaccompanied freight volumes is set to grow in 2012, although the total Irish Sea ro-ro market is set to remain static next year, but better than a 1% decline in 2011.

Mr Eagles said: "We believe that our sector of the market — freight-only unaccompanied — will continue to grow. By offering pure freight services we can keep the costs down relatively lower compared with the combined passenger and freight ferry operators.

"We are seeing a switch away from driver-accompanied shipments because hauliers can save quite a lot of money."

Seatruck also benefited from a radical shake-up on the Irish Sea ferry market, with largescale withdrawals of capacity by DFDS and other changes, notably taking over the Dublin-Heysham route in February, to read more click HERE. The route is served by the chartered 120-unit Anglia Seaways which has accommodation for 12 drivers.

As for the remaining newbuild pair, they are scheduled for delivery from FGS during the first half of 2012 and deployed on yet-to-be announced routes. Like the new quartet, the same number were ordered of the 'P' class which entered service from 2008 onwards which included Clipper Pace and Clipper Panorama which currently operate 22 weekly sailings on the Warrenpoint-Heysham route.

Seatruck also operate Clipper Ranger and Arrow on Larne-Heysham sailings, where they each provide a capacity of 65 units and offer driver accompanied traffic with accommodation in en-suite cabins.

Published in Ferry
# FERRY NEWS- Next month, Seatruck Ferries will introduce Seatruck Progress, the first of four new 5,300dwt 'Heysham'-max freight-only ferries, on the Dublin-Liverpool service, according to a report in LloydsList.com
Seatruck Progress was launched in August from the FGS Flenberg Yard in Germany, she has a capacity for 150 units, 35 more than the central corridors existing 'P' class sisters Clipper Point and Clipper Pennant with the extra lane metres totalling 2,166m coming from a fourth deck.

The older sisters will both be replaced when the second newbuild Seatruck Power (for previous report click HERE) comes on stream in mid-February 2012.

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Launching of M.V. Seatruck Power at FGS, Germany

Seatruck, which claims 20% of the Irish Sea market compared to just 3.7% in 2004, says it will transport 300,000 units in 2011 on its four routes: Dublin-Liverpool, Dublin-Heysham, Warrenpoint-Heysham and Larne-Larne. With the introduction of the newer larger vessels, Seatruck is aiming at the 45% of Irish Sea freight market that is still driver-accompanied.

Alistair Eagles, MD of Seatruck (Irish Sea) says that his company's share of unaccompanied freight volumes is set to grow in 2012, although the total Irish Sea ro-ro market is set to remain static next year, but better than a 1% decline in 2011.

Mr Eagles said: "We believe that our sector of the market — freight-only unaccompanied — will continue to grow. By offering pure freight services we can keep the costs down relatively lower compared with the combined passenger and freight ferry operators.

"We are seeing a switch away from driver-accompanied shipments because hauliers can save quite a lot of money."

Seatruck also benefited from a radical shake-up on the Irish Sea ferry market, with largescale withdrawals of capacity by DFDS and other changes, notably taking over the Dublin-Heysham route in February, to read more click HERE. The route is served by the chartered 120-unit Anglia Seaways which has accommodation for 12 drivers.

As for the remaining newbuild pair, they are scheduled for delivery from FGS during the first half of 2012 and deployed on yet-to-be announced routes. Like the new quartet, the same number were ordered of the 'P' class which entered service from 2008 onwards which included Clipper Pace and Clipper Panorama which currently operate 22 weekly on Warrenpoint-Heysham sailings.

Seatruck also operate Clipper Ranger and Arrow on Larne-Heysham sailings where they each provide a capacity of 65 units and offer a limited number of driver accompanied traffic accommodation in en-suite cabins.

Published in Ferry
The first of four freight-only ferries for Irish Sea operator Seatruck Ferries was launched last week according to The Motorship.
Measuring 18,920 gross tonnes the Seatruck Progrees built by Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft (FSG) in Germany is due for delivery in November with the final newbuild scheduled for completion in June 2012. The vessels are 142m long and have a width of 25m and with 2,166 lane metres, capable of carrying over 150 commercial vehciles spread across four decks.

The quartet of Heysham-Max class vessels are the largest ever vessels built to operate from the Cumbrian port which has determined the length of the new ships. Despite the restrictions imposed by the dimensions of the port, the optimum cargo-load of the newbuilds were achieved by positioning the deckhouse forward so to guarantee un-hampered loading of the upper decks.

Propulsion is from two MAN 7L48/60CR main engines of 2 x 8,000kW providing 21 knots. The powerplant is designed to meet rigorous emission and fuel consumption demands, according to FSG managing director Peter Sierk.

Published in Ferry
Diplomat, the original ferry that started operations for Celtic Link Ferries in 2005 has been sold to Indian ship-breakers after serving a spell on charter in the Caribbean, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Since leaving the Rosslare-Cherbourg port route in late 2009, the Diplomat has run between Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) and San Juan (Peurto Rico) for Marine Express. For more click HERE. The freight-ferry was built by Hyundai Heavy Industries in Ulsan, South Korea in 1978 and she was the final 'Searunner' class of 11 ordered by the Stena Rederi.

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.

Published in Ferry

It may just be another cruiseship visiting Dublin Port today, but the gleaming white painted Costa Marina started her career in complete constrast as a grey-hulled containership, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The cruiseship has some unusual hull design features indicating clues to her origins as the containership Axel Johnson (click PHOTO) notably the pronounced chine bow (horizontal-lines) still clearly visible under her name when launched in 1969 at the Oy Wärtsilä shipyard in Turku, Finland.

She was the leadship of five sisters of over 15,000 tonnes ordered by her Swedish owners, Johnson Line. The next sister completed, Annie Johnson was also converted into a cruiseship and she too serves Costa Cruises as their Costa Allegra.

Axel Johnson measured 174m in length and was fitted with two deck-mounted gantry-cranes to handle containers. Her design even catered for passengers but was limited to just four-persons compared to today near 800 passenger capacity and an increase in tonnage to 25,500. To see how she looks now click PHOTO

Her Scandinavian owners sold the vessel in 1986 though it was not until 1988 that the containership came into the ownership of her current owners Costa Cruises who converted the vessel at the Mariotti Shipyard in Genoa. Two years later the ship emerged as the Costa Marina (to see another click HERE).

She has nine decks which feature restaurants, bars, jacuzzis, pools, gym, treatment rooms, sauna, an outdoor jogging track, theatre, casino, disco and a squok club with PlayStation entertainment. Accommodation comprises for 383 cabins including 8 suites with private balcony and a crew close to 400.

Costa Cruises were founded in 1924 but they are a relative newcomer to Dublin. The vessel departs this evening from Ocean Pier bound for the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik. To view the ship's web-cam click HERE (noting to scroll right down the page).

Costa Marina and indeed larger cruiseships may in the future relocate upriver to berths much closer to the city-centre, should proposals by Dublin City Council take pace. In order to boost tourism numbers a dedicated new cruiseship terminal could be built at a site close to the O2 Arena and East-Link bridge.

The site at North Wall Quay Extension is currently in use by ferry operator P&O (Irish Sea) for their ro-ro route to Liverpool. To read more in a report in yesterday's Irish Times click HERE.

Published in Cruise Liners
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Fastnet Yacht Race 

This race is both a blue riband international yachting fixture and a biennial offshore pilgrimage that attracts crews from all walks of life:- from aspiring sailors to professional crews; all ages and all professions. Some are racing for charity, others for a personal challenge. For the world's top professional sailors, it is a 'must-do' race. For some, it will be their first-ever race, and for others, something they have competed in for over 50 years! The race attracts the most diverse fleet of yachts, from beautiful classic yachts to some of the fastest racing machines on the planet – and everything in between. The testing course passes eight famous landmarks along the route: The Needles, Portland Bill, Start Point, the Lizard, Land’s End, the Fastnet Rock, Bishop’s Rock off the Scillies and Plymouth breakwater (now Cherbourg for 2021 and 2023). After the start in Cowes, the fleet heads westward down The Solent, before exiting into the English Channel at Hurst Castle. The finish is in Plymouth, Devon via the Fastnet Rock, off the southern tip of Ireland.

  • The leg across the Celtic Sea to (and from) the Fastnet Rock is known to be unpredictable and challenging. The competitors are exposed to fast-moving Atlantic weather systems and the fleet often encounter tough conditions
  • Flawless decision-making, determination and total commitment are the essential requirements. Crews have to manage and anticipate the changing tidal and meteorological conditions imposed by the complex course
  • The symbol of the race is the Fastnet Rock, located off the southern coast of Ireland. Also known as the Teardrop of Ireland, the Rock marks an evocative turning point in the challenging race
  • Once sailors reach the Fastnet Rock, they are well over halfway to the finish in Plymouth.
  • The lighthouse first shone its light on New Year’s Day in 1854
    Fastnet Rock originally had six keepers (now unmanned), with four on the rock at a time with the other two on leave. Each man did four weeks on, two weeks off

At A Glance – Fastnet Race

  • The world's largest offshore yacht race
  • The biennial race is 605 nautical miles - Cowes, Fastnet Rock, Plymouth
  • A fleet of over 400 yachts regularly will take part
  • The international fleet is made up of over 26 countries
  • Multihull course record: 1 day, 8 hours, 48 minutes (2011, Banque Populaire V)
  • Monohull course record: 1 day, 18 hours, 39 minutes (2011, Volvo 70, Abu Dhabi)
  • Largest IRC Rated boat is the 100ft (30.48m) Scallywag 100 (HKG)
  • Some of the Smallest boats in the fleet are 30 footers
  • Rolex SA has been a longstanding sponsor of the race since 2001
  • The first race was in 1925 with 7 boats. The Royal Ocean Racing Club was set up as a result

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