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Displaying items by tag: Belfast Harbour

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
A two-year title sponsorship deal has been signed by Irish Sea ferry operator, Stena Line and the ice-hockey team the Belfast Giants, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Next month the team are to play in a special pre-season game against the Nottingham Panthers at the Odyssey Arena as part of the Hockey Festival Weekend (27-28 August). Following the festival the 'Giant's will then play their first competitive game at the same venue against the Sheffield Steelers in early September.

Stena Line themselves will be looking forward to introducing their own giants when two of the largest ferries are to be introduced on the North Channel in the Autumn. The two chartered 30,000grt sisterships are Superfast VII and Superfast VIII. To see the vessel breaking through an an ice-flow, click PHOTO. The 203m long pair can take 1,200 passengers, around 660 cars or 110 freight vehicles. To read more about these 'Superfast' class vessels and the new £80 port terminal click HERE.

The company's area director Michael McGrath said: "It's quite fitting that we are teaming up with the Stena Line Belfast Giants at this time as we prepare to introduce two of the largest ferries every to sail between Northern Ireland and Scotland when we open our new route and port in Cairnryan this November. The two Superfast vessels will be another two Giants to add to our team."

Last year Stena Line made a £40m acquisition of the Belfast to Liverpool (Birkenhead) and Heysham routes and four vessels from DFDS Seaways. The deal was approved by the Irish authorities but remained subject to clearance from the UK's Competition Commission until late last month when they fully approved the acquisition.

This brings to six routes the company runs on its Irish Sea route network where over two million passengers were carried each year, more than its rival ferry operators combined.

Published in Ferry
Trade through Belfast Harbour has grown for the first time in three years, up 5.4% to 16.4m tonnes, according to the port's 2010 annual report, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The boost in trade figures at the Port of Belfast reflects rising tonnages which have assisted in an improved turnover, up 5% to £34.7m and profits before taxation stood at £17.4m.

The principle driver in the ports performance came from the agri-food sector with a record 2m tonnes of grain and animal feed imports. The sector also recorded fertiliser imports alone leap by 32%, reflecting the major investment by the harbour in recent years in the dry-bulk cargo trade.

Roll-on roll-off (Ro-Ro) accounted for a 2% rise to 313,000 vehicles carried, partly due to the introduction of newer larger tonnage on the Belfast-Heysham route.

Belfast Harbour Chairman, Len O'Hagan, said: "Although trading conditions in the UK and Ireland remain weak, the increase in tonnages handled by Belfast Harbour suggests that business confidence is starting to return, albeit slowly.

"Belfast Harbour continues to operate in a highly competitive port sector, but I am pleased to note that the £160m which the Harbour invested in new facilities during the past decade has enabled it to emerge from the downturn with new customers and a presence in new sectors such as renewable energy.

Capital investment in the port worth almost £6m were undertaken during 2010, including the purchase of a new mobile crane, a 10,000 sq ft expansion in logistics space and preliminary works to support the proposed development of an offshore wind turbine terminal for DONG Energy (click HERE). The combined capital expenditure in these projects is in excess of £60m.

Within the ports real estate, projects at the Titanic Quarter progress at the Public Record Office, Belfast Metropolitan College and the core attraction of the 'Titanic Belfast' visitor centre.

Master planning for the 24-acre mixed-use City Quays site adjacent to the Harbour Office was secured. In addition planning permission was lodged for a 230,000 sq ft of space at Sydenham Business Park on the south-eastern fringes of the harbour.

Further upstream closer to the city-centre at the Abercorn Basin, initial work had been completed on a marina where there are more plans for the development of a 250-berth full-service leisure facility.

Next Monday the port's cruise business is to welcome a new cruiseship, the 66,000 tonnes Marina of Oceania Cruises. The 1,250-passenger /800 crew newbuild's arrival to Belfast comes in a year that marks the thirteenth anniversary since the first liner docked in the city. In 2011 over 30 such vessels are due to visit bringing some 50,000 passengers and crew.

Published in Ports & Shipping
Dockers a play written by Martin Lynch and directed by Andrew Flynn is a vibrant recreation of Belfast's docklands set during the 1960's.
The play which is running at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast ends this Sunday at 7.45pm. Ticksts cost €5-€21.50 Tel: 02890 385685

Laced with whiskey, wit and ballsy humour, Dockers is a very Northern Irish play with a universal message. Working class hero John Graham struggles to bring equality and integrity to the brutal working environment of the Belfast docks.

As one man's idealism confronts the tribal politics of the docks, a sobering and shocking turn of events brings the play to a climactic ending. Lynch's critically acclaimed and popular play was first produced by the Lyric in 1981. For further information click HERE

Published in Boating Fixtures
Belfast Harbour's new corporate plan details investments worth £92m (€103m) in improving the port and supporting renewable energy.
Handy Shpping Guide reports that the single biggest investment in the three-year-plan is a £40m (€44.7m) scheme for a logistics terminal to support offshore wind farms in the Irish Sea.
While the port acknowledges that the economic downturn means only marginal growth is forecast for tonnages through the Port of Belfast, it says "significant opportunities" exist in diversitying into other sectors such as the 'green economy'.
Belfast Harbour commercial director Joe O’Neill says the corporate plan also "sets the framework" for future development and expansion of the port over the next 20 years.

Belfast Harbour's new corporate plan details investments worth £92m (€103m) in improving the port and supporting renewable energy.

Handy Shpping Guide reports that the single biggest investment in the three-year-plan is a £40m (€44.7m) scheme for a logistics terminal to support offshore wind farms in the Irish Sea.

While the port acknowledges that the economic downturn means only marginal growth is forecast for tonnages through the Port of Belfast, it says "significant opportunities" exist in diversitying into other sectors such as the 'green economy'.

Belfast Harbour commercial director Joe O’Neill says the corporate plan also "sets the framework" for future development and expansion of the port over the next 20 years.

Published in Ports & Shipping
27th January 2011

Belfast Harbour Trade Improves

Trade through Belfast Harbour is on the rise after a three-year drop, the The Corkman reports.
Cargo through the port rose by 5% in the last year to 16.5 million tonnes, following a 10% fall since 2007 due to the global economic crisis.
While passenger numbers have fallen slightly, 35 cruise ships carring 62,000 visitors docked in the last 12 months. Meanwhile, bulk cargo trade was up by 12%, and grain and animal feed trade broke the 2 million tonnes.
Salt shipments were also up my more than 200% due to the severe winter freeze.
The numbers will be good news to the Stormont Executive, which is expected to introduced a new levy on harbour trade to offset spending cuts.

Trade through Belfast Harbour is on the rise after a three-year drop, The Corkman reports.

Cargo through the port rose by 5% in the last year to 16.5 million tonnes, following a 10% fall since 2007 resulting from the global economic crisis.

While passenger numbers have fallen slightly, 35 cruise ships carring 62,000 visitors docked in the last 12 months. Meanwhile, bulk cargo trade was up by 12%, and grain and animal feed trade broke 2 million tonnes.

Salt shipments were also up my more than 200% due to the severe winter freeze.

The numbers will be good news to the Stormont Executive, which is expected to introduced a new levy on harbour trade to offset spending cuts.

Published in Belfast Lough

Twenty-year old sailor Tiffany Brien from Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club presented an £18,000 Paralympic sailing boat to local disabled charity Belfast Lough Sailability in Belfast Harbour today – the culmination of two years of fundraising by the 2012 Olympic hopeful.

The boat was officially launched today at Abercorn Basin, Titanic Quarter Belfast and was formally named 'Will Power' by Tiffany and Len O'Hagan, Chairman of Belfast Harbour. The significance of the name relates to a very close friend of Tiffany's, Will Doggart, who was paralysed last year following an accident. Will attended the launch today and has sailed in the new boat alongside Tiffany.

The 'Skud 18' sailing boat took two years to build in Australia and is the most high tech paralympic boat available. 'Will Power' is the first of its kind to arrive in Ireland and has already been committed to the goal of qualifying for the Irish Paralympic sailing team for the 2012 Paralympic Games - with local athlete Steve Frecknell hoping to compete for a medal. The boat will be the responsibility of Carrick based sailing charity Belfast Lough Sailability who will also use the boat to help disabled sailors to sail competitively in Northern Ireland.

Tiffany Brien began her fundraising campaign two years ago when she sailed 30 miles single-handedly across the Irish Sea from Portpatrick in Scotland to Belfast Lough raising a total of £18,400. Before launching the boat today she commented: "I am so excited to be sailing the new boat in Belfast Harbour today. It feels like I have been waiting for a long time for it to arrive. It is even more exciting that the Irish Paralympic sailing team has committed to using the new boat in their campaign for the 2012 Paralympic Games - fingers crossed it helps to bring a medal back."

Tiffany_Brien_Names_New_Vessel_-_2

Tiffany will also be hoping to bring an Olympic medal back to Northern Ireland as she is currently competing to represent Ireland in the Laser Radial Class at the 2012 Olympic Games.

Nigel Thompson, Chairman of Belfast Lough Sailability comments: "Everyone at Sailability is totally overcome with the sheer determination and generosity Tiffany has shown in her fundraising campaign. The arrival of the boat today is the culmination of the dedication and resolve demonstrated by this young lady when she sailed singled handedly across the Irish Sea. Not only will our Paralympic hopefuls benefit from this but many other disabled sailors in Northern Ireland will get to enjoy this exceptional boat - including Tiffany's friend Will, who hopes to become an active member of Sailability and a keen sailor. We would like to thank Tiffany sincerely and wish her the best of luck in her own Olympic campaign."

Belfast Lough Sailability is a "not for profit", volunteer-based charity which, through the activity of sailing, enriches the lives of people with any type of disability, the elderly, the financially and socially disadvantaged.

Belfast Harbour has been the principal sponsor of Tiffany's Sailability campaign. BTWCairns, Airtricity, Stena Line, Belfast Telegraph and Ulster Bank and Brook House Art & Design are associate sponsors.

Published in Olympics 2012
Page 7 of 7

The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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