Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

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Displaying items by tag: IOM Steam Packet

#FerryNews - The Manx public should have the chance to share in the fortunes of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company in the years to come.

That's the view of Ramsey Member of the House of Keys (MHK) Lawrie Hooper, following Tynwald's approval of government's proposal to purchase the ferry operator last Tuesday (15 May).

Mr Hooper speaking on Manx Radio said the public should be given the chance to invest in the company.

To listen to the MHK click here to the radio's audio link.

Published in Ferry

#FerryNews - Tynwald, the Manx Parliament made history as it voted to take the Isle of Man Steam Packet into public ownership.

According to IOM Today, following a three hour debate, Tynwald voted by 23 votes to one in the Keys and unanimously in LegCo to acquire the ferry company for £124.3m.

The only member to vote against was LibVan leader Kate Beecroft.

Under the deal, negotiated between Treasury and the Packet’s bank and hedge fund owners, government will acquire a 100% shareholding of parent company MIOM Ltd using £124.3m of cash reserves.

Some £76m will appear in the accounts as a loan.

Government will look at options to restructure that loan.

For further reading on the decision to acquire the ferry operator, click here.

Published in Ferry

#FerryNews - A state-owned Isle of Man Steam Packet would be better for passengers as well as the economy, the Manx Chief Minister believes.

Howard Quayle speaking on Manx Radio has advocated a government takeover of the company since he first stood for the House of Keys in 2011.

Tynwald will be asked on Tuesday to approve the use of reserves to purchase the Steam Packet at a cost of £124 million.

Mr Quayle says the deal will safeguard the Island's 'strategic sea services'.

To hear the Manx minister's comments on the topic, click here for the audio link.

Published in Ferry

#FerryNews - A shipping line that was set up by a businessman as a planned rival to the Isle of Man Steam Packet has poured scorn over the Manx government’s takeover plan.

As IOM Today reports, Kurt Buchholz founded the Ellan Vannin Line in 2013 in an attempt to launch a roll-on, roll-off daily cargo service between Douglas and Heysham.

But without government support, and no ship, it never got off the ground. He stood as a House of Keys candidate in Douglas Central in the 2016 general election.

Reacting to the announcement of the government's planned £124m deal to buy the Steam Packet, he said: ’The Steam Packet ships are close to scrap value with their age, about £15m.

For more on the story, click here.

Published in Ferry

#FerryNews - The main Isle of Man Steam Packet Company ferry, Ben-my-Chree departed Douglas for Merseyside where yesterday the ropax entered dry-dock in Birkenhead for its regulatory overhaul.

According to the operator, the ferry will undergo a scheduled three-week dry-docking which Afloat adds is taking place at marine engineering firm Cammell Laird. 

During the overhaul the chartered in freight-only MV Arrow will provide freight services.

As for ferry passenger services, fast craft Manannan will operate according to the schedule published last autumn.

Until May 8, sailings are scheduled to depart Douglas for Heysham at 08.00 and for Liverpool at 15.30, with the return sailings departing Heysham at 12.00 and Liverpool at 19.30. The only exceptions will be today (April 18) and April 25 when Manannan will operate the Belfast route instead of Heysham.

A coach service will be provided at Heysham to transfer foot passengers to and from Lancaster railway station.

Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘It is a regulatory requirement that Ben-my-Chree undergoes a technical overhaul.

‘This does mean the vessel is unavailable for three weeks, requiring some changes to our sailings during this period. We published Manannan’s revised schedule last autumn to give as much notice as possible and will assist foot passengers travelling onwards, via Heysham, by providing a coach to and from Lancaster station.

‘Freight services will be provided by MV Arrow, once again underlining the value to the Island of the significant investment we are making to retain the vessel.

‘Ben-my-Chree will be back soon, fully serviced and ready for another busy summer season.’

Published in Ferry

#FerryNews- An £80m planned redevelopment of Douglas Harbour, Isle of Man has nothing to do with a possible shake-up of ferry services, the Chief Minister has insisted.

Construction of an £11m cruise berth reports IOM Today, on the outer side of an extended Victoria Pier is the centrepiece of a three-year programme of works for the harbour area.

Others works include £14.83m upgrades to the Kind Edward VIII Pier, windfarm support vessel pontoons, new breakwater and revetment costing £17.22m and a pleasure craft slip and holding area costing £6.98m.

The final year will see an upgrade to the tanker berth costing £15.55m, and upgrade to the Victoria Pier ro-ro berth costing £10.56m and a cruise tender berth costing £4.23m.

A harbour strategy, approved by Tynwald this week, appears to indicate the government is laying the groundwork for a shake-up of ferry services.

For more on the redevelopment click here.

Published in Ferry

#Ferry - Ben-My-Chree, the ropax Isle of Man Steam Packet Company ferry completed 2017 with a reliability record of more than 99%.

Operating services throughout the year, Ben-My-Chree chiefly serves Douglas-Heysham crossings and weekend sailings to Birkenhead during the winter months. In addition the ropax operates seasonal services to Belfast and Dublin throughout the summer months. 

During the 2017 season Ben-my-Chree:

  • Operated 1,375 sailings, travelling more than 83,000 miles
  • Had a 99.49% technical reliability record, with only seven trips cancelled during 2017
  • Operated at 97.01% overall reliability, once weather cancellations are taken in to account
  • Main engines accumulated 10,685 running hours

Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘Once again Ben-my-Chree has served the Island well and had a great reliability record during 2017, with very few cancellations due to technical issues. Disruptions were mainly caused by weather including storms Aileen, Brian and Caroline during the latter part of the year.’

Ben-my-Chree is scheduled to go to dry dock for her planned biennial overhaul this year between 17th April and 8th May. The overhaul costing £1.6m will be spent in various areas both above and below deck.

While Ben-my-Chree undergoes the overhaul, Manannan will operate the morning sailings to Heysham, Cumbria departing at 0800hrs and returning from Heysham at 1200hrs.

Published in Ferry

#ferrynews - Plans to overhaul ferry services between Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man have been dropped writes BBC News after a three-week public consultation.

The Steam Packet Company had considered re-routing sailings (as previously reported on Afloat) to the port of Larne instead of Belfast Dock.

A spokesman said Larne could better accommodate heavier vehicles such as vans, motor homes and coaches.

Despite this, the consultation showed that passengers preferred the "convenience" of sailing to Belfast.

While the route will remain unchanged for the duration of 2018, the Steam Packet company said discussions will continue to improve facilities at Belfast.

"If those upgrades cannot be undertaken it will make sense for the Isle of Man if we look again at Larne to provide a service for larger vehicles", said company chief Mark Woodward.

Published in Ferry

#ArrowAway - Afloat has tracked down relief freight ro-ro Arrow which had been wintering in the Port of Larne but is currently operating UK-Dutch routes having been sub-chartered by the Isle of Man Steam Packet, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Arrow is owned by Seatruck Ferries but since 2014 has been on long-term charter to the Manx operator. This arrangement is to provide back-up support to ropax Ben-My-Chree when required. As for fast-ferry Manannan see related Larne coverage.

Stena Line have chartered the Arrow for services on the North Sea during dry-docking period of one of their largest UK serving ships. The giant 63,600 tonnes cruiseferry Stena Hollandica normally operates Harwich-Hoek van Holland route but is receiving work in Rotterdam's Schiedam district.

The southern North Sea route is also served by sister, Stena Britannica which can accommodate 1,200 passengers.

In comparison to the Stena Hollandica which can take 300 trucks, Stena announced the charter of a ‘small’ replacement vessel, in which Afloat can confirm is Arrow with its 84 truck capacity. Asides Harwich-Hook van Holland, Stena operates the following freight only North Sea routes of Killingholme-Hoek van Holland and Killingholme-Rotterdam (Europoort).

Stena added that on certain sailings (by Arrow) this may cause some constraints in terms of lane-meters and drivers capacity. As previously covered on Afloat, Stena last Autumn provided additional freight capacity, giving Irish hauliers more options on the ‘Landbridge’ routes to the Netherlands. This saw the Caroline Russ chartered to the operator and join Stena Scotia, a former Irish Sea freight-ferry.

Stena Scotia was introduced on the route the previous Autumn of 2014 as a complement to a pair of much larger ro-ro freighters, Stena Transit and Stena Transporter on the Hoek van Holland – Killingholme route.

Killingholme, Lincolnshire is a port located on the Humber estuary, further north of Harwich. Likewise of the Essex port this is a busy North Sea freight hub. On the opposite side of the estuary is Hull, again another major port but with passengers / freight services operated by P&O Ferries serving the Netherlands and Belgium.

Published in Ferry

#LiverpoolBerth - Before plans for a new landing berth in Liverpool for the Isle of Man ferries can go ahead, several questions must be answeered says TravelWatch.

The IOM Today writes that the passenger watchdog held a public meeting last Thursday when numerous issues were raised.

Infrastructure Minister Phil Gawne MHK has visited Liverpool to meet the city’s Mayor Joe Anderson to discuss plans to relocate the Steam Packet berth from its historic Pier Head location to make way for a cruise liner terminal. A new site to the north at Waterloo Dock has been earmarked for Manx ferries.

The proposed new landing stage will be almost half a mile away from the current one.

The cost of the move has been estimated at £15m, but Mr Gawne has described that figure as ‘ridiculously optimistic’.

For further coverage on plans for the ferry terminal relocation, click here.

Published in Ferry
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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.


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. 

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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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