Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Displaying items by tag: RoPax

The €40m acquisition of DFDS Seaways by Stena AB through its subsidiary Stena Line (UK) Ltd last December has been approved by the Irish regulatory authority, though its UK counterpart awaits a decision, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The Irish Competition Authority's clearance of the proposed transaction sees Stena Line (UK) Ltd acquire the sole control of vessels, related assets, inventory, employees and contracts relating to passenger and freight ferry services operated by DFDS A/S.

Of the two services, the Belfast-Liverpool (Birkenhead) is for passengers and freight while the and Belfast-Heysham port route is exclusively for freight-only users. To read more about the decision from the authority click here.

In February the UK's Office of Fair Trading (OFT) referred Stena AB's acquisition from DFDS A/S to the Competition Commission, conclusions on the report are not expected to be made until 25 July. To read more about the merger click here.

In the meantime the Belfast-Liverpool (Birkenhead) route continues trading under the name of Stena Line Irish Sea Ferries Ltd which is separately operated to Stena Line's other Irish Sea routes.

Sailings on the 8-hour route are run by the Italian built 27,510 tonnes ro-pax twins Lagan Seaways and Mersey Seaways which have been in service since the newbuilds were launched in 2005.

As the acquisition remains subject to regulatory clearance, passengers intending to travel on the route can continue to make bookings through the DFDS Seaways website by logging onto this link.

In addition the acquisition involved the sale of the South Korean built freight-ferries Hibernia Seaways and Scotia Seaways which operate Belfast-Heysham sailings.

Published in Ferry
A former Irish Sea freight ferry which was originally named with an equine-theme, returned to the Dublin-Liverpool port route yesterday and coincides with this Saturday's Aintree Grand National, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The entry of the chartered Norman Trader onto P&O (Irish Sea's) Dublin-Liverpool route retraces her career as the 1998 built ro-pax vessel Dawn Merchant which was used on the same route to start a rival service in 1999. She was soon joined by sistership Brave Merchant to operate the route run by Merchant Ferries which named the vessels after the well known racing thoroughbreds 'Dawn Run' and 'Dancing Brave'.

Dawn Merchant and Brave Merchant represented the first pair of the 'Racehorse' class quartet of ro-pax sisters commissioned for the Cenargo Group. The quartet were built by Spainish shipbuilders Astilleros Espanoles SA in Seville, noting the first pair at 22,046grt where slightly smaller in tonnage terms compared to their 22,215grt counterparts Midnight Merchant and Northern Merchant. Upon delivery in 2000 the second pair were chartered to Norfolkline's Dover-Dunkerque route.

With a 130 truck capacity the Norman Trader can handle a marginally higher number of freight vehicles compared to the Norcape which handled 127 trucks. The Norcape, a 32-year-old freight-only vessel,was stood down in February and remains laid-up at Liverpool's Huskisson Dock. Incidentally, Norman Trader has joined one of her Racehorse class sisters, European Endeavour (formerly Midnight Merchant) which had directly replaced the Norcape on the central corridor route.

Likewise the European Endeavour is no stranger to the Irish route as for the last two years she has acted as winter relief vessel to cover the refits of the routes Dutch built ro-pax sisters Norbay and Norbank. The latter vessel is now undergoing a refit by Cammell Laird Shiprepairers in Birkenhead, now that the Norman Trader is in service to maintain the three-ship operated 8-hour route.

The Norman Trader had arrived into Dublin Bay last Friday from London's Tilbury Docks, on the next day she entered Dublin Port. In recent years she has operated on English Channel routes for the French shipping giant Louis-Dreyfus Armateurs through their ferry division LD Lines.

Norman Trader's (Dawn Merchant) sister Brave Merchant now renamed Norman Bridge also runs for LD Lines 'Motorways of the Seas' (MOS) route across the Bay of Biscay between Nantes /St. Nazaire to Gijón in northern Spain. The 14-hour route which started last year, which was run iniatially as a joint venture between Grimaldi Lines and Louis-Dreyfus and traded as GLD Atlantique.

Published in Ferry
In the same week that Irish Continental Line (ICG) Group released end of year figures for 2010, their subdidiary Irish Ferries recorded a near 8% rise in passenger volumes and an announcement of a 10 year deal to continue operating on their south Welsh route, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Irish Ferries will maintain running the Rosslare route to Pembroke Dock for the next decade in an agreement signed with the Milford Haven Port Authority. The Pembrokeshire port provides docking and terminal facilities and the decade long contract secures the employment of 60 terminal staff.

The St. Georges channel crossing carries over 300,000 passengers and 80,000 freight annually and is served by the 34,031grt Isle of Inishmore. The ro-pax can handle 2,200 passengers, 802 cars / 152 freight trailers and is scheduled to two daily round trips, on a route that take nearly five hours.

The 1997 Dutch built vessel was first launched onto the central corridor route between Dublin-Holyhead but was transferred to the southern service after the introduction of Ulysses in 2001.

Rosslare-Pembroke Dock sailings only began in 1980, firstly operated by the B+I Line which competed with rival operators Sealink / British Rail (now Stena Line) on services running out of Fishguard.

This route was well established having started operations in 1906 and in an era when the railway companies (in this case the Great Western Railway) developed and owned the ports plus the operation of shipping services on the Irish Sea.

Published in Ferry
22nd February 2011

Enter European Endeavour

As the ro-pax European Endeavour enters the Mersey tonight, the 22,125grt vessel will mark her first round trip as the latest addition on P&O (Irish Sea) Liverpool-Dublin route, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Built in 2000 the vessel can take 130 lorries and has a larger passenger capacity for 210 passengers compared to the existing route's 17,464grt ro-pax sisters Norbay and Norbank. The Dutch built sisters can handle 150 trucks and 114 passengers.

The European Endeavour will enable P&O to offer up to three Ro-Pax style sailings a day on the 7.5 hour route instead of the previous two-plus one Ro-Ro (freight-only operated) service. The 180m vessel is no newcomer on the route as over the last two years the ship has deputised to cover the annual overhauls of the routes' vessels.

The Spanish built vessel directly replaced the Ro-Ro freight ferry Norcape, which made her final sailing on the central corridor route, with the 1979 built vessel berthing at Liverpool's Huskisson Dock in the early hours of Sunday morning. Norcape could take 125 drop trailers but only had 12-passengers cabins (for freight accompanied truck-drivers).

Only last year the Japanese built vessel returned to the Irish Sea route as the Norcape but originally started a career with the B+I Line as their Tipperary on the Dublin –Fleetwood route. The UK port was switched to Liverpool in 1988, in the following year she was sold to North Sea Ferries.

The standing down of the Norcape represents the last vessel of the former B+I Line fleet to have any association with the Irish Sea. In 1991 the Irish state owned shipping company was sold to Irish Continental Group (ICG) which is a parent company of Irish Ferries. At that stage Irish Ferries operated only on the continental routes to France.

To read more about Norcape's final sailing on the Irish Sea route, click here.

Published in Ferry
The ro-ro freight-ferry Norcape departed Dublin Port this evening for what is believed to be her last sailing operating under the colours of P&O (Irish Sea) and in which the 1979 built vessel originally served a career with B+I Line as the Tipperary, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Replacing the 14,087gross tonnes vessel is the 22,152grt ro-pax European Endeavour which is expected to enter service next Tuesday. The vessel built in 2000, can take 130 lorries and has a larger passenger capacity for 210 passengers compared to the existing route's 17,464grt ro-pax sisters Norbay and Norbank.

This will enable P&O to offer up to three Ro-Pax style sailings a day on the 7.5 hour route instead of the previous two-plus one ro-ro (freight-only operated) service. The Norcape could take 125 drop trailers but only had 12-passenger cabins (for freight accompanied truck-drivers).

Norcape was only re-introduced onto the Irish Sea last year but made her final departure tonight as the vessel headed into a foggy Dublin Bay.

In 1979 the Japanese built vessel was launched as the Puma for P&O but was chartered to B+I Line and renamed Tipperary. During the 1980's the vessel first operated a then new Dublin-Fleetwood route jointly operated with P&O, alongside Tipperary's Ro-Ro sister, Ibex. The P&O brand name Pandoro cleverly stood for P and O Ro, their roll-on roll-off freight division. 

TIPPERARY

Cut-away deck profile of M.V. Tipperary and sistership of M.V. Ibex

The route's UK port switched to Liverpool in 1988 with Tipperary remaining on the route until sold to North Sea Ferries in 1989 and renamed Norcape. Prior to her transfer to the North Sea, the Tipperary collided with the 4,674grt bulker Sumburgh Head off the entrance to Dublin Port on 18 February 1988. For a report and photo taken of the two vessels which met at the port last year under different names click here.

Like the Tipperary the Sumburgh Head was built in Japan too by Hashihama Zosen KK, Imabari in 1977, yard no. 624. During her Dublin Bay incident, the vessel was owned by Christian Salvesen (Shipping) Ltd based in Edinburgh.

In 1990 she was sold to Barra Head Shipping Ltd and renamed Hood Head under the Irish flag. Three years later sold again to the KG Jebsen group and renamed Husnes.

The Panamanian flagged bulker remained with the Norwegian owner until 2003 when sold to her current owners, Wilson Shipowning AS of Bergen and renamed Wilson Tana, this time under the Maltese flag.

Published in Ferry
17th February 2011

Celtic's French Ferry Figures

Single-route ferry operator, Celtic Link Ferries transported 60,000 passengers, despite last year's challenging economic conditions, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Of that figure, some 48,000 were tourist passengers and the balance of 12,000 accounted for freight accompanied truck-drivers on the Rosslare-Cherbourg route. The thrice weekly service also handled over 50,000 vehicles between tourist and freight lorries.

Operating the route is the 2008 built ro-pax Norman Voyager, at 26,500grt, the vessel has a larger passenger capacity for 800 and additional facilities compared to the previous vessel, Diplomat. In addition the newer Italian built vessel has space for 200 cars and 120 trucks. The ro-pax has a service speed of 22.9 knots is claimed to be the fastest ship serving on the direct routes to France, taking 18-hours.

In 2005 the Wexford based company took over the route from P&O (Irish Sea) and continued to offer what was primarily a freight-only service served by the existing route vessel, the 16,776grt European Diplomat. The vessel was also sold to Celtic Link and renamed Diplomat and could only provide a limited passenger certificate for 74, which was mostly taken up by truck-drivers.

With the introduction in December 2009 of the chartered Norman Voyager from Meridian Marine Management, the Diplomat was laid-up in Waterford (click here). The 1978 built vessel was then chartered by Celtic Link to trade in the Caribbean Sea.

Published in Ferry
The Port of Cork Company has announced that it is unlikely that the proposed new ferry service to Spain will commence in March, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The port authority has advised those waiting to book their holidays on the planned Cork-Gijón route, instead go ahead and make a booking with other ferry operators. 
Existing Cork based ferry services are provided by Fastnet Line to Swansea, with the first outward bound sailing from Cork on 5 March. The port also serves the continent with a Brittany Ferries outbound seasonal sailing on the Roscoff route resuming on 2 April.  

In addition to services running out of Rosslare operated by Celtic Link Ferries and Irish Ferries and the alternative option of landbridge connections to Europe via the UK.

In the meantime, the Port of Cork will continue to be in dialogue with potential operators and investor's, however in the current climate it is proving more challenging to establish the service. Yet both the port authorities in Cork and Gijon remain committed in establishing the first direct Irish-Iberia passenger ferry route, with an update on the Spanish service due in early June.

Since 2008 the port authorities of Cork and Gijón, through the Promotion of Short Sea Shipping and Co-Operation with Small Medium Enterprise's (Proppose) an EU Inter-Reg project, have conducted feasibility studies into the service.

Interest in the service to date, has shown interest from Brittany Ferries, P&O Ferries and Transfennica, a Scandinavian based operator. It was envisaged that a ro-pax type of vessel would operate the 24-hour route to Gijón in Asturias, the region which forms part of Spain's northern 'Green' coast.

The route across the Bay of Biscay would be an attraction to freight hauliers, saving mileage and reduced fuel costs in addition avoiding a weekend ban to trucks travelling through France.

Last summer the ro-pax Norman Bridge started a new route between Nantes / St. Nazaire (Montoir-de-Bretagne) and Gijón, operated by GLD Atlantique. This route received support through the EU 'Motorways of the Seas' (MOS) programme to divert vehicle traffic from congested road-infrastructure and transferred to designated shipping routes, using larger and faster ro-pax vessels.

The route's opening was marked with a declaration signed by Dominique Bussereau, the French Minister of State responsible for Transport and his Spanish counterpart Magdalena Alvarez of the first of two Franco-Spanish MOS concept routes, starting with the 14-hour GLD Atlantique service.

Published in Ferry

The Dublin Seaways, one of the two ro-pax sisters that served DFDS Seaways Dublin-Birkenhead route, which closed down last month, has been sold to Stena Line, writes Jehan Ashmore.

DFDS Seaways sold the 21,856grt vessel to Stena North Sea Line for €24m. Stena operate the Killingholme-Hoek van Holland and Harwich-Rotterdam routes though it remains uncertain as to where the 1997 built vessel will be allocated to or possibly chartered.

Only last month, Stena entered into an agreement that offers their freight customers to use DFDS Harwich-Esbjerg and Immingham-Esbjerg routes. In essence Stena buys freight capacity from DFDS vessels through a so called 'space-charter' arrangement. Stena will be marketing the routes under their own brand.

In the meantime the Dublin Seaways is temporary running on DFDS Seaways Rosyth-Zeebrugge route in a freight-only capacity. The Scottish-Belgium route ended taking passengers in mid-December. The North Sea route remains the only ro-ro freight service operating between Scotland and to the continental Europe.

The second ro-pax that served on the Irish Sea route, Liverpool Seaways made a final call to Dublin port on 31 January (click here for picture and related story) prior to sailing for Immingham. She subsequently sailed on a repositioning voyage to the Baltic Sea, initially to take up service on the Kiel-Klaipeda route though the vessel is due to switch to the Karlshamn-Klaipeda route from 21 February.

Liverpool Seaways will be reflagged to the Lithuania flag and will replace the existing route ro-pax vessel, Lisco Optima which transfers to the Kiel route. Incidentally the Lisco Optima (1999 / 25,206grt) like the former Irish Sea sisters was also built at the Visentini shipyard in Donada, Italy.

DFDS Seaways exit of the Irish Sea ferry market also included the closure of the freight-only Dublin-Heysham route served by the 13,704grt Anglia Seaways. It was expected that the vessel would be transferred also to the Baltic, but the vessel remains berthed in Avonmouth Docks.

Published in Ferry
The Anglia Seaways became the last vessel of the DFDS Seaways fleet to depart Dublin yesterday, following the official closure of the operator's Irish Sea services at the weekend, writes Jehan Ashmore.
In January DFDS announced the closure of the Dublin-Liverpool (Birkenhead Twelve Quays Terminal) and the freight-only Dublin-Heysham routes with the loss of 200 jobs to include 50 shore-staff based at the Irish terminal.

The ro-pax Dublin Seaways made a last crossing with a Saturday morning arrival at Birkenhead. After disembarking passengers, vehicles and freight traffic, the 21,856grt vessel immediately departed the Mersey for a short-term deployment on the company's North Sea Rosyth-Zeebrugge service.

Sistership, Liverpool Seaways also completed her last crossing to Birkenhead with an overnight Saturday sailing. This was the final scheduled sailing under DFDS Seaways ownership and marked the last foot-passenger crossing on the Liverpool route as rival operators P&O (Irish Sea) and Seatruck Ferries do not cater for this market.

The vessel returned to Dublin yesterday from Birkenhead; this was to facilitate the loading of drop-trailers and terminal based tugmasters (engine-driven truck/cabs) that tow unaccompanied trailers on the roll-on roll-off vessels. After a short turn around at the terminal, Liverpool Seaways departed Dublin, bound for Immingham. The UK east coast port is where DFDS operate an extensive freight route network across the North Sea.

DFDS_SEAWAYS

The ro-pax Liverpool Seaways and freight-ferry Anglia Seaways berthed in Dublin Port yesterday prior to sailing away from the Irish Sea. Photo Jehan Ashmore / ShipSNAPS

In addition the 13,704grt Anglia Seaways also docked in Dublin yesterday from Heysham to perform similar duties like the Liverpool Seaways. Several hours later, the 114-trailer capacity vessel set a southbound course past The Muglins, bound for Avonmouth.

DFDS cited its decision to exit entirely from Irish Sea sector due to the sharp decline in the Irish and UK economies in 2008 and 2009. The company suffered continuous losses on its remaining routes and the issue of over-capacity, particularly on the north Irish Sea.

Only last December, the Danish owned shipping operator sold its other two Irish Sea routes to Stena Line in a £40m acquisition deal. This is all the more remarkable considering DFDS Seaways purchased the previous route operator, Norfolkline's Irish Sea division of their four routes and seven vessels, in July 2010.

The sale to Stena covered the three terminals used on the Belfast routes to Birkenhead and Heysham, which is another freight-only service. In addition the acquisition involved the sale of the South Korean built freight-ferries Hibernia Seaways and Scotia Seaways; like the Anglia Seaways they were all former Norfolkline / Maersk Line vessels.

Interestingly the acquisition is to include the purchase of the chartered 27,510grt ro-pax sisters Lagan Seaways and Mersey Seaways. When the Visentini built sisters were completed at the Italian shipyard, they were placed on the Belfast-Birkenhead route in 2005.

On 1 December Stena Line UK Ltd acquired DFDS Seaways Irish Sea Ferries Ltd (since renamed Stena Line Irish Ferries Ltd). Although the acquisition of SL ISF by Stena Line has been completed and DFDS no longer owns SL ISF, Stena Line await formal approval from the Irish competition authority and the UK's Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to integrate SL ISF into the wider Stena Line business.

In the meantime during this transitional period, it is business as usual for customers using the Belfast-Birkenhead and Belfast-Heysham routes. Online bookings continue to be accepted on www.dfdsseaways.com or tel: (01) 819 2999 and in the UK tel: 0871 230 033

Published in Ferry
Foot-passengers will soon no longer have the choice in taking the ferry over to Merseyside, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The Dublin-Liverpool (Birkenhead) route, operated by DFDS Seaways which is due to close on 31 January, is the only ferry operator that facilitates the inclusion of foot-passengers between the Liffey and the Mersey. P&O (Irish Sea) cater only for passengers accompanied with their vehicles and freight-trucks. As for Seatruck Ferries this is primarily a freight operation, though a very limited number of spaces are available for cars (up to two people).

Closure of the Birkenhead route will see the withdrawal of the 21,856 grt Italian built sister-ships Dublin Seaways and Liverpool Seaways. There are a number of options being investigated as to where the ro-pax pair will go, they may be deployed on other DFDS Seaways routes or placed on a sale charter arrangement.

In addition the Danish-owned shipping company is to close the freight-only Dublin-Heysham route this month. The route is served by the 13,074 grt Anglia Seaways which has a 114-trailer capacity. The vessel is due to be transferred to the Baltic Sea, according to DFDS Seaways which also operates an extensive route network in the North Sea.

Unlike DFDS Seaways use of the double river-berth terminal at Birkenhead, on the Wirral Peninsula, P&O and Seatruck vessels navigate through locks into the extensive Liverpool Docks system. Interestingly all three operators use sister-ships with P&O running the Dutch built ro-pax's Norbank and Norbay and Seatruck Ferries Spanish built Clipper Pace and Clipper Pennant.

Published in Ports & Shipping
Page 2 of 3

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

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Associations

ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Events 2021

vdlr21 sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
https://afloat.ie/resources/marine-industry-news/viking-marine

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton
 

Please show your support for Afloat by donating