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A new Cork Harbour ferry has been launched to Spike Island to coincide with the opening of a major new exhibition there, and it's hoped these initiatives will lead to a rise in tourist visitor numbers writes Bob Bateman.

The ferry, named after the island, can accommodate 126 passengers and will be operated by Doyle Shipping.

As Afloat previously reported, the number of visitors to Spike Island has risen to 25% so far in 2019, with the operation of a new, larger-capacity ferry just one of a number of developments at the Cork Harbour destination. 

Ferry Spike IslandThe Ferry crossing Cork Harbour Photo: Bob Bateman

The new ferry will run alongside the existing ferry, ‘Bryan J’, which carries 80 passengers, and thus increase the throughput of tourists to the 104-acre island.

Doyle Shipping has carried passengers to the island for the past 60 years. They have included army and navy officers, sitting Taoiseach, and famous criminals like Martin Cahill.

The Bryan J Ferry to Spike IslandThe busy Bryan J Ferry also operates to Spike Island Photo: Bob Bateman

Ferry at CobhEmbarkation at Cobh Photo: Bob Bateman

Published in Island News
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In the next phase of Gothenburg’s drive to connect its residents with a seamless citywide low emission commuting network, a Volvo Penta-powered electric ferry service is being introduced into the ElectriCity transport ecosystem.

Building on the growing success of Gothenburg’s ElectriCity project, an all-electric ferry service is to be added to the City’s existing electric bus service. The electric marine propulsion system is being provided by Volvo Penta, who joins the initiative following the success of sister company’s Volvo Buses – a leading partner in the ElectriCity project – having supplied the buses to the Route 55 electric bus route in Central Gothenburg and the electric articulated buses on Route 16. Aimed to be the model of future clean urban development, the new electric-powered ferry will link both sides of the Göta River.

Gothenburg’s ElectriCity partnership is a collaboration between industry, academia and local government. It involves developing, testing, demonstrating and evaluating solutions that will contribute to the establishment of new, sustainable, attractive transportation systems and open up new opportunities for future travel, transportation of goods and urban planning. Using electric power in public transport systems helps to resolve problems such as noise and poor air quality, as well as lowering energy use and the impact of transport on the climate.

Powering up electric waterways

While Gothenburg’s waterways already feature ferries powered by electricity, in the form of diesel-electric engines, these operate on short routes across the river. ElectriCity’s Volvo Penta-powered electric vessel, meanwhile, will be the first fully-electric ferry in the city able to complete longer, multi-stop routes along the river, and ultimately incorporate quick charging capabilities.

The opening of the route is part of a longer-term plan to introduce more clean energy ferry solutions and the development of a marine demo arena. Cities around the world are often built around waterways and connecting on-road with on-water sustainable transport in a unified traffic system is a final objective.

The ferry – Älvsnabben 4 – will be converted into the all-electric drive at the hands of Volvo Penta, in collaboration with Västtrafik’s operator, Styrsöbolaget, part of Transdev. The work involves removing diesel engine-powered marine drivelines and replacing them with a battery-electric propulsion system of equal power to the outgoing diesel powerplant, but one that boasts considerably more maximum torque. Initially, the ferry will be charged overnight, supported by an onboard genset running on HVO.

The current plan is for the refit to get underway early next year, with the target of the ferry entering commercial service on the Göta river by the end of 2020.

“We fully support ElectriCity’s ambition to bring Gothenburg to life by connecting people across the city in a sustainable way,” explains Björn Ingemanson, President of Volvo Penta. “Volvo Penta has an advantage when it comes to electromobility. As part of the Volvo Group, we have access to the technology and expertise from many years of development with electric buses in the city of Gothenburg, where aspects like safety and efficiency have been at the forefront. Now, we aim to adapt this leading technology for use in a marine environment, bringing the benefits of proven technology into a new context.”

Clean. Efficient. Connected. City

Gothenburg is one of the world’s most progressive cities when it comes to addressing climate and environmental issues. The city currently has the highest ranking in the 2019 Global Destination Sustainability index. Ongoing initiatives such as the Volvo Penta-powered electric ferry service will, over time, form an integrated part of Gothenburg’s long-term clean energy transport infrastructure.

“Västtrafik is aiming to reduce CO2 emissions by 90 percent before 2035. To reach this goal large-scale electrification of all our city services is crucial. This ElectriCity initiative is an important step in the right direction, and we are looking forward to adding the Volvo Penta fully electric ferry to our transport system”, says Camilla Holtet, director of development at Västtrafik.

Published in Ferry
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Is a new ferry route coming to Dun Laoghaire Harbour? After an absence of three years or more there is more than the usual level of a rumour circulating at the south Dublin Port that a regular passenger service could be coming back after the recent break in what – until 2015 – was a continuous 200–year service from Dun Laoghaire.

Insiders say that they are 'very confident' a ferry service can be reintroduced but for now, the new harbour owners, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, are tight-lipped in a statement to Afloat.ie about any plans concerning a ferry or its proposed routing.

As regular Afloat.ie readers will know, Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company was dissolved on the 3rd October 2018 and transferred to Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council under the Harbour Act, 2015.

An Afloat.ie source told Afloat.ie last week a new ferry deal is 'in discussion' but, unfortunately, no other details are forthcoming.

A shipping industry told Afloat.ie the only viable ferry berth now available in the harbour would be Berth Number Four that has a linkspan to accommodate small ships. This is the berth adjacent to St. Michael's Wharf, at the old ferry terminal, next door to the Royal St. George Yacht Club.

The 200-year-old Harbour and its tenants are now in a period of transition and have to address a number of issues not least the state of repair of the harbour and also the financial standing of the Company. Final accounts must be presented to the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government and laid before the Oireachtas. This must be completed within six months from the 3rd October 2018.

The Council met last week with harbour tenants and explained to them that it is applying for European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The hope is that the Council, the second biggest in the country, can bring some financial muscle to bear to restore the Victorian structure that suffered so badly in storms last March.

In a statement, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council told Afloat.ie that 'All proposed projects, including any potential ferry service, are being reviewed against this background'.

Published in Ferry
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#BelfastLough - An evacuation of passengers according to ITV News from a ferry took place after a report that a “device” had been left on board.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland said the Belfast to Liverpool service was held in the Northern Irish capital while the vessel was searched.

At around 12.50am on Sunday, the PSNI said no device was found and passengers were allowed to re-embark.

For more including a statement tweeted by the police click here. 

Published in Belfast Lough

#FerryNews - An option to build a seventh and eighth of the E-Flexer ro ro class has been decided by Stena.

The two vessels will be deployed within the ferry company's route network with a planned delivery in 2022. Additionally, Stena RoRo has taken an option on the construction of a further four E-Flexer vessels also to be built at Avic Weihai Shipyard, China.

“We are very pleased to have ordered two additional E-Flexer vessels from Stena RoRo. We foresee increasing demand for freight capacity in Northern Europe and our new vessels fit very well in matching anticipated market developments as we prepare ourselves for further expansion. At this stage we haven’t decided where within our route network these two vessels will be deployed and are currently evaluating several options,”says Niclas Mårtensson, CEO Stena Line.

The new order and the four further options are important milestones for Stena RoRo.

“These vessels are the result of good cooperation between Stena RoRo and the AVIC Weihai Shipyard. With their strong design capabilities, Stena Line will be able to optimise its capacity to accommodate the vessels within most parts of its route network,” says Per Westling, MD Stena RoRo.

As with the previous E-Flexer vessels ordered by Stena, energy efficiency and sustainability will be key design features.

“We want to lead the development of sustainable shipping and set new industry standards when it comes to operational performance, emissions and cost competiveness,” says Niclas Mårtensson.

The two new ships on order will be larger than the three E-Flexer designs currently being built for Stena Line. The first three E-Flexer ships will be 215 meters long with 3 100 (lm) lane meters whilst the next two ships will measure 240 meters with a freight capacity of 3 600 lane meters.

“We are building on our successful RoPax concept mixing freight and passenger traffic. Through standardisation we can secure a reliable operation and by investing in tonnage that is flexible we can provide an even better product that will ultimately support our customers and help them to grow,” said Niclas Mårtensson.

A total of eight E-Flexers have now been ordered by Stena from Avic Weihai Shipyard in China. The first one is planned to operate on Holyhead-Dublin (in early 2020) and the next two delivered are planned to operate on the Liverpool-Belfast service. Three other vessels will be chartered out to external ferry operators by Stena RoRo.

Facts about E-Flexer 7 and 8

Length over all (LOA): 239,7 m

Width: 27,8 m

Draught, max: 6,4 m

Pax capacity: 1200

No of cabins: 263

Capacity: 3 600 lm

 

Published in Ferry
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Cape Clear Island has a new fast ferry. The MV Bremenholm has been brought from Norway by the Cape Clear Ferry Company.

Announcing its arrival the company said that it is capable of up to 20–knots speed and is intended initially for the Schull to Cape route in West Cork.

“Permission will be sought from the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht to use it on the Baltimore-Cape Clear Island route as well,” the company said in a statement. It has a crane and cargo capacity of 6 tons, with high quality passenger accommodation, airline style seating, large saloon windows, air conditioning, saloon and other features.

“Our company is committed to on-going improvements in all aspects of the Cape Clear Island Ferry Service. We hope that this vessel will prove the concept of a fast ferry service for the future. There are a number of steps needed to re-register this vessel with the Irish Marine Survey Office following which more details will become available regarding passenger numbers and other matters. This investment represents a very significant upgrading of the ferry services in West Cork.”

Published in Ferry
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Dublin Port Company has published its latest trade figures showing growth of 4.2% to the end of Q3 2017. Overall, volumes in Dublin Port have grown by 30.1% in just five years.

A continuation in the current pace of growth would mean a third successive record year for Dublin Port.

Summary of YTD September 2017 Trade Statistics

Gross tonnes

Q3 2017

Q3 2016

% change

Imports

16.0m

15.4m

3.5%

Exports

11.2m

10.6m

5.2%

Total Throughput 

27.1m

26.0m

4.2%

Ro-Ro units

736,462

699,361

5.3%

Lo-Lo TEU

515,718

495,511

4.1%

Ferry passengers

 1,496,025

1,460,585

2.4%

Tourist vehicles

 411,921

400,949

2.7%

Cruise ships

127

103

23.3%

Trade vehicles

73,252

77,494

-5.5%

Total throughput (imports and exports) for the nine months to the end of September was 27.1 million gross tonnes, with 5,932 ship arrivals during the period.

Consecutive Growth over the past five years

This is the fifth year in a row for Dublin Port to see substantial growth in the first nine months.

Trade Period

% growth
year on year

Q3 2013

3.1%

Q3 2014

7.2%

Q3 2015

5.8%

Q3 2016

6.8%

Q3 2017

4.2%

New Ro-Ro Service

Growth was particularly strong in Ro-Ro freight with 736,462 units in the first nine months, an increase of 5.3% on the previous year. Within this total, Ro-Ro services between Ireland and Britain grew strongly at 6.2%. Elsewhere, Lo-Lo containers grew by 4.1% to 515,718 TEU.

As Afloat.ie previously reported, In a new development, Dublin Port Company has confirmed that it will welcome the maiden call of CLdN’s mv Celine at the end of October.  Her arrival will provide additional capacity and flexibility for customers trading with markets in Continental Europe, particularly post BREXIT.

Celine will operate between Dublin Port and the ports of Zeebrugge and Rotterdam.  With a capacity of 8,000 lane-metres, Celine can carry over 600 freight units and is approaching twice the size of the largest ferry currently operating from Dublin Port.

The volume of new imported trade vehicles through Dublin Port declined by -5.5% during the period, reflecting the large increase in recent times of second-hand vehicle imports from the UK.

Ferry & Cruise Tourism Growth

Tourism volumes on ferries grew strongly in the first nine months, with passenger numbers ahead by 2.4% to 1.5 million. Cruise tourism is also growing in Dublin with 127 cruise ships calling in the first nine months of what is already a record year for Dublin Port.

Eamonn O’Reilly, Chief Executive, Dublin Port Company, said: “Dublin Port’s volumes continue to grow strongly. It is clear that the trend of year on year increases that we saw in the decades before the crash of 2008 has returned.  We have now seen five years of consistent growth and each of the last three years has been a record year. 

“Notwithstanding the uncertainty generated by BREXIT, Dublin Port has seen Ro-Ro freight volumes on routes to Britain grow by 6.2% over the first three quarters of 2017 with ferry passenger numbers growing by 2.4%.  

“We are increasing the capacity of the port on the basis that growth will continue for many years to come.  Work is continuing on our first major Masterplan project, the Alexandra Basin Redevelopment (ABR) Project. 

“We are seeing increasing demand for direct freight services to Continental Europe.  The introduction by CLdN of the 8,000 lane metre Celine will greatly increase the capacity on direct services to Continental Europe.  BREXIT is creating a lot of uncertainty and the introduction of the new ship shows the shipping sector beginning to provide additional capacity to create more options for importers and exporters.  We expect to see more new services to Continental Europe during 2018.

“Before year end, we will commence construction of a bridge over the Covanta and ESB cooling water outfall on the Poolbeg Peninsula now that the construction of the waste to energy plant is complete.  This bridge will bring unused port lands on the Poolbeg Peninsula into use and allow us to increase the capacity of our berths on South Bank Quay.  This is the first step towards the ultimate development of all Dublin Port lands on the Poolbeg Peninsula under our Masterplan 2012-2040. 

“We welcome the recognition in the recently approved Planning Scheme for the Poolbeg West SDZ that port lands are for port uses.  This follows on from the recognition in the draft National Planning Framework of the importance for the country of the continued addition of port capacity in Dublin.”

Published in Dublin Port
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Irish Ferries has chosen W. B. Yeats as the name for its new €144 million cruise ferry now being built in Germany for service on routes between Ireland, UK and France. The name was chosen after it had drawn ‘strong support’ from the public in an online competition that attracted nearly 100,000 entries.

According to a spokesman: ‘it was clear from the poll that there is widespread public affection for W. B. Yeats, due in the main to the magnificence of his writings and his contribution to Irish society, theatre and the arts generally’.

Acclaimed as one of the greatest poets of the 20th century and one of Ireland’s foremost literary figures, W. B. Yeats was born in Dublin and educated in Ireland and London.

Recipient of a Nobel Prize for Literature, he helped to found Dublin’s Abbey Theatre. Amongst the poems for which he is most fondly remembered is ‘The Lake Isle of Innisfree’, a composition inspired by his many holiday visits to Sligo, where, in a churchyard beneath Ben Bulben, his remains now rest.

The decision by Irish Ferries to name their new vessel W. B. Yeats is one that continues the tradition adopted by the company of selecting names drawn from the world of Irish literature.

Commenting, its managing director, Andrew Sheen said: “In choosing W. B. Yeats from the many whose works are revered by Irish people and students of literature the world over, we have selected one that will give the new vessel its own distinct identity and stir memories of a poet who is held in high esteem by so many, here and abroad”.

In addition to the weight of public support that W. B. Yeats received, operational factors that influenced its choice included the importance of picking a name that would have a high degree of public recognition and appeal in those overseas markets into which the vessel will operate and from which Ireland draws a significant volume of its tourism and trade.

Ships’ registration, regulation and other operational and legal aspects also ranked amongst the factors that needed to be considered, as was the desire to choose a name that would sit comfortably alongside those other great literary figures whose names adorn other vessels in the Irish Ferries fleet.

Noting that W. B. Yeats is one that will need no introduction to people across the world, Andrew Sheen said: “It is a name that will convey a sense of the magnificence and grandeur that passengers can expect when travelling on our new vessel, sailings of which are expected to commence on the Dublin – Holyhead and Ireland – France routes from mid-Summer next year”.

When built, the W. B. Yeats will have space for 1,885 passengers and crew, 1,200 cars and 440 cabins including luxury suites with their own private balconies. Other facilities will include a Club Class lounge with direct passenger access from the car decks, á la carte and self-service restaurants, cinema, shopping mall, choice of bars and lounges and exclusive areas for freight drivers. Pet owners will also be comforted in knowing that dedicated facilities for pets are also being provided on board.

Noteworthy in the context is that Sandymount, where Yeats was born, is located on the city’s southern coastline from where residents can look out upon the shipping channel into Dublin port along which the vessel that will bear his name will sail.

Leitrim woman wins free travel for life after suggesting Yeats’ name

The choice of W. B. Yeats as the name for the new vessel has proven to be a lucky link for Co. Leitrim woman, Lee Maxwell from Manorhamilton. Living close to Yeats’ beloved Co. Sligo, Lee’s good fortune in being chosen from the huge number of participants who suggested the poet’s name is said by Irish Ferries to be proof of what a ‘magical’ choice the name W. B. Yeats is. Picked from the thousands who shared her choice, Lee’s prize of free travel for life will be presented to her shortly.

Published in Ferry
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A 15 carat gold and ivory launching axe for the Irish ferry S.S. Ulster, is under the hammer on Wednesday at Bonham's Marine Auction in London. The ceremonial axe has a fluted ivory shaft, gold terminal inscribed "ULSTER" / launched at / BIRKENHEAD / 27th June 1896, it is 8in (20cm) long. The guide price is €700 - 930.

According to Bonhams, the passenger ship, Ulster, built by Laird Bros. in Birkenhead, was launched by the Duchess of Abercorn on 27th July, 1896. Registered at 2632 tons, Ulster replaced an earlier ship of the same name for the City of Dublin Steam Packet Co. She was withdrawn from service in 1920 and broken up in 1924.

More here

Published in Ferry
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#IrishSea - “Averse conditions in the Irish Sea” have prompted the cancellation of six Irish Ferries sailings between Dublin and Holyhead tomorrow (Friday 23 December), as The Irish Times reports.

Passengers scheduled to travel from Dublin on the 8.45am and 10.45am ferries are advised to catch the 8.05am departure instead, while afternoon travellers are asked to make their trip later on the 8.05pm or 8.55pm sailing.

Those coming from Holyhead at 11.50am, meanwhile, will be accommodated on the next sailing some two hours later, though late afternoon travellers will have to wait till the early hours of Saturday morning (24 December).

The cancellations come as Storm Barbara sweeps in from the North Atlantic across the north of Scotland, bringing with it a high risk of stormy weather conditions in the coastal counties of Connacht and Ulster.

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.

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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