Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

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Displaying items by tag: Channel Islands

It's refreshing for a change not to report on numerous big ships dubbed 'Brexit-Busters' that involve ro-ro freighters, ferries and containerships, but to focus on the smallest regularly calling cargoship to Dublin Port, writes Jehan Ashmore.

In fact having observed this cargoship's calls to the capital becoming more frequent last year and the first arrival in 2022 took place recently when the diminutive ship of just 870grt in question, the cement-carrier Ronez arrived into the port on Sunday, 2nd January. 

This followed a passage from Great Yarmouth, in the UK and when in Dublin Bay a pilot from the cutter DPC Tolka transferred to the cargoship close to The Muglins off Dalkey. On board is an international crew of seven who work a 6-hour shift, then a rest for another 6 hours.

It was due to the New Year's Day Bank Holiday held on Monday, that the Channel Islands based cargoship had to occupy a 'lay-over' berth in Dublin Port upon arriving the previous day. 

The lay-over involved the Ronez berth at the North Wall Quay Extension, close to the Tom Clarke (East-Link) Toll-Bridge. The cement-carrier remained there until shifting berths downriver to Ocean Pier, but not until the Wednesday.

On this occasion, Ocean Pier was where cement-products were loaded as exports for the Channel Islands, can otherwise take place opposite along the south bank at the Deepwater Berth. The ship's operator, Ronez Ltd, supplies the Islands also with aggregates, ready-mixed concrete, asphalt and precast concrete products.

As for cargoship's operations are concerned, Ronez is a self-pneumatic discharging vessel which can carry around 950 tonne of cement in two holds. This within the ship whose overall dimensions are as follows: length of 62.19m and on a beam of 10.03m.

So indeed this is a very small ship, yet the UK (Exeter) registered Ronez plays an important role carrying cargoes for the Channel Islands and in the trading of Irish cement exports.

Ronez this year marks a milestone as 2022 represents 40 years in service having been built in 1982 at the shipyard of Scheepswerf van Goor Monnickendam BV, in the Netherlands.

The cargoship also harks to an era of coasters that used to ply more so into Dublin Port until arguably in the main up to the late 1980's? This was at a time when observing such activity in a personal capacity led to logging a record of shipping movements and now includes use of AIS.

Also for a vessel of this vintage, Ronez has surprisingly kept its original name despite several ownerships, among them Huelin-Renouf Shipping that in late 2010, chartered-in the then brand newbuild Irish flagged Huelin Dispatch from Dundalk Shipping.

The Irish owned short-sea trader continued for other C.I. operations until 2013 but now is currently in Spanish waters while at anchorage off Algerciras in the Bay of Gibraltar.

Back to the Channel Islands where Ronez Ltd has island based operations at the Les Vardes Quarry and Vale Castle in Guernsey, where also the Ronez is based from its homeport of St. Sampson's Harbour. This is also where other operators import fuel and bulk-cargos to the small port that is nearby of St. Peter Port, the island's capital. 

In addition, Ronez's run the St John’s Quarry in Jersey and so offers combined a range of construction materials for clients.

Quarrying activity on the Channel Islands, can be traced back to 1869 and continue to serve the island’s needs for quarried stone. Ronez has grown and developed the company over the years to produce precast materials, ready-mixed concrete, asphalt and undertake contracting services.

Another aspect for Ronez is the cargoship's importation to the Channel Islands of ground granulated blast-furnace slag (GGBS). Both cement and GGBS is transferred from the 500 tonne silo terminals in the Islands to the concrete and concrete-products manufacturing facilities.

Returning to Ronez in Dublin Port from where when the ship was laden with cement departed on Saturday morning at 06.30hrs. Some two days later to arrive in Guernsey having berthed at 11.30hrs in St. Sampson's South Commercial Quay. 

Upon discharging cement, the coaster would be kept busy again as the ship last night made a passage to St. Helier, the capital on neighbouring Jersey.

The early hours inter-island passage was completed just shy of six hours using the 10-knot powered vessel's Stork Werkspoor main engines. This saw the ship arrive today just after 05.30hrs at St. Helier's Victoria Pier

So where will the next port of call be? for this small yet hard-working veteran vessel. 

Published in Dublin Port

Ships come and go and at times sisters can be in Irish Port waters at the same time albeit apart and also serving different owners as in an example of today, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The ship's been the Alsterdiep (2008/2,954grt) which is currently at anchorage in Dublin Bay on the eastern seaboard. Whereas the newer 2009 built but slightly smaller sister, Vitality of 2,984 gross tonnage is located on the opposite west coast while docked in the Port of Galway. (See: related story of Norwegian flagged ship averted from disaster).

Alsterdiep is operated as part of the Hartmann Group with global offices among them a headoffice located in Leer, Germany. The vessel had sailed from Shoreham, an English Channel port and is awaiting in the bay to enter Dublin Port this evening to Alexandra Basin.

The Vitality formerly the Allerdiep, a similar name of the Alsterdiep as suggests had served the same German shipping group until almost a decade ago when renamed in September, 2010. 

Both the ports in Dublin and Galway are almost virtually on the same latitude and just short of 220kms in distance apart based on a route taken on the M6 motorway.

This main national road connecting the capital and the 'City of the Tribes' is from where the coastal cargoship Saoirse Na Mara was also in port. Albeit this former Norwegian flagged vessel uses the Outer Pier exclusively serving the Aran Islands trade of a Government awarded contract to Lasta Mara Teoranta to provide the cargo service.

As for Vitality is operated from waters closer to home compared in the case of Alsterdeip, as the former ship is controlled in the neighbouring UK. This is where Faversham Ships Ltd (coastal town in Kent) operate a fleet. The shipowner is actually based in East Cowes, Isle of Wight with an associate company based in the Netherlands.

Vitality had sailed from Liverpool 'light' (without cargo) to the Irish mid-west port as Afloat confirmed with the City of Galway Shipping Agency, which was established almost a century ago in 1921. The cargoship had been loading limestone and as scheduled departed this evening and is bound for Ayr in south-west Scotland.

Ahead in Galway Bay was the aforementioned Saoirse na Mara (1980/597grt) which this evening is bound for Inishmaan, located between the other two Aran Islands.

A fleetmate of Vatality the smaller Valiant (1993/1,512grt), Afloat spotted back a few years ago while operating on the English Channel as an inter Channel Island routine ship operating on behalf of Channel Seaways, part of Alderney Shipping.

The Poole-Channel Islands operator competes with Channel Island Lines based out of Southampton where the Irish flagged short-sea trader Huelin Dispatch of Dundalk Shipping was chartered but this has ceased. Earlier this year the ship however returned to Irish waters to receive a routine dry-docking in Rushbrooke, Cork Harbour. 

Afloat today tracked Huelin Dispatch (2012/2,597grt) in UK waters having departed Tees and is bound for Hull also on the North Sea and beforehand of recent months Norway among Scandinavian waters. The short-sea drycargo ship was built by the Dutch Damen shipyard group and to their own Combi Coaster 3850 design which has proven popular for ship-charterers. The design has also favoured Faversham Ships with a quartet in service following the introduction in 2018 of the Ventura which joined the Vedette, Beaumont and Musketie.

Another cargoship docked in Galway and opposite of Vitality in the lead in channel to Dun Aengus Dock proper is Wilson Calais (2001/2,994grt) which has been to Galway before and on one occasion to discharge wind-turbine blades. The current call of the Norwegian ship's operator, Wilson Management of Bergen saw them deploy the vessel make a short coastal passage around Co. Clare from Limerick Docks, a voyage duration taking almost 12 hours.

Scrap metal was loaded onto the Wilson ship which acquired a pair of Arklow Shipping 'R' class dry-cargoships this year. 

Afloat will have more to report on the relationships of such shipping links as highighted to showcase the shipping scene in domestic waters, the Irish Sea and neighbouring waters of the UK and those of the Channel Islands.

Published in Irish Ports

English Channal operator, Condor Ferries (which Brittany Ferries acquired as part of a consortium) has become the first international ferry company to be recognised for steps taken to safeguard passengers, employees and crew against Coronavirus.

The accreditation has been awarded by DNV GL, the world’s leading classification society, which has audited Condor’s safety management systems, communications material and other measures introduced since March of this year. The assessment recognises the efforts of the company in safeguarding crews and essential passengers carried on its freight ships. (among them above ropax Commodore Clipper. See related cargo: 'Jersey Royal' potatoes).

Elwyn Dop, Condor’s Operations Director, said: “This is a very positive and important endorsement of our unrelenting effort to ensure the right safety protocols are in place to ensure the delivery of lifeline services to the Islands. I would like to thank the team for their meticulous planning and attention to detail which has led us to being recognised in this way.”

“Ensuring the health and safety of their crews and passengers is a priority for ferry operators. The DNV GL’s COVID-19 Statement of Compliance was developed to help these companies demonstrate that they have adopted effective COVID-19 measures, as their services are now running again after the lockdown. We are pleased to award Condor with this international accreditation and to ensure that their ferries continue to operate in the safest conditions,” says Torgeir Sterri, West Europe Regional Manager, DNV GL – Maritime.

Condor, which sails from Poole and Portsmouth to the Channel Islands and St Malo, France, has welcomed more than 5,600 passengers onboard its ferries since services resumed earlier this month, with customers reassured by the new safety measures put in place. The company has received many compliments and positive feedback.

The ferry firm introduced a range of measures due to Covid-19 including an enhanced hygiene procedure which increases the frequency of cleaning in line with up-to-date international guidance and all staff issued with additional Personal Protection Equipment.

Other protocols comprised of mandatory face coverings for all passengers aged over 11, self-service for food and beverage, floor-distancing markers and protection screens installed plus contactless payments for shopping onboard. At all ports, passengers are notified to check in earlier than usual to ensure safe embarkation.

These measures have been successfully used on Condor’s conventional and high-speed passenger services from the UK and France.

Among the high-speed craft Afloat adds is the Austal-built Condor Liberation which entered service in 2015. 

In addition for ferry enthusiasts Afloat reflected on Condor Freight's predecessor Commodore whose 70th anniversary freight operations included a ro-ro ferry that previously was chartered to Irish Sea operator B+I Line in 1981.

Published in Ferry

Channel Islands operator Condor Ferries has been sold to an investment consortium involving Brittany Ferries, ending months of speculation.

The French ferry operator reports ITV News, have acquired a 25% stake alongside new majority owner, Columbia Threadneedle Investments.

The current owners, Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA) announced they have reached an agreement with the new owners to take on 100% of Condor Ferries.

Contracts have been signed and the deal is expected to be finalised following scrutiny from regulatory bodies.

The company carries 1 million passengers between Guernsey, Jersey, the UK and to St Malo in Brittany.

More here on this ferry development. 

For coverage of Condor/Commodore's 70th anniverary in 2017 click here. 

Published in Brittany Ferries

Brittany Ferries is reportedly considering buying Channel Islands based operator Condor Ferries.

The French company which operates ferries between the UK, France and Spain, has confirmed to ITV News an announcement is expected later today (yesterday, 24 June).

The owner of Condor Ferries, Macquarie, announced last year it was looking for buyers for the operator which sails between the UK, Channel Islands and France.

French media have reported Brittany Ferries has received a mandate from its shareholders to come up with a purchase plan, but that it would be reliant on other co-investors.

Macquarie purchased Condor Ferries in 2008 for an undisclosed sum thought to be around £260m though today has declined to comment on the development.

Speaking last year, when the prospect of a sale emerged, the CEO of Condor Ferries, Paul Luxon, said a sale would have no effect on the operation of the ferry service.

Afloat adds the fleet of Condor comprises of two high-speed ferries, a conventional ferry (Commodore Clipper) in addition to a freight-only ferry.

Published in Ferry

#ferrycharter - Condor Ferries only conventional tonnage ferry on UK-Channel Islands service, Commodore Clipper recently resumed service before the English half-term break having spent over a month in dry dock in Cornwall, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Whilst Commodore Clipper was away on planned maintenance at A&P Falmouth, passenger services were maintained by fastcraft Condor Liberation. As for freight commitments they were covered by the chartered Manx registered Arrow, a ro-ro freight-only ferry.

The stern-loading Douglas registered Arrow is itself on charter from Seatruck Ferries, that acts as a relief ferry and backup support vessel for the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company. Their Ben-My-Chree (see Belfast and related Larne berthing trials stories) is a smaller version of Commodore Clipper.

The biennial dry-docking of Commodore Clipper included a £2.7m refit which was completed last week with resumption of scheduled overnight sailings from Guernsey (St. Peter Port) and Jersey (St. Helier) to Portsmouth with a daytime return.

The Arrow however currently remains serving the Channel Islands as Condor's freight-only ferry Commodore Goodwill entered dry dock last week for routine and remedial repair work.

As for the extensive work undertaken of the Commodore Clipper, this involved a major servicing of the ferry's port main engine and gearbox, ride control system, alternator and overhaul of the ship’s shaft seals. In addition life-saving equipment, monitoring and alarms systems were also repaired and upgraded.

Paul Luxon, Condor’s CEO, confirmed that the refit on 'Clipper' was part of a fleet-wide investment by the company to maintain lifeline services for the Islands.‘All of our ships require regular repairs and servicing for us to provide year-round freight and passenger operations and this is the order of £7.5 million annually. The work alone on Clipper, which is undertaken every other year, costs around £2.7 million. ‘

Mr Luxon added that passengers will also notice some improvements on board. ‘We have refurbished the lounge and restaurant and parts of the vessel will also be repainted. I am delighted that our recently launched Wi-Fi service will also be available on Clipper following installation of the necessary satellite equipment.’

Annually, Condor Ferries which asides UK routes also operates services to France, carries more than 1 million passengers and 200,000 passenger vehicles. The fleet carries 100,000 freight vehicles into the Channel Islands each year as well as exporting tonnes of local produce. As previously reported on Afloat, among such produce the 'Jersey' royal potatoes, see story.

Condor's second high-speed craft Condor Rapide in addition to the aforementioned freightferry Commodore Goodwill operates on the French service out of St. Malo, Brittany.

Published in Ferry

#WhichIslands - If this photo reminds you of a tropical escape, you’re not alone! Research has revealed that, on average, almost 80% of Brits mistook photographs of the Channel Islands for the Caribbean, New Zealand and other exotic destinations around the globe.

In the survey, commissioned by Channel Islands’ operator Condor Ferries, respondents were asked to identify where in the world they thought a series of photographs were taken, with the likes of Croatia, Portugal and Italy being just some of the locations included. Notably, only 15% of 18-24 year olds recognised the Channel Islands, with 45-54 year old respondents performing the strongest, but still with only 25% on average guessing the locations correctly.

Justin Amey, Head of Marketing at Condor Ferries, commented: “We were amazed to see that over three quarters of people living in the UK didn’t recognise the Channel Islands. The results just go to prove that you don’t have to go a long way to enjoy a beautiful holiday destination. The Channel Islands are just right for people who want a break without the pain of a long haul flight.

“The Channel Islands are just a stone’s throw away from the UK mainland and are becoming increasingly popular as holiday makers opt for more accessible breaks, with no luggage restrictions, exchange rates and airports to worry about. The Channel Islands strike the perfect balance between offering an easy to get to destination and world-class scenery, with stunning beaches, fine food, walks and towns to discover.”

Named as the warmest place in the British Isles, the Channel Islands are perfect for enjoying safe, sandy beaches on a summer break. Travelling by sea also means passengers can pack everything they need into their car, including the family pets, all whilst enjoy a getaway without the worry of baggage restrictions.

Last year, over 130,000 people travelled to the Channel Islands by fastferry and conventional (see The 'Potato' ferry) .This number is set to increase as staycations are predicted to become more popular*.

Justin added: “This survey shows that there are still many people living in the UK who aren’t aware of how stunningly beautiful the Channel Islands are, which is something we are working to change, in partnership with the Tourism Boards on the Islands. We would encourage anyone looking to book their summer holiday to consider Jersey or Guernsey, and they’ll see for themselves that you can feel like you’re in the Caribbean but still be on the doorstep of mainland UK.”

Demand is already high for Condor Ferries’ spring and summer crossings operating from Portsmouth and Poole. In addition to French services out of St. Malo, Brittany.

Published in Ferry

#Farm2Ferry – The flow of famous food from the Channel Islands to Portsmouth International Port, the UK’s second busiest ferryport, has taken root as the season for Jersey Royal potatoes began at the end of March.

The seasonal export involves transporting the ‘Royals’ on board Condor Ferries. This requires ro-ro freighter Commodore Goodwill and ropax ferry, Commodore Clipper, pictured above in St. Helier, Jersey, by Afloat’s ferry correspondent Jehan Ashmore who also had taken a crossing Ben-My-Chree (similar to the 'Clipper') operated by the Isle of Man Steam Packet. See captain interview.

The legendary Channel Islands vegetable has been grown for the last 130 years and is so special it has been granted EU protection, much in the same way that Champagne has in France.

Between 30,000 - 40,000 tonnes of the delicious Jersey Royal potatoes are harvested annually, with the vast majority shipped to Portsmouth. It is an important export for Jersey, and a crucial crop for the twenty or so farmers who specialise in growing the potatoes in the island’s fertile soil.

As the Jersey Royal potatoes began their journey to England, in the opposite direction, a delicious and delicate cargo supply of chocolate Easter Eggs make the return trip. Most of the Easter Eggs bound for the Channel Islands has been sent from Portsmouth this year, making a vital contribution to celebrations and aides the tasty potato is another addition to a balanced diet!

Despite their close proximity to mainland France, up to 80% of all produce consumed and used on the Channel Islands is shipped from Portsmouth on Condor Ferries services. Along with temperature controlled food products, a vast array of other goods are shipped from Portsmouth every day to the Channel Islands. These include drink, clothing, furniture, cars and building products and equipment - in fact all the necessities of modern life.

Each night between 35 and 40 refrigerated trailers depart Portsmouth on board Commodore Goodwill, with another 10 or more on Commodore Clipper’s daytime ferry service. This ferry makes a first call to St. Peter Port, Guernsey, then onwards to St. Helier, Jersey. The return crossing from the largest of the Channel Islands is an overnight passage directly to Portsmouth.



Published in Ferry

Following the launch at the Southampton Boat Show today, World Cruising Club has announced entries are now open for ARC Channel Islands 2016.

More than 50 people gathered at the RYA lounge to learn more about the new rally taking place in August 2016. Run in association with RYA Active Marina, ARC Channel Islands offers a mix of preparation advice and support from a lead boat, combined with a cruise-in-company and social activities ashore.

Premier Marina in Gosport will host the start of ARC Channel Islands 2016 with a welcome supper, safety checks and Skippers Briefing organised before the fleet set sail for the first leg to Cherbourg on Saturday 20 August. Following the full day sail, rally yachts arrive in the French port to celebrate a successful Channel crossing with a welcome reception to share their experiences, and crews will have the following day to explore the town and visit the local market. After the passage to Cherbourg, the distances between stopovers are between 30-50nm as the rally visits Jersey, Guernsey and Alderney; the days are planned to combine pleasant sailing with time to explore ashore and meet up with other crews over a rally meal or sundowner on arrival. The overall route and daily schedule is adaptable for prevailing weather conditions and rally staff will be on hand throughout to deliver the shoreside programme, including an island tour of Guernsey and visit to the WW2 Military Hospital, as well as a ride on the Alderney railway. The fleet will return to Gosport following an overnight sail from Alderney, and conclude the rally with a farewell dinner on Saturday 27 August.

Crews joining ARC Channel Islands will receive the peace of mind of being part of an organised event; enjoying social and sightseeing activities with others in the fleet along with time to independently explore. The entry fee includes all berthing for the duration of the rally, GPS satellite tracking of each yacht, the support of a lead boat and World Cruising Club staff on hand throughout the rally.

Aside from the focus on safety and support, there is a comprehensive social programme encouraging the camaraderie between crews to quickly develop during the rally. RYA membership is included in the entry fee for those not already members and discounts are available for existing RYA members.
Guy Malpas, RYA Yachting Development Manager, said: "The RYA Active Marina scheme aims to help boat owners gain more from their boats, and this rally is an excellent opportunity for both novice and experienced sailors to hone their skills on a challenging but enjoyable passage. We are pleased to be supporting this rally, and hope it is encourages more people to get afloat and use their boats."

Due to space restrictions, ARC Channel Islands is limited to 25 boats and places will be allocated on a 'first come, first served basis'.

Published in Cruising
Tagged under

#LiberationLaunch – The countdown is finally over as Condor Ferries launched state-of-the-art fast ferry, Condor Liberation with the first official sailing yesterday from Poole to the Channel Islands.

The 880 passenger car-carrying trimaran had called to Guernsey (St.Peter Port) and Jersey (St. Helier). In addition the maiden voyage was an opportunity to reveal the company's new branding of a livery scheme sporting new colours as she headed out of Poole Harbour, Dorset.

Amid much fanfare the 102m fast-ferry set sail on her inaugural sailing, where local schoolchildren and ferry enthusiasts joined the Mayor of Poole, Councillor Peter Adams at Baiter Park to watch the newcomer depart across Poole Harbour, past Brownsea Island and Sandbanks Peninsula.

Representing £50 million investment, Condor Liberation is the first of her kind in Northern Europe, and marks a new era in sea travel. The Austal 2010 built craft trimaran (three hull) design offers greater stability and better sea-keeping abilities, providing a smoother ride for passengers.

Commenting on the maiden voyage, Alicia Andrews, Executive Director – Commercial at Condor Ferries, said: "Today marked a very important milestone in the history of Condor Ferries. We are very excited to welcome Condor Liberation into service and delighted to see the huge crowd gathered at Baiter Park to help us celebrate this momentous occasion".

Since her 10,500 nautical mile delivery voyage into Poole on Boxing Day as previously reported on, Condor Liberation has undergone an extensive customisation programme. This has involved installing a new Duty Free shop, children's play area, a range of eating and drinking outlets plus a choice of three new seating lounges, to include two upgrade areas.

For a video of Condor Liberation on berthing trials, click here to see the trimaran approaching Jersey's St. Helier Harbour.

The Channel Islands operator now in their 51st year also have another fast-ferry, the InCat 86m built, Condor Rapide that serves the Guernsey to France route, using the Breton port of St. Malo.

In addition to running Commodore Clipper, a conventional car, passenger and freight carrying vessel that offers an all-weather, year round Portsmouth to Guernsey and Jersey service. adds that the 500 passenger / 100 car/ 92-trailer ferry is fresh from refit. She had completed a 10-day call at A&P Falmouth from where she returned to service only last weekend.

In addition to all the publicity centred on the Condor Liberation, Afloat will later also be focusing on the role of Commodore Clipper.

Since the introduction of Commodore Clipper in 1999, the ferry has brought countless holiday makers to the Channel Islands. Plus the ferry serves as an integral lifeline for residents on the Channel Islands and the link to mainland UK.

Published in Ferry
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