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Displaying items by tag: Stena Line

Stena Line are to introduce two chartered sisterships in the Autumn to coincide with the opening of a £80m ferryport near Cairnryan, which is to replace Stranraer, as the new Scottish port for their route to Belfast, writes Jehan Ashmore.
At 30,285grt the sisterships Superfast VII and Superfast VIII will be the largest ferries to operate on the North Channel routes. The 203m long pair can take 1,200 passengers, around 660 cars or 110 freight vehicles.

Stena will lease the ferries for a three year period from Tallink, the Baltic Sea based shipping group. (Click here for photo of Superfast VIII in ice-flow waters). The charter arrangement includes an option to extend for a further year.

The distance between the new ferry terminal named the 'Loch Ryan Port' at Old House Point (which is just north of Cairnryan) is approx. 8kms apart from Stranraer taking the coastal (A77) road along the Loch that leads onto to Glasgow. At Cairnryan,  rivals P&O (Irish Sea) who along with predecessing operators have run services on the route to Larne for several decades.

With a speed of 27-knots, passage times on the new Stena Belfast-Cairnryan route will take 2 hours 15 minutes, this compares to the existing time of 2 hours 50 minutes from Stranraer by conventional ferry and 2 hours taken by the HSS fast-ferry.

As a consequence of Stena operating from Loch Ryan Port, passage times by the Superfast sisters will be reduced by 35 minutes as the Belfast terminal was also relocated in recent years. Though despite the relocated ferry terminals, the Superfast sisters scheduled 2 hours 15 minutes sailings from the new port will be slightly longer compared to the HSS Stena Voyager's 2 hour sailing time from Stranraer.

Also serving the Belfast Stranraer route are the conventional ferries, Stena Caledonia (formerly Sealink's St. David built at Harland & Wolff) and Stena Navigator, that served SeaFrance on Dover-Calais sailings as SeaFrance Manet. When the Superfast sisters replace the HSS Stena Explorer and the conventional ferries, perhaps there will be a new a role for the two vessels in replacing expensive to run fast-craft operated elsewhere.

In the meantime the Superfast pair will maintain running on Tallink's 26-hour Helsinki-Rostock until mid-August. The 2001 German will then undergo an extensive refit of passenger facilities and a new freight-only deck will be incorporated to cater for haulage operators increasing use of higher vehicles and double-deck freight units.

The 'Superfast' vessel naming theme derives from the original owners, Greek operator Superfast Ferries, which sold their Scandinavian operations to Tallink in 2006.

Published in Ferry

Stena Line's acquisition of DFDS Seaways Irish Sea services in December, has now been referred to the UK's Competition Commission by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

The £40m ferry deal for two routes, Belfast-Birkenhead (run by two chartered ro-pax ferries) and the Belfast-Heysham freight-only service, included two 114-trailer capacity vessels.

The Competition Commission is expected to submit its findings by the end of July while the Irish Competition Authority is also still investigating the merger. To read more about this, click the BBC report here.

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
DFDS Seaways recent announcement to close its operations on the Irish Sea this month is a major blow considering the Danish company entered the Irish-UK ferry market only six-months ago, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The Dublin-Birkenhead (Liverpool) and freight-only Dublin-Heysham service is to close at the end of this month. Up to 200 staff are to lose their jobs of which 48 are shore-based positions in Dublin Port. DFDS cite its decision to exit entirely from Irish Sea operations due to the sharp decline in the economies of both countries in 2008 and 2009 and the issue of over-capacity.

The routes represented a fifth of the freight market and will result in the withdrawal of the twin 21,856grt passenger ferry (ro-pax) sisters, Dublin Viking and Liverpool Viking on the 7-hour Mersey route and the 13,000grt freighter Anglia Seaways on the route to Lancashire.

In recent years, new tonnage notably in the form of four freight-only newbuilds commissioned for Seatruck Ferries on their Warrenpoint-Heysham and Dublin-Liverpool routes has added to intense competition in a crowded north Irish Sea ferry-freight sector.

The process to purchase Norfolkline's Irish Sea operations by DFDS Seaways was finally completed in mid-summer of last year. The acquisition saw the Scandinavian newcomer take control of four routes between Birkenhead-Belfast / Dublin and the freight-only Heysham-Belfast / Dublin services and a fleet of seven vessels, four (ro-pax) ferries and three freight-only vessels.

DFDS Seaways latest decision is all the more dramatic as the company in early December then sold both Belfast routes to Birkenhead and Heysham to Stena Line. In addition the £40m acquisition included the sale of the chartered 27,510 ro-pax sisters Lagan Seaways and Mersey Seaways and the 13,000grt freighter half-sisters, Scotia Seaways and Hibernia Seaways. The deal is significant in that Stena will make an inaugural foothold on the Merseyside market.

With the sea-changes swirling in the Irish Sea market, the dominant player is with out doubt Stena Line. The ferry operator closed late last year the Larne-Fleetwood route and three vessels (for more information about those vessels click here) yet the inclusion of the former DFDS Belfast-Heysham route is closely similar with neighbouring ports and newer larger vessels.

The acquisition by Stena of the loss making routes from DFDS last month also coincided with a review to be conducted by the Danish companies remaining Dublin routes to Birkenhead and Heysham. The findings of that review were concluded with this months' decision by DFDS to close down the routes, marking the Scandinavians operators brief foray on the Irish Sea ferry scene.

Published in Ports & Shipping

Plans to operate the first passenger-only ferry service between Northern Ireland and Scotland are scheduled to start in late May, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Kintyre Express is to operate a Ballycastle-Campbeltown service on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between 27 May and 26 September. Three daily return trips are scheduled on the service though the 1200hrs sailing from Campeltown and the corresponding 1400hrs sailing from Ballycastle will only operate on customer demand.

The passage time is scheduled to take approximately 1 hour 30 minutes between County Antrim and the Mull of Kintyre which is a distance of some 50 kilometres / 30-miles. Ticket fares for a single journey are £30 and the return is £55. On the remaining days that the route is not operated on, the boat is available for private charter.

In addition the new venture is to include an on-demand Campbeltown-Troon route running between April and September. This second service, linking Argyll with Ayrshire, will operate on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The journey time is somewhat shorter with a scheduled time of 1 hour 15 minutes. The on-demand service must be booked in advance with singles fares costing £50 and a return ticket at £80. For further information click www.kintyreexpress.com

Like the recent proposals announced for a passenger-only ferry service across Galway Bay click here, the Kintyre Express operation will also use a fast-ferry in the form of rigid inflatable boats (RIB). The two routes from Campeltown will be served by Redbay Stormforce 11 metre RIBS which have centrally heated fully enclosed cabins for about 10 passengers. The Redbay Boats are built in Cushendall, Co. Antrim, for further information about the type of RIB to be used on the new routes click here.

The Ballycastle-Campbeltown route will be unique in that it will be the sole passenger-only ferry operator serving between the island of Ireland and the UK.

When the second route opens between Campbeltown-Troon, the company will be able to provide their boat service linked in with a train journey to Glasgow which they claim can be completed in less than two hours. Trains between Troon and Glasgow Central Station operate every 30 minutes and with a journey time of approximately 40 minutes.

For those who are car-free and time-free, this most northerly of travel routes is arguably the most scenic way to travel between Northern Ireland and Scotland and will appeal also to the intrepid traveler.

On both ferry services bicycles are carried for free and currently there is a special offer with all ferry tickets that can also be used for a free-day pass on the local Kintyre bus network for up to 24-hours. The bus operator is Craig of Campbeltown which trades as West Coast Motors and which owns Kintyre Express. The bus operator also serves on routes throughout Argyll and the island of Bute.

The next nearest cross-channel operator to the Kintyre Express Ballycastle-Campbeltown service is the car-carrying catamaran fast-ferry seasonal service between Larne and Troon operated by P&O (Irish Sea). The same company operates the year-round conventional car-ferry service on the North Channel between Larne and Cairnryan. Also operating to Loch Ryan is Stena Line which operates both ferry and HSS fast-craft services on the Belfast-Stranraer route.

Over the years there have been several attempts to revive the ferry between Ballycastle and Campeltown following a service that catered for vehicles too. For three summer seasons starting in 1997 the service was operated by the Argyll and Antrim Steam Packet Company, using the Claymore (1978/1,632grt) which could accommodate 500 passengers and 50 vehicles.

In 1996 the vessel was chartered to carry out tender duties for visitors and crew of the aircraft-carrier USS John F. Kennedy (displacement 82,655 tons full load) which was at anchor off Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

Published in Ports & Shipping
20th December 2010

Stena Route To Close This Week

Only several days remain before Stena Line close the Larne-Fleetwood route. The 8-hour route was operated by a trio of sister-ships, until the Stena Leader was withdrawn last week in advance of the service which is due to end on 23 December.

The Stena Leader went to lay-up in Belfast. In the meantime the remaining vessels Stena Seafarer and Stena Pioneer continue to serve the Northern Ireland-Lancashire link.When the route closes, it is expected that the pair will re-join the Stena Leader in Belfast, where all three sisters will be at lay-up berth at Albert Quay. The Swedish owned ferry operator uses the port's Victoria Terminal 4, for their HSS and conventional ferry service to Stranrear, Scotland.

In early December Stena Line announced the acquisition of two routes and four vessels from rivals, DFDS Seaways. The £40m deal sees Stena taking over the freight-only route between Belfast and Heysham operated by Scotia Seaways and Hibernia Seaways, a pair of Japanese built 13,000 gross tonnes vessels.

The second route is the Belfast-Birkenhead (Liverpool) route, served by two chartered 27,000 gross tonnes ro-pax sisters, Lagan Seaways and Mersey Seaways. The ro-pax vessels will be sold to Stena Line as part of the agreement between the two ferry operators.

Published in Ports & Shipping
Following the recent announcement of DFDS Seaways to sell two Irish Sea routes and four vessels to rivals Stena Line, the company are to close the Larne to Fleetwood route, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Stena claim the closure is not to do with the £40m transaction deal with DFDS Seaways. "The decision to close Fleetwood to Larne was taken some time ago on the basis of the current and projected performance of the route, and before the opportunity arose to buy these other routes," said Irish Sea area director Michael McGrath.

The route has made significant losses over recent years and to running an aging fleet on the 7-hour service. Stena cite that investment in new tonnage was not an option due to higher capitol costs. "No business can continue to carry such losses on an ongoing basis so there is no alternative but to close the route at the end of this year," he added.

The trio of vessels, Stena Leader (1975/12,879grt), Stena Pioneer (1975/14,426grt) and Stena Seafarer (1975/10,957grt) serve the link between Lancashire and Northern Ireland which takes freight, cars and their passengers but does not cater for 'foot' passengers.    

Late last month a fire took place in the engine room of the Stena Pioneer during a sailing to Fleetwood, the fire was extinguished using onboard equipment and fortunately without incident to crew or passengers.The Stena Pioneer was operated by B&I Line as their Bison in a joint service with Pandoro on the Dublin-Liverpool route between 1989-1993.

Under the new agreement, Stena Line's take-over of Belfast-Heysham, the port is a close neighbour to Fleetwood will include the 13,000 tonnes sisters Hibernia Seaways and Scotia Seaways.The other route aquired is Belfast-Birkenhead (Liverpool) which is significant in that the deal will include the purchase of the chartered 27,000 gross tonnes ro-pax twins, Mersey Seaways and Lagan Seaways. The sisters were built in 2005 at the Visentini shipyard, Italy, which also built the ro-pax sisters Dublin Seaways and Liverpool Seaways.

Measuring 21,000 gross tonnes these vessels operate Dublin-Birkenhead route but remain under DFDS Seaways control and this applies to their freight-only service from the Irish capital to Heysham served by the Anglia Seaways. The 120-trailer freight ferry is also a sister of the Belfast-Heysham pair.

Notably the transaction will see Stena Line enter operations on the Mersey for the first time.The Swedish operator will use the river's Birkenhead Twelve Quays ferryport terminal located on the Wirral, opposite the famous Liverpool waterfront.

Stena Line will not only share the double berth facility with DFDS Seaways but also the Isle of Man Steam Packet (IOMSPCo) which in recent years has operated winter sailings to Douglas. In the summer the Isle of Man ferry operator uses the Liverpool landing stage berth on the other side of the river which is also shared by the 'ferry cross the Mersey' fleet operated by Mersey Ferries.

Published in Ports & Shipping
DFDS Seaways, which only entered into the Irish Sea ferry sector, after acquiring Norfolkline operations during the summer has sold two freight routes and vessels to Stena Line, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The sale covers the routes between Belfast and Birkenhead (Liverpool) and Belfast-Heysham. Operating on the northern Irish Sea routes are two 13,000 gross tonnes Japanese built freight ro-ro ferries sisters Hibernia Seaways and Scotia Seaways in addition to two chartered ro-pax vessels as part of the transaction.

Niels Smedegaard, CEO of DFDS, said: "The Irish routes we took over in conjunction with the purchase of Norfolkline have, in spite of the recent impressive efforts by everyone employed on the routes, in the last two years lost more than thirty million euros. Given the depressed economies a turnaround of the activities, without structural solutions, is not realistic. On this basis, we have decided to scale back our activities and sell the two routes to and from Belfast."

In the deal Stena Line, the Swedish owner will also take control of port terminals in Belfast, Birkenhead and Heysham. The majority of shore-based staff at these port terminals will be transferred to Stena, maintaining their current conditions.

DFDS and Stena Line will share staff at these locations during an agreed transitional period at the end of which DFDS will establish their own agency operations at Birkenhead and Heysham.

The new arrangement will see DFDS focusing on its other services between Dublin to Birkenhead (which includes passengers) and from Dublin to Heysham. Italian built sisters ro-pax sisters Liverpool Seaways and Dublin Seaways currently operate on the Dublin-Birkenhead route and the 120-trailer freight-ferry, Anglia Seaways maintains serving the Heysham route. Operations at the Dublin Port terminal are not affected by this transaction.

DFDS will continue to review their strategic and operations routes in Dublin, which is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2011. The Danish owned shipping and logistics transportation company operate an extensive route network throughout the Irish Sea, North Sea and Scandinavia.

Published in Ports & Shipping

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 18 of 18

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