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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
30th November 2010

Angler Rescued from Lough Erne

At 17.05 pm last night Belfast Coastguard received a 999 call from an angler reporting that he was in difficulty.
The man who is on holiday in the area was out angling on Lough Erne in his 2.4 metre open boat, when he got into difficulty and ended up in the water. His boat which was powered by an electric outboard hit ice on the lough and the man who is in his 30's ended up in the water.
He managed to get himself out of the water and made it safely ashore to a small island called Belle Island which is in the upper Lough Erne, County Fermanagh.
Belfast Coastguard called out Erne Coastguard Rescue team, requested the launch of Carrybridge RNLI inshore lifeboat and scrambled the Irish Coastguard rescue helicopter R -118.
The man who was well equipped for angling is suffering the effects of the cold water and sub zero temperatures.
He has been recovered by the Carrybridge lifeboat from a remote and inaccessible part of the island and taken to his accommodation on the Island to warm up.
Steve Carson, Watch Manager, Belfast Coastguard said:
This man was fortunate in this incident.
Unfortunately, with the adverse weather that we are experiencing, people are still taking unnecessary risks. The weather and the forecasted weather has been widely publicised in the media. In past years when this Lough has frozen, we have had calls about people venturing onto the ice, on foot and in vehicles. This is madness, and will end up in disaster if people do not heed the warnings.
Please do not place yourself at risk anytime, but with the extreme weather we are experiencing, that message is highly important.
Published in Coastguard

Recently two well known and respected volunteer Bangor Lifeboat helmsmen were awarded medals in recognition for their many years of devoted service to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

Ewan Scott and Tommy Burns have been awarded Long Service medals at recent RNLI ceremonies. During their 20 years of dedicated service, RNLI Bangor Lifeboat has undertaken a total of 845 rescues at sea resulting in the saving of 98 lives.

Both Ewan and Tommy are of one mind and agree that over the years there have been many improvements to the lifeboats, the equipment and training all of which has greatly enhanced the RNLI's ability to save life at sea.

Even after over 20 years of service Ewan and Tommy continue to freely give of their time and effort. They are considered by all to be the most experienced helmsmen at Bangor station and are actively involved in the training of crew and other volunteers.

Bangor's Lifeboat Operations Manager Kevin Byers paid tribute to Ewan and Tommy when he said 'Without the huge commitment and dedication of volunteers like Ewan and Tommy, the RNLI would be unable to carry out the increasingly demanding task of saving lives at sea.' Kevin went on to say 'I am delighted that Ewan and Tommy have been presented with these awards, they deserve a big thank you for all they have done for Bangor Lifeboat over the past 20 years.'

Long_Service_Award_011

Related Safety posts

RNLI Lifeboats in Ireland


Safety News


Rescue News from RNLI Lifeboats in Ireland


Coast Guard News from Ireland


Water Safety News from Ireland

Marine Casualty Investigation Board News

Marine Warnings

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Page 11 of 11

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