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Finished With Engines: Irish Sea Shipping is now closed to new updates - J.H. Luxton Photography - Transport, Industrial History, Regional Photographs UK & beyond



August 27


Welcome to this weeks rather substantial update. As you will note the news update is quite lengthy and there are a number of new galleries and updates - don't forget to check the "What's New Page" for details. 

For those who have not visited the site since mid-day Monday there were a couple of unscheduled updates. First of all Philip Parker's photographic galleries were restored to the site. Secondly I posted a photograph of a mystery replica sailing ship which had appeared in some old family photographs, I would like to thank Paul Heine for identifying the ship and location.

Those of you who like to keep an ear to the airwaves should check out the Marine Radio pages as Neil Simpson has forwarded a number of company frequencies filling up quite a few gaps.

Also posted this week is the Manchester WSS Branch Meetings Programme for 2000/1. In addition you will also find some new gallery pages.

Please note that during the coming week I will be away from Monday evening until Saturday morning and consequently there will be no e-mail replies.

Having undertaken further checks during the week and rectifying a few more minor glitches on the site it is probably safe to say that reconstruction work has now been completed and I am afraid the jolly animated construction worker on the front page will have to be consigned back to the clip art folder until required again. I have had a number of complimentary comments about him - and I'd like to thank Gary Andrews for forwarding him at the appropriate time!

John Luxton - August 27

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, John Williamson, Neil Simpson, Paul Heine, John Williams and "others".

SEA CONTAINERS / The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company


SUPERSEACAT TWO  on August 23 and observer noted that the daytime Belfast - Heysham roundtrip was cancelled. On August 24 the 17:15 Belfast to Heysham sailing was reported running up to two hours late. 

On August 25 she was still loading at 08:00 with warnings on the radio of delays letter in the day. Friday evening sailings were described as running "3 hours late".

CLAYMORE is reported for sale at $1.2m 

PICASSO is reported for sale at $2m - 

HOVERSPEED GREAT BRITAIN at 06:43 on Friday August 24, HSGB made a call to Dover Coastguard after a yellow inflatable dinghy with 5 Ukrainian people on board was seen as the SeaCat sailed on its morning passage from Dover to Calais. The illegal immigrants were rescued by a coastguard emergency towing vessel and after checks by paramedics were placed in custody by immigration officers.

THE PRINCESS ANNE The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) published
its report into heavy weather damage to Hovercraft GH-2007 THE PRINCESS ANNE this week. The damage occurred while crossing from Calais to Dover on 29 February 2000


Sea Containers Services Ltd notified the MAIB of this accident which caused heavy weather damage to the hovercraft The Princess Anne on Tuesday February 29, 2000. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) supplied additional information on Monday  March 6 and an investigation began later that day.

After studying the weather forecast and local conditions, The Princess Anne's captain took her into service at 07:30 on February 29. The wind and wave heights were within the designated operational limits. The hovercraft left Dover at 07:40 and arrived in Calais at 08:25.

At 08:50 THE PRINCESS ANNE left Calais for Dover. The wind on departure was south-west 25 knots. On receiving information that local wind speeds had increased to 42 knots, the captain decided that this would be the last trip until the weather improved. He informed Dover Base One of his decision and, after confirming that conditions were still within operational limits, continued to Dover.

About 30 minutes later, when in mid-channel, the hovercraft dropped into a wave trough, resulting in a minor impact on the port forward side of the craft. The starboard bow sustained damage in the vicinity of the first three windows and above.

Apart from one person suffering from shock and wet clothing, there were no injuries. There was no reported damage to the vehicles.

The captain immediately turned the craft to starboard and returned to Calais.

On arrival in Calais, the passengers and their vehicles were off-loaded and an inspection of the damage carried out. The damaged area was covered and the hovercraft returned to Dover at 06:05 the next day for repairs. These were largely completed by 10 March when the craft resumed service.



1. The captain, having studied the weather reports, decided, as the predicted conditions of wind force and wave heights were within the designated operational limits, the first service of the day, the 07:30 Dover to Calais, could proceed.

2. The sea reading on the first crossing from Dover to Calais by THE PRINCESS ANNE was 3 to 3.5m, actual, whereas the earlier P&OSL AQUITANE report had indicated 2 to 2.5m.

3. The Type Rating Examiner stated that, based on actual weather reports, the craft was not at any stage being operated outside the described limits; and the decision by Captain MacFarlan to operate the 07:30 departure, and subsequent return from Calais was, in his
opinion, soundly based.

4. With all the indicators confirming the original forecast of rising weather trends, and the report from Cap Gris Nez stating that there had been a rapid increase in wind strength, the captain was placed in a difficult position. The new information showed that he could be entering a weather situation that was outside the operating limits, yet the sea conditions he was in at the time, were within limits. The captain's previous experience, combined with existing conditions, encouraged him to proceed with the trip.

5. That this was subsequently aborted due to damage, illustrates the importance that needs to be placed on accurate weather forecasting and its interpretation when faced with actual conditions. It does seem, however, that the significance of the 24-36 hour forecast is not sufficiently taken into account when decisions are being made regarding high-speed ferry and hovercraft operations.

5. The TRE's report recommends that previous incidents involving wave impacts should be re-examined in more detail and could possibly lead to the issue of broad guidelines on operational limitations and practices.

6. The operational manager's comments on a review of operating limits to reflect 30 years of experience, and his observation that the 3.5m maximum as opposed to 3.5m significant wave height is more relevant, should be examined in more detail.


The vessel suffered damage as a result of a wave impact while moving at a relatively slow speed in an area of confused seas at the time. The hovercraft was operating within the designated operating limits.


Sea Containers Limited is recommended to:

1. Review operational procedures, and ensure that hovercraft captains are supplied with, and take into account, developing trends of predicted weather conditions before hovercraft enter service.

The MCA is recommended to:

2. Review and consider the current hovercraft operating limitations, with particular emphasis on the increased safety margins likely to be obtained, by reducing the significant wave height limitation as defined in the Permit to Operate.

JHL'S COMMENT: One wonders if the likely outcome of this investigation led to the decision to abandon hovercraft operations this autumn? If the current hovercraft operating limitations were revised and the wave height limitation reduced there could very well have been an increase in the number of bad weather cancellations which would further undermine the viability of the operation of the aging SRN-4 craft.


Passenger figures for the Harbours Division for July 2000 show a 0.5% decrease on the same period last year. July 2000 recording a total of 78,149 compared to 78,525 in July 1999.

The year to date figure of 361,981 passengers shows an 8.5% increase over the 255,116 recorded in 1999.

Car and motorcycle traffic through Douglas Harbour in July 2000 showed a decrease of 2.3 % from 15,539 in 1999 to 15,189 vehicles  July 2000.

The year to date figure of 98,708 vehicles shows a 9.3% increase over the 90,339 recorded in 1999.

Passenger figure breakdown by route is as follows:




minus 4%




minus 28%




plus 11%




minus 3%



Freight traffic metreage increased by 13.3% from 30,671m  to 32,207 when compared to July 1999.

Director of Harbours, Captain Michael Brew commented: "July passenger figures show a small decrease on 1999 figures which were the best since 1990. This July's passenger figures have been affected by the adverse exchange rate between the pound and the punt which has reduced demand on the Dublin route. Excluding Irish traffic the main core North West routes still show on-going growth."


EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY -  P&O Irish Sea's new ship, the 20,800 tonne ro-ro ferry
EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY was officially named on Tuesday August 22 by Mrs Penelope Harding wife of Tim Harding a recently retired main board director of the Peninsular & Oriental  Steam Navigation Company. The ceremony which took place at Larne Harbour, Co Antrim, was attended by local dignitaries, P&O Irish Sea customers and senior P&O, MHI and Three Quays personnel.

The EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY which was built at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries shipyard at Shimonoseki in Japan, is operating on P&O Irish Sea's Larne - Cairnryan route. This luxurious ship can carry up to 107 freight units and has a service speed of 23 knots which will reduce the crossing time on this short route by up to 30 minutes.

The European Causeway offers superb commercial driver accommodation with a 'Driver Only' restaurant and lounge to ensure a hassle free crossings for freight customers.

"We have invested more than £33 million in the new ship," said Declan Cleary, Sales Manager Ireland for P&O Irish Sea, "to provide the high levels of service and comfort for our freight customers who use the Larne - Cairnryan route, which is one of the shortest crossings and most popular on the Irish Sea. "We are now looking forward to the EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY's sister ship, the EUROPEAN AMBASSADOR joining the fleet in January on our Dublin - Liverpool route. That will cater for 123 freight units and offer drivers superb cabin accommodation and facilities."

"P&O Irish Sea is investing in new vessels to ensure that it continues to provide the very highest levels of service for the UK and Irish freight industries whose own operations demand that the sea sector of their journeys are reliable and efficient."

EUROPEAN AMBASSADOR - P&O's second new build for the Liverpool - Dublin route was launched by Mitsubishi on  August 18.  She is expected to be introduced to the Liverpool - Dublin route in January. 


The arrival of 5,300 tonnes of rice from Sacramento, California, marked the launch of a new 4,800 sq m store extension at Associated British Ports' (ABP) Port of Garston.

The rice was imported on board KESTREL for Liverpool millers Joseph Heap & Co., and off-loaded into the new storage facility. With a draught of 8.2 m, the KESTREL is one of the deepest ships ever to be handled at Garston.

Construction of this new store increases storage capacity at Garston for specialist grain products to more than 12,000 sq m. The store has 4 m high walls to provide additional strength and height, and, in common with the other ABP stores at the port, it meets all GAFTA and UKASTA requirements.

ABP's Garston Port Manager Callum Couper commented that the availability of quality storage and delivery of high service levels by ABP form a powerful combination for customers requiring a high degree of product care.

"Clearly, customers such as Joseph Heap & Co. need the highest standard of care for human-grade food products. Their confidence in ABP Garston is further evidence of our expanding position in the agribulk business. Our facilities lend themselves to niche cargoes with specialised handling requirements and the port also has sufficient flexibility to handle deep-sea, transhipment or inland cargoes."

Martin Carr, Product Import Manager for Joseph Heap & Co., commented:

"ABP Garston has certainly met our requirements in the storage of food-grade products. We are delighted to be associated with this impressive new facility."

Associated British Ports is the UK's leading ports group, owning and operating 23 ports which handle a quarter of the country's seaborne trade.


It was reported on August 24 that the Italian Grimaldi family is reported to have spent around $50m buying over a third of Atlantic Container Line, the north Atlantic carrier with a sizeable interest in the deep-sea car trades. 


Laid up for last few months in Bidston Dock, Birkenhead has been the small bulker/cargo vessel LESZEK C - Polish Flag and owners. 

The vessel was laid up for sale by Polish Owners who kept 2 Polish seafarers on board for maintenance purposes.  Vessel now been sold to Middle East (Arab) buyers but will be managed through Cyprus.  Vessel is now renamed JAMAL registered in St.Vincent and Grenadines and has a mixed Mid-East crew. New port of registry is Georgetown but on stern this has been crudely painted as 'Georgetown'  

The Ship was built in 1977 at Appledore as the UK owned 'LESLIE GAULT' and is still in very good condition for her age.  Intention is she sails from Birkenhead to Liverpool on Tuesday to load scrap for Spain en-route for Mediterranean/Mid East where she will probably be trading in future.



A Spanish cook, who was a crewman on board a Milford Haven registered fishing vessel, 'Lady Laura' was airlifted to hospital last night after sustaining leg injuries during an incident on board.

Milford Haven Coastguard were alerted to an incident at around 1.00 am this morning, when the vessel called, stating that the crewman had been injured. The 35 year old casualty had lost a great deal of blood and the Coastguard immediately requested ARCC Kinloss to scramble Rescue Helicopter 169 from RAF Chivenor to airlift the man from the vessel. Once it was clear that the situation on board the vessel was stable, a winchman landed on the vessel and winched the casualty into the helicopter then on to Withybush Hospital where he received treatment for his injuries.

Nigel Porter, Watch Manager at Milford Haven Coastguard said:

"'Lady Laura' had been inbound to Milford Haven, when the incident happened 43 miles south west of St Annes Head. The vessel arrived at Milford Haven Docks at 6.30 am this morning and police have now boarded her in order to further investigate the incident and interview the crew."

A man is helping police with their enquiries.


At 12:20 on August 21 the small general cargo vessel RHINE MASTER registered in Antigua & Barbuda and owned by Harren & Partner Schiffahrts Gmbh of Haren/Ems, Germany was reported by coastguards to be in collision with the 36ft single masted sailing yacht FIRST KNIGHT 23 miles south east of Portland Bill. 

The yacht with two people on board was dismasted and holed above the water line. The skipper, from Hayling Island and the crew man, from Orkney were both unhurt.

Portland Coastguard scrambled the Coastguard Rescue Helicopter ‘India Juliet’ from Lee on Solent which arrived on scene at 1:30 a.m. and also requested the launch of the RNLI all weather lifeboat from Weymouth, due on scene at 2:15 a.m.

FIRST KNIGHT was taking part in the Royal Ocean Racing Club ‘Criterion Round Britain and Ireland Race when the collision occurred.

Observers of the Irish Sea shipping scene will be aware that RHINE MASTER is a frequent visitor to Dublin Port and is often to be seen working cargo there.


There will be quite a few ship enthusiasts who have taken a pleasant stroll along  Dún Laoghaire's East Pier who will be concerned to hear of a recent attack on the Pier.

On Friday August 18, a group of language students from several EU countries were attacked by a group of youths at around 21:30 whilst walking on the Pier.

A twelve year old German girl in a party of older language school students were attacked by 11 youths who had been drinking heavily. An older Spanish student who went to the German girl's aid was also assaulted. The girl required stitches for facial cuts caused by a bottle. 

According to a report in the Sunday Independent after the first party of students ran back to their hotel the gang set on another group and concluded off by mugging a young Japanese woman and stealing her handbag. 

The offenders have been apprehended and a 14-year-girl has been charged with two counts of robbery.  She is due to appear before Dún Laoghaire children's court on September 8. A number of other suspects have been interviewed and Gardaí say that they are following a definite line of inquiry. 

Following the attack The Dun Laoghaire Chamber of Commerce met this week with the  Cathaoirleach of Dun Laoghaire - Rathdown Council, local Gardaí and representatives of the Harbour Company to discuss a spate of local attacks in the area.

There are now calls for the installation of CCTV on the Pier. 


LE EITHNE was tasked on Saturday August 26 to rendezvous with fishing boat from Dingle, which reported it had lost engine power 300 miles west of the County Kerry port. The 25-metre boat, which was fishing for tuna, had a crew of five on board


RIVERDANCE arrived at Cammell Laird's Birkenhead yard  on Saturday evening's tide, August 25.


Reports in the Manx press this week suggest that the scallop dredger SOLWAY HARVESTER on board which seven Scottish fishermen died may be repaired and sold for further use. Other suggestions are that the vessel should be broken up, scuttled or turned into a fishermen's' memorial

On the evening of  January 11  the SOLWAY HARVESTER foundered 11 miles south east of Douglas.

The vessel was raised earlier this summer, the operation being funded by the Isle of Man Government. She was then  towed to the Ramsey Shipyard for examination by investigators probing the tragedy. Last week the vessel was moved to Douglas harbour.


A former RFA Oilpress Class coastal oiler OILMAN [Y26] has been purchased locally. She is currently berthed NELSON DOCK and has been renamed PATER apparently after a local barge from many years ago. 


MIDNIGHT MERCHANT - The fourth vessel to be completed for Cenargo is expected to be delivered to charters Norfolk Line in September according to the Norfolk Line web site. She will join sister vessel NORTHERN MERCHANT. Eventually these two ships are expected to find their way to the NORSE MERCHANT FERRIES between Merseyside and Ireland.


HMS UNSEEN [S41] Upholder Class submarine which was completed by Cammell Laird in 1991 has been back at the yard undergoing refurbishment for the past seven weeks. on Monday August 28 she will depart as the VICTORIA for  service with the Royal Canadian Navy.

The Upholder class had only a brief operational life with the Royal Navy. The last of the class HMS UNICORN [S43] was the final vessel to be launched by then former VSEL owned Cammell Laird company in 1993 and many thought her launch had brought the curtain down on Cammell Laird's long history. 

However, the Upholder class submarines have not shared the same success as the Cammell Laird. As a result of defence cuts all the class were paid off in 1994 and laid up being moved to Barrow-In-Furness 1998. Meanwhile Cammell Laird reopened under new ownership and has enjoyed spectacular growth whilst the last products of the old company were laid up.  

A special ceremony was held at Wallasey Town Hall on Thursday August 25, which included some of her former crew and a delegation from the Canadian Navy. The Unseen's bell and nameplate were presented to Wirral Borough Council and are due to be exhibits when the Wirral Museum opens in the former Birkenhead Town Hall.


Cammell Laird Holdings plc announced on August 24 that it is raising approximately £13.7m through the placement of 13,572,900 shares with institutional investors.

The funds  being utilised to finance the recent acquisitions in Marseilles and Oregon (which is due to be completed within the next 2 weeks) and the further development of the Cammell Laird business. The Company expects to finance its planned growth in the medium term through debt, and is currently examining various banking and fixed interest options. Dealings in the new shares are expected to commence on 29 August 2000.


On August 23 Cammell Laird Holdings  and Aker McNulty, a subsidiary of Aker Maritime, announced the signing of a teaming agreement to provide a full range of turnkey services to owners and operators in the resurgent floating production systems conversion market.

Cammell Laird chairman Juan Kelly said: "The combination of Aker McNulty and Cammell Laird creates a powerful player in the offshore conversion market, with skills and experience in floating production systems engineering and project management which are second to none."


The group restoring the River Severn car ferry has issued is continuing to make good progress. You can read the latest news update at: 



It appears Stena will now re-open the Larne - Stranraer route on Monday 6 November.  (Presuming all outstanding issues are resolved)

This is only 5 days away from the fifth anniversary of the firm closing the route!

The route was meant to re-open on 1 September but was delayed due to contractual problems.


Stena Line has issued its interim report for the first half of 2000 and things to not look particularly good:

STENA LINE AB Interim report January 1 – June 30, 2000

Highlights of the first six months, 2000

  • Average ticket rates rose 25% in Scandinavia and 4% in the UK. Freight rates increased by 9% in Scandinavia and declined 4% in the UK.

  • Volumes rose 4% for freight and declined 3% and 15% for private cars and passengers respectively.

  • Average retail spending per passenger declined 43% in Scandinavia and 60% in the UK.
    Revenue decreased by SEK 582 million to SEK 2 813 million from SEK 3 395 million.
    EBITDA declined by SEK 231 million to SEK 33 million from SEK 264 million.

  • Income from operations declined to –SEK 324 million from SEK 26 million. Income from operations includes Stena Line´s share of P&O Stena Line´s income of –SEK 43 million. 

  • No dividends were received from P&O Stena Line.

  • The loss before income taxes was SEK 577 million compared to a loss of SEK 233 million in 1999.

  • The acquisition of Scandlines AB was completed on July 1, 2000.

    Results, April-June 2000
    (Comparisons are with the same period in 1999, unless otherwise indicated)

    Revenue declined by SEK 423 million or 20%, to SEK 1,671 million compared to SEK 2,094 million for the same period in 1999. The decrease was mainly due to a reduction in onboard sales and lower passenger volumes, particularly in Scandinavia, as a result of the abolition of tax and duty free retail sales and the operational changes.

    Exchange rate fluctuations had a negative impact of SEK 27 million. Revenue in Scandinavia declined by SEK 237 million to SEK 764 million compared to SEK 1,001 million for the same period in 1999. Revenue in the UK decreased by SEK 186 million to SEK 907 million compared to SEK 1,093 million in 1999.

    Freight/Port revenue increased by SEK 5 million to SEK 516 million from SEK 511 million in 1999. Average freight rates rose 8% in Scandinavia and declined 6% in the UK. Freight volumes remained unchanged in Scandinavia and increased by 8% in the UK.

    Total onboard revenue declined by SEK 368 million to SEK 409 million from SEK 777 million in 1999. Average retail spending per passenger fell to SEK 160 from SEK 279 in Scandinavia and to SEK 55 from SEK 147 in the UK.

    Travel revenue (mainly passenger and private car tickets) declined by SEK 58 million to SEK 747 million from SEK 805 million in 1999. Average passenger ticket rates increased by 24% in Scandinavia, due to a combination of increased prices and a change in passenger mix. Average ticket rates in the UK increased by 5%.

    Private car volumes declined 9% in Scandinavia and 2% in the UK. Passenger volumes declined by 27% in Scandinavia and 9% in the UK. The reduction in passenger volumes in Scandinavia was a result of the abolition of tax and duty free retail sales and the operational changes.

    Operating expenses
    Operating expenses declined by SEK 225 million to SEK 1,547 million from SEK 1,772 million. This was primarily a result of the reduction in retail goods sold following the abolition of tax and duty free retail sales within the EU and the operational changes in Scandinavia. The cost savings were partly offset by higher oil costs of SEK 21 million due to increased oil prices. Exchange rate fluctuations had a positive impact of SEK 27 million.

    EBITDA declined by SEK 119 million to SEK 215 million compared to SEK 334 million in the second quarter of 1999.

    Income from operations
    The income from operations amounted to SEK 91 million compared to SEK 306 million in 1999.

    Results, January-June 2000
    (Comparisons are with the same period in 1999, unless otherwise indicated)

    Revenue declined by SEK 582 million or 17%, to SEK 2,813 million compared to SEK 3,395 million for the same period in 1999. The decrease was mainly due to a reduction in onboard sales and lower passenger volumes, particularly in Scandinavia, as a result of the abolition of tax and duty free retail sales and the operational changes. Exchange rate fluctuations had a negative impact of SEK 17 million.

    Revenue in Scandinavia declined by SEK 402 million to SEK 1,310 million compared to SEK 1,712 million in 1999. Revenue in the UK decreased by SEK 180 million to SEK 1,503 million compared to SEK 1,683 million in 1999.

    Freight/Port revenue increased by SEK 52 million to SEK 1,027 million from SEK 975 million in 1999. Average freight rates rose 9% in Scandinavia and declined by 4% in the UK. Freight volumes remained unchanged in Scandinavia, excluding the closed Halmstad-Grenaa route, and increased by 10% in the UK.

    Total onboard revenue declined by SEK 573 million to SEK 663 million from SEK 1,236 million in 1999. Average retail spending per passenger declined to SEK 159 from SEK 279 in Scandinavia and to SEK 56 from SEK 141 in the UK.

    Travel revenue (mainly passenger and private car tickets) declined by SEK 61 million to SEK 1,123 million from SEK 1,184 million in 1999. Average passenger ticket rates increased by 25% in Scandinavia, due to a combination of increased prices and a change in passenger mix. Average ticket rates in the UK increased by 4%.

    Private car volumes declined by 3% during the first six months of 2000 and passenger volumes declined by 15%, excluding the closed Halmstad-Grenaa route. Passenger volumes fell by 26% in Scandinavia and by 5% in the UK. The reduction in passenger volumes in Scandinavia was a result of the abolition of tax and duty free retail sales and the operational changes.

    Operating expenses
    Operating expenses declined by SEK 275 million to SEK 2,882 million from SEK 3,157 million in 1999. This was primarily a result of the reduction in retail goods sold following the abolition of tax and duty free retail sales within the EU and the operational changes in Scandinavia. The cost savings were partly offset by the higher oil costs of SEK 47 million due to increased oil prices. Exchange rate fluctuations had a positive impact of SEK 11 million.

    EBITDA declined by SEK 231 million to SEK 33 million compared to SEK 264 million in the first six months of 1999.

    Income/loss from associated companies
    The loss from associated companies amounted to SEK 42 million compared to income of SEK 79 million in 1999. The negative deviation compared to last year is mainly due to the abolition of tax and duty free sales. Especially the second quarter of 1999 was positively impacted by high levels of passengers wishing to take advantage of the last period of tax free. No dividends were received from P&O Stena Line in either period.

    Depreciation and amortization
    Depreciation and amortization remained at the same level, SEK 294 million in 2000 compared to SEK 291 million in 1999.

    Income/loss from operations
    The loss from operations amounted to SEK 324 million compared to an income of SEK 26 million in 1999.

    Financial income and expense, net
    Net financial expenses totalled SEK 253 million compared to SEK 259 million in 1999.

    Loss before income taxes
    The loss before income taxes was SEK 577 million compared to a loss of SEK 233 million in 1999.

    Income taxes
    A deferred tax benefit of SEK 163 million, compared to SEK 47 million in 1999, had a positive effect on the first 6 months net results.

    Net loss for the period
    The net loss for the first six months of 2000 was SEK 414 million compared to a loss of SEK 186 million in 1999.

    Financial position
    (Comparisons are with December 31, 1999, unless otherwise indicated)

    The Company’s Balance Sheet total increased to SEK 10,155 million at the period’s end from SEK 9,820 million in 1999. The Company’s interest-bearing net debt increased to SEK 6,536 million from SEK 6,180 million in 1999.

    The total available cash and cash equivalents, including committed, unutilized credit facilities, was SEK 1,151 million compared to SEK 1,312 million at December 31, 1999. The equity/assets ratio amounted to 17% compared to 22% at the end of June last year, and the net debt/equity ratio increased to 3.9 times from 2.7 times over the same period.

    As a result of the Company’s financial performance and the provisions regarding the incurrence of debt contained in the Company’s indenture, Stena Line is not currently permitted to incur additional indebtedness except in an aggregate amount not in excess of USD 50 million and pursuant to the existing revolving credit facility. The aggregate amount currently available under the revolving credit facility as of June 30, 2000 is approximately SEK 762 million.

    Capital expenditure
    Capital expenditure for the period totalled SEK 93 million compared to SEK 165 million in the first six months of 1999.

    Stockholders’ equity
    Stockholders’ equity declined during the period by SEK 464 million to SEK 1,697 million from SEK 2,161 million at the end of 1999. Exchange rate fluctuations had a negative effect on stockholders’ equity of SEK 50 million while the loss for the period, after taxes, has reduced stockholders’ equity by SEK 414 million.

    Fleet and route network
    At the period’s end, Stena Line’s fleet consisted of 25 ferries. Of these, 13 were owned by Stena Line, 3 were leased and 9 were chartered.

    The route network includes 12 routes in Scandinavia and around the UK, including a lift-on/lift-off container route.

    Stena Line’s plan to extend its Northern Ireland operation with the new Stranraer-Larne route from September 1, 2000, has been delayed due to contract issues.

    A new freight route between Hoek van Holland and Killingholme will start in October.

    The average number of employees at Stena Line was 5,424 compared to 6,124 at the end of June 1999. Pension cost refund The insurance company SPP decided to make a refund to their customers. The present value of expected payments amounts to SEK 100 million and has been accounted for as a non-recurring item during the second quarter.

    Scandlines AB
    With effect from July 1, the Swedish ferry company Scandlines AB is part of Stena Line. Stena Line has acquired all the shares in Scandlines AB for a purchase price of SEK 560 million. At the time of acquisition, stockholders’ equity in Scandlines amounted to SEK 603 million. The free cash amounted to SEK 399 million.

    Transactions with the Stena Sphere
    Transactions with the Stena Sphere continue to correspond to the account given in the 1999 Annual Report.

    The results in 2000 will be negatively impacted by the full year effect of the abolition of the tax and duty free retail sales as well as the high oil price. Achieved cost reductions, higher rates and the Scandlines AB acquisition will positively influence results.

    The negative comparison of the first half 2000 results to the comparable 1999 period is principally the result of comparing a period following the abolition of duty and tax free sales to a period prior to the abolition. In the second half of 2000 the comparison to the prior year will be to a period following the abolition. As a result we expect positive comparable results to the prior year for the last two quarters of the year.
    Back Home Up Next

August 20



After almost three months the M&ISS web site is working normally again at its usual web address. I gained access to the site at the start of the week and have progressively built it back up. The actual URL went live sometime on Thursday and thus some of you might have already visited.

The site is completely new. Whilst quite a few pages have been imported from the previous web site, presentation, structure of the directories has been changed and hopefully improved. Not all the old material has been restored. Some of this material will find its way to the archive and back up site which is due for a revamp during the next few weeks. There are also one or two areas which remain off line, though should be restored soon.

Extensive testing of the site has been undertaken during the past few days and quite a few hiccups - mainly thumbnail images not appearing or links from them to full size images failing have been resolved. I am fairly certain that everything is now working properly.  However, if you spot a problem please let me know as soon as possible. 

My initial impressions of the new host ISP RAMJAM are very favourable. The site was set up with the minimum of fuss, a couple of technical queries concerning the domain transfer were answered speedily by e-mail, and unlike both 1Way Internet and City Netgates I have not been making endless phone calls trying to get things sorted. To be fair with 1Way when they finally got their act together everything worked fine pity they had to hand over to City Netgates who turned out to be a different story!

This week's "What's New" page includes a large number of updates, I have left last week's highlighted to ensure visitors returning for the first time have not missed anything.


Just a word of caution, performing searches using Internet Search engines currently reveal that pages which are no longer existent or are now at different URLs are being returned. Obviously the links no longer work on these. It might be some time before the engines loose the old data.

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Stuart Cameron, Simon Dey, Brian Chambers and "others".

John Luxton 

August 20, 2000

SEA CONTAINERS LTD / Isle of Man Steam Packet Company


On August 14, 2000 unveiled the company's Second Quarter Results and confirmed the successful completion on August 10, 2000 of the initial public offering of its Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. subsidiary at a price of $19 per Class A common share. Ten million shares were placed by underwriters, of which half were existing shares sold by Sea Containers and half new shares issued by Orient-Express Hotels. After the offering Sea Containers retained 20.9 million Class A and B shares which, at the offering price, had a value of approximately $400 million. Sea Containers has indicated its intention to distribute these shares on a tax free basis to its Class A and B shareholders not earlier than 6 months after the initial public offering. At June 30, 2000 Sea Containers had 18.5 million Class A and B shares outstanding.

Mr. James B. Sherwood, President of Sea Containers Ltd., said the Orient-Express Hotels offering was a major step toward delivering additional value to Sea Containers’ shareholders. He indicated that Orient-Express Hotels is having an excellent year and hoped its earnings outlook would be reflected in its stock price in the period leading up to spin-off and thereafter. For the second quarter ended June 30, 2000 Orient-Express Hotels (the leisure division of Sea Containers) had operating profits of $22.3 million, up 21% from $18.4 million in the prior year period. For the six months ended June 30, 2000 the division had operating profits of $32.3 million, up 16% from $27.7 million in the first half of 1999.

The company announced its second quarter and first six months results for the period ended June 30, 2000. For the quarter net earnings were $13.9 million ($0.75 per common share diluted) on revenue of $351 million. For the six months net earnings were $6 million ($0.32 per common share diluted) on revenue of $629 million. The company’s passenger transport division’s earnings are highly seasonal, with the first quarter in loss and the main earnings period being the third quarter. While the company’s revenue was up 4% for the quarter and 3% for the six months, net earnings and diluted earnings per common share were down compared with the prior year periods. Mr. Sherwood said that while these "headline numbers" were lower, in his view the underlying trends were encouraging.

"It is important for investors to realize this is the first second quarter period since the second quarter of 1998 where quarterly container division operating profits have risen over the first quarter. In the first quarter of 2000 we reported divisional operating profits of $12.8 million. In the second quarter those profits had risen to $13.6 million. This is the first sign of the return to rising profitability of the division after the Asian financial crisis and consequent slashing of new container prices by the Chinese manufacturers. GE SeaCo, the company’s 50/50 joint venture with GE Capital, has placed on lease $62 million of new containers in the first half of 2000 and earnings of that company are rising. Utilization of a number of container types operated by GE SeaCo has increased and several are in very short supply. Sea Containers’ two containerships, laid up in 1999 due to the Asian recession, are now out on charter at satisfactory rates. The company’s specialized container manufacturing facility in Charleston, South Carolina, continues to have teething problems but should now move into profitability in the second half of this year," Mr. Sherwood said.

Operating profits of the company’s passenger transport division in the second quarter were $17.7 million, down $5.5 million from the prior year period. Mr. Sherwood pointed out that the two quarters were not directly comparable because in the second quarter of 1999 the company enjoyed duty free sales on the English Channel, Denmark/Sweden, England/Republic of Ireland and the Gulf of Bothnia route of Silja. The European Union stopped such sales on July 1, 1999. In the second quarter of 1999 these sales were an important contributor to revenue and profit. In addition, the company had to bear approximately $5 million of higher fuel costs in the second quarter of 2000 compared with the second quarter of 1999. 

If you set aside these significant fuel cost increases, these results indicate that the lost profits from duty free sales have been recovered through higher fares and operating efficiencies. It was not possible to raise fares all at once to recover both lost profits from duty free sales and the extra fuel costs. Fares today are still lower than they were a few years ago so considerable improvement is still possible. He said the operators had assumed fuel prices would decline but this did not occur in the second quarter this year. Only in recent days has the price of Brent crude declined by 10% from $30 per barrel to $27 and while further declines are expected, experience proves that oil prices are unpredictable. 

Silja Oyj, the Baltic ferry operator owned 50% by Sea Containers, imposed a fuel surcharge on its fares effective July 1, 2000 and it appears to be holding. Mr. Sherwood said that GNER’s earnings in the quarter were down $1.2 million from the prior year period due to rising costs and reducing subsidy. He said the company’s application for a new 20 year GNER rail franchise is still being processed by the government which has indicated a decision will be made in late September. Some significant last minute revisions requested by the government were made on August 7th. The Strategic Rail Authority, the government body responsible for rail franchises, announced on August 11th the extension of two other rail franchises, in both cases to the incumbent operator.

Mr. Sherwood said that while passenger transport division earnings would be soft this year he felt substantial improvement could be foreseen for 2001 and beyond. By then the effects of loss of profits from duty free sales and higher fuel costs should have worked through the system. Rail subsidy would decline very little in 2001, 2002 and 2003 while rail revenue and passenger volumes are expected to continue their strong growth pattern. He said Nils-Gustav Palmgren took over as the new Managing Director of Silja on August 1, 2000 and plans are being implemented to strengthen management, increase revenue, freshen ship interiors and address the Finnish labour cost problems. The new SuperSeaCat service on Helsinki-Tallinn has proved successful with carryings ahead of forecast.


The  U.K. Shadow Strategic Rail Authority  announced on August 17 that Sea Containers subsidiary GNER Holdings is one of three operators to be selected to bid for the South West Trains franchise which is currently held by Stagecoach Holdings. Stagecoach will be making a bid along with First Group plc in association with Dutch Railways.

In its press release Sea Containers states that there is evidence that Stagecoach, the current franchise holder has "milked the SWT franchise for every penny of profit" unlike the Sea Co's investment and commitment to the GNER franchise.

According to James Sherwood, "what GNER has to offer is a total transformation of the travel experience using the expertise gained on the East Coast Main Line. The travelling public knows that GNER can deliver clean trains, polite staff, extra car parking, safe stations, improved punctuality, clean and functioning lavatories and efficient telesales, internet and machine ticketing. Our passengers look forward to a "treat" when travelling on GNER trains, not a "treatment" as suffered by passengers on South West trains today. Our goal will be to make the standards of South West Trains comparable to those of GNER".

GNER Holdings has promised a major capital investment in South West Trains over a 20 year franchise period. Railtrack will bear the cost of track, signalling and power upgrade components of this investment. Much of the new rolling stock will be financed by Rolling Stock Leasing Companies. Sea Containers will fund new stations, long distance train rolling stock, car parks and ticketing operations.

In the year ended April 30, 1999 South West Trains had revenue of £421 million ($632 million) including subsidy.

The Shadow Strategic Rail Authority has indicated that the winner of the bid for South West Trains will take over the franchise when the current franchise expires in two years’ time.


PEVERIL I understand that prospective purchasers have been looking over the PEVERIL. At first it was suggested that the vessel had been sold but this is not confirmed. It is suggested that interest has been shown from Norwegian buyers for use in Costa Rica.

LADY OF MANN it appears that the LADY OF MANN's Azores publish schedules conclude on September 20.

SEACAT ISLE OF MAN - As part of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company's 170th Anniversary Celebrations SCIOM is doing a "Round The Island" cruise on Monday August 21. Departing Douglas at 19:15 she is expected back at 21:15. Unfortunately for potential trippers from the UK, that just happens to be the departure time of SUPERSEACAT THREE back to Liverpool! Fares are £10 adults and £5 children.

PONTUS - Though she is only a floating terminal the fact is she has a name deserves her inclusion in the fleet news. On Friday afternoon at around 14:50  she was towed off her berth at Langdon Dock, where she has rested since May 6 by Howard Smith tugs WATERLOO [front] and GLADSTONE [stern].  She passed through Langton Lock and was taken up river being positioned on the south Incat berth at Prince's Landing Stage shortly after 17:00. The tyre fenders noted the other week at Langton had been fitted to her side. 

The original passenger and vehicle ramps which travelled to the UK on the open deck are currently stored on just behind Langton Lock. No work has yet been undertaken on the interior of the terminal though the SeaCat/Legs of Mann/Super SeaCat logos have been applied to the front end hoarding. By Saturday it was noted that electrical power had been connected up as the lights were on. 

When PONTUS is commissioned it is hoped that passenger access will be possible via the Mersey Ferry passenger bridge. This would be a good move as it is less steep at low water and would give easy access to PONTUS given its location.

The existing terminal portakabins on plot 7, Prince's Parade, will be taken to Troon for further use.


On August 16, 1830 the newly built MONA's ISLE inaugurated the Liverpool - Douglas service for the "Mona's Isle Company" - the company title being changed in 1832 to "The Isle of Man United Steam Packet Company".

The "United" was dropped later the same year.  The Company  celebrated the event with an anniversary ball on Friday evening August 18 at the Mount Murray Hotel and a Round the Island voyage by SEACAT ISLE OF MAN on Monday August 21.

Back in 1830 the MONAS ISLE was under the command of Captain W H Gill -  a captain who proved so popular with his passengers that when he was sacked some years later - he was re-instated at the following shareholders AGM - the Board themselves being sacked for daring to sack so popular a Captain.


OMAGH - the third Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service passenger tender to be completed by Mc Tay Marine has now been moved from the Bromborough yard to the fitting out berth at the East Float. 


The Mersey Docks & Harbour Company announced Interim Financial Results for the half year ending June 30th 2000 this week. The highlights being:

  • Record interim results

  • Turnover up 9% to £101.1 million (1999: £92.6 million)
  • Profit before tax increased 6% to £27.2 million (1999: £25.6 million)
  • Earnings per share rose 6% to 22.19p per share (1999: 20.94p)
  • Dividend up 9% to 6.0p per share (1999: 5.50p)
  • Total cargo volumes increased 5.5% to 16.1 million tonnes (1999: 15.2 million tonnes)
  • Acquisition of Imari announced on 5th July 2000

The company chairman commented: "Again this half of the year has seen record results in terms of turnover and pre tax profit. Throughput has continued to advance in spite of a combination of factors that affected the growth in fresh produce. The acquisition of Imari brings the remaining 50% of Marine Terminals in Dublin under our ownership and its integration into the Group is well on track."


On Saturday morning August 19th Rose of Tralee contestants from North America visited the Jeanie Johnston - Replica Irish Emigrant ship at Fenit Harbour Co. Kerry.

Those in attendance included New Orleans Rose, Lynne Gorenflo; Chicago Rose, Moira O'Connor Curren; Texas Rose, Julie Dohm; Boston Rose, Karen Kierce; Washington Rose, Alison Marie;San Francisco Rose, Kerry Cooper and New York Rose, Roisin Ryan.

The Irish Naval Vessel LE CIARA under the command of Capt. Martin McGrath was also in Fenit alongside the Jeanie Johnston to salute the Roses.

On arrival the Roses were greeted by Capt. Michael Forwood, Master of the Jeanie Johnston and taken on board for a guided tour of the ship. The Roses were also welcomed by Lt.Cdr Martin McGrath and Lt. Brian Fitzgerald of the LE CIARA.

Moira O'Connor Curren, the Chicago Rose, said she was delighted to have the opportunity to see the Jeanie Johnston as she had heard so much about it back in Chicago and is really looking forward to seeing the ship when it berths at Navy Pier, Chicago next summer.

Following photographs and interviews the Roses met with members of the staff and crew of the Jeanie Johnston and the LE CIARA. A reception was also hosted on board the LE CIARA in honour of the Roses.



EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY [20, 800grt] entered service between Larne and Cairnryan on Monday August 14 The luxurious new vessel has a speed of 23 knots and carries up to 123 freight units and more than 400 passengers.

Built at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, shipyard at Shimonoseki in Japan, the European Causeway offers superb commercial driver accommodation with a 'Freight Driver Only' restaurant and lounge to ensure a hassle free crossings for freight customers.

"We have invested more than 33 million in the new ship," said Phil Simpson, Sales Manager P&O Irish Sea, "to provide the high levels of service and comfort for our freight customers who use the Larne - Cairnryan route, which is one of the shortest crossings and most popular on the Irish Sea. "We are now looking forward to the European Causeway's sister ship, the European Ambassador joining the fleet in January on our Dublin - Liverpool route. That too will cater for more than 400 passengers and will offer superb cabin accommodation."

"P&O Irish Sea is investing in new vessels to ensure that it continues to provide the very highest levels of service for the UK and Irish freight industries whose own operations demand that the sea sector of their journeys are reliable and efficient."

To coincide with arrival of the new ship P&O Irish Sea Freight has redesigned its freight website
"By utilising the web site our customers can benefit from the very latest information," said Phil Simpson. "It means that we can update them very quickly with any changes to sailing times - which is very important especially during the winter months when adverse weather can affect some of the routes.

If you visit the P&O Irish Sea freight web site you can take a virtual tour around the new EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY.

CELTIC STAR Earlier this month P&O Irish Sea confirmed the renewal of the charter of the ro-ro vessel Celtic Star until September 2001, following the success of the ship on the Dublin/Liverpool crossing. 

The vessel had originally been due to complete its charter in September 2000 but the new agreement means that the ship will be retained on the route for the next 12 months.

Announcing the renewal of the charter, Declan Cleary, P&O Irish Sea's Sales Manager for Ireland said: "This move is part of the Company's commitment to ensuring that we continue to provide high quality ships on all of our routes and sailing times, that where possible, match the requirements of the freight industry.

"The Celtic Star has a service speed of 20 knots and carries up to 70 trailers with cabin accommodation for 12 drivers, many of whom enjoy the faster crossing times that this vessel offers. This ship will be joined in January, by a completely new vessel, the 20,800 tonne EUROPEAN AMBASSADOR
which will be capable of carrying 123 freight units and will have a service speed of 23 knots."


WAVERLEY departed from the George Prior yard at Great Yarmouth on Tuesday afternoon August 15 returning to the Clyde via Aberdeen and Kyle of Lochalsh she arrived on the Clyde on Friday August 18 in good time to take up her first sailing on Friday evening. 

Stuart Cameron reports that WAVERLEY can be steamed at her service speed on the output of one boiler although both will normally be in service. The engine was run up to 59 rpm during the delivery voyage which is over 2 rpm faster than its 1947 maximum. During the voyage from Great Yarmouth - in calm seas - at one point with a following tide she reached 21.7 knots over the ground (without passengers of course).


It appears that Harland and Wolf have become embroiled in a fresh dispute with New York-listed drilling contractor Global Marine. The case, understood to involve a sum of $32m, is destined for arbitration court.


Brian Chambers reports that on August 13, the Scottish brigantine JEAN DE LA LUNE arrived at Rosslare Europort at 18:40. The vessel berthing at Fisherman's Wall. 

Built in France in 1957 [160 grt] she is operated by JDL Marine Ltd and operated luxury cruises around the Scottish Irelands and West Coats, Ireland, Cornwall and Channel ports.. JDL Marine have a web site at

Over the weekend of August 19/20 the JEAN DE LA LUNE and the SPIRIT OF FAIRBRIDGE will be joining over 60 classic craft at this year's Traditional Sail event at Bangor, Northern Ireland.

The event features old working boats, pilot and cargo vessels and fishing boats - both sail and motor powered. The vessels being displayed at the Marina.


HAVELET the former Channel Isles ro/ro ferry was reported sold on Thursday August 17. It is not clear where her new home will be but it may be one of the former Yugoslav countries. Her generators are to be serviced by Manor Marine prior to departure from the UK.


Many people on Merseyside will have been drawing parallels between the loss of HM Submarine THETIS in Liverpool Bay in 1939 and the unfolding tragedy of the KURSK marooned 108 metres below the Barents's Sea.

The THETIS sank due to flooding of the forward torpedo room when undergoing trials in Liverpool Bay, following her completion by Cammell Laird. Out of the 103 persons on board only four survivors managed to make the difficult ascent to the surface. 

In recent years, local maritime historian, author and publisher David Roberts has done much to unveil the incompetence and cover-ups surrounding the THETIS disaster. The books "Thetis - The Admiralty Regrets" and "HMS Thetis - Secrets and Scandal" have thrown much light on the events acted out in Liverpool Bay 61 years ago. 

Speaking to the Daily Post newspaper Mr. Roberts said: "There are spooky parallels between the THETIS and the KURSK. Both had problems with the forward torpedo compartment which flooded the submarine. The KURSK is a vessel at the cutting edge of technology, as was the THETIS, for her time. There were also incredible delays and indecision in the rescue efforts and a great deal of secrecy surrounding both incidents."


HMS SIDON sank in 1955 after a liquid fuel missile blew the bow off and driving the torpedo compartment rear door backwards inside the vessel for half its length killing 13 crewmen.

At present it remains unclear what exactly led to the catastrophic damage which led to the sinking of the Oscar 2 Class submarine, KURSK. There was initial talk of flooding via the torpedo tubes, however, it came to light that there is significant hull damage which might indicate a collision with another vessel whilst surfacing or an on board explosion possibly in the torpedo room.

But what ever the outcome, it looks as though Russia's politician's could be in for a hard time as friends and relatives of the crew demand answers. On Merseyside there have been calls from a pressure group "Families After Thetis" in the light of new evidence for a new enquiry into the loss of the British Submarine. 

The loss of the KURSK my rumble on for years. In the meantime the world hopes that the Anglo Norwegian rescue team may have success in rescuing at least some of the crew. 

For web site dedicated to HMS THETIS



Plans for a US and a German TV producer to dive on the wreck of the ro/ro vessel ESTONIA  have caused public fury and government protests in Sweden as the
expedition's starting date approaches..

The ESTONIA, en route from Tallinn, Estonia, to Stockholm, foundered in a storm off the Finnish coast on September 28, 1994, killing 852 people.

It was one Europe's worst ship disasters.

Back Home Up Next

August 13


I am hoping to have the main site up and running at its new home sometime during the coming week. The old site still appears to be on line, despite City Netgates confirming that my request for termination has been sent to their technical department. Though as I only received the e-mail on Friday evening when I returned home I have not been able to chase things up. However, this will be done on Monday. When the new site appears please be aware that not all areas will function straight away and there will be some changes.

John Luxton - August 13, 2000

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Dave Crolley and Stuart Cameron.

SEA CONTAINERS / Isle of Man Steam Packet Company



A new '1st' class lounge has been opened at the Ostend terminal.

The opening completes a major revamp of Hoverspeed's premium travel product on the Dover/Ostend service with new airport-style executive lounges on both sides of the Channel, and an expanded onboard cabin.

Hoverspeed operates two SeaCats - Diamant and RAPIDE - on the two hour Dover/Ostend crossing, with five daily return services. Each craft has capacity for 650 passengers and 140 vehicles. Upgrades to '1st' cost £20 per person, per crossing and include priority loading and unloading, complimentary drinks and a three-course ã la carte menu.

To coincide with the opening of the new lounge, passengers can travel '1st' from now until September 30, two-for-the-price-of-one at just £10 each on the 07.30 service from Dover to Ostend and the 1815 or 2130 departures from Ostend to Dover.


Hoverspeed, has teamed up with Connex to bring the Continent that little bit closer this Summer, with day trip fares from London Charing Cross to Calais, Boulogne, and Ostend.

Travelling by train from Charing Cross, passengers can choose between Hoverspeed's unique [and soon to be withdrawn] hovercraft service from Dover to Calais, or step off the train at Folkestone and head for Boulogne on the high-speed SeaCat. Fares are just £19 per adult, and £13 per child (up to 15 years of age) for travel between now and September 23.

Alternatively, for the same fare, and thanks to a speedy two hour SeaCat crossing from Dover to Ostend, passengers can also let the train take the strain on a day trip to Belgium.

Fares are also available from intermediate stations, including Ashford International and Canterbury, together with through rail fares to Paris, Brussels, and Amsterdam.

For more information, and to book, contact Hoverspeed on 08705 240241, or
ask for details at any mainline rail station

SEACAT DANMARK  from August 18 the vessel will commence operations on  the Dover - Calais route. SCD will operate Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays from Dover at 08:30, 11:30 and 15:30 returning from Calais at 11:00, 15:00 and 18:15 with crossing times quoted as 45 minutes. SEACAT DANMARK is one of two SeaCats which will replace SRN-4 MkIII Hovercraft THE PRINCESS MARGARET  and THE PRINCESS ANNE this October.


EUROPEAN ENVOY - entered Cammell Laird [Birkenhead] #5 Dry Dock on Saturday morning August 12.

EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY [20,800 grt] arrived at Larne on August 10 after her delivery voyage from Japan. She was built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries at Shumonoseki in Japan. 

The ship is due to enter service on the Larne to Cairnryan route on Monday August 14 after undergoing final tests and trials under Captain Brian Beckley.

Captain Beckley together with Captain Jim McMullan were responsible for
bringing the new vessel from Japan and both have been impressed with its
performance - not least its ability to achieve a steady 23 knots even in
relatively rough sea conditions.

The new ship has a capacity of 400 passengers and 375 cars. Equipped with  a large buffet restaurant, lounge/bar, video lounge, quiet lounge and children's cinema and play area there is plenty to keep passengers busy during the short north channel crossing.

SUPERSTAR EXPRESS which has been operating on the Larne - Cairnryan service this summer is to make a re-appearance back at Portsmouth.

SSE will be withdrawn from the Larne - Cairnryan route between 23 August and 5 September inclusive and operate on the Portsmouth - Cherbourg route for 10 days from 24 August covering for the ailing Incat PORTSMOUTH EXPRESS.

PORTSMOUTH EXPRESS Gary Andrews writes that PORTSMOUTH EXPRESS had a fracture in the crankshaft mounting of one engine. Following investigation by Caterpillar engineers it was hoped that the problem could be repaired in service. However, the problems were worse than originally thought and it was decided that an engine change was required. PORTSMOUTH EXPRESS was then dry-docked at SOUTHAMPTON where a whole was cut in her side to enable the defective engine to be replaced.

Still operating on reduced power PORTSMOUTH EXPRESS returned to service while installation of the new engine was completed.

However,  the opposite engine failed and a small engine room fire followed. She then went back to Southampton where further repairs were carried out, the engine needs replacing but the spares could not be found in time. The craft is going back to dry dock on the 20/08/00 for two weeks to have major surgery.


The historic tug GOLDEN CROSS which spent the first half of the year on Merseyside is now currently in Scotland. A posting on the Scotships Newsgroup revealed that she was open to the public at Oban and Muirtown Basin, Inverness. From Inverness she is expected to move on to Aberdeen and then Leith where she will be in the presence of the former Royal Yacht BRITANNIA. The GOLDEN CROSS being present at the start BRITANNIA's maiden voyage.


The GLOBAL MARINER (Br) sank in the River Orinoco, Venezuela, last Wednesday August 2, 2000.

Originally built for Bank Line as the RUDDBANK she was purchased by Lamport & Holt and renamed ROMNEY, she traded out of the Mersey to South America. 

WSS Merseyside Branch visited her during this period. She was later renamed NAPIER STAR for Blue Star.

At the time of the sinking it appears she was just sailing, with 3 Pilots on board & 4 Tugs attached, but somehow she still managed to collide with a cargo ship ATLANTIC CRUSADER (Cy). 

Lately she had been employed around the Caribbean & was loaded with Steel when this incident took place. GLOBAL MARINER was carrying 9 Cadets managed by a Clydeside Company. No injuries to anyone. More info can be found on

In February 2000 the GLOBAL MARINER completed a 20 month voyage which had been organised by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF). During the tour the vessel visited 86 ports in 51 countries and attracted nearly three-quarters of a million visitors to its onboard exhibition. This publicised the ITF’s continuing struggle for seafarers’ rights and against Flags of Convenience.

After the voyage the ship was given a new role as a training vessel.

David Cockroft, ITF General-Secretary, commented: “The Global Mariner won a place in the affections of everyone interested in the well-being and basic rights of seafarers. Although hearing this news was a little like finding out that a friend had been hurt, our overriding feeling is relief that no one was injured.”

He continued: “While it’s too early to say what the immediate future of the Global Mariner will be, we can be sure that the message that it so ably carried will continue to be promoted with or without it.”


WAVERLEY put to sea for the first time on Saturday August 12,  and ran
about 5 hours on sea trials. These were very successful and there were no
major problems to overcome so far.

More trials were scheduled for Sunday 13 August. If all goes well it appears that George Pror will hand back WAVERLEY to her owners on Tuesday morning and she will leave almost immediately for Glasgow (via Lands End currently although its almost equal either way). As such she may meet BALMORAL in the Irish Sea as the motor ship will be heading north to Belfast for charter work next weekend. The charter was originally of Waverley but was switched when the rebuild completion was delayed.



Cammell Laird's Hebburn yard has won an order worth over £500,000 to refurbish Mobil Shipping Company's MATCO THAMES at the yard's #2 dock. 

The MATCO THAMES is a crude oil tanker [89,398grt] built in 1976. The vessel will arrive on August 24. Work is expected to take two weeks to complete.

General manger David Dobson said: "This will be one of the largest vessels
yet handled by the company at Hebburn."


During the past week it was revealed in the local press that Cammell Laird has emerged as the only bidder for the Varna Shipyard in Bulgaria.

It is reported that the Bulgarian Ministry of Economy has confirmed that Cammell Laird has made an indicative bid which envisages and investment of £6.5m which will see shipbuilding return to the yard. 

However, a Cammell Laird spokesman refused to be drawn on whether the deal would go through, pointing out that the company had no agreement to buy the yard and that speculation was hypothetical.


Merseysiders and enthusiasts will remember the numerous problems faced by Direct Cruises during their charter of Lowline's EDINBURGH CASTLE [ex - EUGENIO COSTA] during 1998. Following the liquidation of Lowline EDINBURGH CASTLE was bought by Cammell Laird, refurbished and chartered to Premier Cruise Lines as BIG RED BOAT II.

According to reports from CNN she has been causing problems again! On Saturday August 26 Police and Coast Guard officials investigated reports that hundreds of passengers aboard the cruise ship were stuck inside the vessel at a New York dock with no power or clean water.

The delay was caused by malfunctioning elevators -- used to transport luggage -- at the dockside, said a spokeswoman for Premier Cruise Lines, the Florida-based parent company, on Saturday evening.

The ship has now left New York on another cruise, after the original passengers were eventually able to set foot on dry land.

"We've had some ups and downs with it, but we're trying real hard," spokeswoman Teresa Hall told CNN.

Earlier, Christine Klampert, a passenger who said she was calling on her cellular phone because passengers were barred from using the ship's telephones, told CNN the cruise had been plagued with problems since last Sunday night, one day after the ship began its seven-day cruise.

"We lost lights, power, air conditioning," she said. "I'm travelling with a little baby and I had to wash his bottle out with rusty water."

Hall said that air conditioning had been lost for 24 hours when a generator failed and that the ship's plumbing was also affected for roughly one hour. The problem caused the ship to miss its scheduled stop in St. John's, Newfoundland, because the vessel stayed overnight in Boston while the problem was corrected.

Hall said passengers were given free tickets for another cruise and company officials waived the $35 port charge for the missed stop.

"This ship has been tough," she said. "We've had a few mechanical issues with it."

Hall said the company chartered this particular ship.

'There have been nothing but problems' Klampert described conditions inside as sweltering heat in the cabins and "terrible food." She said that ship officials had made no announcements to explain problems.

"There have been nothing but problems the entire cruise," she said. "I'm livid. They said we would all get a free cruise, but I don't want a free cruise. I want my money back."

The Big Red Boat II sails from New York City to Canada, with stops in Boston; Newport, Rhode Island; Halifax, Nova Scotia; and St. John's. The ship can carry as many as 1,500 passengers, who pay between $800 and $2,000 each.

The New York City Police Department said officers were responding to reports of "passengers in distress" on the ship, but they had no other information.

The U.S. Coast Guard in New York was investigating the matter, said spokesman Brandon Brewer.

"If there was some kind of problem with any ship that came into port, someone would go on board the ship even before it gets into harbor," Brewer said.

"We would send Coast Guard investigators on the ship if we knew about it."


A yachtsman who uses a 1997 copy of the AA Road Atlas to sail across the Irish Sea has been rescued for the sixth time in a year.

Eric Abbott, 56, was sailing from Howth, near Dublin, to Amlwch in Anglesey when he radioed for help at 02.00 on Tuesday August 8, informing coastguards he was lost.

Lifeboat crews spent nearly an hour trying to locate the 24ft yacht after the lone sailor, from Northwich, Cheshire, was unable to reveal his precise location.

Mr Abbott, who said he enjoys going out to sea alone to "find himself", has no official navigation system on his boat - named PLUS VAT as a protest against Value Added Tax.

The Coastguard and Maritime Agency said Mr Abbott had cost lifeboat services an estimated £30,000 six rescues.

Holyhead coastguard has co-ordinated six rescues but it has emerged that lifeboat crews from Liverpool, Belfast and Milford Haven have also had to come to his aid.

On August 10, PLUS VAT was reported to be in trouble again when the yacht ran aground at Rhyl at 08:20.

Holyhead Coastguard picked up Mr. Abbott's call for assistance to vessels in the area on channel 16. The Coastguard requested him to communicate on channel 67, a working frequency, in order to ascertain his problem.

The RNLI boathouse locally observed 'PLUS VAT' en route to Rhyl's Foryd Harbour at the mouth of the Clywd estuary, and it became clear assistance was needed and the Coastguard requested that the inshore life boat launch to assist him. Both the all-weather and in-shore boats were then launched.

Unfortunately, Mr. Abbott's craft ran aground before either of the lifeboats could reach him. A crew member was put aboard `PLUS VAT', and an attempt to tow the vessel was then made. Initially the line broke, however a line was reconnected and eventually the yacht was towed into Rhyl Harbour.

Holyhead Coastguard Deputy District Controller, Ray Carson said:

"As a search and rescue organisation we respond for all calls for help in the same manner and all calls are subjected to the same initial procedure and appropriate action is always taken. Unfortunately, Mr. Abbott had not filed a traffic report to the
Coastguard earlier by which yachtsmen advise us of their passage plan; the number of passengers on their boat; and their estimated time of arrival. In this way, we can keep an eye on yachtsman and they can let us know when they arrive at their destination safely. The onus of responsibility lies with the yachtsman to advise of their safe arrival.

"HM Coastguard always encourage all sea goers to continually update their seamanship skills, navigation skills and carry out regular and thorough assessments of the safety equipment on board - it often means the difference between life and death. A pack was launched in January at the London Boat Show, entitled `Safety Afloat' from the Coastguard and all other relevant boating organizations which contains invaluable information about best practice at sea - including an instruction card called "Before you set out-..."

Later on August 10 the Royal Yachting Association offered Mr. Abbott a Day Skipper Course. The Day Skipper course is designed for aspiring skippers who have some basic sailing ability. It involves attending a five-day theory course where participants will learn important charting skills, safety at sea and the `rules of the road '. This is followed by a further five days intensive practical training afloat. 

Ray Carson, Deputy District Controller at Holyhead Coastguard said:

" We are delighted that the RYA have made such a generous offer this morning and we certainly hope that Mr. Abbott will take up the place on this excellent training Course. Mr. Abbot's exploits have been well documented throughout the media today, but our support for the Course would certainly extend to anyone who may be considering taking up yachting and who already possess the basic skills of seamanship. We have every sympathy for Mr. Abbott's predicament and we wish to help him in any way practicable."

Penny Haire, RYA Chief Cruising Instructor said

" This Course will give Mr. Abbott an understanding of navigation and improve his boat handling ability. Most important of all it will teach him to be aware of his limitations and have a healthy respect for the sea."


A report by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch has criticised a "fundamental shortfall" in the navigational management of a Newlyn fishing vessel which sank last October with the loss of a crewman's life.

The report into the fate of the 60ft vessel Rachel Harvey , which ran aground in bad weather during a routine fishing trip off the Isles of Scilly, also highlights the need for "hands on training" so that equipment can be used correctly.

The six-man crew were plucked to safety after the crabber foundered on rocks yards off Peninnis Head at St Mary's, but former lifeguard Andy Dyson died.

Mr. Dyson - 35, from Boscaswell, near Pendeen - had started work at W Harvey & Sons only a few days before the tragedy and left a partner and two children.

The MAIB report said a basic survival-at-sea course "may have saved his life."

It also said there was an "over-reliance on the automatic track control system" and that the watch keeper "lacked the fundamental knowledge necessary to navigate safely."

While a vessel was being steered automatically, its actual position needed to be checked by reliable other means to ensure the projected track was safe, it said.

The watch keeper had tried to alter the course using the autopilot's course setting knob but the system did not allow it when the global positioning system navigator was connected.

The skipper failed to ensure all his watch keepers knew and understood the navigational equipment or that they were competent to keep watch. The report states: "Modern technology has an important part to play in the safe navigation of vessels but, in untrained hands, it can lead to disaster."

The MAIB strongly recommended "hands on training" for watch keepers so they could correctly use equipment and "above all, be familiar with procedures to be used to override it and to alter course."

W Harvey is also advised to carry out monthly safety drills. A spokesman for the Newlyn-based shell fish firm declined to comment on the findings on the report.


A report in the Sunday Times reveals that Harland & Wolff, has been criticised by trade unions and politicians for not pursuing a potential £400m order.

Five letters in which the shipyard put off meetings with Ravi Tikkoo, the shipping tycoon who wants to build a luxury liner, have been obtained by the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions (CSEU).

Jackie Nicholl, vice-president of the CSEU which represents all 1,200 workers in the troubled yard, said: "This is unbelievable. I am shocked, and the workers at Harland & Wolff will be shocked, that their employers are not making it a top priority."

George Matchett, another union official, said the shipyard was in a vulnerable situation. "We are in dispute over our last vessel, we have currently very little work and most of the workforce are on a three-day week," he said.

Peter Robinson, deputy leader of the Democratic Unionist party, is also seeking an explanation for why the yard is not pursuing the deal. "They should be meeting him, it is not as if their order books are full," Robinson said.

Tikkoo, a billionaire shipping magnate who once built the biggest crude-oil tankers in the world, said yesterday that his plans for a £400m "superliner" were being ignored by Harland & Wolff management.

Although both Peter Mandelson, the secretary of state, and Sir Reg Empey, the North's economy minister, have written to Tikkoo welcoming his initiative, the businessman has been unable to arrange a meeting with the yard's sales staff since March.

Tikkoo, 68, recently resurrected plans to build the 160,000-ton cruise liner, ULTIMATE DREAM, which was first proposed in 1988. He says he has put together a finance package and is in partnership with a hotel chain to operate the liner.

Designed jointly by Tikkoo and the Belfast shipyard, the vessel would carry 3,000 passengers and serve North American and Caribbean markets.

Tikkoo originally planned to build the ship at Harland & Wolff in 1988 but the deal failed. He is reviving the idea because of changes in the world market.

"The problem was they wanted me to take over the ownership of the shipyard itself. They offered me lavish subsidies, but I am a shipowner, not a shipbuilder," he said.

The deal collapsed and Fred Olsen Lines eventually bought the yard. Two years ago Tikkoo was the under bidder for Cunard Line when it was sold to the American company Carnival Cruise Lines.

"I have always wanted to build a ship in Britain and rekindle the British shipbuilding tradition. The way things are at present, it will become more and more difficult for even the Royal Navy to get its warships built here," he said. "I know this ship can be built in Belfast. I know the yard and its skills."

According to Tikkoo, Harland & Wolff executives have cancelled at least five appointments: "We first approached them in March for a meeting, but as each date was set up, it was broken. Mostly we didn't hear until the day after the appointment was due.

"I am at a loss to explain what is going on. Perhaps they are not serious about continuing shipbuilding."

Harland & Wolff, which nearly closed earlier this year after failing in a bid to build Cunard's QUEEN MARY 2, is thought to be desperately trying to fill its order book. At present it is negotiating to build four ferries but has no firm orders.

There has been speculation that the yard's owners may consider closing to develop the 400 acres of industrial land surrounding the docks.

A Harland & Wolff spokesman said they were interested in Tikkoo's contract in principle, but that the yard's main concern was to secure its immediate future. He said even if everything went to plan, building the new ship could not start for 18 months with delivery in 2003 or 2004.

"There are a lot of financing issues to be settled before a project like this can get off the ground," he said.

Back Home Up Next

August 6


The process of transferring the site is now underway. The web space was confirmed by RAMJAM on Saturday evening and whilst uploading is now possible I have decided to await the transfer of the domain name. Otherwise users would have to temporarily get used to another obscure temporary name.

City Netgates have agreed to release the domain name and therefore the main site will remain at

The transfer request has to be forwarded in writing to Netgates for the transfer to be undertaken. This I will do before I depart for a few days to Dartmoor on Sunday. Obviously when they receive my request the old site will go off line sometime during the coming week.

I won't be able to make the final set up arrangements with RAMJAM until Monday August 14. However, all being well I anticipate being able to have the main site back on-line soon after that date. 

The new site is being constructed from scratch and work is now well advanced. It will retain much of the familiar layout, though a number of improvements to presentation, menus and directory structure will be included etc.

Uploading of the main site will be a staged process which will see the news bulletins, voyage reports, maritime queries and various information pages uploaded first. The graphics galleries following afterwards.

Please note that whilst I am away there will be no e-mail replies until late on Friday August 11. The next update will be on August 13 at 21:00.

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Geoff Hamer and "others".

SEA CONTAINERS / Isle of Man Steam Packet Company


The Transport Salaried Staffs Association has said it will not be appealing against the recent High Court ruling and has accepted an offer of further talks with Sea Containers.

CLAYMORE - Geoff Hamer writes concerning the CLAYMORE's recent charter to the Faeroe Islands Strandfaraskip Landsin.

"She ran to Suduroy from 16 May to 23 June, replacing the SMYRIL.  She carried a total of 12,170 passengers, 2430 cars, 405 trailers, 240 lorries/vans and 10 others on 150
crossings.  Her busiest day was 12 June (Whit Monday) when she carried 660
passengers and 93 cars on six crossings.   She carried significantly less
than the SMYRIL did in the same period last year, but the SMYRIL's summer
capacity is more than double - 800 passengers and 110 cars.  It's certainly
a lot more than the CLAYMORE would have carried if she had been running
from Campbeltown.  She left at 17:00 on 23 June to return to Liverpool."


PONTUS - The former Silja Line floating terminal which arrived at Liverpool in early May has been undergoing refurbishment in Langton Dock by Cammell Laird [Wright & Beyer]. 

PONTUS now carries SeaCat [Legs of Man] SuperSeaCat branding on the circular hoarding at the bow end. However nothing has replaced the Silja Line logo on the aft end.

The hull has been painted a lighter grey than when delivered, though the open deck area has now been painted Sea Containers blue along the lines of the deck repaint undertaken on the BEN-MY-CHREE earlier this year.

When observed on Friday August 4, a workman was standing on a small pontoon along side welding on a couple of lugs to be employed for mounting the fenders.

Loaded onto the open deck [no sign of the pax or vehicle gangway which were stowed here on her delivery] were a number of made up of what looked like old truck tyres.

It remains to be seen how passenger access will be made available to Pontus when she is berthed at the Pier Head.


On line internet bookings are now available for Sea Containers services on the Irish Sea and English Channel. On-line bookings offer a 2% discount. The facility can be accessed via:


It appears that Sea Containers services will return to the main passenger berth at Dublin port in 2001. Since the introduction of Irish Ferries fast craft JONATHAN SWIFT in summer 1999, Sea Co services from Dublin to Douglas and Liverpool and  have been using the hastily constructed and rather unsatisfactory terminal at ro/ro ramp 5 on the south side of the River Liffey.


HSS STENA EXPLORER has been noted running behind schedule for some time. On Wednesday the delayed morning departure from Holyhead was overtaken by the 08:00 SuperSeaCat Three sailing from Liverpool. STENA EXPLORER should have been commencing its return sailing from Dún Laoghaire by the time the SuperSeaCat arrived in Dublin Bay.

Stena have announced that in order to carry out essential maintenance on HSS STENA EXPLORER the company will need to make certain changes and cancellations to the following

Monday August 7


Dún Laoghaire

04:00 HSS departs 0340 hrs

06:30 HSS normal schedule

Tuesday August 8


Dún Laoghaire

04:00 HSS cancelled 

06:30 HSS cancelled

08:55 HSS cancelled   

11:10 HSS cancelled

Normal High Speed Service due to resume with 1345 hrs service ex Holyhead



03:00 Stena Challenger departs 03:15

09:00 Stena Challenger - normal schedule


Stena Line's plans for the extension of its Northern Ireland operation with the re-introduction of the conventional ferries STENA GALLOWAY and STENA CALEDONIA between Larne and Stranraer has been delayed until later this year.

When details of the move were first announced in April, it was hoped that the new Larne to Stranraer service would start by September. Due to contractual issues, that have taken longer than anticipated to finalize, the service will be delayed until later in the year. Passengers who have already booked for September are being contacted by Stena Line and offered alternative arrangements. The move to Larne by Stena Line represents a £1.5m investment and will result in the creation of 43 new jobs.

Alan Gordon, Route Director Stena Line commented: "The negotiations have taken longer than the parties had anticipated and in view of this we are now focusing on a start date later in the year. I would like to take this opportunity to apologize on behalf of Stena Line to our customers for any inconvenience caused. Interest in the new service has been very healthy and we are excited about the prospect of a dual service complementing our Stena HSS, which will remain on the Belfast-Stranraer route.


On August 3 the three masted schooner ESTELLE arrived at Belfast carrying fair trade goods. The vessel built by volunteers travels around the world promoting fair trade.

The ship is visiting Northern Ireland as the guest of charities Oxfam and War on Want.

On Saturday August 5 she is open to the public at Belfast Clarendon Dock, whilst on Sunday August 6 she can be visited at Bangor Marina.


An interesting visitor to Douglas where she arrived in rather choppy conditions on Monday evening and Liverpool where she arrived on Wednesday evening was the Danish gaff rigged ketch QUEEN GALADRIEL. The vessel built in Denmark for trading in the Baltic in 1937. Her dimensions are 107 x 21 x 8.4 ft. 85.4grt  She carries 3330sq ft of sail and has a 190hp diesel engine

QUEEN GALADRIEL is operated by the Cerdan Sailing Trust of Maldon Essex and is available for corporate, youth and sailing club charters. 


The remains of the famous Cornish fishing vessel ROSEBUD have been removed from her final resting place at Leland Saltings by the Hayle Harbour Company as she was becoming a hazard for other vessels.

The ROSEBUD was a little ship which did much to save the residential part of the Cornish fishing port of Newlyn from widespread redevelopment by the local authority in 1937. 

ROSEBUD was sailed to Westminster Pier, London by nine Newlyn fisherman. They were received by the local MP and  handed a petition signed by 1093 residents protesting against the "ruthless appropriation of private property" and the "wholesale destruction of our village" to Sir Kinglsey Wood, Minister of Health.

As a result of the petition much of the village was spared redevelopment and where it did take place it was undertaken in a more sympathetic manner.

Twenty-six years ago the vessel, by now renamed CYNTHIA YVONNE, took part in an abortive attempt to locate the RMS TITANIC. However, the last two decades have seen her slowly rotting away at Lelant.

The Cornishman Newspaper advises that pieces of the ROSEBUD are available from the Hayle Harbour Company Tel: Hayle 754043 before the company burns the remains.

A plaque commemorating the voyage of the ROSEBUD to Westminster can  be seen near Newlyn Harbour, on the wall of the Fishermen's Mission.


HMS RAMSEY [M110] A Sandown Class Minehunter has been handed over to the Royal Navy, by its builders, Vosper Thornycroft at a ceremony in Portsmouth this week

Named after Ramsey [I.o.M.] earned a place in Naval history as the final ship to be launched in the last millennium when she entered the River Itchen at Vosper Thornycroft's Woolston shipyard last November.

HMS Ramsey is the 10th of 12 such vessels of the Sandown Class being constructed by Vosper Thornycroft for the Royal Navy.

Vosper Thornycroft managing director Andrew Bunny commented: 'In HMS Ramsey, the Royal Navy can be assured that they are getting a fine ship that will provide an effective addition to their minehunting capability.'



Associated British Ports' (ABP) Port of Barry has received a further boost to its business with the return of regular grain shipments to the port. Rank Hovis has decided to begin importing grain through Barry after an absence of 5 years, and ABP has invested in refurbishing and upgrading the port's B Shed, a 6,000-tonne capacity facility that will be used exclusively by Rank Hovis for grain storage.

The return of this regular trade will increase the port's throughput by some 25,000 tonnes a year. The grain, which is used in Rank Hovis's flour mill, also located on the port estate, was previously hauled overland to Barry.

Commenting on the decision to use the port once again, Julian Watson, Commercial Manager, Rank Hovis, said:

"We are delighted to be back trading through the Port of Barry. Our decision was prompted by a number of factors, including the high-quality storage facilities now available at the port, giving us the convenience of direct access from sea to shed. Our flour mill is already located on the port estate, and this arrangement makes sense both commercially and environmentally; grain that was previously transported by road now arrives at the mill by ship, shortening the logistics chain and taking lorry miles off the road."

Simon Brett, Assistant Port Manager, ABP Cardiff & Barry, said:

"This welcome development demonstrates the benefits of investing to ensure that the facilities at our ports are the best available to our customers. It is a further boost for the Port of Barry as it continues to expand its range of activities."

Stevedoring services are being provided to Rank Hovis by Newport Stevedores.


Authorities in Dublin are investigating reports of oil spillages in the Dublin Bay area. It is thought there may have been two separate incidents. On Friday August 4, 200 tonnes of diesel oil was spilled on land when a ship was discharging oil for Tedcastle's. The company say the spillage was contained.

At Sutton, residents complained of a smell of oil in the bay during Saturday August 5. The source of the pollution is being investigated and a cleanup operation was started on Saturday evening.

The pollution incident has occurred on the day that the Irish Government announced a IR£10m investment in a new system of marine pollution control to protect the Irish coast.

Two emergency towing vessels, one based on the west coast and the other on the east will be used and supplemented by air patrols.

Back Home Up Next

August 2


First of all, apologies if you have already read these notes which were mailed to many regular M&ISS readers. However, they are included here for the benefit of others:

It is now two months since Mersey & Irish Sea Shipping was transferred from 1 Way Internet to City Netgates. During this time the site has failed to operate correctly within the Front-Page 2000 environment.

Despite numerous phone calls to, and many promises from, City Netgates I have finally decided that now is the time to find a new home as a resolution to the problems does not appear any nearer. With Netgates sole Windows NT technician away on holiday until next week, there is obviously no immediate solution in hand.

It is, therefore, my intention to place an order for a new web site with London based ISP RamJam.

Following a recent request for comments on the Mersey & Irish Sea Shipping website, the majority of respondents favoured a large site. This company offers such a facility at a competitive price with a 30-day trial period.

Hopefully it will be possible to transfer the domain name. If not a suitable alternative domain name will have to be chosen though I will try to ensure it reflects the geographical area of coverage.

The movement of the M&ISS will present the opportunity for some changes to be made in presentation and layout. Consequently I do not envisage the entire original site being posted to the new location as is. However, most recent material will be transferred, whilst some of the older material will be moved to the archive site in the coming weeks. The initial aim will be to get the news pages, voyage reports and maritime queries on line at their new home as soon as possible and then build the site back up over a few weeks.

Due to the fact I will be going away from Sunday until Friday next week - it is possible that it the necessary arrangements for the transfer may not be finalised for the next ten days. In the meantime News Bulletins will be posted to the back-up site

The next news update will be posted to the back-up site LATE on August 2, 2000. The following updates will then be posted on Sunday morning August 5 and Sunday August 13.

Once again many thanks for the appreciative comments and support during this rather difficult time.

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Brian Chambers, Justin Merrigan and "others"

SEA CONTAINERS / Isle of Man Steam Packet Company


The Blue Riband Lounge which was opened in the Douglas Sea Terminal early in 1998 is to close. The company state that the lounge has not been well used and consequently the facility will be withdrawn. The space will be used to expand the telephone reservation team.

JHL'S COMMENT: The lounge was tucked away in a corner of the Douglas Sea Terminal far from the departure gate it occupied what had been a corridor. A rather dismal room with limited lighting, though nicely furnished, it is not surprising it saw little use! Perhaps a more prominent location with proper windows might have seen the lounge proving more popular with Blue Riband Club members?


A proposed strike by ferry staff on SeaCat sailings between Belfast and Heysham and Troon on Thursday has been ruled unlawful by the High Court. Sea Containers, which brought the action along with a passenger booked to travel, said it was pleased with he decision.

The company said the Transport Salaried Staffs' Association union (TSSA), which called for the strike, was attempting to disrupt the plans of the travelling public.

The judge, however, granted the union leave to appeal. The TSSA hopes it will be heard on Friday.

Members of the union had planned to start indefinite strike action from Thursday over working conditions.

The action was planned after talks between Sea Containers management and union representatives at the Labour Relations Agency broke down on Tuesday.

Deputy General Secretary of the TSSA John Allen said that if, as he expected, the union won the appeal and gained the right to strike, industrial action would go ahead.

He said the members did not want to strike, but wanted to see their "very real and well-grounded grievances addressed".

These included "inadequate rest breaks, excessive hours and inadequate annual leave entitlement as well as job security issues", Mr Allen said.


It has been announced that the revised plans for the Liverpool Sea Terminal unveiled by the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company and Sea Containers earlier this year will go to a public enquiry. The enquiry will be held in October.


The campaign to restore the abandoned Scotland - Ireland ferry link between Ballycastle and Campbeltown continues with campaigners renewing calls for European help amid concern local businesses have been badly affected by its loss.

Tourism officials and councillors in Kintyre want EU lifeline status for the route between Campbeltown and Ballycastle in Northern Ireland to make it eligible for subsidy.

Sea Containers ran the service from 1997-99 using the former Cal-Mac vessel CLAYMORE, but withdrew the service at the end of the 1999 season. However, the company did not actually announce the withdrawal until 2000.

Vice chairman of Argyll, the Isles, Loch Lomond, Stirling and Trossachs Tourist Board, Bruce Urquhart, said by the time Sea Containers confirmed it was withdrawing it was too late to find another operator for this year and hoteliers and retailers in the area were suffering due to the resulting decline in Irish business.

He said: "I was talking to someone who was down £20,000 from last year. He did £20,000 of Irish business last year which he will not do this year - and that is a small 10-bedroom hotel.

"The retail business is also suffering - you had lots of day trippers coming over and spending money and eating in Campbeltown and that business has just disappeared obviously."

Mr Urquhart said as the service had been seasonal it had catered almost entirely for tourists.

He said: "We want very, very much to see this service running again. From the Kintyre point of view Kintyre does have problems because it's a peninsula - it's difficult to get people to come down a peninsula and then turn round and go back again.

"But the ferry service meant that we ceased to be a peninsula. We became a through route to Northern Ireland and that was one of the key elements of the ferry service as far as we were concerned."

Last month Scotland Office Minister Brian Wilson said Britain would make a strong case to Brussels for the route to be reopened as a subsidised service.



There are reports that the  Mersey Docks and Harbour Company has been tipped by UK port industry sources as a possible bidder for ports and engineering group Powell Duffryn, which recently confirmed it had received several approaches from undisclosed parties that could lead to an offer for the company. 


It is understood that almost the entire fleet of Mersey based tugs with the exception of the YEWGARTH were marooned in the docks due to the failure of a swing bridge last Sunday.


The Maritime and Coastguard Agency successfully prosecuted Astor Schiffahrtsgelleschaft of Germany. Owners of the container ship COASTAL BAY in Liverpool Magistrates Court on July 28.. The ship was registered in Antigua and Barbuda but owned in Germany. It was on a charter to Coastal Container Lines and operated a regular service between Dublin and Liverpool.

Astor were fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,100 for breaches of the 1995 Merchant Shipping Act after the ship ran aground in the early morning of the 21st July 2000 in Church Bay Anglesey. The charge was a single breach of Section 100 of the Act, which renders the Owner liable for the Unsafe operation of his ship, which in this case led to a grounding and some minor pollution.

The ship grounded on an award winning bathing beach and because of the potential environmental concerns both the MCA and the Environment Agency were involved in the investigation and prosecution.

The Owners were prosecuted because they had failed to implement a safe system of watch keeping on their ship, despite the Flag Administration of the ship issuing instructions to do so. Because of this management failing the Master failed to institute a proper system on the ship and as a result the Mate on watch failed to make an alteration of course.

It is not known why the Mate failed to alter course because he said he was unable to remember the incident but there were 2 alarms, which should have warned of the problem. In the event the ship continued on course at full speed for 50 minutes after the alter course position and ran aground in Church Bay.

The MCA and the Environment Agency are committed to protecting the environment and the quality of bathing waters. The incident had a high visual impact and significantly reduced the amenity of Church Bay whilst the ship remained grounded there. The beach, which is an award winning bathing water, was contaminated with diesel for some hours spoiling the enjoyment of this normally idyllic bay for the many visitors to the area.

This prosecution by the MCA 's Enforcement Unit with the assistance of the EA sends a clear message to ship owners and operators to ensure that their ships are maintained and operated to the highest standards to minimise the risk of pollution from such events.

The Master and Mate were given Official Warnings.

The MCA noted in Court the full and professional co-operation of the Owners.


The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has today published its report on the grounding and loss of the fishing vessel RACHEL HARVEY. The accident occurred at Peninnis Head, Isles of Scilly on 1 October 1999 and resulted in one fatality.


On 1 October 1999, an accident occurred off the Isles of Scilly, involving the grounding and subsequent loss of a fishing vessel, resulting in one fatality, Mr Andrew Dyson. The next day HM Coastguard notified the MAIB.

The fishing vessel Rachel Harvey had been heading for St Mary's, Isles of Scilly, in poor weather and was approaching the eastern end of St Mary's Sound with six people on board.

The sole watch keeper was navigating using a track control system that had been fitted in December 1998 and had been used extensively since. The system interfaced a Global Positioning System (GPS) navigator with the autopilot and enabled the autopilot to steer so as to maintain the vessel on a selected track.

The video plotter was not being used for navigation, and neither the intended track nor the vessel's position was plotted on the chart. The watch keeper did not understand how the interface functioned, and tried to alter course using the autopilot's course setting knob while the interface was connected. The system did not allow it.

The vessel grounded on Peninnis Head, and foundered within two or three minutes. One of the crew lost his life. Due to a lack of substantive evidence it is impossible to come to a firm conclusion on the reasons why use of the track control system failed to ensure the vessel remained in safe water. However, irrespective of the reason why she did not track as planned, the fact that the position of the vessel was not closely monitored, either by plotting on the chart or
by use of the video plotter, meant that the failure went undiscovered. This fundamental shortfall in the vessel's navigational management was the principal causal factor in the grounding.

Recommendations are directed at improving safety and navigational
training on board fishing vessels.



1. New navigational instruments were fitted to Rachel Harvey in December 1998.

2. Rachel Harvey had been laid up in Newlyn for five days prior to the accident due to a lack of crew.

3. Rachel Harvey had left Newlyn in the late morning of the day of the accident. She had then hauled, rebaited and shot about 600 pots during the afternoon before starting a passage to St Mary's at 1900.

4. The skipper set-up and made sure that the track control system was operating before handing over to the first watch keeper.

5. The watch keeper took over the watch at about 2010.

6. The watch keeper monitored the navigation by observing the radars.

7. The vessel was yawing in the moderate to rough sea conditions. The south-westerly wind of force 7 was on the port bow. The visibility was poor in rain showers.

8. The watch keeper tried to alter the vessel's heading by turning the course setter knob on the autopilot.

9. Rachel Harvey grounded at the extremity of Peninnis Head.

10. The vessel sank within two to three minutes of the grounding.

11. All of the surviving crew were able to get off the vessel and all but one had lifejackets.

12. Only one of the crew was able to board the liferaft; the others were carried away by the tidal stream.

13. Some of the crew had not undergone training in sea survival, fire-fighting and first-aid.

14. The owners had started to carry out risk assessments for the operation of the vessels in their fleet.

15. The wheelhouse was well equipped with modern instrumentation.

16. The vessel's intended course was not plotted on the chart nor on the video recorder.

17. Rachel Harvey was correctly fitted with the safety equipment required by law.

18. Distress messages were transmitted in three ways: by DSC, by VHF radio on channel 16, and by EPIRB. The coastguard received all transmissions.

19. Only those of the crew who were considered competent by the skipper were permitted to keep a navigational watch.

20. The track control system was used extensively by the skipper when the vessel was on passage.

21. There is no evidence to suggest fatigue, drugs or alcohol were factors in the accident.

22. Neither the owner nor the skipper kept proper records concerning the crew's qualifications and training.

23. If Andrew Dyson had undertaken the course in basic survival at sea it may have saved his life.

24. The watch keeper had neither enough fundamental knowledge nor sufficient training to keep a safe navigational watch on Rachel Harvey.

25. Because it was impossible to recover information from Rachel Harvey's instruments to substantiate the witness evidence, many of the factors which led to the grounding will never be known.

26. The Navitron autopilot's operations manual was found to be poorly laid out and difficult to understand.

27. The tubular steel framework, which surrounded the after deck, impeded the escape of crew members as the vessel was sinking.

28. To the skipper's credit, distress messages were transmitted successfully by three different methods.

29. Initially, the liferaft remained attached to the vessel while the crew in the water were swept away by the tide.

30. The crew did not activate their lifejacket lights.


The Immediate Cause

The cause of the grounding cannot be established beyond doubt due to a lack of substantive evidence. However, in broad terms, the grounding occurred due to poor navigational management and an over-reliance on the automatic track control system.


The watch keeper lacked training in the operation of the bridge equipment.

The watch keeper did not know the vessel was being controlled by a track control system.

The watch keeper lacked the fundamental knowledge necessary to navigate safely.

The skipper did not ensure that all his watch keepers knew and understood the vessel's navigational equipment.

The skipper relied too heavily on the track control system to keep the vessel in safe water.

The skipper did not ensure that all the watch keepers were competent to keep a safe navigational watch.


On 10 November 1999 the MAIB issued Safety Bulletin 3/99 which included the following safety recommendations arising from this accident:

1. Owners and skippers are reminded that a track control system, unlike a video plotter or positions plotted on a chart, does not give a continuous visual indication of the vessel's position relative to the required track. It is essential to establish that clear water exists between the vessel's start position and the waypoint to which it is heading. While on passage and being steered automatically, the vessel's actual position must be checked by some reliable alternative means to ensure the projected track is safe. Such checks will alert the watch keeper if he is
standing into danger.

2. Modern technology has an important part to play in the safe navigation of vessels but, in untrained hands, it can lead to disaster. System handbooks are often difficult to understand. Hands-on training is most strongly recommended for watch keepers to ensure they can use the equipment correctly, know its limitations
and, above all, be familiar with the procedure to be used to override it to alter course.

3. Track control systems should never be used in confined waters or when operating in close company of other vessels.

4. A track control system will relieve the watch keeper of certain routine tasks, but NEVER his primary responsibility of maintaining a proper lookout.

5. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has issued a useful Guidance Note (MGN) 84(F) on navigational safety. Watchkeeping fishermen who may not be familiar with this document and its advice for keeping a safe navigational watch should read it carefully. It addresses over-reliance on the use of electronic navigation

The following are additional recommendations

The States of Jersey Administration is recommended to:

1. Implement basic safety training regulations for fishing vessel
crews as soon as possible.

Navitron Systems Ltd is recommended to:

2. Consider redesigning its operations manual for the NT 921

The Owner, W Harvey and Sons Ltd, is recommended to:

3. Ensure comprehensive safety drills are carried out at monthly
intervals on board its vessels.


Her Majesty The Queen launched a £15.5 million ferry to serve remote communities in the Western Isles on Wednesday August 2.

The vessel, the MV HEBRIDES, was built at the Ferguson Yard in Port Glasgow after the company beat off stiff competition from other firms around Europe to win the contract.

Arriving at the Clydeside yard the Queen was greeted by hundreds of
well-wishers and shipbuilders and their families. She then met Acting First Minister Jim Wallace and local dignitaries before entering the yard itself and meeting other staff.

After a blessing in both Gaelic and English, the Queen stepped forward and spoke of her delight at being able to launch the ferry.

She said: "It's good to know that she will sail to and around the Western Isles, whose people and beauty have meant so much to me for so long."

The Queen then struck the launch button with a small hammer, sending a bottle of champagne smashing into the hull of the ship which slowly slid down the slip-way to rousing cheers from the assembled crowd.

Lone piper Russell Young, who served his apprenticeship in the yard, played the Jacobite lament The Skye Boat Song as the vessel went into the water.

The Queen was later presented to members of the workforce who built the ferry and was presented with a small ceremonial whisky drinking vessel known as a quaich.

The 99m-long ferry, which weighs 5,499 tonnes, will have a crew of 28 and will be among the biggest in the Caledonian MacBrayne  fleet.

The vessel will carry up to 600 passengers and 90 cars as she travels between Uig in Skye to Tarbert in Harris and Lochmaddy in North Uist.

The vessel boasts a variety of special features including lifts and facilities for disabled people, and improved passenger safety and comfort. She will spend the next few months being fitted out internally at a dry dock in the yard before making her inaugural cruise and maiden voyage later this year.


DERBYSHIRE - A remembrance service for the 44 seafarers who died when the Bibby Line bulk carrier DERBYSHIRE foundered in the South China Sea  will be held at St.Nicholas Parish Church, Liverpool on September 9. The service will at commemorate the exact 20th anniversary of the sinking of the vessel.


On July 28 P&O The Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company and the Festival Cruises group announced that by mutual agreement they have decided not to pursue their proposal for joining forces and for Festival to become part of P&O's cruise business. The decision reflects the continuing low valuations of cruise companies arising from current stock market perceptions in the US.

The two groups have instead decided to develop their cruise businesses separately. P&O is one of the world's leading cruise companies with the most globally diversified business. Its cruise division, which is to be
demerged later this year, includes Princess Cruises, one of the strongest brands in the US, P&O Cruises, the leading brand in the UK, and Aida Cruises, Germany's fastest growing cruise line.

Festival, which is at the forefront of the fast growing Continental European cruise industry, will continue implementing its own strategy for expansion, including the delivery in 2001 and 2002 of two new ships currently under construction at Chantiers de l'Atlantique.

Commenting on the announcement, P&O Chairman Lord Sterling said: "Taking everything into account, we both arrived at the conclusion that this was probably not the best time to take the step of joining forces. I have great admiration for Festival Cruises and its dynamic management, and continue to believe in its vision. I look forward to the prospect of working with Festival in the future. For its part P&O will continue to invest strongly in its brands throughout the world."

Festival Chairman George Poulides said: "Despite our decision that a merger is not the best option for either party, we remain friends. P&O is a prestigious name in cruising and we look forward to developing opportunities that will benefit both companies. Festival has an exciting vision for the future. We remain eager to implement our expansion plans and to continue our success throughout Europe."

EUROPEAN PATHFINDER was reported late arriving at Rosslare on July 30 due to engine problems, The ship arrived at 16:30 from France with 57 units of freight on board. The crossing time having taken 25 hours.


On July 28 Irish Continental Group unveiled interim results for the period to April 30, 2000. The results revealed that in the seasonally weaker first half of the year (also the first full half year without the benefits of duty free sales), the Group recorded a loss before tax of €4.7 million compared with a previous year profit of €2.6 million. The loss per share was 17.9 cents (1999: earnings per share of 9.7 cents) while the diluted loss per share was 17.3 cents (1999: earnings per share of 9.4 cents).

Turnover for the half-year grew by 30% to €122.9 million reflecting strong growth in car and passenger traffic, roll-on roll-off freight, lift-on lift-off freight and the impact of prior year acquisitions.

The results reflect the termination of duty free sales, continued high fuel prices and the additional capital and operating costs of the JONATHAN SWIFT in the quieter winter period together with start up costs on new routes and fuel and haulage cost increases in the Container Division.


Shareholders will receive an increased interim dividend on 4.75cents, representing a 20% increase on that paid in 1999.


Turnover in the Ferries Division was €54.8 million, a 9.2% increase on 1999’s €50.2 million. There was an operating profit of €0.4 million (1999: profit of €4.6 million). Total passenger numbers in the half year exceeded 0.6 million for the first time with passenger numbers on the Irish Sea up 10% to 571,000 while passenger numbers on the French route were up 2% to 36,000. RoRo freight volumes were up 3% to 82,000 units compared with the same period in 1999, with higher growth on the Rosslare/Pembroke route (up 5%) given the capacity constraints on the Dublin/Holyhead route pending the arrival of the ULYSSES next year.

On board sales revenue, including net franchise revenue, amounted to €6.4 million compared with €9.7 million in the same period last year with the reduction due mainly to the elimination of duty free sales. Fuel costs were higher by approximately €2 million during the period (on a like for like basis compared with the previous year). The seasonality of trading has been increased by the introduction of fast craft all year round. The net cost of operating the JONATHAN SWIFT during the winter period was in the region of €5m.

The company reports that bookings on Irish Ferries fully interactive website,, continue to increase at an encouraging rate and are now running at an annualised €4.0 million p.a.


The ro/ro ferries, PRIDE OF BILBAO and VILLE DE SETE (formerly EGNATIA II / SAINT PATRICK II), continued on bareboat charter to P&O European Ferries and Hellenic Mediterranean Lines respectively, during the period, with the latter vessel commencing a new route from France to Palma in Majorca.


In the Container and Terminal Division turnover grew 24.1% from €44.9 million to €55.7 million. Operating profits fell from €2.8 million to €0.2 million. There was a 18% increase in the volume of containers carried to 189,000 twenty foot equivalents ("teu") (1999: 160,000 teu). ICG added to their route network additional services to Bilbao and St. Petersburg during the period. The start up costs associated with these new routes, continued high fuel costs and higher road haulage costs particularly in the UK, which are an inherent part of the door to door service, resulted in significantly lower margins. This trend has continued into the second half. Containers handled at the DFT terminal in Dublin rose 19% to 122,000 teu (1999: 103,000 teu) resulting in an improved performance.


This was the first full half year of trading of the ICG travel division recently rebranded under the Tara Travel name. Significant investment is taking place in the division in back office and web based systems to capitalise on the potential for growth in internet based travel services. The ICG travel portal, which will be broadly based, offering air, sea, car hire and accommodation, is close to launch with a number of key product suppliers signed up.


During the period the Irish Continental Group invested €41.7 million, including €17.7 million on the acquisition of NORMANDY, €10.6 million on progress payments on ULYSSES and €4.2 million on containers. Depreciation in the period was €9.1 million, resulting in EBITD of €8.4 million. As a result of the investment programme, seasonal trading patterns, and exchange rate movements, net debt at the half-year was €155.1 million, €26.9 million higher than at the same date in 1999. Liquidity remained strong with period end cash of €39.1 million.


The company maintains a cautious outlook for the remainder of the year. It admits to the effect of the withdrawal of Duty Free sales, though claims this this mainly effected foot passenger carryings early on.

The second half of the current year includes two months (May and June) during which duty free sales were available in 1999. Trading in these two months has seen car numbers grow by 16% and freight carryings grow 5% however, because of the elimination of duty free and the operating cost of the JONATHAN SWIFT, profits for those months will be down on last year.

From 1 July onward a like-for-like comparison with last year has been possible outside of the influence of Duty Free. The cumulative year to date volume changes up to 21 July are as follows:

Cars +15%

Passengers +7%

Freight +3%

The introduction of the Dublin Swift fast ferry service has enhanced services by providing up to four additional round trips per day with a wider range of departure and arrival times resulting in a substantial increase in market share on the key route to Dublin.

Irish Continental Group remain unhappy with the level of port charges at Dublin which the company claims are unreasonably high and fail to make allowance for the significant investment ICG has made in tonnage which is yielding significant revenue benefits to the Port at the same time as the shipping operators are facing increased operational costs as well as the elimination of duty free sales.

The construction of the new 50,000 tonne cruise ferry ULYSSES is proceeding to plan and will provide a platform for renewed growth, particularly in roll-on roll-off freight, from 2001 onwards. This vessel will almost double the freight capacity on Dublin/Holyhead (where freight traffic has already grown by a by a factor 4 times since 1993).


STENA LYNX III was reported late arriving at Rosslare on July 29 due to engine trouble. She arrived at 08:20, and was reported to be late back again in the afternoon, at 14:20.

Around 180 cars went back on her to Fishguard, the vessel is apparently doing well with bookings at the moment, and Brian Chambers reports that there is a rumour circulating that she be kept in service. Stena having announced some months ago that her charter would be terminated at the end of the summer season with the Rosslare to Fishguard service being maintained by KONINGIN BEATRIX.

The July 29 STENA LYNX III evening sailing to Fishguard was cancelled and passengers transferred to KONINGIN BEATRIX

On JULY 30 engine trouble led to further LYNX cancellations, Passengers cars, and foot passengers were accommodated on the KONINGIN BEATRIX 21:50hrs sailing to Fishguard.

The KONINGIN BEATRIX was late arriving at Rosslare on the evening of July 30 due to her departure from Rosslare being delayed to accommodate passengers who had been booked to travel on STENA LYNX III. The ship arrived at Rosslare at 18:45, however, she did manage to leave on time.

HSS STENA DISCOVERY - Stena Line suffered the embarrassment of having the HSS which operates the Harwich -Hoek service arrested on July 29 ahead of one of the busiest weekends of the year. The arrest was made by lawyers acting for the widow of a man swept off the fishing boat Purdy by wash from the vessel.


The famous German naval training ship, the GORCH FOCK, arrived in Cork on July 29. The vessel is re-establishing a link first forged with the City of Cork 28 years.


RTÉ's Seascapes programme reports that three local authorities in County Cork have drawn up a £2m. for the improvement of facilities at Kinsale Port. 

Harbour Master, Capt. Phil Devitt, said that Kinsale was unique because it had to deal with three maritime sectors using the port – commercial shipping, fishing boats and the rapidly-expanding leisure marine sector. Extension of the main pier, the creation of a fish-landing pier and other improved access facilities are included in the plan which was jointly agreed by the Harbour Board and Urban District Council in Kinsale and by Cork County Council. I

It has been formally presented to the Minister for the Marine, with a request that it be implemented urgently.


A federal judge in the USA has reported to have blocked a salvage company's plans to cut into the wreckage of the White Star Liner TITANIC.

US District Judge J Calvitt Clarke Jnr said as he issued the order in Norfolk, Virginia, that a recent management change at the salvage company raised concerns about what would happen to artefacts recovered from the wreck of the liner.

The judge issued the order on Friday, two days after the company, RMS TITANIC, said it was looking for lost diamonds worth 300 million dollars. He also repeated his ban on selling objects taken from the wreck.

Last November, RMS Titanic shareholders fired the company's old managers and picked new ones who pledged to speed up the salvage operation.

The new president, Arnie Geller, told the judge in March about a plan to cut into the Titanic this summer. The company later scrapped the plan, saying the technology was not ready.

But last Wednesday, RMS Titanic said it would sell some artefacts "of non-historical and archaeological significance", including diamonds, gold and currency.


Two men from the Estonian capital, Tallinn, have been before a special sitting of Cork District Court on August 1. They faced charges in connection with the weekend seizure of more than £2.5m worth of cannabis resin. 40-year-old

The 250 kilos of cannabis resin, packed in one and two kilo slabs, were concealed in a people carrier which was on board the Roscoff to Cork ferry that docked at Ringaskiddy on Saturday afternoon.

Gardaí opposed bail on the grounds that both defendants had no ties in Ireland and were likely to abscond. Both men were remanded in custody for a week.



The largest ship ever built in Tasmania quietly slipped into the water at 5:45 p.m. last Saturday (29 July). The 98 metre Incat Tasmania is also the biggest aluminium ship to be built in Australia and is capable of carrying 900 passengers and 260 motor vehicles, and can travel at over 40 knots.

Its maximum speed is also expected to make it the fastest ship built in Australia, and this will be tested after the Olympic Torch is delivered to Port Arthur from Kingston Beach on Thursday August 3.

The vessel will, after Thursday, return to Prince of Wales Bay to complete the internal fitout and make the ship ready for the Sydney Olympics. The Incat Tasmania will be on charter to Austrade for the duration of the Olympics and will be moored in Darling Harbour for exclusive use of Business Club Australia members.


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