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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



September, 24



It is strange how some coincidences arise. Two weeks ago the M&ISS update had at a strong Appledore products theme featuring two recent products of the Devonshire ship yard the new brig STAVROS S. NIARCHOS and the fine new Irish Naval Service vessel LE ROISIN.

This week Terminals could be considered to be the update theme. You will find interior photographs taken of the new PONTUS floating terminal berthed at Prince's Landing Stage which is due to be opened to passengers on Monday September 25. Also featuring in this update are more photographs of the former B & I Line Waterloo Dock terminal as it currently appears following the recent withdrawal of the occupants of the site.  

NEW E-GROUP: Ferries of Southern Europe 

A new moderated ferry EGroup has been founded by Gary Andrews. The Ferries Of Southern Europe Egroup aims to allow the sharing of news and views on the ferries and ferry companies of Southern Europe.

To join the group send a blank e-mail message to:

The ferry world of Southern Europe is fascinating but often overlooked. Amongst the most interesting features of the scene for those of you that know little about it are the huge number of familiar Northern European "friends" still in service now being joined by ferries that are arguably the most modern and advanced in the world.

News from Southern Europe is very difficult to obtain - often the best information owes its origins to travellers to the area. Hopefully by all like-minded enthusiasts working together through this group we can all learn a little bit more.

Gary looks forward to welcoming you all!


I have modified the update schedule for October as I will be off on my travels. There will be two Friday and a Saturday updates during October. Please check the Update Schedule for details.


You will find the first instalment of Neil Ralph's 1960s collection posted with this update featuring HOLYHEAD FERRY I at Dún Laoghaire including one shot at the long disappeared East Pier ro/ro terminal. - More next week. 

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Justin Merrigan - Incat, Simon Dey - Sea Containers, Neil Ralphs and "others".

SEA CONTAINERS\Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

SUPERSEACAT THREE - Due to adverse conditions on Thursday SSC3 diverted to Holyhead whilst operating the 08:00 sailing from Liverpool to Dublin. The first occasion on which the diversion facility has been used. Passengers and vehicles being off loaded for onward travel by Irish Ferries.

PONTUS - The floating terminal PONTUS will open to the public on Monday September 25. However, ticket sales etc will remain in the present building for the time being. Access to the PONTUS via the Mersey Ferries passenger access bridge is now seen as a long term aim. 

PEVERIL - It appears that the ship which has been laid up since the arrival of the BEN-MY-CHREE may be departing for a new life in the Caribbean in the near future.

LADY OF MANN - on Friday it looked as though the LADY OF MANN was due to return around noon on Sunday. She didn't. However, radio transmissions indicated that she passed Q1 in bound at around 18:05 on Sunday.


Nick Robbins is looking for anecdotal material from the engineering department for a new book he is writing on the Belfast Steamship Company and British & Irish Steam Packet Co. The vessels of interest are: ULSTER MONARCH, ULSTER PRINCE and the 1948 pair LEINSTER and MUNSTER, or indeed of the INNISFALLEN of this same vintage. Full credit for any stories will, of course, be given in the book.

Nick's e-mail at


Last week Ramsey ship yard launched the first vessel to be built on the Isle of Man for 33 years.

MANX RANGER is 9.99 metre fishing vessel built for Peel fisherman Frank Horne. 

The vessel was launched from the shipyard by his wife Jackie.


Some notes from observations along the north end of the Dock [Regent] Road. 


Much restoration work has recently been carried out on the remaining section of the Harland & Wolff works near Canada #3 Branch Dock. Part of the building has opened as a café appropriately named "The White Star Café". 


Whilst on the subject of cafés it appears that the famous Frank's Cafe which closed on the retirement of its proprietor last year is set to reopen. A notice has appeared on the door of the premises which is located opposite the Waterloo Dock apartments.


Overlooked several weeks ago when it was undertaken and omitted from previous bulletins. The buildings along the east quay of CANADA #1 Branch Dock where the Belgian Trawlers can often be found have been demolished. They formerly housed the Port Health Authority.


Elsewhere in this bulletin you will find a new set of photographs of the long abandoned B&I Terminal at Waterloo/Trafalgar Docks. I re-photographed the site as the forecourt of the passenger terminal and vehicle marshalling area is no longer being used as a trailer park. Though the buildings remain fenced off. The main admin block, occupied by a printing company on the ground floor is now empty and the building appears to be attracting the stone throwers.

It is now possible to gain access to West Trafalgar Dock, the gates to the area used until recently for new car storage have been left open. Presumably since demolition contractors removed the Scherzer Lift Bridge over the Clarence / Salisbury Dock passage. It is therefore now possible to almost reach the famous "Six Sided Clock" or Victoria Tower once used by ship's masters to set their chronometers.

One can proceed as far as the Salisbury River Entrance barge lock. Can anyone provide any dates for when the clock ceased to function and the Salisbury Dock River Entrance was sealed? Though I have checked a number of publications but it has not been possible to identify the dates.

It is also possible from this location to view Clarence Dry Docks, currently occupied by the Wijsmuller tug OAKGARTH and the LIBERTATEA ex NAHLIN

LIBERTATEA is one of the last three large steam yachts to be constructed in the UK. Launched as the NAHLIN for Lady Yule. 

I would seriously recommend any enthusiasts interested in recording some original maritime archaeology on film to visit this area as soon as possible. For given the recently published development plans chances to record the site in its present state may not last for long. This site is private land owned by the MD&HC and one should of course be in possession of an MD&HC photography permit in the event that your presence be challenged. 


On the evening of September 23 radio comms from RMA MOORFOWL to Mersey Radio indicated that the south mooring buoy off Dukes had been removed; and that removal of the northern buoy should be accomplished soon. It is interesting to note that the MOORFOWL has been on Merseyside working on the moorings installed for the visit of HMS INVINCIBLE early this summer since late August. Surely it doesn't take this long to remove two buoys? If anyone has information on the nature of the work on these moorings I would be most interested to hear from you. 


DAWN MERCHANT - It was noted that the original "MF" logo had disappeared from the funnels of the ship on Saturday 23 September. Presumably the new wavy pennant logo as applied to SAGA MOON will appear shortly. 


EUROPEAN SEAFARER - arrived at Cammell Lairds on Saturday evening September 23.

EUROPEAN LEADER - the grounding of the vessel on her Dublin to Liverpool sailing last Sunday morning may have disturbed a body according to Merseyside Police. This week two feet have been found close to where the vessel ran ashore on Crosby beach. 

One foot was found on Monday near Crosby Marina whilst a second matching foot was discovered near Crosby Baths on Wednesday.

Police are now studying missing persons to try and establish the identity of the body parts.

One theory being considered by police is that the P&O vessel EUROPEAN LEADER may have displaced the body when it ran aground on  sandbanks on Sunday morning

The vessel lodged on a bank a mile out from Crosby - directly opposite the site where the second foot was found.

Police said the unusually high tide may have helped detach the feet and possibly other parts and swept them ashore.

Detective Superintendent Julieanne Wallace-Jones said: "There's nothing that indicates foul play at this stage. The left foot shows no fractures or signs of trauma.
The right foot will now be X-rayed. They appear to have decomposed and broken away from the rest of the body. I cannot rule out the possibility that the person was the victim of a drowning incident. We are in touch with coastguards. There have been several drowning incidents off the North-West coast and we are gathering details in a bid to identify the person. It is possible that other body parts or the rest of the body may have already been washed up or will be washed up over the next few days and we are scouring the area. It may not be coincidence that the P&O ferry was beached in the area at the weekend and somehow played a part."

Early tests showed that the feet belong to an adult male whose bones were
showing signs of arthritis.

A Home Office pathologist established that the man died at least six months
ago, although indications are that the feet became detached recently.

A DNA profile will be drawn up by scientists over the next few days and
compared to profiles on the police national database for a possible match



Minister for Competitiveness Alan Johnson announced this week a DTI grant of up to #2.8 million to the Shipbuilders and Shiprepairers Association.

The money will be used to fund a LINK Research Project aimed at improving design and production technologies in marine construction.

Addressing today's Shipbuilding Forum, Mr. Johnson said:

"This grant is a clear indication of the Government's commitment to the UK shipbuilding industry and willingness to provide support when appropriate."

"The UK shipbuilding industry has accepted the challenge of matching world class standards. This exciting research project, backed by £2.8 million of Government money, will lay the foundation for this."

"The industry has set itself challenging, but achievable, targets which are necessary to compete in a very difficult market. Only by improving productivity can the UK industry reach its full potential."

The LINK project aims to deliver long-term and sustainable improvements in productivity and competitiveness. A key component will be providing companies with the tools and skills to ensure that improvements continue after the project finishes.

Key elements of the project will be:

* Researching trends in marine construction, predicting how these will evolve and the corresponding technology and material requirements.

* Developing tools to enable small firms in particular to measure their performance and track improvements as they change working practices to match global 'best-practice' standards.

* Investigate the optimum use of human resources including managing change, training, flexibility and Health and Safety issues.

* Analysing the optimum business skills required for the sector including co-operation between companies, both within and across industrial sectors and the potential for collaborative 'cluster development'.



On September 20 the Maritime & Coastguard Agency announced that fourteen foreign ships were under detention in UK ports during August 2000 after failing port state control safety inspections. The list consists of eight ships detained in August, along with six ships still under detention from previous months. The rate of detentions compared with inspections carried out over the last 12 months is 5.9%. This is a slight increase on the 12-month rate of 5.8% to July.

The ships detained included:-

  • A Maltese-flag general cargo ship detained for 7 days in Immingham. 20 deficiencies were noted, including an inoperative oily water separator, an incorrectly rigged EPIRB, defective radio batteries and out of date charts;

  • A Norwegian-flag general cargo ship detained for 8 days in Goole. 17 deficiencies were noted, including out of date charts, an uncertificated watch engineer and there being no acceptable means of communicating engine room orders between the bridge and the engine room. This was this ship’s second detention this year under the Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control.


On September 21 at 04:12  a 23 metre French fishing vessel KERGUIL  positioned over 160 miles south west of the Isles of Scilly, reported to Falmouth Coastguard via the French Coastguard that two crew members, both Spanish and in their 20’s, had accidentally swallowed ammonia.

Falmouth Coastguard scrambled one rescue helicopter from RAF Culdrose, which arrived on  scene at 07:40 after refuelling at St Mary’s airport. A second backup RAF rescue helicopter left Culdrose a 06:30. 

The crewmen were taken to Treliske Hospital, Truro for treatment. 


The predicted redundancies at the troubled Belfast shipyard of Harland & Wolff were confirmed this week.

Of the 1,200 employees, 613 are to lose their jobs within weeks, while 595
are to be kept on as part of a plan to restructure H&W.

The decision to offer redundancy to nearly half of the yard's workforce comes as a blow to the long-established shipbuilding industry in the city.

President of the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions, Bobby Carson, said that the announcement was a "devastating blow" to workers across the company, from its management down.

Speaking to BBC Radio Ulster, he said the mood among the workforce had been very low for some time.

This, he said, was because of a "drip feed of doom" since June, when spirits were raised by the announcement that the company was about to secure an order for four Ropax ferries.

The order has still not been confirmed and the company did not have enough
short-term work to sustain its current workforce.

Mr Carson said the union feared there would be further redundancies if new
orders could not be won.

"The reality is that in the current state of affairs the company and the
government need to redouble their efforts to secure orders.

"We have some short-term work on a rig, but we need firm orders very quickly," he said.

Mr Carson added: "Despite the bad news we remain confident that something will come up.

"It would be a terrible epitaph if the last two ships to be built at the yard were the drill ships for Global Marine, which were world class, state of the art and high technology."

H&W was recently awarded £22m in an arbitration dispute with the American oil exploration company Global Marine, which had refused to pay the final installment for one of the drill ships, which it said had not been completed to its satisfaction.

Its parent company, Fred Olsen Energy, had indicated the yard could close altogether if it did not secure most if not all of its £23m claim, but that if the claim was successful substantial restructuring would involve significant job losses.

A leaner, more responsive and more productive shipbuilding and offshore construction business will be better placed to take advantage of emerging
market opportunities

In a statement H&W's owners said they intended to restructure the company so that shipbuilding could be sustained as a viable business in Belfast.

They said they expected to have finalised the restructuring plan by the end of next week, while the redundancy process would be concluded by 5 October. H&W chief executive Brynjulv Mugaas said the company realised the redundancies would be painful, but he said they were necessary if H&W was to regain market confidence and win orders.

"A leaner, more responsive and more productive shipbuilding and offshore construction business will be better placed to take advantage of emerging market opportunities and to counter the cyclical nature of ship-ordering patterns," he said.

He added that the company hoped that there would not have to be further redundancies but he said: "This will depend on achieving the major improvement in productivity coupled with the securing of major orders."

"This is the only way to ensure the company's future," he added.

The company will be developing some of the site user its restructuring plans to create a new business district known as the "Titanic Quarter"
Meanwhile the The Belfast Telegraph's "Talking Shop" column has speculated on the future of the two massive yellow Harland & Wolff cranes Samson and Goliath. The paper suggests that should the worse come to the worse and the yard close down the cranes should be preserved as tourist attractions as they are such a distinctive landmark


Back Home Up Next

September 20, 2000


From time to time there is a dearth of news and I am afraid this Wednesday proves the point with very little happening in the last couple of days. However, you will find two new galleries and an addition to the Maritime Queries. Sundays update should see the first batch of Neil Ralph's vintage colour pictures on line.

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews. 


Due to technical problems the RNLI Dún Laoghaire web site which can usually be reached by hyperlink in the main menu above is temporarily unavailable. It should be restored as soon as Tripod sort out some problems with the Front Page extension.


On September 19 Fishermen in Ireland remained in port as part of a 24-hour protest against high fuel charges. However it is reported that fishermen in the Southeast have not joined the protest. They say that they were not told about plans for the demonstration.

The protesting fishermen want to highlight other difficulties in the industry, such as quota restrictions, crew shortages and the scarcity of some kinds of fish. The organisers say that they expect up to 90% of the country's fishing fleet to stay tied up in ports during the action. The fishermen are calling on the Irish Government to introduce a fuel compensation scheme as an initial step towards tackling rising fuel costs.

In an effort to promote alternative jobs in coastal regions, the Minister for the Marine has announced that a number of areas will be designated as special centres for marine leisure development projects. The action of fishermen today underlines the difficulties facing coastal communities, where, coupled with declining catches, jobs are at risk in the fishing industry.

While agreeing to take the fishermen's case on fuel costs to Cabinet, the Minister of the Marine made it clear that other job opportunities would have to be found to diversify the economic foundation of coastal areas. At a conference in West Cork of maritime organisations from all over the country, Frank Fahey said that he was drawing up a plan to develop marine tourism, under which a number of coastal centres will be designated where clusters of development will be allowed.

Twenty million pounds has been provided as core funding. The Departments of Finance, Tourism, the Environment and Bórd Fáilte will be involved in choosing the areas that are to be designated for special attention. Among the ideas being considered are what is being called "health tourism" based on the marine sphere, developing spas and hydrotherapy, using seawater and seaweed and a network of new marinas all round the coast.


Brittany Ferries will be operating the fastest Western Channel ferry crossing yet next year. An alliance with Guernsey based Condor Ferries was announced  on September 14 which will lead to a new, daily two hours 15 minutes summer service between Poole and Cherbourg, starting next May.

The new 41 knots (75 km/h) catamaran service will be Brittany Ferries' first move into fast ferries and will increase the number of sailings on the Poole-Cherbourg crossing to up to three returns a day, one fast and two by cruise ferry.

The Condor owned vessel, featuring joint Brittany Ferries branding and on-board service crew will carry 750 passengers and 185 cars. Customers will benefit from interline tickets combining the new Poole-Cherbourg fast craft service with Brittany Ferries' Portsmouth-St Malo and other routes as well as Condor's Poole-St Malo service.

The chance to enter a commercial alliance with the most experienced fast craft operator in the UK* is particularly attractive to Brittany Ferries who have been carrying out lengthy and detailed assessments of potential fast craft services for some time.

The introduction of the new high-speed service enables Brittany Ferries and Condor to offer passengers greater choice and flexibility and at the same time increase capacity on the expanding Poole-Cherbourg route. Nearly 450,000 passengers have been carried this year.

Ian Carruthers, Brittany Ferries Managing Director for the UK and Ireland, announcing the new service, said: "As the number one ferry operator on the Western Channel we wanted to ally ourselves with the best, most experienced fast craft operator in the UK. We have achieved that aim with our proposed new 'code share' arrangement with Condor."

"They have had a 100% reliability record on their Channel Islands services this summer so I believe our customers who go for speed rather than classic cruise ferry crossings, can look forward to an exciting new era in Brittany Ferries' services", he concluded.

Condor has been operating fast craft since 1964, ten years before Brittany Ferries launched its first passenger service between Plymouth and Roscoff.

Back Home Up Next

September 17, 2000



They say a week is a long time in politics, well I guess it is if around 70% of the population is almost in rebellion over the cost of fuel! You may have noted a couple of links posted to sites which may be of interest. and .

The increasing cost of fuel appears to be having a noticeable effect on ferry operators with Condor announcing further surcharges only a week or so after a previous announcement. 

With companies now planning their services for 2001 we will probably be seeing a noticeable increase in fares, particularly on those routes served by particularly fuel hungry fast craft. It will be interesting to see what high fuel costs have on the long term future of some fast ferries particularly those propelled by gas turbines! A correspondent this week commented to me that high fuel costs now could have the same effect on fast ferry operations as it did on the turbine steamer in the 1970s.


A very minor technical problem has arisen with the Front Page Extensions, [Probably due to my fiddling!] which results in an error message being generated on completion of uploads. I have been advised by RAMJAM that to resolve the problem it will be necessary to delete the web site for the extensions to be reinstalled.  

Given the recent major problems in the early summer I have decided that providing the situation does not deteriorate I will delay the repair until I have sufficient time to reinstate the site likely to be around early New Year as my Christmas holiday is somewhat extended at the expense of the next summer holiday.

I must however, credit RAMJAM on their excellent technical service, which unlike the two previous ISP's I have had dealings with, maintain a presence well into the evening with contact being maintained by e-mail rather than phone. 


Neil Ralphs has kindly loaned some of his vintage 1960s transparencies which I will be scanning during the coming week. I hope to have the first selections on line next Sunday. There are some classic shots of Mersey & Irish Sea shipping and in some cases long gone port infrastructure! 


There will be an additional mid-week update this Wednesday evening at around 22:00.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Gary Andrews, Sara Cass, Neil Ralphs, Stuart Cameron, Jenny Williamson and "others"

SEA CONTAINERS/Isle of Man Steam Packet Company


SUPERSEACAT TWO: It is understood that SSC2 will return to Merseyside replacing SSC3 on the Liverpool to Dublin route. SUPERSEACAT THREE will be transferred to the Belfast - Heysham route.

LADY OF MANN:  It is also understood that the Solas work on Lady of Mann definitely goes ahead, funded by the charter charges for repeat Azores Summer business. Allegedly, she has been requested for 2 further summer charters


The company has issued a warning to passengers travelling to the UK that any passengers found travelling with fuel containers are breaking the law and will have the fuel confiscated. Both car and foot passengers had been caught trying to carry fuel aboard sailings of the BEN-MY-CHREE, SUPERSEACAT and SEACAT ISLE OF MAN  as a consequence of the UK fuel crisis. 

Speaking to the Manx Independent spokesman Geoff Corkish said: "We caught quite a lot of people on Wednesday taking fuel across in various safe and not so safe containers - anything they could put petrol in. Fott passengers were carrying gallon containers around. We understand and appreciate the reasons for passengers carrying extra fuel due to the problems in the UK. But Carrying it this way contravenes maritime safety regulations and it is also a criminal offence to carry petrol on a passenger ferry. Extra fuel being carried by passengers will be confiscated and disposed of."


In the wake of this week's fuel protests Hoverspeed issued the following press statement:

Crossing the Channel to France or Belgium may now prove the easiest way to
fill-up with petrol according to fast ferry operator, Hoverspeed.

It's business as usual for cross-Channel travellers to France as a week long protest by French lorry drivers and farmers came to an end at the weekend. With the protests spreading across the Channel, now is the ideal time to exercise a little entente cordiale on a day-trip to France or Belgium to fill-up with cheaper petrol!

Thanks to a flexible route network, which includes services to Calais, Boulogne and Dieppe in France, as well as Ostend in Belgium, Hoverspeed was largely unaffected by a succession of disputes in France over the past month. Indeed, Hoverspeed was instrumental in helping many stranded British holidaymakers by diverting them to unaffected ports such as Dieppe, and the Belgian port of Ostend.

Now, Hoverspeed is expecting a cross-Channel dash for petrol as supplies dwindle in the UK.

Hoverspeed reports that road blocks throughout Northern France have now been
lifted, and fuel supplies have returned to normal, making a quick trip
across the Channel the ideal way to escape the UK's looming fuel crisis!



Falmouth Coastguard were active on September 12 saving the Scottish crew of a Newlyn-based, Brixham registered, scalloper the `AUGUST ROSE’, with five men on board.  The vessel reported she was taking on water 40 miles south of the Isles of Scilly at 01:30 . this morning.

The vessel broadcast a pan pan or urgency signal which was picked by the Coastguard and a  rescue helicopter – R 193 - from the Royal Naval Air Station at Culdrose was immediately scrambled with a Coastguard salvage pump on board. A further fishing vessel `ALGRIE’, a beam trawler belonging to the fleet of  W. Stevenson & Son's of Newlyn ; picked up the signal and alerted Falmouth Coastguard that she would lend assistance and began making her way to the position of the `AUGUST ROSE’.

The helicopter arrived on scene at just after 02:30 by which time three of the crewmen of the stricken vessel had abandoned into their liferaft. Shortly afterwards the generator on board the `AUGUST ROSE’ stopped and the remaining skipper and crewman got into the liferaft, and at 02:20 all five were picked up by the crew of the `ALGRIE’ after the liferaft had been cut free from the `AUGUST ROSE’.

Simon Rabett, Watch Manager at Falmouth Coastguard said:

"In the meantime, an observer and a Navy diver from the helicopter placed on board the vessel continued to work with the salvage pump in an endeavour to help save the ship. However it soon became clear that the pump wasn’t holding and the two men were taken off the vessel just before it capsized. A French Naval tug also arrived at just after 3:00 a.m. and stood by with divers and pumps ready to lend assistance if required.

" The `AUGUST ROSE’ then began to list quite heavily and she soon rolled onto her side. After ten minutes she began to sink and her prow is now just visible above the water line.

" We understand she was on her way back in to Newlyn at the time and fortunately for the crew and rescue team, the seas this morning are fairly calm with good visibility and light winds. We are pleased to report no injuries to any of the crew."


At 14:47 on Wednesday September 13 Swansea Coastguard received nine 999 calls from members of the public saying two people on a sinking RIB (rigid inflatable boat) were screaming for help 200 metres off the beach at Ilfracombe. The boat had been at anchor and when the man attempted to raise the anchor it’s rope became tangled around the propeller destabilising the RIB causing the boat to flood.

Swansea Coastguard tasked the Ilfracombe Coastguard Rescue Team and RNLI inshore lifeboat to the scene, both arriving within 15 minutes. The RAF rescue helicopter from Chivenor happened to be on exercise 35 miles away at Lundy Island and so was able to attend the scene within 13 minutes.

The helicopter stayed on scene in case speedy medical attention was needed. The lifeboat managed to get the couple off the sinking boat to safety. Both people are unhurt.

The two on board the vessel were a husband and wife couple both in their 40’s from Stoke on Trent.

Swansea Coastguard Watch Manager, John Sibley said:

"These two people were very lucky that people were around to notice they were in trouble, they had no radio or flares and only carried buoyancy aids and not lifejackets. If they had been further in a remote area no one would have know they were in trouble."

"All people going on the water should make sure they carry adequate safety equipment onboard."


A safe has been recovered from the wreck of the White Star liner LAURENTIC which sank near Lough Swilly in 1917. The recovery too place during the filming for a TG4 documentary series "Eire Fo-Fhoinn" (Ireland Under the Waves) to be screened in Ireland in a few months time.


SALMOOR has continued to work on the MoD anchorage near Duke's Buoy this week.


STAVROS S. NIARCHOS departed from the East Float on Friday September 15 on her next cruise. SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL was noted still in East Float on Saturday September 16.


On Tuesday September 14, Condor Ferries issued a further statement concerning the implication of the successive rise in fuel costs:

Further to a press statement issued on 4th September, Condor Ferries advise that fuel prices have continued to increase steeply over the past fortnight.

Effective from Saturday 16th September 2000, the fuel surcharge will increase on new bookings only from £2.00 to £3.00 per passenger per single journey on the Company’s routes between the UK and Channel Islands and between the UK and France. The fuel surcharges on services between the Channel Islands and France and between Jersey and Guernsey are at £1.50 per passenger per single journey.

The surcharges will apply until further notice, and will continue to be reviewed regularly. The States of Jersey and the States of Guernsey have agreed the increases in surcharges on those routes over which Service Level Agreements exist.

Condor Ferries regrets the increase in surcharges, and continues to make every effort to avoid passing the full impact of the huge increase in fuel costs on to its customers.



At around 06:30 EUROPEAN LEADER grounded on sandbanks approximately one mile from the Liverpool Coastguard Station at Crosby.

There were 65 passengers and 35 crew on board at the time of the incident. As there was no immediate danger passengers remained on board until the vessel was refloated on the rising tide shortly before 11:00. The vessel was escorted into the port by Howard Smith Towage tug TRAFALGAR.

Reports to the BBC from Liverpool Coastguard suggest that there is little or no damage to the vessel.

The vessel's grounding appears to have been as a result of a technical problem which caused a loss of power.

Unfortunately by the time I arrived on the scene the EUROPEAN LEADER was just passing the Radar Tower with TRAFALGAR close by, so no photographs I am afraid! However, Thanks are due to Neil Ralphs for taking me up there as my fuel supplies were getting low and Jenny Williamson who snapped the EUROPEAN LEADER being escorted into Liverpool by Howard Smith Tugs.


Gary Andrews advises that the "for sale" notice by the owners of the former P&O chartered JETLINER can be found at:


On Tuesday, 26 September P&O intends to announce its interim results for the six months ended 30 June together with detailed information on trading during the second quarter 2000 for P&O Princess Cruises.

The proposed demerger to establish P&O Princess Cruises plc as a separate, publicly quoted company is continuing to timetable and is due to be completed towards the end of October following stockholder approval. Documents relating to the proposed demerger are due to be filed with the UK Listing Authority and the US Securities Exchange Commission on the same day as the interim results and also published and posted to stockholders.

The new company will have a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange and a quotation on the New York Stock Exchange. Neither P&O nor P&O Princess Cruises will be raising new equity.

Following the release of documentation, the Board of Directors of P&O intends to call an Extraordinary General Meeting of P&O's stockholders for 20 October 2000 to approve the proposed demerger and other related proposals. Should P&O's stockholders approve the demerger it is expected to become effective, with the commencement of separate dealings in P&O deferred stock and in P&O Princess Cruises' shares taking place on 23 October 2000.


JONATHAN SWIFT was out of service for a few days this week whilst she was in Canada Dry Dock, undergoing attention following her grounding in Dublin Bay reported last week. She arrived on September 12 and departed on September 15.


DART 3 commenced a charter to Cenargo on the Belfast - Heysham service on September 9. She operated from 1996 to late 1999 as the MERLE on Heysham - BELFAST route.

MERCHANT VENTURE arrived on Merseyside after a brief period laid up Belfast on September 13. She was observed berthed at West Langton on Friday September 15.


It is understood that the Merseyside shipyard of McTay Marine has been awarded the £4m contract for the construction of the MV STRANGFORD - a new ferry  for the Northern Ireland Government service which operated on Strangford Lough. 

The looser in the tendering process was the troubled Belfast yard of Harland and Wolff.

The announcement that the yard had failed to win the contract for a new 260- passenger and vehicle vessel for the Strangford Lough ferry service came as Northern Ireland's trade minister Sir Reg Empey pledged government support for the yard's efforts to win new orders so as to stabilise its future.

"The contract for the new Strangford ferry would have provided "a useful contribution" in terms of workload and employment, Harland and Wolff said.

A spokesman for the Department of Regional Development said Harland and Wolff's tender for the new MV STRANGFORD had failed because the yard's price was substantially above the budget allocated for the job and its design proposal did not meet the necessary specifications.


The Belfast Telegraph reported on Saturday that Harland & Wolff are to cut jobs despite winning a $31m arbitration victory against Global Marine.

The only firm order on the horizon is the decision by H&W parent company Fred Olsen Energy to bring another drilling rig, BULFORD DOLPHIN, to the Yard for classification.

Further arbitration on the overspend of £133m on the drillship contract is expected to commence later this year.

A company statement said that formal consultation is to begin immediately with the trade unions over the timing and number of redundancies, although there is speculation that the workforce will be reduced to a core figure of around 300.

An application has been made to the Department of Higher and Further Education Training and Employment for a loan to assist with the redundancy costs.

Welcoming the arbitration ruling Brynjulv Mugaas, Harland's chief executive, launched a bitter attack on its former customer. "Today's ruling brings to an end the deplorable and thankfully futile attempt of Global Marine to bankrupt Harland and Wolff by withholding the delivery instalment due".

Global now has to pay over the $$31m by September 28.

Mr Mugaas said the outcome has "galvanised our determination to succeed in the expected arbitration to recover the balance of the monies due by Global Marine for work completed." He blamed the dispute for hampering Harland's efforts to secure new orders.

Global Marine's lawyers are reported to be studying the arbitration decision before making any comment.


The company Langham Industries, proprietors of the Appledore Shipyard  in north Devon and parent company of Portland Port is seeking to build a new prison ship and is waiting for a decision from Home Secretary Jack Straw.

Chairman John Langham said: "A ship could be built at 20 per cent of the cost of a conventional prison and could be scrapped when the prison population falls. This is so much more environmentally friendly than being left with huge concrete buildings that cannot be removed so easily."

The proposal is one of a number of ideas that Langham Industries - whose headquarters are at the family's country estate at Melcombe Bingham, Dorset - have for future business ventures. Portland Port is set to create hundreds of new jobs on the island in the next two years.

It will boost the 600 already brought in to more than 1,000 as part of the plan to put the port in closer competition with places such as Poole and Southampton.

Mr Langham said: "We took a big gamble when we took on Portland, but we have the know-how and management expertise to make it into a top commercial port.

"We were disappointed that we could not acquire the former Royal Naval air station site as well because that would have given us a large area of flat land that we needed.

"But we can overcome that problem and move onto other opportunities that are
presenting themselves to us at the moment.

"The Portland challenge was the sort that I like. The port had great potential because nothing existed there. It has given me great satisfaction to build it up from scratch to a thriving operation.

"I like taking on the competition from big groups because we operate much more leanly. I decentralise our businesses and insist on keeping bureaucracy and paperwork to a minimum.

"It is a non-nonsense approach that works if you have the right management in place. Most of our decisions can be made swiftly on the phone."

Langham Industries is a family-owned business with operations which include Appledore shipyard, a ships propeller business, a light alloy foundry and farming in Dorset. It has group sales of £70 million and 1,200 employees.

John Langham's son Christopher is managing director of Portland Port and another son, Justin, runs the 1,800-acre Dorset farm business. Mr Langham's wife Betty and daughter Jill, a merchant banker, are also directors of Langham Industries.

John Langham, an engineer by training, said: "We believe there are great opportunities at Portland for the future.

"We are in an ideal position to set up ferry operations to places like Britanny, Spain and Portugal in the next few years.

"And the cruise ship business looks set to be a growth area. We could become a major cruise base and call port centre. It will be valuable business for the Dorset area."


The hull section for the COSTA CLASSIC rebuild has been moved out of the construction all onto the slipway at the south yard. The upper decks have now been fitted by the gantry crane recently erected over the slipway. 



A giant cruise ferry capable of carrying the equivalent of nearly five jumbo jet loads of passengers and a mile and a half of freight vehicles will be operating on the Portsmouth to Caen route in the Spring of 2002.

Brittany Ferries confirmed on September 11 that the construction of the 36,000 tonnes vessel will start at the Rotterdam yard of Dutch shipbuilders Van de Glessen next March.

The new £70 million, state-of-the-art ship is the largest cruise ferry to be purpose built for the Channel. It will carry up to 2,200 passengers and nearly 800 cars and will have 2,250 metres of lane space for freight vehicles. It will replace the 10,000 tonnes DUC DE NORMANDIE  which will be transferred to Brittany Ferries' Plymouth-Roscoff service.

The new 21 knot ferry will be 175 metres long and 28 metres wide. Its on-board facilities will be modelled on the best from Brittany Ferries existing ships, unofficially recognised as the most stylish on the Channel. Cabins, all with private facilities, will include Commodore Class suites as well as those designed specifically for disabled passengers.

A choice of restaurants, bars, ergonomically designed Club Class style seating and cinemas will be featured along with an internet café and a disco club area designed specifically for teenagers.

The new ship will enable Brittany Ferries to consolidate its position as the number one operator for both passengers and freight on the Western Channel. Car carrying capacity on the Portsmouth-Caen route will increase by 20% and freight capacity by a massive 70%. 

This will give the company the edge as freight carryings begin to show significant growth on the Western routes which provide hauliers trading with central and Western France and the Iberian Peninsula with major time and mileage savings over the Tunnel.

Managing Director of Brittany Ferries' UK and Ireland operations, Ian Carruthers, announcing preliminary details of the new ship, said: "This vessel really will be the ultimate in cruise ferry design offering passengers the very best of modern sea travel facilities and comfort. The arrival of the new ship in under two years time will again take Brittany Ferries to new levels that our rivals will be hard pressed to compete with."



At you will find a new web site dedicated to the restoration of the MAID OF THE LOCH including many recent photographs.


A couple of web sites you might like to visit in the light of the recent fuel crisis: and


RTÉ's Maritime Programme "SEASCAPES" is broadcast on Thursday evenings at 21:30 on RTÉ Radio 1. On the west coast of England and Wales it is readily receivable on medium wave  or can be listened to live or as a recording on the RTÉ web site. The programme's web pages are being developed with regular news updates from around Ireland and also stories from UK and elsewhere.. If you want to check the site click on the link in the main menu at the top of each page. 



The team that organised a seabed examination of the sunken ferry Estonia is considering another dive to try and bolster its contention that the ferry may have sunk following an explosion. 

Video footage from the first expedition that purported to show a hole in the side of the stricken vessel, in which 852 people lost their lives, has been universally held to be inconclusive.

Back Home Up Next

September 10, 2000


Welcome to the latest update. If you have not visited the site since early last week there was an additional scheduled on Wednesday September 6. The news update is immediately below this one.


There are possibly two themes running through this week's update. This week's posting could certainly be considered an "Appledore Special" as two photo features include the recent products from the well know Devon ship yard - the STA brig STAVROS S. NIARCHOS and the Irish Naval Service off shore patrol vessel LE ROISIN. 


The second theme which will be detected from the news bulletin is the rapidly escalating fuel prices and threat of militant action spreading through Europe on in the wake of the initial protests in France which commenced over a week ago. Truckers and farmers have been protesting in England and Wales outside refineries, truckers in Ireland have expressed sympathy with the actions in France and Cornish fishermen are also making rumblings of discontent.

This week  Commodore Ferries has announced fare increases and Sea Containers appear to be considering fare increases - both as a result of escalating fuel prices.

Perhaps it is time for a more direct approach as adopted by the French? Often considered to be too ready to protest over any minor matter, their recent action has struck a chord with a wider audience outside of France. 

Whilst in the short term there might be some pain caused by fuel protests - in the medium to longer term it may benefit all of us if prices are forced down. Its probably time for the public to stand up and be counted rather than grumble and put up with it. In the UK we have the most highly taxed fuel in Europe. As the price of fuel increases from the producers so does the government's duty and VAT revenue. It is time for a cut in duty or else we will all be paying more for goods and services not just fuel for our cars.

Finally apologies to Ian McPherson who forwarded a Cal-Mac voyage report back in July. However, with the then current web site difficulties it was overlooked - it is now included in this week's update.  

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Justin Merrigan [Incat], Ian McPherson, Brian Chambers, Ostend Ferry News and "others".

SEA CONTAINERS / The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

PEVERIL - Laid up in Birkenhead for over two years now the PEVERIL still presents a generally well cared for appearance thanks to her refit and painting in traditional Steam Packet colours at Cammell Lairds last year. There have been recent rumours of her impending sale. On Saturday September 9 a section of scaffolding was noted attached to her port bridge wing and at least two workmen could be seen on the vessel. Alongside stood an oil tanker lettered "Oil Salvage". It looks as though she could be being prepared for departure.

HOVERSPEED GREAT BRITAIN and SEACAT DANMARK are reported by Ostend Ferry News to have provided extra sailings this week to pick up extra traffic which has been diverted as a result of the French fuel blockades.


A report in the Liverpool Daily Post Newspaper on Saturday September 9 suggests that if fuel prices continue to increase Sea Containers will be forced to increase prices on Irish Sea routes. The company claims that the cost of marine oil has more than doubled in the past 18 months from £87 per tonne to £200 per tonne. 

Peter Reeman, technical manager said: "It is disastrous for the shipping industry. The firm will be considering next year's ticket prices in October and will be forced to increase them if the oil crisis is not resolved."


Passenger figures for the Harbours Division for August 2000 show a 0.9% decrease on the same period last year. August 2000 recording a total of 102,453 compared to 103,335 in August 1999.

The year to date figure of 464,434 passengers shows an 6.3% increase over the 436,976 recorded in 1999.

Car and motorcycle traffic through Douglas Harbour in August 2000 showed an increase of 4.7 % from 21069 in 1999 to 22,064 vehicles in August 2000.

The year to date figure of 120,772 vehicles shows a 8.4% increase over the 111,408 recorded in 1999.

Passenger figure breakdown by route is as follows:




minus 18%




minus 18%




all minus




plus 5%




plus 14%




all minus



Freight traffic metreage increased by 13.4% from 29,563m  to 33,534 when compared to August 1999.

Director of Harbours, Captain Michael Brew commented: "The slight fall in total passenger figures is as a result of no day trips from Fleetwood or Llandudno this August. Excluding this, one-off traffic shows and actual increase in scheduled traffic of 4.4%. The Liverpool route shows the largest growth at 14% with the choice of fast craft services proving popular. Passenger traffic has now exceeded 100,000 in both June and August this year for the first time since 1988 the monthly traffic figure has been over 100,000 in two separate months."


The Sail Training Association's ships arrived at Birkenhead on Friday September 8. This was the first call on Merseyside of the STA's superb new brig STAVROS S. NIARCHOS and probably the last call of the aging schooner SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL which is to be withdrawn later this autumn. She will be replaced by a second brig currently being constructed at Appledore Shipyard, Devon.

The STAVROS S. NIARCHOS  is open to the public from 15:00 to 17:00 Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday [September 9 to 12]. She is berthed at Mortar Mill Quay, close to the Historic Warships. The ships are due to depart on September 14.


 Some interesting changes have taken place recently around the East Float in the vicinity of the former Hydraulic Pumping House on the "Four Bridges" route through the docks.

Some of the remaining caissons from the now dismantled Seacombe Landing Stage have been moved across the dock from Mortar Mill Quay. Three remain afloat blocking the inlet which leads to the now fixed bridge which once gave access to the Wallasey Dock. 

A number of other caissons have been lifted ashore forming a barricade stretching from the inlet [one actually overhangs the inlet] to the pumping house. Thus effectively sealing off from the road the area which has been home to a number of yachts undergoing restoration or repair. 

The former National Environmental Research Council vessel SARSIA believed to be the property of a Mr. Gerry Kielty of Wallasey, which has lain partially submerged for the past  two and a half years appears to be undergoing some attempt a refloating. On Friday it was noted that there was crane parked with a pump suspended from its gib above the SARSIA's foc'sle. Though the SARSIA appears to remain sunk.

Finally chains have appeared on the entrance to the area in front of the Pumping House partially blocking the vehicle access way, however, the final chain has not been fixed in place yet. 

I would certainly be very interested if anyone can supply information as to what is going on in this area.


JONATHAN SWIFT - It is reported that the Austal built vessel collided with an underwater object off the Baily during the past week. 

Divers have examined the underside of the vessel and whilst it is continuing in service the company intends to put it into dry dock during the coming week on Merseyside for more thorough checks.


Brian Chambers writes about the French Ports Blockade and the effect on the NORMANDY on Wednesday August 30, 2000.

As I went down to work in the Port on Wednesday I did not see the NORMANDY at her usual Berth, the vessel was very late due to the Ports blockades in France by French Fishermen, the NORMANDY did eventually arrived at 19.40 hrs, and docked at No 2 Berth with a full load of cars, coaches, and passengers, because of the Blockades in France, Television text news was given out on Irish Television Aertel Service, (RTE) in the morning and afternoon, and also on Irish News Bulletin's for the rest of the day, the sailing to Cherbourg which was due to depart in the afternoon was changed to depart at 21.30 hrs, Irish Ferries say this Sailing, originally due to sail to Cherbourg will head for Roscoff, but this plan was changed again and it was decided to sail the NORMANDY to Brest, Brest, being a Navy Port there would be no blockades there passengers were being advise all day through TV, and Radio Announcements to contact the Company Office in Rosslare Europort and in Dublin for further information about the sailing arrangements to France.

It was a lovely warm and sunny day in Rosslare Europort, and passengers for the ship who had arrive in the Port were able to go down to the beach for a while and enjoy the lovely warm sunshine, and the fresh sea air, the beach is only 2 minutes walk from the car marshalling compound in front of the Main Terminal Building, also Bar and Restaurant staff in the Irish Rail Terminal Building were very busy, serving hot meals and snacks to the passengers. Irish Ferries Office Staff on the Mainland, were also very busy all day with anxious passengers looking information, and their Freight Checkpoint was busy too.

In the late afternoon an announcement was made via the Irish Rail public address system, that checking in of cars for the ship was to commence, and passengers began to go back to their cars from the Terminal Building and the beach, Irish Rail Staff open the Checkpoints and started to check in cars, Coaches, car and caravans, and other traffic that was booked for the "NORMANDY", and after a while the car marshalling compound had started to fill.

Irish Rail had extra staff working in the car marshalling compound, to make sure that the traffic for the NORMANDY was sent out to the ship quickly, and because traffic for the KONINGIN BEATRIX, the ISLE OF INNISFREE and the STENA LYNX III was being check in at the same time the staff had to make sure that the cars went to the right Ships, at this time all the traffic lanes in the car marshalling compound were full.

The Irish Television (RTE) Satellite Uplink News Feeds Van was also in the Port to get a live News Bulletin feed for the 6`O Clock News, a live news report went out on the Irish Television Network evening news, the camera crew went to the top of the hill over looking the Port, and took film of the NORMANDY arriving in the Port, and a few passengers were interviewed when they had disembark from the ship, and by what they were saying I got the impression that they were glad to be home, some of the passengers said that they had very little money left, and more said the petrol was running low in their cars.

The NORMANDY had to be fuelled in the Port for the outwards journey to Brest, 4 Articulated Oil Tankers arrived in the Port in the afternoon, and when all the passengers were discharge from the vessel, the Oil Tankers went on board and started fuelling the ships tanks.

Loading the vessel started after fuelling was completed, it was a full load out with over 300 cars, coaches, cars and caravans and foot passengers. Despite the ship's late docking from France, and due to the circumstance's, the ship was loaded and turned around very quickly, you can put it down to very professional and experienced crew and staff, both working with Irish Ferries, and Irish Rail, well done to everybody.

Clearance to sail was given to the vessel by the Irish Rail Inspector from the Ships Traffic Control Tower, and the NORMANDY with her mighty engines revving up, and looking grand with her deck lights reflecting on the harbour calm waters, and her passengers waving a friendly good bye, the "NORMANDY" departed majestically from Rosslare Europort at 23.00 hrs for the Port of Brest, this marked the end to a very dramatic day, then all of a sudden, a silence fell over the Port, the people were gone!!!


PRIDE OF RATHLIN - times of the final sailings on Monday are now reported to be 21:30 Larne to Cairnryan. She will then sail light to Harland and Wolff for lay-up

Current P&O Fleet Deployment on routes to Larne:

Larne - Cairnryan:
PRIDE OF RATHLIN [until 11/09]

Larne - Ardrossan:

Larne - Fleetwood:

The 'Navigator is on the Cairnryan route whilst the 'Trader and 'Endeavour in turn have their dry-dockings (the 'Endeavour currently at H & W) - as once the Rathlin goes her larger capacity will make up for 2 freight vessels instead of three. 

 Meanwhile the 'Navigator's Fleetwood sailing is being operated by the 'Trader and probably in turn the 'Endeavour.



Associated British Ports' (ABP) ports in the North-West have enjoyed a good start to the new millennium, with the amount of cargo handled during the first six months increasing by almost ten per cent compared with the same period of 1999.

Budha Majumdar, Port Director for ABP's Short-Sea Ports, which include Fleetwood & Garston, Barrow & Silloth, and Ayr & Troon, commented:

"This has been an excellent start to the year for ABP's ports in the North-West. Our strategy of long-term investment in new facilities for customers has led to exciting new developments in trades such as agribulks and roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro), and the prospects for the rest of the year are very promising."

The Port of Garston handled increased volumes of agribulks, including specialist food-grade quality grain for the major millers in the North-West of England. As a result of ABP's investment in high-quality warehousing at the port, Garston now offers more than 12,000 sq m storage for specialist
grain products. In August, the arrival of 5,300 tonnes of rice from Sacramento, California, marked the launch of a new 4,800 sq m store extension at the port.

Fleetwood has benefited from the buoyant Irish economy, and from the addition last year of a third ship on P&O Irish Sea's Fleetwood/Larne freight service. There are three return sailings a day on the service, which has been running at near capacity in the first six months of the year.

The Ports of Ayr & Troon have handled increased volumes of timber thanks to the "TimberLink" project, which is helping to reduce road traffic in Scotland by transporting logs by sea to Ayrshire from the Argyll peninsula. Since April, ABP has chartered Red Baroness, owned by a local Troon shipowner, to make regular sailings from Argyll to ABP's Ports of Ayr & Troon. The environmentally-friendly scheme - which is being supported by a £4.4m Freight Facility Grant awarded to ABP by the Scottish Executive - is expected to remove lorry journeys totalling 1.4m miles annually from Scottish roads.

In April, Sea Containers' Irish Sea Operations (Sea Containers) moved its operations from Stranraer completely, making Troon the only Scottish port of call on the high-speed ferry service between Scotland and Ireland. In addition, Sea Containers has increased the number of sailings on the SeaCat passenger service from two return journeys a day to three.

In August, ABP received the necessary consents and approvals for the construction of a major new ro-ro terminal at Troon for P&0 Irish Sea's service to Northern Ireland. By moving its operations to Troon, P&O Irish Sea will be able to use larger vessels than are currently being used on the
route to Larne. Construction of the new ro-ro terminal, which will be located on the port's East Pier, will commence later in 2000.

The Port of Barrow has continued to support the offshore industry, with a new platform for the Millom West gas field being assembled and shipped through the port in the Summer for Burlington Resources. Further developments at the port during the remainder of the year will include the launch at the port of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary oil tanker - Wave Knight - on 28 September. Wave Knight will be the first large surface ship to be launched at the port since HMS Invincible in 1977.

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


The Minister for the Marine Frank Fahey TD has opened extensions to the Ringaskiddy Deepwater Berth and the Tivoli Container Terminal in Cork City in addition to a new bulk handling facility to handle the entire output of zinc and lead concentrates from the Lisheen Mine in County Tipperary. 


SeaTruck issued a press release this week announcing their bold new livery which appeared on RIVERDANCE when she departed from Cammell Lairds last weekend.

Bold new livery for Seatruck vessel RIVERDANCE

Seatruck Ferries vessel the mv RIVERDANCE emerged from Cammell Lairds shipyard this week after her scheduled re-fit confidently displaying the companies striking new livery. The unconventional bold colour scheme has already excited much comment in her homeports of Heysham and Warrenpoint. The bright blue hull and biscuit accommodation section will be replicated on her sister vessel the mv MOONDANCE, which also operates on the Irish Sea route.

Part of the Southampton based Crescent Plc, Seatruck's new livery reflects a group wide re-branding process that now sees over 20 vessels in three separate divisions operating under the Crescent logo,

Seatruck Ferries Sales Director Alistair Eagles commented:

"We are considering issuing our crew with Sunglasses, it certainly is vibrant! However we feel the new livery reflects our determination to stand apart from the rest. Our service is proving ever more popular, we are consistently introducing more and more operators to the benefits of our independent operation. In line with this burgeoning demand we are reaching our operational capacity and are looking to increase space availability accordingly. We fully expect to see strong increases in volume in line with this."

General Information

  • Seatruck Ferries operates a freight only RoRo service between Warrenpoint in Northern Ireland and Heysham in Lancashire. Initiated in 1996 the service is firmly established as the hauliers choice for shipments into the Irish Midlands and onward throughout Ireland.

  • Seatruck believe that the use of Warrenpoint as a 'hub port' is a key element for their customer base, a solution that offers maximum efficiency. Warrenpoint's central location allows customers to service both Northern and Southern Ireland without becoming 'grid locked' in the traffic problems that surround the inner city dock complexes at Belfast and Dublin.

  • Seatruck's core business is unaccompanied trailers although each crossing can accommodate up to twelve accompanied units. Seatruck also carry trade vehicles, agricultural machinery, abnormal loads, static caravans and all types of hazardous cargo.

  • Seatruck Ferries reported steady growth in their 1st quarter volumes with traffic levels up 8 % on the previous year. As the only ro-ro operator serving Warrenpoint Seatruck have capitalised on the growth in business on both sides of the border.

  • Operating two sister vessels, MV MOONDANCE and MV RIVERDANCE with a combined capacity of over 1500 units per week, Seatruck believe their reliability record is second to none on the Irish Sea. Throughout 1999 no sailings were cancelled due to mechanical problems. Indeed from January through to October no sailings were cancelled whatsoever.

  • Seatruck customers appreciate the friendly operation with emphasis on high service level.

  • Seatruck Ferries believe that increasing ferry capacity in Belfast and Dublin is not the answer to solve congestion problems within these already overloaded road networks. Seatruck believe the future lies with un-congested ports such as Warrenpoint, with excellent support networks of fast road links and reliable haulage.

  • After two years of consolidation on the Irish Sea Seatruck are keen to stress their independence as the friendly face of Irish Sea Shipping.

  • Seatruck believe there will be further consolidation on the Northern Corridor but are committed to maintaining an independent option in Warrenpoint.

  • Seatruck will be increasing capacity on the Warrenpoint route later in the year in line with customer demand.


On September 4 Condor announced that the company was increasing fares due to the recent rises in fuel costs. A statement from the company read:

"During the past 12 months fuel costs of Condor Ferries have increased by over 70 per cent. The increase during recent weeks has been very steep indeed.

Effective from Wednesday 06 September 2000 Condor Ferries will apply a fuel surcharge to new bookings on all the routes it operates.

The surcharge will be £2.00 per passenger single journey on its routes between the UK and the Channel Islands and between the UK and France, and £1.50 per passenger single journey on its routes between the Channel Islands and France and between Jersey and Guernsey.

The surcharges will apply until further notice and will be reviewed regularly. The surcharges have been agreed by the States of Jersey and the States of Guernsey on those routes over which the Service Level Agreement exists.

Condor Ferries regrets the introduction of such surcharges and has made every effort to avoid passing the full impact of the huge increase to fuel costs on to its customers."


John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister attended a memorial service for the families of 44 people who lost their lives when  bulk carrier DERBYSHIRE foundered in 1980.

The 169,000-tonne Bibby Line ore and oil bulk carrier sank in the Pacific Ocean south of Japan when she was hit by Typhoon Orchid in 1980.

Mr Prescott, a former seamen's union official, attended the annual event at Liverpool Parish Church - St. Nicholas' on Saturday September 9 in a private capacity.

Later this year the results of the re-opened enquiry into the sinking of the Derbyshire will be made public.


Some work appears to have been undertaken on the interior of this vessel which is currently laid up in Canning Dock pending sale. There is what looks like to be venting equipment dumped on the boat deck.



Defence Secretary Geoffrey Hoon today unveiled plans to create a single agency to deal with all warship support matters.

Subject to consultation with the Trades Unions, it is planned to merge the functions of the Ships Support Agency and the majority of the Naval Bases and Supply Agency functions, including those of the three Naval Bases at Clyde, Devonport and Portsmouth, into one new organisation - the Warship Support Agency - which will go live in April 2001.

Geoffrey Hoon said:

"The creation of the Warship Support Agency will deliver clear cost and operational benefits in managing support to front line ships. It is an early example of the improvements we can make through the creation of a single Defence Logistics Organisation."

Between them, the two existing agencies deliver support to the fleets of the Royal Navy and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. The Naval Bases and Supply Agency is responsible for the provision of Naval Base facilities and comprises the three Naval Bases at Faslane, Devonport and Portsmouth, along with their associated stores, fuel and ammunition depots and a number of personnel on ships of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. The Ships Support Agency is primarily responsible for directing the in-service engineering and material support to the Fleet and is represented at each of the Naval Bases and at the two privatised dockyards, Devonport and Rosyth. Both agencies have their headquarters in Bath and are part of the Defence Logistics
Organisation, which was created out of the Strategic Defence Review with challenging targets for reducing costs while improving the quality of logistics support to the front line.

SALMOOR [A185] - The Royal Fleet Auxiliary SAL class mooring and salvage vessel has now been on Merseyside for the past two weeks. on Saturday September 9 she appeared to be working again on the MOD anchorage buoys at Dukes close to the Albert Dock complex. The present buoys being installed just prior to the arrival of the aircraft carrier HMS INVINCIBLE earlier this summer. It is not clear if it is intended to remove the anchorage again or whether the present facility is being improved which will allow for further visits.


The Minister for Defence Michael Smith TD inviting secondary school students in Ireland to choose the name of the latest Naval Service new build being constructed at Appledore Shipyard in Devon.


For the first time two cruise ships have called at Belfast Port on the same day. 

On Saturday September 9 two luxury cruise ships from US based companies arrived in the port  bringing almost 2,500 visitors to the city. Holland American Line's ROTTERDAM called for the second time this season whilst SILVERWIND arrived on an exclusive Emerald Isles cruise with ticket prices reported to be as high as $22,000.

These are the last cruise ships to call at the Port of Belfast this year.  2000 has seen 10,000 cruise passengers visiting Belfast. It is reported that 22,000 are booked for 2001.

Margaret Walsh, chairman of Belfast City Council's tourism sub-committee,
said: "Thirteen liners have been booked already for 2001, which is more than
twice what we had this year." This is a significant number of high-spending visitors whose contribution to the local economy can be calculated to be worth an estimated £2m."


The Belfast Telegraph suggests that there is continuing concerns for the future of 1,000 Harland and Wolff jobs.

On Friday the company were reported to be playing down the  significance of a leaked document outlining a proposal to axe up to 1,000 jobs at the troubled Belfast shipyard.

A Harland & Wolff spokesman said he could not personally confirm the authenticity of the document, copies of which have been given by a shipyard source to local media organisations.

The document known as "Scenario One" suggests that the number of employees is reduced from 1,200 to only 200 with effect from the end of September.

Apparently this is believed to be a worst case option which would be implemented should the current arbitration proceedings in London go against H&W.

A Harland & Wolff spokesman commented "In view of the fact that both we and our parent company, Fred Olsen Energy, have made no secret of the situation we are in, it would not be a surprise that a certain number of possible future ways forward have been evaluated to make sure that a viable offshore and shipbuilding company continues. "But I should stress that no decision has been taken regarding the future of the Yard, and neither can it be taken prior to the current arbitration proceedings."

The decision on the arbitration proceedings, which involve  a dispute between H&W and its American customer Global Marine over an unpaid bill of £23m, isn't due to be announced until the coming week. However, Fred Olsen Energy has already warned that a controlled closedown of the yard could be triggered, at a cost of £15m.

The five page leaked document called for greater flexibility on the part of the remaining workforce to provide 24 hour cover, and referred to a basic weekly wage of £260.

The paper reports that the source who made the document available insisted it was authentic, and suggested the plan was to use most of the Queen's Island site for property development. He said: "A workforce of 200 would not be viable for any new builds to be done unless there is an influx of UK based contractors. "It will soon be too late for MPs to save the once great Harland & Wolff."

Back Home Up Next

September 6, 2000


In this week's mid week update there is a chance for Titanic experts to rack their brains and see if they can identify an interesting query in the Maritime Questions section, its not directly Titanic related but you may help someone piece together their family history.

There is also a photo feature depicting SEABOURN PRIDE a small luxury cruise ship which called at Cobh last week. There will be further photo galleries from my wanderings in County Cork in the next update on Sunday. 

SEA CONTAINERS / The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

SUPERSEACAT TWO was back in service by September 4 and apparently operating normally on September 5.

SEACAT SCOTLAND - All Troon sailings were cancelled on September 5 and the ship was noted not to be at the Belfast berth.


A special day return fare of £19 adults, £10 children and £49 families is being offered on the Liverpool to Douglas route until the end of September. The offer represents a reduction of £6 on the usual day return fare. Booking code: SB/DTO and SB/FTO - family rate.


RIVERDANCE departed from Cammell Laird at Birkenhead on Sunday afternoon at 15:30 sporting a bright new style livery of light blue, buff and white with red boot topping. It does appear to be quite a distinctive blue livery, but one which is very different to the darker blue / white combination favoured by a number of operators. 


STAVROS S. NIARCHOS - The Sail Training Association's new brig is due to arrive at Birkenhead on September 9 on a cruise from Amsterdam. She is due to depart on September 14 for a cruise which concludes in London. This will the STAVROS S. NIARCHOS's first visit to Merseyside.


It is reported that the multinational ship management company ACOMARIT is to relocate its corporate headquarters from Bermuda to the Isle of Man. 



At quarter 18:15 on Sunday September 3, Holyhead Coastguard received an urgent request for assistance via the emergency VHF channel after a collision between a speedboat and a 32- year-old man on board an inflatable doughnut being towed by a jet ski.

The speedboat ‘Voyager’ was approaching her mooring in Treaddur Bay when a jet ski towing the doughnut carrying the man passed by the speedboat. The doughnut and its occupant were dashed against the speedboat causing severe back injuries and acute bleeding some 50 metres from the shoreline.

The crew of the Voyager assisted in getting the injured man onto the foreshore near the hotel and lifeboat station where an ambulance had been called and had made its way onto the beach.

In the meantime the Coastguard had scrambled a rescue helicopter R 122 from RAF Valley who landed on a nearby playing field. The paramedics at the scene prepared the man and then drove him from the beach to the nearby playing field where he was airlifted to Bangor hospital.

David North, Watch Manager at Holyhead Coastguard Station said:

" Locally, there are marker buoys to delineate where a speed limit of 5 knots is in place, however this accident occurred just outside those buoys.

" Our continuing concern is that despite the glorious weather that we have enjoyed today jet skiers should take extra care when they use their powerful and fast craft and that they have particular regard for other sea users. They should remain watchful at all times and remember the ‘rules of the road’ that apply to all seafarers."


Holyhead Coastguard were contacted on VHF channel 67 at 12:15 on Sunday September 3 when the 22 foot Drach Topaz speedboat  ON THE TILES reported she was on fire ¼ mile outside Pwllhelli Harbour.

The male and female adults from Manchester on board the vessel scrambled to safety to another vessel BRANDY COVE which was close by before the speedboat then suffered a minor explosion.

Holyhead Coastguard alerted the Pwllhelli all-weather and in-shore lifeboats, which went to the scene and the Abersoch Coastguard Rescue Team, was also sent to the area. The Fire Brigade and Police were also alerted.

Judith Pettit, spokeswoman for Holyhead Coastguard said:

" Broadcasts were made to other vessels in the area to keep well clear in case of further explosions given the amount of fuel on board. The lifeboat began to try and put the fire out on the still floating speedboat and later put a man on board to dampen down." 

" The two people suffering from shock were transferred to the second lifeboat and were taken back to the boathouse were they are being treated by paramedics. The weather today is fine with blue skies and a calm sea. We do not yet have any clear idea of what started the engine fire which led to the explosion."

Once declared safe the speedboat was brought back under tow to the lifeboat house where the fire brigade  examined it in greater detail.


VARBOLA chartered from Estonian Shipping Company arrived at Cammell Laird #7 dry dock at 14:30 on Sunday.

MERCHANT VENTURER - appears to be laid up in the Pollock Dock Belfast. Whilst SPHEROID remains laid up by the Duke St. Bridge in Birkenhead. There had been some suggestion that SPHEROID had been sold earlier in the year bur this does not appear to be the case.


PRIDE OF RATHLIN - it is understood Indonesian interests are considering purchasing the vessel which is due to undertake her last sailing for P&O next Monday.


A report in the Belfast Telegraph indicates that Harland & Wolff are hopeful that  arbitration proceedings which have opened in London would be concluded by the end of the week.

The hearing, involves a dispute between H&W and its American customer Global Marine over an unpaid bill for £23m. The outcome of the hearing could be crucial for the future of the yard and its hundreds of employees.

The ship yard's principle shareholder - Fred Olsen group warned that the dispute had placed the whole yard's future at risk.

Redundancies are apparently inevitable but an announcement on the scale of these has been delayed until after the arbitration hearing.

The American company, Global Marine, won the right in the High Court in London in early August to remove the second of two vessels from Harland and Wolff without paying the final instalment of £23m.

The court ordered the company to pay a bond of $$100m ( £70m) and to enter arbitration to settle the dispute.

The wrangle centres around whether the vessel was completed on time.

Harland and Wolff says it was, and that it offered it to Global Marine several times before the July 31 deadline, but the US firm refused to accept it.

Global Marine said the vessel was not completed to its satisfaction on time.

When the deadline passed Global Marine went to court and won the right to take the vessel away - after putting up the bond.

As lawyers prepared to do battle Harland and Wolff said: "We believe we have a very good case and that the arbitrators will find in our favour.

"The money we are seeking is money that was in the original contract price that has already been spent on building the ships - it is not an extra payment."

Back Home Up Next

September 4, 2000


As a result of the

This information was incorrect and Lengthline continues to trade

Mersey & Irish Sea Shipping wishes to offer sincere apologies for this inaccuracy to the proprietors of Lengthline and to any readers who were misled by this news item.

John Luxton

September 4, 2000

September 3, 2000



Welcome to the first update for September 2000. The nights are slowly drawing in and the main holiday season is coming to a close,  passenger ship operators are moving into the quieter early autumn shoulder period as things start wind down.

In the next few months there will be a lot of speculation over the forthcoming fleet deployment plans of various ferry operators for 2001 and I dare say there will be a few surprises in store as usual. This is one of the features that makes the shipping scene so fascinating and dynamic. Some speculation turns out to be accurate whilst  some is quite wide of the mark. Needless to say speculation will creep into some M&ISS postings.  However, as usual, speculation will always be clearly identified as such to avoid confusion. Nothing would ever be posted with the intention of misleading readers.

However, M&ISS obtains news from a wide variety of sources, press releases, reports in newspapers and magazines etc.  However,  a large source of information arrives in my mailbox via readers who forward material in good faith. Their contributions are highly valued.

Last weekend some information was forwarded by e-mail in good faith. This was posted on the Sunday news update. However, in the light of subsequent events there may be some question as to the accuracy of the news item. Consequently I have deleted the item concerned from last week's update pending clarification. 

Unfortunately the person questioning the accuracy of the posted item did not contact me directly as I was away from home for a few days. However, a message was given to my father which was then relayed to me. As with most relayed messages one does not always received the details as intended, especially when the person relaying the message may be completely unaware of what it is about.

Could I please, therefore, ask that if any readers of the web site wish to contact me by telephone over any matter including news stories PLEASE contact me on 07973 363370 except between 18:30 and 22:00 Sunday to Friday when you should be able to reach me on 0151-733-1135. 


Whilst away last week in Cobh I managed to take many interesting photographs which will find their way on to the site over the next few updates. The illusive new naval vessel LE ROISIN was also tracked down, though the weather at the time left a lot to be desired.

However, much to my disappointment I have managed to loose one of the memory cards from the digital camera which had shots taken in the Haulbowline Naval Dock and on Cobh waterfront. Sadly, whilst I back up many of digital shots with conventional slide shots [I don't trust digital cameras that much yet!] I was constrained by the number of conventional photographs I could take at Haulbowline as extra films remained in the car, thus unless a miracle occurs and the card turns up there will not be quite as many pictures as I had hoped for.

So if there is anyone in the Cobh - Kinsale area who might have found a Smart Memory Card with a number 1 on the label in the past few days please let me know!

Finally don't forget to check the "What's New" section for all the updates this week. The next update will be posted on Wednesday September 6 and will include some more photographs of my wanderings around Cobh.

John Luxton, September 3, 2000

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Dave Crolley, Bryan Morgan and "others".


September 3, 2000 marks the first Merchant Navy Day in the United Kingdom. This is the first time that the UK's commercial sailors have been recognised. As an island nation the UK relies on shipping for 95% of imports and exports and the Merchant Navy has played a crucial part in two world wars and lesser conflicts.

Though the British Merchant Navy has shrunk considerably over the past few decades the UK still manages around 1,500 ships and accounts for 6% of the world's merchant fleet. Following recent Government efforts to attract more ships to the UK flag the total tonnage of UK registered vessels has increased by 17% to 3.17 million tonnes since December 1998. 

SEA CONTAINERS / The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

SUPERSEACAT TWO - All SSC sailings were reported to be cancelled on September 1 to 3.


On August 31, Hoverspeed announced that it believed it was the only operator to be maintaining the  cross-Channel surface links between the UK and France with fast car ferry services operating normally between Dover and Calais, and from Newhaven to Dieppe during the period of the fuel tax protests in France. These had resulted in widespread disruption for other operators.

The company's soon to be withdrawn hovercraft service  to operated a full schedule of 12 return departures between Dover and Calais despite the blockade.

The French port of Dieppe also remained open, and Hoverspeed maintained 3
return departures on  the SuperSeaCat service from Newhaven.

Hoverspeed's SeaCat service from Folkestone to Boulogne was affected by the blockade with traffic being diverted to the hovercraft service.


Farmers, taxi-drivers and fishermen picketing the ports of Cherbourg and Roscoff this week in an attempt to have government duties on fuel reduced resulted in the Wednesday afternoon sailing of the NORMANDY from Rosslare to Cherbourg being delayed until 21:00 and diverted to the French naval port of Brest.


SAGA MOON - The vessel was observed on Friday evening approaching Dublin port wearing what appears to be the new Norse Merchant Ferries funnel logo. 

This comprises blue, yellow and read pennants. As yet no lettering was visible. 


HMCNS VICTORIA [Formerly HMS UNSEEN] departed from Cammell Laird on Monday August 28 on the morning tide. 


On Tuesday morning four fire crews were called to Cammell Laird's yard at Birkenhead following reports of a fire aboard the EUROPEAN LEADER

It transpired that there was a small blaze in an electric motor situated in a void. 

The fire was quickly extinguished with little, if any, damage.  


It is reported that the 17:00 Liverpool to Dublin sailing and the 05:00 return sailing from Dublin have been cancelled until further notice due to technical difficulties. This appears to be the sailing operated by CELTIC SUN [ex-LEMBITU]


P&O previously advised that their fast ferry, Super Star Express had been redeployed to the Portsmouth - Cherbourg route until September 6, 2000.

However, the technical problems experienced on the Portsmouth service are likely to be resolved earlier than expected and as from Sunday 3 September the company anticipates that it will to be operating the SUPERSTAR EXPRESS on the Larne/Cairnryan service.

Intending passengers are advised to telephone P&O Irish Sea on 028 28 872 333 to confirm sailing times.

Resumption of normal advertised schedules is should take place on September 4.



At just before 15:00 on August 29 Holyhead Coastguard were alerted by several 999 emergency calls to a collision of two speedboats, 300 yards off shore in Silver Bay, right by Rhoscolyn in Anglesey, North Wales. The reports indicated three or four people in the water.

The Coastguard scrambled an RAF rescue helicopter R 122 from Valley and also sent the Rhoscolyn Coastguard Rescue Team to attend.

Rob Cramp, Watch Manager at Holyhead Coastguard said:

"Seemingly an 18-foot Seahog class of speedboat the 'Amy Florence' carrying two people on board and towing a water-skier ran into a 15-foot Fletcher class of speedboat called `Imagine' which had two adults and three children on board.

" The three children, two girls aged 11 and a boy aged 7, were taken to Bangor hospital, with the mother of one of the girls and her brother. One of the girls suffered a cut foot and shock, whilst her brother was suffering from shock and cold. The other 11-year-old girl suffered arm and head injuries. The owner of the 'Amy Florence' was treated at shoreline for shock. No other injuries to any other person were reported.

" We understand they are all from Liverpool area, and staying locally. The 'Imagine' was very severely damaged in the collision and the local police are presently investigating the incident. The weather has been fine this afternoon with a northerly breeze and light airs."


A report in the Belfast Telegraph this week indicates that employees at the troubled Harland & Wolff shipyard, who are bracing themselves for a fresh round of redundancies, were thrown a lifeline by the company this week.

H&W Holdings announced that it would not be making any decision about shedding jobs at the shipyard until after next week's arbitration hearing in London.

It had originally been expected that details would be made public at the end of last week to the  extent of a cutback in the H&W workforce, which currently stands at 1,200.

However,  management has decided to hold back on making any cutbacks until the row is settled over a £23m final installment payment from the yard's American customer, Global Marine.

In a statement , the company said management and the board at H&W were continuing to do everything they could to secure the future of the yard.

"They have decided, therefore, that no decision can be taken regarding the Yard's future prior to the arbitration hearings, scheduled for next week," it added.

"A further press release will be issued thereafter." The development was welcomed by Bobby Carson, president of the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions.

He said: "This move provides something of a breathing space but the uncertainty over the future of the yard persists.

"The arbitration hearing between H&W and Global Marine is critical as far as the future of the Yard and shipbuilding in Belfast is concerned.

"We would like to think that the arbitration will go in favour of Harland's, and that the company will receive not just the £23m from Global Marine but an additional sum of £5m in intervention funding from the Government.

"This would at least secure the financial position for the company in the meantime, and allow management to concentrate on the crucial issue of firming up a major order."



It was reported in the Belfast Telegraph on September 1 that Cammell Laird had refused to comment on reports that it was competing with Harland and Wolff to secure a £200m contract for two luxury cruise ships.

The Birkenhead-based company said its policy was never to comment on potential orders until the ink on the contract was dry.

Luxus Holdings signed a letter of intent with H&W in June, but so far the deal has not been confirmed.

There newspaper claims that there has been speculation that Cammell Laird was still in the hunt for the order, and had offered Luxus a more attractive package. However, a spokesman for Cammell Laird claims it is a "rumour that is flying around."

The spokesman did confirm, however, that Cammell Laird, which recently landed an order to two build ferries for a Norwegian shipping line, would have the capacity to handle the Luxus contract.

A H&W spokesman said: "I am not aware of Luxus being involved in discussions with any other shipyard."


Local press reports suggest that Cammell Laird has moved a step closer to acquiring the insolvent Varna Shipyard in Bulgaria following a vote which revealed the majority of the Varna creditors were in favour of the deal. However, some creditors are reported to be against the deal which may result in a court appeal.  The Varna receiver says it could take up to two months before it becomes clear if Cammell Laird has been successful. 


On August 30, Cammell Laird completed a deal which gives the company a 49% stake in the Cascade General Ship Yard at Portland, Oregon , USA. Cammell Laird has paid $7.7m for the stake and is also making a $1.3m loan. Cammell Laird also have the option to purchase Cascade General in two years time. 

The Portland shipyard operated by Cascade General is the largest commercial ship yard on the west coast of the United States and owns the biggest floating docks in the Americas. At present the dock yard facilities are leased by Cascade from the port of Portland. As a result of the Cammell Laird deal it will now acquire the freehold


On August 29 Scottish Office minister Brian Wilson chaired a meeting in Ballycastle seeking European aid for a holiday ferry service to Campbeltown.

Sea Containers, withdrew from the route which links Antrim with the Scottish Highlands earlier this year. The meeting heard from a number of consultants.

They are working to establish a socio-economic case for the service which could make it eligible to receive aid from the European Union.

The action group includes members of the Scottish and Northern Ireland Executives and other interested parties.

Speaking after the meeting to discuss the Ballycastle - Campbeltown Ferry Northern Ireland Enterprise Minister Sir Reg Empey said there was tremendous potential to develop business in both the Moyle and Kintyre areas.

He said: "As Moyle District Council area currently has the second highest rate of unemployment in Northern Ireland, the ferry service would provide much needed jobs and economic benefits to the region."SDLP councillor Dick Kerr, who also took part in the meeting, said he was delighted to learn that an application would be made to the European Union for funding for the ferry service.

He said: "I am confident an excellent case can be made for the return of this much needed service." The meeting heard that a report by EKOS, a firm of consultants, had concluded that the resurrection of the ferry would bring strong social and economic benefits to both Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Scotland Office minister Brian Wilson said that information from the consultants and the action group would help establish a socio-economic case to the European Commission for the UK government to declare a public service order on the route.

"If the EU agrees that a public service order is appropriate this would allow for subsidy to be paid," he explained.

"PSOs can be justified solely in respect of scheduled services in peripheral regions of the community where routes are considered vital for the economic development of the region.

"This is a complex and lengthy process but while there are still hurdles to be overcome I firmly believe that the ferry service can make a substantial contribution to the economies of Kintyre and Ballycastle. "The main findings of the report were that Kintyre and Moyle had higher than average unemployment levels and below national average wage levels.

A summer service could increase employment in Kintyre by 1.7%. With a 10-12 months a year service this figure could increase significantly.

Sea Containers withdrew from the route earlier this year after operating a summer service from 1997.


UK Dredging (UKD) [A subsidiary of AB Ports] recently completed work on a trial scheme to recycle sand which has been dredged from the approaches to Neath Harbour. Around 10,000 cu m of dredged sand has been placed on the foreshore of Sker beach as part of a trial beach-nourishment project to benefit the environment.

Regular dredging operations are undertaken within the River Neath, on behalf of BP Chemicals Baglan Bay, to maintain safe depths for shipping in the navigation channel and berths. Dredged material is normally deposited offshore in areas designated by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF). However, some of the material dredged at Neath is sand, which is suitable for beach-nourishment - a process involving the replacement of sand on a beach which has eroded.

UKD DOLPHIN, a trailing suction hopper dredger, carried out the dredging works for BP Chemicals Baglan Bay, who is funding the project. Technical advice and site-monitoring are being provided by Shoreline Management, a company specialising in marine research and consultancy.

The project is being promoted by Swansea Bay Coastal Engineering Group, a group comprising Vale of Glamorgan Council, Bridgend County Borough Council, Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council, the City and County of Swansea, the Countryside Council for Wales, BP Chemicals, the Environment Agency, Associated British Ports, the National Assembly for Wales and the Glamorgan & Gwent Archaeological Trust.

The Swansea Bay Coastal Engineering Group has hopes that this trial will pave the way for future operations to re-use sand from maintenance dredging by placing it on a nearby beach which is in need of nourishment.



The Daily Post newspaper reported last week that divers from the BBC have visited the wreck of the pioneering submarine RESURGAM which foundered on of Rhyl in 1880. The BBC team visited the wreck in the presence of Bill Garrett great-grandson of the submarine's builder Rev. George Garrett. The visit was to prepare material for documentaries to be shown on BBC Wales and BBC 2. 

It is hoped that the wreck which has been designated a historic wreck by the Welsh Heritage organisation CADW may one day be recovered. A replica of RESURGAM is on display at Woodside, Birkenhead.


The following has been found by a reader on the website of a Plymouth based ship broker. The description appears to match that of the PRINCE ALBERT which has been laid up in the Canning Dock adjacent to the Albert Dock complex following last year's abortive attempt to open the vessel as a restaurant and bar.

"EX PASSENGER SHIP / RESTAURANT Built 1955, Yugoslavia, used as cruise ship and converted to restaurant vessel 1987. 

Construction:- Steel. Dimensions:- LOA 187ft, Beam 30ft, Draft 11ft.
Tonnage:- GRT 878.61 NRT 567 Propulsion Machinery:- 2 x MAN MGV 40/46
Generators: 3 x Diesel Generators, recently fitted, giving 380 Volt / 220 Volt. Navigation equipment.
Accommodation:- Forward and aft for approximately 36 persons, numerous
showers and toilets. Large aft dining/dance area with featured domed ceiling.
Facility/bar area with receptions off, with port and starboard dining areas.

Lying: Liverpool Price: £220,000 (offers)"


Further to last week's notes on the previously laid up coaster formerly LESZEK C and now renamed JAMAL she left Alfred Lock on August 30 at 21:00 bound for Langton Lock and was noted loading the following day at Seaforth.


The ATLANTIC DAWN,  the world's largest fishing vessel, arrived in Dublin Port on Thursday en-route to its new base at Killybegs.

The ATLANTIC DAWN cost IR£50m, the vessel has a capacity of 7,000 tons of frozen catch, enough to feed 18 million people.

The ship was commissioned by Achill Islander Kevin McHugh. The 144-metre trawler cannot, however, fish in Irish or European waters under EU regulations. The deep-sea vessel is expected to begin fishing in West Africa. Marine Minister Frank Fahey officially welcomed Atlantic Dawn to Dublin.

The official christening ceremony took place at Killybegs on Saturday September 2.


Bryan Morgan of the Severn Princess Group writes: "Just a note to let you know that the web site has been updated again, this time with pictures of our Family Fun Day Four and also some useful additions to our links page, which now includes SARA (The Severn Area Rescue Association), which is our local lifeboat service. They have saved many lives over the years, and the treacherous Severn Estuary is a much safer place owing to their continuous monitoring and high speed rescue craft.



The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has today published its report into the loss of the fishing vessel HARBOUR LIGHTS off Polperro, Cornwall, on January 8, 2000, with the loss of one life.


At 22:51 on January 8 2000, the MAIB was informed that HARBOUR LIGHTS was overdue and a search for her had begun off the south coast of Cornwall. An investigation began two days later after wreckage had been found.

HARBOUR LIGHTS was a 7.2m-long, glass reinforced plastic (GRP) gill netter. Based in Polperro, Cornwall, she fished the area to the south of the port. She was also used for passenger sightseeing trips and taking out diving parties. The owner and skipper Daniel Kebble was an experienced young fisherman who had undertaken all the basic safety training courses. Both he and HARBOUR LIGHTS were licensed by the local council to undertake these activities.

Mr Kebble was fishing single-handedly from HARBOUR LIGHTS, about a mile south of Polperro. While deploying the last gill net, he fell overboard. The vessel continued on until it hit rocks and broke up just east of Downend Point, about a half a mile east of Polperro. During the day Mr Kebble had caught about 190kg (30 stone) of fish.

An extensive search operation began at 1911, shortly after HARBOUR LIGHTS became overdue. This continued for the rest of the evening throughout the night, and most of the next day. The search involved a helicopter, lifeboats, about 30 fishing vessels, a police diving unit, and coastguard teams working along the shore. Flotsam and wreckage from HARBOUR LIGHTS were recovered but, at the time of writing this report, the body of Mr Kebble was still missing.

Mr Kebble did not normally wear a lifejacket. Had he been wearing one at the time of the accident, his chances of survival would have increased substantially. The non-wearing of lifejackets is a common feature in the loss of fishermen. This tragic accident spurred the harbourmaster of Polperro, and Mr Kebble's father, to organise a lifejacket campaign in the area, which resulted in the local chandler selling out of lifejackets. The MAIB strongly supports this sort of initiative; if it were followed throughout the country, the chances are there would be a reduction in the number of fishermen lost.

A recommendation has been addressed to the training section of the Sea Fish Industry Authority emphasising the importance of wearing lifejackets and carrying waterproof portable VHF sets on fishing vessels operated single-handedly. If such fishermen fall overboard the lifejacket will keep them afloat and the radio will enable them to summon help, thus enhancing their chances of survival.



1. At about 16:00 on 8 January 2000, while deploying the last gill net of the day, Mr Kebble fell, or was dragged overboard from HARBOUR LIGHTS, at position 50 deg 19'N 004 deg 29'W, where the depth of water is about 28m.

2. At the time of the accident the wind was force 4, there was a moderate sea, and good visibility. It was a fine day for fishing.

3. HARBOUR LIGHTS was seaworthy and quite able to cope with the conditions on the day of the accident.

4. The safety equipment carried on board complied with legal requirements.

5. Caradon Council had surveyed and certificated the vessel for taking passengers on sightseeing trips.

6. Mr Kebble was an experienced fisherman. He was qualified as a boatman, and had attended all the basic fishermen's safety training courses.

7. Mr Kebble did not normally wear a lifejacket when fishing.

8. The coastguard received no distress message from HARBOUR LIGHTS on the day of the accident.

9. The people ashore acted promptly, and a comprehensive search was conducted.

10. A waterproof portable VHF radio was not carried on board HARBOUR LIGHTS.


Immediate cause:

Mr Kebble fell overboard, or was dragged overboard by the fishing gear.

Contributory factors:

1 He was unlikely to have been wearing a lifejacket.

2. He was not carrying a waterproof portable VHF radio.


The training section of the Sea Fish Industry Authority is recommended to:

Advise the co-ordinators for fishermen's basic safety training to emphasise the importance of wearing lifejackets to fishermen who operate single-handedly. The safety benefits of carrying a waterproof portable VHF radio should also be explained.



Additional course and speed adjustments to further reduce potential wake effects of the PacifiCats were tested this week, as recommended in a detailed technical report released by BC Ferries.

These changes are included in the findings by Sandwell Engineering, a Vancouver-based marine engineering company hired by BC Ferries to do the report last fall.

The technical report was commissioned after concerns were raised about the effect of the PacifiCat wake and wash on shorelines and docks between Horseshoe Bay and Departure Bay. Based on the report's findings, the corporation believes the speed and course changes will reduce the potential impacts of wake and wash on sensitive areas. These new courses and speeds will result in conditions at the shoreline that are similar to those generated by existing conventional vessels.

PacifiCat crews are currently testing the additional changes to the course and speed to minimize the fast ferries' wash without compromising travel time.

The study examined the ferries' wake in relation to speed, water depth and shorelines.

The report also concluded that naturally occurring waves during the summer have less energy than PacifiCat waves but occur more often. Storms that occur throughout the year can be between four and 15 times stronger than the PacifiCat waves and occur much more frequently.

Sandwell has recommended that BC Ferries develop a monitoring program, particularly for populated and ecologically sensitive areas. Proceeding with this program will depend on the future disposition of the vessels.

BC Ferries chose PricewaterhouseCoopers in June to oversee the sale of the three PacifiCats. The first two PacifiCats are being rotated two weeks on, two weeks off to demonstrate their value to potential buyers. The third vessel has been moved to BC Ferries' Deas Dock while the sale is under way.

Even though the PacifiCats are up for sale, this report was completed to provide the corporation with the information needed, while the ships continue to be operated by BC Ferries. The findings will also be valuable to potential buyers.

In July 1999, BC Ferries reduced the speed of the vessels between Horseshoe Bay and Bowen Island as a result of concerns about their wake and wash.

Copies of the executive summary are available on BC Ferries' Web site at .

The full report can be viewed at BC Ferries' library at 1112 Fort St., Victoria, at Horseshoe Bay terminal in Vancouver, or at Departure Bay terminal in Nanaimo.



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