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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


March 2001

March 29


Thursday is an unusual day for an update, however, other commitments earlier in the week prevented a Wednesday update. 

On Sunday a full illustrated report on the ULYSSES maiden voyage will appear.


You might wonder what the link appearing above is for. It links to a small web site established by Phil Davies the proprietor of a hotel that I stay at when visiting the south west. The site aims to gain information from those who have recovered from major disasters such as forest fire or flood  to benefit the local communities on Dartmoor recover from the effects of the Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak. It doesn't have direct relevance to shipping, however, as quite a few people from the travel and tourist trade visit this web site I thought the link might prove useful.


I must apologies as I am a little behind with some correspondence. If you have not received a response to your email or letter I hope to catch up this weekend!

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Brian Chambers, Mike Pryce, Steven Pattheeuws and "others".


The WSS Merseyside Branch is organising a trip to Hartlepool to visit the Historic Quay. PS WINGFIELD CASTLE, Maritime Museum and HMS TRINCOMALEE [ex FOUDROYANT] on Saturday 16 June. There are a number of places available for non-members.

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

SEACAT ISLE OF MAN arrived Belfast on March 26 around 1930. She is due to start the Belfast - Heysham service on March 29.

However at the minute the SCIOM is only staying for a few days then returning to Douglas (due to the commencement of her own schedule next week. HOVERSPEED GREAT BRITAIN which is currently refitting is unlikely to reach Belfast before SCIOM has to depart.


On March 28, Sea Containers announced its earnings for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2000.

For the quarter, the company reported a loss of $15.8 million ($0.85 per common share) on revenue of $319 million, compared with a profit of $8.0 million ($0.43 per common share) on revenue of $331 million in the fourth quarter of 1999.

For the year, the company reported net income of $44.9 million ($2.42 per common share diluted) on revenue of $1.4 billion, compared with net income of $48.3 million ($2.62 per common share diluted) on revenue of $1.3 billion in 1999.

Mr. James B. Sherwood, President, said that 2000 was an unusual and difficult year for the company. The following events impacted results:

The company’s fuel bill was $19.6 million higher than in 1999 and very little of this extra cost could be recovered from passengers since tariffs were committed before the year started. The company has bought forward most of its fuel requirements for 2001 at substantial reductions from 2000 prices and has implemented fuel surcharges where competitive conditions permit.

The U.S. recession started impacting container rentals from mid-2000. Lessee demand was substantially below expectation in the peak second half year period.

The company and GE Capital Corporation, its joint-venture partner in the marine container leasing business, have begun to implement a program of cost reduction which is expected to produce substantial savings in 2002 for GE SeaCo SRL. Demand for containers should rise in step with economic recovery in the U.S.

Although the company’s leisure business turned in an excellent performance for the year, the sale of 37% of Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. in an initial public offering in August, resulted in a minority interest deduction in earnings of $6.2 million for the year.

Interest rates on the company’s floating rate debt rose, contributing to a $6.8 million increase in net finance costs. Recent interest rate reductions will reduce finance costs in 2001.

Silja, the company’s 50% owned cruise ferry company, incurred substantial losses on a route where duty-free sales are no longer permitted and start-up losses on a new fast ferry route, in addition to the higher fuel costs mentioned above. The loss making route has now been terminated and the fast ferry service is expected to make an operating profit in 2001.

As previously reported, GNER, the company’s U.K. rail subsidiary, had a train derailed at high speed near Hatfield on October 17th due to a broken rail. The subsequent investigation indicated that Railtrack, the track and signalling provider, had allowed the entire network to deteriorate to an unacceptable level. Speed restrictions were imposed, causing a loss of revenue since trains could not make as many journeys per day as scheduled.

Railtrack, in a series of rather baffling moves, first increased its dividend pay-out to shareholders, then said it needed more subsidy from the government, then attempted to increase the cost of upgrade of the East Coast Main Line where GNER trains operate. The effect of these moves has been to delay the government’s decision on the award of a new 20 year franchise to GNER.

The company’s view is that it will not suffer any financial loss arising out of the Hatfield accident and subsequent speed restrictions. Insurance proceeds and credits from Railtrack should cover the costs.

A GNER train was involved in a another accident near Selby on February 28th, 2001 at the point where a major motorway crosses the East Coast Main Line. A driver towing a trailer veered off the road and slid down an embankment, burst through a fence and landed with his vehicle on the high speed track. The vehicle was hit by a GNER train a few minutes later, derailing the train into a freight train proceeding on another track in the opposite direction. Tragically, 10 persons died including 3 employees. The fault was clearly the vehicle driver’s and he was insured, although the company will look to Railtrack and its own insurance to cover the losses. The line was restored to full service on March 15th.

Mr. Sherwood made further announcements:

Spin-off of shares in Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. After consultation with its main banks and one of its bond rating agencies, Sea Containers has decided to sell a further 5 million Orient-Express Hotels shares, subject to market conditions, in a secondary offering in the coming months, in order to strengthen its finances. Approximately 120 days after conclusion of this sale it intends to spin-off the balance of its shareholding in Orient-Express Hotels to its shareholders subject to their approval at the annual general meeting on June 6th, 2001 in Hamilton, Bermuda and it being in compliance with its borrowing agreements and public debt indentures. The company has received advice that the spin-off should still qualify as a tax free distribution to U.S. shareholders.

Holders of each Sea Containers Ltd. Class A common share would receive about 0.75 of an Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. Class A common share while holders of each Sea Containers Ltd. Class B common share would receive about 0.75 of an Orient-Express Hotels Class B common share.

A group claiming to act for dissident bondholders has commenced an action to stop the spin-off. The company will defend its right to make the spin-off, which is permitted in the indentures provided certain financial tests are met. The company believes it will meet those financial tests at the time of spin-off.

Sale of ports. The company has signed agreements with Mersey Docks and Harbours Company to sell the port of Heysham to them and to sell to a public/private partnership led by the Department of Seine Maritime in France the ferry terminals and harbor authority of the port of Newhaven. In the case of Heysham, the sale is subject to approval of the U.K. Office of Fair Trading and in the case of Newhaven, it is subject to conclusion of an agreement with Hoverspeed Ltd., a subsidiary of the company, with respect to future Newhaven/Dieppe ferry operations. Profit on these sales, if concluded, will be taken in the first and second quarters of 2001 as appropriate. In the case of Newhaven, Sea Containers would retain the bulk cargo port and the west bank where a property development is underway and a profitable yacht marina is located.

Bankruptcy of Commodore Cruise Line. Silja has mortgage debt of $28.1 million outstanding with respect to two cruise vessels it earlier sold to Commodore. Commodore declared Chapter XI bankruptcy at the end of 2000. Sea Containers had already written down the value of these cruise ships in its books as a reserve at the time it acquired its shareholding in Silja in 1999, so no loss to the company should arise from the sale of these vessels at prices expected, even though Silja will probably receive less than $28.1 million.

Mr. Sherwood concluded by saying that 2001 results of the company should be positively influenced by lower fuel prices, restoration of the U.K. rail network to normal running, good results from leisure, elimination of three unprofitable ferry routes in 2000, redeployment of fast ferry tonnage to achieve maximum revenue, reduction of costs of the marine container leasing business and gains on sale of ports.


JONATHAN SWIFT departed from Liverpool on Sunday afternoon after the completion of maintenance work. She resumed sailings between Holyhead and Dublin on Monday.

ULYSSES - made a somewhat late departure from Dublin on her maiden voyage on Sunday March 25 with ropes off at 12:10 some two hours and twenty five minutes behind schedule. A full report on her maiden voyage will be posted as part of Sunday's update.

ISLE OF INISHMORE - completed her service on the Dublin service on Sunday morning March 25 after arriving somewhat late due to delays caused by fog on an earlier trip. She arrived at Falmouth at 13:00 March 27, and went alongside the County Wharf. It is understood that the main work undertaken will be on her interior. She did not enter dry dock as the #2 dock - the only one which could accommodate her is currently occupied by the P&OSL AQUITAINE.

It is expected that ISLE OF INISHMORE will return to service on April 16 operating on the Rosslare - Pembroke route replacing ISLE OF INNISFREE which looks likely to be chartered to an Italian operator. 


EUROPEAN SEAFARER is now due at Rosslare to take up Rosslare - Cherbourg route 29/3/01.

EUROPEAN PATHFINDER will soon enter service on the Larne - Cairnryan route and the EUROPEAN TRADER will be sold/chartered.


Shannon Development, Department of Marine, and Natural Resources say its now up to the Project promoters and Kerry County Council to come up with an alternative following the rejection of a rescue plan by the ship's main stake holders and financial backers.

IR£1m has been contributed by Shannon Development under the rescue plan

Over IR£8m has already been spent on the ship yard and building the replica emigrant ship. The vessel which is to undergo sea trials in April is almost completed, however another IR£2m is required to complete the project and prepare the ship for a voyage to the USA next year. It had been hoped that the trans-Atlantic voyage would have been undertaken in Summer 2000. The Irish Government has been asked to intervene.


PACIFIC PINTAIL - On March 24 it was reported from Japan that unloading of plutonium-uranium mixed oxide (MOX) fuel from the James Fisher & Sons managed PACIFIC PINTAIL [5,271 grt] was underway. The vessel set sail from the French port of Cherbourg in January with 28 containers of MOX fuel and docked at the private port of Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s (TEPCO) Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power station at 6:10 a.m.The Japan Coast Guard and police set up a security cordon at sea and on land Saturday morning. The Niigata prefectural police mobilized 400 police officers to secure the area, while coast guard helicopters and planes patrolled the air. Antinuclear activists in the village of Kariwa have opposed the use of MOX fuel at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant, and plan to call for a local referendum to decide the issue. About 300 activists staged a protest on the coast near the port, chanting slogans and carrying banners reading ''Let's stop pluthermal.'' The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant, which comprises seven reactors, has an output of 8,212,000 kilowatts, the largest in the world.


Many visitors to M&ISS will be aware of RTÉ's excellent weekly maritime magazine programme "Seascapes" which is broadcast on RTÉ 1 at 21:30 each Thursday evening. 

During the summer Seascapes will broadcast a special series within the programme recalling Irish Shipping which was formed during WWII to supply the nation with food and other necessities. The series is being produced in conjunction with Captain Frank Forde whose definative work on the subject "The Long Watch" has recently been republished.

The author of the series of books Shipwrecks of the Irish Coast will be presenting a series of reports on wrecks during May.


The new National Maritime Museum Cornwall in Falmouth will showcase the maritime heritage of Cornwall, Arts Minister Alan Howarth said  during a visit to the region last week. Mr Howarth congratulated the NMMC's officials for their contribution to the regeneration of Falmouth's docks as part of the Falmouth Maritime Initiative.

The project will provide much improved facilities for the display of the historic collection of small boats previously held in storage by the National Maritime Museum. It will allow public access to more than 120 historic vessels in one venue of which up to 30 will routinely sail from the jetties.

Mr Howarth said:

"This country is rightly proud of its maritime heritage. I am sure that when this new Museum opens in 2002 it will capture the imagination of people both in this country and abroad. The new site will provide a magnificent setting for the small boats in the collection, giving visitors a real feel for life by, and on, the sea.

Commenting on the work of the National Historic Ships Committee in identifying those historic ships whose survival should be ensured, Mr Howarth said:

"The Government recognises the importance of the work done by the National Historic Ships Committee in producing its Core Collection and Designated Vessel Lists. They provide an invaluable guide to the existing maritime heritage. The tasks, now that the two lists have been established, are to secure sustainable funding to preserve the vessels for the future, and to ensure that other necessary protections are in place. I shall be pursuing these requirements with colleagues across Government."

Admiral of the Fleet Sir Julian Oswald, Chairman of the National Historic Ships Committee said:

"On behalf of the National Historic Ships Committee I much appreciate the Minister's generous recognition of our work in compiling the National Register of Historic Vessels together with the Core Collection and Designated Vessels lists. I also welcome the Minister's strong encouragement to us all to continue our efforts to preserve our unique maritime heritage for our enjoyment now and that of future generations."

The Heritage Lottery Fund provided a grant of £11.5 million towards this scheme. Further money has come from the European Regional Development Fund (£3.7 million) and the Single Regeneration Budget (£2.6 million).


Cammell Laird announced this week that it has been awarded the contract by the U.K. Ministry of Defence for the dry-docking and repair programme on the RFA FORT GEORGE. The ship is due to arrive on 7th May for 82 days.

FORT GEORGE was completed on the Tyne in 1993 and will be returning to the river where the work will be carried out at Cammell Laird's Hebburn yard on South Tyneside. The work scope involves structural, mechanical and electrical repairs throughout the vessel as well as an extensive hull refurbishment programme.

Commenting on the order, Group Managing Director, David Skentelbery said:- "The Group is delighted to have secured this multi-million pound contract on a vessel with which we have had significant experience, the FORT GEORGE having docked at the Hebburn site on two previous occasions. The work will generate employment security throughout the period for some 150 personnel. The award of this contract continues our good relationship with the RFA and we are delighted to see the ship return."

March 24


Welcome to this weekend's update. Somewhat shorter and earlier than usual. This is due to the fact that I am travelling on the ULYSSES on Sunday. There will be a mid week update posted on Thursday March 29. Don't forget to check below for Wednesday March 21 update.

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Dave Stuart, Stan Basnett and "others".


Adrian Sweeney advises that Issue 2 Ships of Mann is now available. Subscribers will have their copies dispatched over the weekend. Mainland outlets should receive supplies on Saturday and Manx outlets will received theirs next weekend.

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

SEACAT ISLE OF MAN - departed from Alfred Lock, Birkenhead on Saturday morning March 24. She berthed briefly at Prince's Landing Stage before departing for the Isle of Man around just before 11.00 after the departure of RAPIDE. She was reported arriving at Douglas just after 13:15.

LADY OF MANN - remains in Cammell Laird.

PICASSO & CLAYMORE remain laid up in Vittoria Dock.


Stan Basnett writes that the Croatian owned heavy lift vessel KUPARI [grt 2,044, 1979] arrived at Douglas on the evening of March 22 to load four 80 tonne presses formerly owned by the Pacini factory at Ronaldsway.


SCILLONIAN III - resumes service on the Penzance to Hugh Town, Isles of Scilly link on Saturday March 31. On board entertainment will be provided by the Cape Cornwall Singers.


On Friday March 23 the plans for a canal past the Pier Head in Liverpool were presented to Liverpool City Council. The initial proposals for this venture was first mooted some months ago and featured in M&ISS. The plans then included a route running on the landward side of the Liver Buildings, though there was talk of the route passing in front.

A model appeared in the Liverpool Echo which shows a canal snaking its way across the Pier Head Piazza from Prince's Dock to join the Canning Dock complete with landscaping, trees etc. [No it isn't April 1st!] 

However this is only one of four possible routes. The full list of routes being:

  • Pier Head route - across the piazza. Cost £10m to 14m

  • Strand Road route - running alongside strand road in tunnels and cuttings [cost £20 to 25m]

  • Strand Road Aqueduct route - an elevated aqueduct with boat lifts at each end [cost £30 to £35]

  • River Mersey route build a new sea wall - providing a canal channel from the old Princes River Entrance to Canning Dock [cost £15 to £18m]. [Has anyone really considered the implications of this with regard to the landing stage and access bridges?]

Liverpool Council Leader Michael Storey said that a lot of details needed to be sorted out before the plans were give the go ahead. However, he favoured building the canal along the Strand.  Mr. Storey also commented that their could be some sensitivities with regards to the Titanic and Canada memorials. 

The response quoted by the local press of Mr. Peter Mackrel, one of the opponents to the MDHC/Sea Containers terminal scheme was interesting: "Its another fantasia idea. I am sure it looks very nice on paper but has anyone thought about the practicalities. However, if it goes ahead it would certainly enhance the Pier Head". One would certainly have expected a very robust comment against these proposals considering the campaign led my Mr. & Mrs. Mackrel in opposing the Sea Terminal developments. 

Also of interest in the plan is a new configuration for the landing stage. The ferry stage being moved further south off the Albert Dock complex. The idea of separating the landing stages first manifested itself in the "Liverpool Vision" development plans which appeared last year.

British Waterways want to build the canal along the Pier Head, to link the waterfront to Britain's canal network. It is claimed that the 700 metre canal would provide a huge tourist boost creating 200 jobs and bringing in more than 200,000 visitors who would spend £5.5m a year.

Derek Cochrane, North West regional director of British Waterways, said: "British Waterways wants to be involved with the city in creating a world-class waterfront for Liverpool.

"By linking all the docks into the inland waterway network we will bring new life and vibrancy to the city's waterfront, as well as creating real economic prosperity and an attractive environment."

JHL's COMMENT: One's reaction to this idea is one of incredulity. Such a development would lead to significant changes in the Pier Head, much greater than any plans for a new Sea Terminal could have done. 

The river or aqueduct routes defy belief. The land based routes would result in a major change to the area. However, one is amazed at the reaction of Mr. Mackrel to the plans. How could a canal development "enhance the Pier Head" ? In my opinion it would ruin the area unlike the Sea Terminal facilities which Mr and Mrs. Mackrel opposed.  

If one wants to bring canal boats into the city a suitable marina should be developed in the Prince's Dock, however, the idea of linking north and south docks once again is nothing short of crazy and could destroy the waterfront. Surely it would be cheaper and less environmentally damaging to carry canal craft between Prince's Dock and the Albert Dock by a suitable road vehicle with loading points located at each dock? One hope that the variations on this plan end up in a waste paper basket rather like those for the monstrous sky-scraper planned a few years ago for the former Garden Festival site at Aigburth and the myriads of other hare-brained Merseyside planning schemes!

The Pier Head should be maintained as a point of departure for shipping not turned into some glorified waterpark. I would urge those that value the area to voice their disapproval should such plans become more than proposals.


JONATHAN SWIFT - was noted in Canada Dry Dock, Liverpool on Saturday March 24. She is now out of service until at least Monday 26. All passengers being transferred to ISLE OF INISHMORE / ULYSSES sailings.

ULYSSES - maiden voyage 09:45 Sunday, March 25.


MS OLDENBURG - Passenger trips to Lundy are cancelled until at least the 7th of April. The island is not accepting holiday makers or day trippers due to the mainland foot and mouth crisis. Though the OLDENBURG is understood to be making a freight only sailing next week.


Due to the present Foot and Mouth Crisis HRH Duke of Edinburgh cancelled his visit to the KATHLEEN & MAY at Bideford on March 23.


The website of the group restoring the historic ketch ASGARD I now appears to be fully functional. You can find a potted history of the vessel plus plans for fund raising, restoration etc. Apparently a film documentary will be made of the restoration. You can visit the web site at:


Around 40 people are being laid off by Pete Goss's Devon-based company, Team Philips.

The job losses are being blamed on the loss of the Team Philips catamaran in December last year.

The jobs are going from two of Pete Goss's businesses: Goss Composites, which is the high-tech manufacturing workshop at Totnes; and Goss Challenges, which is the holding company and responsible for administration and the visitors centre at Totnes.

 Past Projects: the losses are being blamed on the sinking of the Team Philips catamaran Two of Pete Goss's other businesses, Goss Interactive, a website company based in Plymouth, and Goss Innovations, a design business, are unaffected.

The job losses have been made pending a report by an independent consultant on the future of the businesses. It's expected to be published next week.


The Belfast Telegraph reported this week that a call was being made for more details to be disclosed about a property deal involving Belfast Harbour Commissioners and Harland & Wolff.

Alban Maginness, chairman of the Assembly's regional development committee, said he wanted to establish the full facts.

According to UTV's Insight programme, a deal has been signed between the Commissioners and its lessees, Fred Olsen Energy, the Norwegian owners of H&W.

The programme said that leases on 300 acres of prime development land in the Harbour Estate, which had been due to expire in 2019, had now been extended to cover the next 250 years.

The leases are now held by H&W Properties, a separate subsidiary of Fred Olsen Energy, which acquired H&W's property portfolio for £46m in February.

Mr. Maginness said: "I would be disappointed if the terms of these negotiations were not disclosed to the Department of Regional Development. I can understand the need for commercial confidentiality, but in relation to the overall intent, I would have thought the DRD should have been forewarned. Under the terms of the recent decision to grant trust port status with extended powers, provision was made for a voluntary memorandum of understanding under which the Department had to be consulted if non-port land was to be disposed of.

"I would be most concerned if there was any suggestion that the Commissioners were trying to dispose of land in advance of this memorandum taking effect. I will be urgently seeking clarification from the Commissioners and the Department."

The Department said: "We would have no reason to have been involved but we were not aware that negotiations between the Harbour Commissioners and H&W were ongoing."

The Harbour Commissioners were not making any immediate comment.

A spokesman for H&W said the company had never made any secret of its intention to renegotiate its leases with the Harbour Commissioners.


A Board meeting of Harland and Wolff Group PLC was held on March 20, during which Mr. Fred. Olsen, 72, announced his decision to retire as Chairman of Harland and Wolff Group PLC following more than seven years service. He shall remain on the Board as a non-executive Director. Sir David Fell KCB, who has been appointed to the Board as a non-executive Director, has been elected to the position of Chairman with immediate effect.

On behalf of the Board Harland and Wolff Chief Executive, Brynjulv Mugaas, said: "All those with an interest in Harland and Wolff owe Fred. Olsen a debt of gratitude. Ever since his involvement in the privatisation of the company in 1989, his support and personal efforts on behalf of the company have been unrelenting, never more so than during the extremely difficult situation of recent times. Although Mr. Olsen has decided to step down as Chairman following more than seven years service, we are extremely pleased that he has agreed to continue as a non-executive Director and we shall continue to benefit from his wide experience and counsel. "We have, in Sir David Fell, an excellent replacement and I am delighted to welcome him to the Board. I am sure that Harland and Wolff will benefit from the substantial international business experience which Sir David will bring."

Sir David Fell is a former Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service and is currently the Chairman of Harland and Wolff Properties Ltd and a board member of Fred. Olsen Energy ASA. He also holds a number of positions including Chairman of Northern Bank, Chairman of National Irish Bank, Non-executive Director of the property company, Dunloe Ewart PLC, and Non-executive Director of the Chesapeake Corporation, USA.

March 21


Welcome to this mid week update. Just a reminder that the next update will be early on SATURDAY evening as on Sunday I will be on ULYSSES maiden voyage. I know there are several readers who will be doing the trip from the UK - out on the last ISLE OF INISHMORE sailing and returning on the ULYSSES. If anyone else is going along please e-mail. 

Acknowledgements; Gary Andrews, John Shepherd, Tony Brennan, Dave Crolley, John Williams, Brian Chambers and "others"

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

RAPIDE - sailed for Dublin at 10:30 on Tuesday March 20 with 127 pax despite the BBC shipping forecast indicating south easterly winds of up to force 9. 

She arrived at Dublin around scheduled time at 14:30, discharged and loaded. She departed around 15:45 however, deteriorating conditions forced her back into port at around 16:30 where passengers disembarked and the vessel moving to lay-by berth 35

A correspondent informs me that Sea Containers  had intended sending all their pax up to Belfast, though sailings from Belfast were subsequently cancelled. With Irish Ferries JONATHAN SWIFT and ISLE OF INISHMORE sailings both cancelled due to conditions. I understand that Sea Co did not get any of their passengers out of Dublin on Tuesday. Foot passengers being conveyed by Irish Ferries on Wednesday with Norse Merchant Ferries and Stena taking some of the vehicles. 

RAPIDE finally departed from Dublin at 16:30 on Wednesday with crew only. 

LADY OF MANN - The Company have finally issued a press release confirming a "Silver Jubilee Rejuvenation for Classic Lady" As well as providing for essential SOLAS upgrade work passengers will not a refurbishment of all passenger areas in the £1.4m refit. The press release also promotes the special Silver Jubilee cruise to her birth place at Troon  on Saturday May 19 departing Douglas at 07:45 and returning from Troon on Sunday May 20th. Accommodation at Troon can be arranged by Magic Holidays. Fares are £25 Adults, £15 child with a car + 4 pax special of £99


Passenger figures compiled by the Harbours Division for February 2001 at 19,685 show a 9.7% increase on the figure for the same period in 2000 which was 17,945.

The year to date figure at 35,990 passengers shows a 9.2% increase over the same period in 2000 which was 32,963.

During February car and motorcycle traffic through Douglas Harbour increased by 18.1% from 5,405 vehicles to 6,382 vehicles.

The year to date figure at 11,659 vehicles shows a 15.5% increase over the same period in 2000 which was 10,092.

Scheduled Routes show the following changes in passenger numbers for February:-

  • Heysham plus 28% from 9,504 to 12,129

  • Liverpool minus 12% from 7,561 to 6,688

Freight Traffic February commercial vehicle metreage increased by 5.4% from 29,738 metres to 31,356 metres.

Director of Harbours, Captain Michael Brew comments: "Another record month for passenger figures, highlighting the continued popularity of sea travel. March 2001 sees further enhancement to services with the return of fast craft services to Liverpool this year using the 2nd generation 81 metre SeaCat Rapide."


ISLE OF INNISFREE resumed service on the Rosslare to Pembroke route on March 18 morning sailing. However she appeared to suffer from some late running on later that day and on March 19.

ISLE OF INISHMORE the evening return sailing from Dublin to Holyhead was cancelled on March 20 due to adverse weather conditions

JONATHAN SWIFT sailings are cancelled until Sunday March 25 for maintenance which I understand is a combination of engine trouble and bad weather.

ULYSSES - maiden voyage 09:45 Sunday March 25 ex Dublin. The naming ceremony on March 21 was disrupted by the poor weather and the activites had to be held in doors. I understand that there was a slight mishap and the bottle of champagne didn't break as planned!


KONINGIN BEATRIX On March 18 the evening sailing from Rosslare was cancelled with traffic diverted to Irish Ferries. Adverse weather conditions led to the ship being storm bound in Fishguard on March 20 which led to the cancellation of the morning sailings from Rosslare


NORWAY [ex SS FRANCE] final UK dates appear to be Greenock Friday Sept 14 08:00 - 18:00, Dún Laoghaire Saturday September 15 8-6, then arrive Southampton  Tuesday September 18, 05:00


The company had secured a major contract to provide steel work for the Twelve Quays ro/ro terminal on the River Mersey at Birkenhead. The deal in conjunction with Transmarine of Newcastle upon Tyne will provide 100,000 hours of work producing 1,700 tonnes of steel. This should keep the yard's workforce employed until new ship construction work commenced later this year.


The old Rea's Mersey tug HOLLYGARTH has appeared on McTay's Vittoria Cross Berth at Birkenhead as the TOWING WIZARD (SV) 347/69 now owned by TSA Tugs of Leigh-on-Sea. 


STENA CHALLENGER - It is understood that the ship will be named LEIF ERICSON when she enters service with Marine Atlantic, Canada later this year.


CITY OF CORK - It appears that the vessel will reenter service with the 21:00 sailing from Swansea to Cork after finally passing relevant safety drills.


The rumour which appeared in the last M&ISS news update concerning Lloyd Werft of Bremerhaven taking on the lengthening contract for the COSTA CLASSICA has been confirmed in Fairplay this week. The yard has apparently offered to take the mid body module which remains in the wet basin at Birkenhead. Costa Crociere has not yet made a decision on the work which would not be undertaken until next winter.


Luxus Holdings has now proposed building only one cruise ship instead of the two originally planned according to a report in the Daily Post this week.

The revised proposal is being made in a bid to persuade the Department of Trade and Industry to provide financial support for the contract. The DTI has so far refused to provide all the support requested by Luxus. It is concerned the US firm's original $500m two ship scheme is beyond the company's financial means.

The government has asked Luxus to find more equity or other finance of its own before agreeing to commit more than 200m of taxpayers' money to the project.

Cammell Laird  has also been asked to put up a performance bond to insure the government against non-delivery of the 28,500 tonne ships. Building just one ship would reduce the amount of money needed to fund the contract. There would be an option for the second ship to built in a year's time.

Laird's has said clinching the contract would create work for 1,000 staff at its Birkenhead and Tyneside shipyards. Laird's corporate development director Brett Martin said: "There has been a proposal which we hope will make life easier for the DTI to have them sign up for one ship now and an option on another in 12 months time. It means they won't have to commit themselves to the whole project at once. The DTI has not responded yet.

"It would help to ease them through the most difficult time in the life of the project. It is something we think could make them feel more comfortable."


On Tuesday Cammell Laird announced to the stockmarket that it had engaged City-based investment bank Close Brothers and its US affiliate Houlihan Lokey Howard and Zukin to examine the means of putting the troubled shipyard back on a firm footing.

Options under consideration include disposing of parts of the business, a merger or tie-up with other investment partners, raising new money in the City and renegotiating Laird's long-term debts.

The statement said: "Close Brothers and Houlihan Lokey will undertake a review of strategic alternatives for Cammell Laird including, inter alia, the raising of finance, strategic alliances and the possible restructuring of principal and interest on Cammell Laird's bonds.

"An announcement regarding the outcome of this review is anticipated ahead of Cammell Laird's year end, April 30."

Cammell Laird chief executive Jon Schofield said: "The last four months have been a difficult time for the company.

Peter Marshall, a corporate finance executive with Close Brothers, said: "We are looking at a lot of options.

These include disposals, merger, some form of restructuring of the long-term bond issue, which might include new payment terms, forgiveness of part of the principle, equitisation or buying them back."

Brett Martin, Cammell Laird corporate development director, said: "There is no firm plan at this stage. They will take a look and arrive at a view and report back to the board. There is a lot of uncertainty going on at the moment and we need to get through it as quickly as we can. The most important thing is life goes on after Costa and we can pull the company back into shape. Not everybody thinks that and they want to see action. This appointment is the start of that."


Erskine Childer's famous sailing vessel which has recently been liberated from Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin for restoration now has its own website. As yet the site appears to be in its early stages of construction and only comprises a front page. However, it would be worth adding the URL to any list of maritime favourites:

March 18



There was an additional news update posted on Monday March 12. This can be found immediately below this posting. Please note that there will be an update on Wednesday March 21. The Update next weekend will take place early on Saturday evening rather than Sunday. 


A reminder that all correspondence should now be sent to the new e-mail addresses: For shipping news and related items please send to . For private correspondence please use .

I note that some people are still using the old addresses. Whilst these continue to be available, it makes things easier if the new addresses can be used. Please, therefore, remove you old address book entries and insert the above. 


Work continues on production of the first M&ISS CD-ROM which will feature many high 1024x748 resolution ship photographs. It is still not possible to put a final date on completion as I have to fit work into producing updates for the web site. However I can now give preliminary details of some of the contents:

  • Waverley Steam Navigation - Bristol Channel & Irish Sea

  • Isle of Man Steam Packet - extensive coverage including many Lady of Mann items.

  • Red Funnel 1995 - 1996 - Red Jets, Hydrofoils, Raptors & Netley Castle

  • Peninsular & Oriental's maiden departure of the Oriana. 

  • Merseyside visiting ships - Sundream, Endeavour - etc. etc.

  • Mersey Ferries

  • Naval Ships

  • Cammell Laird visitors - Oakleaf, Koningin Beatrix etc, etc.

  • Wreck of The Cita, St.Mary's  - extensive coverage of wreck and local "salvage" operations. 

  • Archive of all 1997 to 2000 news bulletins to allow off-line access to all M&ISS news items. 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Gary Andrews, Mike Pryce, Tony Brennan, David Stuart, Frank Gradwell and "others"


SUPERSEACAT TWO - finally departed Belfast for Oostende on the evening of March 13.

SEACAT ISLE OF MAN - remained in West Float Birkenhead on Saturday March 17

A number of press releases have been issued announcing the introduction of the SUPERSEACATS on the English Channel.


It was not possible to put the historic schooner KATHLEEN & MAY back into the water at Bideford last weekend. The massive crane which had been due to lift the vessel developed a technical problem with its hydraulics and a repair could not be effected. The vessels return to water is now scheduled for the first week in May. 



Stena Line Freight has been voted ferry freight operator of the year in the prestigious Freighting Industry Awards 2001 sponsored by the top trade journal International Freighting Weekly.

The coveted "Ferry Freight Operator of the Year" title was awarded by an independent panel of judges to reward the company's outstanding service and professionalism within the freight transport sector. In beating off competition from other ferry freight firms to win the award, the judges praised Stena Line for adding new routes, boosting route capacity, providing a range of added-value services and for its services for drivers.

Stena Line operates daily services from Stranraer-Belfast, Holyhead-Dun Laoghaire, Fishguard-Rosslare, Killingholme-Hook of Holland and Harwich-Hook of Holland, as well as additional routes across Europe and Scandinavia.

Initiatives introduced by Stena Line Freight over the past year have included heavy investment in IT developments. Stena Line has also extended its network with a new freight route between the Humberside port of Killingholme and the Hook of Holland plus four new routes in Sweden following the acquisition of Scandlines AB.

Michael McGrath, director of Stena Line Freight, said: "This really demonstrates that our strategy to focus on the freight sector of our business has paid off. The past year has seen competition on all routes to Ireland and the Continent increase and the demands on our services are now greater than ever. It's especially satisfying to receive this award in recognition of our commitment to providing freight transport companies and their drivers with a service ashore and at sea which is recognised as the best in the industry."

There's more good news ahead for Stena Line Freight customers -capacity has just been increased on the Killingholme-Hook of Holland route, a new £50m ferry, the STENA HOLLANDICA, was introduced on the busy Harwich-Hook of Holland route on 9 March and in April Stena Line launches the new STENA FORWARDER on its Holyhead-Dublin route, providing the fastest conventional crossing between Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland.


HSS STENA DISCOVERY which operate the Harwich to Hoek of Holland managed to loose some vehicles overboard on March 15. Though the HSS STENA DISCOVERY isn't an Irish Sea ship, the incident will be of interest given her two sisters operate here!

The mishap occurred when an 18-ton lorry loaded with 12 tons of fresh fish rolled back and burst through a rear door of the vessel. The lorry was followed by three Ford Transit vans. Damage to the door and loss of the vehicles is estimated to be in the region of £200,000. One of the vans was being driven by a man from Holland who was moving to England and contained all his possessions.

STENA DISCOVERY was 45 minutes into its voyage to Harwich at the time of the incident. The vessel returned to Hoek of Holland and was taken out of service for repairs. Stena has said it will pay full compensation for the loss of the vehicles.

It is thought that the lorry had not had its handbrake correctly applied and it appears that blocks had not been placed under the wheels

Stena hired a Rotterdam salvage company to recover the vehicles  to ensure they do not pose a hazard for shipping.


KONINGIN BEATRIX on March 16 the ship failed to berth at Rosslare due to strong South/East winds and had to take her passengers on a  sail down coast. Still unable to dock she was diverted to Dublin with passengers being conveyed by coach between the two ports.


TENACIOUS - The Jubilee Sailing Trust's new three masted barque TENACIOUS will visit Douglas from April 30 to May 1. Tenacious is also due to depart from Liverpool on April 29 [arrive Liverpool April 27 ex- Plymouth] and arrive in Dublin on May 6.

The vessel is also due to call at Liverpool on October 5 on a cruise from Oban and depart on October 8 bound for Weymouth.

LORD NELSON will call arrive at Liverpool on May 16 from Milford Haven and depart again for Oban on May 17.


ULYSSES the official naming ceremony of the ULYSSES is due to take place at 12:00 at Berth 49 on March 21 at Dublin port by Paralympic Gold Medal winner Mairé Berry . ULYSSES will enter service on the 09:45 sailing from Dublin on Sunday March 25. Enthusiasts wishing to make a trip are reminded that IF do offer day return fares. Outward from Holyhead on the last ISLE OF INISHMORE sailing at 03:30 and returning on 09:45 ULYSSES sailing costs just £9.00.

NORMANDY has continued to experience problems maintaining schedules on the Rosslare - Pembroke service whilst covered for the ISLE OF INNISFREE with sailings being missed to allow the schedule to be caught up and some car traffic diverted to Stena. NORMANDY  returned to the Rosslare to Cherbourg service on March 16.

ISLE OF INNISFREE - may return to ROSSLARE on Sunday March 18. With NORMANDY back on the Cherbourg route there have been no sailings to Pembroke.


BALMORAL - Sailings originally planned for Liverpool and North Wales over the May Bank Holiday period have been cancelled due to engine trouble. Irish Sea sailings now commence on Friday May 11 with the Morecambe Bay cruise at 14:00.

WAVERLEY - The ship is to make its first visit to Liverpool since 1980. 

She had been scheduled to make two sailings from Liverpool in 1992, however, the vessel  was storm bound in Glasgow and was unable to make the journey. The sailings from Liverpool will commemorate the 180th Anniversary of the opening of the Liverpool and North Wales steam ship service which was inaugurated by the PS CAMBRIA on June 4, 1821. 

The Waverley will sail from Liverpool on Tuesday June 19 for Llandudno and then cruise to north Anglesey [Holyhead] returning to Liverpool via Llandudno. On Wednesday Waverley will operate two cruises.  In the morning and afternoon a cruise to  Morecambe Bay will be operated. In the evening there will be a "Showboat" cruise.

It is rather unfortunate that the dates selected are mid-week, however, all enthusiasts should try and make the effort to support the sailings. Perhaps if a good number turn out we might not have to wait another 21 years for the WAVERLEY to visit Merseyside again? 


This week James Fisher announced profits of £5m for year ending 2000 compared to profits of £6.28m in 1999. The reduction in profits being blamed on port delays at refineries.

James Fisher, Britain's second largest quoted shipping company is now looking to replace its up to eight of the older members of the19 strong clean products  tanker fleet with new tonnage. 

The replacement tankers were likely to be larger than those being replaced and were  likely to be around 3,500-4,000 dwt, similar in size to vessels the company had built in China a few years ago. The replacement programme is expected to take between two and four years. 

Angus Buchanan, group operations director said that the company was also pursuing long held plans for the construction of two larger 13,000 dwt product tankers.

Whilst James Fisher announced plans to replace older members of its tanker the company announced its intention to withdraw from the dry cargo sector with the sale of the early 1980s-built vessels – the 2,435 DWT BRIARTHORN and 1,694 DWT ROSETHORN and SILVERTHORN – for up to £300,000 each. The dry cargo division produced a loss of £956,000 during 2000


CITY OF CORK was detained in Swansea by a Maritime & Coastguard Agency surveyor after it failed a mandatory inspection on March 13,  2001.

The grounds for detention principally being:

Lack of preparedness (section 8 of the ISM code) as demonstrated by Fire Drills, Full Muster, Abandon Ship and Damage Control Drill.

The Madeira registered CITY OF CORK [Ex EGNATIA II, ST PATRICK II], with a GT of 11481, is demise chartered by Hellenic Mediterranean Lines of Greece however, she still appears on the annual report fleet list of her owners Irish Continental Group plc. until ownership passes to Hellenic. 

The mandatory inspection was carried out to comply with regulations under European Directive 35 of 1999, which apply to ships taking on new services. These mandatory inspections are the responsibility of the countries the vessel sails between, in this case the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and Southern Ireland’s Department of Marine.

The MCA has been informed that the owners are seeking training providers. The owners will contact the MCA Surveyor in Charge at Cardiff to arrange a date when the deficiencies can be checked for compliance before the detention can be lifted.

The Sunday Independent newspaper reported that the vessel was still detained at Swansea over the St.Patrick's Holiday weekend until the engine room staff pass a safety drill.  The newspaper reports that the cancellation of sailings had frustrated the journeys of over 1,000 passengers. Swansea Cork Ferries said that it was unable to quantify the impact on their season of loosing the entire St.Patrick's Holiday weekend. The company is already reported to be loosing a huge fall in trade because of the Foot & Mouth Disease outbreak.

Though detained by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the CITY OF CORK had been cleared to operate by Lloyd's register and the Department of the Marine.  


P&O have commenced recruiting staff for the Mostyn Docks terminal. Various posts are available for Terminal Foreman, Team Leader, Secretary/PA, Check-in, Customer Service and  Sales Administration Clerks. Application forms and full job descriptions can be obtained from Holywell Job Centre, Tel: 01352 896306


On March 21 Harland and Wolff and the US customer Global Marine are due to appear at a hearing at the Appeal Court in London on March 21 to settle the dispute over an unpaid £23m bill. The hearing is expected to last two days.  

The dispute went to arbitration and the original finding was in favour of H&W, as a result of which Global was ordered to stump up £22m of the outstanding sum.

The High Court in London overturned that decision in November and ruled that Global Marine was not liable to make the payment after all.

H&W insisted today that it had completed the specified work on schedule and in accordance with the contract. Global has always argued that the job was neither completed on time nor to its satisfaction, and asserts it has no further liabilities to meet.

Once responsibility for the £23m bill is settled, H&W and Global will have to sort out a second dispute over an alleged £133m overspend on the drill ship contract


At just after 08:20 on March 15, Belfast Coastguard Station received a telephone call from the Fishing Agency based in Kilkeel, Northern Ireland. The Agency rang to inform Coastguard staff that a 25m, Belfast registered fishing vessel that had been fishing 3 miles south of the border near Carlingford Lough, had picked up a mine in its nets.

Belfast Coastguard immediately made contact with the crew of the fishing vessel and with the Explosive Ordinance Department (EOD) based in England. The EOD then contacted the fishing vessel to confirm that they were carrying a World War II Mine.

Belfast Coastguard then requested the launch of the RNLI Lifeboat from Clogher Head to standby the fishing vessel as well as informing Dublin and Liverpool Coastguard Stations of the events which were unfolding.

Steven Palmer, Watch Manager for Belfast Coastguard said:

"We are currently coordinating the safe passage of the fishing vessel to a nearby dumping ground, some 3.5 miles east of Annalong. The vessel has an ETA of 13:00 and will then dispose of the mine onto the seabed before departing the scene. An EOD team will then take the matter in hand."

"Weather on scene is currently fine with light winds and calm seas. We do not anticipate any difficulties with this operation at the present time but we will continue to monitor the situation closely."


BIG RED BOAT II / EDINBURGH CASTLE - A report in Lloyd's List on March 17 reveals that a charter for the troubled vessel bought be Cammell Laird from the receivers of Lowline may be forthcoming. The vessel was charted to Premier Cruises last year as BIG RED BOAT II. However, the collapse of Premier Cruises has seen the ship laid up. 

This week Cammell Laird's share price fell further following another downgrading of the company's credit rating in the wake of the COSTA CLASSICA affair. There are rumours that representatives of Lloyd Werft of Germany have been to view the COSTA CLASSICA mid body module with a view to that company obtaining the section to undertake the conversion work.

March 12


Due to an oversight some material was omitted from the March 11 update and additional information has been received which I though deserved inclusion now, rather than waiting until the next scheduled update on Sunday March 18. The update for March 11 can be found below. 


MOUNTWOOD is now in Clarence Dry Dock for refit by Warbreck Engineering, part of the Cammell Laird group.


A report on the Liverpool Echo on March 12 indicates that the protestors opposing the terminal development at the Pier Head have decided against a high court challenge to the revised proposals. The group is to continue to lobby Liverpool City Council about the proposed development. Objectors to the plans had until March 13 to submit objections


EARL OF PEMBROKE, a three masted barque, will be one of the ships visiting Liverpool for the Mersey River Festival to be held between June 8 and 11. The ship is usually based at Charlestown, Cornwall along with the rest of the Square Sail fleet. She has made a number of TV and Film appearances over the years. For further details of the vessel  to visit the Square Sail web site. 


During the weekend two large cranes were taken to Bideford in Devon to lift what is thought to be the last seaworthy three masted schooner remaining in the UK back into the water. This historic ship provided a link between England and Ireland from Bideford, Devon to Youghall, County Cork.

Now owned by plant hire boss Steve Clarke, the KATHLEEN AND MAY was brought to Bideford for restoration two years ago. 

Once returned to the water, shipwrights will work on the interior and install her engines. On March 23, the Duke of Edinburgh will be in Bideford to place a coin under one of the 60ft wooden masts which will then be hoisted into position. This is a maritime tradition and will commemorate the date of the ship's £750,000 restoration.

It is hoped the KATHLEEN AND MAY will be ready to circumnavigate Lundy Island in July followed by a trip to Youghall, County Cork long associated with the ship, for a festival expected to attract 30,000 people.

The KATHLEEN AND MAY is just over 100 years old, and as one of the last trading schooners to operate in Britain, she represents an important link in the country's seaborne history. She operated out of Bideford on the coastal trade as well as providing regular sailings to Ireland. Following withdrawal from service in the early 1960s she fell into disrepair until rescued by the Maritime Trust in 1970. During the 1970s nearly £2 million was spent on the ship to turn her into a floating museum, however, due to lack of funds she was laid up in Gloucester Dock from where she was rescued by Steve Clarke three years ago.

STOP PRESS The latest information available on the BBC Radio Devon web site late on Sunday indicated that there had been a technical problem with one of the crane and it is not known if the KATHLEEN AND MAY is actually in the water.


The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) last week published its report into the grounding of the mv COASTAL BAY in Church Bay, Anglesey on 21 July 2000.


On 21 July 2000, HM Coastguard and the Secretary of State's Representative (SOSREP) informed the MAIB that the container-feeder vessel COASTAL BAY had grounded off Anglesey, Wales. An investigation began three days later.

COASTAL BAY was on passage from Dublin to Liverpool. Her planned route was via The Skerries Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS). Shortly before 23:00 on 20 July, the chief officer relieved the master on the bridge; about thirty minutes later he fell asleep. A planned alteration of course taking the vessel into the north-east bound lane of the TSS was missed, and the vessel ran aground at 00:20 the next

The investigation highlighted three key factors:

1. The chief officer fell asleep through fatigue.

2. The chief officer was alone on the bridge.

3. The bridge watch alarm was not in use.

These factors were the result of serious shortcomings in the management of COASTAL BAY, and the failure to comply with the requirements of STCW 95 (International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping incorporating the 1995 Amendments), regarding watch keeping arrangements and bridge manning at night.

Recommendations to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and the Antigua and Barbuda administration are aimed at ensuring that the requirements of STCW 95, regarding watchkeeping arrangements and bridge manning at night, are understood by all vessels operating in UK waters. Other recommendations to the vessel's management company aim to improve watchkeeping arrangements and vessel management.



1. Officer manning on board COASTAL BAY was in accordance with her safe manning certificate.

2. The ship operated seven days a week, including bank holidays.

3. The master and chief officer were experienced and properly certificated.

4. The master and chief officer shared the bridge and harbour duties.

5. Both master and chief officer kept night watches on their own, contrary to STCW 95 Section A-VIII/2.

6. Neither master nor chief officer was able to take adequate rest in accordance with STCW 95 Section A-VIII/1.

7. The chief officer had been unable to take adequate rest since joining the ship 84 days before the accident.

8. The chief officer had two rest periods during the 24 hours prior to the grounding; the first lasting 5 hours 30 minutes, and the second 2 hours 10 minutes.

9. The ship's manager did not monitor the hours worked by the master or chief officer.

10. The chief officer was in good health at the time of the incident, and had no history of fainting or blackouts. He did not drink alcohol.

11. The chief officer relieved the master on the bridge at 22:56 and had charge of the ship for the period leading up to the grounding.

12. The chief officer was alone on the bridge; no additional lookout was closed up.

13. The chief officer probably slept between 23:25 and 00:20.

14. A course alteration to 048 o due at about 23:45 was missed; the ship remained on a course of 098 o and made good a course of 088 o.

15. Although fitted, the bridge watch alarm was not switched on.

16. The watch alarm had an intermittent fault and may not have functioned correctly if it had been switched on.

17. The passage plan was input to the Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) display, and waypoint and cross-track error alarms set to activate when the ship approached within 5 cables of a course alteration or deviated more than 5 cables off track. (A cable is a measurement equal to one tenth of a nautical mile. A nautical mile is a distance equal to 1852 metres).

18. It is not certain whether the DGPS waypoint or cross-track alarm activated. In any event, it did not wake the chief officer.

19. Operating orders issued by the ship's manager did not specify a requirement for an additional bridge lookout during the hours of darkness, guidance on watchkeeping arrangements or rest periods, or instructions on the use and testing of the bridge watch alarm.

20. The master did not produce his own orders to supplement or expand upon the orders issued by the ship's managers.

21. The actions recommended by the MAIB and taken by the MCA and Antigua and Barbuda Registry, following the grounding of CITA in 1997, did not prevent COASTAL BAY grounding in near-identical circumstances.


The chief officer fell asleep and the planned course alteration was missed.

Underlying Factors:

1. The chief officer was fatigued due to a lack of rest; he had been unable to take the minimum rest periods required by STCW 95 Section A-VIII/1 since joining 84 days earlier.

2. He was alone on the bridge; an additional lookout required by STCW 95 Section A- VIII/2, as well as the UK and Antigua and Barbuda authorities, was not posted.

3. The bridge watch alarm was not in use.

4. The ship's manager did not provide the master with written instructions regarding watchkeeping arrangements and minimum rest periods, the requirement for an additional bridge lookout to be posted at night, or the use and testing of the bridge watch alarm.

5. The lack of written instructions regarding the watchkeeping arrangements was not detected by the MCA during the port state control inspection in January 2000.

6. Neither the ship's manager nor master held copies, or were aware of the content, of either MGN (Marine Guidance Note)137 or the Antigua and Barbuda circular. Additionally, neither had received formal notification informing them of the availability of these documents via the internet.

7. The master did not inform the ship's manager that the requirements of STCW 95 regarding rest periods could not be complied with.


The Maritime and Coastguard Agency is recommended to:

1. Instruct surveyors to target vessels engaged in the short-sea trade and carrying only two bridge watchkeepers, and to implement vigorously the guidance for the assessment of written instructions provided by owners for watchkeeping arrangements and the correct functioning of watch alarms.

2. Continue to investigate methods of widening the distribution of Merchant Shipping Notices to ensure Notices applicable to non-UK flagged vessels operating in UK waters are indeed received by such vessels.

The Management Company responsible for COASTAL BAY is recommended to:

1. Consider either the employment of a third deck officer or re-negotiation of the charter party to allow the rest requirements for watchkeepers laid down in STCW 95 to be met.

2. Provide comprehensive written instructions to the vessel regarding watchkeeping arrangements, rest periods, the use of an additional lookout at night, and the use and testing of the bridge watch alarm.

3. Implement a system to effectively monitor crew working hours.

4. Consider reducing the length of employment contracts of watchkeeping personnel to allow more frequent leave periods.

5. Subscribe to Merchant Shipping Notices (Marine Shipping Note, Marine Guidance Note and Marine Information Note) from the MCA and to visit the MCA and Antigua and Barbuda Registry internet sites on a regular basis. Antigua and Barbuda Department of Marine Services and Merchant Shipping is recommended to:

Ensure that its circular issued in December 1998 and entitled 'Look-Out During Periods of Darkness' is received by all vessels operating under its flag.


A report in Fairplay indicates that Harland and Wolff has been offered what it describes as “a singular opportunity” to rebuild its fortunes by securing contracts to construct two ro-ro ferries as part of the Private Finance Initiative for the UK Ministry of Defence Strategic Sealift Programme. 

The announcement quashes rumours that the Andrew Weir Shipping-led consortium was about to place the contracts with the UK’s Cammell Laird or Flensburg Werft in Germany. Harland and Wolff Group CEO Brynjulv Mugaas commented, “The ro-ros provide a platform upon which we shall seek to expand and extend our orderbook.” He added, “There is no doubt that significant niche market opportunities exist for efficient and competitive European shipbuilders.” The yard has had two extremely difficult years caused by a protracted dispute with Global Marine over two deep water drill ships.

March 11


Welcome to this week's update. Please note that the update schedule for April has now been posted. There has been a slight adjustment to the update times for the end of March to allow for the fact that I will be travelling on the last voyage of the ISLE OF INISHMORE and the maiden voyage of the ULYSSES on March 25. With spring approaching, and the holiday season getting underway, it is likely that the measures adopted by the various governments of these islands will become more apparent to the travelling public. Therefore, I have given over some space to some thoughts on the implications of the present Foot and Mouth Disease  outbreak. 


The Foot & Mouth Disease outbreak is starting to have a direct effect on Maritime Events and may also have an effect on Ferry services especially if politicians take notice of public opinion.

This week it appears that the Irish Naval Service has abandoned the decommissioning ceremony of the LE Deirdre.

The sail training ship ASGARD II will not be making any calls at UK ports at least in the early part of her cruise programme for 2001.

A survey conducted for the Sunday Independent Newspaper in Ireland reveals that a small, though notable majority of those interviewed 53% think that the services from Holyhead should be suspended. The Holyhead service is specifically mentioned - no mention of other routes. Presumably Holyhead's proximity to known FMD outbreaks in Wales is a particular cause for concern.

The Irish Tourist Industry is warning of losses of IR£500m this year as a result of restrictions and people with holiday reservations as far ahead as August are starting to cancel.

On the Isle of Man one wonders what might happen with the forthcoming sporting festivals which bring in so much revenue for both hotels, shops and transport operators. The Student Games is already reported to be seriously in doubt. Then there is the TT - what would be the implications should this be cancelled?

As ship enthusiasts we could suffer in a number of diverse ways if alarmist actions continue. Not only might our wandering be curtailed especially if day trips are targeted and events cancelled BUT there could be some long term damage to the ferry industry.

During the last year or two we have seen the effect of the withdrawal of Duty Free on the  Ferry companies' incomes and consequential increase in fares, reduction in routes etc. In the reports and accounts for 2001 I would expect FMD to be blamed for any poor performance this year.

Obviously sensible precautions need to be taken to avoid the spread of the disease -  but politicians on all our islands should ensure that a balance is struck which does not damage one industry at the expense of another. The tourist industries in  England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the Isle of Man already suffer a disadvantage to those countries situated in more sunnier and warmer climes. Politicians should realise that some visitors who are forced to change their holiday plans may not return in future years and we the voters will be the final arbiters on how well they have handled this crisis.  

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Gary Andrews, Brian Chambers, Tony Brennan, Patrick C. Taylor and "others".


Almost one month ago I aired my opinion as to whether ship enthusiasts get a "fare deal" from the ferry operators. My comments being directed principally at Sea Containers Irish Sea Operations who had imposed a rather unfair restriction on day trip fares this year which prevents them being issued for departures after 11:00. 

I decided to follow up my comments on the web site with a letter and copy of what I had written. That was three weeks ago and to date I have not had the courtesy of a reply. To be fair, on two occasions in the past that I have had occasion to write a letter of complaint to Imperial Buildings I have received a reasonably prompt response. Perhaps Mr. Woodward you have just overlooked the matter?

In contrast to my experience with Sea Containers I found Irish Ferries have a much more open minded approach to day trips.  Whilst I have travelled with Irish Ferries on a number of occasions I have as yet not taken a day return trip. This week I phoned to book a day return for the morning of Sunday March 25, - out from Holyhead on the last ISLE OF INISHMORE sailing and returning on the maiden voyage of the ULYSSES. Having become so used to the need to book a good period in advance with some  operators to  secure a day trip fare I was quite surprised to be informed that there was no need to book in advance for this trip. I could buy my ticket at the port before travelling - quite a refreshing change and one that others could learn from.  Nevertheless I did book in advance - just to be sure. The fare a very reasonable £9 for 120 miles of travel. 

If one operator can provide reasonable day return fares why can't another?



The March meeting will be held on Tuesday March 13 at Sam's Bar, Tithebarn Street, Liverpool at 19:00. Ian Wells of the London Branch will present "Tilbury Shipping Scene"


The March meeting will be held on Thursday March 15 at Britons Protection Hotel, 50 Great Bridgewater Street, Manchester at 19.45. The Southampton Branch Slide Show will be shown. This is a change from that originally listed in the Manchester Branch Programme. 

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

RAPIDE - After a week of apparently trouble free operation RAPIDE went "technical" on Thursday March 8 and missed the 21:00 Liverpool Douglas sailing and the Douglas to Liverpool sailing on March 9. A correspondent noted that berthing on her return from Dublin on Thursday - somewhat late at 20:12 appeared rather difficult. It appears that the problem was due to steering troubles caused by damage to one of the water jets when docking.

SEACAT ISLE OF MAN - was noted to be berthed on the north side of West Float at Birkenhead on Saturday March 10 having vacated Bidston Dry Dock.

SEACAT SCOTLAND - Adverse weather led to the cancellation of Belfast - Troon sailings on March 6.

SUPERSEACAT ONE arrived in Dover on Monday March 5 - Sea Containers issued the following press release: 

SUPERSEACAT ONE is one of three monohull high speed car ferries being introduced to the Dover – Calais and Ostend routes later this month. The new look fleet will dramatically transform Hoverspeed’s English Channel operations, increasing car and passenger capacity by almost 80% in the highly competitive cross channel market.

Built in Italy, the 100 metre long craft operate at speeds of up to 40 knots and can carry 700 passengers and 145 vehicles. Crossing time between Dover and Calais will be just 40 minutes and 2 hours from Dover to Ostend.

Hoverspeed’s SuperSeaCat service to Calais will provide up to 10 return sailings daily in addition to three return sailings on the Dover to Ostend route. The new look services are scheduled to start operating from Hoverspeed’s exclusive Dover terminal on Monday 19 March.

As a special showcase event prior to beginning operations on the English Channel, sister ship SUPERSEACAT THREE will be sailing to London on Thursday 15 March, moored alongside HMS Belfast, for a two day promotional visit which will include a public open day on Saturday 17 March from 1000am to


Just days before the introduction of a fleet of state-of-the-art high speed car ferries dramatically transform channel crossings to France and Belgium, Hoverspeed will be showcasing one of their new look SuperSeaCat to the public on a special visit to London on Saturday 17 March.

Moored alongside HMS Belfast on the South Bank, near Tower Bridge, the 100metre long craft - the largest fast car ferry to sail on the Thames - will be open for public viewing from 1000am to 5pm on 17 March. Admission is free to both vessels throughout the day.

With Hoverspeed's strong connections via its fast ferry cross channel services to France and Belgium, exhibitors on board the SuperSeaCat will include the French regions of Nord Pas de Calais, Seine Maritime Normandy and the Flanders region of Belgium. Visitors will be entitled to special travel offers with Hoverspeed in 2001, have opportunities to win Weekend Breaks in France and Belgium and sample wines, liqueurs and regional specialties available throughout the day.

SuperSeaCat is scheduled to sail from Dover to London in the afternoon of Thursday 15 March, arriving Tower Bridge / HMS Belfast at 1800. The craft is due to depart London on Sunday 18 March, prior to starting cross channel services from Dover on Monday 19 March.

Built in Italy by Fincantieri, SuperSeaCat have capacity for 700 passengers and 145 vehicles and can travel at speeds of up to 40 knots. Up to 10 return sailings daily will operate from Dover to Calais, with a crossing time of just 40 minutes, combined with three return sailings daily between Dover and Ostend, crossing time just 2 hours.

Access to SuperSeaCat will be via HMS Belfast, located on the South Bank near to Tower Bridge, nearest main line and underground stations is London Bridge.


The visit of the Multinational Minesweeper Flotilla appeared to get off to a slow start. 

By late morning of Saturday March 10 only the Royal Netherlands Navy vessels HNLMS MAKKUM (M857) and HNLMS SCHIEDAM (M860) had arrived at Huskisson Branch #1 North with the Belgian, British and German vessels still to make an appearance.


On March 9 HRH Princess Royal launched HMS Albion the first of a class of two new large Amphibious Assault Ships built for the Royal Navy by BAE Systems at Barrow-in-Furness.

The 18,500 tonne vessels will each carry 300 troops, eight landing craft and a mix of vehicles including up to six Challenger 2 tanks or around 30 of the new Armoured All Terrain vehicles being procured for the Royal Marines.

Defence Procurement Minister Baroness Symons said:

"Albion and her sister Bulwark are nearly half as big again as the vessels they will replace and they will provide a major increase in the UK's amphibious warfare capabilities.

"These ships will be equipped for the command and conduct of intensive amphibious warfare operations involving 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines and other elements of the Joint Rapid Reaction Forces at a much faster tempo than is now possible. They are planned to operate with the new helicopter carrier HMS Ocean and four planned new Bay class auxiliary landing ships.

"These new classes of ship add up to a total value of well over #1 billion and represent a significant new investment in the UK's ability to conduct amphibious operations."

Chief of the Defence Staff Admiral Sir Michael Boyce said: "HMS Albion and the other new ships planned represent a complete renewal of our amphibious forces with far more capable vessels. They will provide the UK with powerful tools to deal with a very wide range of crises, whether military or humanitarian, around the globe."

The design and construction of the ships has provided up to 2,000 jobs at BAE SYSTEMS Marine and up to 1,200 more will be employed on the construction of the first two Bay class vessels at Swan Hunter on the Tyne. HMS Bulwark will be launched later this year.


It appears as though the Ministry of Defence could reopen the bidding for a £1bn ($1.44bn) contract to supply and operate six ro-ro ships if current negotiations stall according to a report in Lloyd's List this week.

Sir Robert Walmsley, chief executive of the Defence Procurement Agency, expects a contract to be placed soon with a consortium headed by Andrew Weir Shipping. However, in a written reply to questions from a Member of Parliament representing the constituency in which Cammell Laird has a shipyard, Sir Robert acknowledged that "in the event that it does not prove possible to place a contract with the preferred bidder, we would consider other options, one of which would be to reopen discussions with the other contractors who submitted proposals last year".

Sir Robert's remarks, published in Hansard, follow rumours that discussions between the Andrew Weir consortium and the MoD have run into difficulties over a number of aspects, including the ship building element of the contract.

He was responding to questions from Stephen Hepburn, who was seeking information on negotiations for the ro-ro-ferries. The Maersk company, one of the short listed candidates that lost out in the final stages of the bidding process, would have built four of the six ships at Cammell Laird had it won the contract.

Cammell Laird is currently experiencing problems due to the collapse of the COSTA CLASSICA Contract and plans to construct two cruise ships for Luxus. .However there is speculation that the Andrew Weir group, which originally promised to build two of the ships at Harland & Wolff in response to pressure from the government for some of the shipbuilding work to be placed with a British yard, may be backing away from that commitment.

Commenting on the controversy about manning arrangements for the six ships, Sir Robert said the vessels would have to be crewed by British officers and ratings when on MoD business. When not employed by the military, the ships will be trading commercially "and their manning then will be a commercial matter for the company", Sir Robert confirmed. However, the winning consortium will be required at all times to ensure
availability of sufficient British seafarers, he went on to stress.



This week the MCA announced new, regular safety checks are being introduced for all ro-ro  passenger and high speed ferries operating in UK waters.

For vessels starting a new service, the safety checks will have to be carried out before they enter service. For existing vessels, arrangements for the first of these surveys must be made with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) before 1 December 2001.

In carrying out the enhanced safety checks, MCA surveyors will be required to:

- inspect a vessel's documentation;
- verify a vessel's operating company and flag state;
- check for the presence of a voyage data recorder (required on all ro-ro ferries by January 2003);
- survey each vessel once a year, or where a vessel's circumstances have changed;
- prevent a vessel from operating if it does not meet stringent EU safety rules, or else require any safety defects to be remedied.

Commenting, Mr Hill said:

"These new, tougher measures will result in greater safety on all ro-ro and high speed passenger ferries operating in United Kingdom waters, regardless of which flag they might fly.

"We and our European neighbours will work together to ensure that all ferry operators, of whatever nationality, providing a service to the UK will play by the rules. With around seven million car and bus movements every year to and from UK ports, the travelling public has a right to expect that ferry safety remains a firm plank of Government policy."


A report on RTÉ's Seascapes programme this week suggest that Irish Ferries management might register the company's vessel's overseas due to the present negative attitude to Irish shipping displayed by the Irish Government.

ULYSSES undertook berthing trials at Holyhead on March 8 and has also undertaken trials on the Dublin #7 ro/ro berth which is usually used by Norse Merchant Ferries. 

JONATHAN SWIFT - sailings were cancelled due to adverse conditions on March 6.

NORMANDY - on March 7 the vessel was unable to berth at Rosslare due to adverse conditions. On March 9 the 09:00 sailing from Rosslare was cancelled - traffic was diverted to Stena Line's KONINGIN BEATRIX


Due to the Foot & Mouth Disease outbreak the sail training ship ASGARD II's early season cruises will not visit UK ports crew changes at Derry in early May could be changed to Sligo or Galway.


According to a report on RTÉ's Seascapes programme this week the decommissioning ceremony of LE DEIRDRE has fallen victim to Foot & Mouth Disease outbreak and has been cancelled.


The Landmark Trust which is in charge of Lundy Island, has warned that it is not accepting any visitors. This includes people with pre booked accommodation. Obviously the sailings of the MS OLDENBURG will be effected.


The former SPHEROID which was renamed MYKONOS following its sale to Greek interests appears to have departed. She was noted at the Duke Street berth on Wednesday afternoon, however, by Saturday March 10 she had gone.


Two reports in this week's Belfast Telegraph highlight interesting developments at two Northern Ireland ports:

A WELSH firm is the latest company to benefit from improved facilities at Coleraine's ancient river port. Swansea-based plywood manufacturing company RKL has set up a distribution headquarters in Coleraine for the supply of its timber products to outlets throughout Ireland, north and south.

The company is shipping its products through the town's port and, since operations got under way at the beginning of the year, the port's cargo handling facilities have been kept busy.

In fact, Coleraine's harbour commissioners are having to look at buying more stevedore equipment for the loading and discharging of cargo from ships.

RKL's input is helping to give the port a new lease of trading life after a decline which saw Coleraine lose much of its shipping activity as more emphasis was put on road transport.

At one time dozens of cargo ships plied between Coleraine and cross-channel ports each month with cargoes of coal, timber and farming produce and a range of goods in containers, but in recent years that dwindled to just one or two ships a month.

Now there are signs that the fortunes of Coleraine port are on the up. That is something harbour master Lionel Duddy is keen to promote and encourage.

He said: "In January this year the total cargo coming through the port was 4,259 tonnes compared with zero for the same month last year. For February the total cargo should be somewhere in the region of 4,500 tonnes."

The target for 2001 is 40,000 tonnes.


THE first female chairman of Londonderry Port and Harbour Commissioners says the port could grow substantially over the next few years.

And she said stable political institutions would bring added confidence to the province's economy as a whole. Mary Breslin spoke as she chaired her first monthly board meeting, at which she also welcomed four new members.

The new members are Alan McClure, president of Londonderry Chamber of Commerce; Ciaran Mulgrew, the general manager of St Brendan's; Aideen Corr, the Cruise Initiative officer, and Cecil Johnston, a Belfast businessman who
was on the board of Heyn Shipping and was a director of two of its subsidiary companies. Looking back over the past year, Mrs Breslin said the harbour at Lisahally had been expanded with the addition of a new 80-metre quay.

New transit sheds had been erected to provide storage and handling facilities for imported goods. With a policy of cargo diversification, the list of cargoes had expanded to include the import of minerals used in the Quinn Glass manufacturing plant and sand reclaimed from dredging.

More of what were previously minor contributors to total cargo, for example, logs and fish, were becoming an increasing percentage of the business.

"New storage facilities at the Inland Container terminal are the first phase of developments aimed at eventual container traffic across the quay," said Mrs Breslin.

"We still have work to do to enhance and grow our present services and attract additional traffic from existing customers and new businesses.

"Funding investments in land, buildings, equipment and people development - all aimed at making business more efficient for port users - is essential in a competitive marketplace.

"Our location in the corner of the island and the competing transport options are major issues to grapple with, but they are challenges which can be overcome.

"We look forward to opportunities increasing as the economy of Northern Ireland gains confidence. "New stable political institutions, a peaceful environment and a youthful population keen to demonstrate its talent are at the core of a new enthusiasm to compete and thrive in an ever-changing marketplace."

Mrs Breslin said the commissioners would be assessing the outcome of the extensive public consultation on the future of the Fort George site which had been conducted over the past three months by Stratagem.

Already, there have been several hundred submissions and Mrs Breslin said it would be "quite some time" before any development is seen there.

Mrs Breslin also said the complementary facilities at Coolkeeragh, DuPont and Shell's Bay Road jetties, the pilot station at Greencastle and the development of new berths for the ferry service between Magilligan and Greencastle were all important assets for commercial and recreational traffic on the estuary.

March 4


Welcome to the first update for March 2001 written on a day which is of particular significance for Irish Shipping past and present. The largest ever passenger ship on the Irish registry - ULYSSES made her debut at Dublin port. Meanwhile on the opposite end of size scale a few miles away the diminutive, though historically very significant ASGARD I was liberated from Kilmainham Gaol to permit restoration for sail training purposes. 

This has been a particularly difficult update to compile and apologies for omissions of any material forwarded and for any other errors! I will probably undertake a service update as time allows during the week. Full details of the updates for April will be posted next week. There is a possibility that there will be no update on Sunday March 25 as I am considering taking a trip on the maiden voyage of the ULYSSES and though I will be home by update time I will have to recuperate before work on Monday as there will not be much sleep on Saturday night! Anyway - more information next week. 

Don't forget to check out the "What's New" page to ensure you don't miss any of this weeks updates.

John H. Luxton, Sunday March 4, 2001 

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Tony Brennan, John Coady, Charlie Tennant, Andrew King, Alan Lee and "others"

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

RAPIDE - Entered service on Thursday March 1 between on the Liverpool - Dublin and Douglas routes. For a Liverpool - Dublin voyage report.

LADY OF MANN -  As part of the 125th birthday celebrations of the Mother's Union the LADY OF MANN will make a Round the Island cruise departing Douglas at 18.30 on Sunday 27 May (after the arrival of her 13.45 sailing from Heysham). Tickets are being sold through Island branches of the MU at £17-50 (adults) and £10-50 (children) and will include music, entertainment and a "magnificent buffet supper". Although MU members get priority booking the event is intended for all ages - and Dad's can come too!

SUPERSEACAT ONE is reported to have arrived at Ostend on March 3.


The following multinational force of minehunters and support vessels is expected to arrive on Merseyside on March 9 / 10 , 2001

Arriving March 9

  • HMS Penzance (M106)

  • HMS Pembroke (M107)

  • HNLMS Makkum (M857)

  • HNLMS Schiedam (M860)

  • BNS Lobelia (M921)

Arriving March 10

  • HMS Cromer (M103)

  • FGS Rhein (A513)

  • HNLMS Vlaardingen (M863)

  • FGS Fulda (M1070)

  • BNS Lobelia (M921) plus possibly one other ???


ULYSSES arrived in Dublin Port around midday on Sunday March 4 after having arrived in Dublin Bay around 07:00. She was escorted up the river by two Dublin Port tugs with a water cannon salute. She slowed at around 11:45 to allow JONATHAN SWIFT to depart at 12:01, the vessels passing at 12:06 accompanied by much horn blowing which was joined by the two tugs. Two helicopters flew overhead filming. She was alongside at around 12:26 though apparently there was some delay in making her fast. A correspondent indicates that this might be due to some of the crew having their photographs taken whilst tying her up!

As a consequence of the revised delivery dates of the new vessel a new commissioning schedule has been published to that which featured in M&ISS some weeks ago:

  • February 28 - depart Rauma, Finland

  • March 4 - arrive Dublin 

  • The ship will be then be berthed at Dublin for crew training and Department of The Marine Drills. between March 3 and March 14.

  • March 8 - Holyhead berthing trials

  • March 9 - Dublin stern-on berthing trial

  • March 16 - Function at Holyhead for VIPS, Trade & Press

  • March 17 - Vessel Blessing

  • March 18   Staff and & Families Open Day

  • March 21 - 12:00 Naming ceremony by Paralympic Gold Medal winner Mairé Berry at Berth 49, Dublin Port.

  • March 22 & 23 - Receptions on board for Institutional Shareholders, Travel & Freight Principals etc.

  • March 25 - 09:45 Maiden Voyage - Dublin to Holyhead

It is understood that a day return fare of £9 is available on Sunday  March 25 from Holyhead allowing outward travel on the 03:45 last ISLE OF INISHMORE sailing and the 09:45 maiden voyage return sailing on ULYSSES.

NORMANDY commenced service on the Rosslare - Pembroke service on March 1st covering for the refit of ISLE OF INNISFREE.


Erskine and Molly Childer's famous yacht ASGARD I which was used to land guns for the Irish Volunteers at Howth in 1914 ended her 22 year jail sentence on Sunday March 4. 

The historic yacht which until the 1970s had been used as a sail training vessel  was lifted out of Kilmainham Gaol where she had been stored, on Sunday morning. She is due to be exhibited at the Dublin Boat Show at the RDS before undergoing a two year refurbishment for use once again as a sail training vessel in a joint state-private partnership. The estimated cost if IR£850,000 - half the bill will be funded by the government.


The sale of SPHEROID to Greek interests appears to have been completed. The vessel is now flying the Greek flag and her name has been painted over. The new name appears to be Mykonoz with the Z being Greek style!

MERCHANT VENTURE is reportedly chartered to Ferryways for that operators Ostend to Ipswich service. However, she remained in Vittoria Dock on Friday, March 2.


CELTIC SUN - the Estonian Shipping Company ro/ro vessel which is on charter to P&O and normally operates on the Liverpool - Dublin route has made a her first visit to Rosslare on March 03. She loaded trucks for Cherbourg in the afternoon. It is believed a large number of the trucks were loaded with meat travelling direct to France due the Foot & Mouth Disease outbreak in the UK. She is due to sail back to Dublin on Monday from Cherbourg.


The crew of the troubled vessel which has been laid up following arrest in Dublin have still not been able to return home according to a report in the Sunday Independent on March 4.

The ship was sold on court order some weeks ago for IR£85,000 to Sea Freighters Navigation Ltd of Liberia on behalf of a Sri Lankan businessman. Around IR£25,000 has been lodged with the court. However, the deadline for the balance to be paid, passed three days ago.  The deadline has now been extended until next Thursday. 

If the payment is not forthcoming the vessel will be put up for sale again. The stranded crew want a full resolution before they return home. 


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