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June 2001

June 27


Welcome to this mid week update. There are a number of new news items. Of particular local Mersey interest is the news that a former ICI Weaver Packet vessel is to be returned t commercial service over thirty years after she was pensioned off as a Sea Cadet Training Ship!

Also featured in this update are my notes on the Waverley's visit.

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Michael Pryce and John Williams.


JAMES JACKSON GRUNDY The former ICI Weaver packet vessel built at Yarwoods of Northwich has been acquired by the Frodsham Lighterage Company.  Frodsham Lighterage intend returning her to service operating between Liverpool and the Manchester Ship Canal.

The vessel was sold from service in the 1960s to the Northwich Sea Cadets and renamed TS WITCH. However, with the closure of the Northwich Sea Cadets she has been sold to the Frodsham Lighterage Company. The vessel was slipped last week at Old Quay on the Manchester Ship Canal as part of the preparatory work to returning her to commercial service.


Plans to sail the replica Jeanie Johnston famine tall ship from Tralee to America have been abandoned. The board of the project made their decision at a meeting in Tralee on Tuesday June 26. Frank Fahey, Minister for the Marine has expressed his regret and called for a constructive review of the project,
which escalated in cost from £5m to £10m and received major State investment.

The decision to abandon the sailing was made after a maritime technical expert who reviewed the state of preparedness of the vessel, reported that technical systems, crew training and other fit-outs could not be completed in time to safely make an Atlantic crossing this year. Resignations from the board of the project are expected.

Minister Fahey has urged the board to ensure the completion of the vessel and has indicated that he will respond positively to their request for a meeting. He said that it was a national heritage project which should be completed, but the problems which had occurred could not be ignored and the difficulties would have to be resolved


Proposals were unveiled this week to save two WWII warships the sloop HMS WHIMBREL and destroyer HMS ZENITH. These vessels are currently owned by the Egyptian Navy and are used as accommodation vessels.

The vessels once played a key role in the Battle of The Atlantic, one of which served in Captain Johnny Walker's flotilla.

It is claimed that Harrod's boss Mohammed Al Fayed has been approached with a view to him becoming involved in the project.

The newspaper indicates that the vessels would be displayed in Canning Dock and though the dimensions of the vessels indicate that they should be able to pass through the river gate, the sheer size may cause them dominate their surroundings.


Mersey Docks is expected to loose about 70,000 tonnes of business later this year when the Mobil Lubricant Terminal at Birkenhead closes. MD&HC are reported to be in discussions regarding the future of the 20 acre site much of which is owned by the company.


MD&HC aim to have Norse Merchant Ferries Belfast service transferred to the new terminal by mid March  2002. The number of day time sailings increasing from three to five per week. Dublin sailings are expected to transfer three months later. The present Twelve Quays site provides around 35 acres but according to a report in Lloyd's List  MDHC is looking to increase this by infilling part of the Alfred Basin. 


It appears that the Langton Linkspan may be a more long term, though the MD&HC is reported to be continuing with the Harbour Revision Order application. The application has been delayed by objections from Sefton Council which is concerned about increase in road traffic. Though somehow the council fails to realise that the removal of Norse Merchant to Birkenhead will actually reduce traffic in the area. In November the P&O Irish Sea  passenger and accompanied freight services which would have used the Langton facility will transfer to Mostyn leaving the unaccompanied freight  to be handled in Liverpool.  However, there appears to be some concern about the significant swell prevalent at Langton and MD&HC have yet to confirm that a linkspan berth would be practical.

The plans to improve facilities at the Pier Head Sea Terminal should be underway by the second half of this year with a target completion date before the 2002 TT Races.


A report in Lloyds List this week reveals that Stena Line which lost SKr600m in the last financial year, hopes to return to profit in two years.

In the annual report of parent, Stena AB, the line's president Bo Severed says the plan is to report a profit in Scandinavia next year and for the whole line in 2003. The aim for 2004 is to achieve profits which represent
5% of sales. To meet this demanding target cost-cutting will continue, he said.

Parent company chief executive Dan Sten Olsson disclosed that the loss of duty frees in Europe cost the line SKr1bn in income. Compensatory price increases had been accepted by freight and tourist car customers, but foot passengers on excursions, especially day trips, had not accepted the rises, which meant that more than 25% of volumes had been lost on some routes.

Increased bunker prices hit Stena Line hard, especially in the operation of its HSS fast craft. So lost revenues could not be recovered. The result of this slump was that Stena Line could not support itself as a separate public company and it was brought within Stena AB at the start of the year.

"Being part of a profitable private group will give everybody time to work on the right actions for the company," says Mr Olsson. A weak UK ferry market and the loss of duty-frees meant Stena's joint Channel venture, P& O Stena, was not able to increase volumes for passengers, cars and freight.


Douglas, Peel and Port Erin Lifeboat Stations are having open days on Sunday July 1st., and various activities will
take place. There will be souvenir stalls, demonstrations and a chance to meet the crews, as well as painting competitions for children. All proceeds will go to the RNLI.


The transfer of P&O's accompanied freight service to Mostyn in November is expected to mean a loss of 100,000 freight units to the Port of Liverpool.

A report in Lloyd's List indicates that the move from Liverpool to the Deeside port  is not simply a response to the frustration of operating in cramped in-dock facilities - it is also being made in order to compete with Holyhead.

P&O Irish Sea will be the main user of a purpose-designed terminal being constructed by Mostyn, which is also financing the capital dredging required. "This market has expanded probably threefold in the past 10 years and still the vast majority of the market place travels either Liverpool or Holyhead to Dublin Bay," said John Kersey, P&O Irish Sea managing director. "We felt that by going to Mostyn we were offering something unique. It is attempting to gain some of the advantages of services that short sea provides while still being close enough to the industrial northwest and obviously the motorway system. We should be able to achieve transits that are very close to what can be delivered at Holyhead. Mostyn is rail connected and certainly we will investigate any possibility of promoting rail traffic."

The 25-knot EUROPEAN AMBASSADOR, delivered earlier this year, has dedicated facilities for freight and tourist traffic, with a total of 222 beds in 82 cabins. It carries just over 400 passengers. The vessel make the Mostyn to Dublin crossing in just over five hours, but the schedule is likely to be set at six, said Mr Kersey.

"If we really want to compete with Holyhead on a service basis, the difference between five hours and three-and-a-half hours is basically the driving time between Mostyn and Holyhead," he said. "We have seen a number of problems of traffic congestion which are only going to get worse, on both sides of the water."
The speed of the EUROPEAN AMBASSADOR has allowed P&O to schedule a 22.00 departure from Liverpool that arrives in Dublin at 05.30, allowing freight traffic to get through the city before the congestion. "We hope with Mostyn we have a later departure but combined with a 5.30 arrival," he said. "We shouldn't have to depart before 11.30pm, and probably a little later.

"We are at present leaving Dublin at 10pm and getting to Liverpool at 7 or 7.30am, so the traffic is straight into the Liverpool congestion. "We will be able to leave Dublin at the same time and still be in Mostyn before 6am, so drivers can get away from the congested northwest and be in Birmingham by 7am.

"It is a unique offering that tries to take some of the advantages of Holyhead and some of the advantages of Liverpool without too many of the disadvantages of both." P&O has an option on a sister ship to the EUROPEAN AMBASSADOR, and if the two ships were to operate on the Mostyn-Dublin route they could complete three round trips a day between them, he added.

"We have until the end of the year to decide whether to take up that option and we are hopeful that we will be able to." The EUROPEAN ENVOY carries up to 100 passengers but does not have separate
tourist and freight facilities.

Back in Liverpool, Mr Kersey believes that with an operation primarily dedicated to unaccompanied trailers and containers P&O can be very competitive. 

"We have always believed that Liverpool is a better location for the Republic than Heysham," he said.
"The container traffic wants to go to Liverpool because it interfaces with the container terminal, the deep-sea services and the rail terminal for Channel tunnel services. Liverpool lends itself to the unaccompanied operator.

"We have struggled in Liverpool for space for a long time and our carriage of freight units has been restricted by our facilities there for a very long time. "The deal we have at Liverpool has always been a two-ship deal and we have facilities enough to cope with two ships. The fact we are pushing four through means efficiency problems. "We will have an opportunity to have a proper terminal here in Liverpool and expansion room, for two ships or even three again. The plan is to expand on both fronts -- Liverpool and Mostyn."

P&O Irish Sea's Liverpool-Dublin volumes increased from 164,000 units in 1999 to 182,000 last year. The service was stepped up from three to four ships in April, 2000.


PRINCE ALBERT It looks as though Captain Khanenko has not departed the UK.

The Daily Post appear to have picked up on the tyres story [ A similar shorter piece has appeared in the Echo.]

As you read this ponder the following:

As the ship was detained by the MCA in January and has been ever since - how would Capt Kahnenko have departed from the docks. In an open harbour he could have made a run for it as the skipper of a detained ship up in Scotland did last year. He would have had to negotiate Langton Lock, presumably the MD&HC would not allow a detained vessel to leave?

Presumably the tyres were on board back in January? There were things noted stowed in the upper saloon when she was in Canning Half Tide.

It appeared to me the other week that tyres were being put on board the ship from a truck rather than offloaded. The manner in which large numbers of them are piled up in the passenger gangway suggested that they were being put on board rather than being in the process of being removed - though I could be wrong.

On visiting West Langton again today nothing appears to have moved since Saturday. The big pile is still on the quay side and the other tyres form a crazy pile in the passenger entrance.

There also appears to be an inaccuracy at the end of the report - yes the ship was put up for sale last year by Capt Kahnenko's original company Merseyside Maritime who had planned to operate it in the Albert Dock, though I understood it was then sold to Norton Stewart Investors.

Whatever happens this story isn't over yet!!

This is how the Daily Post reported the story:

By Barry Tumbull Daily Post Staff

COLOURFUL sea captain George Khanenko has got his wish to stay in Britain - but his new  home is not the des.. res he may have had in mind.

The beds are a touch hard, the food is a far cry from being caviar and there is no chance of nipping out to his local his new home is Liverpool Prison.

The skipper of the ill-fated Prince Albert should have been deported on May 28, but since then has been taking an enforced holiday at Her Majesty's pleasure.

Immigration officials who attempted to fly him back to the Ukraine discovered that he did not have a valid passport for his native country and were obliged to detain him in the UK.

Meanwhile, it has been discovered that his vessel, dubbed a "slave ship" because crew worked unpaid, was packed to the gunwales with old scrapyard tyres. A former associate claimed the captain had planned to run them down to West Africa, where apparently "you can flog anything".

News of his incarceration is merely the latest chapter in a catalogue of odd and comical events which have involved ships being arrested, crews being deported, an emergency rescue operation in Liverpool Bay and a fantastic money-making scheme.

Cpt Khanenko pleaded for asylum but was turned down by the authorities, who are now seeking to obtain a temporary Ukrainian passport to enable him to finally be sent home. Despite the dubious nature of the business ventures he has been involved with, it was merely his inability to be granted a UK passport that has led to his arrest. He was finally arrested by police and immigration officials in the car park of the Costco retail warehouse in Regent Road, close to the Liverpool docklands.

His ship, the Prince Albert, lies in West Langton Dock where piles of tyres have been unloaded. It had been rescued in Liverpool Bay after what was described as a sea trial, after two years laid-up in Canning Dock.

But Mike Moss, of ship's chandlers Merseyside Marine, who is negotiating to take over the vessel, said: "He told me that, when that happened, he was making a run for West Africa where there is a big market for old tyres. At the moment he is stuck in Walton waiting to be deported and we are waiting to hear from solicitors about the ship." The ship left a trail of debts around the region. Former Liverpool council leader Sir Trevor Jones' ships chandlers business, JP Lamb was left with a bounced cheque for £8,500.

Last night he said: "I had no idea he was still in the country. I don't suppose it will make any difference, we won't see the money again. "I have other concerns about large sums of money that this man may have been involved with, but I don't think they will be printable."

Cpt Khanenko first made a name in the UK in 1997 when he arrived with the merchant vessel Ever Success and a cargo of soda ash from Bulgaria. A dispute arose with the crew over wages and the ship was arrested and detained at Ellesmere Port. Later, he turned up at Canning Dock, having had a ship called the Prince Albert towed from Tilbury Dock in London. This, he claimed, would become a major attraction as a floating restaurant.

However, it transpired that East European crew members were not being paid and a protest to the Inter-national Transport Workers Federation resulted in the ship's arrest. Some of the crew were meant to be staying on to work in the restaurant, including two young women who described themselves as 'waitresses'. They all ended up being deported.

Last year, the 850-tonne vessel was put up for sale by the mortgage holders and earlier this year the skipper decided to take it for a sea trial, even though the engines had not been fired for ten years. Shortly before his arrest, it was also discovered that he was a director of an unregulated investment company called Norton Stewart Investors which promised a free cruise and huge returns for people who pledged at least £250 to the company. The Financial Services Author-ity declared that Norton had not been authorised to sell investment products.


Cammell Laird, Birkenhead have secured a contract for maintenance work on Norse Merchant Ferries MERCHANT BRILLIANT. Despite being in receivership the yard is reported to be in advanced negotiations for a two week contract to carry out maintenance on P&O's EUROPEAN PIONEER. Work on this vessel is expected to start around July 7. 

June 24


Please note that an additional news update was posted on Thursday June 21. This can be found immediately below this news posting. Please check "What's New" to ensure you have not missed any updates. 

In this update you will find more WAVERLEY material, the voyage reports will follow soon, however, pressure of time has prevented their completion.


I am currently considering changing the way the news reports are posted to M&ISS. At present many news items are sent directly or posted to the Irish Sea Ships Yahoogroup and then included on the M&ISS update. I am currently considering using Yahoogroups to provide the main channel for news. This would allow registered contributors to post news items as they come across them. However, to prevent such a newsgroup being inundated with general chat, it would be configured to allow email responses to the poster of the news item only. This M&ISS News Yahoogroup would have open membership thus enabling visitors who access via corporate computers to access the news without having to register in order to read the news items thus avoiding possible complications.

On M&ISS the existing news bulletin would not be replaced, however, it would probably be smaller and not duplicate material posted to the proposed Yahoogroups M&ISS News group. There is a lot of duplication at present. As regards openly debating news reports, posters of news items to Yahoogroups M&ISS News would be encouraged to cross post to the existing Irish Sea Ships Yahoogroup - very simple to do if email is used. 

There would be a number of advantages to this suggested arrangement apart from freeing up more of my time for further developments, it would permit greater user participation and interaction. 

I would welcome your views on this proposed - please e-mail - please use subject "M&ISS Proposed News Changes"


The next update will be on Wednesday June 27.


Once again I would like to thank this editions contributors: Gary Andrews, Stephen Marsden, Tony Brennan, Ian Collard, Alistair Deayton and others

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

BEN-MY-CHREE - The some Sunday papers were left behind on June 24 when then they missed the morning sailing from Heysham. A transfer to air did not prove successful as Ronaldsway was fog bound. They will now arrive on Monday


It appears that things are not going too well down on the English Channel this year as the Calais port statistics reveal

It appears that in May 2001 104,000 passengers crossed the channel using Hoverspeed hovercraft and SeaCats. However, in the same period in 2001 only 49,000 passengers have made the crossing on the SeaCat/SuperSeaCat Service. The Hovercraft having been withdrawn in October 2000. What the implications of this might be for the 2002 vessel deployment plans remain to be seen.

On June 22 Sea Containers issued the following press release:


Hamilton, Bermuda, June 22, 2001. Sea Containers Ltd. (NYSE: SCRA and SCRB, held its annual general meeting of shareholders in Bermuda on June 6, 2001 as well as separate general meetings of Class A and B shareholders to amend the bye-laws of the company in order to facilitate a complete separation between it and Orient-Express Hotels Ltd., currently its subsidiary. A quorum was present for all meetings and the resolutions were carried by a substantial majority vote.

The two companies will have parallel equity capital structures with A and B shares. The high voting B shares of both companies will be largely owned by their respective subsidiaries which is intended to enhance shareholder value in a change of control transaction. To achieve a majority vote on a decision to sell either company would require the consent of the boards of directors of the shareholding subsidiaries.

The annual shareholders meeting was followed by a presentation to shareholders and financial institutions in New York City on June 7, 2001 which was well attended and constructive in comment and questions. Because of the success of this split of shareholder meetings in Bermuda and presentation in New York the practice will be continued in the future.

At the presentation Mr. James B. Sherwood, president, confirmed that it was still the company’s intention to spin-off the bulk of the company’s shareholding in Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. around the end of the year. In the meantime the company intends to sell about 5 million of these shares in blocks to interested investors. The company can sell approximately 6.6 million shares without jeopardizing the tax free nature of the spin-off. Orient-Express Hotels will be filing a registration statement on or about August 10, 2001 for the sale of these shares and expects to complete this process by year end. The sale must be completed before the spin-off to comply with the IRS rules relating to tax free distributions.

On June 15, 2001 the New York State Supreme Court dismissed a suit filed in August 2000 by purported company bondholders seeking to stop the spin-off. A second suit filed in May, 2001 is still outstanding. Mr. Sherwood indicated that the company intends to have further discussion with dissident bondholders about their complaints with a view to resolving them to permit the spin-off without further litigation. It will also ask the New York State Supreme Court to dismiss the remaining suit and, if necessary, rule on the compliance of the proposed transaction with the bond indentures. Mr. Sherwood said that the company’s main banks would also have to approve the spin-off and terms are currently under negotiation. The sale of the 5 million shares will increase the company’s capital and reduce its borrowings as the funds are not currently needed for expansion.

In his opening statement before the extensive review of the company’s operations by senior management, Mr. Sherwood said the investment community seems to have lost sight of the value of Sea Containers non-leisure components. A softening of world trade has adversely impacted the marine container leasing business but principally with respect to the "plain vanilla" standard dry cargo containers and not many other types, particularly refrigerated, tank, flatrack, SeaCell, swap bodies, high cube and other specialized units. The company’s container factories have full order books, its depots are profitable bar one which is for sale and its two container ships are chartered out at satisfactory rates. Both the company and its partner in GE SeaCo SRL, GE Capital Corporation, have accelerated the sale of the older "plain vanilla" types, occasionally at a loss on book value, which is holding back growth of container division earnings. In response to a question Mr. Sherwood said that operating profits from the container business may decline from about $50 million in 2000 to around $40 million or less in 2001 but improvements from passenger transportation and leisure (including gains on asset sales) would outstrip this decline by a wide margin. "Although the ocean carriers are predicting a second half 2001 recovery in containerized volumes I fear this is becoming increasingly unlikely so we must look to 2002 for possible recovery in demand for existing containers. GE SeaCo expects to lease out $100 million of new containers in 2001. At May 31st it had taken delivery of $43 million of new equipment", he said.

The passenger transport division is expected to show improved results in 2001 over 2000 including gains from sale of the port of Heysham and part of the port of Newhaven. In response to a question, Mr. Sherwood confirmed that the division is budgeting an operating profit (including gains on asset sales) comparable to the $70 million reported in 1999 (2000 - $40 million). Operating profits from railways, the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company and Silja will be satisfactory. Improvements are also expected in Irish Sea, English Channel, Adriatic Sea and New York ferry services, however, the "foot and mouth" epidemic in Britain has reduced travel to Britain but not from Britain. The epidemic still continues and travel to Britain will be impaired for the remainder of the year.

Mr. Sherwood commented on the application by GNER for a renewed franchise. A recommendation has been made by the Strategic Rail Authority to the new Secretary of State for Transport and a decision is expected any day. The delay has been due to the consequences of the Hatfield rail accident in October, 2000 which led to the discovery that the entire U.K. rail network was technically suspect. It then emerged that the track authority did not have the financial resources both to maintain and upgrade the network. The Strategic Rail Authority then asked the train operators to propose public private partnerships to fund the upgrade of the East Coast Main Line on which GNER operates. GNER has put together a strong consortium of construction companies and financial institutions to take responsibility for this upgrade.

Mr. Sherwood indicated that the Orient-Express Hotels subsidiary expects to report higher earnings in 2001 than in 2000. Weakness in North America due to recession fears seems to be limited to only 2 properties out of 6 with the other 4 well ahead of 2000. Europe is strong, however, the recent rapid decline in the value of the Euro will cause Euro earnings to be translated into less dollars than expected. "Of course, the Euro could go quickly the other way," he added, "which would increase dollar earnings on translation." Orient-Express Hotels is pleased with the election results in Peru where it owns or part owns three hotels and the railways. Business and tourist travel should boom as a result. The subsidiary is working on further hotel acquisitions and tourist train projects, in various countries, all meeting the tests of uniqueness, reasonable cost and expansion capability which are its hallmarks.

Mr. Sherwood also touched on the company’s emerging businesses in property and plantations. He said the Corinth Canal should be handed over by the Greek government in July and it, together with marina and bulk cargo handling at Newhaven should constitute a unit which in due course will compensate fully for the loss of earnings arising from the sale of the port of Heysham and part of the port of Newhaven. The first major seedless grape crop will come from the company’s Brasiluvas plantation in Brazil late this year and banana prices have greatly improved over 2000, benefiting the company’s Ivory Coast plantation. As to new investments, Mr. Sherwood said he "loved" privatizations because governments were so bad at managing businesses, hence profit potential was high. He said that the company’s small ventures in tropical fruit agriculture had revealed a number of interesting opportunities which would be exploited.

Mr. D.J. O’Sullivan, Chief Financial Officer, said that the rapid decline in U.S. dollar interest rates would reduce interest on the company’s $600 million of floating rate U.S. dollar debt. $200 million of fixed rate U.S. dollar debt would switch to floating rate in 2002.

At the request of several investors Mr. O’Sullivan agreed to report earnings in greater detail in the future, such as the different components of container division earnings and passenger transport division earnings to show ferries and rail separately.

Mr. Sherwood concluded by saying that net income for the six months ended June 30, 2001 should be ahead of the prior year, despite continued weakness in containers and the "foot and mouth" problem in Britain.


LE RÓISIN  - an intensive sea and shore search was launched on Sunday June 24 close to Ballycotton County Cork following the disappearance of Petty Office TJ Doyle. 

PO Doyle, is 36-year-old cook aboard the LE RÓISÍN, was last seen when the  ship was on her way into Ballycotton. When the ship anchored, around 8.45am, he could not be found. 

The Captain ordered the LE Róisín to return to the area where Petty Officer Doyle was last seen. The search is retracing the route of the ship, concentrating on Ballycotton Bay and the area around Cable Island.

The LE RÓISÍN was been joined by the LE AOIFE and the LE EITHNE. The Waterford based Coast Guard Helicopter, as well as the Ballycotton and Youghal lifeboats are were also involved in the search which is due to continue until nightfall. Petty Officer Doyle is originally from Tullow in County Carlow but now lives in Cobh. He is married with two children aged ten and eight.


The annual Manx Traditional Boat Festival will be held at Peel harbour between July  5 and 8. There will be various maritime activities around the harbour.


The Atlanta Journal reports that divers have recovered a cannon and other artefacts from the Laird built CSS ALABAMA.

''They got a cannon up and a lot of plates out of the officer's ward room,'' said Robert Edington, president of the non-profit CSS Alabama Association, which is funding the dives. ''The ship went down stern first, so all the stuff rolled down the deck.''

U.S. archaeologists and French divers are working on the shipwreck in the English Channel about seven miles off the coast of Cherbourg.

After a cruise of almost two years, the Alabama was sunk by the USS Kearsarge June 19, 1864. On Tuesday --- exactly 137 years after the ship sank --- one of the Alabama's 32-pounder cannon was raised by the French Navy vessel Vulcain.

It's the third cannon to be recovered from the wreck, according to the Institute for International Maritime Research in Washington, N.C.

The U.S. team includes principal investigator Gordon P. Watts Jr., and underwater archaeologists John W. Morris III of St. Augustine, Fla., Steve Brodie of Washington, N.C., and Mark Padover of Greenville, N.C. Morris is associated with the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Project at the Lighthouse Museum in St. Augustine. The others are from the North Carolina institute.

The artifacts will be cleaned and documented at a Charleston, S.C., laboratory facility developed to preserve items from the Civil War submarine Hunley.

Divers hoped to recover the pivot gun, but the 12-ton weight of the cannon proved to be too much for lifting equipment aboard the Vulcain, the archaeologists reported by e-mail to The Associated Press from the dive site.

But divers found more than a dozen bowls and plates beneath a pump. With one exception, the dishware was decorated with a cable around the rim and an anchor in the center.

The brown decoration indicated the items were china from the crew's mess. Additional plates with blue and green have been recovered from the wreck. Those colors identify the tableware of the officers, midshipmen and junior engineers.

None of the gold embossed tableware of the captain's service has been found.

Other recoveries include a plain plate, gravy boat, a spice or condiment bottle with the unidentified contents intact, an ironstone condiment or salve jar, an ornate brass escutcheon for an oil lamp and a lead scupper that channelled water overboard from the weather deck.


ORDALE H - The latest edition of Sea Breezes reports that the large push tug, which operated with her train of orimulsion barges from Liverpool Docks to Ince Power Station on the Manchester Ship Canal has been scrapped. She was the largest push tug in the UK. Originally built in Holland she was withdrawn in 1997 and sold back to Dutch interests for possible future use. However, this did not materialise and she has been broken up. A sad end to a familiar Mersey vessel.


PRINCE ALBERT - No further tyres appear to have been loaded into the vessel and a pile remain alongside on the quayside. There is a notice in the window indicating that the vessel was repossessed on June 6 by the mortgagees - Westport Marine Services.


The Mostyn - Dublin service will commenced operations on November 1. P&O Irish Sea have issued the following notice:

Great news for passengers to Dublin

Mostyn-Dublin opening 1 November 2001

 A brand new terminal exclusively for P&O Irish Sea means no more time lost driving through Liverpool to board the ship. In fact the journey time to the terminal will be greatly reduced and the crossing time will be shortened by 1½ hours.

Mostyn in Flintshire has easy access from the M56, less than 20 miles, simple, fast and convenient.

The existing ships including the brand new superferry EUROPEAN AMBASSADOR and refurbished EUROPEAN ENVOY will operate the route. So the same high level of P&O service and style will welcome you to the most convenient route to Dublin.

P&O Irish Sea - Putting Passengers First

It remains to be seen if P&O will cater for foot passengers on this route. 

The Operation Mobilisation Missionary Ship LOGOS II will be visiting the British Isles this year. The dates are as follows: London        29 Aug to 11 September, Glasgow    19-31 Oct, Belfast        1-14 Nov, Merseyside    15-28 November, Cardiff    29 Nov-12 Dec and Cork    23-27 December. 

For further information visit:

June 21


As promised I have made a brief extra update. Not as comprehensive as anticipated due to Waverley sailings!


BEN-MY-CHREE suffered technical problems on June 19 leading to the cancellation of the 09:00 from Douglas and 14:15 return sailing from Heysham. Passengers from Douglas were diverted to the 14:45 SEACAT ISLE OF MAN sailing to Liverpool. She operated her 19:45 sailing from Douglas on June 19 as scheduled.

RAPIDE was noted receiving a new coat of pain on her starboard side on June 19. Will she ever receive her logos this year?


Passenger figures compiled by the Harbours Division for May 2001 at 57,104 show a 5.6% decrease on the figure for the same period in 2000 which was 60,489.

The year to date figure at 175,899 passengers shows a 0.9% increase over the same period in 2000 which was 174,409.

During May car and motorcycle traffic through Douglas Harbour decreased by 28.2% from 16,782 vehicles to 12,044 vehicles.

The year to date figure at 42,855 vehicles shows a 6.2% decrease over the same period in 2000 which was 45,701.

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

  • Belfast minus 35% from 2,110 to 1,363

  • Dublin minus 2% from 2,060 to 2,027

  • Heysham minus 24% from 21,204 to 16,085

  • Liverpool plus  6% from 30,399 to 32,327

May commercial vehicle metreage decreased by 2.2% from 37,634 metres to 36,821 metres.

Director of Harbours, Captain Michael Brew commented: "May figures show the initial impact of the cancellation of the 2001 TT Races with falls in passenger, vehicle and freight traffic. However, the underlying trend, excluding the normal May TT traffic from the figures, still remains positive with ongoing growth in all areas."


WAVERLEY - the brief visit of the world's last seagoing paddle steamer to Merseyside has been a great success with almost 1,600 passengers carried out from Liverpool on her three sailings on June 19/20.

On Tuesday June 19, there was a delay in WAVERLEY's return from the Llandudno and Anglesey sailing. This was due to her losing a paddle float on entering Queen's Channel. - The result was a slightly late arrival at Liverpool at 21:45 as she was forced to anchor in the channel for around an hour whilst an assessment was made of the trouble. However, with a favourable tide she arrived at Prince's Landing Stage just 45 minutes behind schedule. 

Detailed reports on WAVERLEY's visit will appear in the next update.



Sixteen foreign ships were under detention in UK ports during May 2001 after failing Port State Control safety inspection, the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) announced on June 14.

Latest monthly figures show that 6 foreign ships were detained in UK ports during May 2001 along with 10 other ships still under detention from previous months. The overall rate of detentions is 6.5% compared with inspections carried out over the last 12 months. This is a decrease of 0.2% from the 12 month rate to April. The ships detained included: -

  • A Cambodian flagged General Cargo Vessel detained for two days at Sunderland East Quay. The NAVTEX system was not working and the emergency fire pump was inoperative. The starboard lifeboat davit and the port lifeboat winch were not working.

  • A Turkish flagged bulk carrier detained at Immingham for six days with defective vents, weather tight closures and inoperative emergency fire pump. In addition there was a lack of objective evidence that deficiencies relating to ISM/SMC documentation which had been identified during previous inspections had been rectified, reflecting a general lack of commitment to on board maintenance.

  • A St. Vincent & The Grenadines flagged vessel detained at Goole for two days. The EPIRB had been incorrectly programmed. The model lacked self-test facilities and therefore the crew could not have detected the fault. If left undetected this could have serious ramifications in the event of an emergency.

Please note that the vessel TANGO was incorrectly identified as a Swedish flagged vessel in last months Press Notice. The vessel was unregistered at the time of detention.

A list of foreign-flag ships detained following inspections by surveyors from the MCA is published monthly and is also placed on the Internet at

The list details the name, flag state, owner or operator and classification society of each detained ship together with the summary of the main grounds for detention.

There were no detentions at Irish Sea Ports during May.


Coastguard Officers at Milford Haven were alerted just after 16:30 on June 13,  by the skipper of a small 23 foot motor boat WASSINI who reported that his vessel was taking water rapidly, and that the efforts of his crew of three to bale out was not stemming the ingress.

The skipper gave his position as 1 mile south of Skomer Island and Milford Haven Coastguard immediately requested that the Angle lifeboat be launched. A mayday relay was also broadcast into the area, and the warship HMS KENT responded to the call. A further vessel TOPAZ – a rigid inflatable boat (rib) – also responded and began making her way to the scene.

The Coastguard requested by mobile phone that the skipper of the vessel launch a flare and after some consideration discovered that the vessel, which was on passage from Fishguard to Burry Port, was instead of his given position, one mile north of Skomer.

This time the St. David’s Lifeboat was requested to launch and after a further firing of a flare TOPAZ spotted the vessel and headed for her. As she came alongside HMS KENT also arrived on scene and put two further ribs into the water to assist. The crew aboard the warship began to pump the `Wassini’ out and once the lifeboats arrived on scene control of the situation was handed to them.

Mark Harrington, Watch Manager, at Milford Haven Coastguard said:

" We were very grateful to the crews of all the vessels who responded to our call and particularly to the Royal Navy who helped to secure this vessel. Our concerns remain that further means of communication other than just mobile phones are carried on board - such as a VHF radio. Fortunately, in this case the weather has been calm and clear with light airs and good visibility, which undoubtedly helped in the rapid assistance to the sinking vessel. She is presently being towed into Milford Haven by Angle lifeboat."


The owners of the tanker "Whithaven" have pleaded guilty to two offences following the death of a seaman at Pembroke Dock on 21st January 2001.

Kingston-upon-Hull Magistrates fined John H Whitaker (Tankers) Ltd. of Hull, £1,500 for failing to provide a safe means of access and £4,500 for failing to designate a Safety Officer. Full costs of £4,977 were also awarded against Whitakers.

Mr Alan Redrup from Pembroke Dock, Dyfed Powys, was employed as an AB/Cook on the tanker "Whithaven". The "Whithaven" had tied up to No. 2 Quay, Pembroke Dock on the afternoon of 20th January 2001 for a rest period prior to loading a cargo. Early in the morning of 21st January 2001, Mr Redrup was returning to the ship with a colleague after an evening ashore. He attempted to board the vessel by jumping from the quayside as a gangway was not rigged but failed in his attempt and fell into the water. Despite the efforts of the crew of the "Whithaven" and the Rescue Services, Mr Redrup was found to be dead when eventually recovered from the water.

Investigations had shown that a gangway was not rigged due to an instruction from the John H Whitaker (Tankers) Ltd. which is contrary to MS (Means of Access) Regulations 1985. It was also found that the John H Whitaker (Tankers) Ltd. had failed to designate a Safety Officer for the vessel as required by the MS & FV (Health & Safety at Work) Regulations 1997.

The Chairman of the Magistrates in closing said that they felt that the failure to appoint a Safety Officer was the most serious offence, as if one had been appointed then the Safe Means of Access offence may not have occurred.

Captain Jeremy Smart, Principal Enforcement Officer, of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency stated that

" This is a very sad and unfortunate case. However it does show that owners of all vessels must be aware of the consequences of any instruction they may issue to their Master and crew".


Carving up of the Cammell's carcass continues:

The Teesside yard has been sold, subject to contract, to Eric Walsh a former manager. An offer for the Tyneside yard is expected from the owner of Swan Hunter -Jaap Kroese. 

John Syvret is reported to have acquired the former Cammell Laird subsidiary Wright and Beyer based at the Bidston Dry Dock at Birkenhead. This company will trade as North Western Shiprepairers and Shipbuilders and is expected to take 30 former Cammell Laird employees.

Meanwhile in France Fairplay reported that two  directors of Cammell Laird’s French operations have been forced out of the company by a workers’ council. Michel Leroux, president of Cammell Laird France, and Jean-Yves Ortola, director of Cammell Laird Marseilles, were told on Monday to go immediately. 

Their request to stay on for a week was denied and one of them had his laptop computer confiscated as he was leaving the premises. Management of the shipyard has been temporarily taken over by Maurice Laroche, DG of CMR, one of the three Marseilles ship repair companies taken over by Cammell. Leroux and Ortola are accused of stealing CMR’s know-how. At the same time Leroux is said to have asked CMR for FF2M ($260,000) as “property expenses,” which CMR staff do not understand and are contesting. 

The workers’ council has said it will take the case to a local court if necessary. Meanwhile, rumour has it that Claude Miguet, a former director of ill-fated shiprepair group Sud Marine, would be prepared to re-launch a ship repair activity should Cammell Marseilles go into liquidation. A spokesman at Cammell Laird Holdings receiver PricewaterhouseCoopers told Fairplay no statement had been issued or was likely in the near future.

June 17


Welcome to another substantial update. Unfortunately this week I have been inundated with material and news. Consequently there is a backlog remaining to be cleared. I have not been able to complete the promised review of the new publication "Super Cargo Ships" this will have to be held over until the next update as will the Sherkin Island ferry pictures along with other material. I just wish there was 30 hours in a day!

To try and reduce the backlog I may try for a second update this week. If time permits this will be posted on Thursday evening. I will make an announcement in the Irish Sea Ships group if and when the additional update has been posted.


I am still receiving many emails on my old Cybase accounts from quite a few of you out there. Please could you remove these from your address book and use the new following addresses: - for private correspondence - for all correspondence and contributions for the web site.

This really will assist me in handling the ever growing electronic mailbag especially when making replies. 

PLEASE check your address books and ensure that you are using the up to date e-mail addresses and remove the Cybase ones. - Thank you.

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, John & Jenny Williamson, David Fairclough, Dave Crolley, Stephen Marsden, Derek Palmer, Richard Mills, Tony Brennan, Mike O'Brien, Ian Collard and "others". Once again many thanks for your contributions and apologies for any omissions.


The programme for the 2001-2002 season has now been published. If you live on Merseyside and have an interest in ships why not come along to the next meeting on August 14?


LADY OF MANN - departed from Cammell Laird on Monday June 11. She took on fuel from a road tanker before departing at 15:10. During the past week the Lady was open to for inspection by VIPS, Blue Riband Club Members and the public. The following notes from a correspondent highlight the changes. Jenny Williamson has provided a set of photographs which show just how superb the Lady's interior now looks whilst on the same page photographs from Stephen Marsden and Ian Collard.


The physical changes are the fast rescue boat on the starboard side, the MES from the forward lounge (under the bridge wings both sides) and new life raft clusters over the forward staircases onto the upper deck. (The other life rafts further aft have now gone).

All the green paint (dark and light) on the fo'csle and at the stern has also been changed Capstans etc that were dark green are now blue, and what was pale green is now white.  The foremast is now white - this appears to have been a late decision because it had been repainted buff whilst she was in dry dock. The jackstaff is also white but the vents alongside the (real) funnel and the ensign staff remain buff.


All the seating has been re-upholstered and even where it has not been changed has really improved/freshened her appearance. Whether some of the lighter colours will prove long term serviceable remains to be seen.

The cafe layout is unchanged but even the panelling has been redone so it looks good. The centre lounge is as before (rectangular tables) but the high back comfortable seats from the forward lounge have now been installed in pairs down the sides of this area.

The forward lounge has been turned into a coffee shop with a forward facing serving counter - with round tables and brown and gold upholstered tub chairs.  The forward part of this lounge is now narrower than it used to be thanks to the space taken up by the MES.

With her going off on charter the shop had not been fitted out - strangely the opportunity had not been taken to make any structural alterations in this area.

The old smoking lounge on the deck below is unrecognisable. Port side is now the Blue Riband lounge - with a bank of reclining seats facing forward on one side and some informal seating space outboard - plus a desk and serving point aft. To starboard is the First Class lounge - all new reclining seats except for down one side where the old seats have been refitted along the bulkhead. People paying the upgrade will get a quiet area where they can get some sleep! The Bar has been recarpeted but remains unchanged.

Down below the old duty free shop has been turned into a quiet lounge with quite comfortable chrome framed low back chairs fixed in rows. The use of different coloured fabrics has made this quite a pleasant area. The video lounge has gone - or rather been sealed up to provide additional buoyancy space - but the kids playroom is still there. The car decks were not available for inspection as testing of watertight doors was in progress (no sign of flooded car deck though). Some new bulkheads in the lower stairway area prevent the full run of the length of the ship that used to be possible.

There are now 10 en-suite cabins. Most of the en-suites are shared but two have their own (although one of these is without a shower). The cabins have two berths (upper/lower) and an upholstered bench under the window (where the basins used to be). This bench would probably be big enough for a couple of small children to sleep on. There are no televisions or coffee making facilities at the moment (probably not sensible to fit these before a charter - but no idea what is planned either).

Even the toilets have been substantially improved - and there is new signage nearly everywhere. 

On Friday the LADY OF MANN sailed to the Azores for her summer charter under Portuguese command, however, it is understood that she Steam Packet engineers will be on board during her charter.

SEACAT DANMARK - Last week it was noted that part of the vessels open deck was roped off. This is because the area is used for the operating mechanism for the longer ramp which has been fitted to accommodate changes to the berth at Dover, made to facilitate the berthing of SuperSeaCats.

HOVERSPEED GREAT BRITAIN - The vessel was off service this week and dry docked at Harland & Wolff for repairs.


British Waterways has established a web site giving full details of the proposals for the Pier Head Canal. You can find out more about this somewhat unrealistic proposal by clicking the hyperlink

No matter which of the four routes are chosen the proposed changes will have an immense impact on the Pier Head area all to a much greater extent than the proposals to construct car marshalling facilities for Sea Containers services. 

It is interesting to note that the response frame on the Canal Link web site does not allow for the entering of detailed comments!

The local press also appears to have jumped on the canal bandwagon highlighting the fact that a large number of canal boats were marooned in the Albert Dock complex for several days following last week's Maritime Festival due to unfavourable conditions in the river. The press pointing out that in such circumstances a canal link would be of some benefit.

The ideal place to develop for a canal marina would be Princes Dock. If small craft need to access the Albert Dock and Marina areas surely it would be cheaper and less environmentally damaging to provide a wheeled transporter which could carry such vessel by road between the two locations?


Wednesday June 13 marked the  60th anniversary of the bombing & sinking of the Great Western Railway's  Fishguard-Rosslare ferry ST PATRICK off Strumble Head. Mike O'Brien travelled aboard the KONINGIN BEATRIX and photographed the commemoration service
A Royal Navy frigate, anchored overnight off the North Breakwater passed near-by following the service which was also attended by the Fishguard Lifeboat.


Waverley Excursions has a new official web site. It appears that it is still under construction. However, the url is:

WAVERLEY - a reminder, as if any is needed,  is that Waverley will be on Merseyside on Tuesday and Wednesday sailing to Llandudno and Anglesey on Tuesday.  On Wednesday she offers a cruise along the Lancashire coast as well as providing a "Showboat" cruise in the evening on the Mersey.


The controversial former Dutch trawler AURORA berthed at Sir John Rogerson's Quay in Dublin on Thursday June 14. The vessel is operated by Women on Waves International which initially intended to perform abortions on board twelve miles off-shore in international waters, thus circumventing Ireland's anti abortion laws.

Kathleen O`Neill, spokeswoman for the Irish chapter of the Dutch-based Women on Waves group, said the AURORA lacked a necessary medical inspection from the Dutch government.

"The ship is medically certified, but in order to obtain a licence to practice or to have abortions outside the territorial waters we needed a medical inspection," she said.

O`Neill said the ship, which entered Dublin harbour on a wave of international media attention, would provide counselling for the next few days: "We`re probably bringing the ship back in a month when the licence is there."

Stormy confrontations with anti-abortion groups had been expected when the Aurora, arrived, but the visit sparked more interest from international media than from activists or local citizens.


LE DEIRDRE [P20] was sold at public auction this week for IR£190,000. She was purchased by the English yacht chartering company Seastream International for conversion into a luxury charter yacht. Speaking on the Radio a Seastram spokesman appeared pleased with their bargain as they had been prepared to bid up to IR£500,000! The auction starting price had been IR£60,000.


The stone carrier TOPI which capsized and sank in Dún Laoghaire harbour during a storm in Autumn 2000 has been brought to Merseyside by Holyhead Towing's AVON GOCH. This interesting little vessel, sister ship to VILLE which worked on the Wallasey Groynes a few years ago arrived at Liverpool on June 5 being berthed out of the way in the north west corner of Sandon Dock, close to the long laid up German ferry Princes Royal [ex Habicht II]. There is a rumour that she might be going into Clarence Dry Dock. It is not know what her fate will be or if she has changed hands.


HEBRIDEAN SPIRIT - Hebridean Island Cruises new cruise ship has been visiting Irish Sea Ports this week. She called at Douglas on Saturday June 17 arriving shortly after 14:00 direct from Glasgow, her port of registry. She berthed bow in on #2 berth. Laxey towing's tug WENDY ANN was on standby if required but was not needed. HEBRIDEAN SPIRIT [ex RENAISSANCE SIX] was due to depart from Douglas at 04:30. She passed Q2 inbound for the Mersey around 09:00 where she picked up the Mersey pilot. She appeared to take her time on the run up the channel as she awaited SEACAT ISLE OF MAN to clear on her 10:30 sailing to Douglas. She berthed port side on at the Landing Stage, using the Lady of Mann's gangway platform.

She is due to call at Dún Laoghaire on Monday June 18, St.Helier June 20 [am], St.Peter Port June 20 [pm] Poole June 21/22, London [HMS Belfast] June 23 to 27, Hull June 30, Leith July 1. On July 3 she will be officially named by HRH Princess Royal at Leith. Her voyage commenced from Oban on June 14. She will be open to invited guests at each port of call.

HEBRIDEAN SPIRIT cruises will venture beyond those already offered by her fleet-mate HEBRIDEAN PRINCESS with voyages to the Indian Ocean and Arctic Circle. She has 49 luxury cabins offering space for 79 passengers and carries a crew of 70.

HEBRIDEAN SPIRIT 's first public cruise will be to Norway in July. Fares are over £4,000 per week, despite this a press report last week indicated that the company only had 20 spare berths available on cruises to the year end.

LAXEY TOWING COMPANY by John & Jenny Williamson

The Laxey Towing Company's new acquisition "Karina" (ex Totnes Princess) made a historic trip from Douglas to Laxey on  Sunday 10 June.

Her owner, Captain Stephen Carter, estimated that this was the first passenger trip to Laxey since approximately 1893. The reasoning being that when the electric railway was opened, the shipping service
between the ports was killed off, and the two ships which ran it were in new ownership by 1894.
About 60 passengers made the trip, in glorious sunny weather. 

KARINA kept close in to land on the way out, with Steve keeping a running commentary on places of interest. Passing underneath the Groudle Railway, the ship's whistle was blown, to be answered by the Groudle's two steam locos, which were both at the end of the line at the time (probably no co-incidence !!)

At Laxey, there was about an hour and a quarter to experience the delights of the cultural centre of the Island ("there are more songs about Laxey than any other place on the Island") while the ship turned ready for the return trip. The turning manoeuvre was easily achieved in the close confines of the harbour.

The passenger certificate only allows trips from Douglas to Port Soderick and Douglas to Laxey (daylight hours only, not more than one mile off shore), although there are hopes for occasional "extensions", for instance to allow for a trip from Peel for the Boat Weekend.


This week Cammell Laird at Birkenhead has received a temporary lifeline which postpones the need for the closure of the yard by the receiver on completion of the RFA ARGUS contract. Thus safeguarding the jobs of around 400 remaining employees for around six weeks whilst a search for a new owner continues. 

Cammell Laird has secured a joint bid with the A&P group, believed to be in discussions for the purchase of at least part of the business for the refit of three RFA vessels.

Cammell Laird with undertake work on RFA SIR PERCIVALE at Birkenhead, whilst the Tyneside yard at Hebburn will refit RFA SIR TRISTRAM. The third vessel RFA GREY ROVER will be refitted at A&P Wallsend.

In a statement the MoD said: "All contractual arrangements will be with A&P, who will subcontract work on two vessels to Cammell Laird's receiver and provide all the necessary financial guarantees."

The willingness of A&P to provide guarantees for work carried out by Laird's was crucial to winning the refit order.


ISLE OF INNISFREE departed from Dublin where she has been laid up since her displacement from the Fishguard - Pembroke route by ISLE OF INISHMORE. 

The vessel departed from Dublin on June 13 for lay-up in Le Havre. Part of the reason for the move is the lack of suitable lay-up berths in Dublin. She has had to be moved on several occasions. There is still no definite news of a charter or sale.


This week Irish Ferries announced that it had opened a new office and call centre in central Liverpool in a bid to provide a better service to travel agents.

UK passenger manager Daragh O'Reilly said: "We have consolidated all our UK offices in one new centre in Liverpool to ensure that we can handle more business and deal with the increasing number of online agent bookings.

"We have a new telephone and computer system which will allow us to be far more interactive with agents and provide an overall better service," he added.

Irish Ferries has recruited 16 call centre staff, taking the total number of employees to between 50 and 60 in preparation for the peak summer period.

Mr O'Reilly added: "We may be taking on more, although that won't be immediate."

The office move follows the introduction of the 1,875-passenger ferry Ulysses on the Holyhead-Dublin route and the transfer of the Isle of Inishmore to serve the Pembroke-Rosslare route, increasing passenger capacity by 43 per cent.

June 10


Welcome to this week's update. There are a number of new items this week - please check "What's New" for details. You will find more material from my recent trip to south west Ireland - this week featuring the interesting Shannon Ferry operation. More material from my Ireland trip next week. 

Next week will also see a pruning of older material from the site. If there are any photographs or older articles which you wish to download please ensure you do so before next Sunday - June 17.

John H. Luxton

June 10, 2001

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, John & Jenny Williamson, Sara Cass, Ian Collard, Mike Pryce, Charlie Tennant, John Shepherd, Ray Hagedorn and "others"


The Merseyside Branch of the World Ship Society will be holding its Annual General Meeting on Tuesday June 12. The meeting will commence at 19:00 at Sam's Bar, Tithebarn Street. Liverpool. The AGM will be followed by Member's Slides. Branch Members are urged to attend this important meeting.


"Mersey Ports - Liverpool and Birkenhead" written by Ian Collard has recently been published by Tempus Publishing. A review is included elsewhere in this week's update. Later this summer Ian's next work will appear "Isle of Man Shipping - The Twilight Years" which will focus on the period from 1960 to the present.

Next week's M&ISS update will feature a review "Super Cargo Ships" by Christopher Batio and published by MBI publications which covers the development of cargo vessels from WWII through to the present day Fastship concept and the brief flirtation with Nuclear propulsion for merchant ships in 1950s/60s.

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

HOVERSPEED GREAT BRITAIN: For technical reasons Monday evening's Belfast - Heysham roundtrip is cancelled as are Tuesday and Wednesday sailings.  It is  believed that  Hoverspeed Great Britain is to be dry-docked.

LADY OF MANN is expected to depart from Cammell Laird wet basin on the Monday afternoon tide June 11 and is expected to call at the Landing Stage before departing for Douglas with an ETA of around 20:00. Whilst at Douglas she will be open for inspection by Blue Riband Club members from 12:30 to 14:00 on Tuesday June 12. She will also be open for inspection by employees and their families on Tuesday evening. A VIP reception is planned on board for Wednesday June 13 and it is understood that the vessel will also be available for public inspection that day.

She is expected to depart from Douglas on Friday afternoon June 15 direct for the Azores under Portugese command.

SEACAT DANMARK a correspondent informs me that most of the rear deck and bench seat behind the bar is roped off requiring ship photographers to pass through the bar area.  This is certainly a worrying development for those passengers who like access to an open deck. One hopes it is not replicated on any other of the Incat vessels.


The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company have announced a continuing increase in passenger carryings for the month of April 2001 and confirmed by the Isle of Man Government.

Passenger carryings increased by 1.4% at 56,685 passengers (April 2000 = 55,889).

Vehicular traffic recorded a very slight fall of just 0.1% at 11,356 vehicles (April 2000 = 11,371).

Year to date:-
Passenger traffic increased by over 4% at 118,795 passengers (@ April 2000 = 113,920).

Vehicular traffic increased by 6.5% at 30,811 vehicles (@ April 2000 = 28,919).

Commercial vehicle meterage for the month increased by 4.7% at 31,907 metres (April 2000 = 30,474).

Hamish Ross, Steam Packet Managing Director said:
“Although our passenger vehicle traffic dipped very slightly through the month of April, all other areas of our operation showed appreciable increases resulting in the 2nd best April on record with regard to our carryings. It was expected 2001 would be a difficult year because of the UK foot and mouth epidemic which has resulted in the cancellation of some of our major Island events especially the world famous TT Races held during June. Although the unique TT Festival continues and will attract some thousands of visitors and TT devotees we will have to work harder to attract business throughout this challenging year. The Islands entire tourist industry are backing our marketing endeavours including a major TV, radio and press campaign to make 2001 a great year”.

TT 2001

The company issued the following press release regarding the TT Festival 2001:

The Isle of Man Steam Packet will have scheduled in excess of 200 sailings and operated 5 vessels transporting TT fans from all over the world visiting the Island for the TT Festival 2001.

Although the actual TT Races have been cancelled due to the foot and mouth epidemic in the UK, the Island which is disease free has ‘successfully promoted a unique TT Festival for the fans and TT devotees who faithfully make the annual pilgrimage to the home of motorcycle road racing.

Despite the Race cancellation the Company have announced that 15,000 passengers, 2,200 motorcycles and 2,500 assorted vehicles have been shipped to the Island over the period 22nd May to Sunday 3rd June.

Up to 9 inward sailings daily have been operated by the Company with its conventional ferry Ben-my-Chree and fast craft SeaCat Isle of Man, SeaCat Rapide, Hoverspeed Great Britain and SeaCat Scotland.

The Steam Packet are again taking priority bookings from this years customers for next years TT Races at its Ferry Travel Shop in the Sea Terminal Building.


A few weeks ago on Sunday 27th May 2001 I had the pleasure of meeting up again with familiar feline friends whilst spending a couple of days traversing the English Channel from Dover to Calais and back a number of times using various ferry companies. However I will concentrate on Hoverspeed as 3 of the 4 cats have Irish Sea connections with only SUPERSEACAT ONE never having graced the Irish Sea - YET!! 

I booked my day return on the previous day thereby saving £5 as the fare is £10 if booked in advance and £15 if purchased on the day. The Hoverspeed timetable had been altered on two occasions in a 12 day period leading up to my crossing rendering the timetable printed in the brochure and the internet useless. These changes were necessary to avoid delays in berthing with a single operational linkspan at each port but in particular Dover. While the changes have eased the pressure and assisted with punctual departures it now means that few crossings will now achieve the advertised 40 minute passage. Both my crossings took considerably longer in reasonable conditions. My outward journey on the 08.00 ex Dover aboard SUPERSEACAT III took fully 75 minutes almost the same as the conventional ferry while my return on the 19.00 ex Calais on SUPERSEACAT I took 65 minutes.

The roster operating on Sunday 27th May 2001 and I believe the standard roster until 30th September 2001 was as follows :-

Dover – Calais

Dep. Dover

Dep. Calais



















Dover – Ostend

Dep. Dover 

Dep. Ostend







I can further report all four cats seem in good health and as far as I am aware performing very well most of the time. In my opinion Hoverspeed did not only get, in the main, the higher capacity cats it also got the more reliable craft.


The former EUROPEAN TRADER which has been acquired by Taygran Shipping has been renamed the TAYGRAN TRADER for operation between Ullapool to Stornaway. 


The Higher Ferry on the River Dart is to introduce revised weight limits from the start of next month. From1st July the Higher Ferry, which crosses the River Dart between Dartmouth and Kingswear as part of the A379, will no longer carry vehicles exceeding three and a half tonnes unladen or seven and a half tonnes laden.


On Sunday June 17 the KING HARRY FERRY will be hosting a charity day in aid of the Sunrise Appeal. The company is donating 25% of ferry receipts, to a maximum of £400 towards the the cost of a new £5million cancer treatment centre at the Royal Cornwall Hospital.

Sunrise Appeal supporters are expected to run stalls on the slipways at both ends of the ferry route
on June 17.

"We feel the King Harry Ferry is very much a part of the community in this part of Cornwall and that this is an ideal way of contributing to that community," said Patrick Polglase, of the ferry company.

It will be the first such charity day since the change of ownership and more may follow. The company recently donated £250 to Feock Parish Council for its parish open day.


A LARGE technical project on behalf of Marine Atlantic of Canada on board the ro-ro ferry Leif Ericson has been completed by A&P Falmouth. Formerly known as Stena Challenger when owned by Stena, the vessel dry-docked for repair of her two Becker rudders and extensive work on its Hamworthy KSE stern and bow ramps. She is at present on her way to the east coast of Canada, where she will operate from Sydney harbour on Cape Breton Island.

Ian Pike, managing director of A&P Falmouth, said: "Marine Atlantic wanted their new vessel to have a new bow ramp and twin stern ramps installed so that vehicles can be discharged at two different levels at the same time, thus speeding disembarkation.

"Although fairly straightforward, this was a big and technical operation which involved cutting the existing stern ramp in half and fitting a new arrangement of hydraulic ramps and pipework to operate the two individual ramps."


CITY OF CORK has been detained for a second time this season by the Maritime & Coastguard Authority. The vessel was refused permission to sail from Swansea on Tuesday evening. Passengers being diverted to Stena Line's Fishguard - Rosslare route.

The detention came as a result of inspectors raised concerns about on board safety drills. Members of the Greek crew were unable to satisfy the MCA as to their competence during safety drills. The drills required the crew members to role-play in designated emergency situations. Last March the vessel had to cancel four sailings between Swansea and Cork when the same crew failed similar tests.

CITY OF CORK [ex - EGNATIA II, ST PATRICKII] has been chartered from Hellenic Mediterranean Lines who have the vessel on a demise charter from Irish Continental Group. The vessel still being listed in the latest ICG annual report.

It is reported that  Swansea-Cork Ferries and the owners of the vessel are nearing agreement on a
six-figure compensation claim for the disruption caused by the vessel's detention in March. The company is now preparing a second claim covering this week's disrupted sailings.

Swansea-Cork Ferries are reported to be in negotiations with another operator to obtain a larger replacement vessel for deployment in March 2002.

It was reported by RTÉ that the Department of the Marine has indicated that if the problems with the CITY OF CORK are not rectified from its complete satisfaction, the vessel may be stopped from sailing permanently.


HMS RAMSEY M110 is the latest mine hunter to enter Royal Navy service. HMS RAMSEY is the tenth of 12 Sandown-class minesweepers built by Vosper Thornycroft. The ship launched at Southampton by Lady Dunt in December 1999 - the last RN launch of the millennium.

Her actual commissioning on April 27 was three weeks ahead of schedule It is an unheard of achievement, says her Commanding Officer, Lt Cdr David Axon. "Reaching the ship's Operational Date Material Acceptance (ODMA) early is a significant achievement and a credit to the hard work and professionalism of all involved," he said.

Ramsey was accepted into the Fleet on April 27 after the shortest planned Part IV trials period of any ship of the Sandown class.

Her complete trials programme began exactly nine months before when she was accepted from her builders, Vosper Thornycroft.

A formal inspection of the ship was made by Commodore Richard Clapp and Capt Alan Rymer, who are respectively the new Commodore Minor War Vessels and the Chief Staff Officer (Engineering) to Flag Officer Surface Flotilla.

Ramsey is now undergo operational training before being ready for tasking at the end of the year.

She is taking part in the Mersey River Festival over the weekend June 8 - 11, being berthed in Canning Half Tide basin and open for public inspection.

Also visiting Merseyside this weekend for the River Festival is the destroyer HMS SOUTHAMPTON D90.


Harland & Wolff has secured victory in its appeal over a £23million arbitration claim this week.

The Court of Appeal in London ruled in Harland & Wolff's favour in the long-running financial dispute with American customer Global Marine.

Global Marine has been judged liable for payment of the final £23m instalment on a contract for the construction of two drill ships which was completed last summer.


BIG RED BOAT II (ex EDINBURGH CASTLE) is currently in use as an accommodation ship for foreign shipyard workers in the Bahamas.

With the departure of the LADY OF MANN scheduled for this week only the RFA ARGUS will remain in the Birkenhead yard. There is no further news concerning any future orders and things are looking very bleak.

June 3


Welcome to this week's update. The promised illustrated BALMORAL voyage report is included this week as are two updates featuring the Irish Naval Service at Cóbh and the USCGC EAGLE which called at Cóbh last week.

In the coming weeks there will be a number of updates featuring the ferries of Sherkin Island, Shannon Car Ferry, Port of Foynes etc. 

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Brian Chambers, Jenny Williamson, Stan Basnett, Adrian Sweeney, Dan Cross and "others".


Ships of Mann magazine has launched its own web site - the Ships of Mann link on the M&ISS menu [above] now links directly to the new web site.

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

RAPIDE the 18:15 Liverpool - Douglas sailing was cancelled on May 29 "due to technical reasons".

Passengers being transferred to SEACAT ISLE OF MAN's 20:00 sailing. On arrival at Douglas she then operated the delayed 21:30  Douglas to Liverpool sailing. She had been scheduled to return light ship to Liverpool.

BEN-MY-CHREE was also reported running an hour late on the 14:15 departure from Heysham due to heavy traffic on May 29

HOVERSPEED GREAT BRITAIN - On Tuesday May 29 HSGB was noted at Belfast not to have sailed to Heysham by 07.45 and when SEACAT SCOTLAND sailed to Troon at that time she appeared to be about to move onto the berth to take her 07.00 sailing late. This may have contributed to the BEN-MY-CHREE's delay at Heysham.


Falmouth based Curnow Shipping which is currently under police investigation has lost the management contract for the RMS ST. HELENA which provides a passenger and cargo link between the UK, Canaries, Ascension Island, St.Helena and Cape Town.

The transition between operators will take place in August. There is provision in the management contract for the retention of all St.Helenians employed on RMS ST HELENA


Wijsmuller Marine, formerly Cory Towage, has agreed to sell 100% of its shares to A.P. Moller group subsidiaryA/s Em. Z. Svitzer, the long established Danish operator of around 70 vessels including harbour tugs, tug/barge units and survey vessels. completion upon certain conditions being met is scheduled for mid July. This takeover comes just 14 months after Wijsmuller bought Cory.


KONINGIN BEATRIX will be withdrawn from service for one round trip [03:15/09:00] on Monday June 11 in order that work can be carried out on a crankshaft


KARINA - obtained her passenger certificate on May 31 and operated her first sailing to Port Soderick that evening. An advertisement in the Manx Independent advises that trips will depart from the steps opposite the Victoria Clock, Douglas at 10:00 commencing this weekend - fare will be £10:00.



The sailing ship, KEEWAYDIN will be in Kilmore Quay, County Wexford on June 13, the ship was built in 1913, at Rye, by G. and T. Smith for Lowestoft owners, the great sailing ship trawled the North Sea Banks and then went to the Baltic in 1937 where she carried cargo.

The Keewaydin served in the two Worlds Wars, she carried refugees from Denmark to Neutral Sweden, and on one trip she ferried 420 commandos. In 1963 she was converted into a yacht, and in 1972 she was in the first Whitbread Round The World Yacht Race, and after that she sailed in the Mediterranean Sea.

The ship was bought four years ago by the Walch Family in Malta, and was sailed home to Brixham in 1998 and her restoration was completed. This fine ship will accompany two other ships on her visit to Kilmore Quay in County Wexford, the Wexfords Friends of the Tall Ships are organising the historic visit.


On June 17 at 15:00 a Memorial Trail and Garden will be opened at Kilmore Quay in memory of those who have lost their lives at sea. The garden will have a maritime theme and feature a compass fountain, ship's wheel set in stone and a propeller blade recovered from the wreck of the S.S. Lennox which was lost off Great Saltee Island in 1916


EUROPEAN TRADER has been sold by P&O to Taygran Shipping to operate main deck only between Ullapool and Stornoway. She is at present in dry dock at Belfast as part of the sale process. It is believed that Taygran Shipping are considering a lightweight internal ramp to allow cars access to the upper deck which suggests she may offer a passenger service.


This week proposals for  a high speed ferry on Belfast Lough using two high speed catamarans were announced. They will be operated by a new company - Loughlink - who plan to inaugurate a new commuter ferry service from both Bangor and Carrickfergus to Belfast in August.

During the day Loughlink will use the two vessels to offer cruises around Belfast
Lough for tourists and school trips.

In the evenings the vessels will be available for corporate hospitality and to provide a link to Belfast City Centre.

The company which hopes to create 35 jobs is currently in negotiations with North Down and Carrickfergus councils over quay access.

The vessels will seat 119 passengers and will be leased from Australian owners.


The Maritime and Coastguard Agency issued an updated list this week identifying when individual roll-on roll-off (ro-ro) passenger ferries operating to and from UK ports must meet higher survivability standards.

Under the Stockholm Agreement of 1996, all ro-ro passenger ferries operating on international voyages to and from ports in north-western Europe and the Baltic Sea must

 - meet a high basic survivability design standard (known as SOLAS 90); and
 - be able to resist capsize with up to 50 cm of water entering the car deck.

Ferries further away from the new standard must be modified sooner than those already closer to it. New ferries comply automatically with the 1996 standard.

Maurice Storey, Chief Executive of the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) said:

"The Stockholm Agreement was a significant step forward in securing higher ferry standards. I believe it is important to ensure that the travelling public is aware of all relevant information on ferry safety. That is why this list is being published today.

"We will continue to publish further lists as the programme of improvement, now well advanced, is completed. I am confident that ferries operating to and from UK ports will comply with the standard according to the scheduled timetable."

JHL's COMMENT: It is interesting to note that the former Irish Ferries SAINT PATRICK is listed below twice - once as the EGNATIA II and also under her new name CITY OF CORK. Under her present name she complies, under her former name she does not!
SHIP NAME          FLAG        OPERATOR              COMPLIANCE DATE
                                                        (see notes)
Atlantic II      Barbados     Hoverspeed                  complies 
Admiral of 
 Scandinavia     Bahamas      DFDS Deutsch                complies 
Barfleur         France       Truckline Ferries           complies 
Ben my Chree     Isle of Man  Isle of Man Steam Packet    complies 
Brave Merchant   Isle of Man  Merchant Ferries            complies 
Bretagne         France       Brittany Ferries            complies 
Caledonian Isles UK           Caledonian MacBrayne        complies 
Catalonia        Bahamas      P&O EF Portsmouth           2001b
City of Cork     Portugal     Swansea-Cork Ferries        complies 
Clansman         UK           Caledonian MacBrayne        complies 
 Clipper         Bahamas      Condor Ferries              complies 
Condor Express   Singapore    Condor Ferries              2001b 
Condor Vitesse   Bahamas      Condor Ferries              2001b 
Coutances        France       Truckline Ferries           2001b 
Dana Anglia      Denmark      DFDS A/S                    complies 
Dawn Merchant    Isle of Man  Merchant Ferries            complies 
Diamant          Luxembourg   Hoverspeed                  complies      
Duc de 
 Normandie       France       Brittany Ferries            2001b 
Earl Sigurd      UK           Orkney Ferries              complies 
Earl Thorfinn    UK           Orkney Ferries              complies 
Egnatia II       Portugal     Swansea-Cork Ferries        2001b 
 Ambassador      Bahamas      P&O European Ferries        complies
 Causeway        Bahamas      P&O Ship Mgt, Irish Sea Ltd  complies
 Endeavour       Bermuda     P&O Ship Mgt, Irish Sea Ltd   2001b
EUROPEAN ENVOY   Bermuda     P&O Ship Mgt, Irish Sea Ltd   2001b
European Freeway UK          P&O North Sea Ferries        complies 
European Highway UK          P&O Stena Line               2001b 
European Leader  Bermuda     P&O Ship Mgt, Irish Sea Ltd  complies                          
 Navigator       Bermuda     P&O Ship Mgt, Irish Sea Ltd  complies                 
 Pathfinder      Bermuda     P&O Ship Mgt, Irish Sea Ltd  2001b                          
European Pathway UK          P&O Stena Line               2001b
European Pioneer Bermuda     P&O Ship Mgt, Irish Sea Ltd  2001b                          
 Seafarer        Bermuda     P&O Ship Mgt, Irish Sea Ltd  complies                          
European Seaway  UK          P&O Stena Line               2001b
European Tideway UK          P&O North Sea Ferries        complies 
European Trader  Bermuda     P&O Ship Mgt, Irish Sea Ltd  2001b 
Eurovoyager      Cyprus      TransEuropa Lines            2000b 
Hebridean Isles  UK          Caledonian MacBrayne         complies 
Hebrides         UK          Caledonian MacBrayne         complies 
 Great Britain   UK          Hoverspeed                   complies      
Isle of Arran    UK          Caledonian MacBrayne         2001b 
Isle of 
 Inishmore       Ireland     Irish Ferries                complies 
Isle of 
 Innisfree       Ireland     Irish Ferries                2001b 
Isle of Lewis    UK          Caledonian MacBrayne         complies 
Isle of Mull     UK          Caledonian MacBrayne         2001b
Johnathan Swift  Ireland     Irish Ferries                complies 
Jupiter          Norway      Fjord Line                   complies 
King of 
 Scandinavia     Denmark     DFDS Scandinavian Seaways    2000b 
Koningin Beatrix UK          Stena Line Ltd               complies 
Lady of Mann     Isle of Man Isle of Man Steam Packet     2000b 
Lagan Viking     Italy       Norse Irish Ferries          complies 
Larkspur         Cyprus      TransEuropa Lines            2001b 
Loch Nevis       UK          Caledonian MacBrayne         complies 
Lord of  
 the Isles       UK          Caledonian MacBrayne         complies 
Mersey Viking    Italy       Norse Irish Ferries          complies 
 Merchant        UK          Norfolk Lines                complies 
NORBANK          Netherlands P&O North Sea Ferries        complies 
Norbay           UK          P&O North Sea Ferries        complies 
Norland          UK          P&O North Sea Ferries        2001b 
Normandie        France      Brittany Ferries             complies 
Norrona          Faroe       Smyril Line                  complies 
Norsea           UK          P&O North Sea Ferries        complies 
Norstar          Netherlands P&O North Sea Ferries        2001b 
Norsun           Netherlands P&O North Sea Ferries        complies 
 Merchant        UK          Norfolk Line                 complies 
P&O SL Aquitaine UK          P&O Stena Line               2001b
P&O SL Burgundy  UK          P&O Stena Line               complies
P&O SL Calais    UK          P&O Stena Line               2001b
 Canterbury      UK          P&O Stena Line               2001b
P&O SL Dover     UK          P&O Stena Line               2001b
P&O SL Kent      UK          P&O Stena Line               2001b
P&O SL Provence  UK          P&O Stena Line               2000b c
Pride of Bilbao  UK          P&O Portsmouth               2001b 
Pride of 
 Cherbourg       UK          P&O Portsmouth               2001b 
Pride of 
 Flanders        UK          P&O North Sea Ferries        complies 
Pride of 
 Hampshire       UK          P&O Portsmouth               2001b 
Pride of 
 Le Havre        UK          P&O Portsmouth               complies 
Pride of 
 Portsmouth      UK          P&O Portsmouth               complies      
Pride of 
 Suffolk         UK          P&O North Sea Ferries        complies 
Primrose         Cyprus      TransEuropa Lines            2001b c 
Prince of 
 Scandinavia     Denmark     DFDS                         complies 
Princess of 
 Scandinavia     Denmark     DFDS Scandinavian Seaways    complies 
Purbeck          Bahamas     Channel Islands Ship Management  2001b 
Quiberon         France      Brittany Ferries             2000b 
Rapide           Luxembourg  Hoverspeed                   complies 
St Clair         UK          P&O Scottish                 2001b 
St Ola           UK          P&O Scottish                 2001b 
St Sunniva       UK          P&O Scottish                 2001b 
Seacat Danmark   UK          Hoverspeed                   complies 
 Isle of Man     UK          Isle of Man Steam Packet     complies 
Seacat Scotland  UK          Sea Containers               complies 
 Cezanne         France      SeaFrance                    complies 
SeaFrance Manet  France      SeaFrance                    complies 
SeaFrance Nord   France      SeaFrance                    complies 
Pas De Calais
 Renoire         France      SeaFrance                    complies 
Stena Caledonia  UK          Stena Line UK Ltd            complies 
Stena Britannica UK          Stena Line BV                complies
Stena Discovery  Netherlands Stena Line Holland           complies 
Stena Explorer   UK          Stena Line Ltd               complies 
Stena Forwarder  Italy       Stena Line Ltd               complies 
Stena Galloway   UK          Stena Line UK Ltd            complies 
Stena Hollandica Netherlands Stena Line BV                complies 
Stena Lynx III   UK          Stena Line Ltd               2001b 
Stena Searider   UK          Stena Line BV                2001b 
Stena Seatrader  UK          Stena Line BV                complies 
Stena Voyager    UK          Stena Line UK Ltd            complies 
Super Seacat I   Italy       Hoverspeed                   complies 
Super Seacat II  Italy       Hoverspeed                   complies 
Super Seacat III Italy       Isle of Man Steam Packet     complies
 Express         Panama      P&O Ship Mgt, Irish Sea Ltd  2001b 
Ulysses          Ireland     Irish Ferries                complies 
Val De Loire     France      Brittany Ferries             complies 
Varagen          UK          Orkney Ferries               complies
Notes: a) The Merchant Shipping (Ro-Ro Passenger Ship Survivability) Regulations 1997 implement in UK law the Stockholm Agreement on ferry survivability. Under the Stockholm Agreement, all vessels operating on scheduled international voyages to and from ports in a specified area of northern Europe, including the United Kingdom, must meet a new standard of survivability in the damaged condition. The UK Regulations extend that requirement to vessels on domestic voyages where conditions are comparable to international voyages. Ships must demonstrate not only that they meet the SOLAS 90 survivability standard but that they can cope with up to 50 centimetres of water entering the car deck, depending on the freeboard and the significant wave height in the area of operation. Ships must meet the new standard in accordance with a phased timetable. Those further from the new standard must be modified sooner than those nearer to it. b) The dates by which individual ships must be modified are referred to in the list in simplified form. In full, the dates are: 2000 = No later than the first annual survey after 31 December 2000 2001 = No later than the first annual survey after 31 December 2001 and in any case no later than 1 October 2002 c) Where a ship is capable of operating in either one-compartment or two-compartment mode, the date given in the list for modification under the Stockholm Agreement relates to its operation in two-compartment mode. d) This list includes all ro-ro passenger ferries understood to be operating on international routes to and from the UK, and on similar seagoing domestic routes, as at 4 May 2001.



Cammell Laird's receiver and Southampton-based A&P have submitted a joint bid to undertake refit work for RFA vessels RFA GREY ROVER [A269] a small fleet tanker and two Sir Lancelot Class Landing Ships (Logistic)   RFA SIR PERCIVALE [L3036] and RFA SIR TRISTRAM [L2505].

The move received support from Trade Minister Richard Caborn who vowed to lobby Trade Secretary Stephen Byers to "seriously consider" the joint bid.

A decision on the contracts is expected shortly after the General Election. If the joint Cammell Laird / A&P bid is successful it is believed that this could pave the way for a take over of Cammell Laird by A&P.

Reports in the local press indicate that seven bidders are still expressing an interest in acquiring either the whole group or parts. These include specific potential bids for Laird's Birkenhead facilities. Other bidders  include venture capital firms Alchemy and Patron Capital and North East shipyard group Swan Hunter.

Should the Cammell Laird / A&P group bid be successful work on one of the vessels would be undertaken at an A&P yard whilst two vessels would go to Cammell Laird yards. Continuing work at the Cammell Laird yards would increase the chances of selling the yards as a going concern.


Michel Leroux, head of Campagnie Marseillaise de Reparation, is thought to be leading a bid to buy the Marseilles operation and is seeking support from employees, although unions are reported to be against the plan.


Cascade General is to sell its large No 4 floating drydock to Grand Bahamas Shipyard at Freeport for $25M, with the dock expected to leave the Columbia river under tow by June 20 according to a report in Fairplay this week

The sale will allow the company to pay off all its senior debt and related costs, estimated at $22M, and give the yard a “fighting chance” to survive. Cascade having been crippled in recent months by the failure of Cammell Laird, which took a 49 per cent stake in an associated holding company last year, and by a large drop in US-flag tanker work, for which the 87,000-tonne capacity dry-dock was specifically built in the late 1970s. The sale will leave Cascade with two smaller dry-docks of 27,000 and 15,000 tonnes capacity, plus several cranes and 23 hectares of yard property.


The one-day plant auction at the Port of Liverpool which attracted bidders from across the world, made £3.2 million.

A ten acre site at Birkenhead Docks was turned into a giant sales yard for 800 pieces of plant ranging from JCBs and bulldozers to rough terrain fork trucks and excavators.

More than 1,000 potential buyers from as far a field as Japan, Israel, America, Dubai and Ghana, were at Bidston Dock (Tuesday) for the "bargain of a lifetime" sale, organised by the world’s largest industrial auctioneers, Ritchie Brothers of Vancouver.

Starting at 9am, every piece of plant went under the hammer without a reserve price, and by 6pm the three expert auctioneers from North America had taken more than £3 million.

Said Mike Goulbourne, UK Territory Manager for the Canadian auctioneers: "The auction was superb. We had bidders from around the world and within 24 hours of the sale, plant is already leaving for Dubai.

"Ritchie Brothers’ unique no-reserve price policy is a big attraction. It means that someone could pick up a piece of plant worth $50,000 for just £1."

The machines and equipment were paraded on a special ramp inside a marquee, before the rows of potential buyers. "It’s a rapid operation with individual items worth thousands of dollars, being sold in 40 or 50 seconds," said Mr Goulbourne. "A lot of hotels in the area were fully booked by people looking for a good deal."

The array of equipment from all over Europe and further a field – some pieces of plant were shipped in from as far away as Japan – represented the first of what Ritchie Brothers expect to be a series of UK auctions.

The firm’s Managing Director Randy Wall, who flew in from Holland for the event, said: "The response from interested parties has been tremendous. Our expectation is that we will be here in the UK on a sustained basis."

Ritchie Brothers was last in the Port of Liverpool in 1987 when they leased a site from the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company for a massive sale of plant shipped back after the Falklands war. And they again looked to the Dock Company to provide a suitable site for this week’s auction.

Said Andrew Martin, Management Surveyor with Mersey Docks Estates Department: "The Bidston Dock site is ideal for such a major logistics operation. It offers easy access to the national motorway network only yards from the dock gate and is alongside deep water if overseas buyers want to ship abroad. We are delighted that we have been able to assist Ritchie Brothers once again."


LE DEIRDRE - the decomissioned vessel will be sold at public auction at the Carrigaline Cour Hotel on June 14. LE DEIRDRE [1972] was the first ship to be built specifically for the Irish Naval Service, being built locally at the Cork Verolme Dockyard at Rushbrooke.


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