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


September  2001




A reminder that there was an unscheduled news update on Wednesday - the bulletin can be found below after today's update.

It is anticipated that there may be a "service update" sometime during the coming week which may see some changes and deletions to older material - probably Wednesday or Thursday. I am not anticipating updating the news section during the week at present - though this might change depending on the amount of news. 


I am considering a change of name for the site its URL to ensure that it is more representative of the contents and a little more concise. At present the web site URL is whilst the web site name is Mersey and Irish Sea Shipping. This arose as the site expanded beyond its original aims. I am considering several alternatives at present, however, I would like to effect that change before my rights to the domain name expire towards the end of the year. This URL was arranged via a previous host and it would be more convenient to arrange a new one via the present hosting service.

If a change goes ahead it will be undertaken by December. Everyone will be given advanced warning of the change and details will be posted to the M&ISS associated Yahoo Groups and other shipping groups.

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Aiden McCabe, Derry Walsh, Tony Brennan, Richard Seville, Robert Watson, Michael Pryce and "others".


The Ships of Mann web site has been updated with details of the contents of Issue 3 which is now available in the UK and on the Isle of Man from next weekend.

SEA CONTAINERS / Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

RAPIDE - At the time of compiling this update it appears that the evening round trip to Douglas on Sunday September 30, may be cancelled due to deteriorating weather conditions.


The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company have released carrying figures for the month of August 2001, which continue to highlight the ongoing effects of the continuing outbreak of foot and mouth in the UK, which has forced the cancellation of many major Island events.

Despite the impact of such decisions on the Company’s carryings and on the Island’s tourist industry in general, Steam Packet is achieving success in growing its core business through its continuing efforts.

Traffic figures confirmed by the Department of Transport show:

Passenger traffic increased by 2.2% @ 104,661 passengers (2000 - 102,453)

Vehicular traffic decreased by 8.5% @ 20,186 vehicles (2000 – 22,064)

Year to date figures show:

Passenger traffic decreased by 10.3% @ 416,449 passengers (2000 – 464,434)

Vehicular traffic decreased by 22.3% @ 93,799 vehicles (2000 – 120,772)

Freight traffic increased by 9.8% from 33,534 metres to 36,807 metres

Hamish Ross, Steam Packet Managing Director said: “Despite heavy losses in traffic due to the cancellation of major Island events, our Company’s core business remains strong. We are working very hard to counter the effects of the foot and mouth crisis by powerful marketing coupled with a widely available range of special offer fares. We are greatly heartened that records show that August 2001 passenger figures are the best August figures since 1989”.


Scilly News  reports that the Isles of Scilly's Steamship Company has pulled out it's offer to sail RMV Scillonian III six times over Christmas and New Year.

The sailings, scheduled for 17, 19 and 21 December, 2 and 4 January, were cancelled by the Steamship Company because they had not received any bookings for the trips.

Their Christmas trip would have been the first out-of-season voyage for many years.


This week Lloyds List reported that Tim Harris the man who walked out as heir apparent at P&O, has been appointed chairman-designate of Barrow based James Fisher and Sons Plc. 

Mr. Harris will succeed David Cobb, who is 65 years old, on January 1 next year. Mr. Harris said: "I look forward to being involved again in UK shipping. James Fisher is a quoted company with sound results and balance sheet. The task going forward is to get that increasingly recognised by the market."

Unlike Mr. Cobb, he will be a non-executive chairman. Mr. Harris, who is 54, said he would continue to do "other things" but "spend as much time as is necessary" on his role at Fisher.
He added: "Having a variety of interests is a strength and widens one's perspective."
Mr. Harris said it was too early to discuss who might take on the chief executive role at Fisher. There will be a three-month transition phase between Mr. Cobb and Mr. Harris, who immediately joins the Fisher board as a non-executive director.

Mr. Cobb said he had "greatly enjoyed" his seven year tenure at Fisher. But as he was turning 66 years old in January, it was "the right time to go". The disclosure of Mr. Cobb's intention to retire follows shortly after Fisher announced a strong set of six-month results.
"These demonstrate," he said, "the fundamental strength of the company and the hard work and commitment of each and everyone of its employees." He described his successor as "a good man." Mr. Cobb said he would consider becoming a director of other companies if
he was approached. 

When asked what direction Fisher might take under his chairmanship, Mr. Harris responded: "I see the great strength of the company in its shipping expertise and close links with customers. "The key is to build on these and gain increasing recognition in the
market." Mr. Harris was an executive director of P&O's main board and chief executive of P&O Nedlloyd until May of last year. Mr. Cobb is a past president of the UK Chamber of Shipping and played a significant role in securing the introduction of a tonnage tax regime. He is Renter Warden of the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights. Mr. Harris said Mr. Cobb had had "a good innings" at Fisher, adding that he was "not surprised he has decided to retire".


It was revealed in the Cornish press this week that the new owners of the historic King Harry Ferry service across the River Fal have announced plans for an unprecedented programme of extended winter services.

The company has been working closely with the business and leisure communities on the west side of the river to bring various events 'closer' to residents of the Roseland peninsula.

Extended services will include late evening operations to cater for shows at the Hall For Cornwall and the late night Christmas shopping in Truro in December.

The ferry company directors are also in talks with the National Trust with a view to sponsoring a major opera event at Trelissick, when extended ferry crossings would also operate again.

"In addition to our normal schedule, we are anxious to provide tailored services wherever possible," said managing director Tim Light. "³To this end, we are trying to work with local hotels, restaurants, the theatre and Truro Chamber of Commerce, with the primary aim of making our service more attractive to the residents of the Roseland so that they can come to Truro more conveniently for arts, leisure and entertainment in the evenings.

"We are also keen to apply the same approach in the opposite direction, with business or private groups going over to the Roseland for the evening. For instance, we have made special arrangements for extra crossings to accommodate a reception at a St Mawes hotel in October."


From the "Wirral Globe" - "HUNDREDS of thousands of tourists could be attracted to Wirral if plans for a unique multi-million pound international astronomy centre win the go-ahead. A partnership of Merseytravel, Mersey Ferries and Liverpool John Moores University is bidding for funding for the £8 million-plus centre which would be the first of its kind nationally.

The plan is to convert a listed building at Seacombe Ferry into the new state-of-the-art centre which should attract 100,000 people a year, according to partnership figures. Mersey Ferries boss Paul Burnell says: "Everybody involved in the project is very enthused about it. It will bring a lot to the tourism package of Wirral and, of course, to Seacombe. It is quite a significant project.

"If all goes well with the funding we are hopeful we can start building in November or December this year and launch by spring 2003." As well as bringing in tourist cash, the centre will also provide a resource for local schoolchildren and students. The proposal has received backing from the nation's top astronomers, including TV celebrity Patrick Moore, as it would be the only astronomy education centre in the country. It will feature live views from telescopes in Australia and Hawaii and there will be different parts of the sky on view depending on when you visit.

There are also plans for a theatre that will take visitors on a 'voyage through space', a time machine exhibit, the Galileo history theatre, children's activity areas, cafes, shops and special exhibits.
The centre is part of a massive planned development across the Wirral waterfront that may also include a four or five star hotel. It is dependent on successful bids for Single Regeneration Budget (SRB) and European Objective One funding. It is hoped decisions will be made on the funding within six weeks."



An unscheduled mid week update to help keep on top of things!

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Dave Crolley, Justin Merrigan-Incat, John Lawlor, Jenny Williamson and "others".


Adrian Sweeney, editor of Ships of Mann advises that Issue 3 of Ships of Mann will be available at UK mainland outlets from this weekend and on the Isle of Man next weekend. Subscribers will have theirs mailed towards the end of this week.

SEA CONTAINERS / Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

LADY OF MANN - The Lady returned home after her summer charter to the Azores on Monday September 24, 2001. She arrived in Langton Lock around 16:00 and was on the berth at Alexandra Dock passenger terminal at 17:00. She was brought home by a Portugese crew. Photographs of the Lady's return were placed on the site on Monday evening.

Further information has come to light concerning the LADY OF MANN's  timetable over the winter months. A correspondent has done some trawling of the Sea Co - online booking computer and come up with details of further extra sailings which will make some interesting day trips possible from Liverpool to Heysham and back via Douglas!

HOVERSPEED GREAT BRITAIN The following is the casualty report for the vessel's brief grounding at Heysham:

HOVERSPEED GREAT BRITAIN (U.K.) London, Sep 23 - Following received from Coastguard Liverpool MRSC, timed 1621, UTC: Passenger ro/ro Hoverspeed Great Britain (3003 gt, built 1990) grounded on soft mud while entering Heysham Harbour from Belfast with 185 passengers and 18 crew at 1105, BST, today. Vessel was inspected by crew and no damage was evident and there were no injuries. The vessel subsequently refloated and berthed in Heysham Harbour at 1200, BST. She sailed at 1349, BST, bound Belfast, where a diving inspection will be performed on behalf of her Classification  Society.  London, Sep 24 - Following received from Coastguard Liverpool MRSC, timed 0813, UTC: Passenger ro/ro Hoverspeed Great Britain was inspected by divers, in the presence of Class Society Surveyor, upon  arrival at Belfast yesterday. No hull damage, apart from minor paint scratching. Vessel resumed normal service.


Renaissance Cruises ships, a familiar sight on the Irish Sea during the summer of 2001, were withdrawn from service yesterday as the company petitioned for bankruptcy.

The R SEVEN which visited Merseyside this summer following a sudden a change of itinerary due to unrest in Belfast  has been arrested in Dover over claims by agents Cory Brothers for £23,000 in unpaid fees.

The company issued a statement: "Renaissance Cruises has very reluctantly elected to seek court protection after exhausting every other avenue to work out a comprehensive business solution," said Manfred Urpsrunger, President and Chief Executive Officer for Renaissance Cruises.  "In light of the severe, unexpected drop in leisure travel following the terrorist attacks on the United States and the immediate and adverse impact on the Company's late stage recapitalization efforts, we concluded that this was the only responsible action we could take to exit our business in an orderly fashion while preserving value for our investors. 

We want to thank our customers, travel agent partners and employees for their support over the last year, and assure them that we are taking the necessary steps to minimize the impact of this filing on them."

Renaissance said that it was making necessary provisions to return any passengers to home ports who are on current cruises or in transit. Customers with upcoming bookings should contact their credit card companies and travel agents for refund arrangements.


The North Devon Journal reports that a  link between the ports of Bideford and Youghal in Ireland could be on the cards after town councillors supported the idea of presenting a plaque to the Irish community.

The concept of bonding the two towns has come through the Kathleen and May which served both ports as a cargo ship many years ago and, now restored, is likely to divide its time between the two and act as a tourist attraction.

The Kathleen and May returned from Youghal on 19 September, but before she arrived, Bideford town councillors agreed that presenting a plaque to the town council there would be a good idea.
Youghal is one of only six working ports in Ireland and has a population of about 7,500 with the town centre being a similar size to Bideford.


STENA GALLOWAY  just after 23:30 on September 23, it was reported to Milford Haven Coastguard that a female passenger has been seen to fall overboard around 25 miles north west of Fishguard.

The ship immediately stopped and put a fast rescue craft in the water to begin searching whilst Milford Haven Coastguard scrambled the RAF rescue helicopter 122 from Valley. A further rescue helicopter from the Irish Coastguard in Dublin also assisted in the search.

Two lifeboats from Fishguard and Rosslare were launched and proceeded to the scene.

KONINGIN BEATRIX - there is some confusion as to when the KB will return to the Fishguard - Rosslare route. Stena claim officially that it will be on October 15. Though rumours suggest that it will not be until October 20.


Dave Crolley advises that the ST. STEPHEN depicted in Ian Collard's recent photographs whilst on the Mersey on September 9, sailed for Haifa on September 11. Presumably she was running engine trials on September 9.



Incat Tasmania Pty Ltd, the Tasmanian shipbuilding arm of the Incat group, has completed conversion work on the 96 metre (315ft) Wave Piercing Sealift Catamaran contracted to the United States military for a deployment of two years. The preparations included a dry-docking, the first in the new Wilson’s dry dock, the building and installation of a helo-deck capable of accommodating large military helicopters, internal fit-out work and other modifications to suit troop transportation.

In her fresh role with the U.S. military, Incat 050, under her new name Joint Venture (HSV-X1), will no longer enjoy the luxury of having dedicated shore-side linkspans available to load and discharge her cargo.

To this end, an aluminium folding ramp has been fitted to the stern starboard quarter of the craft. Measuring an impressive 12.7 m (41 ft. 8 ins) length overall x 4.46 m (14 ft. 8ins.) wide, the ramp consists of two major units to enable it to fold in half using a combination of cable and hydraulic control mechanisms. This form of construction allows the ramp to be lowered in either straight or semi-folded configuration.

The ramp, which has been designed and certified in accordance with Det Norske Veritas (DNV) rules, is configured to allow direct stern to bulkhead on-load/off-load to a pier height of 3.05 metres or 10 feet above Mean Low Low Water (MLLW) with a 3 to 5 foot tidal range. The ramp itself has a capacity of 73,000 pounds over the full operating range from 0.5 m (1 ft.7 ins.) above waterline to 3.05 m (10 ft.) above the waterline.

Fitting ramps to vessels is nothing new and Incat has previous experience with designing and fitting ramps capable of carrying heavy transport vehicles of over 45 tonnes (100,000lbs) and axle loads of 10 tonnes (22,000lbs) as shore based or attached to the craft.

The charter of Joint Venture, potentially worth A$50 million to vessel owners Incat Chartering Pty Ltd, was won over competition from around the world. The contract between the U.S. Army’s TACOM (Tank-Automotive and Armament Command) and Bollinger / Incat USA, L.L.C. is the first major project undertaken by the strategic alliance formed last year between Bollinger Shipyards of Louisana, USA and the Incat shipyard in Tasmania, Australia.

Incat Australia Pty Ltd Chairman Robert Clifford stated "Incat is extremely proud that our craft was chosen as the first High Speed Theatre Logistics Vessel to operate with the military in the United States. This ground-breaking contract could be the most significant in the company’s history, an historic one for the Australian shipbuilding industry and a great start for the Bollinger / Incat USA strategic alliance".

Other arms of the U.S. military will also participate in this unique Joint Forces ‘Proof of Concept’ project. It is anticipated the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard will work with the U.S. Army who have contracted the Incat ship, looking at the innovative technology as a complement to their existing amphibious force ships, for applications which require a platform to move troops, heavy military vehicles and equipment.

During the period of the charter U.S. military operations and maintenance of the craft will be supported by technical and operational personnel from Bollinger / Incat USA, L.L.C.


Incat Tasmania Pty Ltd, the Tasmanian shipbuilding arm of the Incat group, has completed conversion work on the 96 metre (315 ft.) Wave Piercing Sealift Catamaran contracted to the United States military for a deployment of two years. The preparations included a dry-docking, the first in the new Wilson’s dry dock, fabrication and installation of an aluminium folding ramp to the stern starboard quarter of the craft, fabrication and installation of a small boat launching gantry, internal fit-out work and other modifications to suit military applications.

For her role with the U.S. military, Incat 050, under her new name Joint Venture HSV-X1 (High Speed Vessel – Experimental One) has also been fitted with a helicopter deck capable of accommodating large military helicopters such as the SH-60 Seahawk and the CH-46 Sea Knight, a world first for high speed craft. The 472 square metre (5081 square feet) helo deck, has been designed by Incat’s Hobart based design team to meet military specifications.

The installation of the helicopter deck necessitated the removal of sections of the existing craft’s superstructure and associated services. The Incat design is unique in that the passenger deck does not form part of the hull structure. The passenger deck, complete with their own frames, is mounted clear of the hull structure on resilient mounts, allowing removal of the structure with relative ease. In a similar way, the helicopter deck is mounted resiliently above the hull structure aft of the passenger deck, being supported by the ship’s side and steel pillars inboard.

The perimeter of the helicopter deck is fitted with folding safety nets in accordance with NAVSEA requirements. Each safety net being folded to an almost horizontal position during helo operations. Flush crossbar tie-down fittings are fitted over the entire area of the deck in a uniform grid to allow securing of helicopters while onboard. The non-skid surface, line markings, operational and safety equipment are installed in accordance with military specifications.

A separate fire fighting system is installed for the helicopter deck consisting of two 50-gallon (200 litre) AFFF foam stations at each forward quarter. Each foam station consists of local control, fire hoses, foam proportioner and storage tank supplied by water from the existing fire fighting system on the vessel.

The Helicopter Control Station (HCS) is located at the aft end of the wheelhouse, providing a full view of the landing area. A dedicated communication station at each helo deck forward quarter allows communication between the flight deck crew and the HCS, while a UHF radio is used for communication with the helicopters.

Joint Venture is the only large lift capacity craft in the world that has a lift capacity equal to its own mass. Accordingly, it is the ideal craft to demonstrate a high uplift/speed/range capability.

This military deployment of an Incat Wave Piercing Catamaran is the first major project undertaken by Bollinger / Incat USA, L.L.C, the strategic alliance formed last year between Bollinger Shipyards Inc.of Louisiana, USA and Incat Australia Pty Ltd.


One of Australia’s largest single exports to the United States left Hobart on Tuesday 11 September. The Incat built 96 metre Wave Piercing Sealift Catamaran is big in size and in its significance to the world’s high speed ship industry.

The two year charter to the U.S. military is potentially worth A$50 million for Tasmanian based shipbuilder Incat, who also built HMAS Jervis Bay which operated between Darwin and East Timor for two years during the crisis period in East Timor. It is also the first major military contract secured by Bollinger / Incat USA, L.L.C., the strategic alliance formed last year between Bollinger Shipyards Inc. of Lockport, Louisiana, USA and Incat Australia Pty. Ltd.

Joint Venture HSV-X1 (High Speed Vessel – Experimental One) will be the first high speed craft to go into service with the United States military forces. Formerly known as Incat 050, the new name ‘Joint Venture’ is in recognition of the partnership of component commands from the U.S. Navy, Army, Marine Corps, U.S. Special Operations Command and Coast Guard.

Together the U.S. military sectors will explore the operational implications and opportunities of new marine technologies that are bringing higher speeds, longer ranges and increased payload capacities to surface vessels. The name is also appropriate in the burgeoning relationship between the commercial and military sectors -–a true "Joint Venture".

Joint Venture, fresh from her conversion from a commercial passenger and freight ship to a Theatre Logistics Vessel completed sea trials prior to departure. U.S. Army Captain Phil Beierl said " I got a chance to drive the boat on trials, and the best word to describe it is "thrilling". It is much faster, my experience is in ships that don’t travel a whole lot more than 15 or 20 knots, and it’s a different world to be travelling at this kind of speed and the whole scheme of operating the ship has to be different, you can’t navigate with the old methods at 45 knots".

When asked what the reaction of Americans would be, Captain Beierl said; "I think a large part of America has no idea yet that it is going to arrive, but I think the Navy and the Army and the other services are watching it very closely, and I think that once we arrive it will make a splash!"

Joint Venture’s speed, range and sealift capacity will easily exceed the various requirements of the U.S. Army contract. The contract requires it to be able to carry 450 tons of cargo including armoured personnel carriers, light armoured vehicles and trucks plus over 325 fully equipped troops, over 1110 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots in sea state 3. The Incat vessel must also launch and recover helicopters and small boats in sea state 3, and be able to carry 570 tons of cargo over 600 nautical miles.

The helicopter deck, the first ever on a high speed vessel, was designed and installed by Incat to military specifications, to handle large military helicopters such as the SH-60 Seahawk and the CH-46 Sea Knight.

Although Joint Venture has a top speed over 45 knots, the large supply of fuel carried to travel the 10,000 nautical miles with only two re-fuelling stops, Tahiti and Panama, means she will average 30 knots over the three week delivery voyage to Chesapeake Bay, Virginia USA. The ship is due to arrive at her new base at Hampton Roads, Virginia late September. Joint Venture HSV-X1 will officially go into service with the U.S. military early October in a two year "Proof of Concept" charter.

The 40 strong crew includes 25 U.S. Army and Navy personnel, together with a contingent of mariners, engineers and electronic specialists who make up the Incat component of the delivery team. The group will use the delivery voyage to continue the intensive training program they have undertaken at the Incat Tasmania shipyard, and AMC Search.

Prior to departure Australian Army Reserves took advantage of the vessel being in Hobart to conduct a heavy vehicle loading exercise for the 2nd Force Support Battalion.

Incat Chairman Robert Clifford said; "the U.S. military envisage widespread use of high speed marine transport in the very near future, and Bollinger / Incat USA looks forward to working with the Joint Forces command".

During the period of the charter U.S. military operations and maintenance of the craft will be supported by technical and operational personnel from Bollinger / Incat USA, L.L.C.



Still trying to catch up with submitted material - for this update I have commenced a new section on the site Maritime Memorabilia. This currently accommodates one section at present - scans of 1951 Season Handbills for the Liverpool and North Wales Steamship Company.

I would like to expand this nostalgia feature and already have other material which I intend scanning and including in this section. If you have scans of interesting publicity material from defunct shipping lines that have lrish Sea connections I would be interesting in receiving them for inclusion on the site.

There is a possibility that there might be another update on Wednesday or Thursday this week to catch up with further material.


I have made some adjustments to the main menu which appears on the heading of many of the site pages - I have managed to shrink it but still include a few more links which should make navigation easier.

John H. Luxton

September 23, 2001 

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Jenny Williamson, Kevin Bennett, John Lawlor, Richard Seville,  "Ferry Man" and "others".

SEA CONTAINERS / Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

LADY OF MANN - The schedules for the early part of 2002 briefly appeared on the Sea Containers on-line booking facility this week. Thanks to a correspondent it was possible to assemble what looks like the LADY OF MANN's likely schedule which will operate from January 8 through to March 2. 

Unfortunately what looks likely to be the Friday departure time from Liverpool at 14:15 is rather early and would prevent most people on the UK side spending a weekend on the Isle of Man if they work on Fridays. Why couldn't departure be at 19:00 as on Saturdays? Besides it would be possible to sell time ashore day trips from the Isle of Man to Liverpool on two days of the week. This appears unthoughtful scheduling which might not fit into conventional weekend travel patterns.

BEN-MY-CHREE - the vessel's last run before refit is likely to be 02:15 departure from Heysham on Tuesday January 8, 2002. She is due to resume service on the 02:15 on March 3. It is suggested that there might be some substantial changes to her passenger accommodation.

RAPIDE - [Or another high-speed vessel?) will return to service on Liverpool to Dublin and Douglas services on February 28.

SEACAT ISLE OF MAN the technical problem reported in the previous update was with a bearing on her starboard inner engine.

HOVERSPEED GREAT BRITAIN grounded on a sand bank when approaching Heysham on Sunday September 23. She later refloated and was able to return to Belfast later.


STENA FORWARDER is reported to have suffered an engine room file on September 19 and missed several sailings.

HSS STENA EXPLORER also appeared to suffer a fire in her engine room on September 20 at Holyhead and was reported out of service for around 24 hours.

This has been a bad week for Stena - one imagines that Irish Ferries would be delighted at the complete lack of competition for 24 hours!


NORWAY - following the appearance of the classic liner on the Irish Sea last weekend as she made calls at Greenock and Dún Laoghaire it came as some surprise to learn this week that the vessel will continue to operate for NCL for another year.

The NORWAY cruise which concluded at Southampton had been billed as the vessel's final trans Atlantic crossing with many enthusiasts travelling either on the ship or turning up at one of her ports of call to view her.

The full details are as follows:

MIAMI--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 20, 2001--The Norwegian Cruise Line/Star Cruises Group today announced details of changes to its deployment plans for 2002: The brand new Freestyle Cruising ship, Norwegian Sun, scheduled to sail in the Mediterranean from May through October 2002, will instead spend the summer in the Caribbean where she is already more than 75% full for the Spring; SuperStar Aries, which was due to transfer from the Star Cruises fleet into Orient Lines as Ocean Voyager in May 2002, will now remain with Star Cruises in Bangkok and her introduction into Orient Lines will be delayed until Spring 2003; S/S Norway, which was to have been swapped into Star Cruises in exchange for SuperStar Aries, will now remain in the NCL fleet for a further year and will return to her Miami base in time for Christmas this year after a dry docking and refurbishment in Europe; Norwegian Sky, currently scheduled to take over the Eastern Caribbean run from Norway, will instead offer an alternating Eastern/Western Caribbean itinerary between January and March 2002, as Norway moves back into her traditional Eastern deployment. 

The changes have been made in response to travel agent demands for a year-round Caribbean product from NCL, as well as in anticipation of a likely shift in travel patterns of North American consumers over the coming months. Norwegian Sun, which is one of two new purpose-built Freestyle Cruising ships being delivered to NCL this fall, has been booking extremely well in her Exotic Western Caribbean deployment and there have been internal discussions on the pros and cons of cancelling her 2002 inaugural Mediterranean season in order to keep her in the Caribbean year-round. ``We returned home last week from taking delivery of Norwegian Sun and showing her off to our top travel agent partners,'' said Colin Veitch, president and CEO of NCL. ``The response was extremely positive and we were pressed to put this innovative product into the Caribbean as soon as possible. The terrible events in New York and Washington the day after we returned home then tipped the balance in our internal discussions. We have decided to build on our traditional Caribbean base rather than deploying this new ship on seven-day Mediterranean cruising, in such uncertain times.'' With this addition to its North American based fleet in 2002, NCL will offer seven-day round-trip cruises on a regular basis from eight different U.S. and Canadian ports (Boston, New York, Miami, San Juan, Seattle, Vancouver, Honolulu, Maui); more than any other cruise line.

 The delayed introduction of Ocean Voyager is to allow Orient Lines' management to focus on its two existing ships, Marco Polo and Crown Odyssey, which will both spend much of 2002 in Europe. ``The willingness of our North American passengers to travel overseas is something we will be watching closely over the coming months,'' Veitch said. ``In the meantime, we believe we are acting prudently in postponing the introduction of a third ship to Orient Lines.'' 

The return of the much-loved Norway soon after her intended `farewell' transatlantic cruise, is a result of the postponement of Ocean Voyager's transfer from Star Cruises. It had been intended that Norway would either take over the Bangkok run of SuperStar Aries (Ocean Voyager) or a slot opened by one of the Singapore ships repositioning into the Bangkok slot. This will not now happen, and rather than try to develop a new home port in Asia, Star Cruises has agreed that NCL should operate the ship for another year in a market where she is known and well accepted.

 ``Judging from my mailbag and e-mail in-box, there are a lot of people who were very sad to see Norway leaving Miami. It's my hope that a lot of people will be happy that Norway can offer what we should call a second farewell season,'' Veitch said. ``Just think of her as the cruise equivalent of Frank Sinatra!'' Norway will return to service on December 23, 2001, offering seven- day Eastern Caribbean cruises from Miami on a Sunday departure, calling at St. Thomas, St. Johns, St. Maarten, and NCL's private Bahamian island, Great Stirrup Cay. Norwegian Sun will offer seven-day Western Caribbean cruises from Miami on a Saturday departure calling at Grand Cayman, Roatan, Belize City and Cozumel. Norwegian Sky, currently scheduled to fill the Eastern Caribbean slot on Saturday from Miami left open by Norway, will instead move to an alternating Eastern/Western Caribbean rotation of seven-day cruises combinable to 14 days. This change will occur January 26, 2002 and continue through the March 30, 2002 departure. 

Details of prices and itineraries for these new deployments will be communicated to travel agents within the next few days, and will be included in the 2002/2003 Caribbean brochure due out shortly. All new itineraries will be on sale beginning Monday, Sept. 24, 2001. Groups and individuals booked on those Norwegian Sky alternating Eastern Caribbean cruises, which will now become Western, will be offered the opportunity to remain booked on the new itinerary or to switch to the Norway's eastern cruise the following day, or Norwegian Sky's Eastern Caribbean itinerary the previous or following week. Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line is an international cruise company and industry innovator that currently operates a fleet of nine ships sailing to more than 200 ports around the world. NCL is currently building two new ships: Norwegian Star, a 2,200-passenger ship that will be NCL's largest (delivered in October); and Norwegian Dawn, a 2,200-passenger sister ship to Norwegian Star (delivery in December 2002). 

For further information on NCL, contact a travel agent or NCL in the U.S. and Canada at (800) 327-7030; in Miami-Dade County, Florida, (305) 436-0866; visit NCL's web site at; or on AOL at keyword: NCL; or to download high resolution photography visit Orient Lines' U.S. headquarters is located in Fort Lauderdale, Fl., while its operation centre is based in London. A global network of sales agents sells Orient Lines to local markets. For information about CruiseTours aboard Marco Polo and Crown Odyssey, contact a travel agent, Orient Lines at (800) 333-7300.


Scilly News reports that Mike Hicks, the Steamship company chairman has marked his retirement with some exciting views on what the replacement to the Scillonian will be like.

Mike Hicks has always taken an interest in Island boating; he has previously run the Association tripper boat services between the Islands. When asked how he would cope without such an active role, he replied "I'm sure I'll still take a role, but on the sidelines". He added, "I expect I will watch the ships come in over a coffee!" He also said that he would miss the responsibility of decision-making.

Mike revealed that the contract for building the new ship would go to the Appledore shipyard in Devon. The current vessel, The SCILLONIAN III, was built in Appledore in 1975. He also confirmed what many expected; the new ship will be named the SCILLONIAN IV.

The new boat, which will run alongside the Steamship Company's freight boat, the Gry Maritha, will be equipped with total passenger comforts when she comes into service in the summer of 2003.

The boat will be partly paid for by the objective one European fund, which has been designated, to Cornwall. It is thought that the fund will pay for £12m out of a total cost of £16m. The Scillonian IV is reputed to be set to break all current crossing times down by more than an hour which may allow for several more sailings in one day and therefore more freedom for the passenger


The Port of Falmouth has gone online with a website intended to be an information source for people visiting the town, and particularly those arriving by sea.

Commissioned by Harbourmaster Captain Mark Sansom and created by Falmouth-based Slightly Different Ltd, it has photographs, details of facilities, warnings about potential hazards in approaches and downloadable maps of the area. It also lists mooring and berthing charges. You can find the Port of Falmouth at


On Saturday September 22, a ceremony took place to commemorate the 400th Anniversary of the Battle of Kinsale which took place at the west Cork port. On September 22, 1601 the Spanish Navy arrived and a 100 day siege of the town began. With their allies, O'Neill from Tír Eoghain and O'Donnell from Tír Chonnaill, they engaged the English in the Battle of Kinsale.

President, Mary McAleese, HRH Prince Andrew, Duke of York and the Spanish Ambassador Enrique Pastor de Gana all took part in the event.

The commemoration marked the first visit to Ireland by the Duke of York. President McAleese said that it was a source of pride that she could greet him in an era of healthier relationships and partnership.

The battle of Kinsale resulted in heavy losses for the Irish, while the Spanish returned home. A new drama documentary re-creating the Battle of Kinsale will be screened on RTÉ 1 TV on Monday September 24.


OLDENBURG the vessel carried an unusual cargo  to Lundy Island from the mainland port of Bideford on Friday September 21. Following several weeks with out substantial rainfall it has been necessary to take two 500 gallon water tanks to the island.

Island authorities have issued guidelines on using the available water wisely. As a precaution, people have been asked to use less drinking water and to flush toilets with sea water. The need for extra drinking water was exacerbated when a water storage tank ruptured earlier this year. 


Speculation that the Port of Bantry will be “corporatised” next October has been ruled out by the chairman of the Bantry Bay Harbour Commissioners, Mr. John O’Riordan, who said January, 2002 is a much more likely date.

A discussion at a recent meeting of Bantry Town Commissioners led to speculation that the Harbour Commissioners were about to be replaced with a new board appointed by the Minister for the Marine.

At the meeting, there was also some suggestion that Mr. Pat Kelly and Mr. Eugene Cronin, who are the local authority representatives on the Harbour Board, had been excluded from meetings, or sub-committee meetings of the board. This, however, was rejected by the Harbour Board Chairman. Mr. O’Riordan who said he was "at a loss as to what Mr. Kelly may, or may not be implying".

At a monthly meeting, Mr. Kelly tabled a motion "that we the members of Bantry Town Commissioners request that our representatives be invited to attend all remaining meetings, sub-committee or otherwise, for the lifetime of the existing harbour board".

Mr. Eugene Cronin seconded the motion, saying that they had "a mandate" to represent the Town Commissioners and the people of Bantry. However, following some discussion he withdrew his support for the motion when Mr. John Connolly and Mr. Vivian O’Callaghan suggested that the chairman of the Town Commissioners should have a "discreet" word with the chairman of the Harbour Board.

At the meeting, several members asked probing questions, trying to ascertain what meetings the representatives missed and if they felt they were being deliberately excluded.

Mr. Kelly replied, saying: "We are not implying anything. We are simply asking that for the remaining weeks we be allowed attend the meetings and sub-committee meetings of the Harbour Commissioners as representatives of Bantry Town Commissioners".

He did, however, say that "at times, we have been slapped on the hand" and he said: "The clause of confidentiality was often quoted". In a more pointed statement, towards the end of the meeting, Mr. Kelly referred to the “corporatisation” process saying: "We feel Bantry Town Commissioners has no role in these negotiations so we are putting down this motion".

In tabling the motion, Mr. Kelly warned the commissioners: "There is so much going on at the moment ... different bits of information are not being passed on to us". However, when Mr. Eugene Cronin indicated that he, like the other members of the commissioners, would be satisfied with an informal meeting of the two chairmen, Mr. Kelly withdrew his motion.

Mr. John O’Riordan strongly rejected any suggestion of impropriety. He said: "Each of the eleven members of the board are invited to our monthly meetings in accordance with our regulations". Furthermore, he said, each sub-committee member if fully aware of the timing of sub-committee meetings and they are kept fully informed of all matters under consideration at those meetings".

Speaking about the “corporatisation” of the port of Bantry, Mr. O’Riordan said: "It will mean that the port authority will be recognised as a fully-fledged semi-state company". As well as having greater powers of self-determination, Mr. O’Riordan said the increased activity arising from the sale of the Whiddy Oil Terminal to the American-based corporation, Tosco, will mean greater revenue.

"Such funding", he said, "could be used for the benefit the community, as well the providing the board with an opportunity to invest in local commercial developments".

The sale of the Irish National Petroleum Corporation, which operates Whitegate Oil Refinery in Cork and the Whiddy Oil Terminal in Bantry Bay, to the American-based Tosco Corporation for $100 million was approved by the Government on May 28 last and legislation governing the sale was passed by the Dáil some weeks later.

As part of the deal, the American corporation, which has an annual turnover of $20 billion, gave an undertaking that it will invest in upgrading the plant to cut pollution levels. It has also said that the 225 people employed by INPC will have their employment guaranteed for the next fifteen years.

At the time the deal was made, the chairman and chief executive of Tosco, Mr. Thomas D. O’Malley said it was likely that about half the capacity at Whiddy would be leased to the Irish Government on a long-term basis for the purpose of storing Ireland’s strategic petroleum reserves.

Meanwhile, the remaining capacity will be used by Tosco to feed its US refining system and provide lower cost crude to Whitegate. Mr. O’Malley also confirmed that the company intended establishing its European headquarters at the existing INPC office in Dublin.

Details of the agreement between the US corporation and the INPC were first announced last July. And, in August, representatives of the Bantry Bay Harbour Commissioners presented the Minister for the Marine with a plan to corporatise the port.

The Harbour Commissioners were hoping that a “corporatisation” plan, prepared by Price Waterhouse Coopers, would be approved and implemented at the start of this year, but the organisation  chairman, Mr. John O’Riordan said the process took longer than expected.

He said there were also hopes that the Minister would “corporatise” the port in October, but that his was looking increasingly unlikely. He maintained that January, 2002 "is a much more likely date".

Meanwhile, he said the Harbour Board is working on a number of projects, including plans to expand and develop the Railway Pier, which is still in the ownership of Bantry Town Commissioners.

At the time of the Tosco sale the Minister for the Marine, Mr. Frank Fahey indicated that £1.3 million would be made available to upgrade the Railway Pier. "We are working with the Government to try and increase this contribution", said Mr. O’Riordan, "and we will also be looking to make substantial borrowings ourselves so that we can significantly increase the berthage at the pier".

Meanwhile, Mr. O’Riordan explained that under the terms set out in the Bantry Bay Harbour Act, the board is made up of eleven members. He said the board comprises of two nominees of Cork County Council (Vivian O’Callaghan and Paddy Sheehan), two nominees of Bantry Town Commissioners (Pat Kelly and Eugene Cronin), two nominees of the Chamber of Commerce (John O’Riordan and Trish Murphy), two port-user nominees (John Hunt and Michael Hennebry), one representative of the trade union movement (Tim Minihane) and two nominees of the Minister (John Fleming and Denis O’Donovan).

When corporatisation is introduced, he said: "Our expectation is that there will be about eight board members". But he said: "We can not say who will be on the board because it is completely at the behest of the Minister".


The first imposing evidence of a IR£17 million investment in Ireland's major container terminal, has gone into action.

The new Liebherr ship-to-shore gantry crane is now operational at Marine Terminals, introducing a new standard of box handling to Dublin Port.

But it is only the first phase in a programme which will treble container storage capacity from 2,000 teus (Twenty Foot Equivalent Units) to 6,500 teus, and arm the terminal with a forest of ship-to-shore and stacking area gantry cranes.

When the expansion, reshaping and re-equipping of the terminal on Dublin Port's south bank is completed by June next year, MTL will have the capability to simultaneously handle up to five ships.

Ireland's most powerful container terminal will have five new or refurbished gantry cranes to discharge and load vessels in a virtual round-the-clock operation. Another four new 40 tonne capacity rail mounted gantries will service the enlarged container stacking yard on the 15.5 hectare (38 acre) site.

The new ship-to-shore crane, which has a capacity of 45 tonnes under the spreader and 50 tonnes with a hook, is already making a positive impact on MTL's operation.

MTL's Managing Director John Forrester said: "We are very pleased with initial performances by the crane. We are already hitting productivity levels of 40 moves per hour on discharge and 25 on loading. The crane also provides greater flexibility by its ability to continue safe working in higher wind speeds – up to 72 kilometres (45 miles) per hour."

The gantry was shipped in knock-down form round to Dublin Port from the Liebherr plant in Killarney, County Kerry, via Foynes. It was then erected on the terminal and mounted onto quayside rails 80 metres away without disruption to operations.

Said Mr Forrester: "This major investment will complement MTL's natural advantages of deep water and an easily accessed location away from the traffic congestion on the north bank of Dublin Port."



Rather a hurried update this evening I am afraid with some material held over until the weekend.

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Tony Brennan, Dave Crolley and "others".

SEA CONTAINERS / Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

SEACAT ISLE OF MAN - appears to be experiencing technical problems. On Tuesday September 18 she was apparently running on three engines. On Wednesday September 19, she was out of service with the 07:00 Douglas to Liverpool and 10:30 Liverpool to Douglas sailings cancelled. Passengers were transferred to the BEN-MY-CHREE


TOPI the stone hopper vessel which sank at Dún Laoghaire last autumn and which earlier this year was later towed to Sandon Dock, Liverpool was spotted in Calais on September 8 / 9. When she departed from Liverpool it was presumed that she had been towed to the Baltic for repairs.



On September 19, 2001 the Maritime and Coastguard agency announced that Seventeen foreign ships were under detention in UK ports during August 2001 after failing port state control safety inspection, the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) announced today.

Latest monthly figures show that 9 foreign ships were detained in UK ports during August 2001 along with 8 other ships still under detention from previous months. Two thirds of the vessels detained in August were registered with flags targeted for inspection. The overall rate of detention is 6.7% compared with inspections carried out over the last 12 months. This is an increase of 0.1% from the 12 month rate to July. The ships detained included: -

- A Panamanian flagged bulk carrier detained for 22 days at Hull with 19 recorded deficiencies which included defective ventilators and watertight doors, and hatch covers not sealing properly. There was no objective evidence of internal and external ISM Audits being carried out even though new full term ISM/SMC certificates had been issued just four weeks prior to the detention. Further survey by class after discharge of cargo revealed defects in hold bulkheads doublers and insert plates. Following temporary repairs and the issue of conditions of class the vessel was released for a single voyage under ballast to Cadiz to effect permanent repairs. However when it failed to arrive at the repair yard as agreed, it was placed under a banning order which prevents entry to any port within the Paris MOU region. The vessel has since been permitted to enter a repair yard in Piraeus. The banning order will not be lifted until the owners can provide evidence to the MCA that the necessary repairs have been completed

- A Maltese flagged Ro-Ro Cargo vessel which is still under detention at Immingham. 26 deficiencies were identified before the inspection was suspended. Numerous deficiencies were identified relating to the vessels radio equipment in violation of the SOLAS (Safety of Life At Sea) Regulations. The Vessel’s GMDSS handheld sets were defective as was the VHF handset and transceiver and the MF/HF DSC. The NAVTEX was also found to be defective.


A tug which put to sea in contravention of a Coastguard detention order is at anchor off Devon after legal action.

The ST. MAWES was towing a 120ft converted fishing trawler from Plymouth when it ran aground at the entrance to the river Exe en route to Exeter.

The tug was detained after a Maritime and Coastguard Agency surveyor found unqualified crew and out of date charts


The fire damaged Belgian trawler FREEBIRD is currently berthed at Canada #1 Branch Dock, Liverpool.


It is reported by the Cornish press that the China Clay company Imerys is seeking Objective One funding for a £10m package of improvements at Par Docks.

Company spokesman Ivor Bowditch says talks over the last six months have centred on various schemes to upgrade the harbour, including construction of two new jetties and a lowering of the highway under the notorious railway bridge near the docks entrance.

The scheme would allow heavy lorries to access the docks from Par Moor Road instead of having to travel via St Blazey's busy Station Road.

Mr Bowditch said: "A detailed assessment will be undertaken later this year with a key desire to improve the docks' rail facility and a road lowering exercise under the Skew Bridge.

"The company currently ships 750,000 tonnes of aggregate out of Par annually, principally to the South East of England which is our biggest market, and the docks need upgrading in order to handle an ever-growing demand."

Mr Bowditch added: "The problem of accessing the docks from Par Moor has long been a problem because of the restricted height of the skew bridge. Hopefully, that situation can now be changed with the help of Objective One and other rail freight facility grants."


The Ilfracombe Lifeboat has reported a busy August. Here is a list of call outs:

Aug 4: All Weather Boat (AWB) launched to assist the 22ft yacht "Ottilie" of Swansea, suffering engine failure, towed to Ilfracombe harbour.

Aug 5: Inshore Lifeboat (ILB) launched to injured woman at Broadsand Beach, casualty stretchered to ILB by crew and ambulance personnel. Taken to Combe Martin beach for transferral to hospital.

Aug 8: ILB launched to person cut off by tide.

Aug 13: ILB launched to boy cut off by tide on rocks to north of pier. Crew member dropped on rock to reassure the casualty, both returned by ILB to Ilfracombe.

Aug 15: AWB towed in 75ft ex Admiralty fleet tender "Horning", suffering engine failure, towed to Ilfracombe harbour. ILB launched to assist berthing.

Aug 22: ILB launched to rescue three people cut off by tide at Swallows Hole.

Aug 23: AWB launched to assist 30ft inflatable RIB, broken down off Hangman. Seven passengers taken on lifeboat and RIB taken in tow, but engines restarted and proceeded to Ilfracombe harbour under own power.

Aug 27: ILB launched with AWB to search for missing person. Casualty found and transferred to AWB. ILB rescued missing person's canoe.

Aug 27: ILB launched to dinghy reported to be in trouble in strong tide. Occupants found to have no problems.


Scilly News reported the late running of the Scillonian on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week due to the effect of spring tides. Her usual morning departure from Penzance being rescheduled to 12:00 with an arrival at St. Marys at 14:30

One of the main design specifications when the Scillonian was built was that she had to ‘draw’ very little water so that she could moor alongside St. Mary’s and Penzance Quays at low tide. Subsequently, the Scillonian was built with an almost flat hull, obviously the ship could not dock in these extreme low tides though.

This is one problem that the architects behind the new Scillonian IV will have to overcome. Traditionally, the ships have got larger in succession from the last.


The ramp for the fast craft berth no. 51A arrived in Dublin at 12:00 on September18. following a 4/5 day journey from Holland on the barge Lastdrager II and towed by the tug ADA-D.  The linkspan was due to be floated into position on September 19. 


The visit by the US Naval vessel USS WINSTON CHURCHILL  and two RN vessels, HMS LINDISFARNE and HURWORTH to Dublin Port have been cancelled, almost certainly in the light of recent events. However, a visit to Dublin by HMS GUERNSEY will go ahead on September 21.


Ministry of Defence officials are

Officials say they are carefully examining the base and its exposure to airborne attacks. But for security reasons, the MoD is not elaborating, and says security is constantly reviewed at the base as part of an on-going process, 365 days a year.

A spokeswoman said: "Naturally we understand concerns people might have about airborne threats following the tragedy in America. We constantly review our security and contingency measures. This is an on-going process but we do not discuss what these measures are." Restrictions on air traffic passing below 2,000ft above the base have been in force since long prior to the attacks in America.

But Ken Tucker, chair of governors at Barne Barton Primary School, wants a complete reassessment of the risks posed to Plymouth by an air attack on the city's base, which is home to seven nuclear-powered attack submarines, and as of next year will be the Royal Navy's sole nuclear refit yard. He fears if the base, and crucially some of the submarines, were to sustain a terrorist hit, the results could be catastrophic. 

The existing aircraft restricted zone is circular, about one mile across, and directly above the dockyard's submarine basin. Only aircraft with special permission can enter the zone. Mr Tucker says, at the very least, it needs to be extended north of the dockyard to encompass the controversial RAFT site, where the navy wants to build a weapons loading jetty for nuclear submarines.
He said: "What we saw in America has destroyed so many seemingly invincible defence plans. Many lessons have to be learnt, heeded and acted upon, and this will obviously need to include how you defend vast open air spaces such as Plymouth Sound at a stroke." "When the Americans retaliate, we will be entering new, dangerous and uncharted waters with the Devonport nuclear base playing an important role. "The Government must ensure that a high alert situation remains for a considerable period, remembering at all times that nuclear safety within the city of Plymouth is not only vital for us, it is also in the very best interests of the country as a whole."



As a consequence of a quick visit to Ireland there is only a short update this evening. However, there was an unscheduled update on Wednesday evening this appears below this evening's update. The next update will be on Wednesday September 19.


Since posting last Sunday's update the world appears to have suddenly become a less certain and significantly more dangerous place. Nobody in their wildest imagination could have contemplated the events which unfolded in the USA on Tuesday.  

Mersey and Irish Sea Shipping would like to offer condolences to all those who have lost family, friends and colleagues as a consequence of the horrific events of September 11. 

The M&ISS web site is visited by hundreds of people from around the world each week and it is certain that some visitors are bound to have been personally touched by this terrible act.

One hopes that the leaders of all nations will act in a responsible manner to ensure that those involved in planning these outrageous attacks are brought to swift justice with the minimum of casualties - there have been too many deaths already. 

As a mark of respect for those who died the opening homepage tune "The Leaving of Liverpool" has temporarily been replaced by the "Star Spangled Banner". 

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Mike O'Brien, Kevin Bennett, John Lawlor and "others".

SEA CONTAINERS / Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

RAPIDE sailings were disrupted as a result of adverse conditions this week. The vessel did not make her return journey from Douglas on Tuesday September 12. Finally departing Douglas at 11:10 on September 13 - light ship. The sailing to Dublin on September 13 also being cancelled.

Heavy loadings on RAPIDE appear to be causing late running. On Saturday September 15 RAPIDE did not get away from Dublin until around 13:40 and further delays were experienced at Liverpool causing knock-on effects for the evening Douglas sailings. On Sunday September 16 departure from Dublin was again behind schedule with arrival in Liverpool being around 18:00 hours. She departed at 19:25 bound for Douglas with 595 passengers.

JHL's COMMENT: Perhaps it might be wise when devising next years schedules for the company to make allowance for heavy loadings and slower running and turn rounds at busy times during the summer and the shoulder weekends?

SEACAT ISLE OF MAN adverse weather conditions led to the sailing from Douglas to Dublin on September 13 being retimed to 21:30 whilst the 07:00 Douglas to Liverpool and the return 10:30 sailing did not run. Passengers being transferred to the BEN-MY-CHREE.


Photographs of the schooner at Youghal can be found at Nial O'Mahoney's Irish Ships site



On Wednesday September 13 six crew on the 38 metre Belgium registered fishing vessel 'FREE BIRD' were airlifted to safety when the engine room caught fire 12 miles south west of the Isle of Man.

The Inmarsat satellite alert was picked up by the Dutch Coastguard and passed via Swansea Coastguard to Holyhead Coastguard who scrambled the RAF rescue helicopter from Valley to the scene along with the RNLI Port Saint Mary lifeboat.

The helicopter arrived on scene around 23:00, just after a heavy explosion on board. The helicopter pilot advised the skipper to get his crew into the liferaft as it was far too dangerous to winch direct from the burning vessel.

All six have now been airlifted to Bangor hospital for checks, although the helicopter pilot reported no apparent serious injuries.

Jim Paton, District Controller at Holyhead Coastguard comments:

"All six were wearing lifejackets when this incident happened and had a life raft available, which in this case was needed.

"The rescue teams worked extremely well against the north westerly winds gusting to severe gale force 9 and the threat of further explosions."


HSS STENA EXPLORER does not appear to be performing very well, falling behind schedule. There is a rumour circulating that normal performance might not be restored until her next refit!

STENA GALLOWAY the deployment of the vessel in the place of KONINGIN BEATRIX following last week's mishap at Rosslare appears to be encountering major difficulties and she is clearly unsuitable for the Fishguard - Rosslare route both in terms of capacity and ability to maintain schedules.

On Thursday September 14 she did not arrive at Rosslare until 22:00. Consequently the decision was made to cancel the Friday evening Rosslare - Fishguard round trip to enable her to get back on schedule. Traffic was diverted to Irish Ferries - ISLE OF INISHMORE.

Photographs of the STENA GALLOWAY at Fishguard can be found on Mike O'Brien's site at:


PRIDE OF SUFFOLK was noted in Canada Dry Dock on Saturday September 15. She was believed to be undergoing repairs on her bow thruster.

CELTIC STAR was noted in Alfred Lock around 19:00 on Friday evening. She was back in service and loading at the Dublin terminal by early Saturday afternoon.


The NORWAY [ex FRANCE] called at Dún Laoghaire on Saturday September 15 after her final trans-Atlantic crossing. She had called at Greenock the previous day. The vessel lay about three miles off the coast. Passengers being ferried ashore by the ships landing craft style tenders which are normally stowed on the bow.



In an attempt to keep on top of news stories this week due to the fact I am away in Ireland this weekend I have compiled an additional news bulletin.

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Mike Pryce, John Lawlor, Brian Chambers, Justin Merrigan - Incat  and "others".

SEA CONTAINERS /  Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

Sea Containers announced that it had taken over the Corinth Canal in Greece at 22:00 Greek time on September 10th. The Corinth Canal is a major arterial waterway which traverses the isthmus between Attica and the Peloponnisos in Greece. The canal was opened as a porterage crossing in 620 B.C. and the waterway in its present form was completed by Ferdinand de Lesseps in 1893 after he had completed the Suez Canal. Today, the canal has approximately 12,000 vessel transits a year and has never been marketed by the Greek government. Sea Containers expects to increase the transits by 50% or more through an effective sales and marketing program.

At the northern end of the canal Sea Containers intends to build a major marina on the west side and a roll-on, roll-off ship berth on the east side.

At the southern end of the canal Sea Containers intends to develop a mixed leisure facility which will include restaurants, shops, hotel, cinemas, water park and other entertainment including "bateaux mouches" trips through the canal.

Glenn Michael will be the canal’s chief executive, coming from the same position in PeruRail which is part owned and managed by the company’s Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. subsidiary. Mr. Michael will also be researching the Greek railways in advance of their privatization expected within about 3 years time. In addition to PeruRail, Sea Containers owns the Great North Eastern Railway franchise in the United Kingdom. Both railways were privatizations and have been profitable.

Greece’s major motorway between Athens and Patras passes over the canal with exits and entrances at the canal. A new railway is being built from Athens to Corinth, passing over the canal. A stop at the canal for a plate of souvlaki and a glimpse of the canal is a favorite pastime of Greeks taking the motorway.

Mr. James B. Sherwood, president, said that he sees the canal as merely a toehold in the Greek market. Greece has an enormous domestic ferry requirement which today is being served by an overage fleet. The domestic ferry industry has been closed to foreign investment but from October, 2002 these restrictions will be lifted. Sea Containers hopes to participate in this activity as well as rail and the canal.


On September 7 Standard & Poor's gave a triple-'B' preliminary rating to the GBP65 million secured floating-rate notes due 2010 to be issued by special-purpose entity (SPE) Isle of Man Steam Packet Finance PLC.

The collateral securing the notes to be issued is a loan to Isle of Man Steam Packet Co. Ltd. ("Steam Packet") secured by first-fixed and -floating charges over all its assets and undertakings. Steam Packet operates ferry services connecting the Isle of Man (triple-'A'/Stable/A-1+) with mainland U.K., Ireland, and Northern Ireland. The Isle of Man is a Crown dependency, constitutionally distinct from the U.K., but closely tied to it by centuries
of custom and practice.

The rating reflects the business risk assessment and expected cash flows of Steam Packet's ferry operations, as well as the structural enhancements in place to fortify the issuer's ability and willingness to meet full and timely payment of interest and principal for this transaction. Cash flow assumptions are driven primarily by an assessment of the sustainable, long-term performance of this business under a triple-'B' stress scenario.

The proceeds of the issue, after fees and expenses, will be used to make a GBP14.3 million extraordinary dividend payment to the parent, Sea Containers Isle of Man Ltd., a GBP17.7 million on-demand loan to Sea Containers Bermuda Ltd., and a discharge of the GBP33 million of existing indebtedness of Steam Packet.

The financial implications of the deal were revealed by Lloyds List: 

A £65m ($94m) refinancing by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company will see its parent, Sea Containers group, benefit by almost half that amount. The Manx ferry operator plans to raise the £65m through an issue of secured floating-rate notes due 2010 by a special purpose vehicle. The issue has been granted a triple-B investment grade rating by Standard & Poor's.

The collateral securing the notes is a loan to Isle of Man Steam Packet Company secured by first-fixed and -floating charges over all its assets and undertakings. Some £32m of the net proceeds will be used to make a £14.3m extraordinary dividend payment to the ferry operator's direct parent, Sea Containers Isle of Man, and a £17.7m on-demand loan to Sea Containers Bermuda. The remaining £33m will be used to discharge existing indebtedness of Isle of Man Steam Packet.

This the second note issue by a small UK-based ferry company in the past two years. In 1999, Wightlink launched a £135m fixed-rate bond which was also rated triple-B. Standard & Poor's said the rating on the latest issue reflected the business risk assessment and expected cash flows of Isle of Man Steam Packet's ferry operations, as well as "structural enhancements in place to fortify the issuer's ability and willingness to meet full and timely payment of interest and principal."

Cash flows generated by the operations of Isle of Man Steam Packet and its subsidiaries will be the sole source of repayment of the notes. The ratings agency commented: "These cash flows depend critically, among various factors, on the company's success in retaining its exclusive user agreement for the sea transportation of goods and passengers between the Isle of Man and four UK and Irish ports, as well as on the underlying stability of these revenue sources." The current user agreement has an option for a five-year extension to be effective on September 30, 2005, conditional on, among other factors, certain performance criteria being met.

Standard & Poor's said it judged the likelihood of an extension to be probable to a triple-B level of risk, reflecting an assessment of the Isle of Steam Packet's "sustained ability to meet or exceed the conditions and performance criteria as set out in the user agreement, as it has to date, as well as the political will and intention of the Isle of Man government to extend the term of this key contract through the life of the notes."


Passenger figures compiled by the Harbours Division for Passenger figures compiled by the Harbours Division for

  • Belfast plus 19% from 5,465 to 6,528

  • Dublin minus 21% from 8,456 to 6,688

  • Heysham plus 0.5% from 34,123 to 34,272

  • Liverpool plus  5% from 51,520 to 53,983

  • Fleetwood all minus from 1,399 to nil [no Lady of Mann sailings]

August commercial vehicle metreage increased by 9.8% from 33,534 metres to 36,807 metres.

Director of Harbours, Captain Michael Brew commented: "August 2001 passenger figures are the best August figures since 1989, this is despite the cancellation of a number of events as a result of the UK's Foot and Mouth crisis. But for the impact of this crisis it is likely that the passenger traffic would have been even higher. The growth in August traffic is a result of the strength of the core scheduled passenger traffic which has been increasing steadily in recent years."


KONINGIN BEATRIX shortly before 07:00 on Sunday September 9 the KONINGIN BEATRIX was involved in a collision with the lifeboat pen at Rosslare Harbour.

The incident happened when the KONINGIN BEATRIX was coming astern in the harbour on arrival from Fishguard. The vessel demolished the lifeboat pen which comprises a metal frame which shields the lifeboat and acts as a mooring.

Shortly afterwards the bow of the lifeboat was submerged under the stern of the KB. It appears that the KONINGIN BEATRIX lost power on three engines. An attempt was made to get three head lines ashore and heave the vessel off the lifeboat back over to berth #3.

The attempt was unsuccessful for around 45 minutes. Port Radio was advised that the KB's starboard quarter was grounded on rocks whilst her port quarter was on the lifeboat. The rudders and propellors suffered severe damage. The KB eventually managed to get on to berth #3 after much winching

The lifeboat ST BRENDAN was badly damaged and severely holed on the port side. She started taking water, however, she was kept afloat by her pumps. It is believed that repair costs for the lifeboat and pen could be as much as £3.5m sterling.

Passengers and vehicles scheduled for the morning departure were transferred to Irish Ferries ISLE OF INISHMORE sailing to Pembroke Dock. 

It was fortunate that it had been intended that the KONINGIN BEATRIX would go into dry dock for scheduled maintenance this week.

KONINGIN BEATRIX was departed from Rosslare accompanied the tug MAIDEN CASTLE which had arrived from Falmouth at 15:25 on September 11. She will be dry docked in Brest.

STENA LYNX III operated an unscheduled early morning sailing from Rosslare on Monday morning to convey some of the KB's traffic.

STENA GALLOWAY arrived at Rosslare from Fishguard on Tuesday September 11 at 18:40. The Galloway doesn't  fit the Stena berth too well, a hoistable ramp has to
be used to connect the shore ramp to the ships stern. 

On Wednesday September 12 it was reported  that Stena Galloway was running about an hour behind schedule this morning due to problems with hydraulics onboard, fortunately her schedule permits a long lay-over in Rosslare in the evenings so the time can be made up.


The Mersey Docks and Harbour Company has announced that it will shortly commence a tender process for the sale of the Port of Liverpool Building, following receipt of several offers for the prestigious Grade II* listed building at Liverpool's famous Pier Head.

One of the landmark buildings known as the "Three Graces" which dominate the city's waterfront, it consists of 163,000 sq ft (15,143 sq m) of office accommodation fully let to companies including Rathbones Investment Management Limited, FWL Technologies Limited and CMA/CGM, NYK and Gracechurch shipping lines.

Built in 1907, the Port of Liverpool Building was the headquarters of Mersey Docks until 1993 when the Company relocated to a new head office at Royal Seaforth Dock, releasing approximately 50,000 sq ft (4,645 sq m) of office accommodation. The building has since formed part of Mersey Docks' investment property portfolio.

The Port of Liverpool Building takes the form of a renaissance palace of neo-classical style with impressive central domed atrium and internal marble features, which set it apart from any other office building in Liverpool. It was the first of the three landmark buildings erected at the city's Pier Head.


Local Press reports indicate that ship repair work could return to the former Cammell Laird yards within twelve months.

New owners A&P told Euro MP Chris Davies that they would have failed in their objectives if work was not underway in the next 12 months.

It was also stated that the assets would not be sold for property development even if shipyard business did not materialise.

Mr. Davies received the assurances at a meeting with Brian Slade, a non-executive director of the Southampton company.

He reports that the director said: "Give us three to six months to properly assess the Birkenhead yard and fully identify its potential. I personally would be disappointed not to see activity at the yard within nine to twelve months." And he assured Mr. Davies that A&P was committed to developing ship-repairing and marine services, and that they had no plans to sell the site for property development.

Mr. Slade, a non-executive director who is the longest serving member of the A&P board, told the MEP that he believed it would take only a relatively modest increase in the overall size of the company's business to enable work to be brought back to Birkenhead, and that the company's marketing team was working flat-out to secure it.

But he emphasised that the company had to gain the confidence of potential customers.

It's biggest challenge was to win new work in the face of European and global competition, he said.


James Fisher & Sons Plc has revealed encouraging first half figures this week which have been buoyed by increased tanker rates and improved turnround times. 

Fisher's Pre-tax profits increased  to £5.31M on turnover of £33.49M. This compares with £3.28M on a £30.21M turnover on the same period last year. 

The period marked the company’s withdrawal from direct port operations at Newhaven in an agreement that saw Fisher take a share of slightly under 20 per cent in Société d’ Economie Mixte Locale, the French company owning that part of the port which incorporated the Fisher terminal.

Chairman David Cobb said he hoped to conclude the sale of the 1982-built 1,694 DWT dry cargo vessel ROSETHORN leaving two dry cargo ships still seeking buyers. Meanwhile the second of two converted cable layers, the OCEANIC PEARL, is expected to join the fleet in mid-October. 

Mr. Cobb believes demand for 3,000 DWT double-skinned tankers will continue, and future investment will focus on that sector.



It was a spectacular sight on Hobart’s Derwent River when the Incat-built 96 metre Wave Piercing Sealift Catamaran Joint Venture (HSV X1) welcomed the Royal Australian Navy’s Guided Missile Destroyer HMAS Brisbane into port.

Joint Venture, fresh from her conversion from a commercial passenger and freight ship to a theatre logistics vessel, presented a stark contrast to the distinguished stalwart HMAS Brisbane now nearing the end of her active service. They were joined by the Royal New Zealand Navy’s Leander Class Frigate HMNZS Canterbury, making it an impressive meeting of nations as the three quite different craft engaged in vessel manoeuvres.

The Joint Venture was on the first stage of sea trials prior to her departure on a three week delivery voyage to the United States, where she will enter service with the US military.

Captains of the three craft compared notes, by ship’s radio, with much boasting about size and vessel speed and capabilities, the crew of the "Steel Cat" (as the HMAS Brisbane has been affectionately known) dubbing the aluminium Incat craft as the "Shiny Fast Cat". Joint Venture’s speeds of over 40 knots were in contrast to the slower more conventional military vessels she encountered in the Derwent.

Formerly known as Incat 050, the new name ‘Joint Venture’ is in recognition of the partnership of component commands from the US Navy, Army, Marine Corps, US Special Operations Command and Coast Guard. Together they will explore the operational implications and opportunities of new marine technologies that are bringing higher speeds, longer ranges and increased payload capacities to surface vessels. The name is also appropriate in the burgeoning relationship between the commercial and military sectors -–a true "Joint Venture".

Incat Chairman Robert Clifford said; "the US Military envisage widespread use of high speed marine transport in the very near future, and Incat looks forward to working with the Joint Forces command".


Just as they got to grips with travelling at speeds of up to 40 knots the US Military’s hand picked crew for the 96m Wave Piercing Sealift Catamaran, Incat hull number 050, have experienced first-hand the speed and exhilaration of the vessel’s Marine Evacuation System (MES).

The Liferaft Systems Australia (LSA) MES installed on the craft provides a fast, safe, lightweight and reliable means of evacuating passengers and crew directly into 100-person liferafts via 17m long inflatable slides.

The craft has now taken the name Joint Venture and is designated HSV X1 (High Speed Vessel Experimental One). TACOM, the Tank-Automotive and Armament Command of the US Army, will use Joint Venture to demonstrate her ability to perform specific mission scenarios and limited operational experiments in order to assess her usefulness in US Military and Coast Guard applications which require a platform to move troops, heavy military vehicles and equipment.

Other arms of the US military will also participate in this unique Joint Forces ‘Proof of Concept’ project. It is anticipated the US Navy and Coast Guard will work with the US Army, looking at the innovative technology as a complement to their existing amphibious force ships.

September 9



This weekend whilst, compiling the update the effectiveness of this electronic medium really came home. Though unplanned it was interesting to note that just a few days after the introduction of the PRIDE OF SUFFOLK on P&O's Liverpool to Dublin service her arrival her introduction was well documented by a three person effort - Tony Brennan capturing her first service arrival in Dublin, Ian Collard and myself her first appearances at Gladstone Dock, Liverpool. Ian managing to catch her when undertaking berthing trials in the former Gladstone Graving Dock and myself catching her at the discharge berth whilst some adjustments appeared to be being made to her stern ramp. 


As mentioned last week, to keep the site manageable I have undertaken some pruning operations this weekend - therefore you will find that some items have been archived. 


Please note that any submissions for inclusion in next Sunday's update must be forwarded by 21:00 on FRIDAY September 13 as I will be going to Dún Laoghaire next weekend to photograph the NORWAY. I should be back in time to upload the site on Sunday evening as usual.

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, John Williams, John Shepherd, Stephen Marsden, Ian Collard, Tony Brennan, "Cornish Shipping", Kevin Bennett, Brian Chambers and "others".


The September meeting will take place at Sam's Bar Function Room, corner of Old Hall Street and Tithebarn Street, Liverpool near  Moorfields Station at 19:00 on Tuesday September 11.

A Cunard Evening Presentation in Two Parts will take place. BEHIND THE BLUE DOOR will be presented by Miss Jenny Kemp M.B.E., J.P. (Ex Cunard Fleet Personnel & Welfare Officer) whilst QUEEN MARY will be presented by Manchester Branch Treasurer Bert Novelli. Visitors are welcome.

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

LADY OF MANN should return to Liverpool from the Azores around September 23 / 24 and berth at Alexandra Dock.

On 27 and 28 October day trips from Liverpool to Douglas [dep 12:00] will be possible on the LADY OF MANN outbound returning on the 21:30 RAPIDE sailing from Douglas.

RAPIDE was noted by an observer running rather late on Saturday evening, September 8. She arrived from Dublin at 19:00 and did not get away for Douglas until 20:03 with an eta of 22:30.


Everyone knows that Cats and Dogs generally have a mutual dislike of one another and SeaCats are  apparently no exception!

This week the company defended itself against claims of animal cruelty when a London man complained about his dog "Daisy" was left in a distressed condition after a journey to Liverpool.

Mr. Costain from London had been visiting relatives on the Isle of Man and made a complaint to the RSPCA in Liverpool that his pet had been placed in a wire cage near the rear of the vehicle deck and close to vehicle exhausts.

He claimed that the dog's eyes were streaming and that she became shaky and very distressed. The Manx press reported that a  spokesman for the RSPCA said: ‘Following the complaint from a passenger the RSPCA met with representatives of the Steam Packet company on Wednesday morning to discuss the transportation of dogs on its catamarans. The company was very helpful and was very interested in what we had to say. ‘However, conditions for dogs taken on the catamarans by foot passengers are not ideal. Following the meeting we agreed to compile for the company several recommendations on how to improve these conditions on board.’

Mike Woodward, chief operating manager for the Steam Packet, said: ‘Mr Costain was made fully aware of the dog transport policy we have on our ferries which we have formulated with dog owners’ clubs around the Island.

‘He chose not to travel on board the Ben-my-Chree, which has special sections for allowing pets to travel, which he knew, and instead chose to travel on the SeaCat, which does not have the same policy.

‘This is the first complaint we have had of this nature but we feel we have a high enough standard of pet care while travelling to defend any claim of animal cruelty.’

In a letter to the ferry company about the journey, on August 24, Mr. Costain said: ‘The complaint is the result of astonishing incompetence from Steam Packet polices and management.’ He said Daisy suffers from separation anxiety and he had given her a sleeping pill but the ferry was delayed by six hours and so the effects wore off when the boat finally left

The letter also added: ‘Daisy was left in the noisiest bit of the boat in a wire and thoroughly insecure cage while cars backed noisily -towards her spewing fumes into her face. The cage was at the end of the car deck in an area which funnels slightly and therefore cannot take vehicles. ‘The place stank to high heaven and even if the staff had tried hard it would have been difficult to find a noisier spot on the boat. When I came down an hour later she was in such a sorry state. She was shaking like mad with her eyes streaming from a mixture of the noxious fumes.

‘I’m afraid this is entirely unsatisfactory and so I removed her and took her upstairs. My journey and that of my canine companion was not in the least bit pleasurable.’


SS NORWAY  - The former SS FRANCE will be making two Irish Sea calls later this week at the conclusion of her final trans-Atlantic voyage. 

On Friday September 14 she is due to call a Greenock whilst on Saturday, September 15, this grand old ship will anchor off Dún Laoghaire before continuing on the final leg of her journey to Southampton where she will pay off. 

This will be your last chance to see this ship in our waters before she sails for a new life [or death?] in the far east. 

I have been asked to inform readers that a group of World Ship Society Members will be sailing to Ireland on the JONATHAN SWIFT to view the vessel travelling outwards on the 09:15 sailing from Holyhead to Dublin and returning on the 18:00 sailing. 

JONATHAN SWIFT should offer much better views than the HSS STENA EXPLORER given the latter vessel's limited open deck space and the fact that it is usually closed on approach to a port.

[JHL's COMMENT: I'll be travelling on the RAPIDE  from Liverpool and will then make my way around to Dún Laoghaire. Hopefully there will be some good shots possible from one or other vantage points for the web site!]

Visit for more information on the NORWAY and what the future may or may not hold.



Major logistics provider, the Roadferry Group which is owned by the MD&HC, is to focus control of its well established operations in Ireland on a new multi-million pound purpose built hub in the Port of Belfast.

The 100,000 sq ft (9,300 sq m) warehouse and 10,000 sq ft (930 sq m) of support facilities in a prime strategic location at the entrance to the Port and close to major shipping terminals and motorways, will concentrate several activities onto a single site.

The development, being undertaken by Belfast Harbour Commissioners for Roadferry to utilise on a long-term lease, is a response to the Group's expanding businesses outgrowing existing facilities in both North Belfast and Portadown.

When the new hub is completed in the first quarter of 2002, it will be operated around the clock by more than 40 staff.

Nicola Walker, Roadferry's Commercial Manager for Ireland and Scotland, said the new hub would take the Group, which is already one of the leading Irish Sea roll-on roll-off operators, onto a higher competitive plane, opening up fresh commercial opportunities.

The Belfast warehouse is to be built on a six acre site only metres from the Victoria roll-on roll-off and container terminals serving key shipping routes to Liverpool and Heysham, and less than half a kilometre from the motorway network. It will rise almost 40 ft (14 metres) to the eaves and will have 16,000 sq ft (1,500 sq m) of external canopy and 14 dock leveller loading bays.

The state-of-the-art warehouse will be divided into areas for Roadferry's range of operations. Initially, approximately 23,000 sq ft (2,140 sq m) will accommodate high bay racking providing 6,000+ pallet spaces. There will also be a large area of open space for block storage and a defined area for groupage sorting which will be managed by Link Transport, the Group's Northern Ireland distribution arm.

Said Nicola Walker: "After operating at full capacity for some considerable time, the prospect of having such a high quality and centralised hub, encompassing all our operations in Northern Ireland, is very exciting. We are confident that the high standard of both the new facility in Belfast and our existing warehouse in Santry, North Dublin, combined with our comprehensive range of ancillary services, will win the Roadferry Group many new blue chip clients."

Tracey Brothers of Northern Ireland, the main contractors for Belfast Harbour Commissioners, started work on the site of the Roadferry warehouse last month.

Said Joe O'Neill, Business Development Executive for the Harbour Commissioners: "We are delighted that the Roadferry Group has taken the decision to focus its established all-Ireland distribution network on a facility within the Port of Belfast.

"The Commissioners are committed to providing industry and commerce with integrated solutions through the provision of modern logistics facilities adjacent to Northern Ireland's principal sea freight terminals. This extensive, new logistics facility for an important established port user such as the Roadferry Group, reflects our strategy of providing further infrastructure to achieve these integrated solutions for our customers."


Water is now flowing along the new culverts into the East Float from the Wallasey Dock pumping station.

Wallasey Dock has now been sealed off from the East Float with piling. It is understood that with this work completed draining of the dock and removal of the silt will follow which will enable infilling for use as a vehicle marshalling area. 

The framework of the terminal buildings has also been erected and is visible from the Four Bridges route.


KONINGIN BEATRIX is due to go to dry-dock next week for her long overdue
repairs. Her sailing will be covered by STENA GALLOWAY.

On Sunday morning September 9 it was reported that the KONINGIN BEATRIX came into collision with the Rosslare Lifeboat. Consequently the morning sailing from Rosslare to Fishguard has been cancelled.

It is suggested that KONINGIN BEATRIX will be replaced permanently in January 2001 by the STENA EUROPE - sister vessel to Irish Ferries NORMANDY.


Local press reports this week indicate that John Syvret wishes to acquire the rights to the name for North Western Ship Repairers apparently it was not acquired when A&P bought the Cammell Laird assets. It is also reported that the acquisition of the Cammell Laird site at Birkenhead is likely to be investigated following competition concerns.


CELTIC STAR is currently in Bidston Dry Dock, receiving attention following her release from P&O's Liverpool to Dublin service following the arrival of PRIDE OF SUFFOLK.

SUN PEGASUS - the freighter which was acquired by Cammell Laird Plc some time back with a view to possible conversion to a cable ship has been moved from Cammell Laird wet basin to the West Float this week. She is expected to enter North Western Ship Repairers to make her seaworthy following her sale by receivers for £350,000 to Syrian interests - 'Alma-Myra Transport and Shipping Company Ltd'. Local press reports indicate that North Western beat A&P for the SUN PEGASUS work! SUN PEGASUS will enter the yard on completion of work on CELTIC STAR. 


BERLIN on September 6, 2001 the cruise ship made an unexpected call on Merseyside, berthing at Gladstone Dock.  for photographs.


PRIDE OF SUFFOLK made her first visit to Dublin at around 16:50 on September 2 for berthing departing for Liverpool at 19:30.

PRIDE OF SUFFOLK arrived on Merseyside on September 3 and commenced operations between Liverpool and Dublin on September 5. Her arrival released the chartered CELTIC STAR to proceed to North Western Ship Repairers at Bidston Dry Dock. It is intended that PRIDE OF SUFFOLK will replace the chartered ESCO ro/lo vessel  CELTIC SUN.

P&O Interim Results by Gary Andrews

Below are ferry relevant sections of P&O's Interim Results along with some press reports which appeared today.

P&O have reported big losses in their ferry divisions and are promising quite remarkable changes to the ferry world.  (Stating that they expect there to only be four or five major players in North West Europe within the next five years).

They seem reasonably happy with Irish Sea operations (though I suspect they'll still be looking to save money) and the Western Channel changes seem pretty well underway with the PRIDE OF PORTSMOUTH and PRIDE OF LE HAVRE being replaced by the NORLAND and NORSTAR whilst talks continue with Brittany Ferries regarding rationalisation of some description.

So what of the North Sea - what will P&O do there to rationalise and save costs?

Will routes close or services be reduced? Will they look for partnerships with other ferry operators?

P&O Announcement of Interim Results

04/09/2001 at 07:00 hrs

· Ports operating profit up 31%
· Cold Logistics operating profit up 42%
· Trans European operating profit up 60%
· £6 million cost to Ferries from foot and mouth
· Positive outlook for Ports and Logistics

Comment by P&O Chairman, Lord Sterling

“Despite the slower rate of growth in world trade, our Ports and Logistics businesses have shown considerable resilience and we are confident that they will continue to do well. Ferries and P&O Nedlloyd are facing a much more challenging environment but they are market leaders that can play a key role in further industry consolidation. There is significant value in all our businesses and we are determined to see P&O’s underlying strengths reflected in the market.”


Results and dividend

Operating profit for the 6 months to 30 June 2001 was £135.7 million (2000 pro forma £148.6 million). Strong performances by Ports and Logistics resulted in a 35% increase in their contribution to £68.1 million (£50.5 million). P&O Nedlloyd also had a much better result. These were partly offset by a reduced contribution from Ferries. Property achieved a good result from a much lower asset base.

Profit before interest and tax was £145.9 million (£148.5 million). After net interest of £55.5 million (£51.9 million), profit before tax was £90.4 million (£96.6 million). The tax charge was 25.8%. Basic earnings per share of 8.9p was similar to last year (9.3p).

The Board has resolved to pay a dividend of 4.5p per £1 nominal of deferred stock. This is the first interim dividend to be declared for P&O following the demerger of the cruises business last year. The dividend will be paid on 16 November 2001 to deferred stockholders on the register at the close of business on 14 September 2001.


Ferries had a disappointing first half, recording a loss of £18.1 million (£7.4 million loss). The major reason for the weaker result was the outbreak of foot and mouth disease which impacted profit by approximately £6 million in the first half.

P&O Stena Line, in which P&O has a 60% economic interest, achieved a good result given the challenging conditions. P&O’s share of the operating profit was £4.0 million. Despite the effect of foot and mouth, which contributed to an 11% decline in total Short Sea tourist vehicle carryings, this was only marginally down on last year’s first half (£4.5 million). Tourist vehicle rates were slightly down but this was more than offset by significantly increased on board sales. Total Short Sea freight carryings grew by 10%, much of which was absorbed by a new entrant. Freight rates showed little change compared to the first half of 2000. In June the European Commission granted P&O Stena Line a further six year exemption from anti-trust provisions.

The tourist market on all other routes was also affected by foot and mouth. In the light of this, the results for the Irish Sea and Scottish routes were reasonable. Although still unsatisfactory, the Western Channel achieved an improved result.

On the North Sea, the Pride of Rotterdam was introduced in April and has been extremely well received. She will be joined by her sister ship, the Pride of Hull, in November. Together they will replace four smaller ships with consequent cost savings and improved tourist revenue yield. However, there were one off costs from this restructuring and also because some freight traffic moved from the North Sea to the Channel. Together these impacted the Ferries result by £5 million.

The second half of the year is continuing to be affected by foot and mouth with a noticeable lack of Continental passengers at the height of the tourist season. There will also be further rationalisation costs arising from the introduction of our new ships on the North Sea. Despite these one off factors, the underlying performance of our Western Channel and North Sea operations remains unacceptable. We have therefore carried out a detailed review of the options, including possible further rationalisation and consolidation. We reiterate our commitment to covering Ferries’ cost of capital during 2002.

We have identified increased opportunities to improve margins through strategic purchasing. We are also close to finalising a more effective approach to fuel procurement. These will benefit not only Ferries but also the rest of P&O where we are targeting a total saving of at least £10 million from 2002 onwards.

As we go into 2002 we expect continuing strong growth in Anglo-Continental and Irish Sea freight. We also anticipate a marked recovery in passenger numbers stimulated by our own marketing and the Government’s stated commitment to restoring tourism to previous levels.


The level of world trade growth is down on what it was six, or even three, months ago. There is also uncertainty, particularly surrounding the US economy. To some extent these factors will affect our businesses. Ports and Logistics, however, have shown considerable resilience. While the second half of 2001 will present challenges, we are confident that they will continue to do well.

It is less than a year since we successfully demerged our cruises business. We are committed to maintaining the pace of our strategic development. We intend to realise fully the value of the leadership positions of P&O Nedlloyd and Ferries. Ports and Logistics are moving ahead strongly as we allocate capital to the fastest growing parts of the Group. We are also achieving increased synergies from managing the Group more closely since the
demerger. There is significant value in our businesses that we are determined to see reflected in our share price.


This week the North Devon Journal reported that the County Cork town of Youghal is pulling out all the stops to accommodate the historic schooner the KATHLEEN AND MAY.

Youghal is reported to be is so keen to be connected to the vessel, its owner Steve Clarke called an urgent meeting with Torridge District Council leaders in North Devon and told them: "I need answers now."

After receiving the red carpet treatment in Youghal when the

The idea there is to split the ship's time between the two ports and also establish a modern ferry link which could attract major European funds. But Mr. Clarke fears work on the project at the Devon end is moving too slowly, and he has yet to get a definite answer on whether funds would be available for the council's proposal to use the ship as a focal point of a major
maritime feature at Brunswick Wharf.

Mr. Clarke hopes that after the private meeting, experts on funding will be brought in quickly to steer him, and the council, in the right direction. The 100-year-old cargo ship used to sail in and out of Youghal for many years, and the town has fallen in love with the newly restored version which encapsulates a piece of its history.

Mr. Clarke said: "In Youghal they seem to be looking for every bit of money they can get, and they are usually successful in getting what they want. "I can leave the

When the ship arrived at Youghal , the crew was met by a tremendous welcome - a red
carpet was rolled out, thousands of people gathered including children waving flags, the Irish Navy provided an escort, there was a helicopter fly past, former crewmen were taken on a trip around the bay and a grand civic reception was held. A £10,000 cheque was presented to Mr Clarke towards the costs, and a fund has been started there to raise the money needed to provide new sails. "It was absolutely fantastic," Mr Clarke said.



LE CIARA and LE NIAMH were reported to be involved in fighting a fire on board an Irish registered fishing vessel FIONA PATRICIA some 17 miles due south of Tow Head.

The fishing vessel's crew of five was rescued by another fishing vessel THE SATURNAS whortly after they reported to the fire to Valencia Coast Guard. The Shannon based Coastguard helicopter transported the trawler's crew to Castletownbere. There were no reports of injuries.


The Naval service has barred two roofers, Mr. Mr Jonathan O'Brien, a Cork city councillor, and sub-contractor Mr John Callaghan, from working on the refurbishment of a building at the Haulbowline base as they have been denied security clearance.

Both men are members of Sinn Féin. The party has accused the Naval Service of discrimination. Sinn Féin ardcomhairle member Mr Martin Ferris condemned the move, which he pointed out came as the Taoiseach, Mr Ahern, was encouraging the party to support the security forces in the North.

Defence Forces' spokesman, Comdt Kieran McDaid, said he could not comment on the reasons for the decision to remove the two men from the base but said they were mistaken if they believed they had security clearance.

Mr Callaghan said the news was broken to him through the main contractor on the site, who also received no explanation. "They had no problem with a third man who was working with us but as I'm employing him he has had to go too."

Mr O'Brien, who was coopted on to Cork Corporation early last year, said he feared he would now lose other work. "This is going to affect my character and in this business, reputation is everything."


Scilly News reports that the Trinity House vessel MERMAID has been is Scilly recently cleaning and replacing marker buoys. Trinity House is the body responsible for maintaining maritime lighthouses and markers.

This year the Mermaid has laid a brand new buoy East of Annet which will assist the safe passage of Cruise liners into the Islands via the North Western passage, the most common channel of entry for liners visiting the Islands. The buoy will also act as a navigational aid to shipping coming into the Islands from behind St. Mary’s. This can be seen as an act to promote tourism to the Islands as passengers often come ashore to St. Mary’s and provide a valuable source of income to local businesses.



Scilly News has reported this week that island businesses are asking the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company to restore day trips on Saturdays during the summer season. It is claimed that it would seem the most popular time to take a daytrip to the Islands - on a peaceful Saturday, on the weekend off, but the Steamship stopped doing the Saturday sailings this year in early season. This comes a year after the year-2000 lull in Island trade. The 2001 schedule only allows for a short time ashore on St.Mary's on Saturdays. Day trips with over four hours ashore are available on weekdays.


The Isles of Scilly Steamship Company this week outlined its plans for the future and Objective 1 funding.

It is hoped that should such funding become available it will lead to the construction of a new SCILLONIAN IV, which at 78m will be 10 metres longer than the present / cargo ship.

Jeff Marston (chief executive) and Mike Hicks (company chairman) outlined plans for the shipping and airline. Mr Hicks scotched the idea of a return to a one-ship operation or the use of twin hulled catamarans, at present SCILLONIAN lll carries passengers the freighter GRY MARITHA cargo, and also a catamaran.

"A one-ship operation won't work," he said "and twin hulls are not a practical option as in inclement weather there would be too much 'down time'. They were looking for - and already had - the nucleus of a good design for a replacement Scillonian. It would do the trip in under two hours," said Mr. Hicks, "and maybe at 22 knots and in fine weather in 1 hour 30 or 40 minutes. It would provide a greatly enhanced sea service, operating throughout the year barring a January-March refit layoff."

Council chief executive Philip Hygate outlined the islands' partnership drive for Objective 1 funding which would underpin a replacement vessel. The money was there, he said, for the next five years, but thereafter it was likely to go to Eastern Europe.

Mr. Marston speaking of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company's air services said they were
developing facilities at Newquay "a proper airport" which had resulted in a four-fold increase in traffic. He spoke of the operational difficulties relating to Land's End airport that had been exacerbated by traffic control issues. They had their own staff at Newquay where they had taken on the lease of a hanger, "large enough for three football matches to take place".

He confirmed they were looking to acquire a second de Havilland Twin Otter aircraft.

September 2


Welcome to the first September update. I have endeavored to catch up with some of the backlog, however, I still have quite a lot of material which has to appear. 

Unfortunately other commitments raise their head from this week and therefore it might still take some time to catch up! Then there remains the CD ROM project to conclude which should see the light of day soon.

To assist in preparing updates and anticipating other future commitments I have indicated some update days on the revised September to November schedule indicating dates on which it would assist if material is forwarded 48 hours in advance for the intended update  unless of course it is a breaking news item. 

During the autumn Sunday updates will probably be posted by early to mid afternoon, though the indicated update time will remain 21:00 to allow a little leeway should delays occur.

Next week some pruning of the site will occur in older material will be removed to help keep things manageable.

Finally I would just like to point out that the Archive Site which resided on the Cybase server is officially closed and no longer accessible, this of course means that the 1997 to 2000 news archives are currently off line. However I will be looking to make these available again in the future.  Given the space available on the present host server it is anticipated that News Archives from 2001 will remain on line through 2002 on this site, thus avoiding the need to use an archive site.

John H. Luxton

September 2, 2001.

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Charlie Tennant, Richard Seville, Kevin Bennett, Sara Cass, Ian Collard, Tony Brennan and "others"


There are a number of items of Maritime Web site news to bring to your attention this week.

IMCS ESTI AS is the web site of IMCS Eesti AS, Tallinn, Estonia, is member of a group of selected independent general nautical and marine survey bureaux, acting mainly for Shipowners, Operators & Charterers and their P&I clubs. You will find the animated opening port graphics particularly well done! 


Philip Parker has launched his new Merseyside web site - The Port of Liverpool In Camera. This is a must visit location for those interested in today's freight and container shipping scene. The site includes a history of Atlantic Container Line and details of Philip's range of Merseyside shipping postcards. Philip's site has just been launched. Philip hopes to iron out one or two technical problems with the site over the weekend - however - the content is all there.


The preserved LNER paddle steamer which is now based in Grimsby as a floating pub, restaurant and hospitality suite now has a web site at:

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

LADY OF MANN assisted passengers who had been travelling on the Air Transat Flight 236 between Toronto and Lisbon last week. The aircraft experienced engine problems and was forced to make an emergency landing at Lajes Airport on the Island of Terceira in the Azores.

The aircraft lost power to both engines forcing the pilot to glide into the airport which resulted in a heavy landing. Fortunately only a few minor injuries were sustained by those on board. the aircraft. The passengers were taken by the LADY OF MANN to from Terceira to Ponta del Garda where they were they boarded a plane to continue their flight to Lisbon.

The LADY OF MANN will return from her summer charter in the Azores later in September and will enter service on the Liverpool to Douglas route in November. 

RAPIDE - Heavy loadings have resulted in continued late running particularly on the Liverpool - Douglas evening round trip. 

Friday August 31, saw RAPIDE arriving late at Liverpool around 18:00 she departed for Douglas at 18:53 with an eta at Douglas of 21:20. An correspondent informs me that at Liverpool the luggage tractor managed to bump into a van which resulted in the trailers jackknifing! Ropes were on at Douglas around 21:28. A heavy load of returning traffic meant that she was unable to get away before 22:42 with 604 passengers.  Arrival in Liverpool was at 01:25, one hour twenty five minutes behind schedule.

On Saturday, September 1 she arrived at Liverpool from Dublin at 18:06 and not getting away for Douglas until 19:08 with a loading of 492 passengers.

RAPIDE's port side logos are still the worse for wear!


USS WINSTON CHURCHILL The new generation Arleigh Burke Class American Destroyer is listed to undertake a number of Port Visits including Cardiff, Dublin and Belfast prior to returning to the USA in early November. No indication as yet on whether she will be opened to the public at these cities.

Full List of Dates.

15/16th September - Cardiff
17-19th September - Dublin
21-23rd September - Belfast
29/30th September - Bergen, Norway
4-7th October - Edinburgh
15-18th October - Newcastle
8th November - Norfolk, Virginia - Homeport


The restored schooner KATHLEEN AND MAY which departed from Bideford, Devon on Sunday August 26 arrived at Youghal, County Cork on Monday August 27.

She was escorted into the harbour by small boats and the Youghal and Ballycotton lifeboats and berthed at Green's Quay where she was greeted by hundreds of people.

You will find the voyage log on the ship's web site


The historic tug GOLDEN CROSS which spent some time on Merseyside last year will be spending the coming winter season at Kinsale. The tug was noted there a few weeks ago. During the autumn she will be undertaking some golfing promotional work which will see the vessel visiting several ports in the south and south west of Ireland.


This week press reports indicated that the Irish Naval Service may make its first visit to China as early as next year.

Department of Defence spokesman John Nolan confirmed an invitation had been extended to the navy through the Department of Foreign Affairs.

It is believed the invitation may involve the ship taking part in a trade fair to improve commercial relations between Ireland and China.

Mr. Nolan said: “The Minister for Defence is currently considering the request. It could take three months for a ship to travel there and back so a major consideration will be the loss of patrol time while the ship is away.”

The navy has refused to comment on speculation that such a trip could cost in the region of £300,000. It would be the longest single journey ever undertaken by the Irish navy.

If the trip is given the green light either the LE E
ITHNE which was launched in 1985, the £22 million LE RÓISÍN, launched last year, or the £20 million LE NIAMH, which will be
commissioned on September 18, will be chosen to go.

Irish Navy spokesman Lt Cmdr Hugh Tulley said a fair bit of planning would be needed before any vessel could sail and if the orders are given then it would be next year at the earliest.

He said the LE EITHNE had already undertaken a series of long journeys.

“Last year she went to the United States for the Tall Ships race and took part in a trade mission there organised by Enterprise Ireland,” said Lt Comdr Tulley.

The LE EITHNE also visited the US shortly after she was commissioned to take part in the rededication of the Statue of Liberty.


The Naval Service will be undertaking a major exercise this Tuesday of the South Coast. Five or six ships including the new LE NIAMH will participate in Operation Broadsword.


The yacht ISLE OF MAN which participated in the BT Global Challenge race arrived in Douglas Harbour on Sunday September 2. She is due to spend the next week in Manx waters providing corporate hospitality sailings as well as being open for public inspection. The vessel concluded in overall eighth position.



Passenger figures compiled by the Harbours Division for July 2001 at 76,347 show a 2.3% decrease on the figure for the same period in 2000 which was 78,149.

The year to date figure at 311,788 passengers shows a 13.9% decrease over the same period in 2000 which was 361,981.

During June car and motorcycle traffic through Douglas Harbour increased by 3.1% from 15,189 vehicles to 15,662 vehicles.

The year to date figure at 73,613 vehicles shows a 25.4% decrease over the same period in 2000 which was 98,708.

July commercial vehicle metreage increased by 3.1% 

The underlying core scheduled traffic remains strong.


On Friday August 31, passengers awaiting the late running 21:30 sailing to Liverpool were afforded some distraction when the SEA TERMINAL was evacuated due to the activation of the fire alarm. Passengers in the terminal and diners at the Spaghetti Junction Restaurant within the terminal building had to wait outside the terminal for a few minutes whilst the fire brigade checked out the building. 


At 12:03 on August 30 the skipper of the 49ft yacht 'Curachan' sent out a May Day alert at a position 5 miles north west of St David's Head stating the vessel was taking in water.

Milford Haven Coastguard immediately requested the launch of the St David's RNLI all weather lifeboat and issued a May Day relay broadcast with three vessels responding, all headed to the scene.

When the lifeboat arrived the man had donned his lifejacket and prepared his liferaft in readiness to 'abandon ship'; he was safely brought aboard the lifeboat and soon after his own vessel sank.

Milford Haven Watch Manager, Bill Muldrew said:

"We are pleased that the man was rescued in such a short time and is safe and well, weather conditions were good, with a slight sea."


Free fuel offer heats up fares battle Sep 1 2001

A ferry company is offering passengers free petrol as the battle to win customers on the Irish Sea intensifies.

Stena Line is giving away fuel vouchers worth up to £30 to motorists travelling to Ireland from Holyhead and Fishguard.

The offer, which will allow travellers to take advantage of cheaper fuel prices in Ireland, is the latest move in the increasingly competitive battle for passengers crossing the Irish Sea and follows its free flights offer last year.

Hard hit by the loss of duty free revenue, the increased cost of oil and the impact of foot-and-mouth, ferry companies are increasingly looking to new initiatives to maintain their competitive edge.

And with passenger growth across the Irish Sea slowing from the double figure levels seen in recent years, the battle is expected to heat up even further over coming seasons.

"There's a lot of competition among ferry companies across the Irish Sea. No one can afford to be complacent and sit back thinking passengers will come to you," a spokesman for Stena Line said.

"We are continually having to come up with new ideas, which will ensure and maintain our competitive edge.

"We want to give our customers what they want as well as great value for money."

The free fuel offer follows a special deal the Swedish-based company has negotiated with oil giant Texaco.

It is available to all motorists travelling with Stena from Holyhead and Fishguard this month.

Passengers travelling on a midweek or five-day return by car will receive £20 of free Texaco vouchers, while passengers travelling on a standard return by car will get £30 of vouchers.

With sterling already 20pc stronger than the Irish pound, British visitors will also find cheaper petrol in Ireland. The average price of unleaded petrol across the Irish Sea is around 64p a litre compared with about 78p in Britain.


Harland & Wolff is reported to have given a strong warning that the historic Belfast shipyard, could be doomed unless new orders are secured by the first quarter of 2002.

The company's latest financial report warns that the uncertainty over orders may mean that the shipyard could no longer be run as a 'going concern'.

H & W parent company, Norwegian shipping operator, Fred Olsen, has indicated that it will maintain its current level of financial support to Harland's.

However without future orders, the shipyard's management has warned that its 'operational existence' is under threat.

H&W's latest results show a pre-tax loss of £3.6 million for the first six months of this year, compared to a loss of £9.6 million for the corresponding period last year.

Harland's turnover slumped to £12.6 million in the first half of 2001 compared to £92 million during the first six months of 2000.

The latest report  warns that further jobs cuts will be necessary unless it secures orders by the end of the first quarter of next year. The shipyard's order book consists of an £80 million Ministry of Defence contract for two ro-ro ferries. Once this order is completed in March the shipyard will fall silent.

Sir David Fell, Harland's chairman, says potential orders are in the pipeline but cannot be guaranteed at this stage. 'One of these opportunities, for a new- building order, has reached the conditional contract stage, but there remain significant elements regarding financing that require resolution. There is therefore no certainty that a firm order will result,' Sir David said.

'Failure to secure a major contract in the near future will necessitate a review of the group operations, together with its employment levels,' he warned. He said a radical review would be undertaken to assess the yard's future potential.

The yard may consider is a new rights issue to finance future development.



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