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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


  OCTOBER 2001



A rather brief update this evening due to lack of time. There will be a further updates on Friday November 2 and Wednesday November 6 when hopefully I will have caught up with things. Please note that I will be away over this weekend.

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Michael Pryce and Brain Chambers.


BALMORAL  - A man has been charged with murder following the death of Tony Cager, the ship's bosun, on October 28.

Robert Lock, 37, of Henbury appeared before Bristol magistrates on Tuesday October 30. He is accused of murdering 53-year-old Tony Cager, who died while he was celebrating his 30th wedding anniversary aboard the vessel in the early hours of Sunday.

Robert Lock has also been charged with wounding, assault causing actual bodily harm and assault on five further people.

The BALMORAL, moored at its winter lay-up berth next to the Industrial Museum at Bristol docks, was sealed off as the police undertook their investigation.

Mr. Cager had been the Balmoral's bosun for more than 12 years after a previous career in the Royal Navy. He had booked the quarters on the lower decks for a celebration with his wife and friends.

Mr. Cager, of Plymouth, was taken to the Bristol Royal Infirmary, but at 4.30 he was pronounced dead. His wife was said to be deeply shocked and being comforted by family and friends.

Waverley Excursion's spokesman Commander Tom Foden said that Mr Cazer's many friends were deeply saddened by the news: "Apparently there was a bit of a bust-up between the disc jockey and one of the guests. Tony stepped in to stop it and the next thing he was gone. "We are very sad about it. He was an excellent naval petty officer. He served for many years in the Royal Navy. He finished with the Navy and joined our organisation 12 years ago.
"Many Bristolians knew him and loved him. Everyone will be very upset to hear this. He was very respected and very popular and someone we can all ill afford to lose." 


STENA LYNX III will be return to the Rosslare - Fishguard route in March 2002. However, the vessel may remain overnight in Rosslare due to poor loadings on the late night sailing to Fishguard

The Vessel may start her sailings from Rosslare Europort in the morning's, and finish in the evening with a sailing from Fishguard, her morning and noon sailing were very popular with the travelling public.

KONINGIN BEATRIX returned to the Rosslare - Fishguard route on the evening of October 28.


ATLANTIC Container Line has reported a profit before tax of US$23 million for the first three quarters, from January to September this year, compared with $19 million for the same period last year. The overall utilisation for the period was 70 per cent, compared with last year's 75 per cent, while the average freight rate improved by 5 per cent.

The company has said that it continues to see pressure on both rates and volumes in the lo-lo segments of both its east- and westbound routes. The westbound ro-ro trade continues to be healthy, but the eastbound ro-ro trade has weakened.

Operating income for the period was $219 million compared with last year's $195 million, while the EBITDA was $42 million, over last year's $34 million. Last year's EBITDA also included a one time refund of $2.3 million from SPP, a Swedish pension fund.

The company claims that the strong performance is a result of a selective cargo mix, efficient logistics and improved contribution.

The net profit of $16.4 million, compared with $13.2 million for the same period last year, includes a non-monetary exchange loss of $3.9 million. The exchange loss is calculated on the remaining gross debt. Operating investments during the period were $13.3 million, which is more than the $11.0 million for the same nine months last year.

As of September 30, the net interest-bearing cash was almost $500,000, compared with a net interest-bearing debt of $11.2 million last year.

ACL has said that the general economic environments in Europe and North America continue to be uncertain. Nevertheless, the board and management expect the full year result to be in line with last year's.

The board of directors informed all shareholders on July 4, 2001 that Atlantica di Navigatione Spa (ADN), a company in the Grimaldi Group, had exceeded 45 per cent in its holding of ACL shares. Grimaldi now owns 81.21 per cent of the company.


EUROPEAN DIPLOMAT will replace EUROPEAN SEAFARER on the Rosslare to Cherbourg route in the new year. EUROPEAN SEAFARER will then operate on the Liverpool - Dublin route.


A report in the Mail on Sunday reveals that P&O has been targeted for takeover by a group of venture capitalists.

Tim Harris, former heir apparent to Sterling and now chairman of shipping group James Fisher, is believed to have been approached by investors with plans to mount a £2bn assault.

Harris quit P&O in May last year after a row over strategy and Sterling's reluctance to give up control. The peer has headed P&O since 1983.

A major shareholder warned: 'The lack of a visible succession plan is an Achilles heel in any takeover defence.'

Analysts say P&O has an underlying asset value of 295p a share, compared with Friday's 193 1/2p close.

Sterling, 66, has been accused of holding on to operations too long then missing the moment to sell.

The £1.5bn flotation of a container-ship joint venture with Netherlands firm Nedlloyd fell by the wayside, then he missed the chance to sell out to the Dutch company.

P&O also failed to float its bulk shipping business 15 months ago when freight rates were at a 30-year high.

An executive who knows P&O said: 'It is not stable, and the more apparent that becomes, the more people will become interested in it.'

Meanwhile in a report in Fairplay P&O dismissed reports that the company was to be taken over by James Fisher & Sons

P&O Today dismissed rumours that it is a target for takeover by rival UK shipping company James Fisher. "We don't comment on speculation," a PO spokesman told Fairplay. An e-mail news service earlier today stated: "It is believed that James Fisher chairman Tim Harris has been approached with plans to launch a £2Bn ($2.9 Bn) bid for PO". Harris was unavailable for comment this afternoon. Harris was heir apparent to PO chairman Jeffery Sterling until his departure from the company 18 months ago. He left PO over a disagreement with Lord Sterling about the latter?s reluctance to give up control of the company. PO has a share issue of 700M valued at just below £3 each, valuing the company at just over £2Bn, which excludes the premium normally associated when a takeover bid is mounted. Trading in PO shares has been thin today at about half the normal volume of 2M.




I have returned from the Isles of Scilly and Dartmoor and am currently trying to get through all my email. Apologies for any replies not yet sent. I will get round to it in the next few days.

A reminder that there will be two updates this week on Wednesday and Friday. There will NOT be an update next Sunday as I will be going to Dún Laoghaire for the weekend. Furthermore all weekend updates will now be undertaken late on Saturday evenings during the winter months commencing November 10.

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Stan Basnett, Justin Merrigan - Incat, Sean Robertson, Tony Brennan, Dave Crolley and "others". 

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

SEACAT ISLE OF MAN  made its final Liverpool to Douglas crossing of the 2001 season on October 25. She is due in Belfast around November 2 and will take over the Belfast - Troon service around November 6. She will be crewed from Belfast.

SEACAT SCOTLAND will be dry-docked in Belfast for her annual refit. 

LADY OF MANN has operated the Irish Bank Holiday weekend sailings to Douglas. The Lady of Mann arrived in Dublin at 12:30 on October 26 she went straight on to Berth 49 ahead of the RAPIDE.  RAPIDE did not leave until 13:30 therefore the Lady of Mann had to wait until then to discharge her car and foot pax.  The Lady of Mann left Dublin  for Douglas at 16.00.


High speed car ferry operator Hoverspeed, who bucked the market trend during the April, May, June period of 2001 with increased vehicle carryings, has continued to grow its vehicle market with a further increase in the third quarter - July, August, September - on the key
short sea route to Calais.

Growth in Hoverspeed's vehicle business via Calais during this peak season period, showed a dramatic 45.3% rise in vehicle carryings on the Dover - Calais route to 133,585 in 2001 compared to 91,916 during the same period last year.

Hoverspeed has introduced major developments to its services in 2001 and more significantly has concentrated its short sea operations onto the Dover - Calais route. Providing the frequency of an hourly service and extra capacity to meet customer demand, have combined to help Hoverspeed perform well in a highly competitive market, as Managing Director, Geoffrey Ede explains.

"In what has been a very tough trading year for the cross channel industry, these are very positive results for Hoverspeed. Our emphasis has been focused on providing a unique style of product and our fleet transformation in 2001 on the Dover routes, has clearly appealed to customers preferring to cross the channel via our exclusive, high speed services."

In the 2001 peak season, Hoverspeed operated a combined fleet of Seacat and Superseacat high speed car ferries on three routes, Dover - Calais (10 return sailings daily), Dover - Ostend (three return sailings daily) and the seasonal Newhaven - Dieppe service (three return sailings daily).


KONINGIN BEATRIX is expected to resume service between Rosslare and Fishguard from Sunday evening October 28.


Stena have been in trouble with the Advertising Standards Authority following a complaint from Irish Ferries.

Irish Ferries Ltd objected to a national press advertisement for a ferry service. It claimed "With the lowest prices, the fastest ships and our award-winning service, its no wonder more people travel with us to Ireland." The complainants challenged whether the advertisers offered:

1. the lowest prices;

2. the fastest ships; and

3. an award-winning service.


The Authority was concerned that despite several requests the advertisers had taken four weeks to send a substantive reply and reminded them of their obligation to respond promptly to the Authority's enquiries.

1. Complaint upheld
The advertisers sent a copy of their brochure, which included their prices, and stated that their fares were cheaper than Irish Ferries. They asserted that the fare by which the complainants challenged their claim was introduced after the advertisement was published. The advertisers said that their car+1, car+2 and Family Fare were all cheaper than Irish Ferries. The Authority noted that the advertisement appeared on 15 July and the complainants' fares were valid from 1 July. The Authority considered that the advertisers had not substantiated their claim to have the lowest fares and asked them not to repeat it.

2. Complaint upheld
The advertisers sent technical specifications for their ferries, the Stena HSS Explorer and the Stena Forwarder, which stated the speed of each vessel. They said that their Fast Ferry and Ferry Guide showed that crossing times for the central and southern corridor routes were less than those advertised by the complainants. The Authority understood from material submitted by the complainants that both the advertisers and the complainants used fast craft and conventional ferries for sailing to Ireland. It also understood that the complainants' conventional ferries travelled at a faster speed than did the advertisers. Because it considered that the advertisement implied that all of the advertisers' ferries were faster than their competitors' the Authority asked them to remove that implication from future advertisements.

3. Complaint not upheld
The advertisers sent evidence of awards presented by Worldchoice Holidays, the Travel Trust Association and Travel Bulletin trade magazine. The Authority considered that the advertisers had substantiated the claim.


A correspondent writes that they spotted some rare activity on the upper reaches of the Manchester Ship Canal on Sunday October 21 at around 17:30. Whilst crossing the M6 Thelwell Viaduct the theatreship FIZCARRALDO  (GRB) 277/71 ex BJARKOY (NOR) was seen making her way up to Manchester for winter lay-up.


The Belfast Telegraph reported on Friday that the new commuter fast-ferry service in Belfast Lough will be operational before Christmas according to a company source..

The promoters of LoughLink say their £4m service will start "soon" but were unable to give a precise date.

A spokesman said: "Discussions with the local councils are close to a conclusion."

The service which was first announced in May, had been due to start in late autumn and it is understood that the delay is a result of problems over securing berthing rights at Bangor and Carrick.

Laganside, which controls the waterfront in Belfast, said facilities for berthing at the Odyssey and Donegal Quay were 'in place'.

A spokesman for North Down Borough Council said: "Work is ongoing but taking longer than expected."

No one was available for comment at Carrickfergus Borough Council, while a spokesman at Belfast City Hall said they had had no contact with LoughLink.

LoughLink had promised to offer commuters an alternative to road and rail with a fare of £5 single.

At present, both road and rail links between Bangor and Belfast are disrupted and traffic congestion is adding to journey times.

A new road bridge is being installed at Tillysburn, while the railway line is a single line operation now that work has started on a £14m project.

During the morning peak, it can take up to an hour to travel from Bangor or Carrickfergus to the centre of Belfast.


Last week Lloyds List reported that that NorseMerchant Ferries is considering further upgrading of services out of Heysham with the company considering deploying
larger vessels on routes out of this port.

Meanwhile the Belfast route out of the Mersey should see an increase of 20% in capacity with the transfer to the Twelve Quays river berth in 2002 whilst still using the existing vessels. However the company plans to add two more ships to this route within twelve to eighteen months.

The company is again claiming to be evaluating the possibility of acquiring fast ferries for a possible service between Twelve Quays and Dublin. It feels there is an oversupply of these craft in the market and that earlier generations of the ferries are now more readily available for seasonal charter. This was first reported during the launch of the new NorseMerchant brand early this year.


It appears that the Mostyn - Dublin service will now commence towards the second half of November.

EUROPEAN DIPLOMAT [PRIDE OF SUFFOLK] the vessel was noted by a correspondent once again in Canada Dry Dock on Saturday October 27.

EUROPEAN SEAFARER remains at Alexandra Dock undergoing repairs.


The National Valuation Tribunal this week that Irish Ports are liable to pay rates to local councils

The Port of Cork is being sued by the County Council for nearly half a million pounds but the High Court may be called upon to make a final decision about a controversy that could face importers and exporters with higher port charges


The Belfast Newsletter reported on the new Merseyside built PORTAFERRY II this week.

"Ferry good day for peninsula's drivers ; New Strangford boat is a real smooth operator"

It might have been built on the Mersey, but this ferry won't be carrying many Liverpudlians, unless they're here on holiday. Welcome to the new Strangford ferry, called the Portaferry - obviously. Oh yes, and it's owned and operated by the Roads Service.

The first new ferry to cross the entrance to Strangford Lough in more than 30 years, £2.7 million PORTAFERRY II arrived on Saturday and will go into service in December.

The last new boat was the STRANGFORD, which began service in 1969 - just a few weeks before current skipper Mark Browne started his career.

He brought the new ship home and was at the helm for final sea- trials yesterday as the official handover took place between the builder, McTay Marine, and the department.

The Portaferry II has been purpose-built to cope with the demands of the lough where the tide rips at more than six knots. That means the skipper and his colleagues need plenty of power.

To that end, the Portaferry II has two innovative propellers designed to give maximum control. Called Voith Schneider units, they hang upside down, there are five blades on each one and they scull the boat along. It works better than it sounds and there's no doubt the journey is smooth.

The ferry will operate all year round, 16 hours per day, except Christmas Day, saving everyone hours of extra driving.

Sadly, it means the end of the road for the original PORTAFERRY which, after 40 years of faithful service, isn't going to win to many more races.

"We're delighted to take delivery of this new ferry which we hope will provide passengers with an improved and more comfortable journey," said Grahame Fraser, acting chief executive.

Up in the bridge, skipper Browne was equally pleased with the boat but not convinced about the smooth journeys just yet.

He has six weeks to get to grips with the new controls.

"I'm used to having a wheel and, as you can see, this has these joysticks," he said suspiciously, nodding at two computer game style levers sticking up the control console.

"This boat has 135 different alarms as well. For example, there's an oil temperature alarm and an oil level alarm. If there isn't enough, she won't start. On the old boats we just pull out the dipstick and have a look at it."


The MCA have taken an important move towards ensuring Scilly is safe from environmental damage inflicted on The Islands by large freight vessels such as container ships and oil tankers.

A new radar system is to be installed on trial period on the Coastguard tower at Telegraph, St. Mary’s. The Radar system will be able to help the authorities monitor the course of shipping in and around the Islands in order to rectify any potential hazards. The radar will be surveying shipping that comes within 25 miles of the Islands.

There is already an exclusion zone around the Islands due to their environmental importance. The CITA is a prominent example of why the Islands need to be protected. When the CITA ran aground on St. Mary’s in 1997, a major pollution contingency had to be acted upon at great expense to he taxpayer.

Shipping lanes run relatively close to the Islands, the closest being in between Lands End and Scilly. This shipping lane was made infamous when the Torrey Canyon, an oil super-tanker, struck Sevenstones reef in 1967 and had to be bombed in order to avert oil leaking in an environmental disaster.

After the thirty day trial period, the importance of such a radar will be re assessed and it will be decided whether further action will have to be implemented.

The survey work is being conducted by the Fisheries Protection Vessel MORVEN [1983] which is at a mooring in Hugh Town Harbour, St.Mary's. Monitoring harbour radio comms the FPV MORVEN calls up ships notified by Radar passing within 25 miles of Scilly, this includes traffic passing through the Land's End Traffic Separation Scheme and seeks information on flag, tonnage, port of origin, destination, call sign and IMO number. 


The two freight vessels GRY MARITHA and LYONESSE LADY are currently in dry dock at Penzance for refit. They were withdrawn from service on October 17. The LYONESSE LADY is off service for ten days and the GRY MARITHA is off service until mid November. 

The GRY MARITHA is being covered by the SCILLONIAN III which is enjoying an extended operating season until November 17.

The inter-island freight service normally operated by LYONESSE LADY is being operated by local launch operators Hicks & Sons using one of their launches. As none of their vessels is equipped with a crane as is the LYONESSE LADY certain bulky cargoes will not be carried


It was reported in the press this week that two railway locomotives - Grenville and Torridge that  were lost at sea during WWII have been found on board the wreck of the GOTTERDAMMERUNG at a depth of 150ft off Cornwall.

The locomotives operated on the Bideford, Westward Ho! and Appledore Railway in North Devon. The line opened in 1901 but closed during WWI when the line's stock and track  was requisitioned by the British Government for the war effort.

The press claim that amazing discovery of the locomotives have been likened to finding the "Holy Grail" of the railway world.

The locomotives were found by divers investigating the wreck of the cargo vessel GOTTERDAMMERUNG of the north Cornish coast. The former German owned ship, seized by the British in 1914 was torpedoed by a two months after the outbreak of the war whilst on a voyage from Avonmouth to Normandy.

Clovelly boatman Colin Eastman, who used to live near the old line, has been searching for the engines for 20 years. He has been sailing groups of divers to wreck spots for several years, and by pure chance stumbled across the GOTTERDAMMERUNG when he was not even looking for it.

He said: "One of the divers came back up to the surface and said with astonishment that the ship appeared to be full of trains. We were not even looking for it at the time. "We were supposed to be diving another wreck but the weather was too bad so we decided to have a look at this one. I am glad to say we hit lucky. It's a lovely thing to find."

The amount of wrecks in the area made it difficult to locate the engines, but Mr Eastman's research gave him a good idea of the spot after he spoke to people who saw it sinking. At 28 tonnes each, Mr Eastman is determined to raise the engines and hopes that they will eventually be displayed prominently in Bideford. He has the backing of a funder – who he has not named – to complete the task next summer and hopes further funding will be available from grant bodies to restore the locomotives.

But first Mr Eastman must approach the Receiver of Wreck to buy the wreck. The cost will depend on what else is on board. As the ship was travelling to France, it could have also been carrying weapons.



The commissioning of the Incat-built 96 metre (315ft) Wave Piercing Sealift Catamaran contracted to the United States military for a deployment of two years, has taken place at Norfolk, Virginia, U.S.A.  

In a testament to the capability of Incat craft, the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy have joined a consortium led by the U.S. Army to operate Joint Venture HSV-X1 (High Speed Vessel – Experimental One). The craft will serve to enhance mission capability in a broad range of scenarios and this is expected to lead to the acquisition of more tonnage in the future.

Speaking to the official party and distinguished guests at the commissioning of the craft, Incat Chairman Robert Clifford spoke of Incat’s confidence that Joint Venture will play a significant role with each of the five Military arms involved in the project. "Whether that role is one of supply or special services, home defence or even as an aircraft launch & recovery platform everyone can be assured that the role played by Bollinger / Incat USA is one of total support, whatever you need, whenever you need it", Mr Clifford said.

"Bollinger / Incat USA, and all involved with the project are very proud that Joint Venture is here in the United States and ready for service with the Military. When this project was conceived over one year ago no one here could have predicted the urgency of the program".

Mr Clifford continued; "The events of September 11 have raised the bar somewhat and Incat, as indeed are all Australians, is united in supporting our partner Bollinger, and in supporting the United States in their pursuit of justice."

Paying tribute to the various parties involved with bringing Joint Venture to the U.S. Mr Clifford said; "the team spirit and effort of all has been outstanding. The delivery crew, under the watchful eye of Capt. Phil Beierl, is sincerely thanked for their outstanding contribution to the task, as are the support teams of administrators, both American and Australian. They have achieved something which has never been done before and they have achieved it with a tremendous spirit of co-operation."


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.

Joint Venture is 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.

Joint Venture is a significant step forward in the research and development of High Speed Craft for Fast Sealift operations by Incat for the US military. With its high operational speed, long-range deployment capabilities combined with a high deadweight capacity the craft will be the benchmark for future Fast Sealift acquisitions.

Undergoing a major refit in September 2001 the craft has been upgraded and fitted with military enhancements such as the helicopter deck, stern quarter ramp, RIB deployment gantry, troop facilities, crew accommodation and more. The craft emerged from Incat’s new Wilson’s dry-dock, having been transformed and capable of carrying 363 persons, military vehicles and equipment over 1110 nautical miles at a speed greater than 35 knots.

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.




Just a reminder that I will be away from around 10:00 on Saturday October 20 until around 19:00 on Saturday October 27. There will be an obvious delay in answering emails during this period. Urgent communications should be by text or voice messages to my mobile phone +44 [0]7973 363370. Please DO NOT use my home phone numbers as messages sometimes get confused when they are passed on!

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Tony Brennan, James Edgar, R Watson and "others"


SUPERSTAR EXPRESS made an unexpected call in Dublin on October 18 when she put in for engine repairs. The vessel had been enroute to Falmouth for winter lay-up after the conclusion of her seasonal charter to P&O between Larne and Cairnryan. She will re-enter service on March 15, 2002.

BELARD Though outside of the area covered by M&ISS it is worth noting that the former Isle of Man Steam Packet ro/ro vessel is to be chartered P&O Scottish Ferries from November 9 to mid December for operation on the Aberdeen - Lerwick route.



On October 16 the Maritime & Coastguard Agency announced that seventeen foreign ships were under detention in UK ports during September 2001 after failing port state control safety inspection. There were no new detentions at Irish Sea Ports during September.

Latest monthly figures show that 9 foreign ships were detained in UK ports during September 2001 along with 8 other ships still under detention from previous months. The overall rate of detention is 6.4% compared with inspections carried out over the last 12 months. This is a decrease of 0.3% from the 12 month rate to August.

Two of the ships were detained with faults in the radio installation. One was inspected on advice from the harbour authorities when it failed to respond to a radio transmission. Similar faults were found with the second vessel, which was bound, for Brazil. These deficiencies, if not corrected, would have meant that the vessel would have no means of verbal communication when 60 miles or more from land. These detentions highlight the value of making regular test calls and maintaining the whole installation including aerials and power sources in-between surveys.


On October 17 a mate and a sailor were admitted to hospital after an accident involving a Turkish bulk carrier which had already been detained at Belfast by Maritime and Coastguard Agency surveyors.

The Turkish 23,000 gross tonne bulk carrier, ‘Gulser Ana’ was detained yesterday with 38 items involving deficiencies with fire equipment, lifeboats and ISM (International Safety Management) Code. This morning after beginning repairs, a mate and two sailors decided to attempt a launch of one of the lifeboats. One of the hooks on the locking mechanism released and threw the three Turkish sailors into the water. The 32 year old mate hit his head and sustained injuries whilst a fourth 29 year old crewman who was watching collapsed. Both were taken to hospital and are receiving treatment for their medical conditions.

Gulser Ana was unloading coal in Belfast when it was detained.

Captain Bill Bennett, who detained the vessel commented:

"This is the third time that Gulser Ana has been detained in ten months. The deficiencies are serious and if this vessel had been allowed to sail there could have been serious implications for both the crew and the vessel. We are concerned to hear that this incident has happened on board Gulser Ana, and would like to wish both crewmen a full and speedy recovery. This incident demonstrates the importance and thoroughness of Port State Control."


A report in the Daily Post this week states that property speculators are hovering over the Cammell Laird yard in Birkenhead. A&P who now own the site have admitted that there had been expressions of interest from a number of parties involved in the property business.

However the company claim that the priority remains to find ship-based work for the
yards on the River Mersey, although there appears to be few prospects on the
horizon at the moment. [JHL's COMMENT: It is strange that A&P claims that there is so little work about when North Western Ship Repairers whose chairman is former Cammell Laird executive John Syvret appears to be rather busy!

A decision will be made by the Trade and Industry minister Patricia Hewitt if the A&P acquisition of Lairds will be referred to the Competition Commission.


This week Fairplay reported that Fred Olsen Energy  the Oslo-based offshore industry group, has raised its holding in Harland & Wolff (H&W), to 92.2 per cent from 70.8 per cent. FOE acquired full control of two holding companies, in both of which it previously held a 91.5 per cent stake and through which it controls its holding in H&W. At the same time, H&W issued 20M new shares, each with a nominal value of £0.10 at a price of £1.00 ($1.48) to the Atlan Shipping Co and Aztlan Shipping Co, the two FOE group holding companies. The shares were paid for by converting £20M of debt H&W owed to FOE into equity. A restriction that has limited FOE’s voting right to 47.5 per cent of all votes in H&W was due to be lifted following the move



Welcome to a rather brief mid week update caused partly by a lack of news and also time to produce additional material. There will be another update on Saturday morning. From Saturday I will be away for one week. Any urgent communication should be text or voice call to my mobile number 07973363370. 


Kevin Bennett has forwarded some detailed information for the  Ships on Film and TV feature which I have updated. There is more information which I intend to add in the next few weeks. I am also considering extending the list to include non British Isles vessels. At present inclusion criteria is:

  • be a passenger ship/ferry or freighter/service vessel. [At present Naval Ships are excluded]

  • have been registered in the UK / Ireland / Isle of Man  or been used on services to/from the UK and/or Ireland / Isle of Man.

  • The vessel does not now have to be still in existence. 

  • Program details should, if possible, include the name of film or TV series (plus episode name if known) plus any other relevant notes including date of production/screening.

I am further considering extending the listing to documentary programmers and may eventually include naval material. 

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

RAPIDE - Due to adverse conditions RAPIDE did not sail to Dublin on Tuesday October 16, 2001. 

SEACAT ISLE OF MAN the 10:30 sailing from Liverpool was delayed due to adverse conditions

September 2001 carryings recorded by The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company bear testimony to the impact of the cancellation of many major events due to the UK foot and mouth epidemic.

Traffic figures confirmed by the Department of Transport show:

Passenger traffic decreased by 12.9% @ 56,375 passengers (2000 - 64,701)

Vehicular traffic decreased by 17.6% @ 13,356 vehicles (2000 – 16,214)

Freight traffic increased by 2.3% @ 35,542 metres (2000 – 34,738)

Year to date figures show:

Passenger traffic decreased by 10.6% @ 472,824 passengers (2000 – 529,135)

Vehicular traffic decreased by 21.8% @ 107,155 vehicles (2000 – 136,986)

Hamish Ross, Steam Packet Managing Director said: “The loss of the annual Manx Grand Prix Races has hit our carryings compounding the volume losses already sustained by our Company throughout the year. All this as a direct result of the UK foot and mouth epidemic. The effects have been felt throughout the tourism/leisure sector. Hard work and determination however, has led to our core business remaining positive and strong. Our total passenger traffic to date for 2001 exceeds the comparable figure for 1998, but our continuous growth of recent years has been halted in its tracks. We will continue to meet head-on the tough challenges facing us this year”.


Passenger figures compiled by the Harbours Division for September 2001 at 56,375 show a 12.9% decrease on the figure for the same period in 2000 which was 64,701.

The year to date figure at 472,824 passengers shows a 10.6% decrease over the same period in 2000 which was 529,135.

During September car and motorcycle traffic through Douglas Harbour decreased by 17.6% from 16,214 vehicles to 13,356 vehicles.

The year to date figure at 107,155 vehicles shows a 21.8% decrease over the same period in 2000 which was 136,986.

cheduled Routes show the following changes in passenger numbers for :

  • Belfast minus 3% from 2,383 to 2,311

  • Dublin minus 13% from 3,089 to 2,680

  • Heysham minus 7% from 22,402 to 20,863

  • Liverpool minus 18% from 34,763  to 28,544

September commercial vehicle metreage increased by 2.3% from 34,738 metres to 35,542 metres.

Director of Harbours, Captain Michael Brew commented: "September 2001 figures show the impact of the cancellation of the Manx Grand Prix. Allowing for this traffic and the traffic carried in 2000, relating to the Rally and Classic events which were not held this year, the underlying trend still remains positive. Even after the losses of various events this year. The total passenger traffic to date for 2001 of 472,824 still exceeds the comparable figure for 1998."


EUROPEAN SEAFARER suffered engine failure on Saturday and will be out of action on the Rosslare - Cherbourg route until the end of this week at least. P&O traffic is being transferred to Irish Ferries NORMANDY. As the Irish Ferries ship is reported busy with her own traffic some is being left behind at Rosslare. EUROPEAN SEAFARER is currently berthed at West Alexandra Dock, Liverpool whilst repair work is undertaken.

SUPERSTAR EXPRESS despite suggestions earlier this year that P&O would withdraw the seasonal north channel fast craft operation in 2002 it appears as though Star Cruises SUPERSTAR EXPRESS will again be chartered.

She will re-enter service on the Larne - Cairnryan route on 15 March 2002. (She concluded the 2001 season with her 21.30 ex Cairnryan 16 October, sailing to Falmouth for winter lay-up the following day.

EUROPEAN DIPLOMAT [PRIDE OF SUFFOLK] was noted by a correspondent making yet another visit to Canada Dry Dock, Liverpool at the start of the week.


STENA LYNX has laid up for the winter at Fishguard. Photos can be found on Mike O'Brien's site:




There was an additional update posted on Thursday October 11. See "Whats New" for details. The update schedule for November has been adjusted and the that for early December posted. During November and the first half of December weekend updates will posted on Saturdays rather than Sundays.

There is an update due to be  posted this Wednesday. Next weekend's update will be posted on Saturday morning by around 08:00 as I will be going to the Isles of Scilly during half-term week. 


Work is currently in progress in breaking down the Irish Sea photographic section into regional areas to assist in location of photographic resources. The area is now known as the Irish & Celtic Sea  photographic directory.

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Dave Crolley, Tony Brennan, James Edgar, Mike O'Brien Jenny Williamson and "others"



Sea Containers announced on Friday that its board had met on October 9, 2001 and after reviewing the impact on the share price of its Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. subsidiary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, has decided to defer plans to spin-off Orient-Express Hotels common shares to Sea Containers shareholders. It said it still intends to complete
a spin-off but could not at this time predict the timing or amount of shares to be distributed.

Mr. James B. Sherwood, President, said "a prerequisite to spin-off is the sale of at least 5 million Orient-Express Hotels common shares to ensure the Sea Containers’ financial ratios are maintained at a satisfactory level post spin-off and banking covenants are not breached. The company has registered Orient-Express Hotels shares for sale and had barely commenced the sales prior to September 11th, but the Orient-Express Hotels share price dropped significantly in the wake of the terrorist attacks. He said that Sea Containers’ liquidity is currently satisfactory and there is no need to bring in additional cash by selling shares at artificially low prices. Since a spin-off would not take place until such sales are completed, the deferral of the sales means that a spin-off must be delayed".

Mr. Sherwood indicated that while the events of September 11th would certainly reduce Orient-Express Hotels earnings in the third and fourth quarters of this year, the impact may be less than feared by most observers. "Once the Orient-Express Hotels share price has recovered, Sea Containers will resume share sales and when that program is completed it will revisit the spin-off plans including a date and number of shares to be distributed.
I want to assure investors in Orient-Express Hotels that Sea Containers is still determined to separate completely the two companies as soon as this can be done on a sensible basis," he said.

Mr. Sherwood said that the board was baffled by the reduction in Sea Containers share price following the September 11th attacks because the implications are generally positive for the company. The U.S. armed forces have been leasing containers at a stepped-up rate and container fleet utilization was rising even before September 11th. New York/New Jersey ferry services are "booming" because of the closure of rail links between New Jersey and lower Manhattan. In the Baltic, Silja passenger carryings have risen, possibly due to people preferring travel closer to home.

Railtrack Plc, the U.K. Rail infrastructure provider, has gone into a form of bankruptcy called "administration", rather similar to Chapter XI bankruptcy in the U.S. The U.K. government has confirmed that all trade creditor debts will be met through government funding. GNER, the company’s U.K. rail subsidiary, is currently owed approximately £25 million for consequences of infrastructure failings and expects full recovery through deduction from track access payments by year-end.

Mr. Sherwood said that the company had purchased $10 million face amount of its public debt in the third quarter for $8 million and the purchase program would continue and indeed may be accelerated in light of recent falls in the market price of its public debt following September 11th.

Mr. Sherwood said that the company’s earnings for the year would be most hurt by the foot and mouth disease in the United Kingdom which had caused a significant reduction in ferry travel. The foot and mouth epidemic has now largely passed so it should not impact 2002. The company had the benefit of gains on sale of its ports but will not now report expected profits on the sale of shares in Orient-Express Hotels in 2001 since the sale program has been deferred.


The Millennium Bridge in Douglas will be closed for much of the coming week as work is undertaken on the inner harbour tidal gate located under the bridge. The work is expected to take around five days and the bridge will be closed to road users for considerable periods of time particularly around periods of low water.

Extra security has been introduced this week on the recommendation of authorities in the UK. However the DoT does not expect the increased security measures to mean higher costs for port users. Director of Harbours Captain Mike Brew, says many of the suggested measures were already in place.


Ferry publications will be offering an Irish Sea trip during August 2002. Details are as follows: 

15 -18 August 2002
Day 1 - from Fleetwood to Larne with P & O
Day 2 - Larne to Cairnryan and back with European Clearway and
European Highlander
Day 3 - Stena Line Belfast to Stranraer with Stena Galloway and Stena
Day 4 - Larne to Fleetwood
overnight accommodation and some meals will be included in the


COASTAL ISLE - The container vessel arrived in dry dock at Dublin on Saturday October 13 for repairs to extensive bow damage. It is understood that the vessel was in collision with a quay wall in the Port of Liverpool.


Coastal Container Line has transferred its Liverpool and Cardiff operations from a dedicated terminal on the north bank of the Liffey to Mersey Docks owned Marine Terminals Limited on the south side of the port.

It joins the North European service of BG Freight Line. also part of the same Mersey Docks Shipping Division, at Ireland's major container terminal which is currently the subject of a IR£17 million expansion programme.

Once the last of the containers has been delivered off Coastal's 16 acre site at Alexandra Road Extension in the next two weeks, the leased terminal will be returned to Dublin Port.

Six months of planning culminated this week in the transfer of Coastal's line staff to new offices at MTL, two weeks after the first ship had moved across the Liffey to discharge containers from Cardiff. On 1st October the first ship was both discharged and loaded at Berth 41.

Coastal Container Line now operate three sailings a week from MTL to Liverpool using vessels of 260 teu (Twenty Foot Equivalent Units) capacity, and three to Cardiff with ships of 136 teus.

John Forrester, Coastal's Director of Operations and Managing Director of MTL said: "Consolidation on a deep water terminal which is currently being expanded and re-equipped and offers the lines guaranteed berths on arrival, has advantages for both the Mersey Docks Group and the shippers using the services.

"The investment being made at the terminal combined with MTL's location away from the congestion on the north side of the port, will ensure that customers of the lines benefit from the best possible service."

When MTL's redevelopment is completed in June 2002, the container storage capacity will treble from 2,000 teus to 6,500 teus, the length of quay offering a depth of 10.2 metres at lowest overall tide will be increased from 400 metres to 570 metres, with another 130 metres of berthing space offering a minimum depth of 8.5 metres.

The Terminal currently handles six sailings a week by Coastal, five by BG Freight Line ships of up to 800 teu capacity and four Seawheel vessels carrying 500 teus.


LIVERPOOL CLIPPER which came 4th in the recent Round the World Yacht Race, arrived back in Canning Dock on October 11. Her crew were given a civic reception at the Town Hall.


There are reports in the Cornish press that Newquay harbour users confronted the leaders of the town's ambitious artificial surfing reef project for the first time this week and told them not to leave them out.

Representatives of the harbour's fishermen, rowing club, sailing club and boat owners had their first chance to meet the movers behind the project during a town council tourism and leisure meeting.

The reef project, which is still in its infancy, is undergoing a feasibility study to establish whether or not it is physically possible and environmentally acceptable in Newquay Bay.

Harbour-users are worried that the reef, which would be formed from sand-filled geo-textile bags, could affect safe navigation in the bay, silt up the harbour with sand, affect Towan Beach's character as a family beach and damage the bay's ability to act as a refuge for boats in storms.

John Wood, chairman of Newquay Chamber of Commerce and a member of the newly-formed Newquay Artificial Reef Company (NARC), told councillors that they hope the reef can produce bigger and cleaner waves.

They also believe that this could attract more visitors for more of the year and prove attractive to competition organisers.

Mr Wood told the meeting that Prof Kerry Black, who is completing the feasibility study in New Zealand after visiting Newquay in July, is due to finish his work at the end of this month and will report back within about six weeks.

Mr Wood said: "I would emphasis that this study is to see if it was practically possible to build a reef in the location we have in mind. However, I would say his brief is to include the concerns of the harbour-users, and quite correctly, they have their concerns. That was part of Prof Black's brief, to look at harbour use."

Frank Johns, a director of the NARC and a past chairman of the British Surfing Association, said: "The brief would be designed to create surf between half-tide going out and half tide coming in and you will not see it. There are a number of things we want to be sure of before we put our names to it.

"One is, is it acceptable and safe for all water-users, and two, does it prove a hazard for water users?"

But harbour-users were unhappy that so far they had not been consulted on the proposals which they say could affect their livelihoods, their sports or their hobbies.

Michael Burt, secretary of the Association of Newquay Fishermen, who represents 12 fishing boats and 25 men, says his members fear for their jobs.

He told the meeting that the bay was unpredictable and said: "When we get an Atlantic storm and 10ft waves like we just had, what can a man in New Zealand tell us about the bay."

Mr. Johns replied: "I think the laws of physics are the same in New Zealand as here."

Geoff Brown, of the Newquay Boatman Association, asked why the reef is not being considered for Fistral Beach.

Mr. Wood said: "The reason was a predominance of clean surf in the off -season periods when, generally, Fistral is blown out and cannot be surfed. The idea of the reef is to transform what is effectively close out waves into a clean wave."

Mr. Brown again asked what was wrong with Fistral. Mr. Wood said: "It's just outside my knowledge, but Kerry Black did look at South Fistral and would probably report on the possibility of that being an alternative site."

He added: "Even if it's disastrously wrong it's nothing that cannot be undone."

Mr. Johns said: "The biggest risk is if it didn't create the waves it was designed to. The risk is we spend a lot of money and there are not any waves. Then there would be egg on a lot of our faces."

After the meeting, Michael Burt spoke for all the harbour-users and said: "It was a good meeting. We want to make sure our voices are heard before it gets to a stage where it's too late. This is the first time we have had a chance to speak and until now we didn't know where it was going to go.

"Now they say it's 400 yards from the harbour. That's closer than we thought. Our feeling is once it's there no-one will want to take it away. All the harbour-users are of the same frame of mind."

Phil Trebilcock, of Newquay Rowing, said: "If it's 400 yards from the harbour it's right in the middle of the pilot gig course. That's been there for 100 years."

Mr. Wood promised to let the harbour-users know the results of the feasibility study as soon as possible. "The truth is, Kerry Black came here, had a look around and went away. When he comes back and reports to us I can assure you that we will contact you."


On October 10 the sinking of RMS LEINSTER off Dún Laoghaire was commemorated at a service held at the ship's recovered anchor which is located close to the end of the former Carlisle Pier Terminal. 

The Dún Laoghaire - Holyhead mail ship was attacked by U123 commanded by Oberleutnant Robert Ramm on October 10, 1918 with the loss of 501 passengers. 

Eight days later the U boat was reported by the Americans as having struck a mine in the Great Barrage and was lost with all hands.


It is reported in the Cornish press that Work on the new National Maritime Museum Cornwall in Falmouth is currently on budget and on schedule with the official opening ceremony being planned for Midsummer's Day next year.

A "topping out" ceremony was held at the development in Grove Place to mark the contractors reaching the highest point of the building, with wonderful views across Falmouth and down to the Carrick Roads.

Taking a spiral staircase down from the top of the tower, visitors will reach the Tidal Gallery and, on Friday, the windows of this underwater gallery were unveiled for the first time.

The windows look out to the harbour and will be under varying levels of water, depending on the tides.

Museum director Peter Cowling said: "It is like an aquarium in reverse with the people on the inside looking out."

It is planned to have boats on the surface so visitors can look up at the undersides of the vessels and, at times, propellors and oars will be put in action.

Much of the site is still under a layer of mud, but the museum team is convinced everything will be ready for the opening which is being planned for June 21, 2002.

Boats from the national small boats collection will start arriving in Falmouth before Christmas and will be stored at premises recently acquired on an industrial estate on the outskirts of town.

The museum, which will boast various galleries, a cafe, lecture theatre, education room and shop, is expected to attract in the region of 180,000 visitors a year and provide a huge boost for tourism in this part of Cornwall.

Work on a neighbouring development, which will provide a multiplex cinema, shops, restaurants and offices, has also begun and contracts are under negotiation for running the restaurants.

The proposed park and ride scheme for Ponsharden, which is being developed as a joint project between the maritime museum, Carrick Council and the county council, is also still on the agenda.

It had been hoped work would have already started on the 450-space car park , but Mr. Cowling confirmed on Friday the proposal was still going through the funding process.

"The RDA (Regional Development Agency) is doing a final assessment at the moment and the Government Office for the South West will be reviewing it within a month," said Mr. Cowling.

The idea is for visitors to the museum to leave their cars at the park and ride and either catch a bus or ferry from the pontoon directly to the attraction."


It is reported in the Welsh press that SWANSEA'S maritime museum development has received a £6million boost from the Assembly.

Finance Minister Edwina announced the cash had been found from a budget underspend.

It is a major boost for the Industrial and Maritime Museum project which has already secured £11million from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

More money towards the £30million cost is hoped to come from the European Objective One programme.

Once built, the museum will incorporate the existing Swansea Marina-based maritime museum but be more than double its size.

There will also be a large open space containing exhibitions and other attractions at the facility which is set to draw in 300,000 visitors a year add to museum story

Swansea Council culture cabinet member Robert Francis Davies said: "We want a £30million museum and there is still a cash shortage so we are looking for Objective One money."


A commuter ferry service across Dublin Bay which aims to relieve traffic congestion is being considered by the Department of the Marine. The Minister of the Marine, Frank Fahey has been advised by officials that a study of the possibility should be considered. 


A subsidiary of the construction company Ascon has submitted plans to Cóbh UDC for a 120 Berth Marina in Cork Harbour. Plans would involve reclaiming an area of the foreshore and the construction of 26 apartments and a new hotel. There would also be a waterside shop, office facilities and provision of a sailing club. Costs are estimated at IR£25m.

JHL's COMMENT: Oh no not another Marina! - one hopes it does not detract from the pleasant waterfront at Cóbh.


The recently refurbished Number 1 berth has been visited by the bulk carrier MAMRY this week. The vessel discharged 8,000 tonnes of corn products destined for Arkady Feeds of Dublin.

The completion of the Number 1 berth marks the end of phase one of the quay wall refurbishment.



Welcome to another extra weekday update to catch up with the news. The next update will be posted on Sunday as usual.

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Dave Crolley, John Lawlor, James Edgar and "others".


The 2002 deployment rumours continue. This is the current scenario: 

It appears next year Hoverspeed will use 3 74 m SeaCats on the Calais route (DANMARK, HOVERSPEED GREAT BRITAIN and either SEACAT ISLE OF MAN or CROAZIA JET [ATLANTIC II] operating around 10 or 11 sailings a day.

DIAMANT will operate 2 sailings on the Ostend route. Either SUPERSEACAT 1 or SUPERSEACAT 3 will operate on the Newhaven - Dieppe route, with the remaining SuperSeaCats and RAPIDE on the Irish Sea. 


KONINGIN BEATRIX has had another accident in Brest, apparently while she was manoeuvring out of her dry dock, she struck the quay. Apparently one of the vessels ribs has been damaged and will have to be replaced. It is likely to be very big job and she is expected to remain off the Fishguard - Rosslare route for some time. It had been suggested that the STENA GALLOWAY would return home to the North Channel taking up service on November 1. Whether this actually happens remains to be seen.


PRIDE OF SUFFOLK On Sunday and Monday, October 7 / 8 PRIDE OF SUFFOLK was noted in Huskisson Dock, Liverpool. An unusual location for any ro/ro ferry. However, it appears that her visit to this part of the Liverpool Docks system was in connection with the vessel's renaming. She has now been named EUROPEAN DIPLOMAT.

SUPERSTAR EXPRESS which is chartered by P&O Irish Sea from Star Cruises will complete her seasonal charter on the Larne - Cairnryan route on October 16. She will then sail for lay-up to Falmouth on October 17

At present it appears that again this year Star Cruises have no plans to use her and it unclear whether she will operate for P&O in 2002.


The recently completed marina facility which occupies the inner harbour at Douglas is to undergo major maintenance commencing next week. 

From next Monday the inner harbour will once again become tidal this means that the craft moored on the marina pontoons will have to find alternative places to berth while the work is carried out.

The harbour will remain tidal while work is carried out on the flap gate under the lifting bridge, and on the harbour side walls under the South Quay road works. Survey and maintenance work is also to be carried out, and two hydraulic rams on the flap gates are to be replaced.

Meanwhile this week the  Transport Minister Tony Brown MHK has unveiled a monument to commemorate over £7.5m worth of government funded improvements in the Inner Harbour and South Quay area of Douglas.  They include the construction of a new road bridge, the creation of the marina pontoons for pleasure craft and the upgrading of the South Quay roadway into a main route for traffic into the town.  The work has taken five years and will continue with partial pedestrianisation of North Quay.


With the completion of her charter from ESCO - Estonian Shipping Company the lo/ro vessel LEMBITU has regained her own name having carried the CELTIC SUN name when under charter to P&O. LEMBITU has now been chartered to NorseMerchant Ferries and is operating on the Dublin - Heysham service providing cover for VARBOLA. Sister ship VARBOLA has been operating on this route alongside SAGA MOON, though at present VARBOLA is awaiting engine repairs in Dublin.

When VARBOLA returns to service SAGA MOON will transfer to the Belfast - Heysham route and enable a four ship service to be operated. At present the Belfast - Heysham route is maintained by MERCHANT BRILLIANT, MERCHANT BRAVERY and RIVER LUNE.


Three new ship-to-shore gantry cranes are under construction in the Port of Liverpool as part of a £22 million investment in the Royal Seaforth Container Terminal.

The cranes — identical to two others which went into service last year — arrived in knock-down form from Ireland to be built on site in a fenced-off area of the container port.

The first two of the newcomers are expected to be operational before the end of the year with the third joining them on the quayside in early February next year.

All five of the Royal Seaforth Container Terminal’s new generation of gantry cranes have been ordered from Liebherr Container Cranes Limited at their Irish plant in Killarney, County Kerry.

The trio were shipped across to Liverpool by the MV Buccaneer, which made two voyages from the port of Fenit with more than 1,000 tonnes of components.

Three giant crawler cranes provided by Sarens UK are working on site putting together the 64 metre (210ft) high A-frames, the 42.5 metre (140ft) long booms, the machinery housing and other sections.

The three new gantries, capable of dealing with slightly larger than Panamax size vessels, will have a basic lift capacity of 40 tonnes, a heavy lift capability on the hook of 50 tonnes and a 60 tonne restricted heavy lift facility.

The enhanced technology of the gantries provides faster movement of containers on and off ships, plus major reductions in the time taken for the boom of the crane to be lowered and lifted. It also allows safe working in higher wind speeds than is possible with the older cranes.

The newcomers will further streamline the performance of a container terminal which handles more than half a million units a year, regularly turns container ships around in less than 12 hours and averages less than 40 minutes for servicing road transport, gate to gate.

The £22 million container terminal investment by the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company has increased storage capacity on the container park by 30% and includes provision of a logistics centre, multi-lane fully computerised terminal gate, a 25 bay container transfer area and new terminal management computer systems.


The North Devon Journal reports that support been overwhelming for a project to build a Cornish pilot gig and it is hoped that construction could begin within a month. 

Since the idea of building a Cornish pilot gig was born two months ago, 105 members have signed up to the new Clovelly-based club and more than £1,000 has been raised towards the project. Two grant applications are still pending, but in the meantime the organisers have identified a ‘building site' for the vessel and have appointed two retired shipwrights – Sid Ford and Donald Causey – to lead the work.

Club spokesman Mark Causey said: "To have that many members in two months of existence is quite staggering. And we are in a superb position because in the time we have been going we have raised sufficient funds to start building our first boat. Two months ago we thought it would be 18 months down the line before we could be in the position to do this."
Members mainly come from the Clovelly, Hartland, Woolsery and Bucks communities, with a few from Bideford and Appledore. They will all get the chance to become involved in the building process, fundraising or sailing – whichever part of the project they think is for them.
The timber has been ordered, and Sid Ford has offered the club the use of his shed at Appledore for the building process, during which time, the Cornish Pilot Gig Association will monitor the work to ensure it is based on the original Cornish gig design which dates back to 1838.

Mark said: "We want to race and we want to restore the Clovelly Regatta which has not been staged since the early 1900s. Although it was not a gig racing regatta, to be able to re-create the regatta at Clovelly will add tremendously to the community and tourism which has been hit so badly. The aims of the project are spiralling outwards in the sense that the original aim was to provide young people with the opportunity to gain craft skills in building and to be able to train them to row and in the ways of seafaring.

"We want to get as many people as possible to become involved, not just in the racing, but in the social side of it by supporting the boat when it goes off to various regattas. Hopefully, in time, there will be two boats, and there is a lot of history attached to pilot gigs so it would be nice to have a display telling the history of the gig."

Members have been to watch similar gig clubs and those who have tried the sport have become hooked. 


A NEW high-speed rescue craft is hoped to prove itself a life-saver at a busy Gower lifeboat station.

The £70,000 Atlantic 21 inshore lifeboat will operate alongside the existing D-Class boat at the Horton and Port Eynon station.

"The new boat will be able to reach casualties a lot quicker," said station honorary secretary Peter Muxworthy.

"It is fitted with twin 75hp outboards, giving it a speed of more than 30 knots, while the D-Class can barely manage 20 knots.

"It also has a bigger range and a greater towing capacity, useful given the number of vessels breaking down off Gower.

"The Atlantic 21 also handles better in open water. We often have to rescue people stranded on Worm's Head and it's a very bumpy ride getting down there in the D-Class.

"What's more, the Atlantic has a much better night-time operating capability."

The new craft should be in service late next year, subject to planning consent being granted for a new £100,000 boathouse and sufficient extra crew being trained to man the new craft.

It will provide a major boost to the Horton and Port Eynon station, which is busier than ever as levels of boating, surfing and windsurfing grow.

The station has 16 qualified crew but another eight will need to be trained for the new boat.

Men and women aged 17 to 50 and living in Horton, Port Eynon, Scurlage, Rhossili, Knelston or Oxwich are being sought to join the crew.




The was an major update on Thursday October 4. Please check for "What's New" full details. There is a possibility of another update this Thursday to catch up with submissions and news.


I have received some comments on the proposed site name and url change and would like to thank people for their thoughts. I am currently reconsidering options in the light of comments which may lead to a variation is strategy!

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Brian Chambers, Jenny Williamson and "others"

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

LADY OF MANN  which sailed for Douglas on Thursday, returned to Alexandra Dock, Liverpool on Saturday afternoon October 6. There had been some speculation that she would provide cover during the forecast period of adverse conditions. This did not prove to be the case.

RAPIDE - Adverse conditions led to the cancellation of the return sailing to Dublin on Saturday, October 7. Her evening departure for Douglas was delayed until 20:48 due to prevailing conditions. Passengers for her 21:30 return sailing to Liverpool were given the opportunity to travel on the 20:00 BEN-MY-CHREE sailing which was held back until 20:40. A courtesy coach being provided for foot passengers. It was anticipated that the RAPIDE would depart Douglas at around 01:30 but this was not being guaranteed.  However, she did make it back to Liverpool in time to operate the scheduled departure for Dublin.

BEN-MY-CHREE There is a rumour doing the rounds that the BEN-MY-CHREE which is off service for seven weeks early in the new year for an extensive refit and upgrade of her passenger facilities could be replaced by one of SeaTruck's vessels. 


LE NIAMH -  New Ross Port, County Wexford, may be allowed to adopt the recently launched Nave Vessel, the LE NIAMH. What this will mean for the town is that it will be the named homeport for the LE NIAMH. The vessel will visit the Port each year should the adoption get the green light and will be invited to attend any major events happening.


New terminal facilities for the company at Penzance are part of a regeneration plans for the Cornish port the Cornishman reported this week:

A hugely ambitious 'final' plan capable of achieving the complete regeneration of Penzance, and unlocking considerable Objective One cash, is set to get the backing of Penwith District Council.

The publication of the Penzance Harbour and Town Regeneration Action Plan - a £35,000 report which has been prepared by Cardiff-based consultants W S Atkins after months of consultation - could soon be followed by the creation of a special project team to push the plan forward.

Right at the heart of the scheme is a marina - probably behind a new breakwater extending from the tip of Battery Rocks - with improved facilities for the SCILLONIAN and GRY MARITHA , playing an integral and pivotal part. These will include a terminal and freight warehousing facilities along with passenger car parking for over 200 cars. At present there is no dedicated parking for Isles of Scilly Steamship Company passengers who have to use public and private car parks no one which is immediately adjacent to the ship's departure point.

Other key projects include a new bus station which will have crime 'designed out' and a harbourside hotel, marine workshops and town-centre markets - the latter helping Penzance to regain its reputation as a major market town in Cornwall.

The final version of WS Atkins' in-depth 80-page report was released in August, and a week ago Penwith's economic and tourism committee gave an early indication that the council would adopt it.

At present the ISSCO are planning a new passenger ship SCILLONIAN IV which is likely to be built by Appledore shipbuilders.


The Cornish press reports that  work has started this week at the Gribbin Daymark, near Fowey, Cornwall to replace the iron railings which once surrounded the famous shipping landmark.

The original railings, which were erected when the monument was built in 1832, were dismantled at the outbreak of World War Two and melted down for armament use. The National Trust, which painted the day mark a few years ago, has recovered old photographs of the railings in situ and is replicating their design as closely as possible.

Local contractors Hydra, of Indian Queens, were expected to start work on Monday, but heavy rain over the weekend forced the project to be postponed. The company recently investigated the site and unplugged the granite holes which anchored the railing panels in place.

The trust's South East Cornwall countryside manager, Brian Muelaner, said: "We are delighted to be able to re-erect the railings around the wonderful monument and return the site to how it would have originally looked.

"The project was made possible through the support of the Countryside Stewardship scheme, which met half the costs of the project."

The 84ft high structure was erected by Trinity House to safeguard mariners after a number of shipwrecks in the area. Sailors often mistook Gribbin Head for St Anthony Head and the deep waters of Carrick Roads and came to grief in the treacherous shallows of St Austell Bay.

Sir William Rashleigh, of Menabilly, provided the land for the daymark, together with stone from a specially opened quarry nearby. In return, he required Trinity House to "make the beacon an ornament to my grounds".

The National Trust was gifted Gribbin Head in 1987 by Mr Egbert Barnes and the St Austell Brewery Company.


HMS CAMPBELTOWN is reported to have returned to Plymouth after her grounding in Northern Norway early in September.

The Type 22 frigate grounded at the entrance to Tromso harbour and a 15-strong team the Devonport-based Southern Diving Unit flew out to repair the damage to her twin propellers.

After undergoing sea trials following the repairs, the ship, which is one of six type 22 frigates based at Devonport, arrived back in Plymouth last week. 

The frigate was grounded in soft sand making way for a ferry while in Norway on her way back to the UK after a goodwill visit to Russia.


The North Devon Journal reported that glorious weather blessed the grand opening of the new Appledore lifeboat house where scores of RNLI supporters gathered to celebrate. RNLI officials outlined the importance of the lifeboat and its crew at the ceremony on the slipway to give thanks for the new station which cost £750,000 to build. As the sun shone down on the congregation which included representatives from the police, coastguards, army and the fire service, chairman of the Appledore Lifeboat Station, Joe Ball, began the proceedings on Saturday by welcoming the guests and outlining the station's 175-year history. 

The former lifeboat house served the crew for 111 years, but had to be demolished in April last year to make way for a new modernised facility which was completed in May this year. The building was made possible thanks to the bequests of Mary Palmer, a long-serving member of the RNLI branch on the Cheshire/Staffordshire border, and Priscilla Burke from Braunton, who also supported the charity. 

Deputy chairman of the RNLI, Air Vice Marshall John Tetley, officially accepted the new lifeboat house on behalf of the RNLI, before the ribbon was cut by Harriet Weatherby Crompton and Charlotte Bennett, relatives of the two ladies. Honorary secretary Richard Miller explained that the building was needed to house the new Atlantic 75 lifeboat and tractor which did not fit into the old one. 

Mr Miller said: "It also incorporates a lot of modern things into the building. The most important thing is that it offers a safer way to launch a boat in adverse weather conditions. We have moved from the 19th century to the 20th century. The building provides us with accommodation so every crewman has his own kit and it can be kept dry and in good order at all times. The shore staff also have better facilities."

The service of dedication was led by Vicar of Appledore, the Rev John Ewington. The inshore lifeboat was then launched and a rescue demonstration with flares took place. A Sea King helicopter from RMB Chivenor flew past displaying the RNLI flag.


Concern over cost overruns of the two Emigrant Ships JEANIE JOHNSTON and DUNBRODY will lead to tough new controls from the Irish Government to prevent a future occurrence. 

The Sunday Independent reports that the JEANIE JOHNSTON at Blennerville in Kerry and the DUNBRODY in New Ross, Co Wexford, have cost a combined total of more than £15m about £10m more than was originally envisaged. However, the newspaper report does reveal that the DUNBRODY at New Ross has been much more successful than envisaged with 15,000 more visitors to the vessel than originally projected since she opened in the Spring of 2001.

Both the JEANIE JOHNSTON, supported by Kerry County Council, and the DUNBRODY, supported by Wexford County Council, are replicas of vessels which conveyed emigrants to America in the middle of the nineteenth century.

Following an analysis by the Comptroller & Auditor General of the serious cost overruns, it has emerged that Environment Minister Noel Dempsey has ordered each local authority in the country to outline their involvement in projects that are sponsored by government departments or state agencies.

All Kerry County Council's spending programmes would be affected if its £4.5m stake in the JEANIE JOHNSTON project in the form of loan guarantees and underwriting of grants from government agencies was ever called in by the banks.

A spokesman for the Minister said that no decision had been taken on future department policy because some local authorities have not yet supplied the information required.

Although Mr Dempsey believes that local authorities should "spread their wings" and get involved in projects outside their usual core activities, he is anxious to find a way to ensure that this would not leave local authorities financially exposed.

Both the JEANIE JOHNSTON and the DUNBRODY project have consumed millions in state and local authority funding, EU grants and money from private investors. In both cases, it is the taxpayer who has been forced to bail them out.

The JEANIE JOHNSTON project has been particularly problematic with deadlines missed, massive budget overruns and a court case involving one of its contractors.

The DUNBRODY project has cost £5m instead of the projected £2.25m but it has been completed and has attracted 55,000 visitors so far 15,000 more than forecast.

Though the original 19th century JEANIE JOHNSTON was considered a lucky ship never losing a passenger on more than a dozen voyages to America and Canada during famine times the 21st century replica appears to have been cursed from day one.

When the idea was first mooted in 1994, the cost of the project was estimated at about £3m but by 1998 this had to be revised up to £4.5m.

In the following two years, between 1998 and June 2000, the cost almost doubled to £8.25m and the Department of Finance had to be called in to allocate more money via the Department of Marine and Natural Resources.

Civil servants were alarmed and part of the deal was that if the JEANIE JOHNSTON was to get an extra £2m in state funding, a due diligence report on all aspects of the project had to be prepared.

That report was finalised last September and raised a number of issues including the increased financial requirements to finish the vessel and the postponement of the proposed transatlantic voyage which had played havoc with cash flow projections.

More importantly, it found that even after the £2m injection, another £3m would be needed.

The Department of the Marine told the promoters of the project (various local state agencies including Kerry County Council and a broad-based committee of community and business leaders and the voluntary sector) to put together a rescue plan.

The plan was delivered to the Minister just before last Christmas but the Department didn't think it was viable and sent them back to have another go.

Last March the revised plan was completed and the following month the Cabinet agreed to provide another £2m. Together with various grants of £300,000, £400,000 and £408,000, the total outlay by the Department of the Marine will reach £3.125m. The original plan put the cost at £3m but the final bill will be around £11m excluding FáS expenditure of £1.41m.



Welcome to another unscheduled update! Please check "What's New" for details of all new material.

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Philip Parker, Ian Collard, Steven Pattheeuws, John Williams and "others".


A new World Ship Society is under development by Glenn Smith of  the Vancouver Branch. It can be found at

SEA CONTAINERS / Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

RAPIDE despite suggestions that she might not operate her evening sailing from Liverpool to Douglas and return on September 30 due to adverse conditions. RAPIDE did in fact sail through was reported running around 45 minutes late. On Monday adverse conditions led to the cancellation of her sailings.

SEACAT ISLE OF MAN - Did not sail on Monday due to adverse conditions. Liverpool passengers travelled via Heysham on the BEN-MY-CHREE

LADY OF MANN - On Thursday afternoon October 4 she was noted making her way from her lay-up berth at the Alexandra Dock passenger terminal to Langton Lock. She then headed for Douglas where she was due at 21:00. At present plans are for the vessel to be on standby during the forecast period of bad weather over the next few days.


Rumours about fleet deployment for next year are starting to do the rounds. It is believed that the LADY OF MANN may not be chartered to the Azores next year as it is reported that Acor Line have lost the contract for the summer service.

It is also rumored that RAPIDE may replace SEACAT ISLE OF MAN next year being based at Douglas with SUPERSEACAT THREE returning to the Irish Sea to be based at Liverpool. Of course only time will tell as to what really happens!


CITY OF CORK Further negative publicity followed this week with a BBC report which highlighted the unsuitability of disabled facilities on board the vessel.

According to the report Swansea Cork ferries has admitted that facilities are so poor on its ship that it cannot take any more bookings from some disabled passengers.

The admission by the Swansea Cork Ferry company means people with severe disabilities will have to find another route to Ireland.

It follows complaints from a wheelchair user from Cardiff who claims her safety on board the ferry was compromised when she went on a family holiday to Ireland this summer.

Gill Worrall, a multiple sclerosis sufferer who lives in a residential home, had booked a disabled cabin on the ferry.

However, when the family boarded they the cabin was located below the main car deck, with narrow passageways the only means of escape,

Mrs. Worrall's father Geoff said: "I don't think they are working in the 21st century." "The company should be able to organised themselves so the disabled cabin is up near the master's cabin."

"They should provide services like everybody else."

The ferry company has now been told by the safety watchdog that it cannot use the cabin for severely disabled passengers.

Swansea Cork Ferry has admitted it is not user-friendly and said it can no longer take bookings from people like Gill.


STENA FORWARDER Lloyd's List has reported this week that crew  who are RMT Union members are voting for strike action with regard to late arrivals on crew change over days.


TENACIOUS - The barque is due to make a call at Birkenhead this weekend - October 5 -7 and will berth in the East Float.


The locations of the various Renaissance ships following the company's cessation of services are as follows

R ONE & TWO - under arrest at Civitavecchia along with RENAISSANCE VII. R THREE & FOUR - under arrest at Uturoa, Polynesia, for non-payment of $722,000 in bunkers. R FIVE, SIX, EIGHT and RENAISSANCE VIII (none had boarded passengers) evidently rode out the early days of the crisis at sea. All are expected to arrive at Gibraltar later this week. Currently no warrants for their arrest, although there are enquiries. R SEVEN - under arrest at Dover on behalf of chandlers Cory Brothers. Negotiations are underway regarding the futures of R THREE and FOUR. The French government and their builders are involved along with creditors. R SEVEN paid an unexpected visit to Merseyside this summer when her proposed Belfast call was changed at short notice. 

At the time it had been reported that Renaissance were so impressed with Liverpool as a port that they would consider using Liverpool again in the future as a point of call and possibly also an embarkation point.



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