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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





A reminder that there was a mid week news update on Wednesday November 21 which appears immediately below.

The next update will be on Saturday December 1.

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Ian Collard and "others"


RAPIDE - has moved from her lay-up berth in West Float, Birkenhead into North Western Ship Repairer's Bidston Dry Dock for refit. 

PONTUS - The floating terminal entered Bidston Dry Dock on Thursday and is sharing the Bidston Dry Dock with RAPIDE and is berthed at the outer end of the dock. 



P&O Irish Sea, in a week which saw the opening of a new route from North Wales to Dublin, has announced the introduction of two larger ships to their Liverpool-Dublin service from early January 2002.

NORBANK and NORBAY, built in 1993 and 1994 respectively, each has a capacity for 156 x 12m freight units and 114 passengers and will transfer from P&O North Sea Ferries to operate on the Liverpool service.

John Kersey, Managing Director, P&O Irish Sea said: "The introduction of our new Mostyn-Dublin service has been a major investment in our overall operation and has already indicated that it will be very successful.  To ensure that we maintain our high level of service on our Liverpool route, we
now plan to introduce these newer and larger ships to enhance the facilities for both our freight and passenger customers."

Additional changes to the fleet will see EUROPEAN DIPLOMAT take up the Rosslare - Cherbourg route with EUROPEAN SEAFARER transferring to the Fleetwood-Larne route and EUROPEAN NAVIGATOR transferring to Troon-Larne.

EUROPEAN DIPLOMAT, which is currently undergoing a £1.5m refit, will provide an enhanced sea voyage for customers with more accommodation for tourists and increased freight capacity on the French route.

EUROPEAN SEAFARER will provide increased capacity for both freight and tourist customers on the Fleetwood-Lame route while the EUROPEAN NAVIGATOR with increased service speed and extra midweek sailings will further improve capacity on the Troon-Larne service, inaugurated only last July.

John Kersey adds: "P&O Irish Sea is committed to giving our customers more flexibility and choice through our routes and vessels.  The development of our route structure and fleet ensures that we operate more routes than any other operator on the Irish Sea and that all our customers are guaranteed that special P&O service."

P&O Irish Sea, as the leading ferry operator, operates 6 routes to Ireland carrying in excess of one million passengers, two hundred thousand tourist vehicles and six hundred thousand freight units per year.



The bridge linking the Twelve Quays landing stage to the shore has been placed in position. The bridge was lifted off the stage on which it had been conveyed from Harland and Wolf in Belfast by the large Ugland floating crane UGLEN. 


The shipyard at Blennerville near Tralee where the replica emigrant ship JEANIE JOHNSTON was constructed has been sold for around IR£1.1m for development into a tourism project by a local businessman. 


COSTA CLASSICA - It is now just one year since Carnival Corporation subsidiary Costa Crocieré suddenly cancelled the lengthening project and turned the ship around whilst enroute to Birkenhead. Carnival's act began a sequence of events which led to receivers being appointed in April 2001 and the yard subsequently closing and being subsequently sold to A&P Group.

Since the collapse of the contract there have been rumours that the mid section might be bought by another shipyard and fitted to the ship. At one point Lloyd Werft had been rumoured to have shown an interest in taking up the conversion contract and using the section.

However, it appears increasingly likely that the 26,000 tonne structure which remains in the wet basin could be broken up for scrap. Cammell Laird receivers PriceWaterhouseCoopers have been trying to sell the section as an accommodation vessel and whilst attempts are still being made to sell the mid section it is becoming increasingly likely that it will be broken up for scrap. Whilst the value of the section as built is put at around £41m its scrap value is expected to be rather less than £25m.


LE NIAMH [P52] the latest addition to the naval service fleet came to the assistance of a rare hooded seal this week. The seal known as Flubber had been stranded ashore in County Wexford and subsequently nursed back to health again by Seal Sanctuary in County Dublin.

LE NIAMH took the seal to a position 140 miles west of Galway where Flubber was successfully released back into the wild.



For sometime there has been speculation that sooner or later economics would catch up with Stena Line's Irish Sea operations. On Monday Stena announced that there would be significant job losses as the result of the restructuring affecting employees at Belfast, Stranraer and Rosslare. The STENA GALLOWAY is to be withdrawn from the northern corridor in February 2002 and it has been confirmed that STENA EUROPE will replace KONINGIN BEATRIX on the southern corridor route. 

Furthermore there is a clear indication that Stena may withdraw from Stranraer in favour of Cairnryan. This would see the end of Stranraer as a ferry port and must be of considerable concern for the town. Full details of Stena's  changes can be found below. However, one wonders what other "surprises" might be in store on the Irish Sea as other operators finalise plans for the 2002 season.


The next update will be on November 24.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Gary Andrews, Tony Brennan and "others".

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

Magic Holidays the long established inclusive holiday arm of The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company has produced its new look brochure for 2002.

Launched during the annual World Travel Market Holiday Exhibition at Earl’s Court, London, the colourful brochure is packed with information and Island views designed to attract visitors by sea to the Isle of Man.

Nigel Wimpenny, Product Manager of Magic Holidays said, “ we are delighted at the way our 2002 brochure has been received. It is an eye-catching publication, containing all the information needed by Steam Packet customers who are seeking an inclusive holiday on our Island. The photography is stunning and the format very customer friendly. We are confident that our brochure will work hard for us and the Island”.

Short break inclusive holidays start from just £77 for 2 nights B&B accommodation with the option of taking a car from only £29 extra.

Magic Holiday brochures are available from their office in the Sea Terminal Building in Douglas or from the adjacent Steam Packet Ferry Travel Shop. Full details can also be found on the company’s website or by telephone 08457 585833.


As anticipated in the previous update Stena have unveiled their strategic plans for the Irish Sea. This confirms the possibility of a switch to Cairnryan and the abandonment of plans to operate to revert to Larne. The plans reveal a significant contraction with 142 job losses at Belfast, Stranraer and Rosslare. The full details are as follows:

On Monday Stena Line  announced strategic changes to its fleet. The company is also considering relocating its port operations in Belfast and Stranraer. "The changes will provide both passenger- and freight customers with a better mix of services, facilities and travel options. Our objective is to be profitable by 2003 and this is an important and necessary step in the process to achieve that.", said Bo Severed, CEO at Stena Line.

The following changes will take place as part of the restructuring:


Stena Europe, currently operating between Karlskrona-Gdynia will replace Koningin Beatrix which operates on the route today. Stena Line is investing £4 million in an extensive refurbishment of Stena Europe, adapting the ship to the requirements of the route and making it a far more suitable ship for the Fishguard-Rosslare route. Stena Europe will offer improved services to both passenger- and freight customers when she enters service in March, 2002. The passenger areas will be completely rebuilt and among the enhancements are redesigned shopping areas, a larger and more comfortable Club Lounge, redesigned restaurants and new food and beverage concepts. Stena Europe will also be rebuilt to take freight on upper deck, increasing the freight capacity by 300 metres to approximately 1, 300 lane metres.

At the same time as the Stena Europe goes into service, new staffing arrangements will be introduced which will ensure a closer match of staff to the number of guests on each sailing. This move to a system of flexible manning will require fewer permanent staff and as a result, approximately 50 employees will be made redundant.


Stena Line is enjoying good growth on the Baltic Sea and to increase the capacity on the Karlskrona-Gdynia route, especially for freight, Koningin Beatrix will be adapted to suit the specific needs of the route. The ship will change name to Stena Baltica when it enters service in March 2002. Stena Baltica will increase the freight capacity by 30% and has 547 cabins. Combined with the launch of the RoPax ferry Stena Traveller in January 2002, the ship will triple the route's capacity, improve customer facilities and raise service levels.


The restructuring of Stena Line´s fleet will result in the withdrawal of the Stena Galloway on the Belfast-Stranraer route in February 2002 and 92 people will unfortunately be made redundant.
"We have reached the conclusion that we have to reduce our capacity and increase the efficiency on the Belfast-Stranraer route if we are to remain competitive today and feel confident in investing for tomorrow", said Bo Severed. Stena Line is considering to move its port facilities in Belfast and Stranraer. The facilities in Belfast will remain within the Belfast port and the port facilities in Stranraer will stay within the Loch Ryan area. The company has secured land in Scotland and the next step is to conduct a detailed feasibility study. Following that, a decision will be made on how to proceed.

Creates stronger operation

"We are obviously disappointed that we have had to announce job losses. It is a tough but necessary decision and we need to take this action to achieve the objective of profitability 2003. We are doing all we can to support the staff who are being made redundant," said Bo Severed.

A range of options will be available for consideration by affected staff including a voluntary redundancy scheme and outplacement facilities. Stena Line is also trying to accommodate staff in other business units across the company. "The changes are part of our strategy to create an even stronger operation by making the service on the routes better adapted to the customer's needs. Following the changes, we will have the best combination of ships on the routes and be in good shape for the future", concludes Bo Severed.

Union Response

Stena restructuring plans have led the Rail,  Maritime and Transport Workers Union to call for urgent talks national level with Stena Line. Steve Todd, the RMT regional official, said the announcement that the STENA GALLOWAY was to be withdrawn from the Belfast-Stranraer service had come as a shock. Mr. Todd, who attended a briefing with local management in Stranraer yesterday, said: "The priority now is to see how many jobs we can save.

"This decision could not have come at a worse time for the industry and we want talks at a national level to look at the bigger picture." Mr. Todd said it was unlikely that the decision could be reversed, and efforts would now be focused on mitigating the impact.

The Port of Larne insists that it had put no obstacles in the way of the now aborted proposal by Stena to return its conventional ferry operation to Larne.

A spokesman said: "This agreement was virtually finalised a year ago and the ball has been in Stena's court ever since."

Stena declined to comment in detail but maintained that the failure to come to an agreement was a result of "contractual difficulties".

Stena is now carrying out a feasibility study in order to examine options for relocating within the port of Belfast in order to reduce crossing times.


The Mersey Docks and Harbour Company issued a press release marking the arrival of the Twelve Quays pontoon on November 19.


A milestone in the development of the Port of Liverpool’s £25 million river terminal for Irish Sea roll-on roll-off ferries was reached today when the pontoon and linkspan bridge arrived under tow from Belfast.

The 1,200 tonne steel landing stage left Harland and Wolff’s Northern Ireland yard towed by tug but had to shelter from bad weather off the Isle of Man before completing its four day crossing of the Irish Sea.

Riding on the 70 metre long, 42 metre wide pontoon was the 450 tonne, 80 metre long linkspan bridge which will connect the floating stage to the freight and passenger terminal on shore at Birkenhead.

Two of the large new-build freight and passenger vessels of Norse Merchant Ferries will be able to berth simultaneously, one at either end of the floating pontoon, eliminating the need to enter the Port’s enclosed docks and knocking 90 minutes off the voyage time to and from Belfast and Dublin.

When the terminal becomes operational early in 2002, Norse Merchant plan an initial six sailings a day, four to Belfast and two to Dublin.

No sooner had the tug Bramley Moore arrived in the River Mersey  with its tow than the operation got under way to secure the pontoon to the 37 metre long piles sunk into the river bed.

Liverpool is Britain’s major port for trade with Ireland and is looking to its river terminal development to continue growth in the Irish Sea sector, which has averaged 17% a year over the past decade.

Mersey Docks and Harbour Company Chief Executive Peter Jones described the Twelve Quays River Terminal development as “the key that will unlock a dynamic new era for Irish Sea trade.”

His Company, which placed the £2.5 million contract with Harland and Wolff, has identified some 85 acres of land within Birkenhead Docks with the potential to be redeveloped with more than 1 million square feet of modern warehousing, plus areas of open storage. The ferry terminal is expected to act as a catalyst for industries benefiting from the Irish Sea services.

Official Photographs of the arrival of the Pontoon can be found on the MD&HC web site


JONATHAN SWIFT - Due to necessity for essential maintenance the vessel will proceed to dry dock on Merseyside on Monday evening November 25. During this dry docking the annual refit will take place.

As a consequence JONATHAN SWIFT's sailings have been cancelled from Tuesday November 27 to Monday December 10 inclusive.

JONATHAN SWIFT will also cease its services on Tuesday evening January 8 for a main engine overhaul. This will result in the suspension of sailings from Wednesday January 9 through to Wednesday January 30 inclusive. JONATHAN SWIFT will resume service on Wednesday January 30 2002 with the 06:15 sailing from Dublin.


Mostyn - Dublin service commenced operation on Monday November 20. The chairman of Flintshire County Council has said that the council would be looking to improve road access to Mostyn as necessary and ensure the security of the 85 new jobs that the move to Mostyn has created.


P&O Princess and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines  have announced that they are to merge and create the world's largest cruise company.

The new business will employ 40,000 people, and have a market value of about $6bn (£4.2bn). The merged company will see P&O Princess as the slightly larger of the two partners owing 51% of the new line.

The new company will be given a new name and have its headquarters in Miami. The shares will be dual listed in London and New York.

The merger should allow P&O Princess and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines to save $100m (£69.4m) by combining office operations, reducing marketing costs and wielding greater buying power.


Manx Radio reported this week that the Manx Constabulary investigation into the sinking of the Scottish scallop dredger SOLWAY HARVESTER in January 2000. is reaching its final stages. The police are awaiting final reports before it's findings are submitted to the Attorney General. The inquests into the deaths of the crew will be held sometime in the new year.



On November 21 the MCGA announced that 19 foreign ships were detained in UK ports during October 2001 after failing port state control safety inspection.

Latest monthly figures show that 12 foreign ships were detained in UK ports during October 2001 along with 7 other ships still under detention from previous months. The overall rate of detention is 6.2% compared with inspections carried out over the last 12 months. This is a decrease of 0.2% from the 12 month rate to September. Two thirds of the vessels detained in October were registered with flags targeted for inspection.

Five of the vessels detained were found to have faults with their EPIRB equipment. One vessel, a Russian flagged general cargo vessel, was equipped with a model for which there is no self test facility so that it was impossible for the ships crew to identify the problem because specialist equipment was required to test the unit.

Two vessels which had been detained for over six months were released during October. One of these, a Nigerian flagged oil tanker, was re-detained when it became apparent that the terms of its release had been broken. Sufficient repairs had been made in order to allow a conditional release of the vessel to undertake a single unmanned voyage under tow to dry dock in Nigeria for permanent repairs. The towing vessel was inspected following an accident with the towing winch which resulted in the ship returning to port.

A bulk carrier and general cargo vessel were detained when the crews were unable to perform satisfactory drills. During a fire drill on one of the vessels, an Egyptian flagged bulk carrier, there was no attempt to close the vents or shut off the power to the affected area, it took 20 minutes for the fireman to get ready and when the casualty had not been recovered 25 minutes into the drill it had to be abandoned. With the introduction of ISM for general cargo ships in July 2002 such drills may be more of a feature of Port State Control inspections for this type of vessel.


At a hearing in Barnstaple on November 21 the owner/skipper of an angling boat was found guilty of not carrying a liferaft and lifebuoys aboard his vessel; not having the boat properly surveyed, and not being qualified to take charge of it. These charges were brought by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency following complaints from concerned local people.

Derek William Parkin, aged 48, had been operating his vessel from Combe Martin, taking members of the public to sea on fishing trips. The safety regulations that cover such craft are contained in a Maritime and Coastguard Agency Code of Practice known as the Red Code, and are intended to protect the public by ensuring the provision of amongst other things safety and survival equipment.

Magistrates heard how Derek Parkin had taken passengers including small children to sea without any items of safety equipment on board, and without the required qualifications to do so. Witnesses told of engine problems, no safety briefings and no sign of items like lifejackets, lifebuoys and liferafts.

Sentencing Mr Parkin, the Chairman of the Bench said that Derek Parkin was aware of the Codes of Practice, had chosen not to co-operate with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and had avoided certifying his vessel under the Red Code. He went on to say that this was a grave matter and that the public needed protection from unlicensed vessels.

Derek Parkin was fined a total of £7000 together with £5000 costs, a total of £12000 which the court required payment of in full within 28 days.

Iain Colquhoun, Surveyor in Charge at the MCA Plymouth Marine Office, said:

"The Codes of Practice offer small boat owners who operate commercially a straightforward way to comply with the necessary safety regulations. The MCA is working hard to monitor compliance with these Codes, and takes action against rogue operators by banning them from operating. The most serious cases, particularly where the public are put at serious risk, will be brought before the courts and I hope that the outcome of today’s case will act as a deterrent to others who flout the Regulations."


Port St Mary lifeboat was launched at around 18:20 on November 20 to assist an Irish trawler. The 22.5 metre GOLDEN HARVESTER, a seventy ton wooden vessel, was 4.5 miles SW  of  Chicken Rock in poor weather and reported as shipping water that was reaching the base of the engine. She was escorted to safety in Port St Mary at around 20:00. The five man crew were unharmed.



I am pleased to present quite a large update for your enjoyment this weekend. Please check the "What's New" page to ensure you do not miss anything. The next update will be on Wednesday November 21.

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Dave Crolley, John Shepherd, Justin Merrigan - Incat, James Edgar, Tony Brennan and "others"

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company


 Sea Containers Ltd. announced its results for the quarter and nine months ended September 30, 2001 on November 15, 2001. Net earnings for the quarter were $6.6 million ($0.35 per common share) from revenue of $356.3 million, while net earnings for the nine months were $13.6 million ($0.73 per common share) from revenue of $974 million. Net income and revenue were substantially down from year earlier periods due to special factors, particularly the absence of gains on sales of securities which contributed $36 million to net earnings in the third quarter of 2000, and loss of revenue in the company’s ferry business in the latest quarter due to foot and mouth disease in the United Kingdom. Operating profits from marine container leasing were down due to lower rental rates for older units, and income from leisure investments was also lower due to the effects of the September 11th terrorist attacks in the U.S.

Mr. James B. Sherwood, President, said that the company has been unable to meet its earnings targets for 2001. It entered the year with Britain’s rail system disrupted, which was then worsened by the Selby rail crash on February 28th, then came the onslaught of foot and mouth disease in the U.K. which more or less closed down the Isle of Man to tourism and greatly reduced ferry passenger arrivals from Ireland and the Continent into Great Britain. Sluggish world trade reduced demand for older marine containers and then the September 11th incidents temporarily impacted worldwide tourist and business travel to the detriment of the company’s Orient-Express Hotels subsidiary.

Mr. Sherwood said, "It is useless to go into further detail as to the reasons for the company’s performance in 2001. Instead, we should look ahead to 2002 where I think the picture is much more promising. I would like to call your attention to the following positive factors:

  1. Interest rates have fallen dramatically and will greatly reduce the company’s interest cost on its $900 million of floating rate U.S. dollar debt in 2002.

  2. The foot and mouth epidemic in the U.K. seems to be over. No new cases have been reported since September. The Isle of Man government has recognized the harm done to the island economy by the cancellation of tourist events this year (the company provides all the ferry services to and from the island), so will be unlikely to cancel again even if the foot and mouth infection continues in Britain into 2002.

  3. The U.K. rail network is largely back in order and GNER has been offered a two year franchise extension to April, 2005. The terms of the extension are under negotiation. The infrastructure provider, Railtrack, has gone into a form of bankruptcy and hopefully a stronger organization will arise from the ashes. Railtrack has initiated discussions with GNER about settlement of GNER claims and while agreement has not yet been reached, Railtrack has expressed the wish to settle the matter without litigation.

  4. It is believed that the inherited problems of Silja Ltd., the Baltic cruise and ferry operator, have now been largely solved and earnings in 2002 are expected to be substantially up on 2001, achieving for the first time a satisfactory return on Sea Containers’ investment in the company.

  5. Forward fuel costs have rapidly declined. The company’s ferry units are currently purchasing fuel for 2002 consumption at 15% lower cost than in 2001 and prices may continue to decline.

  6. The marine container leasing market is changing rapidly. Many ship owners have deferred new container purchasing programs, preferring instead to lease more cheaply their container needs. GE SeaCo’s earnings have been growing steadily and utilization of older "pool" and "managed" fleets owned by the shareholders has been steady to increasing. Sea Containers is in the process of disposing of all its containers 20 years of age and older not on lease and any losses on sale have reduced earnings which, however, are compensated in part by savings in storage costs.

  7. Property, plantations and publishing, although small business units, have shown meaningful earnings improvement and this should continue into 2002 and beyond.

  8. Orient-Express Hotels hopes to take advantage of the current market weakness both to add properties which can be acquired at reasonable prices and to invest in existing properties. Major expansions are planned at the Inn at Perry Cabin in St. Michaels, Maryland and the Villa San Michele near Florence, Italy this winter and reconstruction continues at the Hotel Caruso on the Amalfi coast in Italy with a view to re-opening in early 2003.

  9. The company is able to repurchase its 2003 and 2004 maturity public debt at a substantial discount. It acquired $10 million face amount in the third quarter and plans to acquire a similar amount in the fourth quarter. The company has agreed with a bank to acquire $20 million face amount now owned by the bank in the first quarter of 2002.

  10. The company’s SeaStreak ferry services in N.Y. harbor are operating to capacity. A new ship will enter service in the fourth quarter and a new line will be started from South Amboy, New Jersey to Manhattan in the period. The PATH train system under the Hudson River carried 65,000 passengers a day into and out of the World Trade Center in Manhattan before September 11th and these people are now struggling to reach their destinations. The rail system has collapsed and the tunnels are flooded and will likely take four years or more to rebuild according to the owners, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. In the meantime ferries are the best alternative between New Jersey and Manhattan."

Mr. Sherwood said the short term impact of September 11th so far seems to be on long distance air travel and cruising, while regional demand for ferry and rail travel and hotels in Europe and the U.S. seems to be rising. Silja Line is currently enjoying an increase in carryings over the prior year. U.S. and European hotels of Orient-Express Hotels are holding up well, while Southeast Asia and Australia are suffering. He indicated that a major relief program and transport of military supplies for Afghanistan could absorb a great deal of older marine containers which would probably remain there.

"I leave it to others more qualified to predict the end of recessionary trends and the evolution of the war against terrorism. In the meantime I think Sea Containers is well positioned to take advantage of the upturn when it comes", he concluded.


Passenger figures compiled by the Harbours Division for October 2001 at 40,621 show a 2.4% decrease on the figure for the same period in 2000 which was 41,623.

The year to date figure at 513,445 passengers shows a 10% decrease over the same period in 2000 which was 570,758.

During September car and motorcycle traffic through Douglas Harbour increased by 5.6% from 10,176 vehicles to 10,742 vehicles.

The year to date figure at 117,897 vehicles shows a 19.9% decrease over the same period in 2000 which was 147,162.

Scheduled Routes show the following changes in passenger numbers for :

  • Dublin minus 19% from 2,068 to 1,665

  • Heysham minus 4% from 19,664 to 18,944

  • Liverpool minus 18% from 18,775  to 18,429

September commercial vehicle metreage increased by 14.7% from 33,757 metres to 38,708 metres.

Director of Harbours, Captain Michael Brew commented: "Overall October 2001 has been a very good month for harbour traffic with record October figures for vehicles, a record month ever for freight traffic and the second best October figures for passenger traffic, only slightly down on last years record figures."



by Gary Andrews 14/11/01

It is understood that a major announcement by Stena Line and Belfast Harbour Commissioners is due on Monday 19 November 2001 concerning the future of the ferry company's Northern Ireland - Scotland service.

Belfast Harbour Commissioners are to construct two new ports for Stena Line. Victoria Terminal 4 (VT4) will be built at Belfast adjacent to Victoria Terminal 3 (the Container Terminal) on the seaward side.  Meanwhile Belfast Harbour Commissioners will also construct a new port at the former breakers' yard at Cairnryan.  Both facilities will cater for the HSS and conventional vessels.  With both facilities cutting out slow passages (particularly at the Scottish side) there will be a significant saving of 20 minutes at each end, allowing the HSS to manage a 90 minute crossing and saving around 25% in fuel costs.

A significant result of this development will be the end of Stranraer itself as a ferry port for Northern Ireland. This move will be met with dismay by businesses in Stranraer, already unhappy at the loss of Sea Containers' Belfast - Stranraer route, and will undoubtedly bring about a further decline in classic "rail/sail passengers" - the railway station being at Stranraer harbour itself. The plan would also appear to rule out the previously announced plan by Stena to re-open the Larne - Stranraer route with the STENA GALLOWAY and STENA CALEDONIA and will mean that Stena's current Belfast terminal, only opened in 1995, will be redundant.

Stena also plan to reduce from two to one conventional ship on their Belfast route. Whilst the STENA GALLOWAY was re-deployed to Rosslare recently for around six weeks Stena's freight on the Belfast - Stranraer route only dropped by 10/11% and simply they don't need two freight ships, especially if operating one larger vessel.  It is not clear at this stage whether or not this change will take place prior to the Belfast - Cairnryan route opening. It has been suggested that one of Stena Rederi's Hyundai newbuilds will be used, but this has yet to be confirmed.

It appears that the venture is largely the result of Belfast Harbour Commissioners having a very large pot of money that they are desperately trying to get rid of by investing before the Northern Ireland Assembly or UK Government takes it for the general good of Northern Ireland/the UK. Under the new arrangements Belfast Harbour Commissioners work under, they can invest outside the harbour undertaking which means that they can fund the berth at Cairnryan.

Sources have indicated that rather than spend the money on upgrading and refreshing port infrastructure at Belfast, it is understood that Belfast Harbour Commissioners wish to invest in facilities that will help it build an impressive property portfolio.

It remains to be seen how successful the planned development is.  The financially troubled Stena will be glad a wealthy friend is willing to give them this sort of boost and undoubtedly it will help the financial viability of the Belfast - Loch Ryan route, however, many will be asking if it is simply too late.  Many in the industry are already speculating as to how long it will be before Stena UK's operations are subject to a take-over or merger bid.

Gary Andrews

FAX: 0870 132 5964


It is understood that a male passenger fell overboard from the 17:45 Stena sailing from Belfast on Friday. Despite a major coastguard and RAF search the missing passenger has not been found. Three lifeboats, two helicopters and a plane were involved in the search operation along the ferry's route. That search was called off early on Saturday morning but follow-up searches were being carried out in Scotland and Northern Ireland. The man is described as being 5ft 11in, of stocky build with short, receding, greying hair.


ULYSSES - On Saturday November 17 the 09:45 sailing from Dublin was delayed until 13:00. This had a consequent effect on the 12:15 JONATHAN SWIFT departure  which was advanced to 11:30. 

The ULYSSES has been running on three engines since last week. However, on a sailing from Holyhead on Friday she lost another engine on the same side as the failed engine. Work was undertaken until early Saturday morning to effect repairs


EUROPEAN AMBASSADOR - the ship undertook berthing trials on Monday November 12 at Mostyn.

P&O Have issued a press release concerning the new Mostyn - Dublin service:


Mostyn, 12 November 2001 . P&O Irish Sea today announced a first in the history of the UK - Ireland freight ferry business - the MOSTYN - DUBLIN option. Brand new services from a brand new ro-ro port.

The new ro-ro Port of Mostyn, on the estuary of the river Dee in North Wales just 16 miles from the M56, has been purpose-designed to meet the needs of P&O Irish Sea's freight customers en route to and from Ireland. This is the first new ro-ro ferry port to be built in the UK in the past ten years and
represents a significant investment by the Port of Mostyn.

P&O Irish Sea already offers more sailings on more routes than any other Irish Sea operator and the Mostyn option means more choice on its southern routes to complement the company's Liverpool-Dublin service, which will continue to offer two sailings a day. The new Mostyn-Dublin services, operated by P&O Irish Sea's latest conventional fast ferry the EUROPEAN AMBASSADOR and the EUROPEAN ENVOY, commence with the 23.30 sailing, from Mostyn, on Monday 19th November and will offer a new standard six hour crossing time.

"The Mostyn option enables our customers in the UK and Ireland to take advantage of the later evening sailing time of 23.30 yet still arrive at 05.30 on both sides of the Irish Sea with plenty of time to avoid morning rush hour traffic," said Phil Simpson, Commercial Manager Freight, P&O Irish
Sea. "Today's transport operators are under tremendous time pressures and every minute counts. Our move to Mostyn will enable them to make later collections in the UK and Ireland while maintaining next day deliveries which means they have greater flexibility in the services they offer their customers.

"The Port of Mostyn, which until now has only handled relatively small coastal traffic, has invested £17 million in providing a 24 hour ro-ro terminal with secure parking for more than 340 unaccompanied and 50 accompanied vehicles. Commercial drivers have their own lounge and rest
areas offering wide screen TV, hot and cold drinks and snacks.

"Freight only check-ins allow drivers easy access to the Port without the need to leave the cab. P&O Irish Sea's terminal is monitored by CCTV and on site security personnel and there are full customs and immigration facilities.

Address: P&O Irish Sea, Port of Mostyn, Mostyn, Holywell, Flintshire, CH8 9HE. Telephone: 01745 562600 Fax: 01745 561095

Depart Mostyn 11.00 Arrive Dublin 1800
Depart Mostyn 23.30 Arrive Dublin 05.30

Sunday Arrive 0530 Depart 22.00
Monday Arrive 0430 Depart 23.30

Gross Tonnage 24,206
Passenger Capacity 405
Vehicles (max) 123x13.5mt freight units

Gross Tonnage 18,653
Passenger Capacity 70
Vehicles (max) 120 x 13.5mt freight units

Port Facilities:
Freight and passenger terminals
Customs Immigration
Freight only check-in
Commercial Drivers Lounge
Hot/Cold Drinks
Wide Screen TV
Parking - 340 drive through trailer bays (in secure area) - 50 driver
accompanied bays (in secure area
Double banking ramp
24 hour access CCTV surveillance and on site security
Fleet of 10 Tug masters

Staff: 60 Staff


We would like to thank The Deeliverer, the Newsletter of the Dee Estuary Strategy, for the following information.

Mostyn merited a mention in the Norman Domesday Book of 1086. The Quay at Mostyn (now the Port of Mostyn) has featured in the ebb and flow of history during successive centuries of change. Henry Bolingbroke (later Henry 1V) disembarked at Mostyn Quay in 1399 before wresting the Crown from Richard 11 at Flint Castle.

In 1485 Henry Tudor arrived at Mostyn prior to his successful engagement with Richard 111 at Bosworth Field. Parliamentary troops landed at the quay from Ireland in 1643 during the English Civil war. Coal was mined within the port complex from 1295 until 1860 and exported to Ireland. When the colliery closed the site was taken over by the Mostyn Iron Company. In its hey-day
this company employed 1,900 people and exported the finished steel products through the port.

The ironworks closed down in 1965 but the port continued to operate as a commercial entity, handling various cargoes. Over recent years the port has erected warehouses, surfaced significant areas for storage and invested in handling equipment. However until 2001 the three berths remained the same and the largest ship that could be accommodated was about 3,500 tonnes, but
these vessels could only use the port on high spring tides.

The usual type of vessels using the port were between 1,500 and 2,500 tonnes. Once these vessels were in the port the tide would go out leaving them high and dry. These types of berthing facilities were very safe and indeed typical of many other ports around the British coast. In 1998 the Port commenced the first stage of major development which was a 120 metre berth with 6.5 metres of water alongside at any state of the tide and the reclamation of six acres of intertidal land. This was designed to provide facilities for ships of up to 7,000 tonnes.

This was followed by the present development of an additional 450 metres of quay with a minimum of nine metres draught at all states of the tide and a new roll - on roll - off berth which involved the reclamation of a further 15 acres of intertidal land. The Port is adjacent to the Crewe - Holyhead
main rail line and has its own siding together with a railhead which enables it now to offer intermodal options. From November 2001 P&O Irish Sea commenced services to and from Dublin from the Port, operated by two vessels the EUROPEAN AMBASSADOR and EUROPEAN ENVOY.


On Tuesday November 14 the pontoon and bridge for the Twelve Quays Project arrived from Harland and Wolff towed by the Adsteam [Adelaide Steamship Company] Tug BRAMLEY MOORE [ex - Howard Smith Towing.] from Douglas Bay. The pontoon and bridge had been brought from Belfast to Douglas by the tug TRAFALGAR. However, tugs were changed as TRAFALGAR was reported to have had winch problems. 


HMS CUMBERLAND had to be towed back to Devonport after her crew were unhappy with her steering when undergoing sea trials after routine maintenance work. The Type 22 frigate was taken in tow by two tugs at around 15:00 on November 14. A Royal Navy spokesman said: "To avoid taking any risks, we decided to call in some tug assistance to bring her in."

HMS BULWARK which is due to be based at Devonport was launched by BAe Systems at Barrow-in-Furness on November 14. The large commando carrier is one of two powerful Amphibious Assault Ships constructed for the Royal Navy.

The ship is due to arrive at Devonport in 2003. The 18,500-ton assault ship is the second of her class. The first, HMS ALBION, was launched in the Spring. HMS BULWARK will be based alongside Albion at Devonport, with helicopter carrier HMS OCEAN, after a period of fitting-out and sea trials.
HMS BULWARK can carry up to 700 Royal Marine Commandos and hold eight landing craft and a mix of vehicles, including up to six Challenger 2 tanks or around 30 of the new Viking vehicles being procured for the Royal Marines.

Both warships have been built to replace the ageing Portsmouth based ships HMS FEARLESS and HMS INTREPID, and will be a significant boost to the Navy's amphibious capabilities.

Around 50 per cent bigger than FEARLESS, BULWARK will be capable of deploying a military force of marines from Stonehouse-based 3 Commando Brigade by helicopter and landing craft.

Once launched, HMS BULWARK will spend the next 12 months at sea, manned by a civilian staff from shipbuilders BAe Systems, who will test her performance.


SCILLONIAN III was scheduled to make her final crossing of the extended 2001 season on Saturday November 17. The ship has enjoyed a longer service of activity this year as the vessel's seasonal service normally concludes at the end of October. It had been planned for the ship to operate a limited number of sailings over the Christmas period, though these plans were dropped some weeks ago due to a lack of bookings.

The freighter GRY MARITHA which has very limited passenger accommodation is reported to have left Semple Cochrane Plc's Penzance Dry Dock after her refit on November 5 and has re-entered service on her thrice weekly return sailings between Penzance and Hugh Town.



Welcome to this weekend's update. The next site update will be on Saturday November 17. 

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Tony Brennan, John Lawlor, Clive Jackson, Jenny Williamson and "others".

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

SEACAT ISLE OF MAN entered service between Belfast and Troon on Monday November 5. Her last sailing on Thursday November 8 was cancelled due to adverse conditions.

SEACAT SCOTLAND entered dry dock at Harland and Wolff on Wednesday November 7.

RAPIDE - Laid up Birkenhead, West Float and awaiting dry docking.

PORT OF MOSTYN - it is rumoured that Steam Packet masters have been studying charts for the Port of Mostyn as there appear to be slots available at the new ro/ro facility which could accommodate the BEN-MY-CHREE.


EUROPEAN PATHFINDER is reported to have made its first visit to Fleetwood on November 3. It would appear that P&O have made the switch to allow the Pioneer to get back on to schedule following delays to schedules caused by the weather.


EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY lost a passenger overboard on Friday afternoon - more information below.


KONINGIN BEATRIX - due to adverse weather conditions on Thursday November 8 the ship was unable to berth at Rosslare on her morning arrival from Fishguard and diverted to Dublin where she berthed at 14:45.  She then departed light ship at 16:45 resuming service with the 03:15 departure from Fishguard on November 9. Traffic from cancelled sailings was diverted to Irish Ferries.

STENA EUROPE It is believed that this vessel which currently operated the Karlskrona - Gdynia route will be swapped with the KONINGIN BEATRIX in 2002. STENA EUROPE will enter service at Rosslare following some of her cabins being converted to additional vehicle deck capacity.

Sources add that she will remain on the service for 4 - 5 years, Stena envisaging that she will be replaced by a newbuilding at the end of that time.


JONATHAN SWIFT sailings on Thursday November 8 and the first return sailing of the day on Friday November 9 were cancelled due to adverse conditions. 

ISLE OF INISHMORE - On Thursday the vessel was reported running around 1.5 to 2 hrs behind schedule due to adverse conditions but unlike KONINGIN BEATRIX the vessel had no problems berthing at Rosslare. On Monday the 09:15 to Pembroke and the return sailing are cancelled for scheduled maintenance.


LOGOS II - the exhibition ship is due to arrive at Birkenhead on Thursday November 15 and is due to remain until November 28. She is currently in Belfast.

The M. V. LOGOS II was built in 1968 and first named Antonio Lázaro. Though originally built as a passenger car ferry, she has been completely refitted for her present role as an exhibition ship. Today she carries a multinational crew and staff of 200 volunteers whose service is a practical expression of their faith and commitment to serving the nations.

LOGOS II carries a stock of half a million books. The thousands of titles cover a wide range of subjects such as science, technology, sports, hobbies, cookery, the arts, and philosophy. These books are chosen to meet the educational and social needs of the local community; a large selection is devoted especially to children. The vast array of English books is often supplemented by local language materials.

After leaving Birkenhead her next port of call is Cardiff November 29 to December 12 and Cork December 13 to 27


KHALIFEH 1 a livestock carrier registered in the Kingdom of Tonga has been detained in Belfast.

An inspection carried out by Maritime Coastguard Agency Surveyors on October 31 revealed many serious deficiencies including:

- Emergency rescue beacon (EPIRB) not working
- Crew without medical certificates
- Forward hatch and main hold access doors not watertight
- Engine room skylights not sealable
- Liferafts overdue servicing
- Fire hoses, fire hydrants and fireman outfits not serviceable
- Emergency fire pump not readily available
- Low pressure on fire main

A total of 51 deficiencies have been recorded so far. Because of the nature and number of deficiencies the inspection has been suspended until the flag state re-surveys the ship and confirms that it complies with all the international rules.

The ship has full convention certificates, issued by the Naval Survey Bureau of Beirut in August 2001. This organisation is unknown to the MCA. The Tonga Registry has since confirmed that Naval Survey Bureau is not authorised to issue certificates on its behalf.

It has also been revealed that servicing certificates for the ships two liferafts have been issued by a service station in Beirut not approved for this type of raft. Both liferafts have since been condemned by a local approved station.

David Carlisle the Surveyor-in-Charge at Belfast Marine Office said:

"It appears that this ship has made the voyage from Lebanon via Sete in France for bunkers without valid certificates and lives have been put in danger. In my view the poor condition of the ship casts considerable doubt on the quality of the surveys carried out by the classification society just 12 weeks ago. The ship will not be allowed to leave Belfast until the MCA is satisfied that it is safe to do so."


At 12:35 on Friday November 9, 2001 Clyde Coastguard received an urgency call from
the ferry ‘European Causeway’ which was enroute from Cairn Ryan to Larne in Northern Ireland, stating they had lost a person overboard about five nautical miles west of Corsewall Point (nearest town Stranraer).

Clyde Coastguard scrambled Royal Naval Rescue Helicopter R 177 and the RNLI Port Patrick lifeboat to the scene whilst the ferry launched its rescue craft into the water.

The rescue craft from the ferry retrieved the 26 year old male from Glasgow in the water and transferred him back to the ferry. The Royal Naval Helicopter landed on the ferry and it was decided for the ferry to continue its journey to Larne and land the casualty to a local hospital at Larne.

Clyde Coastguard Watch Manager Stuart Pittendreigh said:

"The weather conditions throughout this operation were calm with wind north west force 1 – 2. The ferry acted very quickly in launching their rescue craft and picking up the gentleman."


A second ship has been discovered by customers officers to be carrying smuggled cigarettes at a port in Ireland. On Wednesday the Phnom Penh registered MARIA M was detained by Gardaí and Customs Officers at Dundalk. On Wednesday the German owned DUNKERQUE EXPRESS II had been detained in Drogheda. 

On Thursday November 10 the Cypriot registered SYLVE was detained by Customs Officers at Warrenpoint, County Down. The vessels had been on voyages from Easter Europe. The cigarettes are believed to have been bound for the dissident republican group the Real IRA.

On Friday the MARIA M was brought to Dublin Port for  search by specialist rummage teams.



Due to other commitments during this week - I have just prepared a news update for this evening. Please note that from this weekend all updates will now take place late on Saturday evenings. This arrangement is likely to remain in place until the spring and should ensure that I make better use of my time at weekends as there is a tendency to spend too much time working on the update and not doing other things  that I should be doing. That CD-ROM project for example! 

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

The 2002 fleet deployment plans for the Irish Sea are still not clear. The Irish Sea Website appears to have undergone some modifications. In the Gallery the RAPIDE has been moved to the ships previously in the fleet whilst a photograph of SUPERSEACAT TWO has reappeared in the ships currently in the fleet.

Correspondents who have been playing around with the on-line booking facility appear to have discovered that a SUPERSEACAT probably SUPERSEACAT TWO is listed as operating the Liverpool - Dublin route and the return sailing to Douglas previously operated by RAPIDE. 

It appears that RAPIDE could be switching to Heysham - Belfast. 


The Ships of Mann web site has been updated to include recent pictures taken at Dublin including the LADY OF MANN.


Gardaí investigating the activities of cross border smugglers and dissident Republicans have impounded a ship the DUNKERQUE EXPRESS II. The ship was impounded in Drogheda harbour in County Louth and has been searched in a joint operation with customs. 

Following the search customs officers are reported to have seized millions of pounds worth of smuggled cigarettes. The discovery marks the  culmination of an international investigation into smuggling and represents a saving of approximately IR£3m in lost revenue to the State.

The  vessel has been at sea since it left Latvia last week it is believed that two thirds of the cargo was destined for Drogheda with the balance destined for Cornwall.

The vessel regularly carries timber from Latvia to Ireland and Britain and has previously called at Drogheda.



The Permanent Secretary of the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (DTLR), Sir Richard Mottram  officially opened the new Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) Centre at Liverpool on Friday November 2.

Sir Richard unveiled a commemorative plaque after which he hosted lunch for the VIP guests attending the ceremony.

The new Centre represents a one-stop-shop for maritime safety provision in the Liverpool area and is home to two arms of the MCA, HM Coastguard's co-ordination centre for search and rescue and the Liverpool Marine Office.

Chief Executive, Maurice Storey says of the new Centre:

"This refurbishment demonstrates the MCA's continuing commitment to Liverpool, and the integration of the MCA's professionals providing this prestigious maritime one-stop-shop can only improve services to our customers."

The new Centre houses a state of the art search and rescue co-ordination operations room using the lasted Integrated Coastguard Communications Systems (ICCS).


On Tuesday November 6, Swansea Coastguard assisted a skipper in Swansea Bay this morning after the man was hit by the boom on board his yacht, rendering him unconscious. The Coastguard were called at 09.30 by the crew on board the 36 ft yacht ‘Wayward Quest’ reporting the accident and requesting assistance.

Swansea Coastguard requested the RAF rescue helicopter from Chivenor to scramble and the Mumbles Lifeboat to launch and attend the scene, in Swansea Bay.

Terry Baldwin, Watch Manager for Swansea Coastguard said:

"The lifeboat and helicopter went to the scene and tended to the casualty who regained consciousness. The winchman and a lifeboat man went on board and arranged for the skipper to be airlifted to Morriston Hospital, Swansea.

"Despite communications with the yacht being a little garbled, the crewman, although inexperienced was quick and competent on the radio in communicating all the information to us. The weather for this operation was reasonable with west-north-westerly force 3-4 winds and a slight to moderate swell.

Two lifeboat crew boarded the yacht to assist its return to Swansea Marina


GRY MARITHA Scilly News [] reported this week that a  small fire broke out on the GRY MARITHA whilst it was undergoing refit work at Semple Cochrane Plc's Penzance Dry Dock. The fire has delayed the refit, though it is hoped that the ship will be back in service providing the thrice weekly winter service when SCILLONIAN III stands down for the winter on November 17.


Stuart Cameron writes that despite earlier fears and predictions of the adverse effects 'foot and mouth', economic slowdown and the severe downturn in international tourism following the events of September 11th, paddle steamer Waverley has completed her main 2001 season with a very commendable performance and a record revenue in excess of £1.5m. It is good to see that some recent innovations have resulted in improved revenue as this is very necessary to meet the significant recent rises in operating costs due to fuel cost escalation and the initiation of new manning, training and other safety and environmental operating measures. WAVERLEY, BALMORAL and the shore-based Waverley Excursions operation recently gained full accreditation under the International Safety Management Code. This has involved significant behind the scenes, additional and costly effort by the team led by Safety Director Ian Ramsey, Engineering Superintendent Ian McMillan, Marine Superintendent Captain Graeme Gellatly and Captain Steve Colledge. It is worthwhile quoting the MCA surveyor's remarks 'the staff interviewed on board were committed and enthusiastic about the ISM Code and demonstrated a good working knowledge of their on board system' and  'All of the crew interviewed showed a clear understanding of the on-board Safety Management System as it applied to them'

The accreditation also audits the Company structure and management and the professional qualifications of both on-board and shore based staff. Waverley operations now has a fully compliant 'big ship' international safety capability - well done to all involved in that formidable effort.


Anxious to avoid any repeat of the disappointment of last year's cancelled Christmas sailings, Waverley has now returned to her home base at Glasgow Anderston Quay and is patiently waiting for her Christmas merry makers.

She will operate four evening Christmas Dinner cruises on 12th - 15th December and a daytime Charter for the PSPS Scottish Branch on Sunday 16th December.

The fares for these cruises range from £25.95 to £33.00 depending on the sailings and this includes a three course Christmas Dinner / Lunch. Numbers are restricted to ensure that there is adequate time and comfort given the time of year.

A combined total of over 600 passengers have already booked for the sailings but there is still room for more on all of the sailings. To be sure of your choice please book as early as possible.


A number of Board changes have been taking place over the course of this year following the retirement of long serving Waverley Steam Navigation Chairman Terry Sylvester and Waverley Excursions chairman Alan MacDonald and the departure of Commercial Director Ellie Newlands. Engineering
Superintendent Ian McMillan has handed over the reigns as Chairman of Waverley Excursions (the operating company) to Ian Ramsey who  also continues as Director of Safety. Ian McMillan has taken on the role of Operations Director.

Terry Sylvester's position as Chairman of the Waverley Steam Navigation Company has been taken on by a long time supporter of Waverley and the general Clyde steamer scene, Iain MacLeod. Iain has made a big contribution in time and effort to the 'steamers' in the past few years and currently serves as Convener of publications for the Clyde River Steamer Club (producing the long running annual house magazine 'Clyde Steamers') and has also recently compiled the new book 'More Clyde Steamers Remembered' for the PSPS Scottish Branch. He is also a regular contributor to the PSPS magazine 'Paddle Wheels' and speaker at shipping clubs and societies. Iain has also served on the committees of the CRSC and Scottish Branch of PSPS for several years and has represented the Scottish Branch on the National Council of the PSPS in recent years (a role which he will now demit as he will represent WSN on that body in future). Iain has also served as the Treasurer of the PSPS Scottish Branch for several years. Iain manages all of this in addition to his own professional role as Depute Rector of Glasgow Academy. To Iain we owe an enormous debt of gratitude for his contribution so far and for this additional onerous commitment - and we owe an even greater thanks to his wife, Hilary, and his family for their understanding and support. In his new role Iain will be supported by another long serving Waverley stalwart, Dr Joe McKendrick,  as Deputy Chairman of the Waverley Steam Navigation Company.


On November 6 it was announced that DML was given approval to go ahead with the refit of Britain's nuclear-missile submarine fleet.

Permission was granted to increase the levels of nuclear waste it pumps into the River Tamar.
The Environment Agency's long-awaited decision was crucial for the dockyard operator to carry out work on the Vanguard-class nuclear submarines, the first of which, HMS Vanguard, is due to arrive in February. The Environment Agency's recommendation will now be passed on to the Government for final approval by ministers. After an eight-month investigation, the Environment Agency said DML's plans to increase the amount of radioactive tritium it discharges into the River Tamar by nearly 700 per cent were safe.

The authorisation was the last bar to DML carrying out the overhauls of HMS VANGUARD and her three sister boats, a deal worth hundreds of millions of pounds to the Plymouth economy. At the request of the Environment Agency, South and West Devon Health Authority conducted an investigation and ruled the plans safe.

Preparations for VANGUARD class refits have been ongoing since 1993 when DML won the refit contract from Rosyth dockyard in Scotland. Each refit will last two years, and the work will underpin the entire DML operation for at least the next decade.


Devonport Dockyard owner DML has bought a national company to manage its complex defence assets. Staffordshire-based LSC Group is the UK's largest independent engineering logistics, consultancy and software solutions firm. The business, which employs about 200 people, will have the job of ensuring assets at the naval base are run at optimum cost.


The body of  Sir Francis Drake may be laid to rest at St Andrew's Church in the heart of Plymouth if it can be retrieved from its watery grave in the Caribbean, experts believe.

Plans are apparently underway to mount a major expedition to trace the lead-lined coffin of Drake, who was buried at sea off the coast of Panama in 1596. A consortium of Drake enthusiasts, TV executives and marine experts are behind the ambitious bid to recover his body with the aim of bringing it back to lie in state at Westminster Abbey. But they say his final resting place should be his home city of Plymouth – with St Andrew's Church proposed, as it was where he took communion before every one of his momentous sea voyages.

Some believe that, assuming his body can be located, he should be buried again at sea. But Sue Jackson, resident historian for the Drake Exploration Society, said his will specifies that he wanted to be buried ‘in soil'.

An international appeal is now underway to raise the £500,000 needed to fund the ambitious expedition to pinpoint and recover Drake's coffin. And the team which found the wreck of Devonport battleship HMS Hood is among the consortium bidding to carry out the seabed search.



A very brief update - little news as you can see - but an interesting voyage report from Adrian Sweeney. Also some more pictures from my recent trip to Scilly. Please note there will be no update on Sunday. Next update November 7. No email replies Saturday and Sunday until late.


EUROPEAN SEAFARER has returned to service on the Rosslare - Cherbourg route.


Mike O'Brien has some pictures of KONINGIN BEATRIX's return on October 28. Visit Mike's site at:


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