The Irish Sea Shipping Archive

About ISSContactContentVoyage ReportsISS Amazon Shop
PhotographsFeaturesShip AISShips on FilmNews
Finished With Engines: Irish Sea Shipping is now closed to new updates
 
www.jhluxton.com - J.H. Luxton Photography - Transport, Industrial History, Regional Photographs UK & beyond

NEWS BULLETIN

  FEBRUARY 2002

FEBRUARY 26

NOTES & NEWS

Once again a fairly major update. Next update will be on Saturday, March 2.

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Steven Pattheeuws, Kevin Fleming, John Lawlor, Michael Pryce and "others".

FREE P&O POSTCARD OFFER

Gary Andrews has a quantity of PRIDE OF RATHLIN and EUROPEAN ENDEAVOUR postcards which he is offering free to ferry enthusiasts. If you wish to receive the two postcards - or even one of them. Gary advises the EUROPEAN ENDEAVOUR cards are in short supply.

1. Send Gary an e-mail to gary.andrews@nireland.com to reserve your postcard(s).
2. Send a Stamped addressed envelope to

GARY ANDREWS
55 ARGYLL VIEW
LARNE
BT40 2JS
NORTHERN IRELAND.

***PLEASE NOTE***

Due to the nature of this offer it is non-negotiable - i.e. this is not a postcard swap, Gary does not have other postcards available and if you wish to receive a postcard you must follow the instructions above.

Any queries should be directed to Gary's personal email address.

Please allow 28 days for delivery - this is merely a goodwill gesture on Gary's part and whilst he will try to mail postcards by return of post in your stamped addressed envelope, personal/work pressures may affect the length of time it takes for him to deal with your request.

The PRIDE OF RATHLIN postcards are the same as he offered previously so if you received one of those you do not need to request another one. 

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

SEACAT SCOTLAND suffered a technical problem on February 25 and is likely to be out of action until Saturday March 2.

SUPERSEACAT THREE is due to open the 2002 Season on Sea Containers Liverpool to Dublin route and commence operation on Liverpool to Douglas services on Thursday, February 28. 

LADY OF MANN proceeded to her Alexandra Dock lay-up berth on the morning of February 25.

MD&HC / SEA CO LIVERPOOL TERMINAL

It has been reported in the Daily Post that the  final obstacle to the development of the new Liverpool Sea Terminal is likely to be removed by Liverpool City Council this week. 

Councillors are expected to make their decision on Friday following a ruling that the freehold of the land belonged to the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company. It is expected that a covenant signed in 1871 between the then Mersey Docks and Harbour Board and Liverpool City Council protecting the Pier Head from inappropriate development will be lifted in return for a payment of £165,000.

 IRISH CONTINENTAL GROUP

On February 26 Irish Continental Group plc, ("ICG"), announced that it had agreed to charter the ISLE OF INNISFREE to P&O European Ferries (Portsmouth Ltd), ("P&O"), for a period of 5 years from 1 July 2002. Also, ICG has entered an agreement to extend the charter of the PRIDE OF BILBAO to P&O, for a further 5 years, in direct continuation of the existing charter which expires in October 2002.

ICG acquired the PRIDE OF BILBAO in November 1993 from its Scandinavian owners for $78 million and the vessel has been on continuous charter to P&O since that time, primarily operating a twice weekly cruise ferry service between Portsmouth and Bilbao in the Basque area of Northern Spain. The vessel, with over 2,400 beds is one of the largest night ferries in the world.

The ISLE OF INNISFREE was delivered to ICG in 1995 having been constructed to ICG’s specification in Rotterdam. With its 100 plus freight unit capacity the ship spearheaded the development of Irish Ferries’ Dublin/Holyhead route in 1995 to 1997 and the Rosslare/ Pembroke route from 1997 to 2001. Following delivery of Irish Ferries €100m newbuilding ULYSSES in 2001, the ISLE OF INNISFREE was made available for charter. ICG understands the ISLE OF INNISFREE will service the route operated between Portsmouth and Cherbourg.

These two charters provide a diversified income stream to ICG, complementing ICG’s own ferry operations, connecting with the island of Ireland, and ICG’s short sea container services throughout North West Europe. The charters also underpin the quality of ICG’s ferry fleet, among the most modern in Europe.

PENINSULAR & ORIENTAL STEAM NAVIGATION COMPANY

EUROPEAN SEAFARER finally arrived at Canada Graving Dock, Liverpool on Sunday February 24. A correspondent reports that EUROPEAN NAVIGATOR was noted operating on EUROPEAN SEAFARER's schedule on February 24.

EUROPEAN PATHFINDER undertook berthing trials at Campbeltown last weekend. Campbeltown was the former Scottish Terminal of Sea Containers short lived service to Ballycastle, Northern Ireland. 

EUROPEAN ENVOY - Bad weather has resulted in diversions from Mostyn for the vessel. She called at Liverpool on February 26 and 27.

STENA LINE

STENA GALLOWAY renamed LERIF sailed from Belfast for the last time late on February 23 under the ownership of IMTC.

STENA CALEDONIA re-entered service from dry-dock with her 10.30 sailing from Belfast on February 24.  

STRANGFORD FERRY

Strangford Lough's new £2.7m ferry PORTAFERRY II left angry commuters high-and-dry when it broke down not once but twice inside 24 hours it has been reported.

The state-of-the-art PORTAFERRY II was launched in a blaze of publicity just weeks ago by Regional Development Minister Peter Robinson after her construction last year by the Merseyside Shipyard of McTay Marine in Bromborough

Problems began when the vessel broke down at about 17:00 last Friday, halting services for the rest of the day. The vessel was back in service in time for the 08:00 sailing the following day. However, the "electronic fault" which caused the original problem struck again halting all sailings between 09.30 and 14.30.

To add to their embarrassment the vessels sister ferry, the STRANGFORD FERRY was unavailable as she was refitting.

Even the vessel which the new ferry replaced, the PORTAFERRY I, could not be reactivated as its certificates had expired. Attempts to run a small boat for foot passengers only also ran into problems due to the tides.



FEBRUARY 24

NOTES & NEWS

Please note some additions have been made to the news file since Yesterday.

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Richard Seville, Ian Collard, Jim Edgar, John Williamson and "others"

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

SUPERSEACAT THREE completed her trials on Monday before entering the Liverpool Dock system on Tuesday for final preparations for her reintroduction on Irish Sea routes out of Liverpool at the end of the month. Currently berthed at West Langton the vessel undertook a drill involving the use of her MES system earlier in the week.

BEN-MY-CHREE adverse conditions led to the cancellation of the 09:00 and 14:15 sailings on Wednesday February 20. 

USER AGREEMENT RENEWED

Under the existing User Agreement with the IOM Government (which runs until September 2005) the Steam Packet had an option to extend the Agreement for a further five years. The Company recently asked the Government to extend the Agreement as per that option. The Council of Ministers has agreed to this. In Tynwald this week the Minister of Transport Hon. John Shimmin announced that the User Agreement with the IoMSPCo has been extended until September 2010.

Hamish Ross, Steam Packet Managing Director said: “This is great news for both the Company and I think the Isle of Man. Over the last six years we have invested heavily in our fleet, greatly increased sailing frequencies and capacities and have dramatically increased carryings in both our passenger/car and freight sectors. Our fleet provides a good mix of conventional and fast ferries tailored to meet the demands of our business through the year. The User Agreement, which set us tough investment, service and pricing criteria also, gave us the confidence to invest in our business. It has been good for the Company and the Island".

NORSE MERCHANT FERRIES

A correspondent reports that as a consequence of V-Ships losing management contract for the Cenargo/Proofbrand/INorseIrish etc group of Irish Sea vessels to the management of Bluewater Ship Management the Manx flagged vessels DAWN MERCHANT and BRAVE MERCHANT will switch to the UK Flag with Liverpool as port of registry.

Existing V-Ships Superintendents will change to Blue Water and ships crews
also changing - the manning being done by DOBSONS of Cyprus who will have a UK staff working out of Bluewater Offices in Kent.  DOBSONS were of course the former Birkenhead marine refrigeration company that moved to Cyprus some years ago to go into ship management.


PENINSULAR & ORIENTAL STEAM NAVIGATION COMPANY

EUROPEAN SEAFARER did not appear to arrive on Merseyside for attention at Canada Graving Dock as was suggested in last week's update as a consequence of the ship appearing on the MD&HC movements list. However, an observer on February 24, has spotted an unidentified P&O vessel entering the dock system which may very well be EUROPEAN SEAFARER.

EUROPEAN ENVOY - Bad weather led to the diversion of EUROPEAN ENVOY on February 19. 

European Envoy is seen here in Gladstone Lock as Lagan Viking passes by on the River Mersey. [Photograph by Ian Collard]

STENA LINE

Stena Line's new generation of Irish Sea superferry, STENA EUROPE, is set to enter service on the Fishguard - Rosslare route ahead of schedule on 13th March 2002.

The 24,800 tonne high-tech craft will offer travellers digital satellite coverage for mobile phones, use of ATM cash machines throughout the crossing, video conferencing and ultimately on board real-time TV.

Together with hotel-style cabins, an all-new Food City restaurant concept, spectacular music video wall, wider choice of shopping, bars and exclusive Stena Plus lounge, the vessel will be the most sophisticated cruise-ferry on the Irish Sea.

STENA EUROPE is currently undergoing a £4 million (6.35 million euro) refit and refurbishment at the City shipyard, Gothenburg, Sweden. Work is due for completion early in March followed by sea and berthing trials on the Irish Sea.

Stena Line route director Mary Gallagher commented: "Stena Europe and our fast catamaran service Stena Lynx will together create the best combination of options for people travelling to Ireland from Fishguard this year. Ferry travel with Stena Line today is an exciting and fun experience that appeals to all tastes."

STENA GALLOWAY is  has been renamed LERIF and registered in Casablanca (Morocco) where her new owners IMTC are based. On Saturday a correspondent noted that all Stena sailings from Belfast to Stranraer were cancelled and the STENA GALLOWAY's  Scottish crew were noted at Larne Harbour waiting to board the EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY for her sailing to Cairnryan.  It is understood that LERIF will depart for Morocco on the evening of February 23. The STENA GALLOWAY appears to have concluded Stena service on Friday February 22.

I
RISH NAVAL SERVICE

LE EITHNE departed from Haulbowline Naval base on February 18 to assist in the search for the three fishermen and their trawler who went missing from Kilkeel, County Down on Friday last week.

The L.E Eithne has a crew of 50 personnel and will carry, in addition, a team of Navy divers and sophisticated sonar search equipment in order to assist in this task. It is expected that the ship will remain in the search area for as long as required.

The L.E Eithne is an 80-metre helicopter patrol vessel that was commissioned in 1983. The Commander of the ship is Lieutenant Commander Pat McNulty.

LE NIAMH which is currently enroute to China has now passed through the Suez Canal and is due to dock at Massawa, Eritrea to supply Irish Army troops serving with the United Nations.

JEANIE JOHNSTON

Earlier this week the arrest order on the Jeanie Johnston replica emigrant ship based at Fenit County Kerry has been lifted by agreement in the High Court. 

The Irish Examiner reports that Kerry County Manager Martin Nolan has won approval to spend an extra €1.27m on the crisis-hit Jeanie Johnston project.

Kerry County Council and Tralee Town Council have agreed that the project go into voluntary liquidation, with the co-operation of all State agencies involved.

This will provide for the payment of trade creditors and allow the €15m famine replica to be completed and undergo sea trials.

A number of county councillors objected strongly to his proposal, but Mr Nolan said his latest initiative cannot work unless more money is spent.

Crucially, Mr Nolan’s plan will also require the support of up to 10 Government departments and State agencies which have already given grants and loans of around €10m to the ill-fated Jeanie Johnston. They are being asked not to seek repayment of the money.

Tralee Town Council and Kerry County Council are set to lose a total of €3.8m which means they will have to take out loans to be repaid over 15 years.

Mr Nolan said he was “extremely embarrassed’’ about the situation.

He said the project was not undertaken by the councils, but by the community-based Jeanie Johnston company, which the councils had supported by loans and guarantees.

If the councils had been building the ship themselves, they would not be in this position, he said.

Following a marathon meeting, the county council agreed to support the manager’s latest initiative on a 19-3 vote, with Deputy Jackie Healy-Rae, Cllr Michael Healy-Rae and Cllr Ned O’Sullivan voting against.

Cllr Michael Healy-Rae said he had no confidence in the management as far as the ship project was concerned. He said the proposal amounted to “throwing good money after bad”.

The Cabinet is expected to discuss the Jeanie Johnston saga on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the US committees which planned to host the Jeanie Johnston in America have issued a statement expressing their continued support for the project.

“We have already collected and lodged in Tralee over $100,000 for the project and have had carpenters and apprentices from our communities travel to Co Kerry to work on the ship. We have sought and secured commitments of financial support from our city councils, private corporations and Pennsylvania and New Jersey State legislature towards the ship’s visit,” the statement from the five chairmen said.

“All the funds have been spent to make it capable of sailing the Atlantic. Now the time is approaching to realise this great opportunity for Kerry, America and Ireland. We remain fully committed to the project.”

MERSEY DOCKS & HARBOUR COMPANY

Mersey Docks Announced their Preliminary Financial Results for the year ending December 31, 2001.

Turnover rose 14% to £262.2m (2000: £229.9m)
Pre-tax profit, before exceptionals and goodwill increased 4.9% to £55.6m (2000: £53.0m)
Port Operations profit increased by 5.9% Sale of Port of Liverpool Building gave rise to £4.2m exceptional profit
Underlying earnings per share up 6.23% to 46.75p (2000: 44.01p)
Final dividend of 14p gives total for the year of 20.5p, up 7.9%, covered 2.4 times
Independent revaluation of Group property interests showed a surplus of £75.1m, which has been taken to reserves 4.8m shares acquired through repurchase programme at a cost of £27.3m

"Against a background of difficult international trading conditions, the Group has performed satisfactorily and is continuing to make progress across its operating divisions.

"During the current year, the Twelve Quays River Terminal will begin operation and our investment in upgrading the Dublin terminal will be finalised. The new joint venture with Northwestern Shiprepairers will provide a modest contribution and we are confident that the Maputo project will be realised. Our outlook on international trade is cautious, based on our customers' forecasts, although some commentators point to a recovery in the final quarter. Our continuing focus on cost reduction combined with increased efforts to attract new business should allow further progress to be made this year."

The company also revealed that the second proposed river berth at Langton Dock will also be proceeded with following the overcoming of all objections. It is expected that a harbour revision order will be granted in the near future. Talks are expected to begin with potential new customers including P&O.

PORT OF CORK

The Port of Cork this week launched its Strategic Development Plan a framework for the development of the port to 2020. The plan has identified suitable locations within the harbour to accommodate projected growth in traffic throughput as well as the possible re-location of cargoes from the upper harbour to the lower harbour. The Port of Cork will seek to have this plan integrated into regional and national development plans.

In September 1999 the port commissioned Posford Duvivier (since re-named Posford Haskoning) and their sub-consultants Raymond Burke Consulting, Cunnane Stratton Reynolds, Parkman, Port Management Consulting and MDS Transmodal to prepare a Strategic Development Plan.

This Plan will assist the Port in developing facilities to the benefit of the customers and the local and regional businesses dependent on trade that passes through the Port.

The principal reasons for undertaking the Study were:

 

  • the predicted growth in traffic;
  • the predictions in National Studies of a capacity deficit in certain trades;
  • emerging proposals for City Docks Redevelopment and the potential loss of other facilities in the harbour
  • evolving vessel and trade trends
  • conflicting leisure, residential, amenity, commercial, industrial, environmental and planning demands within Cork Harbour;
  • the constraints and limits in Cork Harbour on the location of new facilities;
  • emerging study in relation to the Cork Area Strategic Plan

The major findings were:

1. Tivoli container terminal would reach its annual capacity of 180,000 TEU between 2005 and 2010. A new container terminal was recommended which could accept larger vessels than at present;
2. An additional facility would need to be provided in order to cater for City Quays traffic which would have to be transferred if and when the City Docklands area was redeveloped.

During the course of the study six sites were identified for detailed consideration:

  • Dunkettle for port related logistical activities and industrial uses. No waterfront development was envisaged;
  • Marino Point, for containers, or possibly dry bulks;
  • ADM jetty area, probably for dry bulks and some liquid bulks, though it could be used for a range of cargoes;
  • Quarter ramp berth at Ringaskiddy, to cater for the existing and future multi-purpose Ro Ro services;
  • Oyster Bank, probably for containers;
  • Curlane Bank for a deep sea container terminal.

PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY

Containers
Tivoli Container Terminal is forecast to reach capacity between 2008 and 2011. Because of vessel draught restrictions at Tivoli and a capacity limit, it is considered that a new container terminal will be required rather than further expansion at the existing terminal. Two options have been proposed, Oyster Bank and Curlane Bank.

It is considered that the Oyster Bank scheme meets all the necessary criteria and should be given priority although the more expansive Curlane Bank scheme should be retained as an option to provide the flexibility for possible future trends towards still larger vessels.

City Quays Traffic
If port operations on the City Quays were to cease, then the relocated traffic should be accommodated at the ADM development area as an extension to the Ringaskiddy Deepwater Terminal. However, as the Port would receive no additional income by the move downstream, it would need to be compensated for the considerable capital expenditure it would outlay.

Quarter Ramp Berth, Ringaskiddy
To help alleviate pressure on the existing Ringaskiddy deepwater berthage and as an interim measure prior to undertaking the ADM development, a specialist quarter ramp berth could be constructed at Ringaskiddy.

Dunkettle
The financial evaluation shows that the proposed development at Dunkettle for logistical activities and industrial uses would be profitable. It is not recommended that Dunkettle be developed speculatively but rather when a specific need has been established and economic factors are positive.

Tivoli
In the circumstances that a new container terminal is constructed, then the other existing cargoes will continue to be handled in Tivoli together with some relocated cargoes. That part of the container terminal land side area no longer required could be leased out for other industrial/port related uses.

Marino Point
Following a technical review of the options, it was decided that Marino Point should not be investigated further at this stage. This is because of the perceived difficulty in overcoming the environmental designations in addition to other issues such as poor navigation and poor road access. However as the only rail connected site, it could become feasible in the future if there is sufficient political and economic pressure to move freight by rail.

SHORT TERM ACTIONS
1. The Port should continue to ensure that the local, regional and national plans zone the identified sites for future port use, in order to provide the maximum flexibility for future development.

2. The Port should continue to remain in dialogue with all stakeholders and should promote its development plans in a consultative manner.

3. A further study on the effect of the closure of the City Quays is required to identify the detailed requirements and hence the cost implications for the Port. This needs to be done in conjunction with the users and the planning authorities. The major part of such a study would be to identify what the existing users would do, in particular those with existing facilities. It is therefore essential that the existing users are seriously committed to any redevelopment and it is imperative that the means of funding the closure and redevelopment of the City Quays and the construction costs of new facilities be identified in principle.

4. The Port should continue to market the container terminal project to possible interested parties, including prospective investors. It should also monitor the plans and future requirements of existing and prospective users. This is to assist in identifying when a new container terminal will be required and the opportunities for private involvement.

5. The Port should continue to actively address how it could improve the income from the container business.

6. While the Study has not addressed stevedoring issues, it is essential that stevedoring rationalisation be achieved to ensure that the Port is efficiently run and makes maximum use of its facilities.

SATISFACTORY YEAR AT PORT OF CORK

The Port of Cork enjoyed a satisfactory year in 2001 when total traffic amounted to 9.83 million tonnes. Imports accounted for 6 million tonnes and exports accounted for 3.83 million tonnes. This was the second highest level recorded at the port although it was 308,000 tonnes or 3% lower than the record year which the port enjoyed in 2000. However, the port was faced with unusual problems in 2001. The Irish Ispat closure in June resulted in a reduction of 300,000 tonnes of throughput at the Haulbowline facility while last year’s foot and mouth outbreak and the slowdown in the economy during the second half of the year were additional factors underlying the overall figures.

The most serious impact of the foot and mouth outbreak was experienced in the car ferry sector. By the end of June passenger traffic had reduced by 21% and accompanied cars by 14% but by the end of the season both had rallied strongly. Passenger throughput at 183,000 passengers came within 10,000 passengers or 5% of the 2000 figure while accompanied cars reached 55,000 vehicles, identical with the previous season’s total. The strong recoveries by both Swansea Cork Ferries and Brittany Ferries confirmed the attractiveness of the Port of Cork as the preferred entry port for the southern and western counties of Ireland while the recent decision by Swansea Cork Ferries to operate a year round service in 2002 augurs well for the upcoming season.

Container traffic slipped back by 3,000 teus or 2.6% to 118,000 teus with most of the impact of the economic slowdown being felt in the last two months of the year. To the end of October traffic was on a par with the previous year but, as with most other ports, the situation deteriorated towards the end of the year. With a total of 9/10 sailings per week to European ports, companies such as BG Freight, Seawheel/Rheintainer, Eucon and HKCIL offer frequent competitive services for both European and transhipment traffic. Containerised traffic on Grimaldi Euro-Med Line’s Mediterranean and Northern European service grew by 20%, a particularly impressive statistic in the current economic climate and the company expects further growth in its containerised and ro-ro freight traffic in 2002.

Exports of ore concentrates from the Lisheen mine increased by over 70,000 tonnes as production at the mine approached full capacity. Prior to shipment, the concentrates are stored in a dedicated facility at the Tivoli Estate and are transferred to the ship by means of a specialist covered conveyor and ship loader. Further increases are anticipated in 2002.

Oil continues to represent a major percentage of the port’s business with imports reaching 3.5 million tonnes and exports 2.3 million tonnes. These figures were very similar to 2001. Non-petroleum bulk liquid imports such as caustic soda and other organic chemicals grew strongly in deference to the port’s location at the hub of Ireland’s principal chemical/pharmaceutical centre.

General difficulties in the agricultural sector, together with the impact of foot and mouth disease and the mild autumn and early winter of 2001, contributed to a downturn in imports of animal feedstuffs and fertilisers but there was healthy growth in exports of urea and ammonia from IFI’s plant at Marino Point.

While the Port of Cork continues to handle all imports of new trade cars for Ford, General Motors and Fiat and a share of Volkswagen products, total volumes reduced by 30% in line with the overall reduction in the Irish market. The motor industry in Ireland has taken the view that the year 2000 was a very unique one and that more appropriate comparisons should be made with 1999. In that context, while national vehicle registrations reduced by 2.2% for the period 1999 to 2001, the Port of Cork’s imports of trade vehicles grew by 16.2% in the same period.

In 2001 the Port of Cork played host to 24 cruise ships and 16,000 passengers compared with 18 vessels and 10,000 passengers in 2000. On the basis of confirmed bookings, the year 2002 will be a record one with 30 cruise ship calls and capacity for 25,000 passengers. In the aftermath of 11 September following which US residents have been reluctant to travel overseas, the cruise situation at the port is particularly satisfactory. The three largest ships cruising in Northern European waters in 2002 will call to the port and berth at the Ringaskiddy Deepwater Terminal. Celebrity Cruises’ Constellation, Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas and Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Legend will make their maiden calls to Cork. Each vessel has a minimum passenger capacity of 2,400 and offers a sophisticated dining, entertainment and overall cruising experience.

The year 2002 will be a challenging one for the Port of Cork. In the current difficult economic climate the port and its many service providers will seek to retain existing business and encourage new business by offering efficient and competitive services. Based on the success of recent years and the major investment which has been made in modern facilities, the Port of Cork is well equipped to meet the growing challenges.


BELFAST HARBOUR COMMISSIONERS

This week the Belfast Harbour Commissioners reported a 6% drop in the number of ferry passengers passing through the Port of Belfast.

Announcing the port's figures for 2001, the Commissioners blamed the combined effects of foot and mouth, rioting and September 11 for the downturn.

But they said that Belfast had not been as badly affected as other ports, citing a fall of almost 9% in total numbers using Irish Sea ferry services.

Overall, the Commissioners said the port had maintained the record trade level achieved in 2000, once again handling more than 17 million tonnes of cargo.

Gordon Irwin, the BHC chief executive, said: "After a period of seven years of record growth, we have sustained the record levels of 2000 against what have been very trying external circumstances.

"We have been able to withstand a fall back in certain sectors by attracting new trades and achieving growth in others, and so maintaining overall trading levels."

The main area of growth was bulk cargoes which increased by 7% to 7.3 million tonnes, which BHC said was a record for any Irish port.

The Commissioners also reported a small decline in the number of ro-ro freight vehicles passing through the port.

But Mr Irwin insisted that this was a temporary setback and predicted that the sector would recover later this year when the Belfast- Liverpool service was upgraded.

The opening of the Twelve Quays terminal on the River Mersey will mean an increase in frequency on the Norse Merchant service from Belfast.

In addition, Mr Irwin said, Stena Line was planning to increase frequency and reduce journey times on its service from Belfast to Loch Ryan.

Last year £20m was invested in expanding the port by reclaiming land and widening the main approach channel.

I
n addition, work has started on the construction of 400,000 sq ft of transit warehousing close to the quayside.

MARITIME & COASTGUARD AGENCY

16 FOREIGN SHIPS UNDER DETENTION IN THE UK DURING JANUARY 2002

The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) announced this week that 16 foreign ships were under detention in UK ports during January 2002 after failing port state control safety inspection.

Latest monthly figures show that 10 foreign ships were detained in UK ports during January 2002 along with 6 other ships still under detention from previous months. The overall rate of detentions compared with inspections carried out over the last 12 months is 6.4%; this is identical to the 12-month rate to December.

8 out of the 10 vessels detained in January were registered with flags targeted for inspection.

Two vessels were detained in January for failing to implement effective maintenance procedures under the ISM Code.  On a Romanian flagged bulk carrier numerous structural defects were found including damaged ventilators, holes in hatch covers and detached frames in some ballast tanks.  Survey by class found further defects but remaining cargo prevented full repairs.  In addition the annual audit for the company’s Document of Compliance had been missed.  Once satisfactory re-audit of the ship and the company had been completed the vessel was released for a single voyage, subject to favourable weather conditions, to complete discharge and undertake full survey and permanent repairs.

A second bulk carrier was detained in Cardiff under the same section of the ISM Code. Here the port lifeboat would not lower due to a fracture in a hydraulic pipe to the brake system, and the emergency fire pump and the alarm on the CO2 release to the engine room were found to be inoperative.  These and other defects such as lifejacket lights expired 12 months ago and out of date charts had not been identified before indicating that the company’s own programme of equipment testing and general checks was not being carried out.

A Panama flagged bulk carrier was inspected and detained for two days after the International Transport Federation alerted MCA to the serious lack of food provisions on board. In this instance while the maintenance of the ship and equipment was adequate it was evident that less attention had been paid to the crew’s welfare. The vessel, with a crew of 22, was about to depart on a two to three week voyage with meat rations of very poor quality and little fresh fruit, vegetables or milk, some of which was already spoiled. The detaining surveyor stated ”there were a few heads of lettuces that were rotten, two boxes of rotten apples, 36 of the smallest chickens I have ever seen and a couple of boxes of meat, some flour and half a bag of rice. The diet seemed to consist of just meat or chicken, potato, onion and bread. In addition to this the galley was filthy and cockroach infested”. The vessel was released when additional provisions were put on board and plans were put in place to load further provisions at the owner’s home port of Piraeus.

PORT OF WATERFORD

A Sierra Leone man whose decomposed body was found on a grain ship which docked in Ireland last August died from suffocation, an inquest heard this week.

The scantily-clothed remains of Julius Bagara (24) from 17A Kissy St, Freetown, Sierra Leone, was found among animal feed pellets aboard the cargo ship AURA on August 22 last year.

The grim discovery was made by Richard Haberlin, a worker at Belview Port, on the edge of Waterford city. He discovered the body at around 09.30 when over 4,000 tons of cotton seed pellets were being unloaded at the north wharf in the Waterford port.

Gardaí in Waterford believe the man was a stowaway who may have boarded the ship almost a month earlier on July 25, when it was docked at Abidjan on the Ivory Coast.

The cargo ship docked at Belview Port on August 19.

Garda John Killeen, Ferrybank Garda station, told the inquest he saw the body of Mr Bagara half covered by the seed pellets.

He travelled with the body to Waterford Regional Hospital where a post mortem examination was carried out by pathologist, Robert Landers. The following day he returned to the hospital morgue, where he discovered an identification card in the deceased’s clothing.

Medical evidence read out at the inquest indicated that Mr Bagara died from suffocation caused by being covered in the seed pellets.

When the body was discovered, the ship’s captain, Pered Eric Venetius Cristam, said he believed the man would have died in the first day aboard the ship as the cargo hold had been fumigated.

The inquest was adjourned by coroner Rory Hogan to March 20 for further medical evidence.

WHITE STAR LINE

A  watch that  stopped the moment its owner plunged from the TITANIC into the icy waters of the Atlantic is expected to fetch up to £25,000 at auction.

The hands of the gold-plated Waltham watch, rescued from the body of John Gill, 24, have permanently remained at 3.21am - the time that eyewitnesses reported the vessel sank 1912.

Passed on through Mr Gill's family, the watch was fitted with a new mechanism and dial, but the original time remains to mark the sinking, which killed 1,521 people.

Mr Gill, a chauffeur from Clevedon, Somerset, had married wife Sarah two months earlier on Valentine's Day but had set out alone to America, having bought a second-class ticket for £13, to start a new life for them. His body was pulled from the water and the watch and other items were recovered.

Mrs Gill received a letter from operator White Star Line asking her to pay £20 for the return of her husband's body.

The British Titanic Society Convention and Wiltshirebased auctioneers Henry Aldridge and Son claim the items and letter together could fetch a world record £ 100,000 for Titanic memorabilia.

DEPARTMENT OF THE MARINE

NEW COASTGUARD HELICOPTER FOR EAST COAST OF IRELAND

Mr. Hugh Byrne, Minister of State at the Department of the Marine and Natural Resources, announced on Wednesday February 13 the award of a 5 year contract with CHC (Ireland) Ltd to provide an “all-weather” twenty four hour marine emergency response helicopter service at Waterford.  The service will be in place from 1 July 2002.  In addition, CHC will provide an interim service on a twelve hours per day basis from May 1 until the start of the main contract.

Minister Byrne said “This is tremendous news for the south east region.  The availability of such highly specified aircraft is vital to the Irish Coast Guard in order for them to carry out their vital function of protecting lives at sea and on our coastline.”

The new Waterford based helicopter is one of the most highly specified marine emergency helicopters in the world.  Its specialised direction finding equipment and forward looking infra-red, which can detect people in the water through heat transmission makes it a truly all weather, day and night rescue facility.  It carries up to 15 survivors, can transport fully equipped fire fighting crews and has up to five hours endurance in the air, a maximum range of 468 nautical miles and a cruising speed of 110 knots. 

The Minister concluded “I am delighted to announce this new service for the South-East and want to wish those involved every success. 
I also think it is fitting at this time to remember the four gallant crewmen who tragically lost their lives in July 1999.  I committed to the provision of this new service at that time and I am pleased to see it come to fruition with the award of this contract today.”

FENIT HARBOUR INVESTMENT

Frank Fahey T.D., Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources announced a funding package of up to €1.5 million for Fenit Harbour under the Seaports Measure of the National Development Plan 2000-2006 on February 15, 2002.
 
The Minister said “This funding will enable Fenit to find new uses, develop new sources of revenue and increase the attractiveness of what is already a magnificent public asset.”
 
This is the first tranche of funding announced under the Seaports Disengagement sub-measure in the Southern and Eastern Region, which is intended to assist those ports whose operation in commercial freight is no longer sufficient to sustain the port.  The funding will assist the ports to fully exploit their potential in the transition to alternative uses such as marine leisure.
 
The investment programme submitted by the Tralee and Fenit Harbour Commissioners includes essential repairs to the viaduct that provides access to the harbour; new craneage; and improvements to the harbour infrastructure and facilities.  The strategy adopted by the Commissioners is to create a multipurpose harbour where facilities for shipping, fishing and pleasure craft are all equally important and where the provision of amenities for public and tourist recreation in an important dimension.
 
The investment will facilitate the transfer of responsibility for the Harbour, in line with Government policy, to the local authority who represents the ultimate beneficiaries of the activities of the harbour and its users.  “Local participation on the part of the Tralee Town Council is essential to the successful future of the harbour”, said the Minister.
 
The funding will, in the light of the decline in the traditional activity in the Harbour, ensure that Fenit harbour will continue to play a beneficial role in the local economy.  The €1.5 million investment is granted at the maximum aid rate of 50% under the Measure.  It is anticipated that the local authority, to which it is intended to transfer control of the harbour, will provide the balance of funding for the investment projects.
 
Minister Fahey concluded, “This investment will provide the stimulus to re-orientate and invigorate Fenit Harbour”.

CAMMELL LAIRD

The yard may have closed last year, however, its final year has been captured by the University of Liverpool student Patricia MacKinnon-Day.

IC Liverpool reports that the former student spent a year as artist-in-residence at the Birkenhead yard until its closure 

She was given unrestricted access to all areas of the site and created giant art installations from discarded fragments of the shipbuilding industry.

Her work, entitled Inland Waters, is now on public display for the first time at Manchester's Whitworth Art Gallery and arrangements are being made for a nationwide tour.

One of Ms MacKinnon-Day's most striking creations is Phosphorescent Levels, a giant 20x6m curtain of pipes filled with phosphorescent water.

Another, Ensemble, consists of work overalls from the yard - each is colour-coded depending on positions in the yard - hanging in line.

Ms MacKinnon-Day used a tape recorder to take down sounds of people's jobs, from labouring to answering phone calls and giving instructions, which is played from the overalls.

She also created a video work entitled Cycle which projects images of the churning waters of the Mersey and other scenes from the shipyard.

"The work I produced is all about scale - the vastness of ships, cranes, chains, dry-docks the river and the sea that it feeds, " said Ms MacKinnon-Day, who lives in Chester.

"It is also about the people who are able to make those ships - translating flimsy drawings and images on computer screens into steel, glass and water." Some of Ms MacKinnon-Day's creations were intended to last just days.

In her first piece, Yellow Line, she created a stimulating visual image simply by planting bright yellow ragwort along hundreds of yards of a disused railway line.

Salt Chains was a huge line of chain link created only from salt which Ms M a c K i n n o n - D a y placed in the dock and watched alongside the workers as it slowly dissolved.

Photographs of the temporary artworks are on show at the exhibition.

She said: "The timebased feature of my work reflects the way building work and industry operates - things are created then they are gone.

"It is quite poignant now when you consider what sadly happened to the yard during my time there."

Ms MacKinnon-Day began the project in June, 2000 as part of the North West Arts Board's Year of the Artist scheme, with extra funding from Chester Council and the Centre for Art and International Research.

She worked from a cabin and regularly had meetings with a steering committee, a collection of Laird management, workers and arts people.

While she was there the company went into receivership.

She said: "That was all very dramatic and very sad. I had got to know everyone very well and made lots of good friends. But I didn't let it affect my work and I know the workers were glad for that."

Ms MacKinnon-Day built up such a close relationship with the workforce that, when her residency was over, she sent them invitations to the exhibition.

She said: "I had got to know them all as individuals so it was important for me they were the first to view it.

"They have been on this project with me from day one and I think they were really pleased to see the end result.  Inland Waters runs until April 14.

FEBRUARY 17

NOTES & NEWS

Please note that I will be away Tuesday to Friday inclusive and there will be no responses to emails. Messages can be sent to my mobile phone if you wish to get in touch 07973 363370. The next update will be on Saturday February 23.

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Alan Lee, David Fairclough, Tony Brennan, Kevin Bennett and "others".

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

SUPERSEACAT THREE operated trial runs to Dublin on Friday and Saturday  February 15 / 16. On Sunday SS3 departed Liverpool for  Douglas at 08:26 she was  expected back at Pier Head 14:00, then returning to the Isle of Man for second run later in the day . She is due to sail for Dublin again on Monday before returning to Liverpool and entering the docks system.

RAPIDE and SEACAT ISLE OF MAN entered North Western Shipbuilders and Shiprepairers Bidston Yard on Friday February 15. Floating terminal PONTUS remains in Vittoria Dock.

STENA LINE

HSS STENA EXPLORER - a correspondent notes that the vessel had acquired the company's web address on its sides.

STENA GALLOWAY has been sold to Moroccan interests. She currently has some Moroccan crew on board. She should cease operations for Stena Line around Thursday when STENA CALEDONIAN is scheduled to return from dry dock.

MERSEY FERRIES

ROYAL IRIS OF THE MERSEY - completion of the ship's refit which has taken almost one year has nearly been completed. 

The photograph shows the vessel at the Duke Street berth on February 16. The awning has been fitted with dropdown weather shields to offer additional protection to passengers during inclement weather.

 

CORNISH FISHERIES

It was reported this week in the Cornishman that the UK Government appears unlikely to repay money used to decommission an Anglo-Spanish flagship to Cornwall's Objective 1 fund.

The row over the Penzance-registered flagship Mari Geni looked as if it had been resolved last week with St Ives MP, Andrew George insisting that Fisheries Minister, Elliot Morley had promised the decommissioning money would be returned to Cornwall.

Mr George said the situation was "impossibly complex" but he had been told the money would be "fully restored" in due course.

The Mari Geni is thought to have received about £500,000, most of it from Cornwall's Objective 1 purse - even though it has never landed a fish in the county.

But this money did not come from the £5 million already earmarked to help the Cornish fishing fleet.

A spokesman for DEFRA was sticking to the line that the Mari Geni was legally entitled to the money from the Cornish scheme as she was a Cornish-registered boat.

She said there were no plans to pay the decommissioning money back to Objective 1.

PENINSULAR & ORIENTAL STEAM NAVIGATION COMPANY

EUROPEAN SEAFARER is due to enter the Liverpool Dock system for dry docking at Canada Dry Dock on Sunday February 17.

ROYAL NAVY

HMS BEAGLE - on February 13 the Devon town of Newton Abbott said farewell to its adopted ship HMS Beagle yesterday amid the tightest security the town has seen.

The crew of HMS Beagle marched through the streets to mark the decommissioning of the coastal survey vessel. Cars were banished from several town centre streets as a security cordon was placed around the parade route. "Sniffer spaniels" trained to hunt out explosives were brought in to check the route and police sealed all post-boxes and rubbish bins.

Security at events involving the Royal Marine Band has been tightened since September 11.

The Dartmouth-based band led the parade which included the 37 members of HMS Beagle's crew who were joined by platoons from the Royal Naval Association, the Royal Marine Association and the Royal British Legion.

The parade marked the end of Newton Abbot's association with the current HMS Beagle and its predecessors.

The 34-year-old survey ship was formally decommissioned during a ceremony at Devonport Naval Base last week.

Children from four Newton Abbot schools joined the large crowds lining the route from Courtenay Park along Queen Street to Marsh Road.

The crew and veterans halted and stood to attention while the Royal Marine Band performed a musical interlude in Queen Street.

Mayor Heather Sinfield took the salute from the crew in Courtenay Street.

She said: "It was an important, but somewhat sad day for the town. We have had long association with HMS Beagle and it is a shame we do not have another adopted ship to replace it.

"We are only thankful that it was such good weather for the parade."

Ships carrying the name HMS Beagle have been associated with Newton Abbot since the Second World War.

The current Bulldog Class coastal survey vessel was launched in 1967 and is the ninth ship to bear the name HMS Beagle.

The most famous of its ancestors was the vessel that took Charles Darwin on his voyage to the Galapagos Islands where he formulated his theories of evolution.

It was the 8th HMS Beagle that was first adopted by Newton Abbot in 1941.

The parade through Newton Abbot was the last official engagement for the ship's commanding officer Lieutenant Commander Derek Turner and his crew.

In her 34 years of service HMS Beagle has steamed the equivalent of 21 times around the world.

Lt Cmdr Turner said crew would stay with the ship for the next month before being reassigned.

"The ship will be sold off at the end of March and is likely to go to civilian use.

"It is unlikely that there will be another HMS Beagle in my lifetime.

"Over the years we have visited Newton Abbot many times to take part in Remembrance parades and sporting events. We have always enjoyed a warm welcome from the people of Newton Abbot and all those who have served on HMS Beagle take with them fond memories of visits to the town."

A civic reception for the crew followed the parade

HMS SOUTHERLAND sailed from Devonport on February 13 for a West Indies deployment

The Type 23 frigate will operate on anti-drugs patrols in the area, together with the US Coastguard and other European navies.

The ship will also be on hand to provide humanitarian help in the event of any natural disaster.

This has always been an important role for ships deployed to the West Indies as local islands are vulnerable to hurricanes.

HMS Sutherland's commanding officer, Commander Paul Thomas said: "We are deploying to undertake an important and exciting task as part of the fight against the drug trade."

NAVAL VESSELS DUE ON MERSEYSIDE

The following RN vessels are due to berth at Huskisson #1 Branch Dock, Liverpool as follows:

HMS MIDDLETON [M34] Hunt Class Mine Countermeasures Ship February 20 - 23), HMS EXPLOIT [A167] (February 28/29) and HMS EXPRESS [A163] (February 27 - 29) both Archer Class Coastal Training Craft. 

DROGHEDA PORT COMPANY

The Drogheda Port Company intends to continue expanding its facilities over coming years in line with market requirements for new and improved port facilities, Irish Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources Frank Fahey has said.

He was responding to a Dáil question from Deputy Michael Bell who asked what the Minister’s plans were for the further development of the Tom Roe’s Point Deep Sea facility.

‘As the Deputy may be aware I announced an allocation of some e1.664 million, under the Infrastructure Measure of the BMW Regional Operational Programme of the National Development Plan 2000-2006, to Drogheda Port Company in December last in respect of the completion of Phase 1 of the Tom Roe’s Point Development,’ said the Minister.

‘Projects for which funding was approved included the purchase of a container handling Liebherr Mobile Crane and the paving of up to eight acres of hard standing.’

‘I am advised by Drogheda Port Company, which is statutorily responsible under the Harbours Acts, 1996-2000 for the management, control, operation and development of the port facilities, that it is the company’s intention to continue to expand its facilities over the coming years in line with market requirements for new and improved port facilities.’

The Minister further stated that a second grant aid application under the National Development Plan from Drogheda Port Company for further development of the Tom Roe’s Terminal is currently under consideration. I hope to be in a position to make a further allocation of grant aid allocations for commercial seaport development under the National Development Plan very shortly.’

Meanwhile, in response to another question from Emmet Stagg (nominated by Michael Bell) Minister Fahey said his Department reached a settlement with the owners of the Waddington Estate which lies northeast of the Tom Roe’s Point development.

The Minister was asked the details of the settlement in relation to the land area at Tom Roe’s Point Deep Sea Dock; if his department settled the matter without consultations with individual companies and the Drogheda Port Company and his reply was as follows:

‘The High Court action that the Deputy is referring to was initiated by the owners of the Waddington Estate. Following advice from and with the agreement of both the Attorney General’s Office and the Chief State Solicitor’s Office, my department reached a settlement with the Waddington Estate.’

‘The decision to enter into settlement in this case was taken by my Department after full consideration of the ramifications for National Ports Policy as well as for the State’s interest in the foreshore.’

‘The settlement, while recognising the property rights of the estate owners, protected the current development and allowed Drogheda Port Company to proceed with their plans to develop an area to the west of the current facility, subject to the appropriate consent under the Foreshore Acts. Moreover, this settlement removes any doubts that the foreshore in question is the property of the State.’

‘I can assure the Deputy that prior to and during the settlement talks there was contact between the legal teams of all the defendants, namely the State, Drogheda Port Company and Patrick Monaghan (Drogheda) Ltd.’

JEANIE JOHNSTON

Further information on the JEANIE JOHNSTON replica emigrant ship:

Minister for the Marine & Natural Resources, Frank Fahey TD, has recently received the Report of the Focus Group which he had set up to identify the options for the future role of the project and to report to him on a long-term strategy for the vessel after completion. The Minister noted that the Group has been unable to identify a long- term use for the vessel, which will not involve the State in ongoing subvention to the project.

He also noted, with concern, that the ability of the Focus Group to assess the costs and benefits associated with various options for the use of the vessel, or to identify private sector support, has been hampered by the
extent of the financial crisis currently surrounding the project.

Such were his concerns about the current precarious financial status of the project highlighted in the report, the Minister brought the Focus Group report to the immediate attention of his Government colleagues at their meeting on Tuesday last, 4th February and to seek their views on the situation facing the project.

 In bringing this matter to Government, the Minister took the view that a structured winding down of the project, lead by Kerry County Council, is the only practical way to avoid the forced disposal of the Jeanie Johnston vessel and the promoting Company being forcibly wound up.

He also believes strongly that this course of action would create, for the first time in he history of this troubled project, a window of opportunity to assess the costs and benefits of a range of options for the use of the vessel without the “heat” of financial crisis.

Minister Fahey understands that the Jeanie Johnson Company is working urgently with Kerry County Council to identify a practical solution to the immediate financial crisis facing the project. Meanwhile, he is working with all relevant State stakeholders to support Kerry County Council and the Company in this initiative.

 Summary of Focus Group Findings:

 The Group estimated that the final cost of the project will be €14.35m; it has overrun by over €10.16m (or 377%) on its original estimate of approx. €3.81m and by over 18 months on its originally scheduled completion date.

 The project has to date not delivered on any of its original objectives and the project promoters have been unable to develop credible plans for a US/Canada voyage, or for a long-term future for the vessel.

The Focus Group concluded that there were serious deficiencies in the original concept in terms of its planned role and in the estimate of the benefits envisaged for the project for the future; that the project was inadequately managed and that the Jeanie Johnston Company was not an appropriate platform for planning, designing or management of a future role for the project. The Group also agreed that it should be prudential and risk averse in approaching a recommendation on its future.

 The Focus Group considered three main options for a future use of the vessel, which are:

 Option (A) provide no further State support on completion of the vessel in early 2002, resulting in immediate sale of the vessel using the proceeds of sale to discharge debts to the extent permitted by available funds.

 Option (B) provide no further State support on completion of a voyage in the Summer of 2002 resulting in either retention at no Irish public cost in North America, or failing that, immediate sale. The Focus Group estimates that the minimum cost of a transatlantic voyage would be €0.63m;

 Option (C) take the vessel into State custody, with possible uses including sail training, maritime ambassador, museum ship, etc. Based on what it has learned from comparative vessels operating elsewhere, the Focus Group estimates that the costs associated with the possible uses for the Jeanie Johnston would be as follows:

As a fully operational sailing vessel (sail training, maritime ambassador etc.) €1.27m per annum

As a static exhibition, museum ship etc. €760,000 per annum

Laid up (i.e. ‘mothballed’)  €152,000 per annum

 In essence, the Focus Group has not identified a long- term use for the vessel, which will not involve the State in ongoing subvention to the project. The ability of the Focus Group to assess the costs and benefits associated with various options for the use of the vessel, or to identify private sector support, has been hampered by the extent of the financial crisis surrounding the project.

Finally, the Focus Group wished to put on record that, despite the cost overruns etc. that it has alluded to, the finished product, the Jeanie Johnston, is a fine and well built vessel. In general, the use of highest quality Irish materials and boat building and fitting out skills have created a vessel which could be an attractive asset.

 MARITIME & COASTGUARD AGENCY

KODIMA

The cargo ship KODIMA, which spilled hundreds of pieces of timber on to a Cornish beach when it grounded two weeks ago, was refloated on February 17.

The 6,300 tonne Maltese-registered, Russian owned vessel beached on February 2 in gale force conditions at Whitsand Bay, Cornwall, as she sailed from Sweden to Libya with cargo of timber.

The ship was refloated on Saturday February and was towed by tug towards Falmouth.

The bid to refloat the KODIMA took 14 days because of bad weather hampered the operation.

Robin Middleton, the secretary of state’s representative for salvage and intervention, said the Kodima will be inspected at Falmouth and, if considered safe, will be allowed to berth there.

The 4,000 cubic metres of timber planks which were hurled ashore sparked a "wrecking frenzy" with people flocking to claim pieces for their own use.

AIR AND SEA SEARCH - FISHING FAMILY OVERDUE

TULLAGHMOURRAY LASS - a ten metre prrawn siging vessel registered in KILKEEL is missing presumed sunk. On February 15 Belfast Coastguard received a call from one of the fishing vessels in the Kilkeel fleet to raise the alarm after the fishing vessel could not be raised by radio or mobile phone after more than 24 hours at sea, which was not this vessel's usual; pattern of work

The 'Tullaghmurray Lass' had three people on board, the owner aged 52, the skipper aged 33 and his son aged 10, all from the same family.

Belfast Coastguard scrambled the Irish Coast Guard rescue helicopter from Dublin and requested the launch of RNLI lifeboats from Newcastle, Clougher Head and Kilkeel who were joined in their search by 16 fishing vessels from the Kilkeel fleet. The Commissioners of Irish Lights tender GRANUAILE also assisted, acting as on scene search co-ordinator and a Nimrod aircraft from RAF Kinloss arrived on scene at around 08:55.

On Sunday it was reported that British Naval experts had been called in to help search for the missing vessel and the bodies of Michael Greene, his son and eight-year-old grandson, who were
on board at the time. Alan McCullough, who represents the fishermen, said that specialised help was needed urgently

ABP PLYMOUTH MILL BAY

 

A ambitious plan was unveiled this week for 600 homes and a hotel in Plymouth's Millbay Docks. Associated British Ports (ABP) is to submit two major applications to Plymouth City Council to transform part of the docks into a residential area. The plan includes several multi-storey apartment blocks with bars, restaurants and retail units.

It is designed to complement the Millbay 2020 draft regeneration strategy, which was written by the city council, the South West Regional Development Agency and Lacey Hickie Caley architects.

Colin Greenwell, Millbay port manager for ABP, said: "We have talked about the council's aspirations for the area. We are pleased that our ideas to a large extent coincide with their own."

The proposals allow for 600 luxury and affordable homes, in apartment blocks four to eight storeys high. These would also house waterfront bars, cafes, restaurants and retail units.

At the north entrance to the site, a supermarket and an 80-bed hotel with sloping roof could be built.

The plans include the use of public art and there is space for live music on the quay.

A new marina and an underground and small-scale multi-storey car park also figure in the design.

FEBRUARY 14

NOTES & NEWS

UPDATES

A reminder that the next update will be on Sunday evening. There was an additional update posted on last Sunday to catch up with some news items which were omitted from the Saturday update.

CYBASE MAIL

A reminder that I will be discontinuing the cybase mailboxes soon. Please ensure that all email is now sent to merseyship@btinternet.com .

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Gary Andrews, Kevin Bennett, Michael Pryce, Ian Collard and "others"

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

SUPERSEACAT THREE arrived back on Merseyside after twelve months absence on Thursday February 14. SS3 is due at Dublin on Saturday and Sunday around 14:00 for berthing trails on berth 49 and 51a. She will also trail the passenger gangway at berth 49. However, she will not be able to use the ramp on berth 51a as it is still out of action.  She is due to re-enter service on Thursday, February 28.

BEN-MY-CHREE recommenced services on the 19:45 Douglas to Heysham sailing on February 11.

SEATRUCK FERRIES

An article in Lloyds List of Monday 11 February quotes Kevin Hoobs (Crescent Group Operations Manager) as saying that Seatruck Ferries are set for expansion.

The group will be looking at one of two alternatives. Either it will look to increase the number of sailings on Seatruck's existing freight only route (Warrenpoint - Heysham) or open a new route to another Northern Irish port.

The reason for looking at Northern Ireland was put down to "weaker trade with the Irish Republic". Quote "The Celtic tiger has gone to sleep". Crescent has completed the sale of its 9 dry bulkers, and "are now in a strong position to expand". They are now "actively researching opportunities in coastal tanker and ferry trades".

MERSEY DOCKS & HARBOUR COMPANY

Car Carrier ASIAN DYNASTY was an unexpected visitor to Liverpool on Monday February 11. She is seen here in Gladstone Dock

Built in 1999, ASIAN DYNASTY is 55719 grt, 200m x 32m with a speed of 29k and is owned by Hyundai Merchant Marine Co.Ltd.

WATERBORNE RIVER SERVICES LTD

A Dublin company has carried out a feasibility study on a commuter ferry service for the River Liffey which could carry up to 50,000 passengers a week.

The company, Waterborne River Services Ltd, presented the findings of its preliminary research to Dublin Chamber of Commerce, which last week recommended the establishment of a river taxi and ferry service as part of a series of measures to dissolve Dublin's traffic gridlock.

Waterborne's technical director, Keith Rankin, told the Irish Independent that they were now set to meet city manager John Fitzgerald to discuss their plans for the ferry, which would carry up to 100 people at a time.

"Our proposal has the potential to remove large volumes of commuter traffic off the streets of Dublin and its hinterland by providing an efficient commuter service along the main artery of Dublin City, the Liffey, which is independent of road traffic," said Mr Rankin.

He said their proposals put forward up to eight ferry stops along the Liffey including a Temple Bar stop, and stops at Heuston Station, Smithfield, and the Civic Offices.

According to Mr Rankin, their service has the potential to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, regardless of water levels in the Liffey.

He also believes it has huge tourism potential.

PENINSULAR & ORIENTAL STEAM NAVIGATION COMPANY

The EUROPEAN PATHFINDER experienced a minor switchboard fire late on Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning and will be out of service for around 7 days.

The EUROPEAN ENDEAVOUR is covering for the Pathfinder's sailings with the EUROPEAN MARINER operating at least the 21.30 ex Larne and 01.45 ex Cairnryan of the Endeavour's sailings.

The following report was carried in the Evening Times on February 13:

An alert was caused early today after a fire on a ferry sailing from Cairnryan to Larne, Northern Ireland. The European Pathfinder turned back after sailing several miles up Loch Ryan when a fire was discovered on an engine room instrument panel.

More than 30 passengers were on board.

Coastguards were alerted when the ship was 30 minutes into the journey and fire-fighters from Stranraer, Newton Stewart and Dumfries were called. But the ship's firefighting crew put out the fire.

Meanwhile French newspapers have reported that an incident occurred on board EUROPEAN DIPLOMAT due to adverse sea conditions during a crossing from Rosslare to Cherbourg.

Sixteen containers with Phosphoric Acid moved in a  trailer. On arrival at Cherbourg, firemen were called to move the trailer to an isolated are of the harbour for attention

MARITIME & COASTGUARD AGENCY 

KODIMA UPDATE

The MCGA issued the following update on February 10:

 There has been no change to the position or condition of the vessel. The salvors managed to deploy some of their equipment by helicopter yesterday, operating for a few hours only, enabling five lifts in total and the deployment of the salvage team, which included the naval architect. 

Work is proceeding in accordance with the salvage plan to secure the salvor's equipment on the bridge deck, secure vent pipes and continue preparations for the transfer of bunker oil and refloat the vessel. The salvors intend to get on board at first light today, weather permitting. The salvor's tug Battleaxe has now departed from Swansea, and tug Sigyn remains on station close to Kodima.

The salvor's naval architect has supplied preliminary results of his calculations to SOSREP (Secretary of States Representative). These calculations will assist the salvage plan for the stabilisation and refloatation of the vessel. Consideration is still being given to Falmouth as a preferred option as the port of delivery for Kodima. The next scheduled surveillance flight over the area is tomorow morning. 

A small amount of pollution has been reported - silvery sheen approximately 350 metres by 100 metres from the bow of the vessel to the east, this is dispersing naturally. The removal of timber cargo on-shore is now underway by the owners appointed contractors. 

Notices to the public have been produced to warn them of the dangers of removing the timber from the shoreline. These notices have been placed in local areas and car parks this weekend. An Air Exclusion Zone for all aircraft is still in place for three nautical miles around the vessel up  to 2,000 ft. Brixham Coastguard has been nominated as the Emergency Controlling Authority. 

On February 11 the coastguard announced that  temporary exclusion zone (TEZ) of 1000 metres at sea level has been placed around Kodima, the timber carrier which is still stranded off the Cornish coast.

The exclusion zone will stay in place around the vessel until it is removed. The TEZ was required after several members of the public were seen approaching the vessel from the sea, notably a group of jetskiers who, as well as putting themselves in danger, were also distracting the helicopter pilots who were trying to work on the vessel.

JEANIE JOHNSTON

The project to replicate a famine ship and sail it across the Atlantic is set to be scrapped after it ran more than €10 million over budget.

The replica ship, the Jeannie Johnston, was near completion when a creditor secured a directive, halting the project.

Minister for the Marine Mr Frank Fahey, who recently submitted a damning report on the project detailing its financial shortcomings to the Irish Cabinet, said earlier this week: "Originally the cost of building the Jeannie Johnston was put at €3.8 million and the final sum looks like being €14.3 million."

He said the only option now is to wind down the company and to look at possible uses for the ship including operating it as a visitor attraction during 2002.

"We want to pay off the creditors and allow Kerry County Council to take ownership of the vessel and try and agree on its future," Mr Fahey said.

When the plan ran into financial problems, the Government launched a €4 million package to ensure the building job was finished.

But Mr Fahey said it was not a question of having poured good money after bad - rather saving up to €8 million that would otherwise have been lost.

The Minister said: "We are now in a position of having the ship completed by the end of the month and the assets will look after trade creditors. It is then a question of looking to see how we can recoup losses and make the ship useful".

FEBRUARY 10

NOTES & NEWS 

A short extra update for Sunday February 10. Saturday's update is below. Acknowledgements: Kevin Bennett, Sara Cass, Stan Basnett and "others"

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

BEN-MY-CHREE - correspondents report that the BEN-MY-CHREE started moving off from North Western Ship Repairers at 06:52 on Sunday February 10 under command of Captain Ledley and with Captain Crellin as pilot. She was clear at 07:04. She swung in West Flolat near to where the SeaCats are berthed. Adsteam Tugs BRAMLEY MOORE  attached forward at 07:14 and TRAFALGAR 07:18. She had cleared Duke Street Bridge at 07:32 and Four Bridges by 07:50. She was secure in Alfred Lock by 07:55. Departure from Alfred was at 08:28. Seacombe Ferry was passed at 08:34 and she was noted passing C12 at 09:05. BEN-MY-CHREE arrived at Douglas passing through piers at 12:45 and was secure on her berth at 13:00.

BELARD which had been working with EUROPEAN MARINER to provide freight cover in the BEN-MY-CHREE's absence departed on Saturday - she has another charter in the Baltic. 

LADY OF MANN will operate the Heysham route on Monday February 11. The BEN-MY-CHREE's first passenger sailing will be the 09:00 departure from Douglas on Tuesday February 12.

MERSEY DOCKS & HARBOUR COMPANY

A correspondent reported on Saturday February 9 that Gladstone Lock middle gate had gone technical, resulting in the whole lock having to be used.

MERSEY FERRIES

A correspondent reported that a man was reported in the River at 08:30 on Friday February 8 at Woodside. He was rescued by ferry staff and taken aboard Royal Daffodil to await arrival of emergency services.

FEBRUARY 9

NOTES & NEWS

UPDATE SCHEDULE CHANGES

There has been an adjustment to the update schedule for February. There will be an additional update on Thursday February 14, 2002. Next weekend's update will be posted on Sunday February 17. There will NOT now be an update on Wednesday February 20. 

EMAIL

Please could all correspondents ensure that they are using the following email addresses merseyship@btinternet.com for web site related mail and jhluxton@btinternet.com for private correspondence. Much junk mail appears to be arriving in e-mail most of it being received by the Cybase addresses. As a consequence of this I intend discontinuing regular scans of the Cybase mail boxes at the end of February.

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Chris Jones, Dave Crolley, Kevin Bennett, Ian Collard, John Lawlor, Michael Pryce, Cornish Shipping and "others".

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

BEN-MY-CHREE - the ship is expected to depart from North Western Shiprepairers and Shipbuilders Bidston yard on Sunday February 10. On Saturday she was noted afloat.

RAPIDE - The vehicle ramps have been refitted to the vessel and a correspondent reports that on speaking to crew members painting the starboard side of the vessel on Saturday February 9, she is to retain the IoMSPCo "Legs of Man" logo, even though she is to be deployed on the Heysham to Belfast service in 2002.

STENA LINE

STENA GALLOWAY was a surprise visitor to Merseyside on Friday February 8. She was briefly dry-docked for a pre sale inspection at Canada Dry Dock before sailing for Scotland on February 9. It is believed that she has been sold to Limadet Ferries.

STENA VOYAGER has nearly completed a £3m refit at Harland and Wolff, Belfast. Following refit the vessel will feature a new cinema for children, a new video games area and a new 120-seat quiet lounge.

Its existing coffee shop has been refurbished and the Club Class accommodation upgraded. There will be 170 extra seats on the vessel.

Paul Grant, head of marketing and sales with Stena Line, said the GBP3m
refit is designed to bring passengers the "most advanced, comfortable and
enjoyable" service on the Irish Sea.

HSS STENA EXPLORER, which is usually found on the Dún Laoghaire-Holyhead route, has been covering the Voyager's services during the refit.

IRISH FERRIES

ISLE OF INISHMORE returned to service on the Rosslare to Pembroke commencing on the 21:30 departure from Rosslare on February 6. 

NORMANDY has now stood down for refit and arrived at County Wharf, Falmouth on February 7 for refit by A&P. She was not able to enter dry dock immediately as it remained occupied by POSL BURGUNDY.

RNLI

PENZANCE BICENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

This week it was announced that Penzance is to be the focus of the RNLI's bicentenary celebrations in West Cornwall during 2003.

The town was the first in the county to boast a lifeboat, a 27 footer, which was established in the autumn of 1803.

It is hoped up to 20 former RNLI vessels now privately owned will be provided to present a 'through the ages' catalogue of lifeboat design and practicability. Two centuries of service may also be marked by the 'Presenting of the Vellum' to Penlee lifeboat at a ceremony in Newlyn.

Penwith Council's principle development officer has hosted a meeting with RNLI representatives where it was suggested Penzance should be the seat of celebrations to mark the arrival of lifeboats in Cornwall during a special weekend.

In a report presented to Penwith councillors, Charlotte Hill, head of economic development and tourism, states: "Many people from all over the world owe their lives to the bravery of Cornish lifeboatmen whose gallantry has on occasion exacted a terrible price. Indeed the very first silver medal awarded by the RNLI for bravery was to a Porthleven man back in 1824.

"The lifeboat stations that surround our shores at Hayle, St Ives, Sennen and Penlee are now part of Cornwall's living history and the county has many reasons to remember, celebrate and reflect. During 2003 a unique opportunity presents itself for Penwith to celebrate its 200th anniversary association with the lifeboat and the RNLI."

All lifeboat stations around the peninsula are set to be invited to participate, combining open days with the celebration - the focus of which will be the harbour.

Said a spokeswoman for the RNLI: "This is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the work of the RNLI in Cornwall in the past, present and future.

"It also presents the RNLI with the chance to raise funds to support our lifeboat crews around the Cornish coast."

The mostly likely dates will be the weekend of July 26 and 27 when the tides are most accommodating and there is little danger of clashing with other local events.

In addition to the lifeboats, other classic or wooden boats will also be invited to complement the maritime theme.

Sponsorship to provide public entertainment and leisure facilities for the public will be sought - with all profits from the weekend's activities being donated to the RNLI in Cornwall.

LOOE LIFEBOAT CREW RECOGNISED

The Cornish Guardian reported this week that  Lifeboat crewmen from Looe have been thanked officially for saving the lives of two brothers, who would have drowned when their dinghy capsized.

They have received framed certificates from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution chief executive, Andrew Freemantle.

Brian Bowdler, Matt Taylor, Paul Crossley and David Darlington were presented with their awards by Wally Scarah, the Mayor of Looe.

The presentation took place at a special ceremony held at the Town Hall last weekend.

It was on May 3 2001 that the crew launched the reserve lifeboat "City of Chester" following reports that an Enterprise-class dinghy had turned upside down off Downderry.

They found the abandoned craft a mile offshore, but there was no sign of the occupants - and night was falling rapidly.

But the crew considered the conditions of both wind and tide and worked out the line of drift and began standard RNLI search-and-rescue procedures.

They eventually found the men more than 300 yards away attempting to swim to the shore.

The brothers were wearing black wetsuits and did not have lifejackets, so they were extremely difficult to see in the gathering gloom and choppy sea conditions.

They were shaken and cold, but otherwise unhurt after their dramatic rescue.

An RNLI spokesman said they would definitely have drowned or died of the cold if they had not been found so quickly.

The commendation from the Institution's chief executive reads: "There is no doubt that the two men owe their lives to the experience and seamanship of the crew of the Looe Inshore Lifeboat.

"Well done indeed, each and every one of you."

The same ceremony saw a presentation to David Pengelly, who retired after 10 years as the Deputy Launching Authority for the Looe Lifeboat.

Mr Pengelly is the owner of Dave's Diner, the celebrated fish and chip restaurant on Looe Quay.

He carried a pager with him at all times during those 10 years so that he could liaise with the Coastguard Service and despatch the lifeboat crew when necessary.

Mr Pengelly has had to step down having reached the RNLI retirement age of 70.

Ray Thornton, the chairman of Looe Lifeboat, presented him with a print of the boat painted by artist Mervyn Beaver.

He also received a Golden Pager from the Looe Lifeboat president Craig Rich, the BBC Spotlight television weatherman.

PLYMOUTH LIFEBOAT

It was reported this week that Plymouth is to get a new £1.8 million lifeboat - thanks to an £800,000 legacy left by a woman with a fascination for the sea.

The Severn class all-weather vessel for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution will be named the SYBIL MULLEN GLOVER
and launched at the end of the year to operate on the coastal area of the city. It will be named after Daphne Sybil Glover, a watercolour artist who died in 1995.

She left no specific request in her will for the £800,000 legacy, but her family agreed the bequest should be used for the funding of the new boat.

Speaking of the new acquisition, Tony Giblet, a volunteer member of the Plymouth crew, said: "We are very pleased. This state-of-the-art boat will enable us to rescue casualties faster and to improve our services."

Sybil Mullen Glover will replace the 17m Arun class City of Plymouth which has launched 51 times and rescued 43 people.

The new lifeboat is currently under construction at Souter Marine on the Isle of Wight.

She is capable of 25 knots and will carry a Y class inflatable for operations in shallow waters, as well as fire fighting and salvage pumping equipment.

There is seating for the six crew and a doctor and two stretcher positions in the wheelhouse.

The boat's superiority was recognised by the British government when John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, presented the RNLI with a Millenium Product Plaque in 1999.

The RNLI crew in Plymouth hope the new boat will increase the prestige of the charity which operates more than 225 lifeboat stations in the UK and Northern Ireland.

Mr Giblet said: "We are a crew of 19 dedicated volunteers.

"We have the best quality equipment to do the job and we hope to be able to help anyone in need."

The Westcountry currently has Severn class lifeboats stationed at Falmouth and Torbay.

NORTH WESTERN SHIP REPAIRERS & SHIPBUILDERS

North Western Shiprepairers are reported in the local press to have secured a £3m refit contract from the Ministry of Defence to refit the Royal Fleet Auxiliary SIR BEDIVERE L3004. The 5,550 tonne displacement Landing Ship [Logistic] is expected to arrive on Merseyside on in March for the start of a 2 month refit.

KODIMA

The media has carried reports this week of hundreds of  people flocking to the coastline of South East Cornwall to plunder thousands of tonnes of timber washed ashore at Tregantle Beach from the cargo ship KODIMA after she ran aground.

Most of her load of timber, bound for Libya from Sweden, came ashore, forming a vast timber-yard around the cliffs sparking locals from a wide area to take part in the old Cornish custom of wrecking.

But Coastguards warned that the wreckers were risking injury scrambling over the debris to sort through it to decide what to salvage.

Heavy seas continued to beat on the foreshore and there was a constant risk of the occasional large wave engulfing wreckers.

A Coastguard spokesman said: "Legally the Receiver of Wrecks should be notified of anything picked up that is of any real value. It can then be claimed legally as salvage."

But he admitted that in practice he would be surprised if any of the wood, all pine planks, would be declared to the authorities.

Droves of local people turned up on the beach from the access roads at Downderry, Seaton and Portwrinkle to collect what they could.

John Pope, from West Looe, loaded up his pick-up truck with planks for decking.

Anything he did not use would be distributed around his family in the age-old local tradition, he said.

And Pelynt builder Roger Smith, who filled a trailer, admitted that, for all the time the salving had taken, it was hardly worthwhile - but it had been a bit of fun with his children.

It was not very good-quality timber, he said, but it would do to make picket fences and garden gates

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency issued the following update this weekend concerning the KODIMA:

  • There has been no change to the position or condition of the vessel. The salvors have been able to deploy some of their equipment by helicopter and work is proceeding to prepare for the transfer of bunker oil and/or re-float the vessel, weather permitting.
  • The objectives are now to seize an opportunity to re-float the vessel intact and if, in the meantime opportunity presents, the removal of the polluting material from the vessel.
  • Future work will be to continue to secure the salvors equipment on the bridge deck and on the starboard side of the accommodation; secure vent pipes; and continue preparations for re-floating and/or bunker transfer.
  • The salvors were able to board the vessel yesterday at 09:00 a.m. but had to be off-loaded due to deteriorating weather conditions by rescue helicopter at 11.30 a.m. Preparations are proceeding to install the necessary equipment by the salvage team of 8 men, weather permitting. The generator has now been installed in a horizontal position on the vessel. Not all equipment has yet been loaded onto the vessel.
  • Half of the timber from cargo hold No.3 have now been lost over-board.
  • The `Whit Task’ is expected to arrive on Sunday at Plymouth. This vessel will be deployed should the transfer of oil be undertaken.
  • The salvors have now deployed their tug `Battleaxe’ from Swansea to the site of the ‘Kodima’. The tug `Sigyn’ remains on station close to the stricken vessel.
  • The salvors Naval Architect has been working on his calculations and preliminary results were made available. These calculations will inform the production of the detailed plan for preparation, re-float, stabilisation and passage plan. The Naval Architect will arrive at Plymouth tomorrow from Holland. The Master and Chief Engineer of the `Kodima’ are also coming to Plymouth to provide detailed technical advice.
  • Consideration is now being given to the port of delivery and Falmouth is the preferred option. Falmouth Harbourmaster and A & P Dockmaster have been advised of this possibility and detailed requirements for entry will now need to be worked out and agreed.
  • A surveillance flight scheduled for yesterday could not take place and the aircraft has returned to Coventry whilst undertaking a South Coast and English Channel patrol.
  • The salvors reported a small area of sheen yesterday in the immediate vicinity of the vessel, which was dispersing naturally and quickly.
  • The owner has appointed a contractor and removal of the timber cargo from the shore has already commenced. Notices to the public are being produced to warn them of the dangers of removing the timber cargo from the shoreline. These notices will be placed in local areas and car parks this weekend.
  • An Air Exclusion Zone for all aircraft is still in place for 3nm around the vessel up to 2000ft. Brixham Coastguard have been nominated as the Emergency Controlling Authority.
  • Consideration will now be given to marine counter pollution measures around the vessel, particularly for the re-float and passage phases.

CARL F. PETERS GMBH

The  tank shipr MV WILLY, which ran aground on a Cornwall beach at New Year amid a scare that she might explode, will have to be scrapped because of the damage sustained in the grounding..

Coastguards working on the scene of the wrecked ship at the time of the grounding were reported as saying salvors "could see more rock than metal" when looking at the ship's hull from inside.

The tanker's vapour-filled tanks, which had posed the explosion risk before they were punctured and flushed by sea water, were resealed and filled with compressed air to enable her to be refloated and towed to Falmouth

This week it was revealed that the ship has been declared a write-off and the vessel will be patched up before being towed away to a breaker's yard. 

The ship caused chaos when she grounded on rocks in Cawsand Bay amid terrible weather at 22.45  on New Year's Day. The Tamar Coastguard rescue team was on the scene promptly and began the perilous task of removing the crew.

All 12 were taken off without injury but coastguardsmen immediately began evacuations in the twin villages of Kingsand and Cawsand after fears about the petrol vapour.

A shoreline response team, including English Nature and Environment Agency representatives, was relieved when feared pollution from fuel oil on board failed to materialise.

SWANSEA CORK FERRIES

RTÉ's reported this week that Swansea Cork Ferries have purchased their own ferry to operate on the Cork- U.K. route. The company has purchased the 14,797 tonnes m.v. SUPERFERRY in a €6.5 million deal described by managing director, Thomas Hunter McGowan as a major vote of confidence in the service and the tourism sector in the south west of Ireland. "The purchase of our own vessel and the elimination of the necessity to charter gives us control of our own destiny as a service. An immediate result will be the extension of the service to 11 months of the year and a one third increase in sailings to over 400 for the coming season" he said. Denis Murphy, chairman of Swansea Cork Ferries, said he was confident of the positive impact the company's decision would have on the region. "Tourism had severe difficulties last year, caused by the Foot and Mouth Epidemic and by the events of September 11 and like all operators, we suffered too. But we have a great belief in the Irish tourism product and a confidence in our service which we now intend to develop to its full potential.", Mr. Murphy said.

Swansea Cork Ferries run the only passenger ferry service linking Wales. and the South West of Ireland. Established originally by local authorities in Cork, Kerry and West Glamorgan, the service has proved to be of critical importance to tourism interests in Cork and Kerry. A UCC Department of Economics Report last year showed the service is worth approximately €35 million to the economies of Cork and Kerry every year and sustains 528 jobs in the tourism sector. The purchase of m.v. SUPERFERRY brings back to the Swansea Cork route by far the most popular ship which the company has used. The ferry was tremendously successful with customers, is spacious and comfortable, easily accessed and has excellent dining, shopping and recreational choices. The m.v. SUPERFERRY has 500 berths, car deck spaces for 300 cars and freight accommodation. On-board facilities include a cinema, children's playroom, three bars, three restaurants - two with waiter service -, a mini market, patisserie, perfumery and gift shop. The ferry also has excellent facilities for disabled passengers. The 2002 season commences in mid-March.

IRISH NAVAL SERVICE

L.E NIAMH the most recent addition to the Irish Navy is scheduled to sail from the Naval Base, Haulbowline on 10 February.  The vessel will initially carry out a resupply of Irish troops serving in the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), based in Asmara, Eritrea.  She will then commence a promotional tour of Asia in support of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, visiting ports in India, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Korea and Japan.  The ship will host a number of important promotional events designed to support export marketing by Irish companies.  

This will be the longest voyage ever undertaken by an Irish Naval Service ship. The ship will be under the command of Lieutenant Commander Gerard O’Flynn of Courtmacsharry.

ISLES OF SCILLY STEAMSHIP COMPANY

The Isles of Scilly Steamship Company is promoting a new link with London from their Skybus terminal at Newquay Airport. Following the recent announcement that Ryanair is to operate air services between Newquay Airport and Stanstead the ISSCo is promoting the following connectional Skybus service:

Depart London Stansted 16.10 - Arrive Newquay 17.15
Depart Newquay 18.00 - Arrive St Mary's 18.30.

Returning to London:

Depart St Mary's 16.20 - Arrive Newquay 16.50
Depart Newquay 17.40 - Arrive London Stansted 18.45

This offers a journey time of just 2 hours and 20 minutes from Stanstead to St.Marys

For further information and reservations contact the company on: 0845 710 5555

Meanwhile the Cornishman Newspaper reported that Penwith District planners are to hold a site meeting at Lands End Airport following an application by Westward Airways (Lands End) Ltd, an Isles of Scilly Steamship Company subsidiary, to install Approach Guidance Navigational Lights adjacent to a runway at the aerodrome.

In a report to the committee on Tuesday, head of planning Mr Roger Harnett said that the application had been outstanding for some time partly due to the need to obtain legal advice as to whether planning permission were needed.

"Following discussions with the Civil Aviation Authority it is considered that the proposals are not permitted development and therefore planning permission Is required."

The committee learned that nine letters of objection, including one from the CPRE, had been received expressing a number of concerns including future pressure to tarmac the runway; increased flight numbers, night flying, or hours of operation; concern about the impact of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty; light pollution; and that the proposals were seen as the thin end of the wedge for further development at the airfield.

Paul Fleming, for the CAA said that if the guidance lights were not provided the CAA would review its position on public transport flights at the aerodrome, and the likelihood was that they would be halted.

Land's End Airport is managed by Westward Airways and provides the maintenance base for the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company's Skybus aircraft which operate routes to Scilly from Bristol, Exeter, Newquay and Plymouth as well as Land's End.

JEANIE JOHNSTON

It was reported by the Irish Independent this week that the woes of the JEANIE JOHNSTON replica emigrant ship continue with an order for "the arrest" of the vessel ship being made by the  President of the High Court, Mr Justice Finnegan, on foot of an application by electrical contractor M J Marshall Ltd, Muckross Grove, Killarney.

Director of MJ Marshall Mr. Michael Marshall claims his company is owed more than €170,000 for work, materials and services carried out on the sailing ship.

It was expected that, once a warrant was issued, bills would be posted on the vessel, and it would be placed under security watch in Fenit, Co Kerry, until a further court order.

A statement from the Jeanie Johnston company said: "There is no question of there being any plan to move the ship out of jurisdiction."

The electrical company claims it is due a balance of €179,336 for carrying out work and providing equipment from April 27 2000 to July 4 2001.

Mr. Marshall said it was ultimately accepted by both parties that because of delays the ceiling price and initial projected finishing date would be exceeded.

The plaintiff company stopped work on May 25 2001, and made the owners aware it could not extent further credit. After the intervention of a "high-profile politician" the plaintiff received a cheque for £10,000.

Mr. Marshall said that on June 26 last, for the first time, the owners alleged that certain work carried out by the plaintiff was unsatisfactory.

At Tralee Circuit Court on July 5 last, the owners applied for an injunction directing the plaintiff the vacate the ship. Counsel for the plaintiff indicated that the plaintiff had left the ship.

FEBRUARY 2

NOTES & NEWS

UPDATES & TECHNICAL PROBLEMS

This week the site has been dogged by various technical problems which have resulted in pages not displaying correctly, menu bars and navigation structure disappearing. With assistance from the technical department of RAMJAM Multimedia who host the site the problems appeared by Friday evening to have been resolved. If however, you come across a problem PLEASE REPORT IT!

The site is checked the regularly but such is its size that some areas don't get visited very often and the occasional glitch can be missed

An extra unscheduled update was published on Thursday evening, just before the technical problems went out of hand, therefore you may not have read the news posting or seen the Scillonian III photographs. Click on the links to visit.

VISITORS' BOOK

As a consequence of the technical problems - Visitors' Book entries since October 17, 2001 have been lost. If you have signed the book since October 17 please could you sign again. Thanks. 

WEATHER DISRUPTION

The adverse weather caused widespread disruption to shipping services over the past few days. It isn't possible to record all changes though this bulleting will give a flavour of what happened during this period which saw major flooding of Douglas, Dublin and Cork as the high winds corresponded with spring tides.

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Jenny Williamson, Ian Collard, Kevin Bennett, Michael Pryce,  and "others"

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

LADY OF MANN - sailings were disrupted over the weekend due to the adverse conditions. Friday's 07:30 departure for Liverpool was delayed until 16:00 when she made a single crossing to Liverpool. The 19:00 return sailing was delayed until 11:00 on Saturday which presented a unique day trip opportunity which consequently resulted in the update of the web site being delayed! You can read the voyage report elsewhere. The LADY OF MANN departed with Saturday's delayed 07:30 sailing for Liverpool at 16:25 before returning to Douglas with the delayed 19:30 departure from Liverpool shortly after 22:00. It had been hoped that services would be back to normal with the 13:45 departure for Liverpool. However, by early afternoon departure was subject to a decision at 14:00 and was put back until 15:35 a correspondent reports that divers have been down though no reason is known. The LADY was reported inbound for Liverpool at Q1 buoy at 18:42.

EUROPEAN MARINER restored the freight service with a13:10 departure from Douglas on Saturday, after being storm bound on Friday. A correspondent reports that the fresh food shelves were starting to look empty in Tesco!

BELARD departed for Heysham to help clear the backlog on Sunday. She had been berthed at Victoria Pier on Saturday .

WAVERLEY EXCURSIONS

WAVERLEY - It is reported that the proposed visit to Merseyside in June is now cancelled, the WAVERLEY will sail directly from the Bristol Channel to the Clyde at the conclusion of her spring programme. 

BRITTANY FERRIES

QUIBERON due to arrive at Millbay Docks, Plymouth around 19:00 on Friday evening after completing her voyage from  St Malo was forced to drop anchor off KINGSAND near Plymouth to await moderation in the weather before attempting to berth. The vessel finally moved off around 15:00 on Saturday.

ROSSLARE EUROPORT

Brain Chambers describes the scene at Rosslare Europort during the current spell of adverse weather:

THURSDAY - January 31

Irish Ferries ship, the NORMANDY did not sail. All her sailings are cancelled due to the adverse weather in the Irish Sea, very strong to gale force North/West wind, and high seas.

FRIDAY - February 1

Severe South winds and high seas continued to disrupt Irish Ferries and Stena Line ferry sailings, sailings on the Rosslare - Pembroke sailings were cancelled, the NORMANDY was storm bound on No 1 Berth, her next sailing scheduled for, Sat 2 Feb, at 11.00, weather permitting.

Stena Line KONINGIN BEATRIX sailed back to Fishguard at 14.00hrs (2pm), the ship was booked out with passengers for the rugby match in Dublin on Sunday.

PO EUROPEAN DIPLOMAT is also storm bound in Rosslare Europort, her next sailing to Cherbourg will on Saturday (2 Feb) at 14.00hrs, the vessel is on No 2 Beth.

Two fishing vessels made their way in to Rosslare Europort this afternoon for shelter from the stormy seas, up to 4 fishing vessels are now at the Fishermans Wall, also two Coaster are taking shelter in Rosslare Bay, just North from the Pier.

Weather in Port.Very stormy, with gale force South winds, rain at times, mild, tep 9 10c.

SATURDAY - February 2

Stena Line sailings are back to normal, the KONINGIN BEATRIX arrived this evening on time, vessel will depart on time.

PO EUROPEAN DIPLOMAT also is back to her normal sailings, the vessel departed today for Cherbourg.

Irish Ferries vessel, the NORMANDY sailings too are back to normal.

Weather in Port today. Mild, fresh South/West winds, heavy showers at times, temp 9 10c

SUNDAY - February 3

KONINGIN BEATRIX - 09:00 sailing cancelled.

ROYAL NAVY

HMS BROCKLESBY - the minesweeper which had been due to arrive at Canning Half-Tide basin, Liverpool on Saturday did not appear to be present on Saturday evening, presumably delayed due to the recent weather.

HMS VANGUARD - The first Trident submarine arrived at Devonport Dockyard for refit on Sunday morning February 3. Hundreds of people were reported on Plymouth Hoe to welcome the arrival of the first Trident nuclear submarine as she made her way past the breakwater and into The Tamar. Click here to view photos from the BBC.

RNLI DÚN LAOGHAIRE

Reserve Inshore Lifeboats from the RNLI's Divisional Base and volunteer crew members from Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat Station were joined by full time members of staff to assist in the rescue operation on the north and south banks of the river Liffey on Friday. Visit the RNLI DUN LAOGHAIRE lifeboat site for more details.

MD&HC / NORTH WESTERN SHIP REPAIRERS & SHIP BUILDERS

On January 29, MD&HC issued the following press release concerning the news this week that they had taken a stake on NSL.

The Mersey Docks and Harbour Company ("MDHC") announces that it is to take a 50% interest in Northwestern Shiprepairers and Shipbuilders Limited ("NSL") a joint venture company established by former directors of Cammell Laird. The consideration, which will be based on the net asset value of NSL at completion, is expected to be approximately £0.5 million. MDHC director Frank Taylor, will become Chairman of NSL with immediate effect.

NSL currently operates from six dry docks on both banks of the Mersey, undertaking repair and small refit contracts for commercial shipowners, including a string of Irish Sea ferry operators. It recently received Ministry of Defence approval and is a contender for military conversion and refit contracts.

MDHC will upgrade and lease dry docks to the joint venture, providing committed capacity capable of fulfilling similar volumes of ship repair and conversion work as previously undertaken on the former Cammell Laird site.

Frank Taylor, Director of MDHC, commented: "It is our intention to build on the excellent success and reputation that NSL has developed in a relatively short period of time. Ship repair and conversion have been significant elements of the maritime industry on the Mersey for many years. The new partnership will apply a considered approach to securing a long term expansion of this vital industry".

NSL already leases the Clarence Dry Dock in Liverpool from MDHC and under the new partnership will be granted leases on Bidston Dry Dock in Birkenhead and Canada Dry Dock in Liverpool.

Mr Syvret commented: "With the planned investment in infrastructure, combined with the commitment of our highly skilled workforce and experienced management, we have every confidence that NSL will establish itself as a highly professional, cost effective option for European commercial and military customers."

Birkenhead MP Frank Field, who has campaigned vigorously for the re-establishment of the shipbuilding and ship repair industry on the Mersey, welcomed the development. "I am very pleased with this new venture. The Mersey Docks and Harbour Company's involvement gives the business of ship repair on Merseyside a long term financial stability it has lacked for 20 years."

MARITIME & COASTGUARD AGENCY

TUG AND BARGE OWNER SUCCESSFULLY PROSECUTED AT SOUTHAMPTON

On January 25, 2002 at a hearing in Southampton's Magistrates Court the owner of the UK registered tug KINGSTON LACY pleaded guilty to employing an unsuitably qualified Master and failing to place a qualified engineer on board the vessel.

The KINGSTON LACY was detained in Plymouth following a spot check by local surveyors. They found a catalogue of defects relating to the tugs safety equipment, machinery and charts, and discovered that the Master was not in possession of a valid Certificate of Competency. The surveyors also discovered that there was no qualified engineer on board. Southampton Magistrates fined Jenkins Marine Ltd of Poole a total of £600 for employing a master who only held a certificate issued in Panama and for failing to provide a suitably qualified engineer. Costs of £1500 were also awarded to the MCA.

Mr Alan Fairney, Surveyor in Charge of the Southampton Marine Office, said after the case that:

"The regulations concerning the certification of both personnel and vessels are to ensure minimum safety standards and are in place for personnel engaged in the operation of tugs and their respective tows. The Maritime & Coastguard Agency will not hesitate to prosecute the owners and operators of small commercial tugs and barges who flout these safety regulations and by doing so place the lives of others at risk."

ABERYSTWYTH RNLI IN SHORE LIFEBOAT CAPSIZES DURING RESCUE

A call at 15:54 on January 29 to Milford Haven Coastguard reported a person having been cut off by the tide and was in the water on the south side of Aberystwyth harbour.

The Honorary Secretary of the Aberystwyth Lifeboat made the initial call, and he informed Milford Haven Coastguard that the in shore lifeboat would self-launch but would not be in a position to take the person off the rocks as they couldn't get close enough.

Milford Haven Coastguard then sent the Aberystwyth Coastguard Team to assist and informed the Wales and West Ambulance Service. It was then reported that the in shore lifeboat had capsized spilling its two of the three occupants into the water. The RNLI inshore vessel then self righted itself and the crew managed to clamber back into the vessel.

Bill Muldrew, Milford Haven Coastguard Watch Manager said:

"Fortunately the crew members recovered themselves quickly from the water and no injuries have been reported. The person was rescued shortly after and was assisted to dry land and was taken to hospital."

CAPSIZED FISHING VESSEL CARLINGFORD LOUGH

On January 30 two of the three person crew aboard the 10 metre fishing vessel CHARISMA were rescued by the fishing vessel CASSIE ANNE when the vessel capsized in the shallow waters of Carlingford Lough.

A Mayday sent from 'Cassie Anne' at 11:44 a.m. was picked up by Belfast Coastguard setting in motion a search for the missing third crewman. Coastguard Rescue Teams from Kilkeel and Newcastle along with the Police carried out a shore based search, whilst the RNLI inshore lifeboat from Kilkeel searched the Lough along with CASSIE ANNE', a Naval patrol vessel and several other fishing vessels. The rescue helicopter from RAF Aldergrove also searched the area. The two rescued crewmen were landed into the care of the local ambulance service and taken to Newry Hospital for checks.

Local divers recovered the missing crewman from the shelter deck of the capsized vessel at 13:15. Unfortunately he was pronounced dead a short time after arrival at Daisy Hill Hospital, Newry.

RUSSIAN CARGO SHIP AGROUND OFF CORNWALL

Only a month or so after the stranding of the German owned tanker WILLY off the Cornish Coast, the recent gales have seen the stranding of another sizeable vessel. On Sunday, February 3, it was reported that  a Dutch Salvage crew were making their way to the Russian cargo ship KODIMA which has run aground off the coast.

The KODIMA [6000 grt] registered in Malta, enroute from Sweden to Libya,  suffered engine failure 20 miles off Fowey. The vessel's timber cargo had shifted in heavy seas causing a serious list. Initially the captain requested that all non essential crew be evacuated, however, following the engine failure all the crew were evacuated leaving the ship dead in the water with 30 foot seas breaking over her. 

The grounded ship is currently being monitored but coastguards have warned other vessels to be aware of floating timber which has been swept overboard.

BESSIE ELLEN

Over the past couple of years there has been much interest in sailing vessels both in Ireland and western Britain. In Ireland the replica emigrant ships JEANIE JOHNSTON and DUNBRODY have been completed, whilst restoration work is underway on Erskine Childer's famous ASGARD with a view to returning her to sea. In Britain, early autumn saw the maiden post restoration voyage of the Bideford based sailing ship KATHLEEN AND MAY to Youghal. Now the Herald newspaper reports that a beautiful sailing ship built in Plymouth almost 100 years ago could be gracing the waters of Plymouth Sound within four months.

The Bessie Ellen, built by local craftsmen in the Cattewater in 1904, is being lovingly and authentically restored just yards away on the other side of the river. Covered from stem to stern with a huge white tarpaulin, and with masts not yet in place, the 120-foot ketch is an unglamorous sight.

But beneath the awning, a small army of dedicated volunteers - and one paid shipwright - is toiling seven days a week to make her ready for sea. Owner Nikki Alford sank every penny she had into buying the ship several years ago and bringing her back from Scandinavia to her home port.

She is still raising the £300,000 she needs to complete a total restoration which will see the wooden coastal trader look exactly as she did 98 years ago. Because the ship will earn her living at sea, mostly through corporate events, the scheme is ineligible for European grants.

But she is certain to prove a huge tourist attraction for Plymouth, even for landlubbers who view her only from the shore. Nikki said: "I'm hoping she will be used for TV and feature films.

"We plan to keep her in Sutton Harbour and sail in the Sound, with Wembury and Rame Head the limits, exploring the Tamar estuary by motor and sail in bad weather."

Although Nikki and her two permanent volunteers live aboard, conditions below are still primitive, and her priority is to get the ship externally finished and sailing by the end of May.

Then if sponsorship continues to flow in, restoration below can continue through the winter and into 2003.

The romance of Nikki's project has infected several sponsors, including a Birmingham company which made all the steel rigging free of charge, and a Danish firm which donated all the paint.

But perhaps the most generous gift was three years' free berthing in the Cattewater by shipyard owner John Howard, for which Nikki could have paid £120 a DAY! When finished, the Bessie Ellen will be a striking sight, with a black hull and white sails.

Instead of cargoes of grain, sulphur or coal, she will carry up to 70 passengers on memorable journeys.

Varnishing new masts and wooden blocks, as well as helping with a myriad other useful tasks, is a team of five young people from the New Steps Project. All are aged 16 to 25 and are either unemployed or not in full-time education.

But they are having a great time being part of the team, with some hoping to join the crew later on.

Group manager Ruth Phillips, 18, from North Prospect, said: "I like working in a group and I'm enjoying the project." Find out more about the ship at www.bessie-ellen.com.


CORNISH FISHERIES

The Cornishman reported that pressure is mounting on the Government to "pay back" up to £500,000 worth of Objective 1 money offered to the Spanish owner of a fishing boat - registered in Penzance - to scrap his vessel.

Fishing leaders and St Ives MP Andrew George have called on Fisheries Minister Elliot Morley to decommission the Spanish-owned Mari Geni from central coffers and use the cash taken from Objective 1 to take more local boats out of service.

Locally, fishermen are dismayed that money intended to regenerate Cornwall's economy has been used to scrap a boat that has no economic links to the area. The loophole occurred because the flag boat is registered in Penzance, even though she lands her catch at Milford Haven and is currently understood to be in Spain awaiting scrapping.

Nathan de Rozarieux, chief executive of the Cornish Fish Producers Association, has called on the Minister to re-allocate the £500,000 Objective 1 money to Cornish boats and decommission the Mari Geni using Government cash.

"Everything the Government has done in this case has been done wrong and they are firing off chaff to cover their own backs," he said. "They are trying to say that this is somehow extra money - but the bottom line is that it's come from the Objective 1 pot. The Government should take a second look at all the Cornish applications it had for decommissioning and use this Objective 1 money for the purpose it was intended - to scrap Cornish boats."

MP Andrew George said: "I have been shocked that the Government has produced this money by a sleight of hand. In my view they have merrily helped themselves to money which is ours."

He said the Government should pay the money back to Cornwall or buy up the Mari Geni's quota and use that to benefit the county.

Administrators of Cornwall's Objective 1 fund have pointed out that the £500,000 has not come from a £5 million pot specifically earmarked for fishing projects in the county, but a separate fund operated by DEFRA.

 

 

Visit www.jhluxton.com for Transport, Industrial Heritage & Regional Digital Photographs and Growing Online 35mm Archive

Irish Sea Shipping - What's New July 2008Irish Sea Shipping - What's New August 2009Back Home Up Next 

Irish Sea Shipping © John H. Luxton 1995-2018. Content © John H. Luxton and Contributors