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NEWS BULLETIN

  SEPTEMBER 2002

September 29

NOTES & NEWS

UPDATES 

There was a short update on Wednesday September 25, though no new news items were posted. The next scheduled update is due to be posted on October 6. However, it is anticipated that there will be an unscheduled update this Wednesday or Thursday evening.

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Tony Brennan, Aiden Mc.Cabe, Derry Walsh, Tony Atkinson - Cornish Shipping, Ian Collard, Captain Piet Sinke, Jim Edgar and Tommy Dover.

SHIPS OF MANN

Issue 5 of SHIPS OF MANN magazine is now available in the UK. UK Subscribers should receive their copies this week with those overseas receiving their copies the week after.

The magazine will be available at Isle of Man outlets next weekend. Details: www.shipsofmann.org.uk

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

LADY OF MANN - The Lady is due to return home from her charter to Acor Line on Friday October 4. She will berth at her usual layup berth in Alexandra Dock. Her arrival time is not yet known, however, if it becomes available details will be posted on Irish Sea Ships group during the week.

Sea Containers' www.vessels4sale.com website has been updated to reflect the sale of the CLAYMORE.

The site does still feature the ATLANTIC II/SEACAT FRANCE and THE PRINCESS ANNE and THE PRINCESS MARGARET as being for sale.

SUPERSEACAT THREE appeared to berth without the use of bow thrusters on Saturday, September 29 after her return from Dublin, though given calm conditions no tug was summoned. Only a few weeks ago the vessel was dry docked to resolve on-going bow thruster problems. 

CENARGO: NORSE MERCHANT FERRIES

BRAVE MERCHANT was noted transferring to Twelve Quays on the afternoon of September 29. The Dublin service switched to Twelve Quays early in December, but was hurriedly switched back to the Canada Dock terminal after damage was caused to the Twelve Quays North berth.

BNFL / JAMES FISHER & SONS plc

Since arriving back on Merseyside last weekend ATLANTIC OSPREY has laid up at the northern end of West Langton Quay. 

RNLI

It is reported that the Royal National Lifeboat Institution has withdrawn the lifeboat service from Newcastle in County Down, owing a continuing dispute between the Station Coxswain and members of the lifeboat crew.

Some members of the crew are reported to have left the service.

Lifeboats at Kilkeel and Portaferry will provide cover for the area in the meantime.

The Divisional Inspector of the RNLI in Ireland, Colin Williams, said they had concerns over health and safety aspects regarding the launch and recovery of the vessel.

He said that they had withdrawn the smaller inshore lifeboat earlier this week.

For the past two days the senior RNLI management have been trying to resolve the internal dispute at the Newcastle station which operates both an inshore and larger all-weather lifeboat.

Earlier in the week some members of the crew demanded the dismissal of the Coxswain who offered to resign to enable an investigation to proceed. A Staff Coxswain from the RNLI's headquarters in Poole in the UK was installed.

STENA LINE

STENA FORWARDER departed from A&P Birkenhead on September 24 following essential maintenance which appears to have included the permanent repair of the collision damage which occurred at Dublin during the spring.

STRANRAER CHANGES?

A report in Rail Magazine indicates that Stranraer Harbour station could close and rail services could be transferred nearer the town if ferry operator Stena decides to leave the port in favour of nearby Cairnryan. Stena is considering moving from the port, which is served by an adjacent station.

A move to Cairnryan would harm Scot Rail's "rail and sail" tickets but will probably lead to a better service for Stranraer residents. Currently the station is some distance from the town centre while the disused Stranraer Town station is more suitable, although it closed on March 7 1966. It is on a stub of the old Portpatrick line rather than the direct route to the current station.

At the harbour station, Railtrack is currently renovating the 1897 built signalbox. However the company also removed the footbridge linking platform 2 to the station last March. This means that trains can only use platform 1 and loco hauled services must run "top-and- tail" because platform 2 is the only one with a run round loop. This does not affect ScotRail because it runs Class 156 DMU's to the Station. If Stena moves the whole station will become redundant.

TORPOINT FERRY

Emergency services evacuated dozens of people from a Cornish ferry earlier this week as a large fire threatened to cause a disaster.

Luckily, the call-out to the Torpoint Ferry, which crosses the River Tamar, was only a drill, and the fire was non-existent - but the exercise served as an important practice run for any future catastrophe.

Starting yesterday morning, the southern ferry, Tamar, played the part of an immobilised ferry on fire. Using special equipment, emergency services then evacuated the ferry.

Evacuees were sent to the Flagship Steps at Devonport Naval Base in Plymouth or Stoke Damerel Community College, with "casualties" taken to the city's Derriford Hospital.

David Fletcher, Plymouth City Council's emergency planning officer, said the exercise could be adapted to any disaster potentially affecting the city or nearby.

"It was a great success," he said. "We achieved all we aimed to do, but there were also a number of lessons that were learnt."

More than 70 emergency service workers came to the aid of 180 volunteers who acted as civilians caught up in the fire.

Most of the volunteers came from Plymouth College of Further Education and the Maritime Volunteers Service.

Beginning at 10.45 , the exercise went on until 14.30pm.


Apart from the police, fire and ambulance services, agencies involved in the exercise included the Women's Royal Voluntary Service, who were stationed at the rest centres, the Radio Amateurs Network, (RAYNET) and the Salvation Army.

PENINSULAR & ORIENTAL STEAM NAVIGATION COMPANY

EUROPEAN MARINER returned to the Larne - Troon route on 22 September - replacing the EUROPEAN NAVIGATOR which had replaced her earlier in the year.

It would appear the EUROPEAN MARINER will remain on the route for the time being - as a result, P&O have announced the passenger facility on this route has been withdrawn until April 2003 as the Mariner only has a 12 driver capacity, compared to the 76 of the Navigator.  ("Service is unavailable from 24 September 2002 until April 2003.") It is understand that the Larne - Troon passenger service will then be provided by the SUPERSTAR EXPRESS which will also continue to operate to Cairnryan.

The future of the EUROPEAN NAVIGATOR remains under discussion - she arrived at A&P Birkenhead on September 27..

ROYAL MARITIME AUXILIARY 

SALMAID has once more returned to the Mersey to continue work on the MoD moorings in preparation their use during the Battle of the Atlantic 60th Anniversary Commemorations in 2003.

FISHING VESSELS IN THE NEWS

Cornish Shipping reports that on Saturday September 21 the Dutch scalloper JACOBA UK307 (270/75) ran aground near Lamorna, between Newlyn and Land’s End during the early hours of Saturday morning. She was deemed to be in no danger and was leaking a little diesel fuel into Lamorna Bay which was found to be evaporating swiftly. Later in the day the Coastguard tug ANGLIAN PRINCE arrived at the scene and on the rising tide she was safely refloated and taken to Newlyn.

During Saturday afternoon the Scarborough registered beam trawler CONGENER SN-86 (254/77) caught fire approximately 22 miles north of the Isles of Scilly. Her crew of three were airlifted to safety and the Sennen and St Mary’s lifeboats proceeded to the casualty. By the time they arrived the vessel was well alight and was listing badly. The Coastguard tug was tasked to proceed to the vessel but as she arrived at the casualty it rolled over and sank.

Meanwhile the Belgian fishing vessel FREE BIRD which had lain at Canada #1 Branch Dock since September 2001 was taken away by a small unidentified tug on September 27.

The Trawler had suffered a fire and explosion off the Isle of Man in September 2001. The crew being rescued by helicopter from RAF Valley.

WICKLOW PORT NOTES from Tommy Dover

Coaster visitors to Wicklow port over the last few weeks have included SCOT VENTURE, SCOT MARINER, EMSLAND, VIPER and the Russian MEHANIK YARTSET.

Work at Bray head and Greystones is still ongoing, the tugs and barge's are still loading rock at the Arklow jetty.

September 22

NOTES & NEWS

UK TRANSPORT PHOTOGRAPHY YAHOO GROUP

Over 75 people have now joined the new UK Transport Photography Yahoo Group. If you have not joined yet

MANXMAN STEAMSHIP COMPANY

The Manxman steamship company site at www.manxmansteamship.fsnet.co.uk has been revamped.

ISLE OF MAN DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT

DOUGLAS HARBOUR AUGUST TRAFFIC FIGURES 

Passenger figures compiled by the Harbours Division for August 2002 at 109,879 show a 5.0% increase on the figure for the same period in 2001 which was 104,661.

The year to date figure at 495,591 passengers shows a 19% increase over the same period in 2001 which was 416,449.

During August car and motorcycle traffic through Douglas Harbour increased by 23.3% from 20,186 vehicles to 24,880 vehicles.

The year to date figure at 130,145 vehicles shows a 38.7% increase over the same period in 2001 which was 93,799.

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

Belfastminus 16%from6,528to5,503
Dublinminus 7%from6,688to5,557
Heyshamplus 4%from34,272to35,564
Liverpoolplus 10%from53,983to59,243

Freight Traffic
August commercial vehicles metreage increased by 1.5% from 36,807 metres to 37,346 metres.

Director of Harbours, Captain Michael Brew comments:

"Another excellent month for sea passenger traffic. The figure for August 2002 is the highest monthly figure since August 1988. Traffic on the routes to the United Kingdom is continuing to show long-term sustained growth."

A&P BIRKENHEAD

Monday morning, September 16, saw the arrival of SUPERSTAR EXPRESS which has just completed her summer season  charter to P&O on the Larne - Cairnryan route. Also transferring to the yard was CLAYMORE which had only been transferred from Sea Containers to Pentland Ferries ownership last weekend. In the evening STENA FORWARDER arrived at the former Cammell Laird yard for refit.

CAMMELL LAIRD

The Costa-Classica mid section departed from the Mersey on board Smit's Giant 2 on Friday Morning September 21 in the company of tugs Boxer and Multratug 7.

A report in Fairplay confirms the destination as Rotterdam, it had been expected to be Germany,  the original purchasers being Quintus Shipping, a company owned by Chris Murthi, reportedly a shipping entrepreneur, who is understood to have sold it on to an
undisclosed European buyer.

There are conflicting stories as to whether the ship section has been sold for scrap or is to be re-used. Dutch sources had earlier reported that potential buyers had been found for 117 crew-cabin and 240 passenger-cabin 'wet units'.

It has taken receivers PricewaterhouseCooper, more than a year to sell the section.

PENINSULAR & ORIENTAL STEAM NAVIGATION COMPANY

EUROPEAN MARINER arrived back in Larne on the afternoon of September 21 berthing at Chaine Quay. 

Her recent Portsmouth charter to cover the COMMODORE CLIPPER presumably is now completed. With the SUPERSTAR EXPRESS now finished her summer service (she finished last weekend 15/9 and proceeded to A&P Birkenhead on August 16) the Chaine Quay ramp has had its "fingers" reinstalled and is free to accommodate conventional ferries once again. The berth can take ships up to 130m (length overall) and of all the ships currently using the port, the EUROPEAN MARINER is the only one short enough to berth there.

The EUROPEAN NAVIGATOR left Larne at 08:10 on September 21 and set course around Islandmagee heading south arriving in Fleetwood around 16:00.

The EUROPEAN MARINER may be here to cover her refit on the Troon run. She has also been linked with a plan to use her on overnight freight runs to Cairnryan with trailers and unaccompanied artics to help ease the one-and-a-quarter hour turn rounds that the EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY and EUROPEAN HIGHLANDER (II) are now timetabled for. In this event she could use Chaine Quay in Larne and the north berth at Cairnryan working away at her leisure without holding up the EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY and EUROPEAN HIGHLANDER.

On Sunday September 22 EUROPEAN PIONEER's usual sailing to Fleetwood was replaced by EUROPEAN SEAFARER.

PORT OF CORK

RTÉ reports that port authorities in Cork have refuted suggestions that they were actively seeking to acquire the Irish Fertiliser Industries site at Marino Point in Cork Harbour.

In a statement issued this afternoon, the Port of Cork's Chairman, Dermot F. O'Mahoney, pledged support for the board, management and employees of IFI in their endeavour to retain the Cork fertiliser plant.

Mr O'Mahoney said the company was an important and highly valuable user of the port and a substantial contributor to the regional and national economy.

He wished the IFI chairman and board every success in their efforts to secure the future of the plant

IRISH FERRIES

NORMANDY - on September 17 15 illegal Romanian immigrants were refused permission to land when the ship arrived at Rosslare

After being questioned for a time on the ferry by immigration officials and Gardaí, all 15 were refused permission to set foot in Rosslare and were sent back on the Normandy to France this evening.

Meanwhile, Gardaí in Wexford were reported to be questioning two people arrested this
afternoon under the Illegal Immigrants Trafficking Act.

The two, a man and a woman believed to be from Dublin, were arrested at Rosslare.

They were driving off the ferry in a camper van and were brought to Wexford Garda Station. They can be questioned for an initial period of six hours, but this can be extended for a further six hours.

BNFL/PNTL/JAMES FISHER & SONS plc

PACIFIC PINTAIL and PACIFIC TEAL returned home to Barrow-in-Furness on Tuesday September 17 being escorted into port by a police launch and police helicopter. 

The ships had departed from Japan on July 4  with a cargo of  Mox fuel which was being returned to BNFL at Sellafield.

PACIFIC PINTAIL and PACIFIC TEAL had been met by a number of environmental protestors' boats and the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior. 

Later in the week ro/ro fleetmate ATLANTIC OSPREY arrived at Seaforth Dock, LIverpool on September 20 to discharge several large cable drums.

MARITIME & COASTGUARD AGENCY

15 FOREIGN SHIPS UNDER DETENTION IN THE UK DURING AUGUST 2002

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) announced on September 19 that 15 foreign ships were under detention in UK ports during August 2002 after failing port state control safety inspection.

Latest monthly figures show that 8 foreign ships were detained in UK ports during August 2002 along with 7 other ships still under detention from previous months. The overall rate of detentions compared with inspections carried out over the last 12 months is 6.2% which is an increase of 0.1% on the 12 month rate to July.

August was the second month of the Paris MOU concentrated inspection campaign on ISM, and of the 8 vessels detained half were found to have ISM related deficiencies.

The vessels detained included an Antigua and Barbuda flagged general cargo vessel detained in Teeside with 22 deficiencies. Both lifeboats were damaged leaving buoyancy tanks exposed, and seized sheaves prevented the correct lowering of the port boat. The vessel was found to have other serious deficiencies for example the RADAR was found to be inoperative and nozzles were missing from the accommodation hose box. The ship’s ISM maintenance procedures had failed to ensure compliance with SOLAS requirements.

A St Vincent and Grenadines flagged general cargo vessel was also detained for failures in the implementation of the maintenance programme required by ISM. 33 deficiencies were recorded against the vessel. The emergency fire pump would not pump water and the lifeboat was incapable of being brought alongside the boat deck. Severe corrosion was also found throughout the ship, with the front accommodation bulkhead being corroded through at the main deck level, and the forecastle deck being holed in at least 3 places.

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

MERSEY FERRIES

A correspondent reports that ROYAL DAFFODIL undertook an unusual tendering job on September 19 when she proceeded to the Liverpool Bar to tender a diving vessel in mid afternoon.

This is a most unusual journey as the Mersey Ferries seldom head that far out to sea.

Does anyone have any further information?

MARINE ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION BRANCH 

MV GALATEIA LIFEBOAT ACCIDENT - LIVERPOOL

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch has published the report of its investigation into a lifeboat accident on mv Galateia while in the process of changing ownership and flag in Seaforth Dock, Liverpool. The accident occurred on Saturday, 26 January 2002.

SYNOPSIS

At about 1055 local time on Saturday 26 January 2002, while in the process of changing ownership and flag in Seaforth Dock, Liverpool, the port lifeboat of the bulk carrier mv Galateia fell 19 metres from the davits into the basin waters. Three crewmen who were on board at the time suffered various injuries, one a serious head injury.

The MAIB was notified of the accident that day and the Bahamas Authorities (as the Flag State) were told that the MAIB would investigate.

The vessel had been sold to new owners and, as part of the handover procedure, the new owner's master and chief engineer had joined the vessel on 12 December in New Orleans for the trip to Liverpool. Galateia arrived on 8 January, but did not complete discharge until 17 January. The old crew left and the majority of the new crew joined on Friday 25 January, the day before the accident.

It had been arranged that a Classification Society surveyor would be on board the next day to carry out a safety audit so that an Interim Safety Management Certificate (ISM) could be issued in accordance with the ISM Code. At 1030, when the surveyor required a lifeboat drill to be carried out, the master, together with the chief officer and four other crew members, boarded the port lifeboat. The master explained where the controls were, how they worked and then told the chief officer to carry out the drill.

The lifeboat was lowered to the water, disengaged from the falls, the engine tested successfully and the falls reconnected. The lifeboat was then raised to the embarkation deck. Two of the crew left, leaving the remaining three to complete securing the lifeboat in the davits. Just as the chief officer moved the release gear operating handle into the stow position, both hooks opened and the lifeboat fell, striking the deck as it went. It landed in a partially capsized position with one of the entrance doors underwater. The chief officer and an Able Seaman suffered bruising, while the other Able Seaman had serious head injuries and was unconscious underwater for a time.

A docks crane driver who witnessed the accident told the Port Authorities, who then brought in the police and ambulance services, and organised tugs and a small craft to effect a rescue. An ACL (Atlantic Container Line) vessel, berthed opposite, launched one of her lifeboats and carried out a rescue, eventually bringing the injured parties to the quayside where paramedics attended them before they were taken to hospital.

The crewman who suffered head injuries was in intensive care for about three weeks, but recovered after a few weeks' convalescence ashore.

The cause of the accident was the crew's lack of knowledge of the lifeboat system, and failing to engage a locking pin. Contributing factors were insufficient time for familiarisation, and senior officers failing to read the safety manuals.

Recommendations relate to the provision of operating guidance notes, instruction in lifeboat release mechanisms, and the retention of maintenance records on vessels which change ownership.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Angrian Enterprises Ltd, as owners, and E Nomikos Corporation, as managers, are recommended to:

1. Ensure that copies of all operating instructions and warning notices issued by Shigi Shipbuilding Co, Japan are clearly legible and pasted on the inside of the canopy of each lifeboat.

2. Ensure that all officers and crew members involved in the operation of the lifeboats are fully instructed on the release mechanism, the function and position of each safety pin, and the correct procedure to be followed.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO), through the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, is recommended to:

3. Include in the ISM Code a requirement that all records and notes relating to the condition and maintenance of the equipment and machinery remain on board a vessel at the time of her sale to new owners, as an aid in maintaining a safe and efficient vessel.

STENA LINE

HSS STENA EXPLORER -  On Saturday September 21 RTÉ reported that a small fire broke out on the Stena passenger ferry early this morning.

Dun Laoghaire fire brigade was on standby to put out the fire which broke out in the engine room.

Crew managed to extinguish the fire, shortly before arrival at Dun Laoghaire harbour at around 06.30.

STENA FORWARDER arrived at A&P Birkenhead on the evening of Monday September 16, for dry docking. She is expected back into service with the 03

September 15

NOTES & NEWS

UPDATES

Please note an additional update was posted on September 11.  A short News Bulletin was also posted which appears below mainly covering Cenargo: Norse Merchant Ferries developments this week.

SITE MAINTENANCE

Due to the need to keep the web site to a "reasonable" size - given the current high rate of contributions I have found it necessary to reduce the period of time that some categories of photographic galleries remain on-line. I have always tried to work on the basis of a six month period. However, some of the more popular company and regional galleries will have to be reduced to around four months. 

Please ensure you save any material you wish to retain for your future reference as soon as it is available to avoid disappointment. Other less busy galleries will continue to be available for six months or longer.

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Ian Collard, Derry Walsh, Aiden McCabe, Michael Pryce, Edwin Wilmshurst

UK TRANSPORT PHOTOGRAPHY

A new ISS associated Yahoo Group - UK TRANSPORT PHOTOGRAPHY has been launched today. You can find it at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/uktransportphotography/

UK TRANSPORT PHOTOGRAPHY  aims to provide a meeting point for those who actively participate in transport photography either on an amateur or professional basis. This group provides a forum where you can discuss equipment, locations and vantage points, concerns etc and upload some of your work to the photo albums.

There are several active polls to ascertain photographic interests which new members are encouraged to complete.

As with all ISS groups the membership list is closed to public ensuring confidentiality and avoidance of junk mail!

If you are interested in the photography of any form of transport within the British Isles you should join this group.

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

CLAYMORE it was expected that the vessel would handed over to its new owners Pentland Ferries on September 14. It is believed that she will be used initially on a freight service with her from October 1st from St. Margaret's to a Caithness port . CLAYMORE may move from Vittoria Dock to one of the former Cammell Laird dry docks in the early hours of Monday September 16.

LADY OF MANN - is expected to return from the Azores during the first week in October, Her charter ends on September 30.

SMIT TRANSPORT HEAVY LIFT

GIANT 2 - On Saturday September 14, Smit Transport's heavy lift barge [12175 grt [140m x 36m 1977] GIANT 2 arrived on the Mersey under tow of the tug Boxer. The barge will convey the ill fated COSTA CLASSICA mid body module to Europe for breaking.  GIANT 2 is believed to be one of the widest vessels to enter Gladstone Lock.

CAMMELL LAIRD

COSTA CLASSICA - mid section departed from the Cammell Laird wet basin in the company of Wijsmuller tugs on Sunday September 15 around 18:00 for its first and last voyage to Gladstone Dock. The section arrived safely at Gladstone Lock at 20:30 after a very slow crossing. In Gladstone Dock the mid-section will be loaded onto the submersible GIANT2 for conveyance to Germany. And so has departed from Cammell Laird - probably the last substantial new build ever to be constructed. How different things were two years ago when it appeared a new age of ship building at Cammell Lairds had begun. 

STENA LINE

STENA FORWARDER currently operating on the Dublin to Holyhead route will be withdrawn from service after ther 21:15 sailing from Dublin on Sunday September 15 for essential repairs and a refit to be undertaken. The ship resumes service with Stena Line with the 03:00 sailing from Holyhead on September 25.

During this period Stena Explorer will operate additional sailings - details on the Stena Line web site.

It is anticipated that on delivery of the STENA FORWARDER's replacement, currently under construction, that the vessel will switch to the Norse Merchant Ferries Liverpool to Dublin service sometime in 2003.

CENARGO

Lloyd's List reports that CENARGO, the UK ferry operator, is facing a credit rating downgrade as the company prepares to sell assets to shore up its financial position. Standard & Poor's Ratings Services has placed Cenargo's single-B-plus corporate credit rating on CreditWatch with negative implications.

The rating action reflected the "increased risk in the company's financial and business profiles, which has strained cash-flow and, ultimately, liquidity."
Standard & Poor's said Cenargo's operating performance over the past six months was weaker-than-expected as a result of current industry pressures, and there were concerns regarding the company's future cash-generating ability. Cenargo had only £1.7m  in cash and £3m in credit lines available at June 30, 2002. 

Asset sales would be completed in the near term to restore the company's constrained liquidity, the agency said. "Standard & Poor's will review Cenargo's financial position within the coming weeks, and this could lead to a downgrade," said credit analyst Andreas Kindahl.

DAWN MERCHANT departed from the Mersey on September 13 and was reported arriving at Dover Harbour on Saturday afternoon, September 14. She is due to take up a charter to Norfolk Line on that company's channel shuttle which already employs her sisters MIDNIGHT MERCHANT and NORTHERN MERCHANT. Her sister, BRAVE MERCHANT, is expected to follow in a few months.

NORSEMERCHANT PRESS RELEASE

Norse Merchant issued the following release to mark the transfer of the Dublin service to Twelve Quays. That was of course before the problems encountered later last week. 

"A second round of celebrations on 9 September marked the transfer of NorseMerchant Ferries' Dublin vessels to the new Twelve Quays river terminal on the River Mersey at Birkenhead, opposite Liverpool's famous Pier Head. With the Belfast vessels having successfully transferred on 17 June, the Dublin service switch from Liverpool's Canada Dock completes the transfer of NorseMerchant's Liverpool services to purpose-built Twelve Quays. The switch will offer increased freight capacity on NorseMerchant's Liverpool - Dublin service.

The ro-pax Brave Merchant and freight-dedicated Norse Mersey will offer twice-daily departures on the Liverpool - Dublin route, departing Liverpool at 11:00 hrs and 22:45 hrs. As vessels both on this and the Belfast routes no longer have to pass through Liverpool's enclosed dock system, NorseMerchant is able to improve its sailing scheduling substantially.

Brave Merchant is capable of carrying 250 passengers and 130 commercial vehicles, and Norse Mersey has capacity for 150 trucks and 60 drivers, more than was available on predecessor Dawn Merchant. Declan Cleary, NorseMerchant Ferries' Freight Sales Director, explains:

"The integration of our Belfast and Dublin services at the new River Berth facility completes the port hubbing concept at Birkenhead. Transport operators and logistics providers recognise the efficiencies of this concept which, coupled with improved scheduling and excellent motorway access, has led to increased customer demand. Norse Mersey will allow us to offer increased capacity to cope with this demand, particularly on the peak sailings from Birkenhead."

Twelve Quays' other advantages are highlighted by NorseMerchant Ferries' Commercial & Marketing Manager, Anna Breen:

"As the terminal is on the Birkenhead side of the river, road access is much better. The M53, which leads to the M56 and M6, terminates within a mile of Twelve Quays. For drivers arriving from the Liverpool side of the river, the Wallasey Tunnel is close by.

"The terminal building offers a new and improved booth check-in system for truck drivers which will ensure prompt processing on arrival. For those who arrive in advance of their booked sailing times, comfortable lounges and on-site facilities are available."

In conjunction with the completed move to Twelve Quays, Birkenhead, NorseMerchant has added a third vessel to the Belfast Route. Lindarosa, a freight dedicated vessel capable of carrying up to 150 units, commenced service on 4 September. The company now offers five sailings daily from the impressive new River Berths - two to Dublin and three to Belfast.

PNTL / James Fisher & Sons plc

It is reported that around 700 anti-terrorist personnel and police in the biggest ever single deployment of the Curbrian Constabulary have been brought in to guard the port of Barrow-In-Furness, where the nuclear fuel carriers PACIFIC PINTAIL and PACIFIC TEAL are due to arrive on Monday September 16.

Campaigners warned that the ships constituted a major terrorist target and condemned their arrival as 'foolhardy' so soon after the anniversary of 11 September.

PACIFIC PINTAIL and the PACIFIC TEAL, carrying 225kg of weapons-useable plutonium from Japan, were reported on Saturday night to be 300 miles of Land's End.

A flotilla of 20 vessels, led by the Greenpeace flagship RAINBOW WARRIOR, was trying to 'intercept' the vessels. Press reports suggest that the two vessels are being tracked by two RN  submarines with an Naval surface vessel expected to escort the vessels on their final lef of their 18,000 mile journey from Japan.

PACIFIC PINTAIL and PACIFIC TEAL are carrying Mox fuel, a potential weapons-grade mixture of plutonium and uranium from Sellafield. The fuel pellets were rejected by Tokyo after BNFL admitted that its officials had falsified safety documentation.

During their seven-week voyage from Japan the vessels have become the most opposed nuclear transport in history, incurring warnings from 80 governments not to enter their coastal waters.

PENINSULAR & ORIENTAL STEAM NAVIGATION COMPANY

Former Irish Ferries ISLE OF INNISFREE now PRIDE OF CHERBOURG will commence service on Thursday September 19.

NORBANK was  noted running a well loaded unscheduled day time sailing to Dublin on Sunday September 15,

 

September 11

NOTES & NEWS

Welcome to this extra update posted to catch up with developments on the Irish Sea.

CENARGO: NORSE MERCHANT FERRIES

The on going changes at NorseMerchant appear to have run into some difficulty.

DAWN MERCHANT should have left the Liverpool - Dublin route on Sunday, however, the NORSE MERSEY (her replacement) failed her MCA inspection and was detained, she will re-sit the inspection on Thursday.

DAWN MERCHANT, now completely British crewed, will now sail for Dover on Friday to arrive with Norfolkline at Dover on Saturday September 14.

BRAVE MERCHANT will go to Norfolkline at the end of the year.  STENA FORWARDER will be chartered for the Liverpool - Dublin route (once the new build for Holyhead - Dublin enters service).  

12 Quays is suffering many problems due to currents and design. 

On the morning of Wednesday September 11 LINDAROSA damaged the berth and missed her sailing to Belfast. She was noted at Canada #3 Branch on Wednesday afternoon. Photo right

Meanwhile her sister, NORSE MERSEY was receiving attention from welders who appeared to be working on her side loading ramp, affixing what appeared to be a beam across the ramp. Photo left

Both LINDAROSA and MERSEY VIKING are reported to be underpowered and conditions were less than fine with strong currents due to spring tides.

Wednesday's sailings appear to have been disrupted. 

LAGAN VIKING did not depart for Belfast until 15:30. MERSEY VIKING, which has been running late for some time was only inbound at Formby at 20:05. BRAVE MERCHANT arrived at Twelve Quays at 17:00 and then proceeded to Langton Lock, presumably to the just vacated NMF terminal in Canada Dock, to join LINDAROSA.

Its is believed that repairs at Twelve Quays could take up to two weeks and consequently the service may return to the Canada Dock terminal.

Meanwhile the local press have been reporting that the switch to Twelve Quays has confused passengers. This has happened because passengers think that the new  Twelve Quays terminal is in Liverpool, when it is in Birkenhead.

Speaking to the local press council leader Steve Foulkes said they would be holding talks with NorseMerchant to get them to change their marketing.

"We don't want to be parochial about this because Wirral is part of the bigger Merseyside package," he said.

"But we do want to promote the area and make the most of the economic benefit all the Irish traffic brings.

"Our tourism people will be speaking to NorseMerchant about the marketing and promotion of Wirral.

"One of my pet hates is that I am sick of going abroad and having to tell people I come from Liverpool, so they understand where I come from.

"Wirral has enough to offer and individuality enough to stand up on its own."

A spokeswoman for NorseMerchant said: "In many cases, if we said the routes were to and from Birkenhead, people wouldn't know where it was.

"The vessels used on the routes to Twelve Quays are marked with Liverpool and not Birkenhead because we used to sail from that side of the water.

"We would have to take them both out of service and into dry dock to be repainted.

"And the fact remains that the Twelve Quays site is part of the Port of Liverpool."

If NorseMerchant's Merseyside problems were not bad enough RIVER LUNE and MERCHANT BRAVERY are reported to be running on only one engine and VARBOLA struck a sand bank when departing from Heysham on September 11.

MERSEY FERRIES

A&P Birkenhead has been award a £100,000 contract to maintain the Mersey Ferries fleet for one year commencing November 2002.

September 8

NOTES & NEWS

UPDATES

Due to a large number of contributions received late on Sunday and on Monday an additional update was posted on Monday September 2.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Gary Andrews, Tommy Dover, Michael Pryce, Ian Collard, Chris Jones, Tony Brennan, Clive Jackson, Brian Chambers and "others".

SHIPS OF MANN

A new gallery has been added to the Ships of Mann site. It is dedicated to the King Orry (4) www.shipsofmann.fsnet.co.uk

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

SUPERSEACAT THREE cancelled her Wednesday sailings to Dublin and Douglas this week to permit repairs to her bow thrusters to be undertaken at A&P Birkenhead. She has been experiencing bow thruster problems recently and has needed tug assistance when berthing.

Her Wednesday sailings on the Douglas route were covered by SEACAT ISLE OF MAN which cancelled her own scheduled maintenance period.

There has been a lot of gossip recently about Sea Containers viewing vessels for possible use on the Isle of Man routes. So far NGV LIAMONE and COMMODORE CLIPPER have been doing the rounds of the rumour mill. Now it is the turn of the  CMN's SANTA REGINA. built in  1985 with a  length of 136m, beam 22.5, lane ms 1350, and a draught of 6.4m she appears larger than the BEN-MY-CHREE which is supposedly the maximum size for Douglas and Heysham. Also her passenger capacity is only around 100.

CLAYMORE remains at Vittoria Dock, Birkenhead, though her sale to Pentland Ferries was announced on August 21. It is understood she will retain her name when she returns to Scotland for her new owners.

Once again the rumour that the Heysham - Belfast service will not reopen next season is doing the rounds following the RAPIDE's premature withdrawal from the seasonal route following the on board fire last month.

LIVERPOOL PIER HEAD DEVELOPMENTS STALLED

It is understood that MD&HC recently withdrew from negotiations to provide enhanced terminal facilities at the Pier Head for Sea Containers services pending a decision on an enhanced landing stage accommodating both cruise ships and ferries. However, this development is not likely reach completion for at least four years. In the meantime the Sea Containers will be able to continue to operate from the present terminal site. 

ISLE OF MAN DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT

Passenger figures compiled by the Harbours Division for July 2002 at 83,641 show a 9.6% increase on the figure for the same period in 2001 which was 76,347.

The year to date figure at 385,712 passengers shows a 23.7% increase over the same period in 2001 which was 311,788.

During July, car and motorcycle traffic through Douglas Harbour increased by 14.3% from 15,662 vehicles to 17,902 vehicles.

The year to date figure at 105,265 vehicles shows a 43% increase over the same period in 2001 which was 73,613.

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

Belfastplus 8%from5,217to5,635
Dublinminus 2%from4,931to4,851
Heyshamplus 4%from26,866to27,933
Liverpoolplus 16%from37,513to43,631

Freight Traffic
July commercial vehicles metreage increased by 9.7% from 35,976 metres to 39,479 metres.

Director of Harbours, Captain Michael Brew comments:

"July 2002 passenger figures are the best for July since 1990 and highlight the on-going growth in sea passenger numbers. Currently, passenger traffic is 6.6% above the same period for 2000."

WICKLOW PORT & IRELAND EAST COAST NOTES from Tommy Dover

Coaster visitors this week included NOORDZEE and SEA WAAL, her last call to the port was in 1986 as mv ETTINA.

The JOPI and VILLE are back working on a coastal project north of Kilcoole, they load rock at the jetty in Arklow. Work is also continuing at Bray Head. On Tuesday evening (3/9/02) the tug INDUS and barge passed Wicklow northbound in "convoy" with VILLE and JOPI.

On Friday morning the LÉ NIAMH (P52) was at anchor off Greystones harbour, This is the first time I have seen a navel or any other ship lying at anchor off the small port.

On Saturday the STV STAVROS NIARCHOS departed from Dún Laoghaire after a short courtesy visit, she passed Wicklow around teatime under sail, she is expected to visit Cóbh in the next few days, her sister ship PRINCE WILLIAM is also expected in Cóbh at the same time.

The new work vessel ENVIRO SHARM has departed from Arklow in the last few weeks, possibly to begin her delivery voyage to the Far East. The chemical tanker JANNE WONSCHILD was at anchor off Arklow on Saturday (31/8/02).problems ? with her cargo delayed her discharge at the jetty.

Arklow shipping's new ARKLOW RALLY passed Wicklow on Friday evening bound for Spain with scrap metal, from  Dublin

HARLAND & WOLFF

The first of two vessels built by Belfast Shipyard Harland & Wolff in a deal with the Ministry of Defence has been formerly named this week

The roll-on roll-off ferry HARTLAND POINT will begin sea trials almost immediately prior to delivery towards the end of the year.

An identical sister ship, to be named ANVIL, is due to be delivered in the first quarter of next year.

The vessels, together with four others being built by separate shipyards have been bought by AWSR Shipping - a consortium of shipping lines - as part of the Strategic Sealift service for the Ministry of Defence.

Under the deal two of the vessels will be permanently available to the ministry while the others can be called up at short notice when needed.

The main deck of the vessels have been specially strengthened to support the carrying of tanks and other military equipment.

Shipyard chief executive Bill Alexander said he was confident that with HARTLAND POINT and its sister ships AWSR would be ``well placed to meet its obligations to the Ministry of Defence under the Strategic Sealift service``.

The naming ceremony was carried out by Mrs Fiona De Pencier, wife of the managing director of Bibby Distribution.

The Bibby Line is part of the consortium AWSR and Mr Alexander said it was highly appropriate Bibby was hosting the naming ceremony as it had ordered vessels one, two and three in the Harland & Wolff order book when the shipyard was founded in the 1850`s. The company had gone on to order 30 more by 1919, helping to make the Belfast yard one of the largest and most successful in the world at the time.

There were loud cheers from shipyard workers, and local specially invited primary school children when the champagne bottle smashed against the side of HARTLAND POINT during the naming ceremony.

But the few hundred workers left in the yard would have had in the back of their minds the knowledge that the vessel, the 1,741st built by the yard could almost be the last.

At present Harland & Wolfe has nothing in its order book after the completion of the sister ship early next year.

MARITIME & COASTGUARD AGENCY

IRISH REGISTERED FISHING VESSEL DETAINED IN NEWLYN

An Irish registered fishing has been detained in Newlyn after a Surveyor from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) uncovered a catalogue of serious defects on board.

The 'Atlantis WD44' was boarded in Newlyn Harbour on Wednesday September 4 after arriving with a heavy stern trim and listing heavily. One life raft was overdue for service and on both rafts the hydrostatic release units, which release the raft in the event of the vessel sinking, were out of date by over two years and were incorrectly rigged. Both man-overboard markers were out of date.

Most of the fire dampers were seized, as were several of the watertight door dogs. The engine room bilges were apparently full of oily water and the engine room needed cleansing once the defective exhaust lagging had been renewed.

Mike Collier the MCA's Fishing Vessel Surveyor at Newlyn said:

" I was shocked by what I found. The crew's lives have been put at risk by the disregard for basic safety items. Perhaps most significantly the satellite emergency position indicator (406mhz EPIRB) was not only from another vessel, it had no hydrostatic release unit and had not been serviced since 1991. The owner and crew are currently working to put things right but the vessel will not be released until we are satisfied the vessel is safe to proceed."

The Irish Maritime Authorities have been informed.

LIVERPOOL COASTGUARD WARN OF DANGERS AFTER TWO YOUTHS RESCUED FROM WATER

Liverpool Coastguard received a 999 call at just past 21:00 on September 5 after a man walking at Port St. Mary discovered a wet and exhausted 16 year old boy clinging to the breakwater.

The boy explained that he had swum to the shoreline from a small day boat, which had broken down some time before and was drifting in the bay with two other friends on board. He estimated he had been in the water for about an hour and he told rescuers that he and his friends had had no method of raising the alarm when they had broken down earlier in the evening.

The Coastguard immediately alerted the Douglas Coastguard Rescue Team on the Island and scrambled a rescue helicopter. The all weather and inshore lifeboats from Port St. Mary were also requested to launch. An ambulance was also called to treat the hypothermic lad who was
then taken to hospital for further treatment.

Paul Parkes, Watch Manager of Liverpool Coastguard explained:

" We were left considering how and where the remaining two youths were. They were both aged about 17 and after the first boys experience we guessed either one or both may have decided to try their luck and struck for the shore.

" We were proved correct when a short while later one of the lifeboats discovered one of the two also in the water trying to make for the shoreline. He too was exhausted and hypothermic. The inshore boat then located the drifting day boat with the remaining youth on
board.

" They were both brought ashore and taken straight to hospital. The local police were also called. The temperature of the water at this time of year is about 15 degrees Celsius, and with a force 4 – 5 westerly wind in the dark and spending this amount of time in the water they were all extremely lucky to be discovered.

" There was no mobile phone, radio, or flares on board and after dark they were just drifting in the bay with no method of contacting anyone. We cannot stress how important it is when going out to sea to take some form of communication with you and tell someone ashore where you are going and when you are expected back. There is no doubt that these boys had a very lucky escape tonight."

CAMMELL LAIRD

COSTA CLASSICA - the mid section has been sold for breaking according to local press reports. Ian Stokoe, receiver with Price-WaterhouseCoopers, said: "We have contracted to sell and the buyer is making arrangements to take the mid-section away. At the moment he is in the Ukraine so I have had difficulty finding out further details about that from him. It was with great reluctance that we took the decision to sell it for scrap but there was little option with no sign of a sale otherwise and with another winter looming."

Babcock Disposals is continuing to sell fittings which range from the ballroom to individual items in the galley.



PRINCESA VALENTINA

Arriving shortly after the visit of Peter D. Lewis's LONE RANGER is another luxury yacht the £30m PRINCESA VALENTINA built 1993. The vessel berthed at Huskisson Dock, Liverpool, during the week only a short distance from the former luxury steam yacht LIBERTATEA offering quite a contrast in yacht design over the past 70 years!

STENA LINE

STENA LYNX III suffered a fire on September 1 when crossing to Fishguard. 

The Incat built vessel was about 2 miles out when smoke was detected in the engine compartment caused by a compression fitting, coming loose and spraying small quantity of hot oil onto a surface of the lagging around the engine, causing the lagging to smoulder, the engine was shut down right away and the crew quickly put out the fire. CO2 gas system was activated to dampen down the engine compartment.

Passengers were moved forward to the front of the Fast Craft, the vessel returned to Rosslare Europort on 3 engines, and docked at No 1 Berth, where her passengers and cars were disembarked

A Spokesman for Stena said the Department of Marine inspected the vessel and cleared it to sail back to Fishguard empty, the vessel departed Rosslare Europort at 19.45..

The CO2 tanks were refilled again, and the Stena Lynx III went back into service on 3 engines as the new lagging was being replaced in the 4th engine compartment.


The stranded passengers were accommodated on the 21.50 STENA EUROPE sailing to Fishguard.

No assistance was required by the STENA  lynx III from the Rosslare Harbour Lifeboat, or the Coast Guard. STENA LYNX III was back in service on Monday though running only on three engines.

NORTHWESTERN SHIP REPAIRERS  AND SHIP BUILDERS

Birkenhead's Northwestern Shiprepairers and Shipbuilders has been awarded a first commercial conversion contract since the company's formation just over 12 months ago.

All that is at present known is that the conversion project is to be completed before the year end, and involves the manufacture of approximately 500 tonnes of steel and the lengthening of an offshore supply vessel, with the existing accommodation block lifted and repositioned on the new section.

CENARGO: NORSE MERCHANT FERRIES

LINDAROSA arrived on Merseyside on September 2 to provide the extra daily return sailing on the Liverpool - Belfast route. She is a sister ship to NORSE MERSEY which arrived on Thursday September 5 to replace DAWN MERCHANT on the Liverpool to Dublin route. 

LINDAROSA undertook berthing trials at Twelve Quays after her arrival on the Mersey, whilst NORSE MERSEY undertook trials on Saturday morning and early afternoon.

The September issue of the CCA magazine Cruising Monthly states: after reports of the move of DAWN MERCHANT to Norfolkline)

"We have seen reports that the BRAVE MERCHANT is to transfer to Norfolk Line service in December. A spokesman for the company has told Cruising Monthly however that there is no substance to these claims"

However, gossip on the Irish Sea appears to suggest that such a move for BRAVE MERCHANT is still likely.

BNFL / JAMES FISHER & SONS plc

ATLANTIC OSPREY departed from Alfred Lock Birkenhead around 21:07.

The James Fisher managed converted former ro/ro ferry has been at Birkenhead since the completion of a refit in Manchester during the spring.

She is known to have experienced some engine problems and has run engine trials from the Mersey

She had not returned to the Mersey by Saturday and it is presumed that she has departed for good.

GOLDEN CROSS

The wandering preserved tug GOLDEN CROSS made a brief call at Falmouth on Monday September 2 before resuming a voyage to south Wales.

[photo: Dave Evans]

 

 

CORNISH WELCOME FIRST IRISH GIG TEAM TO ROW CELTIC SEA

The first Irish crew to row non-stop across the Celtic Sea touched the north Cornish coast on Wednesday night.

Met by a huge flotilla of lifeboats, fellow rowers and other assorted vessels, the team aboard the SPECULATION were relieved to get back on dry land in Cornwall after more than two days at sea.

The journey from Courtmacsherry County Cork, to Newquay, a distance of 150 nautical miles, took nearly 50 hours to complete, due to unfavourable sea conditions

The challenge was no easy feat for any of the crew members, who at times had to deal with choppy seas, upset stomachs and lack of sleep.

Team member Colin Bateman said: "The ten rowers and three coxswains worked a rotation system with the help of two support vessels. This meant that at any one time there were six members rowing with one cox steering the boat for between four and six hours."

Only a short time after leaving Cork on Monday night, the crew were plunged into extremely bad weather conditions, with strong winds and sea squalls buffeting against the boat.

Colin said: "We had anticipated completing the distance in around 40 hours, but headwinds for the first 18 hours slowed us down - it's a bit like walking uphill when you're used to walking on the flat. The first section was so tough that crew members got a bit disheartened."

Conditions for the crew of the 32ft standard Cornish gig, SPECULATION, eased on Tuesday allowing them to make up a lot of the time lost through the bad weather of the previous night.

Colin said the majority of crew members had had no sleep throughout the journey, and had taken most of their meals in the gig because of the choppy conditions at sea. But as a welcome distraction from the physical endurance of continuous rowing, crew members were frequently entertained by a school of dolphins.

Colin said: "Rowing got a lot easier on Wednesday with the wind behind us, and that's when spirits lifted. We rowed the last 26 miles the fastest - partly because by then we had settled into a rhythm, and partly because we knew we were nearly home.

"The welcome in Newquay was tremendous and a massive flotilla of boats accompanied us for the last part. By that stage we were all on a high, and exhilarated that we had made it."

The ten oarsmen were Colin Bateman, Dan Whelton, Denis Griffin, Patrick Lawton, Ronan Barry, Pat Harte, Tony O'Regan, Philip Clesham, Roy Lee and Anthony O'Driscoll.

The oldest team member was veteran cox, 70-year-old Paddy O'Leary, and the youngest was 16-year-old racing cox, Fiona Hurley. The third cox was Deidre O'Reilly. She spoke of the sheer exhilaration the crew felt when they realised they had completed the challenge.

"We have had the adventure of a lifetime," said Deidre. "But none of us would do it again. The physical challenge was great, but nothing compared to the mental challenge."

The aim of the feat was to raise money for the RNLI and the Chernobyl Children's Project, and organisers estimate the trip has made between 15-20,000 euros (up to £12,000).

Colin said: "The idea started back in 1997 when a Cornish crew rowed to Courtmacsherry. We decided we wanted to return the compliment by sending an Irish crew back to Cornwall. The whole thing has been hard work from start to finish - getting the whole thing together - but the finish has been phenomenal."

September 1

NOTES & NEWS 

UPDATES

An additional update was posted on Thursday August 29 . As part of the update additional material was also posted to the August News File.

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Ian Collard, John Williamson and "others".

FERRIES OF DUBLIN BAY

Unicorn Films has just completed a documentary film titled Ferries of Dublin Bay that is on sale throughout the Dublin area. It features the ferries that ply daily from Dublin and Dún Laoghaire and includes interviews with the Ulysses Captain Tom Joyce and his officers along with the Chief Purser. Interviews are also featured with the Captain and Cabin Manager of the Jonathan Swift. 

You can contact Unicorn Films at info@unicornfilms.net . Information on the film can be found on Unicorn Film's website at www.unicornfilms.net.

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

SS3 04:00 sailing departing Douglas over 4 hours late on September 1 - Photo John Williamson 

SUPERSEACAT THREE - with the Manx Grand Prix festival coming to an end and some breezy weather on Friday and Saturday August 30 / 31 SSC3 has been running somewhat behind schedule. 

Here morning sailing to Dublin only getting away from Liverpool around 12:00 on August 31. Douglas sailings were also behind schedule. 

SuperSeaCat Three's  04:00 sailing from Douglas on September 1 only getting away at 08:33 over four and a half hours late.

The evening departure to Liverpool on September 1 is expected to be delayed until 01:00 on Monday September 2.

RAPIDE will not return to the Belfast - Heysham route and the route is now closed for the remainder of the season.  According to a report in the Belfast News Letter the  decision to terminate the Belfast-to-Heysham route was taken after engineers reported that repairs to the ship would take until the end of the month.

With efforts to find an alternative ship proving unsuccessful, Seacat bosses made the decision to suspend the service.

The company said it regretted the early closure of the route and apologised for the inconvenience caused to customers.

Alan Walker, from the General Consumer Council, said he was very worried about the situation. We are very concerned about the passengers who were due to travel on the Rapide service.

We want to know what Seacat are doing for these customers, especially since the compensation that was on offer a month ago is not the compensation that is on offer now.

Seacat pledged that it would be working hard to make alternative arrangements for all the customers booked on the service.


COMMODORE CLIPPER - there is a rumour apparently doing the rounds suggesting that Sea Containers has been looking at the Commodore Ferries vessel, which is essentially the BEN-MY-CHREE's sister, as a possible running mate for the BEN-MY-CHREE. However, given that the COMMODORE CLIPPER is an integral part of the "service agreement" package for the
Channel Islands she could only be sold if a suitable Ro-Pax replacement were
found. Perhaps in reality Sea Containers are considering another conventional ship to be based on the Isle of Man?

PENINSULAR & ORIENTAL STEAM NAVIGATION COMPANY

EUROPEAN PATHFINDER it is understood that  the sale of the former Larne - Cairnryan vessel is nearing completion. There has been much speculation that TransEuropa ferries will acquire her from Ramsgate - Ostend - they purchased her sister the EUROPEAN ENDEAVOUR in July.

EUROPEAN MARINER, having completed her Color Line charter (operating on Kristiansand - Hirtshals until 20 August or so), anchored off Larne on August 30 with  a cargo of windmill towers loaded at Esbjerg which were due to be discharged on August 31. 

On the morning of September 1 she arrived at Gladstone Lock, Liverpool and preceded to 
P&O's lay-by berth next to the main loading area. However, it proved to be a short call and she was back in Gladstone Lock by early afternoon.

It is believed that she will then go for a short term charter Commodore to cover for the refit of the COMMODORE CLIPPER on the Channel Islands routes later this month.

EUROPEAN NAVIGATOR was at the centre of a mayday alert off the west coast of Scotland on August 30. Nearly 30 people were left stranded when the ship broke down shortly after
leaving the Ayrshire port of Troon.

Emergency services were put on full alert when the vessel got into difficulties in the early hours.

A mayday distress call was received by coastguards around 03:30 when the crew of the EUROPEAN NAVIGATOR discovered a leak in the engine system.

There were 28 people, 24 crew and four passengers, on board the ferry which was heading for Larne in Northern Ireland, and it was initially feared they would have to be evacuated.

The coastguard helicopter was scrambled and Troon and Girvan Lifeboats were launched in case passengers had to be taken off the ship, which was adrift for some time.

A coastguard spokesman said: "Crew members discovered a leak in the engine room and it appeared that the cooling system had failed. The ferry was drifting off shore and we sent two lifeboats out to stand by as a precaution.

"They managed to anchor the ferry and carried out repairs as quickly as they could to get the engine up and running within an hour and get the passengers on their way to Larne.

"There was not a great deal for the lifeboats to do, but it could have been a lot worse and had they not been able to fix the leak we might have had to evacuate the boat. But the crew have to be commended as they worked very quickly."


The coastguard helicopter stood down once the vessel was on the move again.

STENA LINE

SEA CENTURION departed from Liverpool shortly after midnight on August 31 bound for La Rochelle after completing her end of MoD charter refit at Canada Graving Dock.

LAXEY TOWING COMPANY

KARINA came to the rescue of a windsurfer in Douglas bay on the evening of Friday August 30. Laxey Towing's passenger vessel had been on a charter to the Douglas Ladies Lifeboat Guild as part of a Lifeboat fund raising event.

The windsurfer apparently fell off his board and was not able to right it in the freshening wind.

The surfboarder was landed in Douglas Harbour where he was met by a Coastguard Patrol vehicle who made sure that he was unhurt.

Douglas Coastguard Station Officer, David Keggin that the windsurfer was fortunate to have been spotted and expressed his thanks to Captain Stephen Carter off the 'Karina*.

Station Officer Keggin also commented that he was sure that the windsurfer had appreciated the delicate ministrations of the Ladies Committee - which included a glass of wine

CENARGO

MERCHANT VENTURE departed for employment with Norse Island Ferries which will operate in competition with the new Northlink service serving Orkney and Shetland.

MERSEY VIKING has been observed running somewhat behind schedule this week. Early on Thursday morning she was noted still at  Twelve Quays around 00:30. On Friday she announced her arrival to Liverpool Coastguard at 19:45 with expected time of departure being 01:00 Friday though actually managed to get away shortly after midnight.

HM CUSTOMS & EXCISE

At the end of August the Isles of Scilly lost its Customs presence, with the customs office in Hugh Town closing on August 31. Over 700 islanders have signed a petition protesting at the closure. 

From September, the Isles of Scilly will be monitored by the Falmouth Customs team which will be ready to head out to the islands at a moment's notice should the need arise.

ISLES OF SCILLY STEAMSHIP COMPANY

SCILLY NEWS reported that there were again no flights to or from St. Mary’s Airport on August 30 due to fog prompting the 8th late sailing of the SCILLONIAN III this season.

Hundreds of passengers were transferred to the SCILLONIAN III returning from Scilly at 16:30 but as people arrived at the airports at Newquay and Lands End and the Heliport at Penzance throughout the day, it became apparent that hundreds would have to travel on a later boat. The post was also delayed coming into the Islands and instead of its usual ‘first flight’ trip on the helicopter, the SCILLONIAN III brought it at midday.

The SCILLONIAN III left Penzance for the second time at 20:20 and docked in St. Mary’s at 23:10. Passengers due to leave the Islands by air congregated on the quay from about 21:30 in order to board the SCILLONIAN III back to Penzance which was due to dock at about 02:30, completing a gruelling day for stranded passengers and the crew.

Passengers leaving the boat seemed relatively good humoured and some commented on the positive way they were treated by the crew of the SCILLONIAN III. The SCILLONIAN III completed a turnaround in St. Mary’s in about 25 minutes with an estimated 1000 people departing and boarding.

The fog which hampered flying was thick both in Scilly and on the Mainland throughout the day.

PORT OF BELFAST

TWO cruise liners sailed into the Port of Belfast on August 31 bringing a cruise season worth over £1million to the city to an end.

Holland America Line's impressive MS Rotterdam liner with more than 1,300 passengers and 600 crew sailed into Stormont Wharf this morning at 7am.

And Silverseas' vessel the Silver Shadow - with 350 passengers and 278 crew on board - docked an hour later at Pollock Wharf for an overnight stay.

With nine ship visits, including a record three overnight stays and the first visit of the unique World of Residensea liner, the 2002 cruise season has been another major success for the Cruise Belfast Initiative, set up three years ago to promote Belfast as an attractive cruise destination.

The Initiative, a partnership between the Port of Belfast and the Belfast Visitor & Convention Bureau (BVCB), has seen Belfast become an increasingly popular port of call for many cruise companies - despite the continuing disturbances at flashpoint interface areas across the city.

BVCB chief executive Gerry Lennon said: "Over the past few years, the Cruise Belfast Initiative has been very successful in attracting major cruise lines to the city.

"We are delighted to have welcomed nine cruise liners to Belfast this summer and even more pleased that three of these - the Silver Shadow, The World, and the Olivia liners, stayed overnight."

JACK ROBINSON TRAWLERS LTD

Richard Gidney appeared on August 30 for the second time in court accused of manslaughter.

Gidney, 38, and his company Jack Robinson (Trawlers) Ltd are accused over the deaths of seven crewmen on the scallop dredger SOLWAY HARVESTER.

The millionaire along with Douglas White, 43, the skipper of the Harvester's sister ship, have also been charged with trawling over the shipwreck off the Isle of Man.

Yesterday, at the High Bailiff Court in Douglas, Isle of Man, they had their cases adjourned without plea.

All the crew, from south-west Scotland, died when the Harvester sank in January 2000.

STOLT NIELSON

Stolt-Nielson, whose tankers are a familiar sight on the Irish Sea announced this week that it has reached agreements for the charter of seven newbuild stainless steel parcel tankers with anticipated delivery for the first ship in 2003 and the remaining deliveries in 2004 and 2005.

The ships, which will be built in Japan, include four 25,000 deadweight ton ("dwt") stainless steel chemical carriers from Watanabe Zosen, two 32,000 dwt stainless steel chemical carriers from Shin Kurushima, and one 19,500 dwt stainless steel chemical carrier from the Kitanihon Dock Yard.

Mr. Reginald J.R. Lee, CEO of the Stolt-Nielsen Transportation Group Ltd., said, "These ships will replace tonnage which we expect to scrap over the next several years. While we are seeing benefits from our port time reduction efforts and co-service arrangements, enabling us to carry more cargo with fewer ships, we need to replace the oldest ships in our fleet to maintain our market position. As such, we are pleased to have negotiated these very flexible agreements, which give us long-term time-charter extension options and purchase options, for these quality ships enabling SNTG to continue its high level of service to customers while not expanding overall industry capacity."

Stolt-Nielsen Transportation Group Ltd., a subsidiary of Stolt-Nielsen S.A., together with its alliance partners, provides the world's leading network of transportation and storage services for bulk liquid chemicals, acids, edible oils and other specialty liquids. Through its logistics management systems and parcel tanker, tank container, terminal, rail and barge services, the company provides cost-effective solutions to meet the needs of its customers for single mode, multimodal and full supply chain management services.

NEWLYN FISH FESTIVAL 

The Cornishman reported that over 20,000 people poured into the Cornish fishing village of Newlyn on Bank Holiday Monday - creating two mile tailbacks on the A30 - for the port's hugely popular fish festival.

Due to be opened by celebrity chef and sea food enthusiast Rick Stein, the festival once again attracted huge crowds - and raised thousands of pounds for the Newlyn Fishermen's Mission.

However Mr Stein arrived late and former MP David Harris stepped into the breach to get the festival under way.

However the jovial chef - who waived his usual appearance fee to support the festival - did arrive later in the day and talked about the virtues of seafood, before spending around two hours in Newlyn.

Padstow's famous chef was probably not the only person to arrive at the festival later than expected, as traffic bringing thousands of visitors to the port ground to a virtual standstill.

At around 11.30 pm vehicles were queuing from the entrance to the car park at the Coombe, down to Trereife crossroads and back up the A30 beyond the Mount Misery roundabout, as more and more visitors headed towards the port.

But the bumper crowds were certainly good news for Newlyn's fishermen - as the festival is a major fund-raiser for the Fishermen's Mission, which provides support and care for fishermen and their families.

Last the year the event raised £17,000 for the charitable organisation - and the organisers are confident that the influx of visitors on Monday will help ensure that the figure is improved upon this year.

The festival - which was blessed by glorious sunshine in the afternoon - saw stalls, selling everything from local arts and crafts to clothing, lining the harbour, with the fish market once again being the centre of all things 'fishy.'

Large displays showed the huge variety of fish that is landed at Newlyn, with fish merchants selling their produce direct to the public and chefs giving demonstrations on how to prepare, cook and serve a variety of delicious fish dishes.

This year the market was also home to the new Cornwall Farmers Market, which can be found at the Wharfside Shopping Centre every Saturday.

Elsewhere around the harbour, visitors could clamber aboard a real working fishing boat to see the type of conditions Newlyn fishermen live in whilst at sea, chat to local coastguards and members of the Coastguard Cliff Rescue Team about their work at the Maritime and Coastguard Agency display, or discover more about satellite communications at the BT Goonhilly Earthstation exhibit which celebrated Goonhilly's 40 year involvement in worldwide communications.

Whilst the festival may help visitors discover how fish ends up on their dish, it also proved a real eye-opener for Newlyn Fishermen's Mission's acting Superintendent Keith Dickson.

"I knew it was a big event that attracted around 20,000 people - but it is hard to really the appreciate it until you see it," said Mr Dickson.

"Until you actually see 20,000 people you cannot comprehend the scale of the event.

"Stood on the Mission's balcony, overlooking a sea of people, really brought home to me what a popular event the festival is.

"It has been very successful - thanks to a lot of people who have worked very hard to make it happen.

"The committee all put in many hours work - and were still on site at 8 pm in the evening.

"A lot of praise also has to go to all the volunteers, marshals and the CFPO who were humping stalls, barriers and fences around all day just for a cup of tea and a bacon roll.

"So many people have put so much effort in, it was a really amazing day.

"It is great for the industry which has been having a hard time recently and it is great for the community. The spirit is amazing.

"There is so much community support for the fish festival - which is really refreshing to see.

"This is my first fish festival and it has been absolutely amazing. Now we are talking about next year's festival - it is back to the treadmill!"

 

 

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