WEB SITE NEWS
AROUND DUBLIN PORT & DUBLIN BAY
Tony Brennan has completely revamped and enlarged his Dublin Port website in
association with Aiden McCabe.
Click on the link to visit www.arounddublinport.com/
MANXMAN & SHIPS OF MANN
Manxman Ships of Mann the joint venture site operated by Shipinfo and Ships of Mann is delighted to present the Phil Shukie collection of images of the Manxman at Hull. These wonderful images show the ship a week after she arrived from Liverpool and before she entered the Ruscador Dry Dock, whilst open and closed as a night club / restaurant venue and most importantly interior photographs showing how she looked in use.
SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company
BEN-MY-CHREE paid a brief visit to Liverpool to have new propeller blades fitted by North Western Ship Repairers at Canada Graving Dock. She followed the LADY OF MANN across from Douglas which was operating on her scheduled service crossing. The BEN-MY-CHREE departed from Canada Graving Dock on the Sunday morning sailing to Heysham to take up the 14:15 sailing to Douglas. The Sunday morning sailing to and from Douglas was operated by SeaTruck's RIVERDANCE.
SEA CONTAINERS REPORTS IMPROVED THIRD QUARTER
On November 13 Sea Containers announced its results for the quarter and nine months ended September 30, 2002 . For the quarter, net income was $17.9 million ($0.84 per common share diluted) on revenue of $547 million, compared with net income of $6.6 million ($0.35 per common share diluted) on revenue of $356 million in the year earlier period. Net income was up 173%, diluted net earnings per common share were up 140% and revenue was up 54%.
For the nine months ended September 30, 2002 net income was $27.9 million ($1.40 per common share diluted) on revenue of $1.23 billion, compared with net income of $13.6 million ($0.73 per common share diluted) on revenue of $974 million in the year earlier period. Net income was up 105%, diluted earnings per common share were up 92% and revenue was up 26%.
The company’s EBITDA excluding Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. for the quarter and nine months ended September 30, 2002 is summarized as follows:
Silja Oyj Abp
Great North Eastern Railway
GE SeaCo SRL (50%)
Other passenger transport operations
Other marine container operations
Gains on asset sales, net
The EBITDA in the above table is higher by $3.9 million for the quarter and $14 million for the nine months than shown in the company’s 10Q report due to depreciation and interest on our 50% share of GE SeaCo earnings ($3.9 million in the quarter and $7.3 million in the nine months) and 50% share of Silja earnings ($6.7 million in the nine months). The company has previously forecast that EBITDA for the full year 2002 will exceed $200 million and continues to believe this will be the case.
Unfortunately, GNER’s large claim against Network Rail Ltd. (the successor to Railtrack plc) is still not resolved. This claim relates to lost revenue and extra costs in connection with the Hatfield rail accident and other failings of Railtrack. GNER has won arbitration awards holding Railtrack responsible for payment of these amounts (which have been withheld by GNER from track access and other charges) but Network Rail appealed to the Rail Regulator. The Rail Regulator promised his ruling before Sea Containers issued its second quarter 2002 results in August and three further months have now elapsed without decision. Network Rail admits it caused the revenue losses and extra costs but has refused to accept full financial liability. Network Rail is now a quasi-government body and the U.K. government funds all its costs in excess of income from the train operators. Despite the delay, Sea Containers still feels the dispute will be settled on a satisfactory basis.
GNER’s operating profits for the third quarter were $19.4 million compared with $15.1 million in the prior year quarter. Passenger volumes were about 4% less than in the third quarter of 2000 (the pre-Hatfield reference year) while revenue was slightly greater. The third quarter of 2001 was impacted by the lingering effects of speed restrictions imposed by Railtrack, so the third quarter of 2002 reflects an improving trend consistent with less such restrictions.
Silja Oyj Abp, now 100% owned, is having an excellent year. Operating profits for the third quarter were $19.3 million compared with $10 million in the year earlier period when Sea Containers only owned 50% of the company. The Russian government withdrew visa privileges for the company’s Silja Opera cruise ship at the end of August as part of a political manoeuvre to put pressure on Baltic States to allow access without visas for Russians overland to Kaliningrad . This necessitated a last minute re-routing of the vessel and revenue was lost. It appears that the Kaliningrad problem has now been resolved so hopefully the ship will shortly be granted visa privileges for operations to St. Petersburg . The larger m.v. Sky Wind was introduced into the SeaWind line on Turku/Stockholm on October 10th and the vessel it replaced, m.v. StarWind, started a new freight service on the Helsinki/Tallinn route immediately thereafter.
Other passenger transport operations produced improvements from the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, Hoverspeed in the English Channel , SeaStreak in New York , and SNAV-SeaCat in the Adriatic but Belfast based services worsened due to no-frills airline competition and technical problems.
GE SeaCo SRL’s operating profits increased to $5.2 million in the quarter compared with $4.5 million in the year earlier period. However, results from the “pool” and “managed” containers and depots and factories owned by Sea Containers worsened from $2.9 million in the third quarter of 2001 to $1.5 million in the third quarter of 2002. This worsening conceals an enormous increase in container demand and lease-outs but the costs of positioning containers to demand locations and repairing them there before lease have temporarily reduced profits. The GE SeaCo owned fleet is 98% on lease compared with 95% at the beginning of the year. The “pool” and “managed” fleets are 79% on lease compared with 72% at the beginning of the year. Lease rates for standard dry cargo containers placed on hire in the third quarter have increased by 20% over the previous quarter. It now appears that GE SeaCo will take delivery of $150 million of new containers against firm lease commitments in 2002.
Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. in which the company has a 57% equity interest, reported third quarter 2002 operating profits of $15.8 million compared with $13.5 million in the year earlier period which was impacted by the September 11th terrorist attacks.
Net finance costs in the third quarter of 2002 were down $1.3 million from the prior year period, to $33.2 million.
Mr. James B. Sherwood, President, said that the company is facing heavy debt repayments in 2003, including $158 million of senior notes falling due on July 1st. The company had planned to sell part of its shareholding in Orient-Express Hotels to meet this obligation but the share price has declined since May from approx. $20 to approx. $13 today.
In order to meet these obligations the company’s board has decided to sell certain other assets, to reduce its shareholding in Orient-Express Hotels to slightly less than 50% in order to deconsolidate Orient-Express Hotels from Sea Containers’ balance sheet, to increase Silja’s borrowings and to suspend payment of common share dividends. Through these and other actions the company hopes to avoid having to sell the bulk of its shareholding in Orient-Express Hotels at today’s depressed prices which do not reflect the fundamental value of that company. The board feels in these circumstances it is unwise to proceed with the spin-off of Orient-Express Hotels common shares to Sea Containers shareholders.
“In today’s environment of economic worries, fear of further terrorist attack and weaker capital markets, your board feels that Sea Containers should take a highly conservative approach in the conduct of its affairs. Hence the decisions described above. Despite these concerns we should not lose sight of the improved financial results,” he concluded.
RECORD BREAKING YEAR FOR ADRIATIC FERRY SERVICE
Sea Containers, operators of the world’s largest fast ferry fleet, has announced a record breaking year for the Ancona , Italy – Split , Croatia joint venture route.
The seasonal service (June-September) carried nearly 59,000 passengers and 13,250 vehicles representing an increase of 52% on the previous year. The craft has been moved to Ravenna , Italy for its winter lay-up. The service will resume in June 2003 until 15 September.
David Collins of Sea Containers passenger transport division said: “The success of the route has vindicated our investment in this service and ensures that the service has become a firm fixture in the Adriatic . The excellent passenger figures for 2002 ensure that the vessel will be back in service next year.”
The service began in 2000 with ‘Atlantic II’, a Sea Containers owned 74m wave-piercing catamaran which had previously operated on the River Plate between Argentina and Uruguay . This craft also operated the service in 2001.
To provide extra capacity to meet increasing demand, the Austal-built high-speed catamaran, ‘Felix’ was introduced in June this year. It has capacity for 676 passengers, 156 vehicles plus up to ten coaches and operates in the now familiar ‘Croazia Jet’ livery.
The craft makes the 130 mile (210 km) crossing in 4½ hours, at a cruising speed of up to 36 knots. On-board facilities include a business class section with private bar, two passenger decks and large duty free shop. The service is jointly operated by the Italian ferry operator SNAV and Sea Containers’ subsidiary company Hoverspeed
ISLE OF MAN GOVERNMENT
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
OCTOBER HARBOUR TRAFFIC FIGURES
Passenger figures compiled by the Harbours Division for October 2002 at 42,996 show a 5.8% increase on the figure for the same period in 2001 which was 40,621.
The year to date figure at 601,804 passengers shows an 17.2% increase over the same period in 2001 which was 513,445.
During October car and motorcycle traffic through Douglas Harbour increased by 2.9% from 10,742 vehicles to 11,058 vehicles.
The year to date figure at 156,587 vehicles shows a 32.8% increase over the same period in 2001 which was 117,897.
Scheduled Routes show the following changes in passenger numbers for October:-
October commercial vehicles metreage increased by 6.6% from 38,708 metres to 41,275 metres.
Director of Harbours, Captain Michael Brew comments:
"October 2002 is another record month for any October for ferry traffic. Passenger traffic for the year to date already exceeds 600,000. The outlook for the remainder of the year is very positive with Steam Packet special offer fares likely to generate continued traffic growth."
The Marine Administration was advised over the weekend of the loss of the Manx registered fishing vessel FENELLA ANN off the south coast of the Isle of Man.
The Director of the Marine Administration, Capt. Desmond Howell, said -
"The Marine Administration is obviously concerned about the loss of this vessel and at the same time relieved that the two crewmen, Mr Lamont and Mr Watterson escaped injury. I would congratulate the skipper and crew of Heather Maid for their prompt and efficient response in getting to the Fenella Ann in time and rescuing the two men."
Fenella Ann was registered in the Isle of Man and the accident happened in Manx waters. The Marine Administration conducts investigations into all casualties occurring to Manx ships and in this instance will be carrying out a full investigation into the circumstances of the loss. The investigation is designed to establish exactly what happened and why it happened with a view to avoiding any similar accidents in future. The investigation will not apportion blame.
A thorough investigation takes time and it is not anticipated that the final investigation report will be published for several months. The Marine Administration publishes all its investigation reports and will do so for this one as soon as it is complete.
- The UK MAIB (Marine Accident Investigation Branch) is the UK body responsible for the investigation of accidents to UK registered ships and accidents in UK waters.
- The Marine Administration in the Isle of Man is responsible for undertaking the same role in respect of Manx registered ships.
The Marine Administration has a very good relationship with the MAIB and in cases where it is appropriate will work together
PENINSULAR & ORIENTAL STEAM NAVIGATION COMPANY
EUROPEAN PATHFINDER - it was reported last month that the ship, currently laid up at A&P Birkenhead had been sold to Greek interests and renamed REGINA I. The vessel remains at A&P, however, she has now been resold to a new owner TransEuropa and renamed BEGONIA. She is expected to depart from A&P probably on Friday November 15 with an eastern European crew.
SUPERSTAR EXPRESS - currently wintering at A&P Birkenhead - the Austal vessel chartered to P&O will operate two routes from Larne during 2003 between April 15 and September 15.
The timetable is as follows:
Larne to Troon:
Depart Larne: 07:40 & 18:45
Depart Troon: 10:05 & 21:05
Crossing Time: 109 minutes.
Larne to Cairnryan
Depart Larne: 12:35 & 15:45
Depart Cairnryan: 14:10 & 17:15
Crossing Time: 60 minutes.
An advance edition of P&O's 2003 brochure is due out very soon so it looks like the firm is going all out to capture a healthy chunk of the North Channel passenger business.
Manx Radio reported earlier this week that the Ramsey Shipyard may close in February 2003 and that staff have been put on notice.