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December 31

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


For those who have not visited the site since Christmas Eve, please ensure you check the "What's New" page as there have been a large number of extra updates to catch up with material submitted and gathered.

The next scheduled update will be on Thursday January 2. I will be away this weekend, therefore there will be no update. The next scheduled update is on Wednesday January 8.


Due to the large of amount of material to be included in last night's extra update and this evening's scheduled update I regret that I was unable to complete the review of the year which I had started some weeks ago. 

Still requiring several hours of work to bring to completion I have decided to break with tradition and not post a review for 2002. When time is pressing in many ways it is better to report what is happening now rather than mull over the events of the past year! 

This Christmas and New Year Season has turned out to be an interesting one for enthusiasts, no only with ships lay-up for the holidays but also some vessels operating on unusual routes.


There will be a slight delay in processing orders for  CD ROMS received Friday through to Sunday as I will be away. However, orders for CD-ROMS placed on line by 18:00 on Thursday will be dispatched on Friday. 

For those who have not ordered either ISSCD01 or ISSCD02 yet, instant online ordering via the PAY PAL secure server is available inclusive of 1st Class or airmail postage.

Visit The Irish Sea Shipping Shop for more information and to place an order.


One hopes that all visitors to the Irish Sea Shipping site have a happy and prosperous new year. Despite the prevailing world situation one hopes that the year remains relatively peaceful.

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

BEN-MY-CHREE operated her once yearly excursion to Dublin on Saturday December 28, 2002. Travelling on board it was noted that some modifications have been made to the Blue Riband Lounge in recent weeks. 

The side seating has had additional cushions fitted which effectively raise the height of the backrest. 

To provide extra seating in the lounge which has been reportedly getting rather busy on some sailings three additional armchairs have been provided.

Manufactured by Giulio Marelli Italia S.p.A. to their "Kent" design and supplied by RHA Furniture of Richmond Surrey, these chairs have slightly higher backs than the other chairs and are fitted with head rest cushions upholstery matches other arm chairs in the lounge.


Rumours continue to circulate. Latest version to hand is: 

SUPERSEACAT ONE and FOUR on the Baltic, SUPERSEACAT TWO and THREE on routes from Douglas and Liverpool with RAPIDE and SEACAT ISLE OF MAN based at Belfast. It now appears that DIAMANT could go to Newhaven.


A correspondent reports that the large Cammell Laird lettering was obliterated by spray painting from the side of the workshops on December 19 / 20.


STENA EUROPE is to be dry docked between January 6 and 19th with no replacement vessel for the Rosslare - Fishguard route.


NORMANDY will dry dock at A&P Birkenhead. Earlier information had suggested that she would go to Falmouth. She finishes on the French route on January 5.


EUROPEAN AMBASSADOR remains in dry dock at A&P Birkenhead.

NORBANK entered dry dock at A&P Birkenhead on December 27, after NORBAY departed on the afternoon tide.

EUROPEAN LEADER completed her Christmas holiday maintenance and sailed from Liverpool on December 27.

EUROPEAN DIPLOMAT operated sailings on the Dublin - Belfast service before entering Canada Graving Dock, Liverpool for maintenance. A correspondent suggests that the vessel missed three sailings before Christmas following a Department of the Marine inspection due to deficiencies.

EUROPEAN ENVOY departed from Liverpool on December 30 following her Christmas lay-up.


RIVERDANCE has now been fitted with a new stern ramp and remains at Liverpool undergoing maintenance.


On December 30, the Scottish Executive announced that potential bidders have been invited to submit their tenders for a subsidy to run the Campbeltown - Ballycastle ferry service.

The final tender incorporates many of the comments put forward by key local parties in Argyll and Moyle during the recent consultation exercise on the key service requirements.

Deputy Enterprise, Transport and Lifelong Learning Minister Lewis Macdonald said:

"The consultation period has been very worthwhile and has allowed local communities in Kintyre and Moyle to have a say in how the service is operated and I am pleased that we have been able to take on board a number of suggestions made by the key local interests.

"This is another notable milestone in the tendering process, and I am pleased good progress has been made to reach this stage so quickly. The Scottish Executive, and our colleagues in Northern Ireland remain committed to seeking an operator for the service between Campbeltown and Ballycastle."

A joint announcement by the Scottish Executive, Northern Ireland Executive and Scotland Office was made on 30 January 2002 that a tendering exercise should go ahead. The Northern Ireland Executive has agreed that responsibility for running the tendering exercise should fall to the Scottish Executive.

The Executive announced the start of the new competition on 22 May 2002. The necessary powers to provide the subsidy have also been transferred from Westminster following the approval of the Scottish and Westminster Parliaments.

Scottish Ministers made a commitment to undertake a public local consultation on the draft service specification for the Campbeltown - Ballycastle route as has been carried out for previous ferry tendering exercises.

Comments on the draft Service Specification were invited by 11 November, four weeks from the date of issue. Ministers considered the comments made carefully and have made changes to the Service Specification in light of the exercise.

The final agreed document, which forms the basis of the invitation to tender has now been issued to short listed bidders. The final tender document remains subject to the following conditions as previously agreed with Ministers:-

that the initial contract term for the service will be 5 years; that the service will operate for at least 11 months of the year; that the maximum annual amount of subsidy to be made available for the support of this service will be £1.0 million. Bidders are invited to submit their technical bids by 21 February 2003.

Provided an acceptable compliant tender is received, it is hoped that it will be possible to re-instate the service for Summer 2003.

December 26

Acknowledgements: Ian Collard and Patrick C. Taylor.


Welcome to the update that very nearly didn't happen! Due to corruption of the web server extension cache file it proved impossible for to load the site locally for editing yesterday. 

However, after about six hours of fiddling the solution was eventually found buried on the Microsoft site.

Consequently, it has not been possible to prepare a review of the year as done in previous years. However, I will endeavour have one available by next Tuesday's update.


Its certainly been a vintage year for Seasonal movements, holiday lay-ups and maintenance. This edition will bring things up to date as only part of the picture was conveyed by the last update and of course I also managed to forget to include one or two items given the amount of time spent down by the river rather than sat at the computer! 

Other arrivals on Christmas Eve included MURIEL in bound for Bromborough Wall and ARKLOW ROSE for the Manchester Ship Canal. These were followed by the large tanker NAVION ANGLIA to Tranmere terminal. She sailed again Christmas Day. 

On Christmas Day ALPINE LADY arrived at Birkenhead with five more vessels transiting to the Manchester Ship Canal at Eastham. Chemical Tanker STOLT PUFFIN was at Gladstone Branch #2 discharging cargo

Other ships in the Liverpool Dock system over Christmas were the bulker ANGELIC FAITH Gladstone Branch #1. She had arrived on December 23, with a cargo of South African coal.

Another bulker MAJOR HUBAL was at the Alexandra #2 Branch scrap berth. On the east side of Brocklebank by the attractive, but now sadly derelict pumping station was the fishery patrol vessel NORTHERN HORIZON.

At Canada #1 Branch was the Croatian bulker VELEBIT.  

This list only includes vessels which were not already laid up prior to the Christmas holiday.


In the Christmas Eve update I initially overlooked the holiday lay up locations of the two former North Sea ships Norbay and NORBANK these were as follows:

NORBANK laid up at the P&O Terminal at Gladstone Dock branch #3.

NORBAY was in dry dock at A&P Birkenhead.


Many enthusiasts were probably wondering when the lettering on the side of the workshops would disappear.

On Christmas Eve it was noted that all the Cammell Laird lettering had gone. Though it had been there the previous week. [Can anyone identify the exact date the lettering disappeared?]

The new Cammell Laird company had repainted most of the workshop complex in a brighter light grey, compared to the black favoured by the old company. However, the wording survived the transition "Cammell Laird - Shipbuilders, Engineers and Repairers". The lettering a reminder of the days when the yard built so many famous ships and was a familiar landmark on the waterfront.

Before the demise of Cammell Laird Plc there was the hope that once again new ships would perhaps grace the ways until the actions of Carnival Corporation put paid to that.

Perhaps in some ways it is fitting that the lettering disappears before another Carnival ship - CARONIA - appears on the Mersey later in 2003. I imagine a few enthusiasts would have tried to get an ironic shot including the Cammell Laird name and a ship from the fleet which was the yard's downfall. 

However, one wonders why A&P didn't just replace the Cammell Laird part with A&P. Perhaps they prefer to remain anonymous?

But then again Austin & Pickersgill doesn't have the same ring even before it became abbreviated!


The voyage schedule for the replica emigrant ship is as follows:

Departure Port

Departure Date

Arrival Port

Arrival Date


Voyage Crew Fee

Supernumary Passenger Fee


14 January


17 January





20 January


24 January





03 February


07 February





15 February


08 March





13 March


17 April




Fares are rather on the high side to say the least, especially if one wants to sail as a passenger. The complete trans-Atlantic passenger single fare of €15,000 makes a single on a Concorde flight look like a bargain! 

The original JEANIE JOHNSTON may have provided cheap and basic transport for those desperate to escape the Great Famine, however the new JEANIE JOHNSTON is definitely an up market cruise ship. 

With a passenger fare of € 1,000 for the cruise from Dublin to Belfast must make it the most expensive ever means of travelling between the two cities!

It is fairly obvious that there is a need to for the ship to raise serious cash to cover her spiralling construction costs, which have caused great controversy over the past three years.

Though I wonder just how many people could really afford those sort of fares? 

The ship now has a PC of 40 compared to the original vessel passenger complement of 200. 

However, one cannot fail to be impressed by the quality of the construction which combines traditional tall ship design with all the latest safety requirements of modern passenger vessels. An inspection of the photographs elsewhere on the web site reveals just how good it

One certainly wishes the JEANIE JOHNSTON well on her maiden trans-Atlantic Voyage but one wonders just how many ship enthusiasts there may be on board?

December 24

Acknowledgements: Ian Collard, Tommy Dover, Trevor Kidd and "others"

I would like to wish every one a very Merry Christmas!

Due to a large amount of material available for this update I have had to draw the line at 18:00 on December 24 otherwise I think I would be working into Christmas Day!

However, to catch up with news and submissions there will be an extra update will be posted on December 26.

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

LADY OF MANN arrived at Liverpool for Christmas lay-up on Monday after operating the morning sailing from Douglas. She is due to undock at Liverpool on December 26 at 16:00 and proceed to the landing stage before taking up service again on Friday with the 08:30 sailing to Douglas.


EUROPEAN LEADER has laid up for Christmas at Liverpool [NW Alexandra] where maintenance work is underway.

EUROPEAN ENVOY and NORTHERN STAR which is reported to have concluded its P&O charter are in Gladstone Dock.

EUROPEAN AMBASSADOR arrived at A&P Birkenhead on December 24.

EUROPEAN DIPLOMAT operated the overnight Liverpool Dublin sailing on Sunday December 22. She sailed from Liverpool at 22:50 on Monday, December 23.

NORBANK laid up at the P&O Terminal at Gladstone Dock.

NORBAY was in dry dock at A&P Birkenhead.

EUROPEAN PIONEER, EUROPEAN MARINER, EUROPEAN NAVIGATOR and EUROPEAN HIGHLANDER have laid up at Larne. The first Fleetwood sailing after Christmas is at 22:00 on Friday December 27 by EUROPEAN PIONEER operating one trip per day until the new year. Larne - Cairnryan resumes at 20:00 on Boxing Day.

Troon doesn't restart again till the New Year and it is looking like the EUROPEAN MARINER will be on it.  


SAGA MOON arrived at North Western Ship Repairers Bidston Dry Dock early on Sunday.

LINDAROSA and BRAVE MERCHANT laid up at Liverpool on Tuesday December 24. BRAVE MERCHANT berthing at Canada Dock Branch #3 south and LINDAROSA at West Langton. They were joined in Liverpool at Liverpool late morning by LAGAN VIKING which was assisted by Adelaide Steamship Company's tug TRAFALGAR. LAGAN VIKING berthing beside the former Norse Merchant Ferries Canada #3 Terminal.


JONATHAN SWIFT will commence refit at Canada Dry Dock, Liverpool on January 8.

WICKLOW & ARKLOW NEWS from Tommy Dover

Shipping has been very quiet over the last week at Wicklow port, the MAYA arrived early on Monday morning [December 23] with packaged timber from the Baltic, She completed discharge at noon on Christmas Eve, and departed a short time later, heading south.

Local press reports have said that work on the new port access road will commence early in the new year, work involved will include a bridge over the river Vartry.

The ASGARD II is now on the slip at Arklow, both of her masts have been dismantled for overhaul. The tug SEA TROGAN is also tied up in the port along with the jack up rig.

December 21

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


UPDATES - The next update will be posted around 18:30 GMT on Christmas Eve. This should have details of the annual Christmas Lay ups on Merseyside. I would also be interested in details of Christmas lay-ups elsewhere on the Irish Sea in which vessels are likely to be off service between Christmas and New Year.

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

SUPERSEACAT THREE has returned to A&P Birkenhead's Wet Basin on Thursday December 19 after spending some time in dry dock.


STENA LYNX III has also returned to the A&P Birkenhead Wet Basin following dry docking on Thursday morning.


NORTHERN STAR was noted at Gladstone Dock, Liverpool on December 20 / 21. It is believed that her charter to P&O ended on December 20 and with it the Liverpool to Larne service.



The Maritime & Coastguard Agency detained a Marshall Islands flagged bulk carrier with 30 deficiencies on December 18.

The 41,643 gross ton vessel, the PANAGIA ODIGITRIA, was inspected on the 18th December and MCA Inspectors noted that there had been a breakdown of the onboard International Safety Management (ISM) system . 

The crews have been advised that a re-inspection of the vessel will need to take place by MCA Inspectors, specifically including fire and boat drills, before the ship will be allowed to leave the port. Additionally six crew from the vessel have now also gone missing and the vessel will not be able to leave until it is correctly manned.

The MCA were made aware of this ship by a pilot complaint and concerns over payments of crew wages. As the MCA Inspector Captain Wickens was concerned about crew welfare he informed the International Transport Federation (ITF) who may conduct their own investigations.

Amongst the deficiencies noted on board were:

· Fire hoses untested

· Cracked hatch coaming bracket

· Fire main isolation valves seized open, between the outside deck and engine room

· Major radio deficiency

· Paint locker fixed fire fighting system out of action

· Crew accommodation in a very poor state of repair

· Port and starboard lifeboat and life raft embarkation ladders perished

· Insufficient provisions in the store for the next voyage

· A generator is running with oil leaking into the bilge

· The same generator has 2 portable fans cooling a bearing which would possibly fail in tropical climates where ambient temperatures are much higher.


On Thursday December 19 Falmouth Coastguard are co-ordinated an incident involving a Turkish cargo ship SENA DENIZ (13,500 grt) after receiving a mayday from the vessel at 14:00 stating that there was a fire in the engine room. The vessel was approximately 25 miles north of St Ives.

The Coastguard scrambled a Rescue helicopter from RNAS Culdrose and requested the launch of lifeboats from Padstow and St Ives. Two fire-fighters from the Cornwall Fire Brigade were flown by helicopter from Falmouth to the vessel. Other vessels are on scene stood by.

There were 24 crew on board the vessel, which was carrying a cargo of timber. Steve Huxley, Falmouth Coastguard Duty District Officer said: “The engine room has been doused with CO2, the fire is now out, but the temperature of the engine room is being monitored. No injuries have been sustained. The Rescue helicopter from RNAS Culdrose is now in the process of airlifting the two fire-fighters aboard the vessel.”

The weather on scene was easterly force 3 – 4 with moderate seas and swell and good visibility.


PRINCESS VICTORIA - In order to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the worst ferry disaster ever to occur in British Coastal Waters, Dumfries & Galloway Council and Larne Borough Council will hold two commemorative services on 31 Jan 2003.

Anyone who was involved or has relatives involved in any way with the disaster and who would like to attend either or both services - or would like more information is asked to contact:

Wilma McKeown,  Dumfries & Galloway Council,  Council Offices, Sun Street, STRANRAER DG9 7JJ
(tel 01776 702152 ext 61207)


Liz Wilkin, Larne Borough Council, Smiley Buildings, Victoria Road, LARNE  BT40 1RU
(tel 028 28272313 ext 217)


The company's share price retreated during the week by 11% to 458.5p, before rallying and finally closing on Friday at 472p.

The reduction in share price came in the wake of cautious remarks concerning the company's prospects for 2003.

The company claims that general economic conditions had confirmed its "cautious but positive" out look for the second half of 2002 with trading inline with expectations

However, the company states that continuing weakness in economic conditions were likely to affect trading expectations in 2003 "In light of the prevailing uncertainty, the board's view of prospects remains cautious and trading for 2003 is not expected to be materially
different from 2002."

The company expected that cargo throughput for the current year ending December 31, 2002  would either match or exceed that for 2001 in most key sectors

Improvement in margins off set a small reduction in overall volumes in the shipping division. Cash generation would be ahead of 2001. End of year debt forecast being £205m.

The financial problems facing Cenargo, the troubled operator of services from Birkenhead Twelve Quays and Heysham to Belfast and Dublin are not expected to have a negative impact on the company.


HMS VENGEANCE  A bid to house the last surviving World War Two Aircraft Carrier at Devonport has failed because the Naval Base does not have sufficient room. 

The Colossus Class Carrier, built by Swan Hunter during WWII and subsequently sold to the Brazilian Navy where she served as the MINAS GERAIS will now be based at Falmouth. 

Negotiations are now underway for the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth to take the vessel - a bid which would be helped by Cornwall's Objective One status. However, on her arrival on the Fal the ship will initially be laid up at King Harry reach near the King Harry Ferry.

December 17

Acknowledgements: Tommy Dover, Michael Pryce, John Williams, Chris Jones and Michael Pryce.

Financial restructuring talks have commenced at Cenargo after the company missed an $8.5m interest payment on its bond issue on Sunday.

No disruption to services is envisaged as a result of the restructuring and the company says all suppliers will be paid on normal terms. Cenargo has $2.4m in lease payments also due for payment this month.

Competition from P&O and service disruptions have added to costs this year


Commercial shipping looks set to return to the River Dee in the near future. According to local press reports, the company is to manage the construction and operation of a specialised river vessel which will carry wings from the British Aerospace factory at Broughton to the Port of Mostyn.

The new low air draught vessel will measure approximately 57m x 15m with a draught of only 1.5m. The vessel has been specially designed to operate under the fixed bridges at Queensferry and Shotton.


Ships calling at Wicklow last week included RMS ARAMON, SCOT TRADER and AJOS G. ASGARD II is now at Arklow, presumably for her annual refit.


The Barrow-in-Furness based shipping company James Fisher has made two new acquisitions. 

Scan Tech is a Norwegian Marine services company which Fishers has paid $13.6m. Serving the North Sea, Scan Tech compliments Fisher's Underwater Engineering Services which is based there. Based in Stavanger, Scan Tech specialises in containerised steam units, air dryers, compressors and winches.

Fisher's second acquisition is the purchase of Ocean Fleets from its administrator along with some key operating assets from a leasing company which was a creditor of Ocean Fleets.

Ocean Fleets undertakes work for the MoD and operates a workshop in the Naval Dockyard at Devonport.

FISHER CAVALIER - this diving support vessel which was jointly owned with the collapsed ship builder - Cammell Laird is to be disposed of.

C.S. NEXUS - due to the poor state of the cable laying market, the company is currently preparing designs for a number of alternative uses for the vessel which includes flexible pipe laying. The C.S.Nexus is currently in A&P Birkenhead undergoing refit following the end of its charter.


The former Canadian Pacific liner EMPRESS OF BRITAIN now TSS TOPAZ will be visiting Dundee on July 28, 2003. As the EMPRESS OF BRITAIN she was a regular visitor to Merseyside.

December 14

DECEMBER 14 Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Tony Brennan, John Williams and Ian Collard, Patrick C. Taylor, Edwin Wilmshurst, Chris Jones, Christopher Proudlove of Bonhams and "others".


It is now just over one year since a new page counter was installed on the front page of Irish Sea Shipping on December 10, 2001. By Saturday December 14 over 63,700 hits had been recorded on this page in 369 days! This must make Irish Sea Shipping The Online Shipping Magazine one of the most popular maritime sites in these islands!

The counter only records the number of people coming to the home page. Many others will have entered the site via individual pages directly from search engines. It must be admitted when this site was created such interest was never envisaged. 

The success of Irish Sea Shipping is mainly due to the efforts of all those who have contributed news, photographs or other information which makes the site so attractive to visitors and makes people want to return. To all of you who have contributed - Thank You!

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

HOVERSPEED GREAT BRITAIN departed from A&P Falmouth on Saturday December 7 and sailed for Newhaven, calling at Plymouth enroute.

The company is currently consulting staff concerning the future of the Dover to Oostende seasonal service. It has been considered likely for some time that this route would close. Such a move would probably free up the DIAMANT for redeployment elsewhere.

James Sherwood is to retire from Sea Containers during 2003. Press reports suggest that his step-son Simon Sherwood is a likely candidate to take over his position. He is currently in charge of Orient Express Hotels.

In an interview in an Interview with the Daily Telegraph newspaper James Sherwood said: "My wish is to move from chief executive to non-executive chairman at an early date. I'm 70 next year and I think that is a good milestone."

The newspaper reports that Mr.  Sherwood hopes to exit on a more positive note than that struck by the difficult trading conditions the company has faced recently. These prompted a credit rating downgrade last week by Moody's.

However, the US military build-up in the Middle East and rising exports from the Far East have resulted in a shortage of containers this year, according to Sherwood.

Container leasing prices have risen 20 per cent in the third quarter, compared to the first three months of the year. There is a strong outlook for 2003, he said.



Passenger figures compiled by the Harbours Division for November 2002 at 26,914 show a 3% increase on the figure for the same period in 2001 which was 26,133.

The year to date figure at 628,718 passengers shows an 16.5% increase over the same period in 2001 which was 539,578.

During November car and motorcycle traffic through Douglas Harbour decreased from 7,718 vehicles to 7,713 vehicles.

The year to date figure at 164,300 vehicles shows a 30.8% increase over the same period in 2001 which was 125,615.

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


minus  1%






plus 7%





Freight Traffic:-

November commercial vehicles metreage increased by 13.6% from 37,524 metres to 42,641 metres.

Director of Harbours, Captain Michael Brew comments:

"November 2002 passenger figures are again record figures for any November. The year to date total now exceeds the total for 2000 which was the best year since 1985".


EGREMONT - Work on the former Wallasey Ferry being undertaken by Penzance Dry Dock is drawing to a conclusion. 

A photography taken by Chris Jones this week shows the vessel, now used by the Island Sailing Club of Salcombe, repainted in black / white livery rather similar to that worn when she was in service on the River Mersey. 


Lloyds List reported this week that Cenargo, parent company to NorseMerchant Ferries took the unusual step of requesting that the company's credit ratings were withdrawn following their continued downward spiral.

The corporate credit rating on the company and its secured debt rating on its $175m ship mortgage notes was lowered to triple-C from B-minus.

At the same time, all ratings were removed from the agency's CreditWatch, where they were placed on Sept. 13, 2002. Standard & Poor's said the outlook was negative.

An $8.5m interest payment was due on December 15. Also due this month is around $2.4m in lease payments.


It was reported this week that embers of Donegal County Council are backing proposals to establish a direct car ferry service linking the county with Ayrshire in Scotland. Up to €40,000 may be set aside in the council's budget next year to prepare a feasibility study.

Tourist industry representatives in Donegal believe such a link would be a great boost for the region. However, in order to be successful it will would have to attract greater numbers than those who used the short lived Sea Containers service between Ballycastle in Antrim and Campbeltown.

If the service ever materialises, it will most likely operate from the fishing port of Greencastle which earlier this year saw the setting up of a car ferry service across the mouth of Lough Foyle to Magilligan in Co Derry.


HEIKE - the German coastal container ship suffered engine failure four miles off the Isles of Scilly on Monday December 9 whilst on a voyage to Dublin.

The ETV FAR SKY was despatched to tow the vessel to Falmouth whilst the St.Mary's and Sennen Cove lifeboats stood-by.


The replica of the famous Trans-Atlantic passenger ship which conveyed emigrants from Ireland during the great famine arrived in Dublin this week.

Whilst in Dublin she will be open for public inspection - admission is €5.00. In February the JEANIE JOHNSTON will commence her much delayed trans-Atlantic voyage to the USA. 

Originally scheduled for 2000, the voyage has been delayed by the ongoing financial problems of the JEANIE JOHNSTON project.


150 years ago this month, the 'Brig Lily' went down off the South West coast of the Isle of Man and Manx National Heritage will commemorate this event with a service of remembrance at the Sound. Weather permitting, the service will take place on Saturday 28th December at 11am on the flat grassed area known as the Parade, which is close to the commemoration plaque for the Brig Lily. In the event that the weather is inclement, the service will be held in the Sound Visitors Centre.

The service will be led by Canon Bird, the vicar of Rushen and will feature Onchan Silver Band. Phil Gawne from Cregneash will sing a few verses of the Brig Lily song in Manx. Following the service a wreath will be placed at the site of the commemorative plaque. In December 1852, the Brig Lily set sail from Liverpool for the west coast of Africa. Shortly after leaving however, on the evening of 27th December in atrocious conditions, she lost some of her sails and ran aground on the rocks at Kitterland. Of the 13 crew only 8 were rescued and taken to Port St Mary. The following day during salvage operations smoke was noticed coming from one of the hatches and the gunpowder in the cargo ignited, causing a huge explosion which was heard over 20 miles away. As a result, 29 members of the salvage crew were killed and one survivor badly injured. The men were all local and they left 22 widows and 77 fatherless children.

Public Services Manager, Howard Parkin said:

"Manx National Heritage would like to invite members of the public and especially those persons with any connections to the disaster to attend a short, but moving service to commemorate this tragic event."


Marine paintings and works of art owned by Harrison Line, one of Liverpool's oldest private shipping companies, are to be sold by international fine art auctioneers Bonhams in London on Tuesday, January 21, 2003.  The sale will include an important group of paintings by much sought-after Merseyside artists, and the company's collection of marine memorabilia ranging from ships' clocks and bells to imposing cased models of the many vessels in the company's service over the years. 

With a history dating back to 1830, the Charente Steamship Co. Ltd., managed by T. and J. Harrison, trading as Harrison Line., was until recently headquartered in Mersey Chambers, overlooking the River Mersey.  The building was recently sold as part of a rationalisation and restructuring of the business and the Bonhams sale is part of that process.  The company's historical archive will remain in the city, Charente having donated its content to Merseyside Maritime Museum, where it will be available for research and study.

The Harrison Line story began in 1830, when Thomas Harrison joined the firm of Samuel Brown & Co., in King Street, Liverpool, where he became involved in ships' agency work, chartering and ship-owning.  Thomas first invested in the sailing ship JANE in the mid 1830s and, from 1836, in partnership with his brother James, four small Harrison ships traded coal and iron products from the United Kingdom to Charente in the Bordeaux region of France, returning to Liverpool with brandy and wine.  The Charente Steam-Ship Company was formed in 1884, to own the assets of the shipping operations developed by the brothers.

As sail gave way to steam, the company's interests were expanded to include trade with the Caribbean and Latin America, Mexico, the U.S. Gulf, the Red Sea, East and Southern Africa and India.  The core activity of the company continued to be in ship-owning, operating and the provision of liner shipping services to various parts of the world, for eight decades or so, until Charente began to diversify into other shipping related businesses, such as freight forwarding and ship-broking.  Today, the significant activities of the company, now renamed Charente Ltd., include the manufacture of nautical instruments and distribution of charts world wide; ship purchase, sale and chartering brokerage; joint venture ship management with Bibby Harrison Management Ltd., and an interest in an LPG carrier.

Since its formation, Harrison Line has owned or operated in excess of 350 vessels, almost all named after trades and professions.  In two world wars, 53 ships were lost and 537 Harrison seafarers perished, while as recently as the Falklands War, a Harrison ship was requisitioned as a helicopter repair vessel, also providing troop rest and recuperation facilities.  The sale includes portraits or models of many of these vessels, while a small museum maintained by the company contains many fascinating mementoes that will appeal to collectors and anyone associated with the company.

T & J Harrison, in common with most ship owners, collected mementoes of their vessels as tangible expressions of pride of ownership. This is represented most clearly in the group of paintings and ship models to be offered for sale. In most cases, the work was commissioned specially.

The collection of ship portraits, goes back to the early years of the 19th century, to the very beginnings of the company and represents the work of some of the best known, and highly collectable ship artists, many of whom were jobbing painters, glad to turn out portraits of vessels for the wealthy owners.

The paintings are the most valuable objects in the sale, with approximately 80 lots ranging in date from the 1820s to the present day, giving a complete visual archive of the company's ship-owning business. The earliest and rarest painting in the sale is a work by important Liverpool marine artists Miles Walters (1774-1849) and his son Samuel (1811-1882). Painted in 1829 in typical ship portrait manner, with two views of the MARGARET flanking the MARIOTTE off New Brighton, it is estimated at £15,000-20,000.

Joseph Heard, who was born in Whitehaven and who, along with Samuel Walters, must stand as the top ranking Liverpool ship portraitist of the 19th century is represented by four works. Shipping in the Mersey off Liverpool 1849, depicts a large number of Harrison Line ships and research by the Harrison Line archivist has identified most of them. It is estimated at £15,000-20,000. Also by Heard are PHILOSOPHER off South Stack (1857), which is estimated at £20,000-30,000, and CRESCENT and JANE off Holyhead and EMELIA off New Brighton, each of which is estimated at £10,000-15,000.

Harrison patronage continued to the present day, several artists represented in the collection, notably Arthur James Wetherall Burgess (1879-1957), Colin Verity (b1924), John Stobart (b1929) and Robert Lloyd (b1968), seeing their careers blossom as a result of Harrison commissions.  Stobart now works in the U.S.A., where his paintings have become highly sought-after. 

It was also common practice for ship owners to commission models of their vessels, made either by the shipyard themselves, many of which kept special model-making departments, or by professional model makers hired by the builder. Intricately made and finished in every detail, these models were destined for the head office, boardroom or principal agents' offices as testament to a company's success.

Bonhams' sale includes more than 30 such models, covering the whole of the 20th century pattern of Harrison ship owning: general steamships, cargo liners, heavy lift vessels, bulk carriers and container ships. Notable among them is a half-hull model of the cargo steamship COGNAC, which is estimated at £2,000-3,000.  Built to a scale of 1:48 in Harrison livery with exquisitely detailed fittings in German silver, the model has a period
polished mahogany showcase with mirrored back and ends. This style of model was popular in the early part of the century as an alternative to the full model as they were able to fit on walls or over mantles, but employing all the same skill and attention to detail as the full builder's model.  COGNAC was built in 1902 for the Liverpool-Charente route and named in honour of the company's original business. Her last voyage in 1935 marked the end of Harrison's direct involvement in the brandy trade.

Indicative of Harrison's moving with the changing pattern of trade, the container ship ASTRONOMER was notable as being requisitioned by the Government to replace the ill-fated ATLANTIC CONVEYOR during the Falklands War in 1982. Later fitted with a prefabricated flight deck, she was inducted into the Royal Fleet Auxiliary as RFA RELIANT.  Bonhams' sale includes two identical models of the original vessel and each will be sold with an engraved tankard and a memorial plaque from the Admiralty - memorabilia associated with the conflict. A painting of ASTRONOMER in the Falklands by John Groves, which formerly hung in the reception of the Harrison Line building, is estimated
at £400-600.

From the board room, an imposing German silver net in the form of a galleon in full sail has Chester assay marks and is estimated at £10,000-12,000, while a regulator long case clock and an Edwardian long case clock chiming on bells are estimated at £4,000-6,000 and £3,000-4,000 respectively. A mantle clock with calendar and dials for AM and PM showing high and low tides at Liverpool is estimated at £150-200.  The sale also includes ships' bells and bulkhead clocks with estimates between £100-400; telescopes and binoculars (£80-200); and general Harrison Line memorabilia, which would make perfect mementoes for anyone associated with the company.

For further information:


WINDSOR CASTLE the Cammell Laird built liner, launched by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in 1959 looks set to be preserved. The RMS Windsor Castle Steamship Company has been formed to return the ship which has been laid up at Piraeus, Greece since 1998 to the UK. A home at either Southampton or Plymouth has been proposed. The ship is reported to be in excellent condition.


BEGONIA [ex REGINA I / EUROPEAN PATHFINDER] departed from A&P Wet Basin bound for Ostend to join TSL this week, possibly Friday or early Saturday. The vessel is believed to have made the journey on one engine as repairs to the failed engine have not yet been undertaken.

STENA LYNX, SUPERSEACAT THREE and C.S.NEXUS are in the dry docks whilst SUPERSTAR EXPRESS, SEACAT FRANCE and SEACAT SCOTLAND remain laid up in the wet basin.


Changes at the company's HQ in Hugh Street, Hugh Town take place on January 2nd. The main booking office will become the Isles of Scilly Tourist Board tourist information office.

During the early autumn the Steamship Company withdrew from the Ship Chandlery business closing the shop located behind the booking office. Until withdrawn about two years ago this office had acted as a full Travel Agency.

The space occupied by the booking office and travel agency is now being leased to the Isles of Scilly Tourist Board to  provide a new tourist information office. 

The booking office serving the company's air and sea services will now be relocated to former ship's chandlery shop located at the rear of the building.


The Cornishman confirmed reports earlier this year that Trinity House is to pull out of Penzance, ending a 125 year association with the Cornish port.

The company, which is the UK's leading safety provider of marine aids to navigation, announced its intention to close its district maintenance depot in Penzance by 2004.

The Trinity House Lighthouse Centre is not included in the present closure plans, but a report on its future is currently being undertaken by consultants.

The closure of the depot, is part of a package of proposals for re-structuring that includes the transfer of operations to Harwich and Swansea.

A total of 29 jobs in Penzance will be affected by the closure, but the company says job losses will be kept to a minimum through the retention of a group of technicians in Cornwall, early retirements and the voluntary relocation of staff.

The decision will end a 125 year tradition of Trinity House Lighthouse Service operations in Penzance, from its beginnings as an operation base for ships and lighthouse activities in the area.

The present buildings at Penzance Harbour were constructed in 1892.

In announcing the proposals, Trinity House Chairman, Rear Admiral Jeremy de Halpert said: "A new development in Harwich combined with a continuing presence on the west coast of Swansea, will enable a fresh start with changes in processes and working practices."

He said that such progress will be essential to strengthen the company's commitment to maritime safety and to improve competition in the market place.

"We regret that it is no longer possible for us to justify a presence in Penzance although we plan to continue to serve the Western rock lighthouses by helicopter from St Just," he said.

The Rear Admiral said the need for routine maintenance and periodic re-engineering is reducing due to modernisation, resulting in regional depots no longer being required.

"Trinity House is therefore taking the initiative to invest in the necessary assets, resources and skills to respond to the increasing reliance by larger ships on electronic systems, whilst continuing to provide a mix of marine aids for the safe navigation of all classes of vessel."

He said that in the period ahead Trinity House will also offer re-training and outplacement courses to the people employed at the Penzance depot, to prepare them for alternative employment.

"The Trinity House National Lighthouse Centre in the depot area remains the subject of a separate business case which will be reported on by consultants later next year."

December 8

DECEMBER 8 Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Tommy Dover, Tony Brennan, John Williams and David Fairclough and "others".



As some of you may know difficulties have been experienced accessing the internet since Saturday November 30. Modem throughput speed started to fall dramatically. It appeared to sort itself out on Sunday evening, but from Monday steadily deteriorated until connection speeds had fallen to below 20k. A call to BT on Wednesday evening resulted in an engineer arriving on Friday who discovered a major problem which required the use of a mobile platform to rectify. At the same time the line was disconnected. Consequently the website update has been delayed pending repairs which were partially completed on Sunday. However, it transpired that in performing the repairs the extension used for the internet has been disconnected! The engineers have been summoned back, but have yet to return. I have managed to post the update via the voice line.


Before the internet connection finally expired an email Spam Trap option on my personal and Irish Sea Shipping email addresses was installed on the server. Brief observation of this facility before the phone line expired revealed a fairly good level of protection with around 80% of spam being caught before it gets downloaded. However, whilst I can check the non downloaded mail in the spam trap for a period of 15 days, it is always possible that it may catch legitimate mail and I may not spot it. If you email and fail to receive a reply within seven days please email again - just in case you mail has ended up in the spam trap. 


During the summer I mentioned that I was considering starting an advertising facility on Irish Sea Shipping. I hope to make an announcement in the near future with advertising facilities being available from January 2002. Please watch out for details.


On Tuesday December 10 Ian Collard will present a slide show "Mersey and Isle of Man Shipping in the 1960s and 1970s". The venue is Sam's Bar, Tithebarn Street, Liverpool. A few minutes walk from Moorfields Station. Start time is 19:00. Admission is £1.00 which includes refreshments.

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

RAPIDE a correspondent reports that repairs are not yet complete and she is not in operational condition. Apparently she may not be able to return to Harland and Wolff as Stena Line have block booked the yard until mid February for New Year HSS overhaul work.  

It now appears that she will once again operate on the Belfast to Heysham route in 2003, though whether repairs will be completed by the time the route reopens in mid March remains to be seen.

SEACAT ISLE OF MAN remains on Belfast - Troon and current plan is for her to remain on the route.  Her place on the Isle Of Man routes will be taken by SUPERSEACAT TWO.  One hopes that SSC2 does not experience the technical problems which have plagued her over the years.

SUPERSEACAT TWO It appears that she will enter service on routes from Douglas on March 28 when she undertakes a morning sailing from Douglas to Liverpool and an afternoon sailing to Belfast. SUPERSEACAT TWO is doing long day excursions from IOM to Dublin on March 28 (out 08.00 and back at 17.45) with an even longer trip on Saturday 13 (out at 07.00 and departing Dublin at 17.45). The trip also operates  on Saturday 20 April l but timings as March 28.  This means no Liverpool morning sailings on those three dates.

SEACAT SCOTLAND and SEACAT FRANCE are laid up at Birkenhead for sale.
Despite rumours it seems neither has been sold as yet.  However, with no plans to carry out the necessary annual overhauls it seems that both craft are unlikely to be used by Sea Containers again for the time being.

The Belfast - Troon route will shut from  7th January 2003 - 5th February 2003 (Inclusive) for the SEACAT ISLE OF MAN's annual overhaul.  This is the first time for a quite a few years that this has happened and given that the SUPERSEACAT THREE will have completed overhaul by then it seems that Sea Containers didn't consider it viable to operate the route during these months.

LADY OF MANN completes her winter season on February 24, with SUPERSEACAT THREE commencing service on the Douglas route from Liverpool on February 27. It appears that the LADY OF MANN's TT season commences on Saturday May 24 and concludes on June 9. 



Coaster callers over the last week included ROGER, ANKE, NOORTZEE and UNION EMERALD.

The Irish Lights tender GRANUAILE was at anchor in the bay on Tuesday [December 3] night. Next day she was working on buoys off the Codling Bank.

Sillanpaa Oy's VILLE and JOPI are continuing to work off Kilcoole, bad weather is delaying progress. Work at Bray head is still on going, this phase is nearing completion, the next phase is expected to start early in the new year.


The recent closure of the IFI fertiliser plant at Arklow was a major blow to port as over 90% of its export trade came from the company.

A jack up rig has arrived at the port to test drill on the Codling Bank for the proposed wind farm, the tug SEA TROJAN is working with the rig. A few weeks ago SEA TROJAN was called to Wicklow Bay to tow the coaster UNION SATURN into Wicklow for repairs after she developed engine trouble.


Irish Ferries dry docking schedule and MES drills will be as follows:

NORMANDY - finishes on the French route on January 5th, 2003 and sails to A&P Falmouth for refit. She departs Falmouth on January 20th and enters service on the Rosslare - Pembroke route covering for ISLE OF INISHMORE. The service to France recommences on Saturday March 1, 2003.

ISLE OF INISHMORE undertakes MES drill at Rosslare on January 21 before sailing to Dublin the same day. She then takes up the Dublin - Holyhead route on the morning of January 22. On the return of ULYSSES, ISLE OF INISHMORE sails to dry dock at A&P Falmouth on February 13. ISLE OF INISHMORE is due to depart Falmouth for Rosslare on February 27 [pm], recommencing service on Rosslare - Pembroke on February 28 [pm]. 

ULYSSES undertakes MES drill at Dublin on January 22 and then sails for A&P Falmouth the same day. She departs Falmouth on February 12 [pm] returning to the Dublin - Holyhead route on February 13 [pm].

JONATHAN SWIFT will be withdrawn for annual survey and dry docking on January 8 for a period of 12 to 21 days. Venue for dry docking is not yet known.


Will be holding a Ship Show at the Crown Plaza Hotel, Pier Head, Liverpool on May 11, 2003 between 11:00 and 17:00.


The National Maritime Museum Cornwall opened this week. Exhibits are from around the UK including a collection of old sailing craft from Penwith. 

There are twelve interactive galleries which explore every aspect of the sea. The large building, on Falmouth's waterfront provides a mix of hands-on displays, world renowned boats and associated video footage, maritime heritage and interactive entertainment.

The building has a capacity of 4,000 visitors and has refreshment facilities, shops plus a concert and exhibition space.

There will also be a changing display drawn from the National Small Boat Collection, plus 150 historic and contemporary craft. 

A facility enabling visitors to go underwater has also been provided, enabling them to view the harbour and watch the tide rise and fall. Three floors of the museum are dedicated to Cornwall's Maritime Heritage. Until February 19, admission to the museum is free.


HMS OCEAN is likely to be the principal ship visiting Liverpool for the Battle of the Atlantic 60th Anniversary Commemorations in 2003. Subject of course to the developing world situation! Invitations have been sent out to other navies to participate.


This week the Cornishman reported on a draft document on the future Transport strategy for the Isles of Scilly. This would result in the replacement of the existing 25 year old RMV SCILLONIAN III and the freight ferry GRY MARITHA by a single freight passenger vessel, possibly a ro-pax. The vessel replacement would be allied to harbour infrastructure improvements and less labour intensive cargo handling according to the draft document.

"Moving On-Isles of Scilly Transport Strategy" is a study undertaken by independent consultants Fisher Associates at the behest of the islands’ council. It has been three-quarter funded by the Countryside Agency, was started in late September of this year and the consultants say its purpose is to call "a spade a shovel".

Two St Mary’s public meetings last week considered the draft findings and could influence the composition of the completed document which, in turn, will lead to an islands’ transport strategy. As yet the Council stress it is not policy.

The Draft findings drew upon public consultation through a questionnaire to 1200 islanders that drew 400 responses, said by consultant Chris Fisher to be "a very high ratio". And 60 people were questioned.

The draft has yet to go before the full islands’ council. It represents the consultants’ conclusions drawn from information available. The consultants talk of making a "step change" in transport - both sea and air - as opposed to like-for-like replacement and go on to give reasons why they think Scilly can present a good case for public funding.

In tandem with a one-vessel ship (supported by 77% of questionnaire responses) would be major harbour development at both ends of the run, St Mary’s and Penzance or Newlyn. Once again at centre stage at the Scillonian end is consideration of breakwater facilities from either Rat Island at the back of the present congested St Mary’s quay or from Newford Island to the north-east of the Duchy of Cornwall-owned harbour.

The study says the present transport infrastructure seriously inhibits development of more modern and more efficient services. "Your infrastructure is being left behind," Mr. Fisher warned islanders later. "You are being overtaken by events".

The cargo/passenger ship would be faster, says the study, more comfortable together with up-to-date cargo handling technology and would be able to make economies. It would be an advance on today’s labour intensive methods. A 'ro-ro' consideration has not been fears of the island being swamped by incoming vehicles being allayed by the suggestion of a permit control system. "Stop thinking that the island would over-run by cars," Mr. Fisher said later.

The consultants’ rejection of the current two-ship operation, which came into being some 12 years ago, is made against a background of reference to the financial health of a shipping company currently striving for Objective 1 funding towards a new Scillonian.

While relatively short-term measures are considered vital for the development of sea transport its cousins in the air - rotor and fixed wing - are extended a longer lease and are considered to have a further viable 20-year life ahead of them even though Sikorsky helicopters and Twin Otter planes are no longer in production. The twin-strand air service is, therefore, recommended to continue, "as it is" until such times as a runway extension becomes necessary - if at all (the study recognises likely opposition in this area having, perhaps, been advised of the runway extension rare episode) - or alternative aircraft able to use the existing runway facilities become available.

The study talks of the future potential of an aircraft that combines both fixed- wing turbo-prop technology and rotor (the tilt rotor) and conjectures on the doubtful sustainability of the three current modes of island transport. It suggests market forces would see one casualty.

A strategy that embraces major infrastructure development at both ends of a shipping route, cargo handling improvements and a revolutionary rotor/f ix&d wing service has obviously to ask the key question: "How will they be paid for?"

Here, by dint of an in-depth analysis of a number of Scottish - even Irish - islands’ operations (Aran, off Galway), it concludes Scilly has a good case for public funding, a claim already pressed vigorously in the Commons by Scilly’s MP Andrew George and, equally significantly, taken on board by the SWARMS study. The key points made in this respect by Fisher Associates is that rural communities on the mainland enjoy public subsidy by both rail and road. And the conduit, air and sea, that connects the islands with the outside world are seen as very much the equivalent of road/rail. "The islands deserve some public funding," Mr. Fisher told a meeting later.

The many examples of Scottish/Irish islands subsidy only strengthened the case for Britain’s most south-westerly island group coming in out of the cold while the lifeline nature of Scilly’s transport services presented itself for meeting public funding criteria.

The study also points out the obvious economic benefits that public funding would bring West Cornwall at the other end of the Scilly - mainland run. In an all-embracing study that goes into over 80 pages the draft study covers off-island transport and the need for upgrading off-island quays as well as rural bus services on St Mary’s that could qualify for public funding. It discusses such innovatory and potentially controversial concepts as the possibility of off-island helipads.

Last week’s meetings, one for off-islanders (64 present), the other for St Mary’s people (50), heard Council chairman Dudley Mumford introduce Mr. Fisher who gave a 30-minute presentation on the draft and answered questions. They were told that doing nothing and leaving the transport situation to market forces could, as suggested in the Draft, see the demise of one of the three modes leading to capacity shortfall.

They were told it would be "very challenging" to get public finance for a "moveable asset" as a like-for-like ship replacement. Infrastructure improvements allied to a one-ship plus high technology cargo handling, "would be in keeping with this century".

Mr. Fisher allayed fears as to what this could entail. "It would be no rival to a Felixstowe container port". They were not talking about a "carbuncle" (an apposite phrase once used by Prince Charles, owner of the harbour).

The Newford Island or Rat Island concepts were already being investigated by a Duchy of Cornwall harbour review, he said, Beckett Rankine Partnership did a quay survey in 1999 and recent process undertaken by grant consultant Alan Humphries followed.

Despite Mr. Fisher speaking of the benefits of "connectivity" offered by direct flights into off-island heliports one off- islander declared himself "horrified" by this prospect warning of the "consequences". Much questioning about ship and harbour related to the intricacies of cargo-handling and perceived problems stemming from the recommendations.

The evening meeting was somewhat subdued, as, indeed, was the earlier one, perhaps because of the magnitude of what was being recommended and the business of finding cash to pay for it.

A question/answer session discussed the benefits of labour-saving technology versus the resultant job losses, low-loader trailers, flitted from Man to Dover and Alderney to St Helena and included what for some is the ultimate heresy when Mr. Fisher said that sea transport; "doesn’t have to be the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company, there are alternatives

Footnote: The Draft suggestions relating to air/sea transport are based on 115,000 passengers carried in 2001, the market share being British International Helicopters 46%, ship 37%, Skybus 17%. Sixty per cent of passengers were ‘stayers’, 32% day trippers, 8% residents.

December 2

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

BEN-MY-CHREE the 19:45 sailing from Douglas on December 1 and 02:15 sailing from Heysham on December 2nd were cancelled.

RAPIDE returned to lay-up at the Belfast terminal over the weekend following her repairs at Harland & Wolff as a result of her August fire.

It is not know if the vessel has received her full annual overhaul as yet as her paintwork does not appear to have been cleaned up.


Further to the information posted under Sea Containers Magic Holidays yesterday the full information concerning the WSS AGM to be held at Douglas is given below. The Magic Holidays WSS AGM package is only available to WSS members and their guests.:

The Isle of Man Branch, World Ship Society is very pleased to host the World Ship Society, Annual General Meeting 2003 in Douglas, Isle of Man and welcomes members and their guests.

Events include –

Friday 16 May

Welcome reception at the House of Mannanin Heritage Centre in Peel

Saturday 17 May

Morning – Visit to "Sea Breezes" magazine

Buffet Lunch at Empress Hotel, Douglas

Afternoon – AGM Meeting or, for partners or members’ guests;

Coach outing to Tynwald Mills Craft Centre

Evening – AGM Dinner with entertainment

Sunday 18 May

Morning – Brunch and Slide Show

Afternoon – Outing – please express if interested

Please see back page for details of a "package offer" at the Empress Hotel by Magic Holidays.

Magic Holidays can also deal with longer visits and/or car bookings or, with people flying in. Those staying other than at the Empress Hotel either in other hotels or guesthouses or with friends can book for the AGM events with Magic Holidays too who will have details of prices for individual events.

The AGM meeting is FREE to WSS members.

Any queries about the weekend may be referred to the Branch Secretary – Malcolm Magee, 16 Port-E-Chee Avenue, Douglas, Isle of Man, IM2 5EW or at


BEGONIA [ex EUROPEAN PATHFINDER / REGINA ] was accidentally omitted from the list of vessels in the A&P Birkenhead Wet Basin on Saturday. She is birthed on the south quay.

FRET LANGUADOC departed from the wet basin on Sunday and crossed to Liverpool where she was noted by a correspondent being renamed SABRATA STAR.


The recently elected MHK for Malew and Santon, Andrew Douglas, better known to ship enthusiasts as the editor of "Sea Breezes" is to be given a role within the Isle of Man Department of Transport according to a report by Manx Radio. The vacancy was made available as another member had stepped down. 

The Chief Minister says he is pleased it has been possible to find Mr Douglas a place within a Department so quickly.

Mr. Douglas was elected on November14th after Donald Gelling was voted into the Legislative Council.


SEFTON SUPPORTER the vessel which was featured in last weekend's update was departing Birkenhead to assist with the clean up of the pollution created by the foundering of the tanker PRESTIGE of the cost of Spain. Observant readers in the North West of England may have spotted the photographs on BBC North West Breakfast News on Monday December 2.


CLAYMORE - though really outside the scope of Irish Sea Shipping I am including this news item as the CLAYMORE has spent so much time laid up on Merseyside in recent years:

Reported by BBC Orkney today:

Pentland Ferries has announced that it's withdrawing it's service to Invergordon less than three weeks after it was launched. The company's managing director Andrew Banks says that the initial interest from freight operators hasn't been matched by business on the route and that he can't continue to run the service at a loss. Helen Foulis reports.

Tomorrow the CLAYMORE will make her last run to Invergordon spelling the end for what must be one of the county's "shortest lived" ferry services. Launched earlier this month - the St Margaret's Hope to Invergordon route was seen as an alternative way to get freight and livestock both in and out of Orkney. But like it's predecessor Orcargo - the service has gone under because potential customers have been unwilling to change operators - even with the lure of lower prices. 

The CLAYMORE will now spend time tied up at St Margaret's Hope while Pentland Ferries look for some other work for her to do - if that proves unsuccessful then she'll join her stalemate The PENTALINA B on the Pentland Firth route to Gills Bay. Andrew Banks says it'll mean he'll be offering six return trips to Orkney each day when his full passenger service resumes next year. More than twenty new jobs were created when the CLAYMORE went into service - jobs which will come to an end tomorrow.


MERCHANT VENTURE another long term Merseyside resident which headed north was reported on December 2 to be at anchor off Bressay, Shetland. Her engines failed due to electrical problems in Force 10 conditions. One engine was restarted after 11 minutes. EUROPEAN MARINER stood by to offer assistance. She was reported to be at anchor until conditions moderate and she will return to Lerwick.

LAGAN VIKING entered the Liverpool Dock system at Langton Lock bound for Canada Graving Dock at 10:00 on Sunday December 01.  The ship had brought in the overnight sailing from Belfast before being taken across the river by tugs. The tugs appeared to be towing the ship dead and were noted having difficulty manoeuvring LAGAN VIKING in the dock system. It is believed that her dry docking could be to effect hull repairs as the close up photographs reveal a large number of dents and scrapes. Though why her engines were not running is not known. LAGAN VIKING was noted in the river and turning off Langton around 19:05 on Monday December 2.

December 1



Please note that the old email address is now deleted. 

Please ensure that all email correspondence regarding Irish Sea Shipping uses

I have also changed my personal email address. Those people who I correspond with privately will receive notification by email of the new address which is now being phased in. 

These changes have been due to the excessive and continually increasing amount of unsolicited junk email received. 

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Kevin Bennett and "others".


Ships of Mann web site now has details of the new special publication, "Manxman Memories" which is now available from our usual outlets or by mail order.

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

SEACAT SCOTLAND departed from Belfast on Thursday morning, November 28. She was noted passing C12 buoy in Crosby Channel around 15:00. She then waited off the entrance of A&P Birkenhead's wet basin entering at around 16:20. She has berthed alongside her sister SEACAT FRANCE [ATLANTIC II].

Deployment rumours for 2003 continue - the latest version sees SEACAT SCOTLAND replaced on the Belfast - Troon route by a SUPERSEACAT to take on the challenge presented by the operation of SUPERSTAR EXPRESS on the Larne - Troon service during the 2003 season.

Rumours also persist that SEACAT SCOTLAND and SEACAT FRANCE have been sold.

SUPERSEACAT THREE is in A&P Birkenhead's #7 Dry Dock.


This week the company announced that Isle of Man routes are very much on target for achieving a record year of carryings.  Passenger figures for October confirmed by the governments Department of Transport show the following increases:

  • Passenger traffic increased by 5.8% @ 42,996 passengers (2001 – 40,621)
  • Vehicular traffic increased by 2.9% @ 11,058 vehicles (2001 – 10,742)
  • Freight traffic increased by 6.6% @ 41,275 metres (2001 – 38,708)

Year to date figures for the same period last year confirm the continued upward trend:

  • Passenger traffic increased by 17.2% @ 601,804 passengers (2001 – 513,445)
  • Vehicular traffic increased by 32.8% @ 156,587 vehicles (2001 – 117,897)

Hamish Ross, Steam Packet Managing Director said: “Our carryings remain strong in what has been a dynamic year so far for our Company with sustained growth in every area of our business.  Such success reflects well on our product and on the hard work put in by ourselves and our partners in tourism here on the Island.  The Isle of Man now attracts visitors throughout the year and can no longer be perceived as only a summer resort.  We continue to promote our great value fares together with reliable and frequent Irish Sea Services”.


Magic Holidays, Sea Containers package holiday department is advertising inclusive deals for those attending the World Ship Society AGM to be held at the Empress Hotel, Douglas , Isle of Man between May 16 to 18, 2002. 

The company is offering packages which include:

  • Return sailings to Douglas from Heysham or Liverpool
  • Coach Transfers to and from Hotel
  • Two nights accommodation at the Empress Hotel
  • Welcome Reception
  • Buffet Lunch
  • Gala Dinner with Entertainment
  • Sunday Bruch with slideshow 

Prices from £249 per person. email: or Tel: 08457 585833


FRET LANGUEDOC bound for A&P on November 24. Photo: Ian Collard

Disposition, BEGONIA [ex: EUROPEAN PATHFINDER / REGINA] STENA LYNX III  [south side]. SUPERSTAR EXPRESS, SEACAT FRANCE and SEACAT SCOTLAND berthed alongside one another with SCS on the outside. [west side] 

SUPERSEACAT THREE  is in #7 dry dock with Fisher's C.S. NEXUS in #5

In FBM's construction hall is the jack up platform PORT VILLA having a cut and shut job being undertaken by Messers Syvret and friends.



The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) announced on November 26th that 20 foreign ships were under detention in UK ports during October 2002 after failing port state control safety inspection.

Latest monthly figures show that 15 foreign ships were detained in UK ports during October 2002 along with 5 other ships still under detention from previous months. The overall rate of detentions compared with inspections carried out over the last 12 months is 6.6% which is an increase of 0.4% on the 12 month rate to September. Of the 15 ships detained during the month 11 were registered with flags targeted by the Paris MOU.

The ships detained included a Panama registered tanker detained because the crew’s living conditions fell below ILO requirements. The ship had been the subject of complaints from pilots at Ghent and Grangemouth regarding pilot boarding arrangements and MCA inspected the vessel to investigate the complaint and determine if the outstanding deficiencies from the previous inspection had been addressed.

The MCA surveyor described the living conditions on board as “Spartan and extremely shabby, with broken furniture and missing or damaged deckhead panels adding to the general air of neglect. There was just one blanket for each crew member and the pillows were in a filthy condition. There were no spares or replacement bedding. The temperature in the meat room was at least +5 degrees and several items were in a defrosted condition. One crew member who had been ill for several days had to endure a cabin with a blocked toilet. The toilet had been in this condition since he joined the vessel in Ghent 10 days earlier.”

These problems had been apparent for sometime. Little attention appeared to have been paid to the crew’s welfare and there was a reluctance to have repairs carried out locally or take any action which would involve spending money in Northern Europe.

Included in the October detentions list is the small Russian owned, Bolivian registered, VICTORIA which was detained on October 25. The vessel has been berthed in the West Float for the past month.



The Western Morning news reported on November 29, that the Navy has hit back at criticism of dockyard security following the break-in by two peace protestors a fortnight ago.

Speaking at the Devonport Liaison Committee on Wednesday, Commodore Andrew Mathews, Commander of Devonport Naval Base, insisted that safety on the base was "at no time" compromised during the incident.

He said the anti-nuclear campaigners did not enter the HMS VANGUARD nuclear submarine despite claims they spent 30 minutes on board.

He said: "There was no possibility of the protestors gaining access to the reactor compartment. The two individuals were only in Nine Dock for a very short time and they did not enter Vanguard. It was in a very benign state and there were no weapons on board."

Cdre Mathews also dismissed "unhelpful speculation" in the media about the incident.

He said: "I do not believe there was any risk to the public and I do not believe it was complacent. I would like to reassure Plymouth and the surrounding areas that the Ministry of Defence and DML are working hard to ensure this does not happen again. We are never complacent and we are constantly reviewing what we do. We remain vigilant."

His comments came after the Navy issued a statement announcing a clampdown on public access to the base. Public coach tours have been cancelled for the next few months to prevent "unwanted visitors" gathering intelligence on the dockyard for possible future break-ins.

Other areas normally open to the public during organised tours have been closed off, and opening hours of the dockyard gates are being restricted.

Anti-nuclear campaigner Ken Tucker said the measures were a step in the right direction but did not address the whole picture. He said: "What we need to ask is the reasons why this breach occurred. By cancelling tours, it is not addressing the main issue. The issue is how it occurred, who is responsible and are heads going to roll?

"They have to be better than this to in any way engage public confidence at any level. The city deserves better than this and as tax payers, we have the right to demand it."

Mike Hoskin, office manager at Christy's Chip Shop and the Drake Leisure Arcade is one of several traders opposite Drake Gate who claim takings have slumped since the gate's opening hours were restricted last week.

He said: "We have already suffered a 75 per cent loss in trade since the gate was shut - it now looks like it can only get worse.

"Our trade has just died off and we have had to take drastic measures. We have already cut our staff's hours by half and we will now have to look again at what can be done."

John Chapman, landlord of the Royal Naval Arms, said he wanted to know "one way or the other" whether the gate will be opened up for longer.

He said: "We have cut staff who were hoping to work over the Christmas.

"Without knowing whether we are likely to get more trade we cannot say whether they will have a job at Christmas."

As a result of the Navy's shake-up of security at Devonport, the closure of gates will allow guards normally posted there to go on patrol around the base.

Scandinavian protesters Elisa Silvennionet and Petter Joelson broke into the naval base on November 15 and managed to make their way on to Vanguard, where, they claim, they were able to remain unchallenged for more than 30 minutes.

In answer to questions on the security breach tabled by Westcountry MP John Burnett, Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram revealed this week that HMS VANGUARD had been classified as "non-vital property".

Mr Ingram said the low security rating reflected the fact that the submarine had been disarmed before arriving in Devonport.

Just a few days before the break-in, an internal memo circulated by Devonport Management Ltd - the company contracted to refit Vanguard - warned workers to "expect the unexpected".

This was in the knowledge that members of the Trident Ploughshares group were in Plymouth and planning to protest outside the base on the Monday.



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