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Finished With Engines: Irish Sea Shipping is now closed to new updates - J.H. Luxton Photography - Transport, Industrial History, Regional Photographs UK & beyond


  JANUARY 2003

January 29

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Tony Brennan, James Edgar, Gwil Jones and "others".

Welcome to this mid week update. Just a reminder for those visiting the site for the first time since Sunday afternoon, that an extra photo update was posted on Sunday evening recording the arrival of Caledonian MacBrayne's LORD OF THE ISLES at Birkenhead.

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

Liverpool Sea Terminal is to be improved by the extension of the existing terminal building. A new extension will be fitted to accommodate the booking facilities whilst the existing building will be given over entirely to passenger facilities. The company also intends to "realign" the vehicle marshalling area. Presumably this will mean an end to the short lived car parking facility which appeared in 2002. 


merchant bravery600.jpg (42215 bytes)MERCHANT BRAVERY - a seaman was killed in an accident on Saturday evening when the vessel was berthing. It is believed he died after being struck a heavy mooring line. 

MERCHANT BRAVERY was held in port until Monday evening by the authorities before being released. [Photo: Tony Brennan]


Local press reports indicate that the DUKW tours will return later this year despite the failure of the original operating company. The popular tours will recommence on February 13 under a new name.


Earlier this week the BBC reported that plans to link west Somerset and South Wales have again been mooted some years after a similar proposal came to nothing.

Bryan Leaker, chairman of the Minehead Coastal Towns Initiative, will re-open talks with the Welsh Development Agency (WDA) about a roll- on, roll-off car and passenger ferry between Minehead and Cardiff.

In 1998, a scheme for a passenger-only ferry collapsed after locals objected to the proposed site in Minehead.

Mr Leaker says the scheme would open up Wales to the South West, and vice-versa, in a cheap and environmentally friendly fashion.

'Feasibility study'

"It is in line with the government's proposals to get cars off the road," he added.

The round trip between Minehead and Cardiff - 20 miles apart by sea - currently costs around £50 and takes two and half hours.

Andy Williams, area manager for the WDA, told BBC News Online: "We are willing to attend a meeting with Mr Leaker.

"But we would have to have a fairly developed feasibility study and would want to bring in the main port operator in Cardiff, the ABP."


LORD OF THE ISLES arrived at A&P Birkenhead on Sunday afternoon for refit. A full photo feature is available.


The company which operates RMA tugs and barges in Plymouth's Devonport Dockyard in support of the Royal Navy, is cutting 57 posts.

The firm says the cuts are as a result of efficiency measures.

Unions have said they are considering industrial action.

Devonport Dockyard has announced 240 job cuts Serco Denholm said it expects to make 43 redundancies at Devonport, with a further 14 jobs going though natural wastage.

The jobs are among more than 100 expected to go nationwide.

It is hoped the redundancies can be achieved through a voluntary early retirement scheme.

The firm said the cuts were a result of efficiency measures rather than issues relating to the workload at Devonport, which last week led to the announcement of 240 job losses at DML, the company which runs the dockyard.

Serco Denholm will meet with union leaders on Wednesday to discuss the cuts.

The Transport and General Workers' Union (T&G) has said it will fight the move and has threatened industrial action.


All available transatlantic voyage berths are reported sold out, as Jeanie Johnston Company indicates breath of voyage itinerary in North America.

As the Jeanie Johnston continues its successful tour of Irish ports, the Company has confirmed that all available voyage berths to North America have been sold out. Its main focus now is to complete its Irish tour, make final voyage preparations, indicate the scope of the North American voyage itinerary and prepare the initial, and then the full, port visit schedule.

“The response of visitors to the Jeanie Johnston during the Irish tour, still in progress, has been quite amazing. Dublin, Belfast and Waterford have all generously ‘received’ the ship and the support and general goodwill toward the ship and the crew, as it moves nearer to its historic North America voyage, has been quite superb” according to Chief Executive, Denis Reen.

“The whole positive momentum continues to build, as our voyage start-date from Tralee / Fenit on Sunday, February 16th approaches. All the voyage berths have now been sold out (although we are wait-listing in case of cancellations) and the Jeanie Johnston will now carry a full complement of thirty-nine crew on its transatlantic voyages; this will consist of eleven professional crew and twenty-eight sail-trainees. Continuing the important North-South dimension of the project, the crew will include fifteen young sail-trainees from both sides of the community in Northern Ireland and from the South of Ireland – made possible through the support of the International Fund for Ireland”.

“Expectation and support from North America continues to build, and much of our focus now is on completing the port itinerary. As we practiced on our Irish Tour, our policy is to only confirm port visits, when all arrangements have been agreed. In this way our great support base can plan with certainty. In the case of the North America we are not yet in a position to announce the detailed port schedule, but will announce the initial ports by February 14th and will announce further ports at the earliest possible time”.

“The broad outline of the historic North American tour will see the Jeanie Johnston arrive in the Southern States on, or close to, April 16th. During the 2003 voyage we will visit approximately 20 ports. The first ports will be in the Florida / South Carolina area and the ship will then move up along the East Coast taking in the broad Chesapeake area in May, the broad Delaware area in June, the New York / Boston area in July and will visit the area North of Boston and right up into Canada, home of the original Jeanie Johnston, during August and September. It will then return home to Ireland in October. Throughout the tour, in addition to the port visits, we do expect to be able to offer sail-training voyages of three or more days duration, between the ports” said Denis Reen.

“We are working very closely with event-specialists Conventures of Boston, who represent the Jeanie Johnston in North America, in finalising the port schedule. The Jeanie Johnston’s objective is to radiate the new Ireland, that is proud to remember its past and we want to ensure our message resonates throughout North America. Therefore, one of the most important criteria in port selection is the strength of the support base that will receive and practically support our efforts. We know, from every message we receive, that there is a tremendous interest throughout North America. However, because we can only visit a relatively limited number of ports, we will have to choose those where we believe both the interest levels and the support is strongest....and that’s the process we are quickly working through”.

"On February 14th we will give an up-date on the overall voyage plans and will also give details of the arrival port in the United States and the initial ports the Jeanie Johnston will visit. Our internet site at will be up-dated daily to ensure everyone can follow the progress of the Jeanie Johnston" said Denis Reen.


A plaque is to be unveiled at Donaghadee Harbour on Friday to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the loss of the British Railways ship PRINCESS VICTORIA.

Donaghadee, whose lifeboat rescued 34 of the ferry's survivors, is at the centre of the act of remembrance.

Ards Borough Council has commissioned the bronze plaque in memory of the

It will be dedicated at a ceremony before the local lifeboat takes to the water and joins up with its counterparts from Larne and from Portpatrick in Scotland to carry out a wreath-laying ceremony at sea.

The final resting of the ferry was only found by divers 10 years ago off the Copeland Islands at the mouth of Belfast Lough.

Members of the original lifeboat crews and survivors are expected to attend the dedication.

Mayor of Ards Jeff Magill said yesterday: "The Princess Victoria disaster is a sad part of our recent past in Ards and many local people still vividly remember the harrowing experience of 31 January, 1953.

"This bronze plaque is, we hope, a fitting and permanent memorial which seeks to remember not only those who perished in what was a huge maritime disaster, but also to recognise everyone who was involved in the rescue efforts, from all the lifeboat crews and emergency services to the many local people on land who rallied to help."

The Department of Regional Development is erecting a flagpole above the plaque and the RNLI has been seeking a replica of the ferry's flag to fly from it.

Among those who died were the then deputy prime minister of Northern Ireland, Maynard Sinclair MP, and Sir Walter Smiles, the MP for North Down in the Commons, who died within site of his home at Portavoe Point on the north Down coast.

Many of the rescuers were awarded medals for their bravery.

There was also a posthumous George Medal for Captain James Ferguson of the Princess Victoria and a posthumous George Cross for his radio officer, David Broadfoot, who went down with him, still sending out the SOS.

January 25

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Tony Brennan, Judith Feather, Tommy Dover, Gwil Jones and "others".


After a hectic period during December and early January things have settled down somewhat on the news front with less news and interesting happenings taking place.  However, an extra news update was posted on January 22 and appears below the January 25 bulletin.

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

It now appears that the Belfast to Troon route will not now reopen until March 10. The service had been suspended initially until February whilst refit work was undertaken on SEACAT ISLE OF MAN. 

SEACAT SCOTLAND, SEACAT FRANCE and SUPERSEACAT THREE remain laid up in A&P Birkenhead whilst SUPERSEACAT ONE is berthed in Vittoria Dock.


LE AOIFE detained an Irish registered, Spanish owned fishing vessel EL ORZAN off Galway on January 24.  The vessel was escorted into Galway. The skipper was expected to be brought before a court on Saturday.

ARKLOW & WICKLOW NEWS from Tommy Dover

Coasters at Wicklow port this week included ORKA, ANKE and UNION DIAMOND [ex SENIORITY].

The Commissioners of Irish Lights tender GRANUAILE was working on buoy's along the coast during the week.

In Arklow ASGARD 11 remains on the slip, her hull is stripped and is being prepared for painting. The tug SEA TROGAN was berthed in the inner dock.


A report in Lloyd's List suggests that the company is in dispute with some of its trade creditors on Merseyside.  who are threatening legal action.

The prospect of legal action follows a freeze on the payment of invoices for goods and services provided before the company filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection on January 14.

On Saturday January 25 it was noted that an ironically topical display advertisement used to promote the company's services from the Twelve Quays Terminal had been covered up.

Located close to the Duke Street Bridge, Birkenhead are four old railway wagons which stand on a section of redundant dock railway. These were rebuilt with outsized bodies each one carrying a poster board. Until the opening of Twelve Quays these boards had carried various commercial posters. However, since the summer, the boards had been used solely by Cenargo to promote the Norse Merchant Ferries services from Birkenhead.

Spread across this the four boards was a picture of a "Viking" chip with the heading Going ... Going ... GONE!!

Given the company's problems it appeared very topical, and should have been photographed but unfortunately wasn't. On the morning of January 25 it was noted that the advertisements had been covered by sheets of blue paper!


On June 16, 2002 I posted a feature in the Viewpoint section of the web site entitled Mersey River Festival - Past its Sell by Date? which criticized the "sameness" and lack of real interest for the maritime enthusiast.

This week Irish Sea Shipping received a letter from Judith Feather, Events Manager, Liverpool City Council Sports & Recreation Services:

"As always the Festival (13 -16 June 2003) has to appeal to all visitors but we have, since we took over the event in 1996, strived to build up our complement of visiting vessels. As I am sure you will appreciate, the key to achieving this is to build up a network of maritime contacts, which takes time but we are getting there!

Your comments alerted us to a number of potential visiting vessels and I am delighted to tell you that among those sailing into Liverpool for the 23rd Annual Mersey River Festival this summer will be the Grand Turk, Julia Af Faaborg, Matthew of Bristol and the Bessie Ellen.

The Jeanie Johnston is scheduled to be crossing the Atlantic this year but both the skipper of the Jeanie Johnston and Asgard 11 are hoping to attend the Festival in the not too distant future.

As the organisers, the City of Liverpool is committed to making the Festival a true celebration of ships, the river and its people and we welcome any advice and support that will assist us to achieve this.

Feedback has confirmed the need for more street theatre and music particularly as part of the International Shanty Festival and by varying the programme in this way we are able to cater for all ages and tastes.

For genuine boat enthusiasts we may still have some way to go, but I believe we are heading in the right direction."

I think Ms Feather's last comment does sum things up - they "are heading in the right direction with this" line-up and it looks as though enthusiasts will find something worthwhile to photograph this year,

Though Ms Feather refers to ASGARD II attending the festival in the not too distant future the ASGARD II website's 2003 cruise programme appears to include the Mersey River Festival.


JONATHAN SWIFT departed from Canada Graving Dock  on the afternoon of January 23 following completion of refit.


European Seafarer 24-1-03.jpg (44844 bytes)EUROPEAN SEAFARER was noted in Canada Graving Dock on Saturday January 25. She had arrived on Merseyside on January 24 and was captured at Canada #3 Branch Dock by Gwil Jones [right]

 It is only two weeks since she departed from NWS Bidston Dry Dock.


Just prior to Christmas the familiar lettering which read "Cammell Laird - Shipbuilders, Engineers and Repairers" was obliterated from the side of the workshops after being a familiar sight on the Mersey for so many years. It was only a matter of time before the lettering disappeared. The fact that it lasted around 20 months after the collapse of Cammell Laird was surprising as one would have thought A&P would have wished to stamp their ownership on the yard when they commenced operations on the site in summer 2002.

This week new lettering has begun to appear, but had by January 25 not been completed.

On the river side of the building a red/green logo has appeared with the lettering A&P Birkenhead alongside. A start has been made on the second line which will read "Premier Ship Repair".

A photograph will be posted when the work is completed.


The Western Morning News reports that officials from North Devon's Appledore Shipbuilders are to lobby the Department of Trade and Industry over a lucrative contract to build an offshore construction vessel.

Going with yard managing director Jim Wilson to make that approach will be Liberal Democrat MP John Burnett, whose Torridge and West Devon constituency includes the yard.

He said there was no reason why the yard should not win the order, provided it was able to compete on an equal basis with other shipyards in Europe that would be contending for the multi-million contract.

Mr Burnett said government backing for the yard would help its chances of winning the order without contravening any European Union regulations on competition.

"The finance on the contracts has to be secure," he said. "Before banks will lend money on contracts like these they seek a collateral guarantee, which is where the Government could help. We are desperate for the Government to stand behind Appledore for this project.

"It is extremely important that Appledore wins an order like this. It's the finest shipyard in the world, in my opinion, with some very skilled staff. The yard supports 800 jobs in the Bideford area and there are many families in that area who rely on the success of the yard."

Mr Burnett said the yard's approach to the Department of Trade and Industry was an attempt to help it develop a more secure flow of business.

"Internationally, there is a dearth of orders. There is also unfair competition," he said.

"Time and time again, orders are being placed with countries that subsidise their shipbuilding enterprises.

"In the Ukraine, for instance, they can buy steel for only one-third of the world price, which puts them at a huge advantage from the start."

January 22

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Santiago Boland, David Gordon, Michael Pryce and "others"


Passenger figures compiled by the Harbours Division for December 2002 at 27,849 show a 0.4% increase on the figure for the same period in 2001 which was 27,745.

The total figure at 656,567 passengers shows a 15.7% increase over the total for 2001 which was 567,323.

During December car traffic through Douglas Harbour increased by 1.4% from 8,179 vehicles to 8,297 vehicles.

The total figure for 2002 at 172,597 vehicles shows a 29% increase over the total for 2001 which was 133,794.

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

Dublinminus 13%from681to591


plus  0.3%






plus 1.4%





For 2002 schedule routes show the following changes in passenger numbers:


plus 31%






plus 6%






all plus






plus 13%






plus 17%






all plus






all plus






all plus





Freight Traffic:-

December commercial vehicles metreage increased by 6.6% from 32,817 metres to 34,991 metres.

The total figure for commercial vehicle metreage for 2002 at 458,350 shows an 8.4% increase over the total for 2001 which was 422,698

Director of Harbours, Captain Michael Brew comments:

"An all-round excellent year for harbour traffic. 2002 total passenger figures are the highest since 1984. The year has also seen five all time record monthly figures for passengers, as well as an all time record year for freight metreage. All the indications are, that the steady underlying growth seen since 1997, should continue into 2003.


EUROPEAN NAVIGATOR has been sold to Jordanian interests. Though she will continue to operate until EUROPEAN SEAFARER returns to the Fleetwood - Larne route.


Local press reports indicate that the company which has recently filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection faces an uncertain future as suppliers begin to withdraw their services.

Though the company had pledged to maintain services pending a restructuring it appears that key suppliers are refusing to do further business until they are paid in full for overdue debts.

A Liverpool based supplier of catering staff Relay Marine is reported to have outstanding invoices of £50,000. It has apparently told its workers to leave the vessels. 


BAE has announced that 1000 jobs are to be lost at its Sea Systems business.  Seven hundred jobs at its Barrow-in-Furness facility and 265 from its Clyde yard in Scotland; a further 50 jobs are set to go from Waterlooville in Hampshire and up to 30 from its headquarters in Farnborough.

The Barrow yard is to be developed at a submarine centre with Type 45 destroyers construction programme based on the Clyde.


ULYSSES stood down for annual refit on January 22. She is reported to have spent the day in Alexandra basin Dublin before sailing for A&P Falmouth on the evening of January 22. 

ISLE OF INISHMORE, already refitted by A&P Falmouth, is providing cover whilst NORMANDY, which departed from A&P Birkenhead on Monday is now operating on Rosslare - Pembroke.


The Maritime Safety Directorate of the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, has detained a Comoros flagged single hull tanker with 38 deficiencies. The 2,663 gross ton vessel ANASTASIOS IV was inspected on the 16th January 2003 at Dublin Port.


The Maritime Safety Directorate (MSD) Surveyors noted that there had been a breakdown of the onboard International Safety Management (ISM) system. The MSD were made aware of this ship by the European Union indicative black list of ships published by the European Commission in the wake of the PRESTIGE disaster off Spain last year.

In addition to the ISM system, other deficiencies noted on board were a defective fire detection system, defective emergency fire pump, dirty accommodation, defective oily water separator and a lack of up to date navigation charts and publications.


The MSD inspection was suspended and the vessel will not be re-inspected until the Comoros flag state has carried out a full inspection of the vessel and rectified all the deficiencies found on board.

January 18

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Cornish Shipping, Michael Pryce, Tony Brennan, Ian Collard, John Williamson, John Shepherd and "others".


If you have not visited the site since last weekend ensure you check out the "What's New" page as there have been a number of mid week updates again this week to try and keep on top of news and events.

The next scheduled update will be posted on January 25. However, an additional update may be posted mid week depending on events. 


A support group for those interested in securing the future of the last surviving Isle of Man Steam Packet Company turbine steamer MANXMAN was launched on January 17. Full details of the FRIENDS OF MANXMAN group can be found on the Manxman Steamship Company web site at:

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

SEACAT DANMARK - arrived at A&P Falmouth  #3 Dry Dock at 09:30 from Dover on Thursday January 9 for refit.

SEACAT ISLE OF MAN - is now in dry dock at North Western Ship Repairers at Bidston.


ULYSSES is expected to arrive at A&P Falmouth on Wednesday January 22

ISLE OF INISHMORE is expected to arrive at A&P Falmouth on Thursday February 13.

JONATHAN SWIFT remains in Canada #3 Dry Dock, Liverpool.

NORMANDY remains at A&P Birkenhead.


EUROPEAN DIPLOMAT remains at Canada #3 Branch Dock, Liverpool as her refit continues.

NORTHERN STAR [ex CELTIC STAR] which ended its P&O charter in December on the Liverpool - Larne service has now entered service with Dart Line on the Dartford - Vlissingen route.


The future of the popular amphibious tours of Liverpool and the South Docks appear in doubt after news this week that the company that operated the tours has not been sold as a going concern.

Liverpool Duck Tours, which employed 10 people, went into liquidation late last year with a deficit of more than £200,000.

The tours operated by former WWII DUKW's WACKER QUACKER I and WACKER QUACKER II commenced in April, 2001 and proved popular with both tourists and local people.  However,  second vehicle was not put into service until July 2001, three months behind schedule. Therefore instead of the anticipated 45,000 passengers for the first season, only 29,000 were carried.

Despite an improvement in trading in 2002 the shortfall from the first year caused the company to run out of money.

John Wilkes, founder of the operation has created a new company Pearlwild which has bought the company name and other assets. However, Pearlwild does now own the DUKWs which are thought to be in the possession of a finance company.


QUEEN MARY 2 It has been announced that the ship which is currently building in France will make a call on Merseyside during its first year of service in 2004. 


MSC Add Irish Link To Liverpool - Med Service

Mediterranean Shipping Company SA of Geneva has expanded its successful Accordion Container Service out of the Port of Liverpool to include calls at Mersey Docks operated terminals in Dublin and Belfast.

The weekly Liverpool link with Antwerp, Vigo, Leixoes, Lisbon and Valencia established a year ago, now encompasses calls at Marine Terminals Limited (MTL) in Dublin and Victoria Terminal 3 in Belfast.

MSC has added a fourth ship to the operation and increased the size of vessels operating on the service, calling at Dublin on Wednesday, Belfast Thursday and Liverpool Friday before sailing for Antwerp.

The first ship to extend the route to Ireland was the 1,500 teu and 20,000 dwt MSC FADO, the biggest ship to be handled at MTL and the first third-party caller since Mersey Docks completed a 23 million Euro redevelopment of the terminal last Autumn. The Accordian service is also maintained by three other ships, one of 1,250 teu and two of 1,050 teu.

The Mersey Docks Group's investment at MTL included lengthening the quay to provide 700 metres with a minimum water depth up to 10.2 metres at all states of the tide and increasing the container storage capacity to 6,500 teu. New ship-to-shore and stacking gantry cranes have also been purchased.

MTL Managing Director John Forrester said: "As Ireland's largest container terminal with the best infrastructure, guaranteed draft and berthing, we are optimistic of attracting more customers of the calibre of MSC."

Mediterranean Shipping, the world's second largest container operator, launched the Liverpool service 12 months ago with ships of circa 500 teu.

Said Mersey Docks' Director of Marketing Frank Robotham: "MSC's experience over the past year has proved the wisdom of their decision to make Liverpool their second UK gateway for direct calls by MSC ships. We are delighted that the Mersey Docks Group has been able to extend its service to the Line through its terminals in Dublin and Belfast


Roadferry Limited, the logistics company acquired by the Mersey Docks Group in 2000, has won two major service awards given each year by nationwide palletised distribution specialists Palletline Plc.

The company's Glasgow operation was selected as "Trunker of the Year" for 2002 from the 52 haulage firms across the UK operating the Palletline overnight delivery service.

The annual trophy is awarded in recognition of the sustained performance of Palletline member companies in providing on-time arrivals and departures at the Central Hub in Birmingham by their long distance trunking vehicles.

Announcing the award, Palletline said Roadferry's achievement was particularly significant. "The Glasgow operation has a considerable distance to cover each and every night on behalf of the Palletline System."

The award also comes as work nears completion on expansion of the Glasgow depot, including development of a 60,000 sq ft warehouse which will accommodate the whole operation and enable Roadferry to grow the business.

Roadferry (Glasgow) was also runner up for the "Quality Depot Award" granted in recognition of general customer care and services.

Roadferry Ltd (Aberdeen) carried off Palletline's "Quality Award for Small Depots".

Said William Hart, the Scotland based General Manager of Roadferry's Groupage Division: "We are delighted to receive such recognition of our commitment to customer service. Current development of our facilities in Scotland will enable Roadferry to enhance the quality of its performance and grasp significant commercial opportunities."


VARBOLA - the ship which had been on charter to Cenargo has now commenced work with Dart Line.


What is likely to be the last ship to be built at Belfast shipyard of Harland and Wolff was
officially named on January 17.

The 22,000 tonne ANVIL POINT is the second of two ro/ro vessels built for the MoD. The vessel itself will be launched at the end of next month and will be used to support military strategic sealift as well as being available for commercial use when not required by the military. 

The order book at the East Belfast plant is now empty and no new vessels have been or are likely to be commissioned in the years ahead.

Management at the plant is concentrating on the development of a small scale engineering services company.


Queen's  Quay, Belfast, was reported to be busy this weekend as hundreds of visitors visit the replica emigrant ship JEANIE JOHNSTON which is on a four day visit to the city. The ship departs on Tuesday and will be open to the public on Saturday January 18 and Sunday January 19. Admission is £4.00 adults and £2.00 children

The visit to Belfast is part of a tour of Irish ports before the JEANIE JOHNSTON heads off to the United States next month to recreate one of the epic trans-Atlantic voyages of its namesake.

Lord Mayor Alex Maskey officially welcomed the vessel to Belfast, accompanied by the chief executive of the Port of Belfast, Gordon Irwin, and the US Consul-General, Barbara Stephenson.

Four young people from Northern Ireland - who were given bursaries by the council - were among the crew of 40 who sailed the ship from Dublin.

Mr. Maskey said: "This visit by the Jeanie Johnston is one of a number of visits from Tall Ships which the City Council will be organising between now and 2008 when we hope to host the Tall Ships race. We are grateful to the Port of Belfast for facilitating the visit.

"I hope many people from Belfast and beyond will avail of the wonderful opportunity to visit this sailing ship and see the sort of vessel which might well have carried their ancestors to America.


The Cornish Guardian reports that investigation is under way to determine the cause of a devastating fire at Falmouth Docks on Wednesday January 8.

The blaze, which it is estimated caused over £3 million damage, began in the early hours and destroyed Queen's Wharf.

As fire-fighters were battling to control the incident, the flames caused a 100 foot, 132-tonne crane to crash spectacularly into the sea. A generator used to supply power to a nearby vessel exploded in the heat.

About 100 firemen from all over Cornwall, as well as lifeboat men, ambulance paramedics, members of the Falmouth and Porthoustock Coastguard rescue teams, Falmouth Bay pilots and A &P employees were involved in the operation to tackle the blaze.

Their job was hampered by strong winds, bitter cold and, later, snow.

Trevor Heath, docks services manager, said: "This is absolutely disastrous. It removes yet another facility. Various vessels, including HMS CORNWALL, were planning to come alongside Queen's Wharf and these have now had to be postponed."

The fire comes at a time when A &P (Falmouth) Ltd, dock owners, are negotiating with the South West Regional Development Agency for help with a massive redevelopment plan to generate income to renew the aging wharves.

But Ian Pike, A &P's managing director in Falmouth, said that this fire would not affect the bid. In October Queen's Wharf was downgraded and crane use had been restricted.

"We will have to review the implications about what has happened," said Mr Pike. "But we had a meeting with the RDA on Tuesday and they were very positive."

The fire began at about 2am and was spotted by the watchman on a P &O ferry in dry dock.

The dock's ancient and creosote-coated hardwood timbers burned quickly. Near gale force easterlies fanned the flames and by the time fire-fighters arrived the blaze had spread the length of the wharf.

David Barnicoat, Falmouth pilot, said: "This is a devastating blow. I could see the fire from three miles away and when I got there the entire jetty was ablaze."

He praised pilot cutter coxswains Andrew Dale and Keith Wing whose quick thinking saved the crew of the only vessel tied at Queen's Wharf.

The men, in the L K Mitchell, towed the TORNADO, a recently repaired tug, away from encroaching flames.

The flames had reached the side of the TORNADO by the time rescue arrived and the six-man Russian crew asleep on board helped to tie the tow line.

Once out of danger they were transferred to Falmouth's offshore lifeboat and treated for smoke inhalation.

Mike Reynolds, port operations manager for A&P, said: "If the fire had got hold of the TORNADO the crew would have had to go over the side and the vessel would have been lost."

He added that John Parslow, of Plantain Marine, whose office is near Queen's Wharf, also helped in his vessel Valid.

A team of emergency services helped to fight the fire. Cornwall County Fire Brigade assistant divisional officer Chris Ruberry said: "We regularly work and train with the docks here and the co-operation between A &P, Falmouth Towage, the lifeboat, the Coastguard, ambulance and all others assisting has been absolutely brilliant."

When ADO Ruberry and others arrived electricity from the 440 volt substations that run to the wharf had to be cut.

And a 200-foot exclusion zone was set up because it was believed acetylene cylinders were on the wharf.

"When they go up acetylene cylinders are like Exocets," said ADO Ruberry.

"They will travel remarkable distances and take anything out that they hit."

When it was established there were no cylinders the exclusion zone was reduced to 100 feet to allow clearance for the crane.

Two tugs, PERCUIL and ANKORVA, which had fire fighting equipment on board, were soon brought into play.

ADO Ruberry said: "One of my main tasks was to keep an eye on personnel because it was bitter out there and when you are being lashed by spray you get very cold very quickly."

The crane, which had been moved off its rails, finally fell and sank between Queen's and Empire wharves, at about 05:00.

Mr Reynolds said: "The good news is that the crane fell this way and not out to sea or it would have blocked the main shipping lane which would have been disastrous for us and for Falmouth."

He estimated that recovery of the equipment, involving a floating crane, would take weeks.

Meanwhile, a warning has been put out to shipping in the Falmouth area to look out for debris. Nigel Warren, station officer for Falmouth Coastguard Rescue Team, said: "There are pieces of wood up to 30 feet long out there and they are like icebergs with just a small bit sticking out of the water.

"They are a hazard to all boats in the harbour."

By yesterday afternoon the operation had been scaled down and the destroyed wharf was left smouldering.

A&P (Falmouth) Ltd has long recognised the need to upgrade the ageing wooden wharves at the town's docks and, earlier this year, plans for a massive development project were announced in an effort to raise money for that work.

A&P (Falmouth) Ltd has long recognised the need to upgrade the ageing wooden wharves at the town's docks and, earlier this year, plans for a massive development project were announced in an effort to raise money for that work.

The £85 million plan, with designs by Broadway Malyan architects, whose key projects include the new Met Office in Exeter, Imperial Wharf, Fulham, and London Bridge Tower, includes a marina, 450 apartments and shops.

Money generated from this would be put towards upgrading cruise ship facilities, refurbishing the wharves, the youngest of which was built in 1937, and dredging the gradually silting up harbour.

County Wharf, the one closest to mainland, would be developed and the adjacent Duchy Wharf would be turned into a marina.

Existing docks buildings would be moved and additional wharfage would have been built across from Kings, Empire and Queen's wharves, tripling usable space.

But A &P chiefs maintain that they do not have the money to carry out the project alone and have been pushing for help from the South West Regional Development Agency (SWERDA)

On Tuesday, a private meeting was held with representatives from both sides and from Government Office South West to discuss the plans.

Mike Reynolds, A &P port operations manager, said yesterday: "The meeting went well. The RDA are very enthusiastic to help us but we have to convince them that we will give them what they need for the public sector."

And Ian Pike, managing director, said: "They (the RDA) are looking very positive. They said they are going to set up a team to look at a business plan."

And a spokesperson for SWERDA explained that the agency had already committed £160,000 to a series of studies to look into the viability of the docks and the scheme.

The agency has also agreed to work alongside the Government Office South West to speed up the process.

The spokesperson said: "SWERDA will not commit to any more money until the results of the studies are known but specialists consultants are due to be appointed very soon to carry out the studies."

At the time the scheme went on show to the public, Teresa Cavallo, of De Facto project management, said: "The success of the development plan is essential in order to secure the 2,500 jobs dependent on the docks and the other maritime businesses within the site.

"With a turnover in excess of £50 million, A &P spend £25m per annum in the local economy, and with 25 per cent of the economically active population in the Falmouth/Penryn areas dependent (directly or indirectly) on the docks, the importance of getting this right cannot be underestimated."


A new passenger ferry service linking the Barbican with Saltash's waterfront could be up and running by Easter 2003.

Saltash Partnership member Sue Hooper, who is liaising between the regeneration group and Plymouth Boat Cruises Ltd, said the scheme had received support from all major local bodies, including Saltash Town Council, the town's chamber of commerce and Saltash Partnership itself.

She stressed that the service would not be a 'booze cruise' but a daily service starting from 10:00, with the last boat back leaving Plymouth at 16:00.

She said: "Hopefully it will go ahead at Easter, subject to everything being in place."

The boat, able to carry just over 100 passengers, would operate between Saltash Pier and Phoenix Wharf, though the town's new Jubilee pontoon just upstream of the Tamar Bridge could be used on extreme spring tides.

The service would run every 90 minutes, with the journey plus loading and unloading of passengers taking 45 minutes or less.

Plymouth Boat Cruises manager Mike Bettinson said fares had not yet been fixed, but there could be special rates for students and pensioners.

The journeys could include a stop at Mount Edgcumbe, and would allow passengers to see the warships at Devonport Dockyard in passing.

Plymouth Boat Cruises have operated trip to view Naval Vessels, along with coastal cruises to the River Yealm and a River Tamar passenger service for many years.

January 16

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

BEN-MY-CHREE - due to forecast adverse weather conditions the 19:45 sailing to Heysham on January 16 has been cancelled as has the return 02:15 sailing on January 17.

It is understood that the Ben will have some of its lifesaving equipment removed this weekend for servicing and recertification and will operate on a reduced passenger certificate. When serviced the other half will be undertaken.  


The replica emigrant ship arrived at Queen's Quay Belfast on January 16.  She will open to visitors on Saturday and Sunday January 18 and 19. She then will move on to Waterford and Tralee, before departing for North America (via Tenerife) on February 15th. 


Cenargo and subsidiaries commenced Chapter 11 cases to facilitate financial restructuring. The company will continue its operations providing uninterrupted transport services to its customer base.

Cenargo International Plc announced on January 14 that the company and most of its key subsidiaries have filed voluntary petitions under Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code in order to give the group the chance to reorganise its finances in an orderly, court supervised processes.

Cenargo's operation will continue with no disruptions to service. Cenargo will continue to conduct its business, including its leading ferry transport business on the Irish Sea on a business as usual basis.

Cenargo CEO, Michael Hendry said, "This step was taken to stabilize Cenargo's financial situation and enable us to continue our quality service to customers. After many weeks, and careful consideration of alternatives, we determined that restructuring our debt could best be accomplished through a Chapter 11 process. Entering into these proceedings will enable us to fully evaluate the best alternatives for the company without pressure to sell or give up valuable assets that could benefit the company and all its stakeholder in the future."

Mr. Hendry emphasized that employees will continue to be paid their full wages and health and welfare benefits, subject to court approval. The Company's business will continue operations and local suppliers and vendors will continue to be paid in the normal course of ongoing business.

Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code enables a company to continue operating its business and managing its assets in the normal course of trading. The process gives companies the chance to reorganize their finances in and orderly fashion. The company is represented by Cadwalader, Wickersham and Taft and is being advised by American Marine Advisors.

January 15

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

An extra update to catch up with "News and Views". An additional extra update will be posted tomorrow, Thursday January 16.

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

BEN-MY-CHREE did not return to service on Monday as originally expected. She resumed sailings with the 02:15 departure from Heysham on Tuesday January 14. The reason for longer than planned stay at North Western's Bidston Yard was due to damaged sustained when arriving on Saturday.

Whilst observing her passage on Saturday through the bridge from Albert Basin to the East Float, an unusual sound was heard. Being positioned some distance away near the former Clan Line transit sheds it wasn't possible to verify that she had caught on something when passing between the basin and East Float but it certainly appeared likely. 

Comparison between the photographs posted on the site on Saturday does reveal a blemish on the port side which wasn't visible when she was in Alfred. 

When the BEN-MY-CHREE departed she was brought out by Adsteam tugs. On her arrival last year for her major refit she was brought through the Birkenhead Docks by tugs to NWS. 

LADY OF MANN - Her 07:00 sailing to Liverpool on Monday was cancelled and she operated the 09:00 to Heysham and 14:15 return sailing. The 19:45 sailing was operated to Liverpool with a light load to enable the Lady to return home at the conclusion of her extended weekend duties.

Douglas Harbour am 13 Jan 03.jpg (41890 bytes)RIVERDANCE provided a freight sailing from Heysham on Monday January 13. She berthed at Edward Pier around 08:40.

The vessel is viewed here from Douglas Head arriving. [Photo: John Williamson]



EUROPEAN AMBASSADOR operated a special out of season sailing between Dublin and Cherbourg via Rosslare on January 12. 

EUROPEAN SEAFARER departed from Birkenhead on Monday January 13 and is expected to operate on the Rosslare - Cherbourg route until the EUROPEAN DIPLOMAT returns from refit by NWS in Liverpool.

EUROPEAN NAVIGATOR is believed being sold to Middle Eastern interests.

January 12



BEN-MY-CHREE - It has been announced that the BEN-MY-CHREE will not now return to service with the 02:15 sailing on Monday from Heysham. She is now not expected to resume sailing until at least the 14:15 sailing on Monday. As a consequence the LADY OF MANN's 07:00 sailing to Liverpool on Monday 13 has been delayed until 09:00 and she will convey the BEN-MY-CHREE's passengers.

It is believed that SeaTruck's RIVERDANCE will operate an early morning sailing to Douglas from Heysham on Monday morning.

January 11

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Adrian Sweeney, Ian Collard, Tony Brennan, Kevin Bennett and "others".


Another large update and the fact that there has been much going on to photograph means that I have been out for much of today and have still not been able to catch up with the backlog of material. I will post an extra update probably on Wednesday or Thursday and hope that things a little quieter! Priority is being given to updates which are recording current happenings and news.


Tommy Dover has launched a new maritime web site to record the maritime activity at Wicklow Port and at other locations along the County Wicklow Coast. You can find Tommy's site at:

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

BEN-MY-CHREE arrived on Merseyside on Saturday January 11 for a quick visit to NWS for further propeller work. She arrived on the afternoon tide at Alfred and then proceeded through East and West Float to Bidston Dry Dock. The event is fully covered in the photos section.

SUPERSEACAT ONE arrived on Merseyside early Friday morning after travelling up from Portsmouth where she had departed on Wednesday.  It is understood that she had been due to travel to Helsinki but this had been cancelled due to the extreme low temperatures currently being experienced. She is expected to relocate to the Baltic in March or April and may dry dock at A&P. 

SEACAT ISLE OF MAN is berthed at West Float. It is believed that she will enter NWS Bidston after work on the BEN-MY-CHREE has been completed.


This Saturday afternoon must have seen the largest concentration of Sea Containers vessels ever known on Merseyside. 

SUPERSEACAT THREE, SEACAT FRANCE and SEACAT SCOTLAND - A&P. SEACAT ISLE OF MAN, BEN-MY-CHREE and SUPERSEACAT ONE - Birkenhead Docks whilst over at Liverpool Landing Stage the LADY OF MANN awaited her return 19:00 sailing to Douglas. That is seven Sea Containers ships within a mile or so of one another certainly a Merseyside first!


JONATHAN SWIFT departed Dublin at 11:00 on Thursday January 09 bound for Canada Graving Dock, Liverpool. She was noted passing Q1 inward at 14:35, the Rock at 15:08 with arrival in Langton Lock at 15:17. She arrived a day later than expected due it is believed, to the fact that P&O EUROPEAN DIPLOMAT had not vacated the graving dock..


Over the coming weeks some 5000 personnel will be involved in a Maritime Deployment of UK Forces, the task group will include HMS ARK ROYAL, HMS OCEAN along with a number of Destroyers, Frigates and a Submarine. 

They will be accompanied by vessels from the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and a Mine Countermeasures Group they will make up the originally planned Naval Task Group 2003. In addition, an amphibious Group including Headquarters 3 Commando Brigade, 40 Commando Royal Marines and 42 Commando Royal Marines with supporting elements will be deployed.

The Task Group will conduct training in the Mediterranean region with a view to proceeding to the Gulf region in due course.

The above press release issued by the Royal Navy suggests that HMS OCEAN may not be star attraction for the 2003 Battle of the Atlantic 60th Anniversary Celebrations due to be held over the May bank holiday weekend as originally anticipated.


EUROPEAN SEAFARER departed from North Western Ship Repairers at Bidston on the afternoon of January 11. She proceeded to a berth in West Float, Birkenhead.

EUROPEAN DIPLOMAT was completing refit work at Canada #3 Branch Dock on January 11 after having vacated Canada Graving Dock.


ROYAL DAFFODIL departed from Seacombe Landing Stage around 14:00 on January 9, bound for A&P Birkenhead #6 Dry Dock.


CLANSMAN a passenger fell from the ship which was operating the 16:40 sailing from Brodick. The CLANSMAN launched its rescue lifeboat and rescued the casualty which was airlifted by Navy Helicopter to hospital.


STENA FORWARDER - despite Cenargo's financial troubles the rumour that STENA FORWARDER will transfer to the Liverpool - Dublin route persists. However, it now appears that she may replace LINDAROSA or NORSE MERSEY rather than BRAVE MERCHANT. Such a move would restore the full Liverpool - Dublin passenger service which has not been available since the departure of DAWN MERCHANT in the autumn.


STENA EUROPE has gone to Keppel Shipyards near Rotterdam for urgent repairs and the completion of her refit which had originally been scheduled for March 2003. The vessel will be off service between January 6 and 19. Thus the Fishguard - Rosslare service is suspended.

HSS STENA EXPLORER will be off service between January 17 and February 14 for refit. 

STENA FORWARDER will not be withdrawn for refit this year as she will be replaced by the new STENA ADVENTURER later in the year.



Though outside ISS are of coverage this item of world news may be of some significance if any Irish Sea operators go bargain hunting for fast ferries and is consequently worth reporting here.


BC Ferries has selected B.C. based Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers, the world's leading industrial auctioneer, to sell its three PacifiCat-class fast ferries at an international auction in Vancouver on March 24, 2003. To assist them in this global effort, Ritchie Bros. has also retained marine consultant, Stephen Phillips, managing director of Seaspeed Technology Limited, of the U.K. and a specialist in fast ferries.

"It is time to put the costly fast ferry program behind us and move  forward," said interim President & CEO Doug Allen.

"After more than two-and-a-half years of trying to sell the PacifiCats, we need to use a different approach. An international, public auction will guarantee these vessels are sold."

Mr. Allen said that BC Ferries announced in early December that it would be transformed into an independent, self-financing authority able to provide superior service to British Columbians with no additional financial burden on taxpayers. "Today's announcement will further facilitate the planned corporate restructuring and end the significant ongoing costs of holding the three PacifiCats. The costs alone to store and maintain the vessels are between $2.5 million to $4 million annually." He said Ritchie Bros. was the obvious choice to sell the vessels. "It is a local company that has the global reach and a proven track record to deliver results."

Ritchie Bros., which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, is based in Richmond, B.C. In 2002, the company conducted more than 140 auctions in 10 countries with gross auction sales of more than $2 billion Cdn. It operates at 90 locations around the world selling industrial assets exclusively by unreserved auction.

Unreserved auctions have no minimum bids or reserve prices. As a result they attract a wide range of motivated buyers ensuring that items are sold on the day of the auction for fair market value.

Mr. Allen said an unreserved auction was the most effective way to interest potential buyers and stimulate auction activity to generate the best possible value for BC Ferries.

Bidders will be required to file a $2 million US deposit to participate in the international auction.

PricewaterhouseCoopers has been the advisor to BC Ferries for the past two-and-a-half years. "We are ready to support the change in process BC Ferries has decided on and using our knowledge and experience of marine markets and potential bidders will work closely with them and Ritchie Bros. to optimize the proceeds of the auction," said John Webster, managing partner for PricewaterhouseCoopers in B.C.

Opportunities to use the PacifiCats on other BC Ferries routes, including a careful assessment of annual operating costs and the limited ability of the vessels to move buses and large commercial trucks, have concluded that the vessels are not suitable for service on BC Ferries routes. They would however be excellent vessels on other ferry routes in various areas of the world.

In addition, estimates done for BC Ferries indicated it would cost up to $30 million per vessel to refit them with conventional engines.

Chronology of the Fast Ferry Program

. June 1994 - Fast ferry program announced.

. February 1999 - Hugh Gordon's financial review of the fast ferry project.

. March 1999 - Completion of independent technical review of the fast ferry project by J. J. McMullen Associates.

. March 1999 - PacifiCat Explorer completed sea trials.

. June 1999 - PacifiCat Explorer introduced into service between Horseshoe Bay and Nanaimo.

. September 1999 - PacifiCat Discovery completed sea trials.

. October 1999 - Auditor General review of the fast ferry project.

. November 1999 - The PacifiCat Discovery introduced into service between Horseshoe Bay and Nanaimo.

. January 2000 - Decision announced that effective Feb. 1, a conventional ferry would replace one of the PacifiCats between Horseshoe Bay and Nanaimo following concerns raised by truckers, tourism associations and residents.

. March 13, 2000 - Three PacifiCats put up for sale.

. June 2, 2000 - BC Ferries appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP to manage the sale of the PacifiCat fast ferries.

. July 2000 - PacifiCat Voyager completed sea trials.

. August 2000 - PacifiCat Voyager moved to Deas Dock for long-term preservation.

. August 2000 - Wake and Wash report completed by Sandwell Engineering. Study assesses the potential effects being reported by some local residents.

. July 2001 - Conclusion to sell the vessels was verified by Arthur Anderson

. December 2001 - Conclusion to sell the vessels was verified by inquiry into BC Ferries by Fred Wright.

. December 31, 2002 - Deadline for sale of the vessels via PricewaterhouseCoopers.

. January 9, 2003 - BC Ferries announces that three PacifiCats to be sold at international auction in Vancouver on March 24, 2003

January 8

Acknowledgements: Ian Collard, John Williams, Edward Millar, Gary Andrews, Phillp Parker and "others"


There have been a number of additional updates to reflect recent happenings and submissions. However, due to large amount of material received and other commitments there remains a backlog of material for future updates!

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

BEN-MY-CHREE - is due to be dry docked again for further propeller work over the weekend of January 11/12. She is expected at North Western Ship Repairers, Birkenhead on the late afternoon tide of Saturday January 11.

SEACAT ISLE OF MAN arrived at Birkenhead for refit on January 8. The Belfast - Troon service is now suspended. The service recommences on February 6.


HSS STENA EXPLORER a passenger fell off the vessel just after 23:00 on Thursday January 2 whilst en route from Dún Laoghaire to Holyhead. The Western Mail reports that the male passenger had asked the crew where he could get some fresh air and was directed to the ship's open deck. He was then seen falling from the railings when the high-speed catamaran was 22 miles  west of Holyhead.

Coastguards said the man would only have been able to survive in the water for a short time and the search was called off at 02.30 on January 3.

Geoff Lunt, watch manager at Holyhead Coastguards, said the area had been "covered thoroughly."

HSS STENA DISCOVERY  arrived at Belfast for refit on January 7. The vessel is not due back at Harwich until January 23. HSS STENA EXPLORER is due to arrive at Belfast on January 18 to provide cover for HSS STENA VOYAGER which is reported to be off service for just 4 days. This would probably mean that all three HSS vessels would be in Belfast at the same time 


NORMANDY arrived at A&P Birkenhead on Monday January 6. The ship's arrival caused something of a controversy on Merseyside when the local press revealed that a group of workers from Portugal had been recruited by subcontractors to work on the ship.

Union officials say that local skills should be used for work at the yard which employed 1,500 workers until the demise of Cammell Laird plc. A&P only employ a small number of permanent staff relying on subcontractors to provide their own workers.

The Jeanie Johnston website has now reopened at  Do not try and use the previous  address as it still claims that the site is being rebuilt!

January 2

Acknowledgements: Ian Collard, Gary Andrews, John Williams, Tommy Dover, Patrick C. Taylor  and "others".

Welcome to the first update of 2003!

After what has been a rather interesting Festive Season for unusual movements at least here on Merseyside, it is something of a relief to find things have calmed down somewhat. 

The number of entries in the "What's New" page are an indication of just how busy things have been this year. 

Whilst some look forward to the parties, turkey and tinsel Christmas and New Year can prove just as exciting for the dedicated ship enthusiast. In some years Christmas movements can be a little disappointing, however, this has not been the case this year. It certainly has been a vintage year for photographic opportunities.

Whilst one cannot be certain of what will happen during the coming year, one is certain that there will be a few shocks and surprises in 2003. As usual Irish Sea Shipping - The Online Shipping Magazine will aim to bring you the news first.

I would like to express my appreciation to all those correspondents who have sent news, articles and photographs for inclusion in Irish Sea Shipping in 2002 and helped make the site a team effort.

John H. Luxton. January 2, 2003.

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

LADY OF MANN details of sailings for the remainder of the winter season have now been posted. The Lady will operate two additional sailings on the Douglas to Dublin route over the school's mid-term break weekend in February which will present enthusiasts with some added interest.


Over Christmas one ship was in Wicklow port, the SCOT MARINER arrived late on Christmas Eve, she discharged timber from Sweden at the packet pier, and departed on December 30th.The ARABELLA C arrived on the 28th with general cargo.

RMS HOMBURG arrived on the 30th with coal, she welcomed the New Year in with short blasts of her horn at the stroke of midnight! She departed on the 1st January 2003 at 10:00.

The Wicklow lifeboat RNLB ANNIE BLAKER launched on New year's day, with family, friends and local clergy onboard. After a short ceremony in the bay, wreaths were laid for local sailors lost at sea and former lifeboat crew member's.

Members of Wicklow Sailing club have started to sail remote controlled model yacht's in the harbour over the last few week's, they hope to start races in the coming months.


Scilly News reports that the Steam Ship Company's aircraft  will be flying from Southampton Airport to St Mary's (and back) during the coming summer. This is the first time this service has run since Brymon Airways closed the route in the 1980s.

The brochure states that a standard return will cost £210, not including the £36 airport service charge. The flight time is 90 minutes, and operate via Newquay.


RIVERDANCE departed Langton Lock at 12:30 on Thursday January 2 after completing her holiday maintenance which included the fitting of a new stern door for her vehicle deck.


MERSEY VIKING and LAGAN VIKING remained side by side at the former Norse Merchant Ferries Terminal at Canada #3 Branch Dock, Liverpool over the New Year holiday and were still there around mid day on Thursday January 2. Over the holiday MERSEY VIKING has gained the high visibility paint above her bridge and now matches her sister. LAGAN VIKING had returned to Twelve Quays North by 16:00 on January 2 ready to recommence service.

LINDAROSA locked out in the early afternoon of January 2nd crossing to Twelve Quays South, ready to recommence service.

BRAVE MERCHANT spent the New Year holiday period at Belfast. 

SAGA MOON remains in NWS Bidston Dry Dock.


EUROPEAN AMBASSADOR is expected to leave A&P Birkenhead on Saturday January 4. A correspondent reports that she appears to be having work undertaken on her MES system.

EUROPEAN DIPLOMAT remained in Canada Graving Dock, Liverpool on Thursday, January 2. 


According to the website of IMarEST (Inst.of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology) there is a lecture on 20 January at Liverpool John Moores University, Byrom Street 17.30 for 18.00 hrsto be given by Stephen Payne of Carnival Cruises entitled 'Queen Mary 2 - a new generation of Atlantic liner'. The sec.of the NW England Branch who are hosting the lecture is E C Knowles 0151-677 6413 email



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