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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



February 26


There have been several extra updates since Sunday. Check "What's New" for full details. The news file was also updated on February 25 see below.

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

SEACAT ISLE OF MAN - The Belfast - Troon route will now recommence on March 1. It had been due to restart on February 27. SEACAT ISLE OF MAN will operate until March 24 with the RAPIDE on the route after that.

DIAMANT - the vessel's first sailing will be the 21:00 Liverpool - Douglas on March 6 and will then operate as per SUPERSEACAT THREE timetable.


ULYSSES is expected to return to its normal Holyhead schedule with the 21:35 sailing from Dublin on Thursday February 27.

February 25 - News Extra

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Kevin Bennett, Ian Collard, Sara Cass, Jim Edgar and "other correspondents".

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

DIAMANT is now expected to reopen the Liverpool - Dublin route on Friday March 7. LADY OF MANN will operate Liverpool - Douglas this weekend. 

RAPIDE returned to Donegall Quay 4 berth at Belfast shortly after midday on February 25 following her visit to Harland & Wolff for repairs.


ULYSSES - Following the mishap at Holyhead on Sunday in which the ship damaged a dolphin at the Irish Ferries berth ULYSSES sailings have been cancelled. 

To facilitate the provision of a freight service the company sent ULYSSES to Merseyside on February 25. 

This was the first time the flagship of the Irish Merchant Marine has visited Merseyside and what an impressive site she made too! [There are quite a few Merseyside enthusiasts who would like to see Irish Ferries ships sailing from here on a regular basis! - JHL]

Departing from Dublin around 03:00 she was noted by a correspondent passing C12 inbound around 10:25. The ship was off Alfred by around 11:00 when she proceeded to Twelve Quays for berthing trials . 

On conclusion of the berthing trials ULYSSES entered the Liverpool Dock system at Gladstone Lock  in the early afternoon proceeding to a berth at Gladstone #2 Branch Dock where she was secure at 14:10. 

The ULYSSES is due to lock out of Liverpool dock system at 21:30 and then proceed to Twelve Quays. From there ULYSSES is scheduled to operate a freight only sailing from Birkenhead to Dublin at 03:00 on Wednesday arriving Dublin 10:00. 


Subject to Holyhead re-opening Irish Ferries would continue to operate the above schedule.

As soon as repairs at Holyhead are completed, Thursday is a hoped for target at this stage, after arrival at Dublin at 10:00 ULYSSES would sail for Holyhead at 12:00 and it is hoped that she would be back on schedule by the following morning's sailing from Dublin. 

JONATHAN SWIFT is providing extra passenger cover with the operation of a fourth round trip departing Dublin at 23:30 and returning from Holyhead at 02:30. JONATHAN SWIFT is using the Stena HSS berth at Holyhead.


It appears that P&O Irish Sea are warming to foot passengers! A recent crop of special offers features a weekend mini cruise to France from just €99. Bookings must be made by March 12.

Weekend Foot Passenger Return €99 including meals & accommodation.
For departures 15, 22 & 29 March, 5 & 12 April 2003.
Includes 2 nights on board ship and up to 5 hours in Cherbourg. Club Seat & meals included in the price. Upgrades to cabins available.
Spend the weekend cruising to France on board P&O's luxurious EUROPEAN AMBASSADOR superferry and stock up on all your goods at French duty prices. You can even pre-order everything you need online and simply collect your goodies when you get to Cherbourg!
EUROPEAN AMBASSADOR sets sail from 'The Point' in Dublin’s city centre at 13.30 on Saturday afternoon. A three course dinner is served that evening and after a restful nights sleep, you arrive in Cherbourg the next morning at 8.30am, refreshed and relaxed after a full Irish breakfast. 5 hours in Cherbourg gives you plenty of time to stock up and then its time to head home at 15:00 on Sunday, again with dinner onboard in the evening, arriving in at 08.30 on Monday morning after breakfast.
A car can be taken for just an additional €49 when two or more persons are travelling.

February 23 - Late News


ULYSSES - The 21:35 sailing from Dublin to Holyhead on Sunday February 23 and the 09:45 sailing on Monday February 24 are reported cancelled. The ship is understood to have damaged a dolphin and passenger gangway at Holyhead.  JONATHAN SWIFT will make an extra sailing from Dublin at 23:30 on Sunday.

February 23

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Ian Liston, Tommy Dover, Tony Brennan, Dave Crolley, Edwin Wilmshurst and "others"

The latter part of the week has seen some significant news breaking much of which concerns the North Channel routes and the end of Stranraer as a ferry port by 2005. Further contractions in the Sea Containers route network have been announced with Heysham - Belfast not returning in 2003. 

One wonders if the Sea Containers Irish Sea slogan "Proud of Our Routes" has become meaningless.? If one was "proud of a route" it wouldn't be closed! Its time for that advertising slogan to be dropped.

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

There have been some interesting developments this week. Those aware of the company's slogan "Proud of Our Routes" will discover that Sea Containers obviously were not that proud of the Belfast to Heysham route. Even though brochures and schedules had already appeared and the route appears in the on-line booking computer on February 21 there came the shock announcement that the route would not reopen for 2003.

Ever since the end of the first season of operation in 1999 there have been rumours that the Heysham - Belfast service would not resume the following season. Each year the route has operated a different fast craft has been deployed and operating seasons have not always been completed before mechanical or structural problems arose. 

Now it appears that Sea Containers have abandoned the Belfast - Heysham route at least for this year. This is almost certainly in an attempt to head off competition from P&O which will be operating SUPERSTAR EXPRESS on routes to Troon and Cairnryan from Larne in 2003. The announcement also comes just days after a BBC Northern Ireland  consumer programme Fair Play broadcast a report on the Belfast - Heysham route. 

Sea Containers issued the following press release on February 21.


SeaCat announced today that after four years of success on its Belfast - Troon route it will be consolidating its fast ferry service to Scotland at the Ayrshire Port.

SeaCat is to increase capacity on the service with the introduction of a larger craft, which will double car space availability to 137 and increase passenger seats by 120.

Hamish Ross, Managing Director of Sea Containers Irish Sea Operations said: "This represents a significant investment and reflects the importance of this popular route. As a consequence we have decided not to operate the Belfast - Heysham seasonal service but will concentrate on our core service between the two main centres of population in Northern Ireland and Scotland."

"We will consider the possibility of a return to the Heysham route at some time in the future" he added.

Troon, with its proximity to Glasgow and excellent road and rail links has proved to be an attractive gateway to Scotland from Northern Ireland boosting tourism in the area generally.

During the last four years more than one million passengers have made the trip to Troon and then further a field to the popular seaside and shopping resort of Ayr along with Glasgow and recently the hugely successful Loudon Castle family day out.

The fast ferry service to Troon resumes on the 27th February with sailings from Belfast at 07:45 and 16:00 until mid-April when the peak seasonal timetable will be introduced.


Just before the Heysham - Belfast announcement it was becoming apparent that SUPERSEACAT THREE would not be entering service on the Liverpool - Dublin and Liverpool - Douglas routes as planned on February 28. 

On Wednesday SUPERSEACAT THREE departed from A&P Birkenhead wet basin and crossed the river to Liverpool Landing Stage where she remained until Thursday morning. On Thursday morning SSC3 proceeded to West Langton, a usual move for Sea Containers vessels prior to the start of a new season on the Irish Sea.

However, by Thursday evening passengers with bookings for the starting up of the Dublin service on February 28 were receiving telephone calls informing them that the service would not restart until Monday March 7. On Friday there was news that a crew had been dispatched to bring another vessel up from the English Channel. An unconfirmed report suggests that an engine con rod has broken on SUPERSEACAT THREE.

By Saturday evening the Incat 81m vessel DIAMANT had appeared in the on-line booking system as operating SSC3 sailings commencing March 7 and for the remainder of the month. It is not know as yet what problem has befallen SuperSeaCat Three, but with the vessel likely to be out of service for at least a month it must be of some significance. On Sunday morning SUPERSEACAT THREE was noted back in A&P Birkenhead's wet basin berthed astern of SUPERSEACAT ONE. Of course one wonders why SSC1 could not have covered for SUPERSEACAT THREE as her Baltic service is not due to commence until later in the year.

Following the announcement that the Belfast - Heysham route will not operate in 2003 and that DIAMANT will replace SUPERSEACAT THREE, the following seems the most likely deployment pattern for Sea Containers fast ferry fleet in 2003.


Newhaven - Dieppe - SUPERSEACAT TWO.

Liverpool - Dublin & Douglas - DIAMANT [March], SUPERSEACAT THREE from April.

Douglas - Belfast / Dublin / Liverpool - SEACAT ISLE OF MAN.

Belfast - Troon - SEACAT ISLE OF MAN to end of March RAPIDE from April 1.


It would appear likely DIAMANT will then be going on to operate Brindisi - Igoumenitsa.

LADY OF MANN will now be enjoying a slightly extended winter season. The 21.00 Liverpool - Douglas is brought forward to 19:00 from February 27  to March 2.  The 07:00 Douglas to Liverpool sailing from February 28 to March 3 will be operated by the Lady of Mann with a later arrival in Liverpool.

BEN-MY-CHREE has been suffering from ongoing problems with her bow thrusters and has required assistance from Laxey Towing Company's tug WENDY ANN berthing in Douglas harbour.


VANGUARD has been noted  hitched up to the small John Harker Tanker WHARFDALE H in Alexandra #1 Branch Dock. The tanker is all boarded up ready for a voyage. Anyone know anything?


SUPERFERRY arrived in Dublin Bay early Friday morning - February 21.  She entered Alexandra Basin around 16:00 in the afternoon and dry dock at around 16:00 on Saturday. Apparently only external work is being carried out on her underside and she is not expected to be in dry dock for long. 


EUROPEAN NAVIGATOR which has been renamed BLACK IRIS was officially handed over to her new Jordanian owners at 18:00 on February 17 at A&P Birkenhead.


The company has applied for permission to demolish the former Norwest Hovercraft Company Terminal Building at Fleetwood. Known as the "Quayside Complex" the building has been modified considerably since it was constructed for its original short lived owners at the end of the 1960s on the site of the former Fleetwood Railway station which closed in 1966.

In recent years the building was primarily used as a pub which traded as "The Old Station" and a down market café. 

The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company did maintain a presence at the west end of the building until regular summer sailings on the Fleetwood - Douglas route ended shortly after the company was acquired by Sea Containers. Sea Containers also used the facility for a short lived Fleetwood to Dublin service in autumn 1996. 

However, this service transferred to Liverpool in 1997. With the demolition of the former Norwest building the only tangible remains of the hovercraft operation will be the concrete steps in the river wall which were used to give access to one of the landing stages.


This week Stena Line confirmed plans for a significant £70m investment in the company's North Channel route. The move will, however, see the end of Stranraer as a Ferry Port and rail/ferry interchange. 

The new investment over the next three years will also help facilitate a number of route improvements which will result in a reduction in the current crossing time of around 30%. 

In Scotland, Stena Line will relocate its terminal facilities from Stranraer to Old House Point, closer to the mouth of Loch Ryan. In addition a number of road improvements will also be undertaken on the A77 in Scotland to ensure faster journey times to and from the port.

The £70M investment will include brand new passenger terminals in both Northern Ireland and Scotland. The move from Stranraer will also be mirrored by a similar relocation on the Belfast side, with a move further down Belfast Lough. Significantly, these changes will enable Stena to increase the number of sailings of both conventional and HSS vessels.

The number of crossings will increase from 14 to 18 daily and reduce journey times by 30 minutes. The HSS service will offer a crossing time of 80 minutes between Belfast and Old House Point. Construction work on the new ports will start mid 2003 with a target completion date of mid 2005.

STENA BRITANNICA I has been sold to Finnlines. Its will not now appear at Holyhead prior to the delivery of new build STENA ADVENTURER. Presumably STENA FORWARDER will remain on the route as it is now unlikely she will go to Cenargo given that company's difficulties.

STENA LYNX III moved from A&P Birkenhead Wet Basin to #5 dry dock on Thursday February 20.


No bidders have come forward to operate the Ballycastle - Campbeltown ferry service which would have attracted a subsidy of £1m per year for the next five years. Sea Containers and the Argyll Ferry Group confirmed that they were withdrawing their interest. 

Tenders to run the service had to be submitted by 15:00 on February 20.

February 19

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Tony Brennan, Edwin Wilmshurst and "others"


Time has caught up with me before I could complete this update. Remaining material including LADY OF MANN voyage reports have been held over until Sunday. From this Sunday the general "sailing season" pattern of Sunday updates resumes.


Please note that there have been some changes and some more are expected. Please check out the lists if you are planning to view a particular ship to avoid disappointment.


The Merseyside Branch of the World Ship Society notched up its 800th Ship Visit last Saturday when a group of members visited the MV MADOG at Canning Dock. To mark the occasion branch chairman Don MacArthur presented Captain Ron Wright with a commemorative plaque. 

The MV MADOG formerly PRINCE MADOG is the former University of Wales Research Vessel PRINCE MADOG. Now based on Merseyside she now operates diving charters.

The branch has been visiting ships since 1947. 

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

LADY OF MANN - operated the first ever sailings between Douglas and Dublin during February on Friday February 14 and Monday February 17.  On Monday she arrived at berth 49 but later transferred to the recently completed berth 49a to allow the arrival of Irish Ferries JONATHAN SWIFT. 

SUPERSEACAT ONE moved from dry dock to the wet basin at A&P Birkenhead on Saturday February 15. It was suggested that she would head for the Baltic to join SUPERSEACAT FOUR. However, she has still not acquired Silja funnel colours or markings as one might have expected, though these could be added later.

SUPERSEACAT TWO - It appears that SUPERSEACAT TWO will not now operate on the Irish Sea instead of SEACAT ISLE OF MAN in 2003. She is expected to remain on the south coast and operate between Newhaven and Dieppe.

L1030187.JPG (58895 bytes)SUPERSEACAT THREE - Departed from the A&P wet basin on the tide around noon and proceeded to Liverpool Landing Stage [right]. 

SSC3 resumes service on February 28. Whilst SUPERSEACAT ONE carries Isle of Man Steam Packet Company red funnels SUPERSEACAT THREE has reverted to the original Sea Containers red funnel during her refit.

SEACAT SCOTLAND is now expected to move to the south coast and operate alongside HOVERSPEED GREAT BRITAIN and SEACAT DANMARK.


SUPERFERRY is expected to arrive at Dublin Dry Docks for its refit around 12:00 noon on Friday February 21. Services are due to resume March 10.



Passenger figures compiled by the Harbours Division for January  2003 at 18,922 show a 4.6% increase on the figure for the same period in 2002 which was 18,083.

During January car traffic through Douglas Harbour increased by 6% from 5,808 vehicles to 6,155 vehicles.

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


plus  12%






minus 7%





Freight Traffic:-

January commercial vehicles metreage increased by 7.4% from 32,122 metres to 34,501 metres.

Director of Harbours, Captain Michael Brew comments:

"January 2003 is another all time record month for passenger traffic. The percentage changes in the spit between ports this month is affected by the BEN-MY-CHREE's bi-annual overhaul in 2002 which reduced the number of Heysham services in January 2002.


The King Harry Ferry which operates across the River Fal was withdrawn from service for its annual refit on February 4 which is being undertaken at the Trelissick slipway

The King Harry Steam Ferry Company is hoping to eventually replace the ferry which carries 300,000 vehicles each year.

Services are expected to resume on February 18. During the refit motorists will have to travel the long way round to the Roseland Peninsular or to Falmouth via Truro. A photo of refit work underway can be found on the ferry company's web site in the news section.


The former Liverpool Duck tours which use two yellow passenger carrying DUKW amphibious vehicles for tours of Liverpool and the South Docks has recommenced operations as Yellow Duckmarine using the same DUKW vehicles WACKER QUACKER I and WACKER QUACKER II. The original company went into liquidation just before Christmas. However, new backers have been found and the popular visitor attraction is back in business. Tours commence from the Albert Dock. 


The Jeanie Johnston takes shelter due to strengthening gale force winds at start of historic Journey to North America.

Years of work and ambition were realised on Sunday, February 16th when the Jeanie Johnston set sail from Fenit Harbour, Co. Kerry heading for the United States, via Tenerife. In bitter weather, and gale force winds, close to 3,000 turned up at the harbour to see her set sail on her historic voyage.

Despite the weather, the mood was celebratory, deeply contrasting with how it must have been when the original Jeanie Johnston sailed from Blennerville, Co. Kerry on her maiden voyage to Quebec on April 24th, 1848. Then she brought 193 Irish emigrants in search of a new life, as the effects of the famine ravaged the land. In the port crying relatives would have said goodbye to each other, never knowing if they would meet again.

This time, those who gathered did so to celebrate all who brought this ambitious project to fruition and to wish the crew well as they set sail on an historic voyage, proudly representing the many similar Irish emigrant ships that sailed from Ireland, during the era of the great famine, bringing over 600,000 to North America. The historic 2003 voyage will commemorate the history of those times, and will celebrate the courage, spirit and achievement of those emigrants and of subsequent generations of Irish in North America.

The Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Mr. John O'Donoghue, said the project was of great value to the nation.

David Irvine, leader of the Progressive Unionist Party, who has been a long-time supporter of the project, said that with young people on board from both north and south of Ireland and across the community divide it was an example of what Ireland needed as an initiative for peace. It was a beacon of hope for reconciliation, a monument to a new and vibrant Ireland.

Mr Hugh Friel, Chairman of the Jeanie Johnston Company and Managing Director of the Kerry Group said that Sunday was a triumph of commitment and enterprise and a celebration of success and achievement.

After a farewell ceremony, the replica ship, left Fenit for her crossing of the Atlantic with a crew of 40 aboard, commanded by Tom McCarthy.

She faced gale force conditions off the East Coast during the first part of her voyage and later dipped into Dingle Bay from where she will continue her historic voyage once the strong winds abate.

Supported by the International Fund for Ireland, the crew includes young people from Down, Antrim, Armagh and Dublin. Two Americans also sail on-board her Mel Davison from Bellingham, Washington State and Tom Kindre from New Jersey. At over 80 years of age Tom expects to be the oldest person to cross the Atlantic on a triple-master barque.

The ship was accompanied out of Tralee Bay by a flotilla which included the naval vessel Le Eithne as she headed south to Tenerife to make her first landfall in early March. She will depart Tenerife on March 13th and will arrive in the West Palm Beach Florida, on April 17th, the first of up to 20 ports she will visit in the United Staes and Canada during 2003.


CLANSMAN arrived at A&P Birkenhead for refit on Monday February 17.


The first steps towards a new transport plan for the Isles of Scilly has been taken by the islands' council.

Although still at the discussion stage, the islanders are pressing for one new ship to replace the passenger ferry, SCILLONIAN III, and the freight ship, GRY MARITHA, effectively doing the job of transporting both cargoes.

"At the moment transport is our Achilles Heel," said tourism, development and maritime officer for the council, Steve Watt.

"It is a key component of the tourism industry and 85 per cent of the economy of these islands depends on tourism. Without an efficient transport system we have no tourism."

Mr. Watt said that the Government has, in principle, accepted there is a need for a new vessel the serve the Isles of Scilly and it should be funded partly by Objective 1 money. But until islanders adopt a proper transport strategy, nothing will be done to help them.

Members agreed that, with a few amendments, they would accept a report compiled by Fisher Associates and paid for by the Countryside Agency. A partnership committee will now be formed to look at individual projects put forward by the report.

"This report, in general, should be looked at as a list of opportunities that the local community may want to take on board," said council member John May.

The main thrust of the report is that the quays from which the island's vessels leave and arrive both at Penzance and St Mary's are badly in need of redevelopment.

The report also agrees that it is essential the islands have a new ship to replace SCILLONIAN 111, and concludes that to get the support and financial backing of government, the council should include both aspects of improvement as one proposal.




The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB)  published its report into a fire on the Stena Line catamaran Stena Explorer on 20 September 2001 on February 17, 2003.


Stena Explorer is a high-speed catamaran capable of carrying up to 1500 passengers and 375 cars or freight at 40 knots. The incident happened when the vessel was entering Holyhead harbour on 20 September 2001. There were 551 passengers on board and 56 crew. Visibility was good, the wind was 12 to 14 knots north-westerly and the sea state was calm in the sheltered waters.

At 18:00, as she was proceeding astern, about 350m from the linkspan, the fire alarm sounded, indicating a fire in the port auxiliary engine room. About 30 seconds after the fire alarm sounded, the vessel's entire CCTV system failed. Normally, the master used images from the CCTV cameras mounted on the stern, to position the vessel on the linkspan.

The chief engineer activated the water hi-fog fire-fighting system in the area of the fire and requested permission from the master to shut down the port pontoon. However, the master decided not to do this until the vessel was fully lined up into the approach to the

At 18:06, the vessel was secured in the linkspan, and the passengers were evacuated safely and efficiently. The fire brigade attended 10 minutes later and, on the request of the fire chief, non-essential personnel were evacuated. At 18:48, the fire brigade confirmed that the fire was extinguished.

The fire was caused by the failure of a compression fitting on an element of the fuel piping of the aft generator in the port pontoon. This failure allowed gas oil to be pumped out over the running
engine, where it came into contact with the exposed hot surface of the engine's turbo-charger unit, and was ignited. The accident highlights the dangers associated with the continued use of compression fittings in the fuel systems of diesel engines.

The failure of the CCTV system, and the issues surrounding head counting procedures, have been addressed by Stena Line as a result of its own investigation into the fire.

A plastic free-standing lubricating oil storage tank was noticed during the investigation. A recommendation regarding this tank's compliance with the regulations has been made.

Further recommendations have been made with regard to the continued use of compression fittings in fuel lines of diesel engines. Safety Action taken by Stena Line

Stena Line recognised issues as a result of its own internal investigation, and these have led to corrective actions, which are now in place. These are described below.

The vessel's CCTV system

The CCTV failure was caused by the ship's entire CCTV system being supplied by a single power supply. When the fire damaged the cable supplying the camera in auxiliary engine room three, the entire system was lost.

This power supply system has now been altered to provide two independent power supplies: one to the cameras and one to the CCTV camera control matrix. In the event of a power failure to the matrix, it can be hardwired to allow manual camera selection.

The camera power supply is further split into independent port and starboard supplies, such that a major fault on one side of the vessel will not break the electrical supply to the other side.

In addition, each of the four aft CCTV cameras, which display a view of the linkspan during berthing operations, is to be supplied by two independent power supplies. These will be taken from the port and starboard emergency lighting circuits, and will be capable of being switched manually.

In the event of a similar accident, the entire CCTV system will no longer be lost, and sufficient CCTV coverage, to enable safe operation of the vessel, will be maintained.

Head counting procedure

There is no requirement for a head counting procedure ashore, and there was no such procedure in place. This meant that a number of passengers were permitted to drive away without being counted.

Although searching a vessel to ensure that all passengers have disembarked is a useful safety procedure, a full headcount compared with the ship's passenger manifest is a more accurate method of ensuring that all have been accounted for. This should be carried out in a designated area ashore.

Stena has now included a passenger counting procedure in its port emergency plan, for every port used. The procedure describes a counting method and designated holding areas for passenger and vehicles. Stena Line also extends this service to vessels using the port as a port of refuge.

Fitting of the pig tail compression fillings

A gauge will be used on the pig-tail pipes, to facilitate checks to ensure that they are pushed as far as possible into the fuel blocks.


The Maritime and Coastguard Agency is recommended to:

1. Use the particulars of this accident, to press within the International Maritime Organization for the prohibition of compression fittings in fuel lines of diesel engines.

2. Remind all owners and operators of vessels under the UK flag to review their risk assessments in relation to insulating hot surfaces and screening fuel fittings, where compression fittings are used in diesel engine fuel lines.

3. Consider whether the plastic, free-standing, lubricating oil storage tanks installed on board Stena Explorer, and any of her sister vessels operating in UK waters, meet the requirements of The International Code of Safety for High-Speed Craft, or an equivalent level of safety.

Classification Societies are recommended to:

4. Remind all owners and operators under their jurisdiction, to review their risk assessments, and hence their policy, with regard to the use of compression fittings in diesel engine fuel oil lines, until regulation to prohibit the use of these fittings is in place.

Cummins Diesels are recommended to:

5. Supply to its agents, fitters and customers, a gauge to facilitate in-situ checks of pig-tail pipes, to ensure that they are pushed as far as possible into the fuel blocks.


Irish Ferries are reported to have won the latest round of a legal battle in a patent infringement claim by Stena Rederi Aktiebolag and Stena Line Aktiebolag in respect of the design of JONATHAN SWIFT.

The Appeal Court has dismissed a challenge by Stena against a High Court ruling last year in which Mr Justice Laddie held that while Stena's patent was valid, Irish Ferries had not infringed it on the basis of provisions in the Patents Act 1977.

Dismissing the appeal, Lord Justice Aldous said he considered Mr Justice Laddie had been entitled to come to the conclusion he reached and there had been no error of principle in his approach to the matter.

Stena had sued claiming the design of the JONATHAN SWIFT infringed its 'Superstructure for Multihull Vessels' European Patent (UK) no 0 648 173, which relates to designs aimed at making such vessels more stable by preventing 'hogging' and 'sagging' in the hulls.

In the decision now backed by the Court of Appeal, Mr Justice Laddie has held that the Stena's patent was valid. But he went on to rule that Irish Ferries had not infringed it on the basis of provisions in the Patents Act 1977. Those provisions state that an act which would constitute an infringement of a patent in respect of a ship do not do so if the act is carried out in circumstances where the ship has 'temporarily or accidentally' entered internal or territorial UK waters.

The judge said the JONATHAN SWIFT carried out between three and four return crossings between Ireland and Holyhead each day with Dublin as its home port. During normal operations it would remain in UK waters for about three hours on each trip.

He said the primary question was whether in all the circumstances, the JONATHAN SWIFT had 'temporarily' entered the territorial waters of the UK.

He held that the ferry service did give the vessel the necessary 'temporary' status to enable it to take advantage of the get-out clause in the Patents Act.

Stena Rederi Aktiebolag and Stena Line Aktiebolag v Irish Ferries Ltd - before Laddie J - Court of Appeal - February 6, 2003 - Richard Arnold QC and Hugo Cuddigan (instructed by Slaughter & May) appeared for the appellants - Richard Miller QC and Douglas

February 15

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Don MacArthur, Alistair Eagles [SeaTruck], Kevin Bennett, Tommy Dover, Ciaran Buckley and "others".


Please note your webmaster will be offline between mid afternoon on February 15 until Wednesday February 19. 


With the new "sailing season" almost here Irish Sea Shipping reverts to Sunday updates commencing Sunday February 23. There will be a mid week update on Wednesday February 19.

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

BEN-MY-CHREE fog on the evening of February 11 led to passengers on board enjoying an interesting Douglas to Morecambe Bay return cruise.

The BEN-MY-CHREE departed as usual on her 19:45 sailing to Heysham with 74 passengers on board. However, due to dense fog the ship was unable to enter Heysham and had to anchor off shore in "Heysham Lake".

The BEN-MY-CHREE eventually returned to Douglas to discharge passengers around 18:00 on February 12 who were then conveyed to Liverpool on board the LADY OF MANN which had operated an additional Liverpool - Douglas evening sailing to carry stranded passengers who had booked on the 02:15 and 14:15 sailings from Heysham to Douglas.

The BEN-MY-CHREE set sail again for Heysham on the evening of February 12 and made it through to Heysham, though services were reported to be running somewhat behind schedule. She was still running almost two hours late on February 13.


The following vessels are expected at Canada #3 Branch Dock [North] [Former Norse Merchant Terminal] over the weekend of March 8th / 9th. The ships will be open to the public on Sunday March 9 between 14:00 and 16:00:



HNLMS ZUIDERKRUIS A832 [supply vessel]




Years of work and ambition will begin to be realised on Sunday, February 16th when the Jeanie Johnston sets sail from Fenit Harbour heading for the United States, via Tenerife. Thousands are expected to see her off.

The Jeanie Johnston Company advises all those who wish to go along, to go early, as traffic restrictions will apply and Fenit Pier is likely to be extremely crowed.

Proceedings will begin at 13:30hrs, with a recital by the Army Band of the First Southern Command. At 14:30hrs, the assembled will be welcomed and addressed by Mr. Hugh Friel,

Chairman, Jeanie Johnston (Ireland) Limited; by the Mayor of Tralee, Mr. John Wall and by Mr. John O’Donoghue, Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism. There will be an Ecumenical Service followed by an Irish Flag Raising Ceremony. Captain Tom McCarthy, Master of the Jeanie Johnston, will weigh anchor at 15:15hrs and the proud Irish emigrant ship will set sail, beginning her historic voyage.

A flotilla, which will include the naval vessel LE CIARA, will see her off.

During her voyage the Jeanie Johnston will proudly represent the many similar Irish emigrant ships that sailed from Ireland, during the era of the great famine, bringing over 600,000 Irish to North America. She will also celebrate the courage, spirit and achievement of all those Irish emigrants and of subsequent generations of Irish in North America.

The Jeanie Johnston is expected to arrive in the United States circa April 16th.

In advance, on Friday, February 14th there will also be a special 'Bon Voyage' Banquet, in the Brandon Hotel, which has sold out.

The Jeanie Johnston – 2003 Historic Voyage

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 it 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.

Wherever the Jeanie Johnston goes she will radiate the new Ireland, which is proud to remember her past.

The Jeanie Johnston is a tribute to the courage of the Irish people and their spirit to succeed.


Jeanie Johnston Company has confirmed that the  JEANIE JOHNSTON replica emigrant ship will arrive at West Palm Beach, Florida on April 17th.

The Jeanie Johnston Company has confirmed that the first 3 ports the ship will visit during her historic voyage to North America 2003 are as follows:

West Palm Beach, Florida
Arriving, Thursday, April 17th and departing Monday, April 28th

Savannah, Georgia
Arriving Friday, May 2nd and departing Monday, May 12th

Charleston, South Carolina
Arriving Thursday May 15th, departing Monday, May 19th

During her visits the ship will be open to visitors who will have the opportunity to experience just what it would have been like aboard an Irish emigrant ship, during famine time.

There will also be sail training opportunities with the possibility of joining the ship between West Palm Beach and Savannah and between Savannah and Charleston. Details will feature on this site within the next two days.

Work continues on confirming the Jeanie Johnston’s visits to other ports and, as a broad outline, the ship will leave Charleston and 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.

According to Jeanie Johnston Company Chief Executive Denis Reen “Expectation and support from North America continues to build, and Captain Tom McCarthy and his crew eagerly await the opportunity to bring the ship to close to 20 ports in the United States and Canada. As we practiced on our successful 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. We are still not yet in a position to announce the full port schedule, but will do so at the earliest possible time”.

“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 continue to work through”.

As ever, or internet site at is the best way to keep up-to-date on the Voyage, said Denis Reen.


The Plymouth lifeboat crew took delivery of the city's new £2 million craft on February 11  thanks to the generous bequest of West Country marine artist Sybil Mullen Glover, who died in 1995 who donated £800,000 in her will to the RNLI.

Born in Plymouth, she was inspired to leave the generous gift after attending a concert in aid of the RNLI.

The new boat, to be named after the artist in a July ceremony, could not have arrived at a more fitting time during the 200th anniversary year of Plymouth's lifeboat station.

Plymouth RNLI secretary Tony Giblett said: "This bequest means we have the fastest, most seaworthy lifeboat that is available. Without it that never would have been the case."

The Sybil Mullen Glover, a Severn Class craft, is capable of reaching a speed of 28 knots  far out-stripping the 18-knot limit of its Arun Class predecessor.

Crew member Andrew Leigh said: "This is great for Plymouth. The speed of the boat means we will be able to get to an emergency so much quicker."

The 17-metre-long vessel has many state-of-the-art features that will enable faster and more efficient rescues.

One of the greatest improvements is in the design and use of space.

In addition to six crew and a paramedic the lifeboat is able to carry many passengers.

Mr Leigh said: "The number of survivors we can take on board has dramatically increased, even though the new boat is only a metre or so bigger than the previous one. "

A hydraulic arm fitted on the deck will be used to lower the boat's inflatable tender into the water, thereby reducing man-power required for the operation.

The wheel house is similar in design to the cockpit of a large aircraft and even boasts an autopilot control. Comfort is a major issue to lifeboat men when battling the stormy seas. The craft has been fitted with specially seats that can be adjusted to fit the individual crew member. They will help to prevent injury during rough conditions and Mr Leigh says they may even help combat sea-sickness.

The addition of a bow thruster mechanism will allow much better handling and manoeuvrability.

Coxswain of the Sybil Mullen Glover, David Milford, brought the craft into Millbay Marina said: "The new lifeboat is fabulous. Bringing it to the City of Plymouth was a great honour and the highlight of my career. It is a floating ambulance for casualties and will help to save a lot more lives at sea."

The Lord and Lady Mayor of Plymouth, Coun Ian Gordon and his wife Lin, were among those who greeted the craft as she sailed into the Sound. Addressing the well-wishers, Coun Gordon said: "This is a good day for the city and a good day for the RNLI."

The vessel replaces Plymouth's temporary lifeboat RNLI Newsbuoy, in operation since last autumn when the permanent City of Plymouth craft was taken out of service.


Despite the fog causing problems for Cenargo and Sea Containers sailings, SeaTruck's RIVERDANCE and MOONDANCE continued to sail without problems on the Heysham - Warrenpoint service.


LORD OF THE ISLES departed from A&P Birkenhead on the morning tide of February 15 on completion of her refit.


BRAVE MERCHANT departed from Marchwood near Southampton on Sunday bound for Kuwait loaded with military hardware.

There is a suggestion that Maersk Sealand, part of the Mollar Group may be a possible purchaser of the Cenargo Irish Sea operation. The company already charters three of the Norse Merchant race horse class ships for their English Channel Norfolk Line operation.

Fog caused problems for services operating to Heysham on February 12 with all four vessels reported to be fog bound at one point.

A report in the Birmingham Evening Mail reveals that a man accused of being part of a Real IRA terrorist cell which planted three car bombs in Britain was trapped by officers as he attempted to flee Britain on DAWN MERCHANT a jury heard.

Robert Hulme, 26, was arrested while waiting to sail from Merseyside docks two weeks after the third bomb failed to detonate outside a packed nightclub in Smallbrook Queensway, Birmingham, it was told.

Crew put out an announcement for the terror suspect who then walked into the hands of waiting officers, the Old Bailey heard.

Hulme fled from Hill Top Farm, in West Ardsley, South Yorkshire, where explosives equipment similar to that used in the bombing campaign were later found.

He arrived at Canada Dock, Liverpool, on November 14, 2001, and boarded the
Dawn Merchant Ferry, the Old Bailey heard.

Det Con John McCavern told the court: 'We asked staff on the ship to put out a tannoy for Hulme to go to the ferry reception.

'That's when he was detained.' Hulme, his brother Aiden, 23, and Noel Maguire, 34, deny conspiracy to cause explosions likely to endanger life or cause serious injury to property, and two charges of possessing an explosive substance with intent to cause an explosion and possessing a firearm and ammunition with intent to endanger life.

James McCormack, 34, and John Hannan, 19, have both admitted their part in the terror campaign and will be sentenced at the end of the trial.

One bomb was hidden in a taxi parked outside Television Centre, in Shepherd's Bush, in March and a second exploded in Ealing Broadway five months later.


Ships calling at Wicklow for the week ending February 8 included NOORTZEE, HEMO, BALTIC ERIN and AJOS G. Syllanpaa OY's stone carrier JOPI is reported to be continuing work near Kilcoole.


Press reports indicate that with only a week  to the closing of tenders for the Campbeltown - Ballycastle service Sea Containers, the routes original operator, has confirmed that it will not be be putting in a tender. The company closed the route three years ago following significant losses.

This time there is a £5 million subsidy on offer and if that is not enough to tempt Sea Containers the question is can anyone else be tempted?

The Scottish Executive has declined to comment on the number of companies which it has invited to tender, because of commercial confidentiality.

However, Caledonian MacBrayne has declared that it is not interested in the route.

Argyll Ferries, the only company other than Sea Containers which had
publicly declared an interest, was reported to be uncertain whether it would actually lodge a bid.

Russ McLean, managing director of Argyll Ferries, said that he, personally, had "had enough" claiming that he felt that Argyll and Bute Council was blocking his efforts.

However, he said that other board members of his company still firmly believed that a bid should be lodged and no final decision had yet been made.

Mr McLean's annoyance revolves around what he alleges are repeated failed attempts to get permission from the council to berth the ship operating the service at Campbeltown. The council claims berthing the vessel there is inconvenient to other harbour users.

Mr. McLean said the council had suggested that the only way the ship could be berthed at Campbeltown was if it could always be moved, at short notice.

But he claimed this would mean always having at least 10 crew on standby, as this was the minimum number required, under safety legislation, to move such a vessel.

He added: "I am ready to walk, I have had enough, but there are 10 share- holders."

And he said that the shareholders, himself included, were genuinely concerned that if they didn't bid for the route, there may be no interest shown in it at all.


ULYSSES returned to service on the evening sailing from Dublin on Thursday February 13 following her refit at A&P Falmouth. She had been floated out of the Queen Elizabeth Dry Dock on the previous evening and commenced her voyage to Dublin in the early hours of Thursday morning. She had reached Dublin Bay at 17:00 and waited for ISLE OF INISHMORE to discharge before proceeding to her berth at 20:00. ISLE OF INISHMORE has now sailed for Falmouth for her refit.


Following in the wake of recent schedule changes announced by Irish Ferries, Stena Line have announced changes in sailing schedule from March 3 to enable the company to begin preparations for the arrival of the new STENA ADVENTURER in early summer.

The changes have been made to accommodate the increase capacity that the new vessel will bring, and will primarily enable the company to deliver the additional volumes into Dublin ahead of peak traffic times.

The new Schedule is:

Holyhead depart 02.30 and 14.30
Dublin depart   08.30 and 20.45

Latest check in times will also be decreased from 60 to 40 minutes from March 3 with the exception of unaccompanied and accompanied hazardous goods which maintain a 60 minute check-in. Unaccompanied hazardous goods will retain the 120 minute check in time

In order to meet vessel arrival time and manoeuvring requirements within
Holyhead, the High Speed departure at 22:15 from Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead
will sail 30 minutes earlier at 21:45 (Mon - Fri), see below:

HIGH SPEED SERVICE sailing times:


21:45hrs Mon - Fri
- 21:00 Sat & Sun



P&O Irish Sea has ended the year on a buoyant note recording an increase of 8.5% on the number of tourist vehicles which travelled on the Larne-Cairnryan route in 2002.

The number of passengers using the route rose by 4.5% to 650,000 while freight increased by 9%.

Graham McCullough, General Manager for P&O Irish Sea's Scottish Routes, credits the success partly to the performance of the two brand new superferries, European Causeway and European Highlander, built specifically for the route, which began operating together in July 2002.

"Reliability is a key issue within this industry and while we cannot control the weather, we can provide ships which respond positively to all weather conditions.  We invested over £80m in the new vessels and they have quickly gained a reputation for reliability which is second to none.  Neither ship has lost a sailing due to weather conditions since they began operating - European Causeway in 2000 and European Highlander in 2002.  Our customers know this and our year-end figures confirm this," he points out.

The frequency of sailings and the fact that Larne-Cairnryan offers the shortest and fastest crossing between Ireland and Great Britain are also contributing factors to the success. P&O Irish Sea offer seven round trips per day to and from Scotland with European Causeway and European Highlander.

Their fast craft, Superstar Express, operated from March until September increasing the frequency of sailings to 12 round trips per day and offering the only one-hour crossing to Scotland, which is a very popular choice.

P&O Irish Sea is planning to maintain and expand on this success with the announcement that a new fast ferry service from Larne to Troon will commence in April 2003.  Superstar Express will operate two round trips to Troon with a crossing time of 109 minutes in addition to two round trips to Cairnryan, maintaining the record-breaking 60-minute crossing.

Mr McCullough adds:  "In a year when tourism has been recovering from the aftermath of Foot and Mouth Disease, it is particularly pleasing to record this level of growth.  We are determined to continue this trend and are confident that our new Larne-Troon service will complement the success of our Larne-Cairnryan service."

In addition to the Scottish services, P&O Irish Sea also operate between Larne and Fleetwood in North England, from Dublin to Mostyn in North Wales and Liverpool.  Their continental services provide a seasonal crossing between Dublin and Cherbourg and a year-round service from Rosslare to Cherbourg.


Mr David McEvoy of PricewaterhouseCoopers announced on February 14 that he had retired as receiver and manager of the Incat Group after eleven months in the job.

Mr McEvoy said it had been a long and difficult eleven months for the Hobart shipbuilder and its employees, and commended the National Australia Bank for taking a supportive role in the provision of finance to allow the receiver to continue trading for such an extended period.

He said a complex financing deal struck today had allowed the construction of hull 061 to continue and be supplied to the US Navy. This is the third vessel Incat will supply to the US, enabling PricewaterhouseCoopers to hand back the six Incat companies under their control to the directors.

"I am very pleased to announce the end of the Incat receivership. The successful settlement of today's refinancing deal will see 340 Incat employees continue to have work and the receivership to end," Mr McEvoy said.

"The successful outcome of this receivership is due to all key stakeholders working together including the National Australia Bank , the Tasmanian Government, other Incat financiers, Incat employees and Incat management.

"This successful outcome is testimony to the quality of Incat's products and the strength of the Incat brand in the world high speed vessel market," he said.

February 10


A report in Lloyds List indicates that Cenargo has applied for voluntary administration in the UK High Court.

Ernst & Young have been appointed administrators, they will either sell the company as a going concern or liquidate its assets.

Royal Bank of Scotland subsidiary Lombard is believed to have started an insolvency action in the English courts claiming that the company had no right to creditor protection in the United States.

February 8

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Kev Bennett, Adrian Sweeney, Tony Brennan, Alison Routledge, Stan Basnett and "others".


Welcome to this weekend's update. Since last Saturday there have been three additional updates on February 2, 3 and 5. Depending on the amount of news and material received there may be a mid week update. As I will travelling to the Isle of Man on Saturday evening, next Saturday's update will be posted around 14:00.


The next meeting will be at Sam's Bar, Function Room at the corner of Old Hall Street and Tithebarn Street, Liverpool on Tuesday February 11 at 19:00. 

John Taylor of the Merseyside Branch will deliver an illustrated talk CAMMELL LAIRD Part VI.

Admission £1.00 including refreshments. Visitors welcome.

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

The Belfast - Troon service withdrawn from January 7 will now recommence on February 27. Originally the service was to have been suspended until March 10.

It is also understood that the Belfast - Heysham service will also recommence earlier on April 1 rather than April 10.

BEN-MY-CHREE is understood to have burned out her bow thruster motor on Friday morning February 7.

SUPERSEACAT ONE - moved from Vittoria Dock where she had laid up into dry dock at A&P Birkenhead for refit pending her deployment on the Baltic this summer.

SEACAT ISLE OF MAN - has moved from NWS Bidston yard to West Float for completion of her refit. Though she is expected to return to the Belfast - Troon route when it reopens later this month it is interesting to note that she has retained her Steam Packet Company roundel on the MES hatch covers. 

Stock market watchers will have noted that the Sea Containers share price has been drifting steadily lower over the past few weeks and reached just over $6 earlier this week. This probably prompted the company to issue a press release on February 6 concerning a number of inquiries received about the recent fall in the company's common share price.

Mr. James B. Sherwood, president, said that he was mystified because the company had an excellent fourth quarter in 2002 and its earnings for the year will be significantly higher than the $27.9 million ($1.40 per common share diluted) reported for the nine months ended
September 30, 2002. This will represent a huge improvement over the net income of $4.5 million ($0.24 per common share diluted) reported for the full year 2001.

Mr. Sherwood said that the 2002 results were currently under audit and the company would announce its results late in March as customary.

Mr. Sherwood said that the fourth quarter, 2002 results were better than expected because marine container leasing showed improvement and the company's rail subsidiary, GNER, had achieved important cost savings while revenue was on target.

Mr. Sherwood said that "shelf" registrations for sale of Sea Containers common shares and those of Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. owned by the company, as well as the Form 144 filing for sale of his own shares were exhausted late in 2002 and new filings have recently
been made. Mr. Sherwood said in his own case he has no present intention of selling any of his shares in the company at today's distress prices.


It appears that recent concerns voiced on Irish Sea Shipping  and elsewhere regarding the Maritime Museum ship being dispersed to Chatham following the closure of the models gallery have proved to be unfounded. The models will remain on Merseyside and many will reappear at the museum. 


LÉ RÓISÍN [P51] will be sailing across the Atlantic to Savannah Georgia for the SAINT PATRICK's Day Celebrations at the invitation of the Mayor. 


EUROPEAN DIPLOMAT reported a port engine failure off the Lizard when on a Cherbourg - Rosslare sailing on February 3. She changed course for Falmouth at a reduced speed of 9 knots where she arrived at around 10:30. Repairs were completed and the vessel resumed her sailing to Rosslare about 22:30.


The Norse Merchant Ferries website is offline for "reconstruction". A message invites customers to phone for details of the Belfast - Liverpool service. There is no mention of sailings to Dublin. One therefore presumes that there is no intention to restore passenger facilities on the Liverpool - Dublin route. These ended last week with the departure of BRAVE MERCHANT for a charter to the Royal Navy.

This leaves LINDAROSA and NORSE MERSEY on the Liverpool - Dublin service providing accommodation for freight drivers only.


Mersey Ferries have published details of the programme of Manchester Ship Canal and Special Cruises for 2003. 

Though the ship canal cruise is popular with shipping enthusiasts the Liverpool Bay cruise appears again [Last operated September 2001 as a Sea and River Cruise]. This offers a cruise on Sunday afternoons at 13:20 and 15:30 between July 27 and September 7 inclusive. Duration 90 minutes. Fare £6.50 adults £3.50 children. 


From March 3rd Irish Ferries have changed the Dublin - Holyhead schedule. ULYSSES will now be operating 40 to 45 minutes earlier which will provide for an earlier morning and evening arrival time in Dublin

With the earlier arrival of ULYSSES it is necessary to change the early  morning departure of the JONATHAN SWIFT. The availability of a new berth in Dublin  will enable the company to offer a later morning departure. The 06:50 departure will  be more attractive to tourists than the existing 06:15. As a consequence of this later departure the 09:15 from Holyhead will depart 5 minutes later at 09:20.

With the earlier arrival of ULYSSES in the evening it is necessary to change  the evening departure of the JONATHAN SWIFT. Thus the 18:00 sailing will be brought  forward to 17:30. This earlier departure will enable us to bring the 20:45  sailing forward to 20:15 thus offering an earlier evening  arrival time into Dublin. The new schedule is shown below:







Jonathan Swift23:30 A01:19 A02:30 B04:19 B

Jonathan Swift










Jonathan Swift






Jonathan Swift












 Jonathan Swift




A: - Fridays only 11 July to 29 Aug      B:- Saturdays only 12 Jul and 30 Aug

The earlier ULYSSES sailings times will probably make an afternoon / evening return sail more popular with UK enthusiasts, particularly in the summer months using the 15:00 from Holyhead and the 21:05 return sailing. Irish Ferries offer day excursion fares of just £10 [£12 Jonathan Swift].


The final public opening of the ship prior to her maiden trans-Atlantic takes place at Fenit on February 8th and 9th.

The trans-Atlantic voyage will commence on February 16 with a sending of ceremony at Fenit. The ship is expected to arrive in the Southern States  on, or close to, April 16th. During the 2003 voyage The JEANIE JOHNSTON 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. She will then return home to Ireland in October.

February 5

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Kev Bennett, Philip Parker, Tommy Dover and "others".


BRAVE MERCHANT departed from the Mersey for her Ministry of Defence charter on Tuesday February 4.

She moved off Twelve Quays North to allow LINDAROSA to berth and stemmed the tide in a position south of the Pier Head off the Albert Dock. BRAVE MERCHANT finally moved off at 10:30. She is bound for Antwerp and then Southampton

BRAVE MERCHANT departed from Twelve Quays at 08:55 on Tuesday, February 4. An observer reports that she waited north of the Landing Stages until the tug COLLINGWOOD berthed the in bound LINDAROSA. Collingwood then proceeded to the Prince's Landing Stage to convey
charts to BRAVE MERCHANT before she finally departed for her Ministry of Defence charter. She is bound for Antwerp and then Southampton this coming weekend.

LINDAROSA will replace BRAVE MERCHANT on the Liverpool to Dublin route.


Coasters calling to the port last  week included UNION VENUS, LUMARE, SCOT VENTURE and sister ship SCOT MARINER, both ships were in port at different times on the 28th.

The JOPI is back working near Kilcoole, she was seen going north off Wicklow port on Sunday (26)

The coaster SEA THAMES was at anchor in the bay on February 2 weather-bound.



The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has taken delivery of four new boats from Vosper Thorneycroft Halmatic for use around the United Kingdom coastline.

Delivered so far are a general purpose support vessel to the Isles of Scilly and three Artic 22 rigid inflatable boats to Holyhead, Hull and St Andrews in Scotland.

The support vessel can reach speeds of more than 30 knots, and will be used to reach the smaller harbours and inlets in the Isles of Scilly and in Cornwall. The Artic 22 rigid inflatable boats can also reach speeds of more than 30 knots due to its twin 90hp outboard engines. These vessels are not designed at rescue vessels but will be used on a variety of tasks on a regional basis.

Later this year four Pacific 32 cabin vessels powered by twin Yanmar inboard diesels to drive Hamilton waterjets are being delivered for use in Southampton, Oban (2) and in Cardiff.

John Garner, Deputy Director of Operations said:

“ We are delighted to accept these new vessels, which have now been deployed into the areas where they will be based. These boats are small, highly mobile and will be used in a wide variety of roles including patrol, safety and enforcement duties.

“ Having reviewed our use of vessels it has become clear that we required a certain type of craft which were capable of carrying out a wide variety of tasks, and to be compliant with the various MCA Codes of Practice.

“ These new vessels will also be available for MCA Surveyors/Inspectors for the purposes of undertaking surveys or inspections of vessels at anchor or inshore including spot checks. With crews wearing uniform, these vessels will be deployed throughout the week on a regional basis and they should become a common sight in our harbours and ports.”

February 1

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Adrian Sweeney, David Gordon, Trevor Kidd & "others"


An additional update was posted on January 29.  To access news bulletin for January 29 <click >. 


The news bulletins have been restructured. You will find some differences when navigating. This has been done to enable the 2002 bulletins to be held on the main site rather than placed in one of the satellite archives. Hopefully at some stage this year British Telecom permitting it may be possible to get a broad band link and make full use of the 300 Megabytes available for storage, therefore, retaining the 2002 bulletins makes sense.

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

L1020881.JPG (46439 bytes)The company has acquired the former Norse Merchant Ferries portakabin terminal building from Canada #3 Branch Dock. This has been installed to the east of the present Pier Head terminal into the area occupied by the staff car park. At present the acquired building still carries "Merchant Ferries" branding. The intention being to transfer the booking office to the new building and dedicate the existing terminal building to passenger facilities.

SEACAT ISLE OF MAN - apparently the extended repairs are as a result of discovery of cracks in the car deck. It is then believed that she will operate Belfast - Troon until April 7 when she will be replaced by RAPIDE, before being replaced again by SEACAT ISLE OF MAN after June 10. 

SUPERSEACAT ONE - the starboard side of the hull appears to have been damaged as a result of the vessel's hull overriding the quay wall at Vittoria Dock, Birkenhead. The hull has come into contact with mooring bollards. This has left deep groves and dents in the hull.

LADY OF MANN - The company has confirmed details of the special excursions to be operated during Summer 2003. Beginning on 10 June and following the busy TT race period, the vessel will operate the ever-popular special excursions to and from Llandudno, Fleetwood and White haven.

The full programme of sailings is as follows.

Tuesday 10th June

Llandudno/ IOM 10.15 hrs

IOM/Llandudno 18.00 hrs

Wednesday 11 th June

IOM/Fleetwood 06.00 hrs

Fleetwood/IOM 10.15 hrs

IOM/Fleetwood 18.00 hrs

Fleetwood/IOM 22.15 hrs

Thursday 12th June

IOM/Llandudno 06.30 hrs

Llandudno/IOM 10.15 hrs

IOM/Llandudno 19.30 hrs

Llandudno/IOM 22.00 hrs

Friday  13th June

IOM/White haven 07.30 hrs

White haven/ IOM 11 .00 hrs

IOM/White haven 20.00 hrs

White haven/ IOM 23.15 hrs

Llandudno and Whitehaven day excursion fares are £22.00 per adult and £11.00 per child.

Fleetwood day excursion fares are £26.00 per adult and £13.00 per Child.

Additionally the Llandudno schedules provide for a 3 Day Return fare at £36.00 per adult and £18.00 per child.  All fares can be booked direct from the Ferry Travel Shop, Sea Terminal Building, by telephone (01624) 661661 or through local travel agents.


The anniversary of the Princess Victoria disaster was marked by a community service in Donaghadee Co Down on 31st January. Over 300 people braved the icy weather to commemorate the event and watch the Mayor of Ards unveil a memorial plaque.

A restored 1950's ambulance was brought to the harbour and sat alongside the lifeboat during the service.

After the service, the lifeboat was launched and a wreath was laid at the site of the wreck, 5 miles off the Co Down Coast.

Over 200 people gathered at the disaster memorial at Larne where a marble plaque was unveiled, wreaths laid and a memorial service conducted.

At Stranraer, a commemorative plaque was also unveiled at a service attended by survivors and relatives of those who died.

See also:


L1020872.JPG (47139 bytes)As noted last week A&P have now applied their branding to the buildings at the former Cammell Laird shipyard at Birkenhead. 

This is the completed logo and lettering photographed on February 1. It is certainly distinctive and bold but will never have the same stature as the former lettering "Cammell Laird - Shipbuilders,  Engineers and Repairers" which looked out over the Mersey for so many years. 



BRAVE MERCHANT is to be chartered to the Ministry of Defence next week. Given the world situation one imagines that it is fairly obvious where she will be going!

She will be replaced on the Dublin route with LINDAROSA. This effectively means the end of the Birkenhead - Dublin passenger service.

It is thought unlikely that BRAVE MERCHANT ever return to the Mersey. There have been rumours circulating for some months that she will join her sisters on the English Channel operating under charter to Norfolk Line. 

LAGAN VIKING - the Friday evening [January 31] Birkenhead - Belfast sailing was delayed when a car caught fire on the vehicle deck. The ship was reported departing some three hours late as she was reported to be partly smoke logged.


A report in the Cornishman suggests that next week’s crucial Isles of Scilly council meeting to discuss the adoption of a transport strategy, is the last chance to get it right, said the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company this week.

Although the company broadly welcomes the ‘Moving On" report into the future of the islands’ transport strategy, it does not agree that the shipping element of it should be left to market forces.

 The company would like to see a partnership between all sides, including themselves, and see that partnership as a whole lobbying for public funding to provide revenue and capital subsidies, as happens in other parts of the UK.

The report was commissioned from independent consultants Fisher Associates by the Isles of Scilly council.

This week Jeff Marston, chief executive of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company gave his response to the report which he believes has created a unique opportunity to look at innovative solutions and to cement solid partnerships that will help deliver sustainable transport infrastructure to serve generations to come.

He said he welcomed the opportunity to put the case for the Steamship Company being the potential partner in the Route Partnership between Penzance and St Mary’s, listing first class credentials.

The company has been established for 80 years and exists to service the islands. It has unsurpassed experience and knowledge of the routes and the islands’ requirements, and has an exemplary safety record. It is a company known and trusted by islanders, and one which is prepared to take a flexible approach in working with the council for the delivery of a sustainable transport infrastructure.

‘We have company commitment and wish to invest in becoming a partner in the delivery of future transport needs for the Isles of Scilly," said Mr. Marston.

He sees the future as a package with new quays at either end of the route at Penzance and St Mary’s and one boat which will carry both passengers and freight instead of the present SCILLONIAN and Gry Maritha.

"There needs to be a route partnership between the Duchy of Cornwall which owns the quay on St Mary’s, Penwith council, which owns Penzance quay, the Isles of Scilly council and the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company."

As well as new quays at St Mary’s and Penzance, Mr. Marston said his company also supported plans for development of quays on the off islands which would improve service levels.

He said that the company had identified the need for public funding support towards the capital cost for a new boat and revenue grant aid for non-sustainable routes in the winter, including off-island services.

"It is simply not viable for the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company, or any other company, to purchase a suitable new boat to service the islands on a commercial basis because revenue will not support capital investment and repayments as well as operational costs.

‘There is also a high level of seasonality dictated by island tourism, and off island operational costs saw a £700,000 loss accumulated over the past 10 years.

"In return for support in lobbying for both capital and revenue funding, and for integration within the islands’ transport strategy, the company is prepared to undertake to restructure to facilitate public funding and more realistically manage the dilemma of providing a public service whilst operating a commercial company. This could include the separation of ship owning concerns from ship operating business, with the potential to seek new public sector stakeholders.

"We would also be committed to providing a combined cargo/passenger ferry. This would reduce journey times, improve the ability to sail in poor weather, deliver all year round, have the ability to carry higher volumes and tonnage of freight and provide a year round service, including to the off islands."

The final draft of the Fisher report is to be considered by the Isles of Scilly Council on February 4 and the Steamship Company wants the council to consider its recommendations.

These are:

· To recognise the need for an integrated strategy and delivery time-frame with strategic partners identified from the outset to ensure investment is fit for purpose.

· That the inclusion of the need for a dedicated vessel capable of fully utilising the new quays is vital to the success of the route and should be incorporated into an integrated sustainable transport strategy.

· That the vessel will require both capital and revenue support to make it viable.

· That there needs to be resolution of the need for revenue funding support for inter-island freight to the off islands’.

· And that the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company should be a key strategic partner in delivering the Routes Partnership.


EUROPEAN SEAFARER remains in Canada Graving Dock, Liverpool. She is believed to be off service for bow thruster repairs.

EUROPEAN NAVIGATOR was expected to depart Larne for the last time at 22:00 on February 1 bound for Merseyside. She will undergo dry docking there and then be handed over to her new owners.


The lengthy dispute between Harland and Wolff and an American oil company over the cost of two drill ships has finally been settled.

GlobalSantaFe, formerly known as Global Marine, has agreed to pay £4.68m to settle the dispute, with a further £1.4m subject to a ruling on the costs of completion arbitration.

This is on top of an extra £65m the company had already paid, pending arbitration of the row.

The shipyard said the money would allow it to repay certain loans and to focus on its plans for the future. The dispute threatened to put the firm into receivership at one stage.

The dispute arose from work carried out at the yard on the second of two drill ships, which were being made for the US firm.

Harland and Wolff said the vessel was ready for delivery, but Global Marine refused to accept the ship, claiming that it was not completed to its satisfaction. The shipyard won an appeal over the arbitration claim in June 2001.

At the time, the jobs of more than 500 workers depended on the shipyard winning the dispute. But the shipyard struggled to gain new work and two weeks ago, what was thought to have been the last ship to be built in Belfast, the Anvil Point, was named.

When it leaves the yard in the coming weeks, only 130 of the workforce will remain. But the company is hopeful it may benefit from a contract to build two new aircraft carriers for the Royal Navy.


The Western Morning News reports that Cornwall's newest visitor attraction has been so successful that it looks set to break its own visitor number forecasts by tens of thousands.

The National Maritime Museum Cornwall, in Falmouth, has dealt with 80,000 visitors in the first seven weeks of opening.

Robin Barker, marketing manager for the £28 million attraction, said: "We had forecast that we would see 180,000 people in the first year. Now projections are for more than 200,000."

He acknowledged that the testing time would come in mid-February when the museum started to charge an entrance fee.

The NMMC is open five days a week, free of charge, while any hiccups are ironed out. Passports giving free entry until the end of the year are also half-price.

And for people returning to the museum, exhibitions are already changing. The initial special exhibition has been taken down and replaced by "The Sea" - photographic work by Serena Banham. Serena, who won the museum's first commission, took photographs of Cornwall's coastline and waterfronts over a period of one year.

On February 19, when the admission fees come in and the museum starts to open seven days a week, the exhibition will change again to "Shipshape". That will feature oil paintings and prints by former boat builder James Dodds.

Meanwhile tenders have been put out for the park and float scheme to bring visitors to the museum via boats from Ponsharden, on the outskirts of Falmouth, across the harbour.

It has been estimated that eventually, the project will provide 70 full-time jobs.

Plans for the site also include a park and ride scheme and a public slipway. The park and float will operate in the summer and the area will be used for small boat lay-up during the winter.

Also being built at Ponsharden is a structure to house exhibits from the National Small Boat Collection when they are not on display at the main museum.


The Isles of Scilly could be left without a leading coastguard officer for months as a result of a nationwide review of the vital emergency service's resources according to a Western Morning News report.

The islands' current coastguard section manager is leaving on February 15 to take another job within the service at Poole in Dorset.

But because of a national assessment of the coastguard operations, the full-time post, based at St Mary's, has yet to be advertised - sparking fears that lives could be put at risk in the event of an incident.

But the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) sought to dispel concerns, saying the role would be adequately handled - in the meantime - from the mainland.

"We will be trying to handle it from West Cornwall," the spokesman explained. "We don't want to advertise the post if there are changes in the offing.

"A new vessel based in Falmouth, details of which will be released soon, will make covering the post much easier."

The manager is responsible for the islands' coastguard teams, fishing vessel inspections and school safety visits, and also liaises with harbourmasters.

He is also responsible for promoting fishing safety with a variety of organisations and the co-ordination of major incidents in what the MCA spokesman described as "more than a full-time job for anybody".

The coastguard operation nationally has been split into three areas - northern, eastern and western. Each area is currently reviewing its operations following the revision of regional boundaries.

At the moment, there is no timescale for the review which, the spokesman said, would look to optimise the service's performance.

"We are very aware of the coastguard influence on the peninsula and the islands themselves," he added yesterday.

"Those proposals have to come here for approval and at the moment no decision has been made on any posts."


STENA EUROPE - on January 30, the ship suffered complete engine failure on a delayed morning sailing from Rosslare to Fishguard. This is how the incident was reported by the Western Mail: 

A group of exhausted ferry passengers finally arrived on dry land last night after a seven-hour ordeal at sea. The 155 passengers and 65 crew were on their way back to Wales when their ferry broke down two miles off the coast of Ireland. The 21-year-old Stena Europe suffered total engine failure just off the Tuskar Rock, at the entrance to Rosslare, leaving the vessel without power in heavy seas and high winds for almost an hour.

Rescue services including helicopters and lifeboats on both sides of the Irish Sea were launched in case an emergency evacuation was needed. But Stena engineers managed to restart first one, then three, of the 25,000-tonne ship's four engines and she limped back to the port of Pembroke last night.

The company has launched an investigation into the cause of the engine failure. The drama for passengers began shortly after midday yesterday when the ferry, which has only recently returned to service after an overhaul, left Rosslare Harbour for Fishguard. She had been due to arrive in Fishguard 3 hours later but was already running around three hours late because of bad weather.

However, just two miles from Rosslare, she lost engine propulsion when all four engines broke down.

The ferry asked for the assistance of Irish Coastguard, who sent two rescue helicopters from Dublin and Waterford as well as lifeboats from Rosslare, Arklow and Kilmore Quay. Two rescue helicopters from RAF Valley in Anglesey and Chivenor in Devon were also launched as well as a Nimrod plane from RAF Lyneham.

An Irish naval vessel and fisheries vessel were also on stand-by A spokesperson for Stena Line said last night that the passengers were never in any danger.

"We asked for Coastguard assistance purely as a precautionary measure to be
on hand while engineers were working to restart the engines."

Engineers managed to restart one engine about an hour later, and the other two shortly afterwards.

A spokesperson for Irish Coastguard, who co-ordinated the situation and later helped to monitor the passage of the vessel across the Irish Sea, said the weather had been quite severe, with gusts as high as 45 knots.

"It's standard procedure to task everything when you have that many people on board," he said.

Because of strong northerly winds the vessel docked at Port of Pembroke last night instead of Fishguard. Technical problems then meant another delay of about 1 hours before passengers could disembark.


The following news item appeared in the Cornishman this week. Although it appears to be new news the yard has been working on the VEGA since the autumn. However, it is a significant order for this small historic shipyard once owned by Holman's.

Penzance Dry Dock has beaten off competition from America, New Zealand, Holland and Spain in winning a £10 million contract to convert a Swedish ice-breaker and ice-rescue ship into a luxury motor yacht capable of taking its passengers anywhere in the world.

The two-year contract for a client based in Northern Europe - itself the culmination of two years of negotiation - is a major export coup for the yard, which normally turns over about £2.5 million a year.

Vega, formerly owned by the Swedish Government and used in maritime ice-rescues, will retain her ice capability which means that she will be able to sail the North-West passage as well as cruising in the tropics.

Mike Thomas, Penzance Dry Dock's managing director told The Cornishman on Tuesday: "This is a wonderful result of long and difficult negotiations and it has secured the medium term future for the yard.

"This is the third luxury yacht project won by Penzance and means that we are building up a portfolio of conversion work alongside our traditional commercial ship repairs.

"This," he added, "puts us in a good position to compete for similar contracts in the future."

The yard, which has a workforce of 35 - building to 50 on this contract - will be carrying out half the work on the motor yacht and sub-contracting out some of the specialist work, to West Country companies wherever commercially feasible.

Plater-welders are currently being recruited.

The identity of the motor yacht's owner is being withheld - at his own request - but it is possible that he, or an agent, will visit Penzance Dry Dock from time to time to see the work progressing. He visited the yard prior to the contract being awarded.

Work has now begun on the Vega which, at the moment, is an unprepossessing hull.

"This is a great challenge and a great project as we are virtually building a new ship," said Mr. Thomas.

Meanwhile work on other vessels at Penzance Dry Dock continues.

This includes the docking of the Isles of Scilly ferry, SCILLONIAN 111 and the re-build of the 1983 Americas Cup guard boat for a company in the Bahamas.

Additionally, a giant steel sculpture, designed by local artist David Kemp is currently in fabrication and will provide an artistic landmark at the Penzance transport interchange, now under construction. When repairs on SCILLONIAN 111 are complete, the tanker Whitspray, owned by Whitaker Tankers Ltd of Hull, will take her place for three weeks.



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