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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



April 30

Acknowledgements: Ian Collard, Gary Andrews and "others"

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

SUPERSEACAT THREE did not depart from A&P Birkenhead as expected on Tuesday the delay being likely due to a weather window being awaited for the delivery voyage to the Baltic. Departure from the Mersey is now likely to be on Friday.


The Lough Foyle Ferry Company are understood to have purchased the SHANNON WILLOW from Shannon Ferry. This vessel has been laid up since 2000 when the SHANNON BREEZE entered service. 

She is expected to enter service on May 1 and will be called the FOYLE VENTURE. The CARRIGALOE is to return to Cross River Ferries at Cóbh on 28th April. The FOYLE VENTURE will be able to carry 44 cars - bigger than Cal Mac's largest open deck ferries, the LOCH DUNVEGAN and LOCH FYNE.

 A second vessel is expected to arrive in September. This will be the cross Weser ferry, the STEDINGENS of Fähren Bremen-Stedingen GmbH of Bremen which will be made redundant by a new tunnel. She will be renamed the FOYLE RAMBLER and will inaugurate a new service between Buncrana (Inishowen, Co Donegal) and Rathmullen (Co Donegal), across Lough Swilly. This is intended to be a summer only service.


As recorded elsewhere on the site the principal vessels due to take part in the BA 60 Commemoration arrived on Merseyside on April 30. 

However, up to Wednesday evening ADMIRAL CHABANENKO had not arrived. The Russian Udaloy Guided Missile Destroyer had not featured in the initial publicity or on the official web site. However, it did appear on the Mersey Ships Expected List, being due to berth at Canada #3 Dock. It has now also been added to the ships listed on the official web site, thus presumably she may arrive later in the week with HMS WALNEY.


LE EITHNE - A 21-year-old naval mechanic has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to the murder of a fellow crew member of the LE Eithne.

Sean Lundon, of James Connolly Park, Tipperary Town, denies the murder of 21-year-old Brian Gorey, whose body was found in the River Liffey close to the ship in April 2001.

The Central Criminal Court has been told how the Naval officer with the LE EITHNE drowned in the River Liffey minutes after he had been attacked on board the vessel.

The jury was told that Brian Gorey's attacker carried him 25 feet to the back of the ship before he went overboard.

April 27

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Michael Bracken, Tommy Dover, Tony Brennan, Ian Collard, and "others".


There has been an ongoing programme of updates during the past week. Please check "What's New" with over 30 new items added to the site.

During the past week some "housekeeping" work and removal of older material has taken place. The aim is to shrink the overall size of the site over the next two months. Due to a plan to upgrade computers during the latter part of July. This will involve moving the site to a new machine, and there during the move there is the prospect of having to perform a complete upload, which happened when I last changed machines three and a half years ago. 

In those days the web site was much smaller around 30 Meg! A few weeks ago the combined size of the site was in excess of 130 MB. As my area still does not have broadband facilities the prospect of having to send over 130MB via the ordinary phone lines does not appeal. 

Therefore to prepare for the change over the site will shrink in size over the coming weeks. To do this older material will be removed much sooner than the previous three to six months. In the busy galleries, files will probably be archived after around two months. 

If you wish to save images and files please ensure you do so as and when they are posted. I am getting an increasing number of requests for material which has been on the site and subsequently removed. Whilst I am happy to dig this out and send it on, undertaking such tasks erodes the time I have available for work on the site.

Some older material can still be retrieved from the web archiving facility a . Entering should retrieve more recent editions of the site whilst entering should bring up archives dating back to 2000. Not all pages for each saved edition are archived, and graphics can take some time to appear, or not appear at all. However, if you are looking for older material from this other web sites it is worth checking this site out.


Coastal Cruising association has launched a web site at
A link has been included from the ISS web site main menu - above


In addition to the CCA link above another link has been installed on the main menu to Tommy Dover's Wicklow Maritime site which covers shipping news from the Wicklow and Arklow areas.

Tommy reports that Wicklow port has been busy this week with coaster calls which have included HEINRICH G, ANNLEN G, AGOS G, IRINA, CROWN BREEZE, KORALLE, NOTA and FIONA MAY ex SERENALL.

Arklow received a courtesy visit from Irish Naval Service LE CIARA [P42] over the Easter weekend. ASGARD II remains in port.

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

SUPERSEACAT THREE SSC3 is due to leave the Mersey on Tuesday April 29 en route to Helsinki to take up service with Silja Line.

The route round the North of Scotland is about 180 miles shorter than going via the English Channel and the Kiel Canal - but the final routing decision will probably be weather based.   She retains La Spezia registry.



A reminder that the principal visiting warships due to visit the Mersey will arrive on Wednesday April 30.


The Ocean Liner Society - Ship Show, sponsored by Ships Monthly Magazine,  will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Saturday May 11. The hotel is conveniently located next to the Sea Containers Sea Terminal at the Pier Head.



This week the Cornishman reported the retirement of Rodney Ward president of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company at the age of 99. Almost certainly the longest serving member of any shipping company.

Mr. Ward has been involved with the company for almost the entire 83 years of its existence. Mr. Ward has held every major position in the company since he was appointed to the board of directors at the age of 26 in 1930.

He became managing director in 1938 and later becoming company chairman a position he held until 1980. In recognition of his long term commitment to the company the position of President was created.

Mr. Ward's father had been a founder director of the Isles of Scilly Steamship company in 1920 and was heavily involved in the construction of the SCILLONIAN [I]. Rodney Ward over saw the construction of SCILLONIAN [II] and the present SCILLONIAN III. 

As company president he saw the company expand into the airline business and eventually own more aircraft than ships. 

The Ward family connection with the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company is maintained by his grandson Terry Ward and his nephew Andrew May.


The Cornishman reports that the RMS MULHEIM has produced  'the most expensive garbage in the world' it could cost £1 million to remove hundreds of tonnes of scrap plastic from the stricken RMS Mulheim near Sennen Cove. Maritime and Coastguard Agency spokesman, Mark Clark, said this week that the cost of removing the cargo from the vessel had already reached hundreds of thousands of pounds.

One month on, Mr. Clarke said that there was still at least one month's work ahead to empty the ship.

And he said that under the Government's "polluter pays" policy, the costs would be met by the ship owner's insurance company.

"This is possibly the most expensive garbage in the world," he said.


The Maritime and Coastguard Agency reported on Friday that the owners of the wreck of the ‘RMS Mulheim’, and their insurers have decided not to attempt to salvage the wreck, when it has finally been cleared of its cargo. Robin Middleton, the Secretary of States Representative for Maritime Salvage and Intervention (SOSREP) has received information about the environmental impact and safety implications of removing the vessel from salvage experts, the Environment Group and the owners and insurers, and he has conceded that these would outweigh the impact of the vessel remaining.

The vessel was wrecked on rocks near Sennen Cove in light winds with a heavy swell from the North East, with moderate visibility and fog patches early in the morning of the 22nd March 2003 with six crew on board. No injuries were sustained at the time of the incident.

The Antigua and Barbuda registered vessel was 1,846 gross registered tonnes and was carrying a cargo of shredded plastics. During the incident the vessel was holed and leaked diesel fuel, which quickly dispersed. When wrecked, she was carrying 2,200 tons of shredded plastics from Cork in Ireland to Lubeck in Germany for landfill purposes. A considerable amount has been lost to the sea after fierce winds and seas battered the vessel in the past few weeks after the vessel was holed.

A conveyor belt system remains in place at the top of the cliff and has been working whilst weather conditions allow. A team of salvors continue to dig out the remaining cargo from the ship’s hold and fill jumbo-sized bags, which are then removed to the cliff top by the pulley system. This system will continue until all the cargo has been removed. This is still likely to take some weeks.

Robin Middleton, said this morning:

“ This operation has now been going on for several weeks and the great difficulties of working in such an area with the very changeable wind and sea conditions have been very apparent to everyone who has visited the site. Once cleared of its cargo the vessel will now be left to the elements. This decision has been reached with the salvage experts and ships insurers, as, once cleared of cargo, the vessel does not represent a threat to the UK environment. The vessel is already cracking in various areas around the ship’s superstructure and is visibly twisting and moving when big seas break over her.

“ Once the storms, for which Cornwall is famous, start hitting her, despite being ice strengthened, she will begin to break apart and we undoubtedly will see her rapid disintegration. In the mean time the race continues with the elements to remove the remaining cargo.”

The Penwith District Council with Cornwall County Council continues to inspect local beaches on a daily basis and are pleased to report that very little material has come ashore, the beaches are clean and inspections will continue.


The Jeanie Johnston, Ireland's replica famine ship, arrived safely and on time - 11:00 local time (EST) Tuesday, 15 April, 2003 - at West Palm Beach, Florida, on her inaugural visit to North America.

Under the command of Captain Tom McCarthy, the Jeanie Johnston was met by a flotilla of local vessels to escort her to her berth at the Palm Beach Maritime Museum, Peanut Island, Florida, where she will be open to the public until her departure

The ship originally set sail for North America from Fenit, Co. Kerry, on 16 February, 2003.

In making the journey to North America, the crew of the Jeanie Johnston has recreated the trip countless Irish immigrants braved to reach a new homeland during the era of the Great Famine that swept through Ireland in the middle of the 19th century. The ship is a replica of the original Jeanie Johnston that carried more than 2,500 Irish emigrants to the United States and Canada from 1848 to 1855. In her 16 heroic voyages across the Atlantic there was never a loss of life on board.

Below deck the ship brings history to life. While at Palm Beach Maritime Museum at Peanut Island, visitors will be able to tour the museum to get a sense of what it was like to sail on a famine ship such as the Jeanie Johnston.

The ship will be open for tours from Saturday, April 19 to Sunday April 27, from 10:00 to 16.00 daily.

In addition to tours of the Jeanie Johnston, a wide variety of activities will take place at Peanut Island to celebrate the ship's visit to West Palm Beach.

The Palm Beach Maritime Museum and the International Children's Museum are collaborating to make the visit to West Palm Beach possible.

The Jeanie Johnston – 2003 Historic Voyage Itinerary

The Jeanie Johnston Company has confirmed that the first 12 ports the ship will visit during her historic voyage to North America 2003 - as follows:

West Palm Beach, Florida
Arriving, Tuesday, April 15th and departing Monday, April 28th. Note: arrival is earlier than indicated, because of the ships progress, but she will be open to the public from Saturday, April 19th.

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

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

Washington D.C..
Arriving Wednesday, May 28 and departing Monday, June 2.

Baltimore, Maryland.
Arriving Tuesday, June 3 and departing Monday, June 9.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Arriving Thursday, June 12 and departing Monday, June 23.

Trenton, New Jersey.
Arriving Monday, June 23 and departing Thursday, June 26.

Bristol, Pennsylvania.
Arriving Thursday, June 26 and departing Monday, June 30.

New York, New York.
Arriving Thursday, July 3 and departing Monday, July 14.

Port Jefferson, Long Island New York.
Arriving Monday, July 14 and departing Thursday, July 17th.

Providence, Rhode Island.
Arriving Friday, July 18 and departing Monday, July 21th.

Boston, Massachussetts.
Arriving Thursday, July 24 and departing Monday, August 4th.

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 the ports. 

Following these ports, the ship will visit continue to the areas north of Boston during August and September and conclude her tour in Canada, home of the original Jeanie Johnston - built there in 1847. It will then return home to Ireland in early October.

For more details

April 23

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


An additional unscheduled update was posted yesterday - April 22. For full details of the many new items added to the site in the last couple of days please go to "What's New".


Ships of Mann site has been updated with a new gallery called "Another 70's Gallery" It comprises of some rather nice shots of some classic steamers.

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

LADY OF MANN - moved from her lay up berth at the former Alexandra Dock Passenger Terminal at 11:30 on Tuesday April 22 to Canada Graving Dock for refit by North Western Ship Repairers where she is expected to remain for the next two to three weeks.

BEN-MY-CHREE - perhaps not the best of timing given that the LADY OF MANN had just entered dry dock, the BEN-MY-CHREE went "technical" on her morning crossing from Douglasand missed her 14:15 sailing from Heysham on April 22 and her 19:45 from Douglas.

SEACAT ISLE OF MAN operated an extra sailing from Douglas at 21:30 to cover for the BEN-MY-CHREE returning to the Isle of Man shortly after midnight to sweep up any traffic which could not be diverted via Liverpool during the afternoon, and cream off any 02.15 traffic which was offering early, to release freight space dropped back from the cancelled 14.15 BEN-MY-CHREE sailing. On the evening of Wednesday April 16, SCIOM launched it's fast rescue boat to assist some walkers stranded on Conister Rock by the rising tide after a visit to the Tower of Refuge. 

SUPERSEACAT THREE is now in full Silja Line livery with blue funnels.


The Russians are coming! Though not listed on the official BA60 web site, the Mersey "Vessel's Due"  statement reveals that the Udaloy Class Guided Missile Destroyer ADMIRAL CHABANENKO will be arriving along with HMS INVINCIBLE,  FS LATOUCHE-TREVILLE,  FGS SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN, HN0MS TRONDHEIM,  and ORP KASZUB on April 30. ADMIRAL CHABANENKO will berth at Canada #3 Branch Dock. HMS INVINCIBLE will use the MoD river mooring. Whilst the other vessels will berth in West Float, Birkenhead.


STENA FORWARDER departed Dublin for the last time on Sunday evening April 13, bound for Holyhead. She had already been renamed CALIFORNIA STAR and her funnel had been repainted blue.

It is understood that the ship was to anchor in Holyhead Bay after leaving service, reberthing after the departure of the STENA TRANSPORTER to destore and close articles.

She then sailed for Mexico, calling at Falmouth for 380 tonnes of bunkers on April 16.

The ship's new crew, who have had almost a weeks familiarisation hastily painted out the STENA FORWARDER name and replace it with CALIFORNIA STAR, the name under which she operated for her last few voyages. 

All traces of the Stena indemnity on life saving equipment had been replaced by the Saturday afternoon sailing from Holyhead


LE EITHNE flagship of the Irish Naval Service became the first Irish Naval Service ship to call at the Northern Ireland capital on April 17 berthing at the Odyssey Centre for a visit due to last over the Easter weekend until April 22. She was accompanied by the new Royal Navy ship HMS TYNE which also berthed at Odyssey Centre. 

Royal Navy warships regularly visit Irish ports for diplomatic and goodwill reasons and Irish Navel vessels have visited the UK.  However, this visit is historic because it is the first ever visit by an Irish Naval vessel to a Northern Ireland port since partition in 1922.

The Royal Navy and Irish Navy often exercise and conduct the Search and Rescue role together. Last year they spent a number of weeks working together off Kilkeel in an attempt to find the missing fishing vessel 'Tullymore Lass'.

The visit was sponsored by Belfast City Council


QUEEN ELIZABETH 2 is scheduled to visit Liverpool on August Bank Holiday 2004, its visit coinciding with the Mathew Street Festival.

Carnival are preparing to market the trip as a Beatles package to wealthy tourists, with on-board entertainment being planned to reflect the Liverpool theme.  Next year marks the 40th anniversary of the Beatles' US launch, and at least half of the ship's 1,777 passengers are expected to be Americans.

The QUEEN ELIZABETH 2 is due to arrive at 08:30 and depart at 19:00 - passengers will be tendered by Mersey Ferries from the river anchorage.

On April 17 it was announced that P&O Princess Cruises plc has been renamed Carnival plc.

Following their announcements on 14 April 2003 and on 16 April 2003 that approval had been given by their respective shareholders, Carnival Corporation and P&O Princess Cruises plc  announced the completion of the DLC transaction. P&O Princess Cruises plc announced that it will change its name to Carnival plc. 


It has been reported on the internet that Norwegian Cruise Lines have acquired the former United States Lines ships SS UNITED STATES and SS INDEPENDENCE. The company plans to refurbish these trans-Atlantic classics.

SS UNITED STATES held the Hales Trophy for the fastest trans-Atlantic crossing until taken by Incat built vessels in the 1990s. 

April 12

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Neil Ralphs, Ron Mapplebeck, Ian Collard and "others".


An update was posted on Wednesday April 9. The next update will be posted at 23:00 on Wednesday April 23. 


I will be away next week in the south west visiting Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.  Please note that during my absence all urgent contact should be via my mobile number - SMS text or voice : 07973 363370. Please DO NOT phone the line numbers as messages sometimes loose their meaning when conveyed by a third party!  The last email scan will be late afternoon on April 13. The next email scan will not be until late on April 21.

To avoid email congestion I request that all emails containing large attachments [over 100k] are not sent until April 22.


As I depart for my holidays I will be dispatching letters to appropriate persons concerning the refusal to renew permits. 

I am considering setting up a page of enthusiasts letters to the MDHC on the site. At present I have received a number of copies of letters. I will only post these with the writer's permission. If you would like your letter to feature on a page on this web site please forward a copy. Only your name and town will appear. If you have already forwarded a copy please indicate if you would like it published on Irish Sea Shipping. 

To date I have not yet heard of anyone receiving a reply to their letters or emails. 

To indicate the amount of material which will no longer be featured on Irish Sea Shipping, all images taken from locations that will no longer be accessible on expiry of my permit will be indicated on all new gallery pages.


Another auction has commenced . Another opportunity for you to acquire a genuine Harrison Line desk flag and paper clip. However, the ISS stock of these items is now almost exhausted.  


Mersey Shipping Remembered another title from the pen and camera of Maritime author and photographer Ian Collard has just been published by Tempus Publishing . A full review will follow in the next update.

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

LADY OF MANN - It is understood that the ship will be dry docked on April 22, presumably at A&P.

Neil Ralphs writes that there is an opportunity for enthusiasts to encounter the LADY OF MANN in the Azores this summer! (Subject to the charter taking place of course) and travel there by ship. 

P & O's Princess is offering a cruise aboard AURORA from Southampton to both the principal Azore Islands on July 18th. There is a full day's stop in each island before AURORA visits the Canaries, Portugal and Spain.

SUPERSEACAT THREE - looking across the river on Saturday with binoculars at SSC3 which is now in dry dock at A&P Birkenhead revealed that her starboard funnel is being repainted what appears to be dark blue. This will be in preparation for the vessel's summer season with Silja Line on the Baltic.

DIAMANT At a hearing on April 7 at Dover Magistrates Court the Captain of the Luxembourg registered high speed ferry DIAMANT was convicted of failing to keep a proper lookout and failing to conduct his vessel appropriately in fog.

The DIAMANT, operating on the Dover - Ostend service, was approaching Dover at about 1000 on 6th January 2002 with 148 people on board. At that time the visibility was reduced by dense fog. With 3½ miles to go, and at a speed of about 30 knots, the DIAMANT collided with the outbound freight ferry NORTHERN MERCHANT which had 103 people on board. The investigation by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency determined that the Captain had failed to use his radar properly to determine the movements of the NORTHERN MERCHANT and on the basis of this mistake had effectively turned into the other ship instead of away from it.

District Judge Riddle fined Jean Ramakers, a Belgian national, £1500 for the offence relating to lookout, and £1500 for the offence relating to navigation in fog. Costs of £1500 were also awarded the MCA.

Summing up, Judge Riddle said "This incident occurred in a busy seaway and near a port, where the failure to keep a proper lookout and to conduct a vessel properly can potentially have serious consequences. This can range from a near miss to a catastrophic incident. The highest standards of conduct must be expected of those in charge of such ships. Even minor lapses must be accounted for and punished, and cannot be ignored."

Captain John Garner, the MCA's Deputy Director of Operations and Chairman of the UK High Speed Craft Advisory Group, said after the case "The consequences of Captain Ramakers errors should send a clear reminder to the operators, masters and crews of high speed ferries to remain constantly vigilant and to maintain the highest professional standards. Fog in the Dover Strait is common and the operation of a high speed service must contain sufficient safety measures to overcome the hazard to safe navigation that this can present"


STENA FORWARDER - The last sailing will be the 20:30 departure from Dublin on Sunday 13th April.



Falmouth Coastguard assisted the German master of a container vessel, BREMEN EXPRESS, on the night of Friday April 11 after he was taken ill 250 miles west south west of the Isles of Scilly whilst on passage to Halifax, Canada.

The Coastguard received a call from medical authorities in Germany at 23:00, advising that the master would need to be hospitalised ashore as soon as possible. The ship then began to make its way back towards the UK.

Simon Rabett, Falmouth Coastguard Watch Manager said:

“Due to the ship’s position, this incident was jointly co-ordinated with our Irish counterparts in Valentia, Southern Ireland. An Irish helicopter was requested to scramble and a fixed wing aircraft also flew out as top cover. The fixed wing Nimrod was used as ‘top cover’ in case of problems with the helicopter and also to locate the BREMEN EXPRESS in order to guide the helicopter to the location of the ship.

“The south westerly winds meant that the helicopter was flying into a head wind on the way out to the vessel, so it did not arrive on location until 06.00  on April 12. The master was then airlifted off the vessel and taken to Shannon Airport and on to Limerick Hospital. Tail winds meant that the trip back was much shorter and he was in hospital by 09.00.

“We were pleased to be able to assist the master of the BREMEN EXPRESS in this evacuation which was at the limits of UK and Irish shore-based helicopter support.”


The replica emigrant ship is expected to arrive at West Palm Beach, USA on Tuesday, April 15th. The Jeanie Johnston, set sail from Tenerife in the Canary Islands for the US on Friday, March 14, 2003.

Under Captain Tom McCarthy, the ship departed with a new complement of sail trainees - including those under the auspices of the International Fund for Ireland - who joined the Jeanie Johnston in Tenerife for the voyage to the US. She will arrive in West Palm Beach, Florida on Tuesday, April 15th, 2003.

Full details of the USA ports of call can be found on the official web site:


Liverpool City Council is reported to be preparing to apply for European funding to finance a scheme to lengthen the existing landing stage by 250 metres.

Trans Marine of Newcastle should completed design work by early May and an application for European funding will be made in June or July.

The lengthened landing stage will provide facilities for visiting cruise ships and naval vessels as well as continuing to service Isle of Man Steam Packet Company sailings to Douglas and Dublin.

April 9

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Ian Collard, Kevin Bennett and Others.
SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

Manx Radio reported today that Tynwald ignored Onchan MHK Peter Karran's call to examine Isle of Man Steam Packet purchase options. The call for a Select Committee to urgently examine the desirability of the Manx Government purchasing a controlling interest in the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company turned into a solo performance.

Onchan Member, Peter Karran, wanted a Tynwald Committee to report on the issue by July of this year at the latest.

Reading from a prepared speech, he outlined his reasons.

When he sat down, there was silence.

No-one rose to second his motion and, as a result, there was no debate and Tynwald finished it's order paper in one day.

DIAMANT has transferred from the wet basin to #5 dry dock at A&P Birkenhead on April 7. Transfer was made with tugs.


BBC Radio Cornwall reports that rough seas have hampered efforts to clear cargo from a ship stranded off the Cornish coast.

Salvors have abandoned plans to use a crane to lift scrap plastic from the RMS Mulheim which ran aground between Sennen and Land's End more than two weeks ago.

The crane's two tonne grab claw and other equipment have been washed into the sea, a spokeswoman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said.

A rig, which was secured alongside the vessel three days ago, is to be removed because it is not safe to use.

Salvors fear it could be crushed if the stricken ship moves.

"The operation with the rig was always a risky one relying on a window of good weather," the spokeswoman said.

"Unpredicted levels of sea swell have put a stop to that."

The Mulheim was carrying 2,200 tonnes of cargo when she ran aground between Sennen and Land's End on March 22.

The removal equipment is to be inspected for damage and the vessel's remaining cargo is to be cleared via a mechanised conveyor system when weather permits.

Up to half the Mulheim's cargo has already fallen into the sea.


GOVERNMENT intervention is necessary to secure the future of the Ballycastle to Campbeltown ferry service, DUP leader Ian Paisley has claimed. The North Antrim MP has written to Minister Ian Pearson about the ferry.

Dr Paisley said: "I am gravely concerned that this project is quickly going pear-shaped. I understand the project group and councillors are meeting later this week to discuss what has become a crisis. Government intervention is now a necessity or else the project is in real danger of collapse.

"Everyone knows the special needs of the local economy ought to be sufficient reason for the NIO and the Scotland Office to step in and do something that reflects the unique nature of our economic situation."

April 6

Acknowledgements: Adrian Sweeney, Gary Andrews, Ian Collard, Michael Bracken, Dave Crolley and "others"


Please note that an update was posted on Wednesday, March 31.

The next scheduled update will be early on Sunday April 13. Though there is likely to be an additional update to the web site on Wednesday or Thursday.

There will then be a short break before updates resume on Wednesday April 23 at 23:00 though this is subject to change. 


This week it was brought to my attention by regular contributor to this site, Maritime Author Ian Collard that the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company were declining renewals of photographic and fishing permits.

This action will have a significant effect on those people who have been permitted to access the dock estate to pursue their hobby. It will also mean a reduction in published photographs on in both printed and electronic form for those living further a field. 

As far as ship and railway photographers are concerned they will be seriously inconvenienced by this move, as also will be local anglers and visitors to the Nature Reserve at Seaforth. 

On Wednesday I posted a Viewpoint article on this matter  to read it. I would like to thank all those who have taken the trouble to respond, be they anglers, rail, ship or wildlife photographers. 

To give this issue the prominence it deserves a new section has been created on the web site: The Mersey Docks and Harbour Company Permits Issue .

This is how the Daily Post reported the story this week:

"Mersey Docks and Harbour Company is responding to the Iraq War by banning all passes onto its property for those notorious subversives, local amateur photographers and fishermen.

Leading Maritime author and photographer Ian Collard a pass holder for 35 years has just had his application for renewal rejected.

Is Mr. Collard and Iraqi spy or infamous marine saboteur? - No, but his Mersey shipping books give pleasure to thousands. A fine way for the MDHC to repay this priceless publicity."

However, it transpires that security may not be the issue at stake. Irish Sea Shipping has received communication from a number of permit holders which indicate that varying  reasons for ending the permits are being given. 

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

BEN-MY-CHREE - the arrival of the 20:00 Douglas to Heysham sailing was delayed on Saturday April 5 due to severely restricted visibility on the approach to Heysham. Instead of arriving at Heysham at 23:30, the BEN-MY-CHREE was forced to anchor off the port and was not able to berth until around 02:40. This had the consequence of delaying the return 02:15 sailing to Douglas.

IOMSPC30.jpg (31143 bytes)SUPERSEACAT TWO - now flies the traditional Isle of Man Steam Packet Company house flag. <photo: Ian Collard>

SEACAT SCOTLAND departed   A&P Birkenhead at 12.30 on Tuesday April 1 and moved over to Prince's Landing Stage for fuel and stores. She departed at 15:45 bound for the English Channel. She was due to call at Plymouth for bunkers enroute for Dover on April 2.

DIAMANT The Marine Accident Investigation Branch today published its report into a collision between passenger ferry NORTHERN MERCHANT and high speed craft DIAMANT.


The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) was notified of the accident on 6 January 2002 and an investigation began that day.

The high-speed craft DIAMANT and the ro-ro passenger ferry NORTHERN MERCHANT collided in the Dover Strait in poor visibility.

DIAMANT was en-route from Oostende to Dover with 148 passengers and crew on board. NORTHERN MERCHANT had just departed Dover for Dunkerque with 102 passengers and crew on board.

As both vessels approached each other with a closest point of approach of 3 cables, 3 miles south-east of Dover, DIAMANT's speed was 29 knots, NORTHERN MERCHANT's was 21 knots. The bridge team on DIAMANT then assumed, incorrectly, a green - green situation and maintained course and speed.

On board NORTHERN MERCHANT, the bridge team fully expected DIAMANT to keep clear, because of a perceived unwritten rule that high-speed craft will keep clear of all other vessels in all scenarios. However, as the distance between the vessels decreased to 6 to 7 cables, they realised this might not be the case and then altered course to starboard by 7 deg to 10 deg and then applied 20 deg of helm. At the same time, NORTHERN MERCHANT's echo began to arc on DIAMANT's radar. The master of DIAMANT, assuming the danger to be on his starboard side, altered course to port. The result was that the vessels collided.

As a result of the collision, DIAMANT suffered substantial prow and starboard side wave piercer damage. NORTHERN MERCHANT suffered slight damage to her port side shell plating. There were no injuries.

This accident has raised three important safety issues relating, firstly, to the perceived unwritten rule, secondly, how operators should determine a safe speed and close quarter situation in restricted visibility and, thirdly, the extent to which reliance can be placed on radar for detection in restricted visibility.

As a result of the issues, appropriate recommendations have been made to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the operator of each vessel.

Action taken since the accident

Since the collision, both V Ships and Sea Containers Ltd have issued fleet safety notices as a direct consequence.

In its circular V Ships has emphasised the need to proceed at a safe speed at all times and the importance of complying fully with company policy with respect to the Collision Regulations. It has warned that failure to comply fully with the Collision Regulations will result in disciplinary action.

All masters were required to hold a meeting with navigating officers to review this accident to ensure that bridge watch keepers are fully aware of their responsibilities when in charge of the vessel's navigation. These meetings were to consider all areas of navigation safety but would include discussion on the following areas:

- Navigation in restricted visibility, controlling the speed and direction of the ship, collision avoidance and the use of VHF radio, collision avoidance and radar.

All masters were required to confirm receipt of the circular and action taken.

Sea Containers Ltd has taken the following steps:

- Re-created the accident on a two-bridge simulator to try to understand the cause, and to help formulate additional training courses

- Thoroughly checked and reviewed the training given to both masters and navigating officers

- Contacted radar manufacturers regarding the understanding of some issues shown during simulation

- Issued a fleet memorandum, addressing the possibility of subconsciously applying Part 2 of the Steering and Sailing Rules in a reduced visibility situation

- Stressed the need for caution and highlighted the applicable guidance in its Route Operating Manual.

1. A Chief Inspector's letter has been sent to Sea Containers Limited recommending the company to:

(a) Reiterate to masters and watch keepers the non-existence of a perceived "unwritten rule"

(b) Carry out a risk assessment for high-speed craft operation in restricted visibility to ensure their safe operation, including what might be deemed a safe speed and what constitutes a close quarters situation under these conditions

(c) Issue procedures and guidance to masters and watch keepers as to what constitutes compliance with the Collision Regulations in coastal waters in particular with regard to safe speed and close quarter situations.

(d) Re-examine current procedures for communication with passengers in the event of an emergency.

2. A Chief Inspector's letter has also been sent to V Ships Limited recommending the company to:

a. Reiterate to masters and watch keepers the non-existence of a perceived "unwritten rule".

b. Issue procedures and guidance to masters and watch keepers as to what constitutes compliance with the Collision Regulations, in particular with regard to safe speed and close quarter situations.


The Maritime and Coastguard Agency is recommended to:

1. Issue guidance to remind operators that Sections II and III of the Steering and Sailing Rules of the Collision Regulations must be strictly complied with, acknowledging that vessels are not prevented from taking sufficiently early action, ahead of the point at which those sections come into effect.

2. Issue guidance on how operators should determine a safe speed and a close quarters situation in restricted visibility by:

- Listing the factors to take into account, in addition to those prescribed in Rule 6 of the Collision Regulations; and

- Defining the extent to which reliance can be placed on radar for detection of small vessels and other floating objects.


LAGAN VIKING was noted by a correspondent taking a rare Sunday sailing on April 6. departing around noon


This is Lancashire reports that it's anchors away as the  service casts off for its seasonal service across the Wyre estuary.

The current ferry service -- which is funded by Lancashire County Council -- is in its second year has been organised by Wyre Borough Council's Physical Resources Committee and operator, Fleetwood-based Wyre Waste Management.

Last year, more than 15,000 passengers used the open air service, which began running on Tuesday, April 1, and it is hoped that more people will begin to use the service in 2003.

A naval architect has already been appointed by Lancashire County Council to come up with plans for a new £100,000 ferry boat which will carry 30 passengers in an enclosed cabin and operate all-year-round.

Improvements to the Fleetwood ferry dock are also in the pipeline with improvements for disabled customers a priority.

Physical Resources Committee member, Councillor Michael Condron, says the benefits of the ferry service will have a knock-on effect for transport and tourism in the area.

Cllr Condron said: "The Fleetwood to Knott End ferry plays a vital role in reducing the amount of traffic on Wyre roads during the warmer weather.

"And provides a cheap and effective service to Over Wyre residents who live in and around Preesall and Knott End and who may want to visit towns in other parts of the borough.

"The ferry is also a favourite with tourists and cyclists who use the service in droves during the summer.

"Hopefully interest in the service will be maintained throughout the 2003 season until a new vessel is up and running by April next year."

This years service is set to run until Sunday, November 2, from 8am to 6pm daily.

For further information contact Wyre Waste Management on 01253 872171.


The Cornishman reports that the British Government has responded positively to the Isles of Scilly’s push for improved sea links with the mainland.

Representatives of the Route Partnership - formed in connection with the Fisher Associates transport strategy Report adopted by the islands’ council -visited the Transport Ministry recently with MP Andrew George.

Minister David Jamieson assured the delegation that he also wanted "to see something happening". He accepted the door to funding from his department was not closed.

He also pledged the assistance of both his department and the Government office in working up more detailed plans.

· Route Partnership chairman Philip Hygate said they were heartened by the meeting. "The Minister began by recognising that because of the unique position of Scully there may also be need for a unique solution".

Mr Hygate said he also welcomed the Minister’s ~positive comments" about what the PartnershIp had achieved.

"I very much look forward to working with him to solve a very difficult set of problems".

Islands’ council chairman Dudley Mumford said they had a constructive dialogue with the Minister, "who recognised the particular transport issues facing Scilly- There is a lot of work to be done but we hope that any problems will be resolved."

MP Andrew George called the meeting "very encouraging. After five years' of work on the mainland to Scilly links I think we can all appreciate there is a genuine prospect of a positive outcome particularly for the ferry service."

The Minister had welcomed the accelerated timetable to bring forward a bid for a multi-million pound investment in port and ferry facilities between Penzance and St Mary’s by the autumn of this year: ~crucially accepting that the door to Departmental funding was not closed".

The delegation consisted of Messrs George, Hygate and Mumford, Don Nicholas-Mckee (Chief Planning Officer islands’ council) and steamship company representatives Andrew May (vice-chair man) and Jeff Marston (chief executive).

 A key recommendation In Fisher Associates Report related to need for Infrastructure improvement both at St Mary’s Harbour and Penz and an all-purpose passenger/cargo ship to succeed the current two-vessel operation.


The fast ferry revolution has finally arrived on the Isles of Scilly. Whilst enthusiasts may remember the visit of Western Ferries Highland Seabird during the 1980s it has taken some time for fast craft to make a significant appearance in the area. 

Now Bryher Boat Service, who operate the inter-island ferry FIRETHORN have introduced the CYCLONE.

The 11 metre RIB is powered by a 483hp Scania Hamilton Waterjet and has a 12 passenger certificate. Half of the passenger seating being located inside the craft's cabin.

CYCLONE was constructed by Mustang Marine of Pembroke Dock. The delivery voyage to Bryher taking just five hours. 

Bryher Boat Services who with the launch principally serve their own island and adjacent Tresco, are looking to the day-trip market

"Holidaymakers who fly into Tresco for the day and go around the Abbey Gardens might like to change the pace a bit and get something of an adrenaline rush by visiting all the other islands in the RIB," says David Stedeford of Bryher Boat Services. It will also be available for hire.

Kenny Jenkins said that customers’ reaction indicated the RIB would be a success. "They’re absolutely delighted. It’s a new concept. It’s very economic to run. I’m sure it’ll prove its worth and will be a valuable addition to the Bryher Boat Services fleet".

Boatmen injecting that "adrenaline rush" will probably be James and Neil "although David and I will take her as well," says Kenny.

David said the RIB could be used: "for anything and everything," including, if necessary, the carrying of the malls for which Bryher Boat, services hold a contract for Bryher and Tresco.


Is a new company which has purchased the former St.Mary's Boatmen's Association passenger launches BUCCANEER, KINGSLEY and BLACK SWAN. The classic former SCILLONIAN launches will provide a park and ride facility for visitors to the National Maritime Museum Cornwall at Falmouth.

Cornish Ferries is based at the King Harry Ferry HQ at Feok and proposed to provide a complete transport and management package for the service which will run from Ponsharden to the museum and will also stop at the Prince of Wales Pier at the other end of Falmouth's town centre.

The company will also provide a park and ride scheme to alleviate congestion within the town centre.

Tim Light, managing director of Cornwall Ferries Ltd, said: "We are very excited about this new project and are confident that it will be a flagship service which both Falmouth and the museum can be proud of."

It is estimated that the service will create over 20 full-time seasonal and permanent jobs, and introduce money into the local economy. Work is already under way at the site, which will pro vide parking for up to 450 cars, and Cornwall Ferries Ltd expects to take about 1,000 visitors into Falmouth and the museum each day. The company has also begun its search for extra staff.

The Park and Float scheme is partly funded by European Objective One money.


The Western Morning News reported on April 5 that pressure was growing for the wreck of the cargo vessel RMS MULGEIM to be removed from the Cornish coast once the task of extracting the cargo of waste plastic is complete. Cornwall's emergency planning manager Steve Winston and council chief Jim McKenna have called on the Government not to leave the vessel to break up on rocks at Sennen Cove.

Mr McKenna, chief executive of Penwith District Council, said: "The first priority is to get the cargo off safely but we, the county council and the National Trust would also like to see the ship removed from the site."

But Robin Middleton, the secretary of state's representative in maritime salvage, again stopped short of pledging that the vessel would be removed.

At a meeting of the shoreline response team in Penzance, he said a removal operation would be considered - but the wreck was already starting to break up.

He said: "This vessel is going to break up very, very quickly and there are signs she has started that process now.

"But there is time enough to make proposals for dealing with the vessel at a later date. Our priority is that the coast of Cornwall should not be polluted and thus far the pollution has been minimal."

More of the shredded waste plastic in the damaged holds was yesterday hauled to the top of cliffs via a conveyor belt system.

The system finally became operational on Thursday after poor weather hampered efforts to remove the cargo.

But the clear-up is painstakingly slow with waste plastic being shovelled into tonne sacks and hauled up the cliffs, in an operation which can only take place at low tide.

Salvors are waiting anxiously for the sea swell to calm so they can bring barges and a rig to the area to shift the plastic more swiftly.

Mr Middleton said the operation was fraught with difficulties but if the barges could be brought in, possibly by tomorrow, then the operation would take a matter of days to complete.

About a third of the cargo has already been washed into the sea through holes in the bottom of the vessel, although this process seems to have slowed.

Helicopters and a Maritime and Coastguard Agency tug were tasked yesterday with hunting for floating "rafts" of debris from the wreck which might wash up on West Cornwall beaches before the vital Easter tourist break.

Choppers from British International, which runs passenger flights to the Isles of Scilly, have also been diverting over the wreck on the lookout for pollution.

Although little can be done to gather the plastic at sea, it is hoped that beach cleaners can be at the ready if a floating raft of waste looks likely to wash towards the shore.

So far only about two black sacks of plastic a day have been collected from the shore by council clear-up teams.

This has led to concerns by environmentalists that plastic is remaining at sea where it could cause long-term damage to sealife and the county's nesting birds.

Eddie Derriman, Cornwall Sea Fisheries Officer, said shellfish in the area were being monitored for toxins.

"Shellfish are very good indicators of the condition of the environment and it will give us an indication of the anything washing out of the cargo," he said.

The 1,846-tonne ship was en route from Cork in Ireland to Lubeck, Germany, with its load of scrap plastic when she ran aground off Land's End two weeks ago. The plastic was destined for a land-fill site.

Waste brought up from Mulheim is being put in temporary storage but it is ultimately the responsibility of the Irish authorities to dispose of the waste.

Anyone who spots waste, shredded plastic, on beaches can call a special hotline on 01736 334848.



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