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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


  JULY 2003


Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Dermot Walsh, Michael Bracken, Kevin Bennett, Adrian Sweeney, Tommy Dover, Ray Goodfellow and "others"



Your web master returned home from Cóbh on Sunday evening. There have been two additional updates posted this week so far to catch up with material. There will be an update this weekend however it is not certain if it will be Saturday or Sunday. Please be aware that until the beginning of September all update dates shown in the update schedule are provisional only and may be subject to change.


As stated the other week the transfer of the web site to the new machine was due to take place this week. Unfortunately the new PC remains in its box as it was sent with an inferior specification to that which was ordered and paid for. Dell unfortunately have so far been able to sort out the problem despite regular calls since Friday July 18 and it looks like the problem will not be resolved until at least next Monday. You can read the full tale here on the web site. 

Whilst it is hoped that the transfer of the site to the new machine can take place before the end of August if it is not achieved by then the transfer may have to be delayed until later in the year.


During the next few weeks the site menus will be redesigned to improve their layout. Some have already been changed including the "What's New" menu. If you spot any oddities, non functional hyperlinks or any other problems please email. You may also find other changes taking place over the next few weeks to improve functionality and layout. 


SEACAT ISLE OF MAN on July 24 the vessel had to return to Douglas on her morning sailing to Liverpool to disembark two passengers who had taken ill. This delayed her arrival at Liverpool by around one hour.

SUPERSEACAT TWO was noted by correspondents running behind schedule on Tuesday July 24 and July 25. It is understood she was only running on three engines. She reported departing late from Liverpool on July 30 with her evening departure from Douglas up to two hours behind schedule.


The funeral of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company's last surviving pre-WWII Captain took place on July 25. Captain Harry Kinley started his career at 16 with Thomas Wilson and Co of Liverpool. At the age of 22 he became the youngest master on the Lloyd's Shipping Register.

However, he reverted to an ordinary seaman to achieve a long-held ambition to join the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company. Working his way through the ranks he was appointed Captain in 1961. He retired twelve years later as master of BEN-MY-CHREE V.

Captain Kinley was born in Colby to a seafaring family – his father and three brothers all worked at sea and members of the next generation of the Kinley family also joined the Steam Packet.

At the outbreak of war in 1939 Captain Kinley, who kept up his Liverpool pilot's licence from his pre-Steam Packet days, was seconded by the Admiralty to serve as a pilot. During five years of service he piloted 999 vessels.

He had been excepted to join the FENELLA at Dunkirk, but the vessel had left before he arrived. Instead he was appointed navigation officer on the Viking. In 1940 he was on board when the ship evacuated nearly 2,000 women and children from Guernsey.

That event was remembered at a reunion of the evacuees held last month in Guernsey.

An account written by Captain Kinley was read to reunion before being placed in a Guernsey museum as a permanent reminder of his and his colleagues' bravery.

Captain Kinley's likeness can also be seen at the House of Manannan in Peel where a recording of the evacuation story is narrated by him.

After retiring, Captain Kinley remained active and started the Over-60s Club in Colby as well as being warden of both Belle Abbey and Arbory Parish Churches. He was a co-founder of the Mariners' Choir.

Former colleague Captain Jack Ronan said Captain Kinley's death marked an end of an era as he was the last of the pre-war Steam Packet officers.

He added: 'He spent a lifetime at sea and wouldn't have done anything else.'

As a mark of respect Steam Packet flags ashore and at sea were flown at half mast on July 25.

Company managing director Hamish Ross said: 'Harry Kinley was the last surviving captain from a remarkable period of this company's history spanning the classic steamers through to the advent of the modern car ferry. Always a staunch supporter of our company, of which he was so proud, he was often the eager proposer of a vote of thanks to its directors and staff at company events.

'A fine master, respected ashore and afloat, Captain Kinley will be greatly missed.'


RAPIDE has been reported running poorly of late. On Tuesday July 29 she  departed Belfast for Troon punctually at around 07:40.  Her 11:00 ex Troon, due at 13:30, arrived Belfast around 15:30 and her 14:15 ex Belfast departed at around 16:35.

Her evening roundtrip ex Belfast was cancelled on July 29.


2003_0729_091256AA.JPG (34498 bytes)BRAVE MERCHANT is expected to return to the Liverpool - Dublin route in the autumn. However, it appears that she will operate freight only with no private passenger facilities offered. 

The photograph by Ray Goodfellow shows her at Dover on July 29. She retains all NMF logos except for the web address.


KARINA will be sailing from Douglas to Ramsey, via Laxey next Sunday afternoon August 3.  She will depart Douglas at 13.30 and return at 18.00 again via Laxey. This is believed to be the first Douglas - Laxey - Ramsey commercial sailing since 19:00.


SUPERFERRY has appeared on a List of 112 vessels which may be banned from European Union ports should they be detained one more time after July 22, 2003.



The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) announced today that 11 foreign ships were under detention in UK ports during June 2003 after failing port state control safety inspection.

Latest monthly figures show that 6 foreign ships were detained in UK ports during June 2003 along with 5 other ships still under detention from previous months. The overall rate of detentions compared with inspections carried out over the last 12 months is 7.2% which is a decrease of 0.3% on the detention rate to May.

The ships detained in May included:-

 A Korean General Cargo Vessel of 2029 GT in Goole for 3 days due to overloading and MF radio installation inoperative
 A St Vincent and Grenadine Bulk Carrier of 3961 GT in Grimsby, still under detention, 28 deficiencies recorded before inspection suspended. Among detainable deficiencies were no valid statutory certificates, fire detection system inoperative, port lifeboat drive coupling broken, breakdown of Safety Management System on board.
 A Maltese Oil Tanker of 20749 GT at Belfast for 4 days with 28 recorded deficiencies including poor abandon ship drill, lifeboats not operationally ready, lifeboat davit rollers seized, quick closing valves leaking fuel when shut and failure of safety management system


CONSTELLATION the 90,000 grt cruise ship was forced again to cancel its Dublin call scheduled for July 23. The ship had sailed from Ringaskiddy, Cork Harbour, the previous evening.

The vessel also cancelled its call last year. This was due to adverse weather and sea conditions which would have made the approach to Dublin hazardous. The ship proceeded to its next port of call, Greenock. The ship which entered service last year has yet to call at the Irish capital.


The Titanic theme pub and restaurant at Cóbh located in the former White Star Line ticket office partially reopened to last week. It have been noted as being closed since the end of last year in a news bulletin a few months back.

 Whilst the bar and souvenir shop are open again, the restaurant which aimed to recreate the first class dining room on board RMS TITANIC has remained closed.


On July 21, 2003 Geest Ireland and Norfolk Line Containers announced that from mid August a new weekly Rotterdam - Dublin service would commence. This is a direct continuation of the two companies’ co-operation that began in October 2000 with the launch of a joint service between Rotterdam and Drogheda, 45km north of Dublin.

Currently Geest and Norfolkline provide three sailings a week between Rotterdam and Drogheda but such has been the success of this partnership that there is now an urgent requirement to deploy larger ships on the Irish trade. The port of Drogheda is unable to accommodate ships in excess of 450 TEU.

As part of their vessel sharing agreement, Geest Ireland and Norfolkline have chartered the 643 TEU MAERSK WESTLAND for the new Dublin link and she replaces the 262TEU TRITON LOGA that had been operating on the Drogheda service She will make her first sailing from Rotterdam on 15 August. TRITON LOGA will be employed on the Norfolkline Rotterdam - Waterford route as from 14 August.

Norfolkline’s Container Division Director Fred Steeneken explained that MAERSK WESTLAND's speed and size will enable the lines to provide a perfect service:

"We will be offering alongside our Waterford service a Friday departure from Rotterdam with a Sunday afternoon arrival in Dublin. Both routes will provide a reliable Friday (pm) collection - Monday (am) delivery service and each provides a contingency option for the other service. MAERSK WESTLAND  will leave Dublin on Tuesdays for arrival in Rotterdam on Thursday, so deliveries can still take place the same week.

"MAERSK WESTLAND is extremely suitable for the range of containers we carry - 45ft palletwides, 30ft bulk and heavy 20ft tanks – and is much larger than the 262TEU ship we are taking out of Drogheda."

Sadly, Drogheda has been a victim of its own success, explains Geest Ireland Director Trevor Dumbleton:

"Since we launched our Rotterdam – Drogheda service in October 2000, it has gone from strength to strength. However, we need larger ships like MAERSK WESTLAND and they are simply way too big for Drogheda. We would however like to express our thanks to the port management and stevedore for the help and encouragement they have given us over the past three years and are still giving us with regard to the two remaining sailings at Drogheda."

In Dublin, Geest and Norfolkline have signed a contract with Dublin Ferryport Terminals (DFT) for the handling of its service.


The two high speed passenger vessels DOWN RUNNER and ANTRIM RUNNER which were intended to operate a Belfast Lough commuter service are believed to be somewhere in Western Africa and will be used to carry miners and workers up rivers in the area.



Passenger figures compiled by the Harbours Division for June 2003 at 90,541 show a 5.8% decrease on the figure for the same period in 2002 which was 96,073.

The year to date figure at 308,330 passengers shows a 2.1% increase over the same period in 2002 which was 302,071.

During June car and motorcycle traffic through Douglas Harbour decreased by 15.5% from 31,048 vehicles to 26,236 vehicles.

The year to date figure at 89,363 vehicles shows a 2.3% increase over the same period in 2002 which was 87,363.

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


minus 7%



Dublinminus 16%from3,720to3,115
Heyshamminus 12%from35,059to30,702
Liverpoolminus 10%from46,653to42,017
Fleetwoodall plusfromNilto1,758
Llandudnoall plusfromNilto2,077
Whitehavenall plusfromNilto1,029

Freight Traffic

June commercial vehicles metreage increased by 2.8% from 36,649 metres to 37,666 metres.

Director of Harbours, Captain Michael Brew comments:

“The fall in passenger traffic is a result of the reduction in TT related traffic which was down on the high figures carried last year. Despite the impact of this, passenger traffic for the first six months of the year still shows growth, however, at a slightly reduced rate to that seen in recent years.”


Acknowledgements: Dave Crolley, Kevin Bennett, Tony Brennan, Tommy Dover and "others"


Please note that the Irish Sea Shipping web master will be away in Cóbh next week. As a consequence it is requested that no sizeable attachment files [over 50k] are forwarded by email between July 20 and July 28 inclusive. Though your web master will only be away from 21 to 27. This request is to avoid the mail box becoming over loaded and taking an excessive time to clear. 

If you need to get in touch with Irish Sea Shipping between July 21 and 27 please use the mobile phone contact information for voice calls or texts. Please do not try to leave messages via the landline numbers. This is because relayed messages can loose their full meaning when retold by a third party.

Finally please be aware that there may be some interruption to the web site during the period July 28 and August 8 as the site will be transferred to a new machine during this period. The transfer will aim to be as seamless as possible, but due to the size of Irish Sea Shipping certain sections may not be available for periods of time.

During the period July 20 - 28 it will not be possible to dispatch items ordered from the Irish Sea Shipping Shop.

If due to technical problems during the transfer period, the site does become unavailable for periods of time, all news items will be posted on the Irish Sea Ships Yahoo Group.

The next site update is scheduled for Wednesday July 30. 


SUPERSEACAT TWO the Thursday afternoon sailing from Dublin to Liverpool was delayed enroute for around one hour as the vessel took part in a search for a missing diver off Anglesey.

The 43 year old diver from Bradford was one of a party of seven divers who were diving onto the wreck of the CAMBANK three miles from the coast. SUPERSEACAT TWO resumed her voyage after around an hour whilst two lifeboats, the Coastguard and a helicopter from RAF Valley continued the search.

The search was eventually called off as no trace of the missing diver could be found.


QUEEN VICTORIA  - Earlier in the week a "Viewpoint" article was posted concerning local press revelations that the Fincantieri new build for Cunard may now not be named on Merseyside in 2005.

A poll has now been opened on the Irish Sea Ships Yahoo Group to enable visitors to the group and this web site to express their opinion on whether the ship should be named on Merseyside in the light of the events which led to the collapse of Cammell Laird.

The poll can be accessed by <clicking here>.

Remember you will have to log onto the Yahoo Group before you can vote.


The new assault ship HMS ALBION [A14], destroyer  HMS Edinburgh [D97] , Frigate HMS CAMPBELTOWN [F86] and mine hunter HMS INVERNESS [M102] will visit Merseyside between September 26 and 28. They will also be accompanied by five or six NATO mine hunters depot ship of MCM FORNORTH. This warship's visit coincides with the conclusion of the around the world Clipper Race.



Coaster callers this week included ELSTAR, EMSLAND, RIKA and WINGER.

Naval service patrol vessel P22 LÉ AOIFE anchored in the bay on July 14th, she departed early next morning.

The Wexford beam trawler BRIDGET CARMEL arrived on July 16th for a few hours possibly to land her catch. 


Dún Laoghaire lifeboat ( RNLB ANNA LIVIA ) towed in a small angling boat into Greystones on Saturday July 19th. 


A cable laying ship (possibly WAVE SENTINAL) is expected in the next week to do some work in connection with the Codling wind farm project.


Acknowledgements: Michael Pryce and "others"

Following the sale of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company to Montagu following additional information has been received:

The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company name will be retained, though the "Seacat" branding is licenced for the next 10 years.

BEN-MY-CHREE, LADY OF MANN and SEACAT ISLE OF MAN will pass into Isle of Man Steam Packet Company ownership. SUPERSEACAT 2 will be on long term charter from Sea Containers. 

The fleet composition will be reviewed - no assurances over how long the LADY OF MANN will remain in service.

Services will remain unchanged "for the moment".

The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company will manage the Belfast - Troon route for Sea Containers.

The deal includes the Isle of Man property portfolio - Imperial Buildings and car park, The Fort Street site and a site in Ramsey.


Irish Ferries has successfully fended off a final legal bid in a patent infringement claim by Stena Rederi Aktiebolag and Stena Line Aktiebolag in respect of the design of JONATHAN SWIFT which operates on the Dublin to Holyhead route..

In a decision recently published and without giving reasons the Law Lords upheld Appeal Court dismissal of an earlier appeal by Stena against a High Court ruling 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.

The Lords have refused permission for the Stena companies to challenge the earlier rulings.
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 House of Lords, the earlier courts held that the Stena's patent was valid. But they ruled that on the basis of provisions in the Patents Act 1977 Irish Ferries had not infringed it. Those provisions state that an act which would constitute an infringement of a patent in respect of a ship does 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 earlier courts took the view that the JONATHAN SWIFT carried out between three and four return crossings between Ireland and Wales each day with Dublin as the vessel's home port.

During normal operations it would remain in UK waters for about three hours on each trip.
The primary question was whether in all the circumstances, the JONATHAN SWIFT had 'temporarily' entered the territorial waters of the UK.

The courts 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.


Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Ian Collard and "others"

The main news item in this update is the announcement that the sale by Sea Containers of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company has been completed. The news releases announcing the sale is reproduced below.

From a practical point of view of reporting the news and organising the galleries on Irish Sea Shipping, Sea Containers news items and photo galleries will now be listed separately from those covering the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company. 

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company


On Tuesday July 15, Sea Containers announced that the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company had been sold to Montagu Private Equity Limited for £142 million ($233 million), with effect on June 30, 2003. The profit for Sea Containers on this transaction will be $100 million, however, the company has decided to establish provisions for the restructuring of its fast ferry business and to reduce the carrying value of certain assets to current market value. Total provisions will be approx. $40 million.

The company also advised that its exchange offer of 13% senior notes due 2006 for July 1, 2003 matured 9.5% and 10.5% senior notes had been subscribed in the amount of $22.5 million. The balance of these senior notes ($136.6 million) has been repaid.

Mr. James B Sherwood, President, said that the exchange offer for the company's $99 million of 12.5% senior subordinated debentures due 2004 was still open and an announcement of the acceptances would be made when the offer expires (July 23, 2003 unless extended). The company is offering senior notes due 2009 in exchange for this subordinated debt, carrying the same interest rate of 12.5%.

Mr. Sherwood said that the company expects soon to conclude the sale of its port interests in Folkestone and part of its port interests in Newhaven for £16 million ($26 million). It will retain the Newhaven Marina and property development site adjacent. He said that sale of the company's Charleston container manufacturing facility now looks less likely in that offers received so far undervalue it. Its sale at this time is not necessary to meet the company's obligations in light of the successful exchange offer for the July 1, 2003 matured notes.

Mr. Sherwood said that the company's objective to defer sale of its 14.4 million common shares in Orient-Express Hotels seems to be correct as the share price has recently risen to the $14-$15 level. When asked by investors at the company's recent presentations at what price the company would sell, Mr. Sherwood indicated that no decision had been taken by the board but in his opinion sales might take place in the mid $20-$30 level. "The important thing is to generate the maximum amount of cash to underpin Sea Containers' debt reduction and expansion programs." He said he believes that Orient-Express Hotels common shares are undervalued today in relation to those of its competitor, Four Seasons Hotels.

Mr. Sherwood said that GE SeaCo was performing ahead of budget which called for a significant improvement over 2002. He pointed out that by 2005 GE SeaCo could have an IPO value of $1 billion or more based on current competitor price earnings ratios.

At the investor presentations Mr. Angus Frew, Vice President, said that GE SeaCo, the 50/50 joint venture with GE Capital, now in its sixth year, has the newest and lowest cost fleet in the industry, with an average age of 2.1 years. Sea Containers is progressively reducing its older directly owned container fleet and replacing it with the jointly owned GE SeaCo new container fleet. In this process Sea Containers container debt is being rapidly paid off and GE SeaCo is financing its own container purchases without financial support or guarantees by either partner. This de-leveraging will improve Sea Containers financial ratios.

David Benson, Senior Vice President of the company's largest segment, passenger and freight transport, outlined plans under way at the recently consolidated Silja ferry and cruise ship operation, one of the most important in the world with revenue of $525 million in 2002, including additional freight services and expanded routes in Scandinavia and to St. Petersburg. The Hoverspeed ferry business across the English Channel remains highly competitive, requiring a capacity reduction which has been implemented, while at the SeaStreak business in New York capacity is growing with one new ferry due in October and another in January, 2004, and additional routes are under development. At GNER, the company's $700 million revenue (in 2002) U.K. passenger rail franchise, the focus this year is on equipment upgrades and expanded customer services, including car parks and on board internet access. Management expressed its confidence that GNER would be in an excellent position either to re-bid or extend its franchise which expires 2005 based on strong customer support and excellent operating performance.

At the annual shareholders meeting in Bermuda held on June 2, 2003, shareholders approved the election of seven directors and the appointment of Deloitte & Touche LLP as the company's independent auditor.

SG Corporate & Investment Banking acted as exclusive financial advisors to Sea Containers in relation to the sale of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company.


Montagu Private Equity announces £142 million buyout of The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company from Sea Containers

Montagu Private Equity has completed the £142 million acquisition of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company in a buyout from Sea Containers, the transportation, hotels and container group.

The Isle of Man Steam Packet is the main provider of passenger, vehicle and freight services to the Isle of Man and is the oldest continuously operating passenger shipping company in the world. Its services include passenger and freight services between Douglas and Heysham Port with a number of fast ferry sailings between Douglas, Liverpool, Belfast and Dublin. The acquisition also includes the only city centre to city centre service to Ireland with a fast ferry service between Liverpool and Dublin.

Juan Kelly, Chairman commented: "The Steam Packet is much encouraged by the assurance of Montagu’s active support for the Company in our aim to provide a first class ferry service to and from the Isle of Man, and to take full advantage of the growth opportunities which exist".

Hamish Ross, Managing Director commented: "We are delighted that Montagu have chosen to acquire the Steam Packet under its existing management team. Our long term strategy continues to focus on providing a high quality of service to Isle of Man residents, the Isle of Man Government and the port authorities with whom we do business daily, involving the deployment of fast craft and freight/passenger (Ropax) ships".

Simon Pooler from Montagu Private Equity said: ‘"This is exactly the kind of high quality business that we like to invest in with stable revenues and predictable earnings streams. Steam Packet has an exceptional management team and good growth prospects as the economy of the Isle of Man develops".

Montagu was advised by Ernst & Young and DLA. Debt funding for the deal was from Bank of Scotland Corporate Banking in Manchester.

The deal was supported by Bank of Scotland Corporate Banking based in Manchester. The company provided one of the largest sole bank underwrites amounting to £109m.

At present it is not clear which ships are included in the deal, nor is it clear how the remaining Sea Containers UK ferry services will be managed as it leave the Belfast - Troon service somewhat isolated from Sea Containers English channel routes.


QUEEN VICTORIA - The Liverpool Daily Post revealed today that the proposal to name the new 85,000grt vessel, currently under construction by Fincantieri, may not take place on Merseyside in 2005 as originally planned following a review by the Miami based company. VIEWPOINT: The Carnival is Over?


MERCHANT VENTURE is reported sold to middle eastern interests.


Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Ian Collard, Michael Bracken, Mike O'Brien and "others"

There still exists a backlog of material for updates and I anticipate further updates during the course of the week. Additionally it is anticipated that additional areas of the site will me moved to satellite Angelfire sites during the next few days. These areas will remain accessible through the main website menu system.

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

SUPERSEACAT TWO missed her sailing to Dublin on Friday morning due to technical problems. A correspondent noted passengers and vehicles being off loaded at Prince's Landing Stage late morning. However, she was back in service with the evening sailing for Douglas.


The long awaited second volume of Mersey Ferries by T.B. Maund has now been published. Volume One was originally published by the now defunct Transport Publishing Company in 1981 and covered the ferry services operating between Eastham and Woodside. The long awaited Volume 2 which covers Wallasey Ferries us now available priced £20.00 from Black Dwarf Lightmoor. 


RTÉ reported this week that preliminary results from an examination of a shipwreck lying off the Wexford coast indicate it could be one of the most important such vessels to be examined in years.

Divers from the state heritage service, Dúchas, have spent the past two weeks carrying out underwater surveys of the shipwreck.

The ship is lying at the bottom of the River Suir estuary near Duncannon fort.

Dúchas divers believe the ship is called 'The Great Louis', and was part of the confederate fleet under Cromwell that attacked Duncannon fort around 1645.

The ship is located in the main shipping line of Waterford harbour, one of the busiest shipping lanes in the country.

The shipwreck was first discovered when the area was being dredged.

Divers are today continuing to examine the shipwreck but are said to be very excited about their preliminary findings.


The historic Irish Sea topsail schooner KATHLEEN & MAY which is usually based at Bideford will be visiting a number of ports during July and August including: Youghal, Bristol, Watchet and Cardiff. Full details on the KATHLEEN & MAY web site



Mersey Docks' Seaforth Container Terminal at the Port of Liverpool is to open around-the-clock, five days a week from 1st September, for the receipt and delivery of containers by road.

The four month trial is the Dock Company's latest response to trends in container traffic responsible for the arrival of five new shipping services at the Terminal in the past 18 months.

Early in March Seaforth extended its opening hours for road haulage from 06.00 hrs to 04.00 hrs to ease peak pressure and smooth the way for Liverpool to accommodate more trade previously moving through UK South and East Coast ports.

Up to 10% of daily road traffic running into the terminal has joined the "dawn patrol" to take advantage of the two hour earlier start.

Said Mersey Docks Director of Marketing Frank Robotham: "Extending our truck handling operation to 24 hour working reduces the reliance of both North West industry and shipping lines on the less efficient option of moving goods for certain trades through South and East Coast ports. The decision to open around the clock means that more and more cargo can be moved through Liverpool rather than facing the long, congested haul to the South and East coasts and it enhances opportunities for road hauliers to maximise the use of their equipment.

"We also recognise that companies involved in the transport of both imported and exported goods are increasingly looking towards 24 hour, just-in-time operations."

The effectiveness of the round-the-clock opening from 0600 hrs on a Monday to 0700 hrs on a Saturday, with weekend arrangements applying after 0700 hrs on a Saturday, will be reviewed by Mersey Docks early in December.

The Seaforth Terminal has benefited from a £25 million investment by Mersey Docks in new facilities, equipment and computer systems. The five new lines attracted to the Port of Liverpool over the past 18 months include three of the world's five top container shipping operations, all with global networks.


Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Ian Liston, Ian Collard, Aiden McCabe, Tommy Dover, Michael Pryce, Ian Collard, Alan Lee, Dave Crolley, North Western Ship Repairers, Gwil Jones, Michael Bracken and "others". 


Please note that Irish Sea Shipping was updated on Monday and Tuesday, though the scheduled Wednesday update was delayed until this evening. Some items still remain in the backlog and I hope to get these posted as soon as possible.

During the last few days in July and the first few days of August, I will be changing the machine on which the website is stored and edited. This will mean transferring the site to the new machine. As a consequence it may be necessary to upload the whole site again from scratch. Therefore there may be a period during late July and early August in which the photo galleries may not be available in full or in part. I will also remove some older material from some of the existing galleries in the next few days. 

Earlier this week, the 2002 News Bulletins, Viewpoint Files, Lamb Banana and 2002 Voyage  Reports have been transferred to a satellite site hosted by Angelfire. These archives can still be accessed via the News and Voyage Report menus on the main web site.

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

No further announcement regarding the sail of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company has been made. A report in Lloyd's List basically repeats the earlier report in The Times, but does not mention the Private Equity firm - believed by The Times to be Montagu.

Lloyd's List reports that the company is said to have attracted "a tremendous amount of interest" from bidders that included both other ferry lines and private equity groups. Should the current negotiations with the preferred buyer not succeed, then there are plenty of other buyers waiting in the wings.

Sea Containers has just completed the refinancing of $158m of debt that matured on July 1, but Standard & Poor's warned that the BB- rating could be lowered if the asset sales are not concluded soon.

The note of caution about Sea Containers' financial position came as the container lessor, passenger and freight transport company said it was extending for another fortnight the offer to exchange its outstanding 12.5% senior subordinated debentures due in 2004 for 12.5 notes with a 2009 maturity date. The offer was originally due to expire yesterday but will now remain open until July 23.


Some information on this vessel which has appeared on Merseyside.

Stephaniturm.jpg (59744 bytes)STEPHANITURM a number of contacts have emailed concerning this Multi Purpose Dynamic Positioned Support Vessel which arrived on the Mersey last week. 

The vessel has been laid up in Norway for 6 months, until securing a charter to undertake diving work in Liverpool Bay. The Crew joined and vessel stored up. She left on Friday for D.P. Trials. Unfortunately one of the stern thrusters failed and the vessel returned to Liverpool and all crew were sent home!! Owners are believed to be considering options with vessel to repair / lay up.

STEPHANITURM was built in 1978 and last visited Liverpool as 1999 as the DSDN STEPHANITURM. She has had several other names with "Stephaniturm" in them. Owned by Horizon Offshore of Nassau. 


STENA ADVENTURER the €90m ro-pax was officially launched in Dublin on July 10 in the presence of the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

The Hyundai built vessel  offers an increase in passenger capacity of 50% and a 70% increase in the vehicle deck capacity.

At 211 metres the ship is the longest to operate on the Dublin to Holyhead route. Though in terms of overall size she remains significantly smaller than Irish Ferries ULYSSES. 


Coaster visitors to Wicklow last week included RMS LAAR , CROWN ALIZEE , ANKE and BEN VARREY. The Brixham ketch LEADER arrived early in the week from Falmouth, on passage to the Western Isles. The STV LORD RANK arrived at the weekend, she departed on Sunday afternoon July 6 heading for Dublin under sail.

Wicklow lifeboat station held their annual open day on July 6, RNLB ANNIE BLAKER was on display on the slip. GRANUAILE arrived in the bay on Saturday afternoon, onboard were the Commissioners, who were taken ashore by tender to visit Wicklow Head Lighthouse, as part of their annual tour of inspection of the Irish lighthouses. GRANUAILE departed the bay early on Sunday morning.

Stone carrier JOPI continues to work along the coast. Each day she is noted passing Wicklow.


Three replacement ferries for the Devonport - Torpoint Ferry service which links Devon and Cornwall have been ordered from Ferguson's of Port Glasgow much to the dismay of the struggling Appledore Shipyard in Devon.

The wwo press reports reproduced below reflect the emotions of the victors and vanquished in the bidding for the £15m contract.

Ferguson Shipbuilders wins £15m ferry contract - The Herald July 9


FERGUSON Shipbuilders on the Clyde is celebrating a £15m contract win - having emerged victorious from a five-way contest to build three replacement ferries for Torpoint in Cornwall.

The Port Glasgow yard, which is marking its 100th anniversary this year, has been awarded the contract for the 73-car capacity ferries by Plymouth City Council. The council has stirred controversy in its home patch by choosing Ferguson over a local yard.

Councillors George Wheeler and John Crago, joint chairs of the council's Tamar Bridge and Torpoint ferry committee, said: "The tenders were assessed in accordance with strict European procurement rules, looking at both price and quality.

"Competition was close, but we are pleased that a British firm has been awarded this work."

The contract win is great news for the Ferguson workforce at Port Glasgow which, according to the firm's website, has grown from 35 when the operation was bought by Clark Kincaid from British Shipbuilders 14 years ago to 300.

Ferguson was dealt a bitter blow in March last year when Scottish ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne awarded contracts for car and passenger ferries, worth £4m and £6m respectively, to McTay Marine in Liverpool and Appledore in Devon.

At that stage, union officials warned that about 80 temporary workers at Ferguson were expected to lose their jobs the following month, and claimed there could be further heavy staff losses.

The Ferguson management said March last year that the workforce felt very let down by the Scottish Executive, and expressed its anger that the publicly-owned CalMac had opted for rival proposals which involved import of the hull from Poland.

No-one was available at Ferguson last night to discuss what the Torpoint order would mean for staffing levels at Port Glasgow, or to confirm the existing workforce number.

The contract specifies phased delivery of the Torpoint ferries between October 2004 and June 2005.

The vessels will have improved safety features, and include wider vehicle lanes. They will offer easier access for all users, reduced noise levels in passenger accommodation, and will feature a more sophisticated drive arrangement which will allow better alignment with the dock during loading and unloading.

Two of the existing Torpoint ferries have been in service for 43 years.

From The Western Morning News

With order books rapidly drying up, management at North Devon-based Appledore Shipbuilders were shocked to learn a major West Country public contract was awarded to a Scottish rival. Graeme Demianyk reports on the anger after European bureaucracy prevented the order being given to Appledore

Ailing North Devon firm Appledore Shipbuilders received another hammer blow yesterday after it emerged that a lucrative £15 million contract for work in the West Country had been lost to a Glasgow rival.

Bosses at Appledore said they were "devastated" that local authorities had chosen Scottish firm Ferguson Shipbuilders to build the three new vessels to replace existing ferries linking Plymouth and Torpoint.

The Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry Joint Committee - an organisation jointly controlled by Plymouth City Council and Cornwall County Council - said the five tenders it received were assessed "in accordance with strict European procurement rules, looking at both price and quality". The committee added that it would have been "irresponsible" to look upon a bid
favourably because of locality.

But the deal would have been a much-needed lifeline for Appledore, whose 550 staff are currently working to a three-day week because of a shortage of contracts.

Jim Wilson, managing director of Appledore, which is one of the last remaining commercial shipyards in the country, said: "It could mean the end of Appledore.

"We feel terribly let down. The Torpoint contract would have been ideal. We are trying to secure a £40 million contract from Seawind but it's no good on its own. We're trying to get something else, but I can't go into that.

 "It's not a case of sour grapes as Ferguson is a good shipyard. But the price we quoted was close to what Ferguson put forward. We tendered £14.9 million."

Work on the final vessel on Appledore's order books - a ferry for Caledonian MacBrayne - will take the yard up to the end of this month. The yard is hoping to secure a £40 million contract from Seawind Ltd to build a massive construction barge for use in building offshore windfarms. The problem for the yard has been in securing a large enough loan guarantee from the Government.

Coun George Wheeler, joint chairman of the Torpoint Ferry and Tamar Bridge Joint Committee, an organisation made up of councillors from Plymouth and Cornwall, defended the body's actions saying it had to choose the best tender.

He said: "We understand the disappointment that is being felt by the unsuccessful tenderers for the new ferries contract. There are strict European procurement procedures for the award of contracts such as this.

"While we would obviously have liked very much to have awarded the contract to a West Country firm it would have been irresponsible to do so if it had not been assessed as being the best tender and it would have opened us up to a potential legal challenge."

Coun John Crago, joint chairman of the committee, added that marine consultant Burness Corlett & Partners had concluded that the Ferguson bid was superior in terms of quality so there was no way of bending the rules. He also said the Scottish firm's bid was not the cheapest.

Gary Smith, South West senior organiser of the trade union GMB, said: "It's economics of the madhouse not to give work in the South West to a South West-based company. There's no way a Scottish local authority would award a contract like this outside their region.

 "If Best Value means throwing people on the dole in North Devon, I don't see how that adds up."

Gary Streeter, Conservative MP for South West Devon, said the contract was yet another example of British authorities abiding by European legislation to a greater extent than counterparts on the Continent. He said: "There are times we need to put the telescope to the blind eye and do what we can to help local people. The committee should have looked under every stone to help a firm like Appledore."

Torridge and West Devon MP John Burnett said he would be tabling a question in the House of Commons to find out if there had been a "level playing field" when it came to awarding the contract. He said: "I am very disappointed that this contract for a West Country customer was not awarded to a West Country shipyard."


Acknowledgements: Stena Line Freight, Tommy Dover &  Phil Welsh


Only a small update today due to some other commitments. However, a much larger update is envisaged for Wednesday July 09 - The forthcoming midweek update will feature two historic ships.


The recent "Lamb Banana" feature regarding P&O selling out completely to Stena Line on the North Channel has been denied by Stena Line Freight. A company representative commented to Irish Sea Shipping "Our intention is to acquire a 50% share of the existing P&O port at Cairnryan and develop it to accommodate both our ship, the Stena Caledonia and our HSS, the Stena Voyager. We have no other plans other than those we have already announced. Negotiations continue."

STENA ADVENTURER - A promotion in the Daily Mail commencing Saturday July 6 will allow passengers, on collecting 8 vouchers to be printed over the next 10 days, to take a car + 2  return trip free of charge. Full details in the paper. Offer applies only to those with UK Addresses. A good opportunity for enthusiasts to try this non-foot pax ship free of charge during the summer and have a day or longer stay in Dublin with you car! 



This year's  open day will be held on August 31 from 12:00 and 16:00.

With high water on the day at 14:30BST  it is anticipated that local lifeboats and some aircraft will participate in a Search and Rescue Display off the Promenade

Ashore, various organisations will be represented, some but not all of a maritime nature.

The station itself and operations room will be open to the public.


Two ships are featured in the Cruise Calls List for this week at Liverpool. On July 09 CLIPPER ADVENTURER and HANSEATIC on July 11. 

However, the MDHC Ship's Due list only confirms arrival of HANSEATIC at Gladstone #1 on July 11.


The new URL for Tommy Dover's New Wicklow Maritime site should have been . The previously published new URL was incorrect. I have also changed the direct link from the main menu.


This week British Waterways assumed ownership of the Liverpool South Docks. The south dock estate had previously been owned by the regeneration body English Partnerships as successors to the Merseyside Development Corporation.  English Partnerships will pay a dowry towards the maintenance of the docks.

Local press reports that British Waterways Board now plan to inject a new lease of life by staging events such as  national jet ski champion-ships, as well as boat shows, yacht regattas and races etc. 

The docks included in the deal are: Albert Dock, Canning Half-tide, Canning, Salthouse, Dukes, Wapping Basin, Wapping Quay, Queens, Queens Branch, Coburg Dock Marina and Brunswick Dock. Morpeth and Egerton Docks in Wirral are also included.


ESMERALDA visit of the four masted barque to Dartmouth scheduled for July 09 has been cancelled. The vessel having suffered structural damage departing its last port of call.

Apparently Amnesty International had been planning a protest when the vessel arrived in Dartmouth to highlight the ship's past history. It is alleged that she was used as a "torture ship" during the Pinochet regime - a claim denied by the Chilean Navy.

Britannia Royal Naval College, which was to host Chilean officer cadets from the ship, confirmed the cancellation, but said the planned visit of the ship to London on 15 July was still to be decided.


Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Trevor Kidd, North Western Ship Repairers, "exstenaman", Krispen Atkinson, Niall J.P. McGahon, Michael Pryce and "others".

SEA CONTAINERS \ Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

HOVERSPEED GREAT BRITAIN - was reported to be booked to take bunkers at Falmouth before proceeding to Birkenhead for repairs.

SUPERSEACAT TWO missed her Monday sailing to Dublin, spending some time at Langton Dock. She emerged later in the day to operate the evening sailing to Douglas with a
crossing time of 3 hours.

SUPERSEACAT TWO entered A&P on the morning tide on Tuesday July 1st for attention to one of her water jet units. At present it is anticipated that she should be back in service by Thursday evening.

SEACAT ISLE OF MAN is scheduled to operate the second Isle of Man - Liverpool sailing on Tuesday, therefore SUPERSEACAT TWO only missed her Dublin sailing. On Wednesday SSC2's  Dublin sailing was missed. However SCIOM was scheduled to operate the 22:00 Liverpool to Isle of Man service. With the 18:30 SSC2 sailing retimed to 01:15 Thursday and operated by SEACAT ISLE OF MAN


EUROPEAN SEAFARER was scheduled for another wind farm charter last weekend [June 28/29] from Campbeltown. 

EUROPEAN ENVOY, EUROPEAN PIONEER and EUROPEAN LEADER will visit A&P Birkenhead in turn for vehicle deck refurbishment commencing July 21.

Three 1970s-vintage P&O vessels will benefit from top deck and car deck refurbishment involving the overlaying of lightweight sandwich panelling on stripped down sections of deck.

A&P Birkenhead forebear Cammell Laird pioneered the first application of the SPS approach, where hollow panel sections are filled with a polyol and isocyanate elastomer devised by BASF operation Elastogran.

Once the injected elastomer is set, the SPS provides structural strength comparable to that of steel without requiring stiffeners.

An initial three-ferry job saw renewal of decks on the ferries EUROPEAN SEAFARER, EUROPEAN NAVIGATOR and, as now, EUROPEAN PIONEER.

On the demise of Cammell Laird, the renewal programme was taken on by A&P Falmouth, which undertook renewal of 773 sq m of high load bearing deck, ramp and an area below aboard EUROPEAN ENVOY.

The new project involves 1,936 sq m of deck renewed aboard EUROPEAN LEADER, 619 sq m aboard EUROPEAN PIONEER and 202 sq m more aboard EUROPEAN ENVOY.


An  Irish government crackdown on sea craft which don't comply with new safety regulations has led to the withdrawal of the Warrenpoint - Omeath ferry service. 

Operated by the 1944 built passenger vessel Mary Oge, the ferry carried visitors across Carlingford Lough, between Omeath, Co Louth, and Warrenpoint, in Co Down.

Former council chief Jim McCart said: "This is a devastating blow to these villages - unless the service is restored immediately the summer season will be ruined and thousands lost in revenue to both local economies."

A spokesman for the ferry company said: "We are prepared to undertake any improvements required but we were not given an opportunity."


C.S. SOVEREIGN has undergone repairs in Birkenhead. The cable ship was working on cable repairs in Irish Sea when starboard azimuth electric motor overheated and damaged bearings.


BBC Devon reports that The Department of Trade and Industry now says it is prepared to guarantee part of a loan,  which would allow the company to sign a £40m contract.

But the guarantee is not as extensive as the yard was hoping for and managers are considering the offer. Appledore's workforce of nearly 500 has been on a three-day week for some time.

About 99 staff are also facing redundancy, meaning the contract would safeguard jobs for the next 18 months. Work at the yard has dried up and the company is depending on the £40m contract to build a platform barge for wind turbines for an offshore wind farm in the Bristol Channel.

The loan guarantee is how much the company ordering the vessel can borrow against its value when it is actually built. That affects the amount of money that can be raised by a government-owned lender to pay for the work.

Torridge and West Devon Liberal Democrat MP John Burnett said he was greatly encouraged by his meeting with Minister of State for Industry and the Regions, Jacqui Smith.

"I am a lot more optimistic since the meeting than I was before.

"The minister has only had two weeks in her new job, but she really got to grips with, and understood, a very difficult and complex commercial transaction.

"She was very positive and helpful and she does really understand how important time is."

Mr Burnett said a loan guarantee was in place, but there were still one or two points to iron out.

"I hope that, in 10 days' time, we will have a solution," he said.

"We have got a lot of what we asked for from the government and that help is going to be absolutely vital to the continuation of the yard.

"If we land this contract, it will give the shipyard work for 18 months and tied us over a very, very difficult period.

"It is not just a UK problem, but one that is worldwide.

"There are very, very few orders for ships at the moment."

Appledore have been responsible for building many familiar vessels which operate in these waters - such as the Shannon Ferries SHANNON DOLPHIN and SHANNON HEATHER, RMV SCILLONIAN III, and the two recently constructed Irish Naval Service ships LÉ ROISIN and LÉ NIAMH.



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