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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


August 2003

Saturday - August  30

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, NSL, Derry Walsh, Ian Collard, Anthony Harrison and others.
ISS NOTES & NEWS  immediately. 


A reminder that Irish Sea Shipping was updated during the week on August 25 and 28 - please check "What's New" for details.

This update has been posted a day earlier than scheduled. It is likely that a further update will be posted mid week.


SUPERSEACAT TWO - continues to suffer from bad timekeeping, further exacerbated by the demands of the Manx Grand Prix festival which came to a conclusion this weekend. On Saturday August 30, the ship had drifted so far off schedule that the morning sailing to Dublin was cancelled to enable the vessel to operate a very delayed 04:00 Douglas to Liverpool sailing at 10:30. A correspondent noted her passing Liverpool Bar inwards for the Landing Stage at 13:05.


Though it does not appear to be officially billed as series of coordinated events, perhaps they just happened to coincide - anyone with an interest in nautical matters should make sure they are on Merseyside over the weekend September 26 to 28.


A large multinational flotilla of naval vessels is expected on the Mersey over the weekend of September 26 - 29 including the recently commissioned assault ship HMS ALBION [L14]. Some of the smaller visiting ships will berth at Canning Half-Tide dock adjacent to the Albert Dock. Full list of visiting vessels in the Merseyside Naval Calls list.


CARONIA - coming to the end of her time with Carnival - Cunard the vessel is due on the Mersey on September 26. Earlier this year CARONIA was sold to Saga Cruises and will operate for that company from 2005.

QUEEN MARY 2 PRESENTATION LUNCH a special presentation lunch will be held at the Pan American Club, Albert Dock on Friday September 26. This includes a preview of QUEEN MARY 2. Virtual Tour Video. Information on forthcoming Cunard events. An insight into the History of Cunard, opportunity to talk to Cunard experts and previous passengers. Three course lunch with glass of wine. Tickets for this event are limited to 100. Price £25. Tickets available from Liverpool Echo on 0151-227-5987 Monday to Friday 09:00 to 17:00 or answer phone at other times.


After 35,000 miles of intense competition on the high seas, the eight international Clipper yachts return to the Mersey 11 months after their departure for the round the world race. The race concludes on Saturday September 27 with the yachts returning to the Albert Dock, Liverpool.


Mersey Ferries are operating a special cruise to view the finish of the Clipper Race on Saturday September 27. Sailing departs Landing Stage at 08:30. Fare: £10:00 Adults £5:00 children. Advanced booking required 0151-330-1444 or book online at the Mersey Ferries web site.


An attempt to sell the historic Colwyn Bay Pier on eBay has failed. The grade II listed Victorian Pier only attracted a maximum bid of £135,000 after a ten day listing, which was short of the reserve price set by owner Mike Paxman.

A BBC report states that Mr. Paxman and his wife

The couple chose to try selling it over an internet auction site because they had failed to get enough interest via conventional methods.

More than 11,000 people clicked on to the page, with interest from as far a field as Asia and America.

Although the 57-year-old property developer and marine engineer and his wife have overhauled the once-derelict structure, the Grade II listed pier is in need of extensive restoration work.

The couple had hoped to transform it into a casino and tourist attraction, but had problems complying with modern safety regulations within their budget.


Crescent Shipping's BLACKFRIARS departed Clarence Dry Docks - August 26.

James Fisher & Sons STEERSMAN is scheduled to depart Bidston Dry Dock August 30 / 31.

LAGAN VIKING is due to enter Canada Dry Dock on September 1st at 19:00.

RIVER LUNE will dry dock at either Canada or Bidston on September 14 for repairs on conclusion of her charter to Dart Line.


BRAVE MERCHANT has been handed back to the company and is expected to sail for Belfast covering for LAGAN VIKING which is due at Canada Dry Dock on the evening of August 31.

NORSE MERSEY charter will end when LAGAN VIKING returns to service and releases BRAVE MERCHANT for the Dublin - Liverpool service which will operate freight and freight driver only for the time being.

MERCHANT VENTURE - the vessel laid up in Vittoria Dock since returning from the unsuccessful Norse Island Ferries operation was reported sold to Middle Eastern interests some weeks ago. She now carries a new name WARSAN and is expected to depart from Birkenhead shortly.


Many visitors to the Irish Sea Shipping web site will have travelled on one or more of the vessels constructed by Van der Giessen de Noord that ply the Irish Sea and adjacent areas such as BEN-MY-CHREE, ISLE OF INISHMORE, NORBAY and NORBANK.

However, following an announcement last Monday it appears that there will be no further new build passenger ships emanating from the company's yards.

Last Monday, parent company IHC Caland announced that it would split into two parts and close down one of its three ship yards which would result in 400 redundancies. 

After the split, IHC Caland's operations will focus on building and managing machinery for offshore oil and gas drilling.

A new company will be created out of the company's two remaining shipyards, which build equipment for industrial dredging, onshore and offshore pile driving, and sand and gravel extraction.

The Van der Giessen-De Noord shipyard, which built large dredging ships, will be closed in early 2004 after it fills its final order.

"It has become increasingly clear that the yard cannot survive in the current very weak market, due to the uncompetitive price levels at which it is obliged to operate," IHC Caland said in a statement. It said the market for jumbo dredgers "appears to be dead for the foreseeable future."

Also Monday, IHC Caland -- which generates most of its sales outside Europe and reports earnings in U.S. dollars -- posted a first half net profit of $34.2 million, falling from $42.4 million a year earlier. It said it will take a charge of around $45 million in the second half of 2002 to close the Van der Giessen shipyard.


The lifeboat based at Kilmore Quay, County Wexford, will no longer be launched from a carriage a practice adopted since the opening of the station 146 years ago. The vessel will now remain afloat at special berth at the port's Marina.

Sunday - August  24

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Tommy Dover, Dermot Walsh, Melanie Jane Richardson, Ian Collard and "others".

Your webmaster's final summer wandering are over. However, there are some domestic jobs that need doing before work recommences on September 2. Therefore, this Bank Holiday Weekend update has been staged. The first part posted on Saturday, followed by another posting today, and another will be posted tomorrow with probably further updates during the week.

As mentioned last week, please be aware that material is being removed to allow for the site transfer to another machine. Still Dell have not delivered the replacement new machine, though they have promised it as soon as possible on Friday August 22. However, until the transfer is complete the site will be smaller than usual. 


Coaster callers this week at Wicklow included ANKE and INGER. PROVIDER is expected. EUROPEAN AMBASSADOR went south on Saturday afternoon heading for France. Mussel trawlers were 'dredging' in the bay all week, some vessels moored overnight at the new pier. Wicklow lifeboat RNLB ANNIE BLAKER launched on a crew exercise in the bay on Friday evening.


On August 22 the Office of  Fair Trading [OFT] referred to the Competition Commission (CC) the proposed acquisition by Stena AB of certain routes operated by P&O on the Irish Sea.

The OFT believes that if the transaction went ahead it might be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition in the market for the supply of ferry services for freight from Great Britain to Ireland.

The routes that would be transferred from P&O to Stena AB are from Fleetwood to Larne and Liverpool to Dublin. P&O has also announced that it intends to withdraw from its Mostyn to Dublin route. Although ferry services in the Irish Sea are presently characterised by over-capacity, the merger would remove a leading supplier and significantly increase concentration of supply. A number of customers raised concerns that the merger would lead to increased prices.

Miss Pat Edwards, OFT Director of Legal Services, said: 'Despite a decline in demand for ferry services in the Irish Sea, we believe this proposed merger may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition, and therefore needs to be investigated by the Competition Commission.'

The CC is required to publish its report by 6 February 2004


HSS STENA EXPLORER / HSS STENA VOYAGER have undergone vessel upgrades during recent refits that have successfully lead to the vessels obtaining certification from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to carry dangerous goods on the  Holyhead-Dun Laoghaire and Stranraer-Belfast routes.

The company is one of the first in the world to gain dangerous goods approval for high speed craft of this size. However, the approval has been granted subject to certain restrictions which the company hopes to review  in conjunction with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency after a period of successful operation. 



The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) announced on August 21 that 18 foreign ships were under detention in UK ports during July 2003 after failing port state control safety inspection.

Latest monthly figures show that 13 foreign ships were detained in UK ports during July 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 7.4% which is an increase of 0.2% on the detention rate to June.

The ships detained in July included:-

• a Cyprus Flag, 17630 GT, Bulk Carrier in Southampton for excessive oil and water in engine room and sludge and bilge tanks full, the Short Term Safety Equipment Certificate has also expired. This was a follow-up detention the vessel having been detained previously in Calais, France.

• a Polish Flag, 1726 GT, Oil Tanker in Great Yarmouth, following a grounding due to incorrect charts, other detainable items included no valid Safety Radio Certificate, radars inoperative, unsatisfactory fire and abandon ship drill and key personnel unable to communicate effectively in English. Vessel released for single voyage to Poland for Flag Sate survey and ISM audit.

• A German Flag, 1512 GT, General Cargo vessel in Belfast due to the German Administration withdrawing the ISM Document of Compliance.

The list details the name, flag state, owner or operator and classification society of each detained ship together with the summary of the main grounds for detention.


On 12th August 2003 The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) Marine Office re-detained the 34,850 gross ton Cypriot registered bulk cargo vessel ‘Archanglos Sea’ at Belfast, for non compliance with Merchant Shipping Regulations.

This vessel did not comply because the numerous structural deficiencies were found in the last port are such that the structural strength of the ship is not adequate for service for which the vessel was intended. Other deficiencies with oil filtering and corroded hatchways were also noted.

The vessel was re-detained at the request of the Netherlands Shipping Inspectorate after she was detained in Amsterdam with a total 90 defects to repair. The vessel was granted permission to sail to Belfast for discharge of cargo, the vessel was re-detained in Belfast.

The cargo has been removed from the vessel and she is now at anchor at Belfast awaiting MCA permission to sail on a single direct ballast voyage to a scrap yard, most likely in India.

Captain Bill Bennett of the MCA Marine Office in Belfast said: -

“The MCA is committed to preventing loss of life at sea, and will not hesitate to detain any vessel which does not comply with Merchant Shipping Regulations to ensure the safety of all on board.”

Sunday - August  17

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Ian Collard, Kevin Bennett, Tommy Dover, NSL and "others".


A large amount of material has been added to the site on August 13 & 14. Also at this time a significant amount of older material has been removed. Further older items will be removed shortly to facilitate transfer of the site. The period that photographic items remain on line is usually governed by the amount of material passing through each gallery. The greater amount of material being posted to a gallery, the shorter the shelf life.

However, some of the less busy galleries will disappear temporarily during the swap over process. These will be provided with new material as and when gathered once the machine transfer has taken place. However, some of the gallery sections may continue to be listed but will have a notice posted to the index page indicating that no material is currently available. Furthermore an T shown in the main gallery indices will indicate if any galleries are accessible from the sub-index

It is now anticipated that the change of machines will be effected during the last week in August. 


Please note that the ISS webmaster will be away from  Monday August 18 to Thursday August 21 inclusive for visit to Devon and Cornwall. During this period all contact should be made via text or voice calls to the mobile number 07973363370. Please do not use the landline numbers.




SUPERSEACAT TWO appears to have been experiencing recurring technical problems with some very late running noted during the past week. 

Correspondent Kevin Bennett made the following notes concerning SUPERSEACAT TWO timings at Liverpool between August 12 and 15. Scheduled timing is shown in red.







Liverpool dep






Liverpool arr






Liverpool dep






Liverpool arr






Thursday 14 was the worst day. With SSC2 concluding her day's sailings four hours and fifteen minutes behind schedule. 

MV118.JPG (25752 bytes)One thing is certain, after a good start to the season, SUPERSEACAT TWO is starting to display the poor time keeping which led a local newspaper to run the headline in 1998 "The Ships That Are Shaming Liverpool". SUPERSEACAT TWO featuring along side the troublesome  Lowline cruise ship EDINBURGH CASTLE [Later BIG RED BOAT II under Cammell Laird].

One thing is for certain either SUPERSEACAT TWO's problems are going to have to be resolved or something more reliable is required for the 2004 season. Such timekeeping is appalling and does nothing for passenger confidence. The photograph by Ian Collard shows the arrival of SUPERSEACAT TWO on August 16 she arrived at 18:15. The earliest arrival for several days but still 30 minutes behind the later Saturday arrival time of 17:45.


RAPIDE - whilst SUPERSEACAT TWO is playing up on the central corridor, RAPIDE is also causing problems up on the IOMSPCO managed Sea Container's North Channel route between Belfast and Troon. She too has been noted off schedule by correspondents. To effect maintenance the following sailings have been cancelled:

Tuesday 19th August 20:45 and 23:45 and Wednesday 20th August 07:45 and 11:00.



Parents whose children are relocating to schools and Universities in the UK after the Summer holidays are the target of a special EUR220 fare introduced by Irish Ferries.

The 3-day fare, ideal for students with heavy loads to transport back to college,  includes return travel for 2 adults and car from Rosslare to Pembroke with supplements of EUR20 return from Dublin-Holyhead on board the cruise ferry OUlysses¹ and EUR60 return on the Dublin Swift fast ferry.  Extra adults travelling costs EUR15 each way.

Available between 1st and 31st September bookings can be made on-line at
<>, on LoCall 1890 313131 or through travel agents


The ongoing success of the replica emigrant ship's US visit is evidenced by this report from RTÉ which serves to confound the critics of the JEANIE JOHNSTON project:

The famine replica ship, the Jeanie Johnston, has left United States waters after a record number of visitors boarded the vessel at her last port of call, Portsmouth in New Hampshire.

6,000 people boarded the ship during the past three days.

Later today the ship is due at her first port in Canada, St Andrew's in New Brunswick.

She will complete her visit in late September when she calls to Grosse Ile, which was the Quebec quarantine station where thousands of Irish emigrants arrived.

The vessel arrived in Florida in April and began sailing north, attracting huge interest from Irish-American communities during stops on Long Island, Boston and other locations.


The following vessels are due at North Western Ship Repairers:

MT BLACKFRIARS owned by Crescent Shipping due Clarence dry-dock to August 28.

  MT STEERSMAN owned by James Fisher & Sons dry-docked at Bidston on August 17.

Sunday - August  10

Acknowledgements: Ian Collard, Gary Andrews, Michael Bracken, Robert Anderson, Kevin Bennett, Tommy Dover and "others".


Due to the amount of material it has been necessary to perform three updates this weekend. Once again many thanks to contributors of news and photographs during the past week. Don't forget to check "What's New" to ensure you don't miss all the latest updates. As usual a backlog is building up and I have had to defer some material until later next week.


Please note that the ISS webmaster will be away from Monday August 11 to Wednesday August 13 inclusive [Scotland for Waverley!] and Monday August 18 to Thursday August 21 inclusive for visit to Devon and Cornwall. During this period all contact should be made via text or voice calls to the mobile number 07973363370. Please do not use the landline numbers.



SUPERSEACAT TWO appears to be have been running on reduced power and behind schedule at times this week. 


Some more information concerning the fast ferries ANTRIM RUNNER and DOWN RUNNER which had been laid up at Belfast following the aborted attempt to establish a commuter ferry service:

The two vessels were loaded onto the semi-submersible BACOLINER III in Belfast Lough on February 20 and transported to the Lagos area in Nigeria. As a result of continuing tribal fighting in the area the vessels have been activated but have recently moved to Port Harcourt, again on board a BACOLINER for use there. 

The purpose of the vessels is to move oil workers rapidly between sites and living areas.  


The following appeared on :

Since reopening in August last year (2002), A&P Birkenhead has made significant strides to becoming a major force in the northern European ship repair industry. One of the first operations carried out by A&P Group was to put in place efficient and effective quality systems in all the yard's departments. 

This drive has been rewarded with the award of the ISO 9002:2000 accreditation from Bureau Veritas Quality Inspectorate (BVQI), which will also carry out six-monthly audits of the yard. 

Currently A&P Birkenhead is experiencing one of its busiest periods, having completed a 14-day repair programme onboard P&O's ferry 14,426 grt EUROPEAN PIONEER [Now departed - JHL], she is immediately followed by the 18,653 grt EUROPEAN ENVOY, which will be in dry-dock for 10 days, and the 12,879 grt EUROPEAN LEADER - 14 days. 

At the same time the yard is also carrying out general repairs onboard the 4,500 dwt products tanker MERSEY FISHER, which is owned by James Fisher & Sons, Barrow and the 2,493 grt nuclear fuels carriers EUROPEAN SHEARWATER, which is owned by Pacific Nuclear Transport Ltd (PNTL) and managed by James Fishers. 

Also recently completed were general repairs to Olympic Shipping's 2,330 dwt offshore supply vessel OLYMPIC SUPPLIER, and currently under repair is the 2,640 bhp tug CANADA, owned by Adsteam Towing, which has a technical office in Liverpool. 

While the three graving docks are occupied, there are two fast ferries in the wet basin, in the yard for alongside repairs. The ferries involved are Sea Container's 3,003 grt fast ferry HOVERSPEED GREAT BRITAIN and  SEACAT FRANCE. 

Also due in the yard's No.5 dry-dock is the jack-up offshore rig IRISH SEA PIONEER, which is owned by the Halliburton Group. This will be the first time since A&P Group has operated this shipyard that the yard has been called upon to carry out repairs to an offshore structure. The Birkenhead yard is one of the very few yards in the UK that can dry-dock a jack-up rig.


Scilly News [] reports that The Isles of Scilly  Steamship Company have had a busy week. On top of the mist and fog that had delayed some of the company's aircraft flights, the two ferries have been in need of repair.

The GRY MARITHA had a small corrosion hole which required attention but is now fixed whilst SCILLONIAN III managed all the freight in her place. However, the on board crane did sustained some damage which has now been repaired.


The following report is a little out of ISS usual area of coverage but is of interest:

Tensions between rival ferry companies operating from Doolin, Co Clare, to the Aran Islands have forced garda to maintain a presence at Doolin harbour. Insp Michael Gallagher of Ennistymon Garda station confirmed yesterday that garda "will remain in place for the foreseeable future".

He said they are investigating "allegation and counter allegation" made by two ferry operators. The investigation will be complete by the end of this week, he said. "We are taking a very serious view of what is happening out there."

The investigation centres on an ongoing dispute between Doolin Ferries Ltd and a new company operating from Doolin, Aran Islands Fast Ferries Ltd.

Aran Islands Fast Ferries Ltd last month started a service to the three Aran Islands. Doolin Ferries Ltd has operated from Doolin for some years.

The chairman of Doolin Tourism, Mr Niall Hughes, confirmed yesterday that he had received a number of complaints from tourists over the situation at the pier in recent days. "The complaints have centred on the unpleasant atmosphere at the pier." Mr Hughes acknowledged the need for garda to police the situation.

However, he said: "The need for a Garda presence is creating a bad image for Doolin and is a waste of public resources. Garda should not have to do work like this."

The director of Doolin Ferries, Mr Bill O'Brien, said yesterday that he was unaware of any allegations made by the rival company.

He said: "We haven't done anything illegal or anything that would warrant an investigation. We operate a good, safe service here with the most modern craft and we do not interfere with other operators at Doolin."

Mr O'Brien confirmed that his company has issued free tickets to tourists travelling to the Aran Islands as part of the competition with the new company for passengers. He said: "It is good publicity for our business."

Mr Dick Grant of Aran Island Fast Ferries Ltd said yesterday: "I greatly welcome the Garda presence at Doolin harbour which now allows a very healthy competitive environment to be in place."

Mr Grant said he had worked in the marine industry for 43 years with an unblemished safety record.

The tensions between the two companies coincides with Doolin Ferries yesterday confirming that they are not to proceed with a foreshore licence application for a new pier at Doolin after Clare Co Council stated they would refuse access to a new pier development from the existing pier.

The development of a new pier has been the source of strong opposition locally from the Doolin Harbour Community Development Co- op who viewed the plan as privatising pier development at Doolin.

Their spokesman welcomed the decision to withdraw the application.

Wednesday - August  6

Acknowledgements: Kevin Bennett, Tommy Dover, Gary Andrews, Dave Crolley, Edwin Wilmshurst, Neil Ralphs, Jenny Williamson and "others"


Welcome to the latest update. Please note that an additional update was posted last night. 

There will be another update at the weekend, however, it is not known yet if this will take place on Saturday or Sunday. At this stage it is more likely to be Sunday.


Please note that the ISS webmaster will be away from Monday August 11 to Wednesday August 13 inclusive [Scotland for Waverley!] and Monday August 18 to Thursday August 21 inclusive for visit to Devon and Cornwall. During this period all contact should be made via text or voice calls to the mobile number 07973363370. Please do not use the landline numbers 


The cruise ship listing was updated yesterday. The principle change has been the cancellation of the MONA LISA's cruise scheduled for August 2 -14. This follows the grounding of the ship on July 25  Magdalene Bay, which resulted in propeller damage. She  sailed empty to Bremerhaven for repairs. The following UK calls have been cancelled, including several due to take place in the area covered by Irish Sea Shipping. Cancelled calls: Leith 2, Peterhead 5, Kirkwall 6, Lerwick 7,Ullapool 8, Oban 9, Dublin 10, Falmouth 11, and Dover 12. She is expected to resume service on August 14 ex Bremerhaven.


After already having been treated to two interesting naval calls in the spring. Merseyside will receive a third to coincide with the conclusion of the Round the World Clipper Yacht Race  early this autumn. 

Further details of the RN and foreign vessels part of NATO minehunter FORNORTH due along with some  berthing arrangements are now available.  to check details. The highlight of the visit will be the recently commissioned HMS ALBION.


LADY OF MANN - a correspondent who visited the Azores aboard the AURORA reports that the LADY OF MANN was operating a temporary timetable between July 21 and 28 due to the failure of her Acor Line running mate GOLFHINA AZUL. During this period the LADY was operating an intensive service involving calls at six islands covering her own schedule and that of GOLFHINA AZUL which was laid up at Ponta Delgada.


RAPIDE on Tuesday August 5 an observer noted that the vessel appeared to be having problems yet again. She arrived back in Belfast at 16:10 instead of 13:30 and her departure to Troon scheduled for 14:15 was only preparing to load cars at 16:45.

On Monday her times were similar to the end of last week with her 11:00 sailing ex Troon arriving Belfast around 14:00 and departing around 15:00.


Both "vikings" operating the Belfast - Birkenhead service were involved in incidents on Sunday morning, just a couple of hours apart.

LAGAN VIKING diverted towards Douglas in the early hours of Sunday, August 03, 2003 whilst on her Birkenhead - Belfast crossing, with a medical emergency.

The Douglas lifeboat was launched to assist, with a doctor on board.

The casualty was transferred to the lifeboat, landed in Douglas at 04:00, and taken to the new Nobles Hospital.

MERSEY VIKING which was operating the Belfast - Birkenhead sailing was involved in an incident when berthing at the Twelve Quays terminal north berth around 05:50 the same morning. She struck one of the dolphins. This collapsed part of the walkway used by the boatmen. Fortunately no body was on the section which collapsed. 

However, the boatmen had to be rescued by the County Rescue inshore lifeboat as they had become stranded on the undamaged section. The tug OAKGARTH was despatched to retrieve the walkway section which had floated down river. The tug secured the walkway off Wallasey Town Hall.

As a consequence of the Twelve Quays incident the north berth is expected to be out of action for some time. It appears that the Belfast vessels are being given preference on the south berth, with the NORSE MERSEY / LINDAROSA sailings only being handled once the LAGAN / MERSEY VIKING has cleared.


ROYAL DAFFODIL - Wallasey based correspondent Kevin Bennett observed the Mersey Ferry sailing outbound light ship for Llandudno on Wednesday August 6 She departed Seacombe around 09:50 and gave an arrival time to Mersey Radio of 13:00. 

When rebuilt in 1999 to an enhanced specification that would permit her to run under a class III certificate, there was speculation that she might run trips to Llandudno. The provision of the high level deck at bridge level certainly would facilitate loading from Llandudno Pier outside of high water as does Waverley Steam Navigation Company's BALMORAL.

One presumes this could be a proving trial? However, it would be a little late for this season.

If any ISS site visitors were in Llandudno on August 6, who might have any digital pictures of the ROYAL DAFFODIL the site would be pleased to feature them! 


Scilly News reports that SCILLONIAN III will operate extended day-trips on Wednesdays. It will depart Penzance at 08:00 one hour and fifteen minutes earlier to encourage more day trippers midweek. This is the first time an earlier departure time has been planned on a normal sailing day.

The corporate special sailings with Trading Pages and Pirate FM earlier this season were used as a test for early sailing times. The take up on these days proved that additional time to spend in the Islands is just what day trippers want.

If the early sailings in August are busy this will encourage us to offer more flexibility during 2004.


On August 6 BBC Cornwall reported that a pair of trousers catching on a lever in the wheelhouse of the RMS MULHEIM allegedly caused her to run aground off the Cornish coast. The vessel was carrying 2,200 tonnes of scrap car plastic when she ran onto rocks near Land's End, on 22 March.

Hundreds of tonnes of the cargo, which was destined for a landfill site in Germany, escaped into the sea after the vessel ran aground. The details of the incident are cited in a safety digest from the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB).

The MAIB's safety digests do not name the vessels involved in accidents, instead they issue safety advice based on information gathered from preliminary reports. But the report does refer to a ship which was wrecked in March with a full cargo of shredded plastic waste.

"The loss of RMS MULHEIM was the subject of an MAIB preliminary examination," said an MAIB spokesman.

"Although the reports of all MAIB investigations are published on completion, the MAIB's Safety Digest does not name the vessels involved.

"It seeks to promulgate the lessons to be learned from a wide range of accidents not necessarily subject to a full investigation," he said.

"It appears the chief officer was on watch," David Barnicoat, Falmouth Harbour Pilot, told BBC Radio Cornwall.

"He was sat in a chair and when he went to get up his trousers caught in the chair's lever and he fell over and knocked himself out."

The report says by the time he came round the ship was closing in on the shoreline.

The cost of the operation to limit the environmental impact, protect the public and salvage the cargo is estimated to have cost more than £1m.

But Cornwall's Emergency Planning Officer, Steve Winston, said he is confident the money will be recouped from the vessel's insurers.

Saturday - August  2

Acknowledgements: Tony Brennan, Jim Edgar  and "others".

Only a small news update this weekend. However, there are a number of new items in the galleries [What's New]with more items to follow during the coming week. The next update will be this Wednesday, [August 6] as opposed to next Wednesday August 13.  All other updates for the remainder of August remain subject to change. 


The subject of the August 12 meeting has been changed. It will now feature  "A Potpourri of Short Programmes" presented by Bert Novelli of the WSS Manchester Branch. Commencing at 19:15 the meeting will be held at "Sam's Bar", Tithebarn Street, Liverpool a short walk from Moorfields Underground Station. 


BALMORAL - on Saturday July 19 the ship made her fastest ever run from South Wales to Ilfracombe. The voyage took just 2 hours and 15 minutes for the day trip from Penarth. The re engined BALMORAL now equalling the performance of the P&A Campbell paddle steamers.

Chief Engineer on board Balmoral, Andy Westmore of Newport commented:

'Balmoral spent the winter having new engines installed - partly paid for by the Heritage Lottery Fund - and we were eager to see how they would perform. We expected good results, but not as good as this!'


The chain of a buoy became entangled around the rudder of the Panamanian registered ship, the MAR REINA, [32,000GRT] which was carrying a large cargo of aluminium ore in the Shannon Estuary. Two tugs were also summoned to assist the ship. The vessel was moved to an anchorage near Scattery Island for inspection.



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