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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




Acknowledgements: Ian Collard, Jim Edgar, Justin Merrigan, C.J. Lawrenson and "others"


To catch up with news items and submissions additional updates were posted on Monday September 29 and today Tuesday September 30.


LADY OF MANN - The company has  confirmed an enhanced later autumn service on the Douglas - Liverpool route. Commencing November 4 and operating until the end of the year a daily round trip to Liverpool will be operated from Douglas.

Hamish Ross, Steam Packet Managing Director said, ‘We have decided to introduce this service which linked to our twice daily Heysham service will give our customers greater choice. At the end of the year we will review the level of support this extra service has attracted in order to decide whether it will be repeated in 2004’.

RAPIDE - An observer reports that she has been noted running constantly late by the time she returns to Belfast in the afternoon.


PRINCESS VICTORIA - The loss of one of the early ro/ro ferry which sank during a storm on January 31,  1953  is to be the subject of a programme in the popular BBC TV history series Timewatch later this year. 

One hundred and thirty three passengers died in the disaster which occurred when her stern doors were breached and the vehicle deck flooded.


ELITE [Incat 040] arrived at A&P Birkenhead on September 30. ELITE is better known as STENA LYNX III. It had been suggested for some weeks that her charter to Stena would conclude this season and she would return to her owners. Careful examination of  Ian Collard's photographs reveals the outline of her "Lynx" logos. 


Receivers have been appointed to the troubled Devon Appledore shipyard.

The Western Morning News reported on September 30 that hundreds of people turned out on Monday September 29 to express their support for Appledore Shipbuilders which, with no new orders, is facing closure.

The news that everyone at Appledore Shipbuilders had been dreading was finally confirmed Monday  afternoon when it was revealed that receivers had been appointed to take over the operation of the business.

It was described as a "bitter blow" by management at the yard and the grim faces of the workers who spent much of yesterday standing at the yard gates were an all too clear sign that its impact will hurt many families.

Workers barricaded themselves inside the yard on Sunday and yesterday appealed for supporters to help them demonstrate the importance of the yard to the North Devon economy.

They were not disappointed and hundreds of people came from throughout the area to stand at the gates in a moving display of solidarity with the 550 workers at the yard, whose jobs look increasingly at risk.

Among those at the shipyard was 72-year-old Betty Fowler, whose father, husband and son had all worked there. "If this yard goes we'll have nothing. The workers at this yard have been left to dangle like yo-yos on a piece of string," she said.

But all the good wishes in the world could not stave off the gloomy tidings that Roy Harkness, the convener of the shipyard's joint shop stewards' committee, revealed early yesterday evening.

Mr Harkness climbed on top of a digger that had been placed at the shipyard gates as part of the barricade, to read a statement, the brevity of which only underlined the serious turn of affairs the workers' fortunes had just taken.

Mr Harkness said: "We have again met with the chairman and managing director of Appledore Shipbuilders and have to unfortunately inform you that as of close of business today - 5.30pm - no purchaser has yet come forward.

"As we previously informed you, the receivers, Tenon Recovery, will effectively be in charge of the company as of 7.30am tomorrow, September 30, at which time they will be in total control of the company's affairs."

Mr Harkness said company chairman John Langham was available to talk to any possible purchaser for the business.

"You can rest assured that anything that can be done will be done, and we will be guided from hereon in by our trade unions," he said. Earlier in the day, Mr Harkness revealed that there was furious behind-the-scenes activity by Kevin Curran, general secretary of the GMB, and Derek Simpson, of manufacturing union Amicus, with the aim of finding a new owner for the yard, which sent its last piece of work out earlier this month and has had no luck in securing any fresh orders.

Mr Harkness said then that the joint shop stewards' committee still believed it was possible for the shipyard to carry on building ships "for many years to come".

Even Appledore Shipbuilders' chairman Mr Langham and managing director Jim Wilson, in announcing that they could no longer run the yard, said they still felt that a potential purchaser was "waiting in the wings".

Mr Wilson said: "I have got a hunch that there is somebody standing in the wings waiting to move in when the receivers come in."

Mr Langham felt that "one way or another" a solution would be found to enable the shipyard to reopen.

Despite that sense of optimism, Mr Langham made it plain that the situation they found themselves in left them with no option but to call in the receivers.

"Appledore Shipbuilders has delivered its last ship. It now has no work in hand and despite every effort no new contracts have been secured," he said. "The company lost £1.3 million last year and in the first half of this year has incurred a further loss of £1.9 million.

"The yard has only been kept open for the last six months because of financial support from the shareholders totalling some £2.5 million in the form of loans and bank guarantees, all of which have now been lost.

"Sadly, under these circumstances the directors have no alternative but to close the yard and invite the appointment of a receiver as of today.

"It will remain the personal objective of Jim Wilson and I to work closely with the receiver in order somehow to ensure that shipbuilding continues at Appledore."

He said that although there had been some prospects of work, none of them seemed likely to provide work in the immediate future.

Torridge and West Devon MP John Burnett also had talks with Mr Langham and Mr Wilson after which he said that he hoped the appointment of receivers would be the prelude to interest from potential purchasers.

"The most vital asset of this company is the workforce, which is one of the best in the world," he said. "We shall do everything we can to secure your jobs and pensions.

"John Langham and Jim Wilson have assured me they want to see the business continue as an ongoing concern."

On Monday evening, workers at the yard were preparing for another cold night manning the gates. They were hoping that the hundreds of people who turned up to offer support yesterday will do so again today.



Maritime industry concern about the implications and ramifications of the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS), to be introduced next year, was reflected in the number of delegates attending the first briefing seminar staged by the Port of Liverpool Police.

More than 100 representatives of every element of the shipping and logistics industry, plus delegates from the armed forces and county police forces, were present at Maritime Centre, Seaforth Dock.

A similar number of delegates have registered for a second seminar on 2nd October and presentations are to be made to port users at the Mersey Docks' ports of Sheerness and Chatham on the Medway, later in the month.

The ISPS Code is to be implemented on 1st July next year laying down levels of security to port and ship operators across the globe. Prompted by the events of September 11, this "new chapter" to the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS) is intended to enhance maritime security through the action and interaction of port and ship operators.

Ray Walker, the Chief Officer of the Port of Liverpool Police, said: "In liaising with different sectors of the ports and shipping industry, we identified a very considerable lack of awareness of the ISPS Code and how it will impact upon the day to day business of international trade."

Though the aim of the seminar was to stimulate awareness of the main aspects of the code, Mr Walker stressed the importance of ISPS being embraced by all sections of the industry. He warned delegates of the dangers if companies shortcut or tried to find ways around the new measures.

"It needs a change of culture within the ports and shipping industry to make this work...we have to think 'terrorist'," he said. He pointed to the number of times people working in secure buildings have used their special pass to open a door and then allowed a complete stranger to enter the building with them.

"Instead of being courteous to the extreme of weakening security, people need to apply that courtesy in securing the identity of the stranger and making the building safe," he added.

The "spin-off" of following the principles of the ISPS Code in its anti-terrorist measures would be a safer and more secure environment for cargo, property and people in the industry, he added.

An overview of the ISPS code was presented by Detective Chief Inspector Jack Leyland who with Chief Officer Walker has been advising ports overseas on security post 9/11.

Said Mr Leyland: "The decision to stage these seminars has prompted people within the industry to start thinking about this important innovation. The clamour to attend one of the presentations reflects their concern to know more and the feedback by the delegates to the first seminar has been very encouraging."


Piecing the jigsaw is underway at the Port of Liverpool's Seaforth Container Terminal on assembling the first of six new Noell straddle carriers.

The machines were purchased by the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company to handle increased traffic generated by three new lines and organic growth among established services.

The carriers, all able to lift a 9ft 6ins high container over two others, arrived at Liverpool by road in knock-down form from the production plant in Wurzburg, Germany.

All six are expected to become operational in the next two to four weeks, complementing 14 other Noell carriers purchased as part of a £25 million redevelopment of the terminal including replacement of more than half of the straddle carrier fleet.


Scilly News reports that the new chairman of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company has been revealed.

Andrew May was appointed last week as chair of the company, which transports both passengers and freight into and out of the islands.

Mr. May was officially appointed after the annual general meeting last week. He has been vice-chairman for two years.


RTÉ reports that the  Irish Ports Association says the country is facing an 'horrendous
situation' over new international shipping security measures.

At the Association's annual conference in Limerick, chief executives said the implications of what was being proposed were not being fully understood by exporters or the Government.

The International Maritime Organisation announced a new security regime for ports doing business with the United States, following pressure from the US.

It involves tough security arrangements for ships, their crews, port staffs and further demands the sealing off of all ports from public access, with special security staff appointed and 24-hour patrolling.

The aim is to prevent terrorists using ships to smuggle weapons of mass destruction in cargoes to the US.

Several Irish ports have main roads running close to, or through them, and it is feared the cost implications of the new security measures will be huge.

However, if they are not implemented, exports to the US could be banned, according to the port chief executives.

They have called for urgent joint action with the Government and exporters.


Acknowledgements: Tony Brennan, Ships of Mann, Justin Merrigan, Ian Collard, Michael Bracken, Jim Edgar, C. J. Lawrenson, Tommy Dover and "others"


What a hectic weekend! As you can see there is quite a substantial update this evening. This has been juggled around visits to the river and docks in what has been nothing short of a Maritime Spectacular for which Merseyside can feel justly proud. 

Things turned into such a large event the ISS camera could not stop clicking away! The CARONIA visit, the first visit of HMS ALBION, the finish of the Clipper Race there was just so much to photograph that one or two things did get omitted, including some of the visiting foreign warships. 

Though some pictures of this weekend's events appear on the web site it is not possible to do justice to the last three days on-line. There are just too many great photographs. 

Excellent weather also helped. Therefore, to record the event for posterity Irish Sea Shipping is releasing a special CD-ROM which is complete and ready to ship already! 


Irish Sea Shipping joins the broadband revolution on Wednesday. This should enable the full potential of the web site to be fully realised.


As a consequence of the switch to broadband the ISS contact telephone number 0151-733-8128 will cease to be available. All voice calls from now should be made on 01517331135 OR 07973363370.  


Due to a large number of contributions there will be a rolling program of news and photographic updates during the coming week.


A regular contributor to "Irish Sea Shipping - the Online Shipping Magazine" has communicated information which suggests that photographers using the Monk's Ferry vantage point at Birkenhead should be aware of.

This pleasant location provides a good position for photographing comings and
goings at A&P, Tranmere Oil Terminal as well  traffic heading for the Manchester
Ship Canal and Bromborough Wall.

However, it is  understand that two squatters have taken up camp in the area, probably in the numerous bushes around the car park.

They have approached at least one photographer scrounging money and another
asking to look through the camera!

I am informed that they are very rough looking and show signs of substance abuse.

Do be vigilant and take care if visiting this area at the moment.


LADY OF MANN - There is good and bad news concerning the Lady's winter schedule. Though details have not been published yet, the new timings are in the on-line booking computer.

First the good news - a preliminary investigation of the on-line booking facility reveals the following schedule for Sunday November 9 through to Saturday November 16. The LADY OF MANN is sailing every day!









Douglas Liverpool








Liverpool Douglas








Now the bad news. Unfortunately the double run from Liverpool on Fridays, which proved popular with the LADY's fans in the UK, has been scrapped. This provided a popular day trip facility for those that didn't have to work on Fridays! Trips from Liverpool will require a stop-over in Douglas

However, the 13:45 departure from Douglas on Sundays is maintained and this facilitates a well timed return for weekend breaker from the UK. Out on Friday at 19:00 returning from Douglas at 13:45. So things are not too bad after all! Its good to see the Lady in a daily winter service from Liverpool. 


MANXMAN - The last surviving Isle of Man Steam Packet Company turbine steamer was moved to the covered dry dock at the Pallion Shipyard at Sunderland on Thursday September 25.

Tugs BLYTH ENDEAVOUR and SEAHAM PRIDE being used to move the vessel. 


Acknowledgements: Ian Collard, Kevin Bennett and "others"

SUPERSEACAT TWO - The Liverpool - Dublin - Liverpool sailing was cancelled on September 23, presumably due to adverse conditions.


On September 22 Sea Containers announced the cancellation of the company's secondary listing of common shares on the London Stock Exchange.

The directors of Sea Containers Ltd. have concluded that it is no longer appropriate to maintain a secondary listing on the London Stock Exchange because of the low trading volume in the company's shares on the London Stock Exchange. 

The company therefore intends to apply for cancellation of the secondary listing of Sea Containers Ltd. common shares (Class A and Class B) effective as of October 31, 2003.

Obviously this information may be of some significance to the company's Isle of Man and UK stockholders who may very well have acquired their shares as a consequence of the Sea Containers acquisition of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company in 1996. 


APOLLON / EMPRESS OF CANADA [3]  - the former turbine steamer built by Vickers-Armstrong of Newcastle in 1960 has been sold to India for demolition. 

 MSF707_Apollon.JPG (32430 bytes)

 EMPRESS OF CANADA returns to Merseyside as APOLLON on May 30, 1998.

As EMPRESS OF CANADA the ship was a regular visitor to Prince's  Landing Stage until the demise of the Liverpool - Montreal service.

In January 1972 she was sold to an embryonic Carnival Cruises to become the foundation for the present monolithic Carnival Corporation being renamed the MARDI GRAS. 

Sold by Carnival in 1993 to Epirotiki Lines, Piraeus she was chartered to Gold Star Cruises, Galveston, USA for gambling cruises. During her time with Epirotiki she carried several names Olympic, Star of Texas, and Lucky Star.

In late 1993 she was sent to Eleusis Bay for lay up which lasted until 1997. In 1997 she was refurbished for Royal Olympic Cruises and chartered to Direct Cruises of UK. This charter saw her return to the Mersey.

Despite promises of expansion, the Direct Cruises operation was wound down. This must have been partly due to a fall off in custom caused by the widely publicised problems of her running mate Lowline's EDINBURGH CASTLE.

In 2000 she was laid up. After a brief period of operation in 2001 with a blue hull she returned to Eleusis Bay to lay up again.  In September 2003 the old lady's luck finally ran out.


A contact monitoring radio communications on the Mersey on Monday reported that Arklow Shipping's ARKLOW VALOUR ran into trouble this morning near Liverpool Landing Stage.

She was forced to drop anchor but this subsequently dragged and it was necessary to use bow thrusts to maintain position until tugs could assist.



Ireland's premier container terminal reports a significant increase in traffic following completion of a 23 million Euro investment programme by its parent company, the Mersey Docks Group.

Marine Terminals Limited (MTL) at Dublin Port is handling record volumes of containers with more than 3,000 lifts between ship and shore in each of the last two weeks.

The peak volumes reflect a trend since the terminal resumed normal service late in 2002, after being enlarged and re-equipped. Units handled in the first six months of 2003 topped 63,000 — an average of 2,500 per week — against 54,000 units in the same period last year.

The surge in traffic through the terminal has included volumes carried by two of the world's top five container operations, Mediterranean Shipping Company and the French line, CMA CGM.

Both included MTL in their global networks in the first quarter of 2003, with ships serving their North European hub ports calling weekly at Dublin.

Other services now regularly using the Terminal include Coastal Container Line's Liverpool and Cardiff links and BG Freight Line's sailings to Antwerp and Rotterdam.

MTL Managing Director John Forrester, said: "The response by major players in Irish Sea and wider trades vindicates the substantial investment in the terminal. With the additional capacity created and the substantial on-going investment in container handling equipment, MTL has both ample facilities and quality services to continue this positive trend."

Enlargement of Marine Terminals to 15.5 hectares trebled container storage capacity from 2,000 teus to 6,500 teus and new levels of productivity were achieved with the provision of four ship-to-shore cranes and four rail mounted gantries for servicing the stacking area.

Another new 40 tonne capacity quayside crane is expected to be delivered in December by Liebherr's Irish production plant in Killarney, County Kerry — the source of MTL's other new cranage. The new crane will be operational in February.

"We have the capacity, equipment, systems and skills to make the 3,000 lifts achieved in each of the last two weeks, just a stepping stone in the expansion of Ireland's major container terminal," said Mr Forrester.

MTL offers round-the-clock service to ships and handles road transport seven days a week, 07.00 hrs to 19.00 hrs.


Europe's largest metal recycling operation is stepping up its strategy of taking scrap movements off Britain's congested roads by doubling the size and capacity of its railhead at the Port of Liverpool.

European Metals Recycling Limited (EMR) which has more than 50 waste metal depots across the UK, is also looking to expand its rail network to take in more than the 14 sites currently feeding exports to the Port by train for shipment to steel plants overseas.

It is five years since the Alexandra Dock railhead was established at Liverpool, handling an initial three trains a week. The operation was then increased to one train a day, six days a week.

Current expansion work, which is expected to be completed by mid-October, will double the length of track to 1.5 kilometres over three sidings. The terminal will then be able to handle 12 trains a week, with each train of 1,000 tonnes replacing 100 truck movements.

But EMR's Operations Director Robin Sheppard believes the company could make an even greater contribution to both Britain's trade balance and its environment. "Our original plans incorporated developments which would have significantly increased the capacity of the Port of Liverpool terminal to handle more trains and cargo. It would have also enabled EMR to rail link even more of its depots enabling even greater movement to the coast by train."

However, the Rail Facilities Grant scheme, on which EMR was relying to fund much of the work, was suspended at the end of last year by the Strategic Rail Authority.

"But the installation of the additional track was the vital king-pin of our plans and we have pushed ahead with the bare minimum of the project in the hope that the funds will become available later to complete the development."

Included in EMR's proposals now on hold is the acquisition of a new crane to enhance train discharge operations and essential land surfacing work.

EMR and other operators in the Port of Liverpool last year handled around two million tonnes of recycled metal which was exported to countries such as Korea, Taiwan and the Eastern Mediterranean.

The Alexandra Dock Terminal is one of five independent railheads within the Port, handling a range of cargoes including containers, coal and steel.


One of a series of shipments of telegraph poles have passed through the Port of Liverpool en rooted from the West Coast of the USA destined for the Irish Republic.

Nearly 1,500 poles weighing over 2000 tonnes were discharged over the side from the Gearbulk vessel PETERSFIELD and into two transhipment vessels which moored alongside.

The FREESUM sailed the same day for Dundalk from Liverpool's Seaforth Forest Products Terminal with 67 bundles of the logs and the LOFOU left the following day with 65 bundles.

The shipment from the Port of Longview was the third in a series being handled by Stanton Grove Limited for the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company. More shipments of the replacement telegraph poles for Ireland are expected from the US, as well as from Germany.


Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Dermot Walsh, Tommy Dover and "others"


Visitors to the group are reminded that on the weekend of September 26 - 28 there will be a considerable amount of maritime activity on Merseyside..


Carnival Corporation's CORONIA will call and anchor mid river on Friday 26. 


A large, NATO flotilla is due to visit Merseyside over next weekend including the new HMS ALBION which is reported to be open to the public on Sunday afternoon [September 28].


On Saturday September 27 the Clipper Ventures Round The World Yacht Race concludes. For full details of all the events, including the naval visit a programme can be downloaded from []

Mersey Ferries is operating a special cruise timed to depart Liverpool Landing Stage at 08:30 on September 27. Details


SEACAT FRANCE and HOVERSPEED GREAT BRITAIN which have spent the summer laid up at A&P Birkenhead may soon be off to Latvia for a major refit.

SWIFT it appears that the end may be neigh for the decaying SRN4 currently preserved by the Hovercraft Museum. The craft is reported to be in an advanced state of decay. 


HSS STENA VOYAGER will be undergoing essential maintenance on Wednesday October 1. Sailings of STENA CALEDONIA will be amended as follows to provide cover:

 Wednesday 1 OCTOBER 2003
      From Belfast to Stranraer
      1200hrs - Stena Caledonia
      2100hrs - Stena Caledonia

      From Stranraer to Belfast
      0015hrs - HSS Stena Voyager (last service)
      0430hrs - Stena Caledonia
      1630hrs - Stena Caledonia

      Thursday 2 OCTOBER 2003

      From Belfast to Stranraer
      0740hrs - HSS Stena Voyager (first service)
      - then continue as normal with HSS and conventional services.

      From Stranraer to Belfast
      0130hrs - Stena Caledonia
      1000hrs - HSS Stena Voyager
      - and then continue as normal with HSS and conventional services.

This change will take place as from 20 September 2003. All other departures via Dublin/Holyhead (including High Speed Services via Dún Laoghaire/Holyhead) are unaffected and will remain operating as per current schedules.


ULTRA VOYAGER: The ships of RCCL are familiar visitors to a number of Irish Sea ports each year. The company announced this week that a contract has been finalised with Aker Kvaerner to construct the world's largest cruise ship at the Masa Yard in Finland.

ULTRA VOYAGER is due for delivery in 2006. There is an option on a second ship of the same class for delivery in 2007. The dimensions are impressive. The ship will be



Coaster visitors over the last 2 weeks included  LUMARE, SEA WAAL , WINGER , NORDFJORD ,  INGER , SCOT VENTURE and UNION DIAMOND.

The Irish Coastguard S61n helicopter call sign ' Mike Echo Sierra ' landed at Wicklow GAA pitch on Sunday (14th), crew members from Wicklow lifeboat station were given a tour of  the helicopter, Wicklow lifeboat was then launched and the helicopter joined her for a exercise in the bay.

Inshore lifeboat crew's from various station's arrived in Wicklow on Friday for a 2 day boat handling course in the bay, Wicklow ILB and ANNIE BLAKER  are expected to launch to do exercise’s with the coastguard craft.

Traffic through the bay included POLE STAR, ANKE, JESSICA S and EUROPEAN AMBASSADOR, JOPI and VILLE.


On Wednesday (17th) A mussel trawler capsized and sank near 'Mizzen Head', a passing whelk trawler picked up the 3 crew. Arklow lifeboat and the tug TARKA responded to the call.

3 wind turbines are now standing on the Codling Bank, some of the fleet of vessels working on the wind farm which have been based at Arklow have completed work and will depart soon.

A 'ex RN LOYAL' class tender was reported to be in Arklow during the week.




The ‘Adopt a Wreck’ scheme was developed jointly by the Nautical Archaeology Society (NAS) and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) in 2001 and since then more than 25 sites have been adopted by groups around the United Kingdom. The scheme encourages participants to monitor, survey and research a particular wreck, and gives groups a sense of purpose in their diving activities.

Some of the sites chosen for adoption include from an 18th century East Indiaman, Second World War flying boat and a coastal alum working site.

In recognition of the excellent survey and recording work being carried out by adoptees on these sites, the MCA and NAS Training are delighted to announce the creation of a new ‘Adopt a Wreck’ Award. The award will be presented annually to the group or individual who have achieved the most in their efforts to survey, record and monitor their adopted sites and to disseminate the results of their work.

The MCA and NAS Training are supported in this venture by the three main diving organisations: Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), Sub Aqua Association (SAA) and the British Sub Aqua Club (BSAC) who have also contributed financially to the award.

The ‘Adopt a Wreck’ Award will be presented at the NAS Annual Conference which is to be held on 8th November 2003 at the University of Portsmouth.

Sophia Exelby, Receiver of Wreck, MCA, said: -

“The MCA has been delighted to support the ‘Adopt a Wreck’ initiative from the beginning and I feel that it provides an excellent opportunity for divers and non divers alike to play an active role in the management of the UK’s underwater cultural heritage.”


A search for a life raft in the Bristol Channel was called off on Friday afternoon after 15 hours extensive sea and air search found nothing untoward.

The search commenced at 19:50 on Thursday evening, when Swansea Coastguard received a faint radio MAY DAY call from a man, reporting that his boat had capsized, he was injured and reported that he was using a hand held VHF radio. No further information or positive position was given in the MAY DAY call. A commercial dredging vessel subsequently reported to Swansea Coastguard that they had picked up a radio transmission reporting that a man had got into a life raft.

Swansea Coastguard Watch Officer Bernie Kemble said,

“An intensive sea and air search was undertaken in the Bristol Channel for 15 hours with nothing found. Indications are that this was an elaborate hoax which would have diverted essential emergency rescue resources had another genuine incident occurred.”


On September 20 the Western Morning News reported that the long wait for orders to save jobs at Appledore Shipbuilders in North Devon showed no signs of ending yesterday when negotiations for a contract to build fishing vessels came to a halt. 

Although it is expected the negotiations for the contract to build five tuna boats with a possibility of a further four will continue, any delay is seen as pushing the yard ever nearer to closure.

Appledore management were in
London on Friday September 19 trying to secure the tuna boat order, but without success.

At the yard, which employs 550 people, with a further 250 sub-contractors, workers have been on short-time. The last piece of work on the order books - a luxury yacht which was sub-contracted to Appledore - left the yard more than a week ago. Since then workers have spent their time tidying up and cleaning.

Yesterday, as the tense wait for orders continued, office staff were the only employees at work. A spokesman said: "The men were in doing things around the yard on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, but today it's just people in the offices."

John Burnett, the Liberal Democrat MP for Torridge and
West Devon , whose constituency includes the shipyard, said the breakdown of negotiations over the tuna boat order was very disappointing. He said: "Negotiations will continue, but morale is bound to be pretty low.


Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Adrian Sweeney, Ian Collard, Kevin Bennett, Michael Bracken, John Williams and "others"


After a rather hectic couple of weeks performing the computer upgrade which in the end turned into a full system upgrade due to Windows XPpro compatibility problems with some elderly peripherals and the installation of a new desk the dust is literally starting to settle and things are getting back to normal with most outstanding emails answered, providing they didn't get lost in the system transfer!

The old computer system is now up for auction with details posted on a separate page of the web site. Link above. Obviously I can only accept bids from those people who can collect the main system as its totally impractical to send by post! 

However, the back-up system can be mail as can an unwanted, unused brand new colour printer which is also under auction.


TSS MANXMAN will move into dry dock at the Pallion Shipyard on Thursday September 25. Work will begin to ensure the safety of the vessel and to carry out specific remedial work as to make her fit for future towing.


Subsequent to an extensive research and selection process, the awards committee at the Institute of Transport Management has decided to present A&P Birkenhead with the “European Shiprepair & Conversion Specialist 2003” accreditation. All major European Shiprepair Companies were canvassed, and this accolade is a true testament to the outstanding company that is A&P Birkenhead.

The ever-increasingly popular ITM Awards Programme took place once again, and entailed the canvassing of its members in the Marine sector. The programme was piloted in 1995 and was designed to recognise advances within the Marine sector over the previous 12 months. The decision to present A&P Birkenhead with this coveted accreditation is the result of research which included the polling of Institute members and Shiprepair specialists and is a true reflection of the high esteem the company enjoys within the industry.

The Management of the companies interviewed stressed, Customer Service, Marketing Policies, Project Management and Investment as their premier concerns when assessing the nominees’ offerings. A&P Birkenhead scored brilliantly in each area, in addition to special mentions being given to the outstanding Customer Service provided by the staff, and the excellent reputation brought to the table by the very capable management structure within the company.

The vast experience the company has, along with its intention to continually develop its operations throughout the world speaks volumes for the direction of the company and its management. The awards committee was convinced of A&P Birkenhead being the correct choice for this prestigious award.

  The following is the quotation from the Awards Committee:

“The Institute felt that the company more than excelled in the criteria needed to be accredited with this award and fulfilled the requirements needed. Throughout the researching process the EITM Awards Committee found the company to be both efficient and effective. It showed itself to be both adaptable and dependable with an ability to maintain both marine and non-marine vessels.

Ideally located, the workshops proved to be well-equipped. The high standard of customer service was a huge factor when deciding on the award winner by the Institute. A&P Birkenhead’s skill and experience as well as its 24/7 attitude to service proved to be unavoidable of merit.

The company’s commitment to quality, safety and environment has won it several other accreditations within the transport industry, a further reason the Institute felt the company is deserving of an award. Finally, the Institute could not ignore A&P Birkenhead’s aim to accomplish its goals by using its extensive knowledge and understanding of the industries”.

Announcing the award, Patrick Sheedy, Media & PR Director of the ITM and Chairman of its Marine Committee said: "A&P Birkenhead faced extremely strong competition from other leading Shiprepair specialists, and we feel that this accreditation is one that will contribute to the final decision in Shiprepair and Conversion Solutions for many companies.

The true experts are the managers who do a day-to-day job that requires a level of knowledge that can only be gleaned from years of experience. We appreciate the contribution that our Shipping manager members have made to the Awards Programme and endorse their selection of A&P Birkenhead for this prestigious accolade.”

Commenting on the award, A&P Birkenhead’s acting General Manager Andy Mort said: "A&P Birkenhead Limited is delighted to be awarded ‘European Ship Repair & Conversion Specialist 2003' by the Institute of Transport Management. The fact that the company has won this award in its first year of operation is a tribute to the excellent skills and attitude displayed by both staff and subcontractors. It is very satisfying to know that the yard's focus on customer service is recognised within the industry".


BBC Cornwall reports that more than 80 jobs are to be created by the investment of millions of pounds in a Cornish shipyard.

Pendennis Shipyard in Falmouth has received a £2.9m grant from the Department of Trade and Industry.

The investment will provide 83 jobs and help guarantee the company's future in the county.

The money will be used to build a dry dock and new paint facility, together with a new construction hall and joinery workshop, office space and training facilities.

The company says it hopes the government funding will secure the shipyard's position as a market leader for refitting and refurbishing large yachts.

The investment is also good news for the local economy.

Pendennis already spends £1.8m with local suppliers, and this is expected to rise to £3m once the development is complete.


SUPERSTAR EXPRESS - the chartered vessel arrived at A&P Birkenhead on Tuesday afternoon, September 16 at the end of her summer season. 


VAL DE LOIRE - Ten Vietnamese and Chinese nationals attempted to enter the UK illegally at Plymouth Mill Bay Docks on Wednesday 

A 24-year-old Vietnamese man jumped from the  VAL DE LOIRE when it arrived from Santander in northern Spain.

The man was plucked from the water within minutes by Ministry of Defence officials.

He is being held by police in Plymouth after being refused entry into the UK. He faces criminal damage and assault charges.

Seven other men and two women were found in the ferry port and were also refused entry into the UK.

They were put on the return ferry to Spain, with a police escort.



The exercise takes place this month between 15 and 26 September in the Irish Sea , on the West Coast of Scotland and in Brittany .

Approximately 8,500 military personnel from twelve NATO nations together with representatives from
Lithuania , Sweden and Ukraine will be taking part. The NATO force will comprise 50 ships and submarines, 15 fighter aircraft, numerous military helicopters and approximately 800 amphibious and land troops from the Netherlands , France , Italy and Ukraine .

This exercise will be a showcase opportunity for some of the maritime and amphibious capabilities of the new NATO Response Force (NRF). Amphibious and Land components will also be tested in a rehearsal for an amphibious landing on the Isle of Jura, Scotland on Saturday 20 September. In addition, the following seven new experimental projects will be tested and evaluated: Autonomous Underwater Vehicles for Mine Counter Measures; Recognised Environmental Picture; NBC Response Team; NBC Mobile Laboratory; Multinational Logistics Centre procedures; Bi-SC Force Protection measures, and a Common Operating Decision System.

Admiral Sir Jonathon Band KCB United Kingdom Navy, Commander-in-Chief East Atlantic will assume the role of Commander of the NATO forces (COMNATOFOR) and Vice Admiral Américo da Silva Santos , Portuguese Navy, Commander-in-Chief South Atlantic will provide the Commander of the opposing forces (COMOPFOR).


Acknowledgements: Tony Brennan, Gary Andrews, Paul O'Brien, Edwin Wilmshurst, NSL, Michael Bracken and "others"

A rather hectic week has meant that your web master is rather behind with updates for the website and replying to correspondence, both electronic and snail mail. This has been caused by the final swapping of computers, installing a new desk etc. 

There is a slight possibility that some email has got lost in the transfer, though I did port most of it across. Other e-mail's I have not yet got round to replying to. If you have not had a response please send again!


The next scheduled update is September 17, however,  there may well be another update this week to catch up with pending material.


The former ISS website  PC and many of its peripherals will be offered for sale shortly. Details will be posted here and auctions started on ebay. Obviously the main system can only be sold locally as it is far to big to send by post. Watch out for details if you are looking for a well looked after system which still has plenty of life left in it.


RFA SIR BEDIVIER arrived at Alfred River Entrance, Birkenhead around 12:30 on Sunday September 14 bound for NSL Repair Quay. She was brought into Alfred half-tide basin by tugs NORTON CROSS [head] and WILLOWGARTH [stern].  

Norse Merchant's RIVER LUNE arrived at Canada Dry Dock on Sunday, September 14. for refit.

London, 9 September 2003 Cenargo International plc and its  subsidiaries ("Cenargo"), the European freight ferry shipping group,  have finalised proposals with the group's key creditors to restructure  Cenargo's balance sheet and reorganise its capital structure.  This will create a new group with a significantly reduced debt load, which  shall trade under the name "Norse Merchant".
The restructuring terms have been developed by the holders of the  US$175,000,000 First Priority Ship Mortgage Notes (the "Noteholders")  issued by Cenargo, led by CFSC Wayland Advisers, Inc. of Minnetonka,  Minnesota, USA, holder of a majority of the Notes and working together with Cenargo's joint administrators from Ernst & Young.  The Noteholders have agreed to convert their debt into 100% of the equity in Norse Merchant's ultimate parent company.  As part of the restructuring, the Notes will be extinguished and the Noteholders will release their security over a number of vessels allowing these to be used by the business going forward.  The Noteholders have also consented to the use by the business going forward of the proceeds from the sale of one of their secured vessels and the Eaglescliffe property which formed part of Cenargo's former logistics business which was recently sold by the Administrators.  Three representatives of the Noteholders, Patrick Halloran and Steve Adams of Wayland, and Jonathan Hill of Tufton Oceanic in London, will serve as directors of the reorganised Norse Merchant Group.

The Noteholders and the joint Administrators have also successfully brokered deals with Cenargo's other finance creditors who will remain lenders to the new group.  Cenargo's key port relationships (Mersey Docks, Heysham Ports, Dublin Ports and Belfast Harbour Company) will remain firmly in place with the docks having have agreed either to enter into new agreements or to honour existing agreements with the restructured Norse Merchant group.
The restructuring will provide for trade creditors to receive a distribution from this process, which is significantly better than they otherwise would have received in a liquidation of Cenargo.  The proposed restructuring has the support of the creditors' committees of the entities involved in the restructuring.
 The Noteholders also expressed their gratitude to the existing management teams on the Irish Sea and in Spain for their support during a difficult period.  It was confirmed that no changes will be made to the present management teams although the new board may wish
 to make additional appointments to the board in the future.
 Mike Rollings, a partner at Ernst & Young and one of the joint Administrators said: "Cenargo's trading has remained stable throughout its administration process.  We attribute this to the strong support received from a very loyal customer base, and to the incredible
 cooperation we have received from the creditors, suppliers and staff.  It is a testament to their willingness to see a strong business which was over-leveraged survive and grow under its new owners."
 It is expected that Cenargo will complete this restructuring in October.


Whilst the company may have been saved and a distribution made amongst trade creditors small businesses owed money by the group are reported in the local press on Merseyside to be unhappy with the deal. Sue Leech owner of Relay Marine complains that of the £45,000 owed to her company she can expect to receive no more than £2,250. This can obviously be quite damaging for the small trader unlike the bigger trade creditors who are better able to weather the storm.


NORSE MERSEY - was reported departing Dublin for France on Saturday September 13, 2003. She concluded her charter to Norse Merchant Ferries on September 12 at 11:30. In Dublin local ship repair workers were noted removing the protective barrier from across her side loading ramp. 

The bar was installed to stop the vessel damaging the fendering at Twelve Quays. If the vessel was alongside on a falling tide, it was possible for the top finger flaps [drooping down] and a transverse beam to catch on the top of the berth's special fenders and rip them off


Mersey Heritage Ship Repair new company which is reported to be refitting the Mersey Ferry WOODCHURCH at A&P Birkenhead was established in April this year.

The company is a subsidiary of Aircool Diesel Services Ltd of Liverpool. The company is the main mechanical subcontractor to A&P Birkenhead and has been involved in the refit of SeaCats and other vessels. 


MDHC Interim Results for the Six Months Ended 30th June 2003


  • Turnover increased by 6.3% to £141.7m (2002: £133.3m)
  • Underlying pre-tax profit maintained at £27m
  • Underlying earnings per share were 22.52p (2002: 22.93p) reflecting increased tax charge
  • Operating profit in core Ports division up 3.9%
  • Interim Dividend up 4.4% to 7.1p per share (2002: 6.8p)
  • Planning consent given for LNG terminal on the Isle of Grain
  • Thamesteel recommencement of steel exports — 124,400 tonnes handled in the first half
  • Outline planning consent granted at Central Docks

Commenting on the results, Gordon Waddell, Chairman said:

"Both market and wider economic issues have remained uncertain during the first half, but there are signs that they are beginning to look slightly more positive. The Irish Sea market should stabilise with the prospect of some rationalisation and consolidation and NorseMerchant is expected to emerge from Administration during October."

"As we stated both at the AGM and in the recent trading statement, the Board believes that the full year outcome will be similar to that of 2002 and we are confident that the Group is strategically placed to make progress if, as seems likely, economic conditions improve in 2004."


Information on VAN GOGH autumn calls has been placed in the Cruise Ships Calls section for Liverpool, Greenock and Dublin.

The vessel will depart from Liverpool at 16:00 on November 14. On November 23 she is due to arrive at 12:00 and depart at 16:00




The Board of Irish Continental Group, plc (ICG), reports that in the seasonally weaker first half of the year, the Group recorded an operating profit of €5.5 million, compared with €8.7 million in the same period in 2002.  The interest charge fell from €5.4 million to €3.6 million and profit before tax was €1.9 million compared with €3.3 million in the first half of 2002.  The tax charge was €0.6 million (2002:  €0.5 million) and EPS for the half year was 5.3 cent (10.4 cent in 2002).  Turnover for the half year was €145.0 million (2002: €145.2 million).

Following approval at the AGM in April 2003, the Group has issued 10 redeemable shares for every one ICG ordinary share on issue.  (The ordinary share and the 10 redeemable shares combined comprise an ICG Unit).

  The Board has now decided to redeem one redeemable share per ICG unit for a cash consideration of 7.5c per redeemable share.  This will be paid on 7 November 2003 to shareholders on the register at 10 October 2003 .  Accordingly no interim dividend will be paid.  The consideration per redeemable share represents an increase of 9.6% on the interim dividend of 6.84 cent paid last year.


Ferries and Travel Division

The division comprises Irish Ferries, a leading provider of ferry services between Ireland and both the UK and Continental Europe; Tara Travel, a travel services company specialising in travel to Ireland; and the chartering of multipurpose ferries to third parties.

Turnover in the division was impacted by the translation of sterling and US$ income into a strengthening euro and fell 12% to €80.0 million (from €91.0 million in 2002).  Operating profit in the division was €3.6 million (€6.2 million in 2002).

The early months of the year were characterised by world political uncertainty, which adversely affected consumers’ propensity to travel, combined with the effects of a slowing world economy on the level of Roll on Roll off freight movements.

In Irish Ferries’ core tourist business, car tourism, total cars carried were unchanged at 174,000.  Total passenger numbers were affected by a decline in the foot passenger market and we recorded a 5.1% drop in overall passengers to 750,500. 

Average passenger yields have fallen approximately 2% to €40.49 per passenger.  This is due mainly to the weakness of Sterling versus the Euro and is partially offset by a higher proportion of car versus foot passengers.

The performance in tourism is resilient when compared with the market as a whole.  The war in Iraq depressed travel in the early part of the year and the increase in the value of the euro added to the cost of holidaying in Ireland , particularly for those from the sterling area who comprise a large proportion of our customers.

In terms of distribution channels, the internet is proving an ever more effective channel and our year-to-date bookings on the web are up one-third on the previous year.

In the Roll on Roll off freight market we continue to grow, with our volumes up 5% to 94,700 units, in an overall all-Ireland market which is subdued.  There have been a number of developments in the competitive environment in the RoRo sector.  One competitor on the long routes from Ireland to the UK has been placed in administration, while another competitor, also on the long routes, has decided to divest its operations, although this has now been referred to the Competition Commission in the UK .  While demonstrating the extremely competitive environment these developments also vindicate ICG's strategy of concentrating capital on the short routes where maximum utilisation of assets can be achieved.  In the meantime, the effect of this competition has been to push freight rates to an unrealistically low level. 

We have commenced a process of consultation with our workforce with the aim of generating cost savings to reflect this new competitive environment.  This process is designed to bring our labour costs into line with those of our competitors who have had the benefit of lower wage inflation rates than Ireland ’s over the last number of years.

In Tara Travel we continue to rationalise the operation and we have reduced the overall network of branches from a peak of nine (in 2002) to four, three of which are in London and a fourth which is a newly relocated outlet in Birmingham .

In ship chartering both the Pride of Bilbao and Pride of Cherbourg (formerly Isle of Innisfree) remain on charter to P&O, servicing their Spanish and French destinations from Portsmouth .  The Charter revenue is denominated in US Dollar and Sterling respectively and consequently has been somewhat weaker in Euro terms.

  Container/Terminal Division

The division includes our intermodal freight services Eucon, Feederlink and Eurofeeders as well as our strategically located container terminal in Dublin , DFT.

Turnover in the division grew by 20% to €65.0 million, due in part to the integration of HKCIL (acquired in July 2002) into our Eucon business.  Operating profit was €1.9 million compared with €2.5 million in 2002.

Total containers shipped, including a full six month contribution from the HKCIL acquisition were up 19.7% to 235,000 teu.  On a like-for-like basis the increase was 4.6%.

The competitive environment remains challenging, with freight rates, particularly for eastbound  (i.e. export) cargo from Ireland , at lower levels than last year.  Some rate increases have been achieved in westbound routes but these remain inadequate.

We have entered an agreement with BG Freight Line, a subsidiary of Mersey Docks & Harbour Company, to pool our Ireland - Continent services in order to improve frequency on our Ireland - Continental container service and to improve customer service. This vessel sharing agreement (“VSA”) comes into place in October and will also result in cost savings.

In DFT we continue our redevelopment of our centrally located terminal with a commissioning date for the terminal extension of March 2004.  Volumes handled at the terminal have been affected temporarily by construction work and were 6% lower at 59,300 units.


Depreciation and amortisation in the half year was €12.7 million (2002: €11.5 million), while EBITDA for the 6 months amounted to €18.2 million (€20.2 million in 2002).  Capital expenditure in the period was €10.1 million (€3.7 million in 2002), the largest element of which is the enhancement of our container terminal, DFT.

During the period the Group purchased and cancelled 1.2 million shares for a total expenditure of €7.9 million.  This brings the number of shares in issue to 24.0 million compared with 27.0 million at 30th June 2002 .

The average interest cost in the period was 4.6% compared with 6.3% in the first half of 2002.  Net debt at the end of the period amounted to €155.8 million.  This compares with €157.4 million at 31 December 2002 .


We are pleased to announce that Peter Crowley, Chief Executive of IBI Corporate Finance, has been co-opted to the Board as a non-executive director with effect from 11 September 2003 .  Peter brings a wealth of experience to the Board having joined IBI in 1993 from KPMG Corporate Finance, where he qualified as a chartered accountant in 1987.  Peter, who is 41, left IBI in 1996 to join Sigma Communications Group as an executive director.  He returned to IBI Corporate Finance as Chief Executive in August 1999.  Since that time he has been responsible for co-ordinating IBI's advice to a wide range of Ireland 's leading public, semi-state and private companies.  IBI Corporate Finance is part of Bank of Ireland Group.


DART 10 called at Belfast on September 11.  She was anchored in Belfast Lough early in the morning before berthing later on in the day.  According to the local news she loaded surplus army Land Rovers for shipment to Iraq.  She departed in the evening for Southampton before continuing to Iraq.


SUPERSTAR EXPRESS - the final sailing of the 2003 Summer season will be the evening sailing from Troon on September 15, 2003.

EUROPEAN MARINER was scheduled for a 24 hour dry docking over the weekend.


An investigation has been commenced following the grounding of the LOUGH FOYLE car ferry last Sunday. The incident happened when the vessel ran onto a sandbank near the Magilligan terminal. Several passengers received minor injuries. The Department of the Marine and Natural Resources is investigating the incident. 


The Western Morning News reports that officials from the GMB Union have met management at Appledore Shipbuilders in North Devon in a bid to gain concrete news about the yard's future. The GMB officials said that workers at the yard, who are on short-time working, want to know what is happening with their jobs.

The yard, which employs 550 people, has had orders on its books to take it up to this summer, but the problem has been in trying to gain more orders to secure jobs in the future.

Management at the yard fought a lengthy campaign to gain backing from the Government for a loan guarantee for a £40 million order to build an offshore construction vessel, which would guarantee work at the yard for the next 18 months.

Details of that contract are still being worked out and officials from the GMB Union, which represents hundreds of workers at the yard, have called for the management to give some clear indication of how things are going.

Gary Smith, the GMB senior organiser for the South West, said that people had been on short-time for several weeks and were becoming increasingly concerned.

Mr Smith emphasised that the union did not want to be seen as "talking down" the shipyard, but wanted to be able to put workers' minds at rest.

He said: "We want to stress that this is a viable business, it's got a brilliant reputation and it is an important part of the local economy. We want to do everything we can to make sure Appledore Shipbuilders is successful.

"Having said that, people at the yard are concerned about what the future holds and who would not be? Things are starting to bite financially and there is real concern on their part."

Torridge and West Devon MP John Burnett said it was very disappointing that the barge contract was on hold because of difficulties in getting the finance sorted out, but he added: "Management at the yard are in the advanced stages of negotiating another major contract."

Nobody at the yard was available to comment.


Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Michael Bracken, Tony Brennan, Tommy Dover, Edwin Wilmshurst and "others"



The transfer of the website to its new home has been completed. Apologies for the lack of update on Sunday. However, it was decided to effect the change sooner rather than later. At present things are a little behind schedule. A further update is envisaged on Wednesday or Thursday.


BRAVE MERCHANT returns to NorseMerchant Ferries' Liverpool - Dublin service

Norse Merchant Ferries has announced that its ro-pax vessel BRAVE MERCHANT will re-join its Liverpool - Dublin service following a seven-month period on charter to the UK Ministry of Defence. She will replace the charter vessel NORSE MERSEY, soon to be re-delivered to her Italian owner, and will operate together with LINDAROSA to maintain the twice-daily service.

BRAVE MERCHANT will offer sailings from
Liverpool at 22.30 each evening, arriving 06.00 the following day in Dublin . The return sailing from Dublin will be at 10.30, arriving Liverpool at 17.00. LINDAROSA will operate the evening sailings ex Dublin and the morning sailings ex Liverpool .

According to Declan Cleary, NorseMerchant's Sales and Marketing Director, the return of BRAVE MERCHANT will represent a significant upgrade to the
Dublin service:

"With a top speed of 23 knots, BRAVE MERCHANT has proven reliability on this route even during the difficult winter months. We welcome her return and look forward to the consistent scheduling that she provides and the excellent onboard facilities she has to offer our driver-accompanied customers."

Initially, NorseMerchant had taken advantage of the return of BRAVE MERCHANT to provide cover for its
Liverpool - Belfast passenger/freight ferry Lagan Viking while she underwent her dry-docking programme in Liverpool . She is due to make her first sailing on the Dublin route on Monday, 8 September and for a few days will operate alongside NORSE MERSEY while LINDAROSA undergoes some routine maintenance work.


WOODCHURCH Mersey Heritage Ship Repair will undertake a £3.5m refit of the Mersey Ferry WOODCHURCH commencing in October.

The work will be carried out at A&P Birkenhead. The ship is the third and final vessel to undergo a major refit. The work will include new engines, larger passenger saloon improved toilets and disabled access.

The refit will retain the classic traditional appearance of the vessel.

Six apprentices will be engaged to work on the contract which is due to commence in October and will be concluded next summer. The refit should extend the vessel's life by 25 years.


Irish Ferries, Ireland 's most reliable and modern ferry company,  announced two new appointments designed to further strengthen the company's focus on the UK Travel Trade on September 5.

Ann Pye, moves up to take on the role of Commercial Manager for Irish Ferries Holidays, following the departure of industry veteran Roger Farrell earlier this year. Also joining the Irish Ferries team of Business Development Mangers is Kim Trinick, who will take responsibility for developing sales throughout the travel trade and especially amongst tour operators.

Ann Pye, is a familiar face to many within the travel industry. Having worked hand-in-hand with Roger Farrell for the past few years, Ann has an in-depth knowledge of all aspects of the package holiday market to
Ireland , and has excellent relationships with relevant suppliers and tour operators. In recent times she has worked hard behind the scenes in developing the Irish Ferries Holiday brand into the leading specialist motoring holiday programme to Ireland .

Kim Trinick joins Irish Ferries from P&O Portsmouth, where she held the role of Agency Sales Manager, responsible for multiple, miniple and independent accounts. During the course of her career Kim has focused exclusively on the travel industry, building up a strong network of agent and tour operator contacts via positions in Panorama Holidays, Unijet Travel Limited, Virgin Holidays and Virgin Atlantic.

Ireland continues to be one of the most popular holiday destinations for those, of all ages, looking to enjoy a holiday with their car," comments Ann Pye. "It is my aim to ensure that Irish Ferries Holidays continues to provide our customers with the best deals at the best prices, in addition to an excellent quality of customer care in top-level accommodation. We aim not only to meet expectations but to surpass them in order to ensure that people return to Ireland time and again - and to do so with the real Irish Experts!."

"I am delighted to be joining Irish Ferries at such an exciting time in the company's development," comments Kim Trinick . "Tour operators have long been key to Irish Ferries' success and in this new role, I have been tasked with developing existing and new relationships within this group in order to consolidate our position as the premier ferry company operating on the Irish Sea".

Holiday buying patterns are changing and we need to ensure that we have the right team in place to respond to the industry's ever-changing needs," comments Daragh O'Reilly , UK Passenger Manager, Irish Ferries (UK). "Delivering the best quality product, direct to Ireland
is key for all our customers, whether they be tour operators, groups or independents. I would like to welcome Kim to our team and to heartily congratulate Ann. I feel confident that both of these appointments will serve to strengthen the quality of our already excellent commitment Irish Ferries has to the UK Travel Trade in general."


STENA ADVENTURER Stena Line unveiled a novel special sailing on Monday September 8 at 12 noon when Irish author Bill Cullen was due to arrive on board the STENA ADVENTURER by helicopter to be greeted Captain Roy Forsythe. The author held the first ever book signing on the Irish Sea, on board the new super ferry, of his best-selling novel "It's A Long Way From Penny Apples."


On 13th Sept at Onchan Park boating lake the Manx Model Boat Club will be holding a 'Venetian Evening' and club members will be sailing a collection of radio controlled model boats on the lake.

Manx National Heritage's two eight foot long models of the LADY OF MANN and the BEN-MY-CHREE IV will be sailed on the evening by Kevin Kinnin and Geoff Mitchell of Manx National Heritage.

The BEN-MY-CHREE IV model was donated to MNH by Mrs. Anderson, whose husband spent approximately 3500 hours building it and The LADY OF MANN model was donated by Mrs. White in 2002. Both of the models are built on a ¼":1ft scale and have a full complement of working lights on board.

Howard Parkin, Public Services Manager for MNH commented:

The boats make a most impressive and nostalgic sight as they move about the lake, especially as night falls and their lights are switched on. It will be a wonderful evening.

The Venetian Evening will commence at Onchan Park Boating lake at 19:00 on the 13th September with prize presentation of the Commissioners' Shield for the best boat taking place at approximately 20:30.



Her Majesty’s Coastguard has been responsible for the integrity of the international VHF distress, safety and calling frequency, namely VHF Channel 16, for 30 years.

This task has included the maintenance of a continuous distress watch on VHF Channel 16 which has traditionally been carried out via a headset watch. The United Kingdom Coastguard has been alone worldwide, in maintaining such a headset watch on the emergency VHF Channel.

The introduction of more reliable and automated methods of distress alerting by vessels at sea, via satellite communications and digital selective calling (DSC) and the increasing use of mobile telephones, which is not recommended, in coastal waters for alerting purposes is now requiring Coastguards to keep an ear to these differing methods. Having a Coastguard tied into just one way of communication does not allow Operators to monitor other activities.

Therefore, as from 00:01 on the 22nd September 2003, Coastguards may now maintain this distress watch either via headset or loudspeaker, but this will be dictated by the risk and operational demand at the time.

Peter Dymond, Head of Search and Rescue said :

“The increasing range of other tasks now undertaken by Coastguard Rescue Co-ordination Centre staff and the flexibility generated by the establishment of operational partnerships between linked co-ordination centres now requires a different approach to managing an Operations Room which is not helped if an operator is continuously tied to a single task.

“However, our Operations Room Managers can still undertake a headset watch on VHF Channel 16 if the risk; current operations, noise levels or other circumstances demand it.

“Our state of the art Integrated Coastguard Communications System (ICCS) also provides an instant playback facility for VHF Channel 16, and additionally, equipment shortly to be installed in every co-ordination centre, will provide instant playback on all VHF Channels and will also be available to the Coastguard Operator.

"Despite these changes, HM Coastguard will continue to be responsible for the integrity of VHF Channel 16 which means ensuring that the Channel is only used for distress, urgency and brief safety communications including the announcement of maritime safety information broadcasts, and for establishing other communicationswhich should be transferred to a suitable working channel.

“ We also continue to recommend the installation of effective suitable equipment on vessels and would remind seafarers that mobile phones cannot be totally relied upon when at sea for distress and other emergency calls.”


Coaster callers last week at Wicklow included SCOT VENTURE, WINDLAND, AJOS G and UNION SATURN (she had to have engine repairs before departing for Par.) Ships expected this week are WINGER , LUMARE and SEA WAAL

Traffic through the bay last week included the MAERSK WASLAND bound for Dublin, the Northern Lights Tender POLE STAR, she was reported to have worked on the Horseshoe buoy, south of Wicklow Head on Saturday afternoon. The ship is similar to the Irish Lights tender GRANUAILE.

Hunter Marine's KILQUADE was out winch training with a Air Corp helicopter.

Wicklow lifeboat towed in a small yacht last Sunday morning.


Acknowledgements: Michael Bracken, Ian Collard, Tony Brennan and Aiden Mc. Cabe. 

SUPERSEACAT TWO - further information has been received by Irish Sea Shipping concerning the timetable disruption on Saturday August 30. This led to the cancellation of the morning return sailing to Dublin, and the operation of the 04:30 Manx Grand Prix extra sailing from Douglas significantly later than scheduled.

This year new rules have come into force which strictly legislate hours of work and rest on merchant vessels. Information received indicates that the company have disregarded these rules to maintain schedules during the TT and Manx Grand Prix festivals in particular for staff aboard SUPERSEACAT TWO. At 01:00 on the Saturday morning the cabin staff refused to work over the maximum 14 hours allowed, thus leading to the rescheduling of the Douglas - Liverpool sailing and the cancellation of that day's  Dublin trip. 

Unrealistic turnaround times blamed for some of SUPERSEACAT TWO's difficulties in maintaining schedules during the peak season. SUPERSEACAT TWO lacks drive through capability of SEACAT ISLE OF MAN, yet has a much greater capacity. However no allowance is made for the differences between the two vessels in the schedules. SSC2 being allotted the same amount of time as SEACAT ISLE OF MAN even though in reality she requires more time.


Acknowledgements: Ian Collard, Gary Andrews, Michael Bracken, John Williams, Tommy Dover Krispen Atkinson and "others".


LAGAN VIKING was reported fast in Canada Graving Dock at 17:52 on September 1.



Older visitors to this group may recall the 1/1200 series of mini ship models and port accessories which were marketed under the Minic brand by Tri-ang and latterly Hornby.

Apparently the range is going to be reintroduced and will include new models as well as the old favourites. The first batch of releases will feature Royal Naval vessels currently in service.

For further details visit:


A collision involving Dartmouth's lower ferry left a wooden sailing vessel with a five-foot gash.

No one was injured in the incident, which happened at around 11:00 on Saturday.

Wooden gaff-rigged yawl MOOSK, a 17m training vessel with a crew of youngsters aboard, was holed above the waterline.

It managed to tie up to await repairs but was unable to take to sea at the weekend.

The collision is believed to have occurred close to the ferry's ramp on the Kingswear side of the river.

The ferry suffered only very slight damage and the service was able to continue as normal.

Dartmouth's harbour authorities have opened an investigation into the circumstances of the collision.

It was the busiest time of the year for the port of Dartmouth as this weekend saw the climax of the annual regatta when dozens of extra boats call in to soak up the atmosphere.


CORRECTION - in Saturday's update it was erroneously stated that following the sale of CARONIA to Saga Cruises earlier this year the ship will cease operation for Cunard at the end of 2003. This should have stated 2004.


Reports in the local press indicate the MD&HC plan to withdraw rope men from berthing duties except at the three river entrances. The T&G Union has criticised the move.



Liverpool Coastguard were alerted at around midnight on August 31 by Blackpool Police who reported to them that a youth of about 12 had come ashore from the River Ribble at Lytham, and had run to a nearby house to raise an alarm for his two missing friends.

The boy was cold and wet and he explained to rescuers that he had been in the water for about 90 minutes in an attempt to swim to the shore. He reported that his two friends aged about 13 or 14 were trapped on rocks by the rising spring tide in the middle of the river.

All three youths from Blackburn had attempted the three mile crossing from Southport to Blackpool earlier in the evening as the crossing is just possible to wade across at low water, however the incoming tide caught all three out.

The boy reported that his friends had been cut off at the training wall a mile off the Lytham coastline and Liverpool Coastguard immediately launched a major search for the missing youths. Various rescue assets were immediately launched including:

• Two police helicopters.
• A military rescue helicopter
• Three inshore lifeboats from Blackpool and one from Lytham.
• Southport in shore rescue boat.
• Coastguard Rescue Teams from Lytham and Southport

Fortunately for the two youths they had managed to locate and clamber onto the 11.5 miles Perch, a navigational buoy in the river, where they proceeded to shout for help. Their cries were picked up and a lifeboat managed to take them aboard and land them very muddy, sandy, cold and wet to the shoreline. They had swallowed some water and were treated at the shoreline. The boy who had swum ashore was also taken on to hospital.

Paul Parkes, Liverpool Coastguard Watch Manager said:

“ The water temperature at this time of the year is about 16 degrees and survival time is variable according to the weather conditions. Fortunately the wind was light and the visibility was good tonight which assisted the rescue teams. We would like to thank those teams involved tonight for their prompt response to our call. We have as yet no idea why these boys decided to make the tricky crossing – but given the tidal race and the weather they were extremely lucky to have been discovered. The Police are now with the boys trying to piece together their actions. Of course our advice is that no one should attempt to make this crossing – as the tidal race could catch anyone unawares.”



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