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NEWS BULLETIN

NOVEMBER 2003

November 29

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Alfie Hincks, Tony Luckwell, Edwin Wilmshurst, Tommy Dover, Ian Collard, Jim Edgar and "others"

ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY

BEN-MY-CHREE was noted running rather late on Saturday November 29, arriving at Douglas around one hour late.

SEA CONTAINERS

Whilst the company may have been divesting itself of some of its shipping and related interests during the past year it now appears likely that the company is seeking to increase its presence as a UK train operator.

At present Sea Containers operate the GNER East Coast mainline franchise. However, reports in the west country press indicate that the GNER will make a joint bid with John Laing plc for the new Great Western franchise. This new super franchise will cover services between London and the South West, Wales, the Thames Valley and the South Midlands.

The bid will compete against that of the existing Great Western franchise holder, First Group. John Laing plc operates Chiltern Railways, the combined Sea Co John Laing bid would trade as the London and Western Railway Company

STENA LINE

STENA EUROPE - a correspondent travelling on the ship's 21:50 sailing on Sunday November 16, 2003 noted a two hour delay due to a problem with  the ship's stern ramp. He reports that the reason given was,  "scheduled maintenance taking far longer to fix than first thought". 

The correspondent adds that passengers were not informed of the delay until well after the scheduled departure time had passed, leading to a number of irate drivers and passengers marching into the terminal building demanding an explanation!

PENINSULAR & ORIENTAL STEAM NAVIGATION COMPANY

EUROPEAN SEAFARER which has been undergoing engine repairs was noted to have moved from Brocklebank to Canada #3 dock during the week.

ROYAL NAVY

HMS SCYLLA - the decommissioned Leander Class frigate was opened to former crew at Devonport Dockyard for the last time on Saturday November 29. The ship will be scuttled in 2004 to create Europe's first artificial diving reef.

About 120 ex-crew members and dockyard workers with links to the Leander-class frigate HMS Scylla visited the vessel at Plymouth 's Devonport Dockyard on Saturday.

The 2,500-tonne vessel has been bought by Plymouth 's National Marine Aquarium (NMA) for about £200,000 with funding from the South West Regional Development Agency (RDA) to be sunk off Cornwall and colonised by sea life.

The ship, the last of her kind to be built at Devonport Dockyard in Plymouth in the late 1960s, arrived back in the city earlier this month from Portsmouth after months of negotiations.

The vessel was taken out of active service in 1993 and has been used as a training facility in Portsmouth since then.

She is now to undergo preparation work to make her safe for divers and the underwater environment before she is scuttled off Whitsand Bay in Cornwall .

Among the visitors to the Scylla was her last commanding officer, Captain Mike Booth, plus shipwrights, surveyors and artificers.

Melanie Cowie of the NMA said the group toured the ship's sleeping quarters, wardroom and operations room.

She said: "It was a very moving, touching day. People were very excited about the Scylla's future and some have decided to take diving lessons so they will be able to see her next stage."

After she is sunk, the Scylla will sit on the seabed around one mile offshore, where she is expected to attract recreational divers from around the world.

She is due to be sunk in April 2004, after which it is expected she will help generate £1m a year for the local economy.

Former warships have already been sunk to create diving reefs off Canada , Australia and New Zealand , but this will be the first of its kind in Europe .

Experts from Canada are currently in Plymouth to advise contractors on how to prepare the vessel for sinking.

A&P GROUP - FALMOUTH PORT

The luxury cruise ship named The World is to call at Falmouth for three days next May.

The news is a major coup for the port, which has successfully increased its cruise liner business over the last two years.

The 43,000-tonne vessel will berth on County Wharf for three days. Delighted A &P Falmouth port operations manager Mike Reynolds said: "This is a significant visit by any standards. The ship is only visiting one other UK port on her 2004 itinerary."

The World has 110 fully furnished residences and 88 guest suites. The suites, which come with a veranda, bathroom, kitchen, living and dining area, are for sale at prices up to £3.75 million, with annual maintenance charges of £175,000.

Passengers can stroll along a pedestrian street on deck five with small restaurants and a delicatessen where wines can be bought.

At the stern is a fully retractable mini-marina with its own poolside dining area. Sporting facilities include a 13-metre swimming pool.

APPLEDORE SHIPBUILDERS

An announcement by receivers Tenon Recovery concerning the future of the yard still remains to be made. Press reports indicate than an announcement may be made next week.


PORT OF PENZANCE

This week the Cornishman newspaper reported that a multi-million pound regeneration of Penzance and Newlyn harbours has drawn a step closer with the appointment by Penwith Council of specialist consultants.

The council this week announced it has received £600,000 worth of funding, the majority from Objective 1. It will fund initial research work by Plymouth-based Hyder Consulting Ltd, the company which strengthened the Tamar Bridge and improved the sewerage scheme in Penzance.

Options for linking the flooded Penlee quarry to the sea at Newlyn to create a 190-berth Port Penlee marina will also be studied by the consultants.

Plans for the revamp include developing Penzance Harbour, improving sea links to the Isles of Scilly and carrying out major development works ensuring the future of Newlyn as the top fishing port in England and Wales. Sea defence work along Penzance Promenade will also be included.

The first visible signs will appear in the New Year when trawlers will be put to work gathering information in Mount's Bay.

They will be used to study wind, wave and tidal movements and sonar will enable rock formations to be plotted.

A jack-up rig will be positioned to carry out borehole work.

The privately-financed £57-million "five star" Port Penlee project is being backed by Penwith Council chairman Malcolm Pilcher. He says the scheme could be the catalyst for the future development of Newlyn, Penzance and the whole of Mount's Bay.

Port Penlee comprises a marina in the quarry basin, a luxury hotel, holiday villas and affordable houses.

A start on the Penzance and Newlyn technical investigations has been welcomed by Michael Galsworthy, chairman of the Newlyn Fish Industry Forum. "This is the first major concrete step in the overall regeneration strategy," he said.

Newlyn harbourmaster Andrew Munson said: "The Harbour Commissioners are delighted that, at long last, the vital importance of the port of Newlyn to the district of Penwith and the county of Cornwall has been recognised.

"The survey will enable the commissioners to formulate their proposals for the long-term benefit of the port, maintaining its position as the top fishing port in England and Wales, and ensuring continuation of employment for fishermen and associated workers."

Ian George, Hyder's project manager, said the company was delighted to be able to utilise its expertise in marine and economic development on such an important project for this part of Cornwall.

The appointment of consultants has been welcomed by Tony Jarman, Port Penlee's project team leader, who is the driving force behind the lengthy process of land acquisition.

"I am glad that progress now appears to be being made and look forward to the completion of the study and concept designs by late 2004," he said.

Nigel Horwell, Penzance regeneration manager, said: "Penwith Council is keen to stress that the Port Penlee investigations are being separately funded by MDL Developments. There is no funding from Penwith Council.

"Also, Mr Pilcher's comments reflect his own views and not those of Penwith Council."

He added: "There are significant cost savings to be gained by acquiring the maritime data for all these developments at the same time. Much of the data that will be acquired will be common to the developments. By working in partnership and pooling existing information we may also be able to make even further cost savings."

Edward Iliffe, of MDL Developments, said Penwith Council was to be congratulated for promoting a working partnership which would enable the various regeneration schemes in Mount's Bay to progress.

MERSEY DOCKS & HARBOUR COMPANY

BIGGER CAR PARK FOR PRINCE'S DOCK 

The Mersey Docks and Harbour Company has submitted revised plans for a larger multi-storey car park at Liverpool 's Princes Dock — less than two weeks after announcing proposals for a major residential development at the prestigious waterfront site.

A taller building with four additional half levels providing an extra 168 car parking spaces is now planned to keep pace with accelerating interest in the 11.7 hectare location. The car park, costing in the region of £7 million, will now have 18 parking levels and 752 spaces, plus a ground level day nursery and retail outlets.

Construction is expected to start by March 2004, once the City Council has given planning approval, and should take about 10 months to complete.

Said Ian Pollitt, Chief Executive of Princes Dock Development Company, the Mersey Docks subsidiary responsible for the river front renaissance: "The multi-storey car park is only the latest of a number of elements which are now rapidly falling into position in the programme of transformation for Princes Dock as a sophisticated place to live, work and relax."

The car park will look substantially the same as the development which has already won planning permission. The identity of the company to operate the crèche, which will have 592 sq metres of inside space and an additional outside play area, is to be announced shortly.

Discussions are currently under way with possible operators of the 652 sq metres of retail space, including a household High Street brand name. The retail facilities will front a public piazza to be created between the car park and a new pedestrian entrance to Princes Dock from Liverpool 's Regent Road .

Princes Dock Development Company is now in discussion with potential building contractors for the car park project.

On 13th November, it was announced that Harrogate and London-based City Loft Development Company, which has completed award-winning projects throughout the UK , has plans to develop 162 luxury apartments designed by Terence Conran, in towers of 20 and 10 storeys.

Said Ian Pollitt: "Discussions are also taking place with the potential developer of another residential tower and there is considerable interest by several hotel operators in being part of the Princes Dock environment."

Three office blocks with 223,000 sq ft of space and a hotel are already in use. Eventually the site will provide more than a million square feet of office accommodation, two more hotels and leisure and retail premises from 500 sq ft to 25,000 sq ft.

Twelve Princes Dock, the latest office development, is offering 99,898 sq ft in a large 15m clear span floorplate design on five floors focused around a central atrium. In addition to raised floors, air conditioning, ample passenger lifts and a secure delivery area, the building offers attractive flexibility and efficiency in the use of space.

Recent newcomers to Princes Dock include the Bank of Scotland and the Queen's bankers Coutts & Co. They have joined a number of other blue chip companies, including accountants KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers, Bibby North West Factors, service providers Capita and Atlantic Container Line.

In the latest series of lettings, Henry Bath & Son Ltd, a founding member of the London Metal Exchange and part of California-based Fortune 500 company Sempra Energy, is to transfer its UK head office to Princes Dock from Knowsley.

COMPETITION COMMISSION

CC PROVISIONAL RULING TO STENA/P&O IRISH SEA FERRY ROUTES

The Competition Commission has found provisionally that the transfer of P&O's Liverpool-Dublin ferry route to Stena is expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition, which may lead to increased prices for the customers of ferry services. It has also found that the transfer of P&O's Fleetwood-Larne ferry route to Stena is not expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition.

Publishing the provisional findings, the Chairman of the inquiry group, Professor Paul Geroski, said:

"This is the first case in which we have published provisional findings under the new Enterprise Act regime procedures. As part of our aim to be open and transparent, evidence submitted to the inquiry is summarised on our website for all to see. By publishing our provisional findings, parties have a clear idea of our reasoning on the competition issues and they now have the chance to explain to us their objections before we make our final decision."

On 22 August 2003, the Office of Fair Trading asked the CC to consider the proposed acquisition by Stena of five vessels and related assets currently operated by P&O on the Liverpool-Dublin and Fleetwood-Larne routes on the Irish Sea. This proposed acquisition would affect two markets for freight ferry services on the Irish Sea - the central corridor (in relation to Liverpool-Dublin) and the northern corridor (in relation to Fleetwood-Larne).

After three months of intensive investigation and deliberation, including two customer surveys and extensive hearings with interested/affected parties, the CC has found provisionally that the transfer of the Liverpool-Dublin route is expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition on the central corridor because it would: reduce the number of operators from four to three; more than double Stena's market share, making Stena significantly larger than its nearest competitor; and be likely to lead to price increases on that route and inhibit price cutting on other routes in the same market.

The CC did not expect that this substantial lessening of competition would be offset by other competitive constraints, in particular by entry into this market by other operators.

The CC's reasoning is summarized in the executive summary of the provisional findings report, and is set out in full in the provisional findings report which the CC proposes to publish on its web site by Friday 5 December.

P&O and Stena have 21 days in which to respond. The CC also invites views on the provisional findings from other parties, in writing, by 18 December 2003.

In the light of these provisional findings, the CC has been considering possible remedies. To give parties an opportunity to comment on these possible remedies, the CC will shortly be publishing a notice of the actions which might be taken to remedy the adverse effects provisionally identified.

[JHL's COMMENT: The Liverpool Daily Post and Echo have run stories focussing on the impact of the closure of the P&O Liverpool - Dublin routes should the P&O / Stena deal fail. However, perhaps they are being too pessimistic? A beneficiary of such a closure would undoubtedly place Norse Merchant Ferries in a much stronger position. Given that the companies three "Racehorse" Class vessels MIDNIGHT, NORTHERN and DAWN MERCHANT come off charter to Maersk's Norfolk Line operation in 2005 the company would have sufficient tonnage to pick up any displaced traffic.]

IRISH FERRIES

The Irish Ferries web site was voted "Best Website" in the Dublin Tourist Awards, 2003.

The Irish Ferries website site was commended for its many “interesting and innovative features” and its contribution to marketing Dublin as a super holiday destination.

The award was presented by Frank Magee, Chief Executive of Dublin Tourism at a ceremony attended by Seamus Brennan T.D. Minister for Transport.

MARITIME & COASTGUARD AGENCY

NEW COASTGUARD BOAT FOR WALNEY ISLAND

The UK Chief Coastguard, John Astbury, announced on November 24 that the Walney Island Coastguard Rescue Team is to get a new Coastguard Boat next year.

The new boat, which will replace the existing craft, will be used to transport the Rescue Team to isolated places within their area of responsibility. The existing craft, which does not comply with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s boat Code, will be withdrawn when the new boat arrives.

The decision to put a new Coastguard boat at Walney follows an extensive and detailed risk assessment of search and rescue resources in the Walney area carried out by Marico Marine Ltd on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. The completed risk assessment report was published recently and was circulated to the local MP John Hutton and to concerned councillors and members of the public. John Riding of Marico Marine also presented the report to an open public meeting in Walney on 7 November.

The Chief Coastguard made his announcement at a meeting today with local officials and team members. He said:

“Having carefully considered the risk assessment report, I have concluded that it is in the best interests of the Walney community to have a continued Coastguard Boat presence in the area. I am, therefore, pleased to announce that Walney will have a new boat to replace its old one. I expect the new craft to be on station in around 6 months.”
on November 24 that the Walney Island Coastguard Rescue Team is to get a new Coastguard Boat next year.

The new boat, which will replace the existing craft, will be used to transport the Rescue Team to isolated places within their area of responsibility. The existing craft, which does not comply with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s boat Code, will be withdrawn when the new boat arrives.

The decision to put a new Coastguard boat at Walney follows an extensive and detailed risk assessment of search and rescue resources in the Walney area carried out by Marico Marine Ltd on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. The completed risk assessment report was published recently and was circulated to the local MP John Hutton and to concerned councillors and members of the public. John Riding of Marico Marine also presented the report to an open public meeting in Walney on 7 November.

The Chief Coastguard made his announcement at a meeting today with local officials and team members. He said:

“Having carefully considered the risk assessment report, I have concluded that it is in the best interests of the Walney community to have a continued Coastguard Boat presence in the area. I am, therefore, pleased to announce that Walney will have a new boat to replace its old one. I expect the new craft to be on station in around 6 months.”
on November 24 that the Walney Island Coastguard Rescue Team is to get a new Coastguard Boat next year.

The new boat, which will replace the existing craft, will be used to transport the Rescue Team to isolated places within their area of responsibility. The existing craft, which does not comply with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s boat Code, will be withdrawn when the new boat arrives.

The decision to put a new Coastguard boat at Walney follows an extensive and detailed risk assessment of search and rescue resources in the Walney area carried out by Marico Marine Ltd on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. The completed risk assessment report was published recently and was circulated to the local MP John Hutton and to concerned councillors and members of the public. John Riding of Marico Marine also presented the report to an open public meeting in Walney on 7 November.

The Chief Coastguard made his announcement at a meeting today with local officials and team members. He said:

“Having carefully considered the risk assessment report, I have concluded that it is in the best interests of the Walney community to have a continued Coastguard Boat presence in the area. I am, therefore, pleased to announce that Walney will have a new boat to replace its old one. I expect the new craft to be on station in around 6 months.”
on November 24 that the Walney Island Coastguard Rescue Team is to get a new Coastguard Boat next year.

The new boat, which will replace the existing craft, will be used to transport the Rescue Team to isolated places within their area of responsibility. The existing craft, which does not comply with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s boat Code, will be withdrawn when the new boat arrives.

The decision to put a new Coastguard boat at Walney follows an extensive and detailed risk assessment of search and rescue resources in the Walney area carried out by Marico Marine Ltd on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. The completed risk assessment report was published recently and was circulated to the local MP John Hutton and to concerned councillors and members of the public. John Riding of Marico Marine also presented the report to an open public meeting in Walney on 7 November.

The Chief Coastguard made his announcement at a meeting today with local officials and team members. He said:

“Having carefully considered the risk assessment report, I have concluded that it is in the best interests of the Walney community to have a continued Coastguard Boat presence in the area. I am, therefore, pleased to announce that Walney will have a new boat to replace its old one. I expect the new craft to be on station in around 6 months.”
on November 24 that the Walney Island Coastguard Rescue Team is to get a new Coastguard Boat next year.

The new boat, which will replace the existing craft, will be used to transport the Rescue Team to isolated places within their area of responsibility. The existing craft, which does not comply with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s boat Code, will be withdrawn when the new boat arrives.

The decision to put a new Coastguard boat at Walney follows an extensive and detailed risk assessment of search and rescue resources in the Walney area carried out by Marico Marine Ltd on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. The completed risk assessment report was published recently and was circulated to the local MP John Hutton and to concerned councillors and members of the public. John Riding of Marico Marine also presented the report to an open public meeting in Walney on 7 November.

The Chief Coastguard made his announcement at a meeting today with local officials and team members. He said:

“Having carefully considered the risk assessment report, I have concluded that it is in the best interests of the Walney community to have a continued Coastguard Boat presence in the area. I am, therefore, pleased to announce that Walney will have a new boat to replace its old one. I expect the new craft to be on station in around 6 months.”
on November 24 that the Walney Island Coastguard Rescue Team is to get a new Coastguard Boat next year.

The new boat, which will replace the existing craft, will be used to transport the Rescue Team to isolated places within their area of responsibility. The existing craft, which does not comply with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s boat Code, will be withdrawn when the new boat arrives.

The decision to put a new Coastguard boat at Walney follows an extensive and detailed risk assessment of search and rescue resources in the Walney area carried out by Marico Marine Ltd on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. The completed risk assessment report was published recently and was circulated to the local MP John Hutton and to concerned councillors and members of the public. John Riding of Marico Marine also presented the report to an open public meeting in Walney on 7 November.

The Chief Coastguard made his announcement at a meeting today with local officials and team members. He said:

“Having carefully considered the risk assessment report, I have concluded that it is in the best interests of the Walney community to have a continued Coastguard Boat presence in the area. I am, therefore, pleased to announce that Walney will have a new boat to replace its old one. I expect the new craft to be on station in around 6 months.”
on November 24 that the Walney Island Coastguard Rescue Team is to get a new Coastguard Boat next year.

The new boat, which will replace the existing craft, will be used to transport the Rescue Team to isolated places within their area of responsibility. The existing craft, which does not comply with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s boat Code, will be withdrawn when the new boat arrives.

The decision to put a new Coastguard boat at Walney follows an extensive and detailed risk assessment of search and rescue resources in the Walney area carried out by Marico Marine Ltd on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. The completed risk assessment report was published recently and was circulated to the local MP John Hutton and to concerned councillors and members of the public. John Riding of Marico Marine also presented the report to an open public meeting in Walney on 7 November.

The Chief Coastguard made his announcement at a meeting today with local officials and team members. He said:

“Having carefully considered the risk assessment report, I have concluded that it is in the best interests of the Walney community to have a continued Coastguard Boat presence in the area. I am, therefore, pleased to announce that Walney will have a new boat to replace its old one. I expect the new craft to be on station in around 6 months.”
on November 24 that the Walney Island Coastguard Rescue Team is to get a new Coastguard Boat next year.

The new boat, which will replace the existing craft, will be used to transport the Rescue Team to isolated places within their area of responsibility. The existing craft, which does not comply with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s boat Code, will be withdrawn when the new boat arrives.

The decision to put a new Coastguard boat at Walney follows an extensive and detailed risk assessment of search and rescue resources in the Walney area carried out by Marico Marine Ltd on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. The completed risk assessment report was published recently and was circulated to the local MP John Hutton and to concerned councillors and members of the public. John Riding of Marico Marine also presented the report to an open public meeting in Walney on 7 November.

The Chief Coastguard made his announcement at a meeting today with local officials and team members. He said:

“Having carefully considered the risk assessment report, I have concluded that it is in the best interests of the Walney community to have a continued Coastguard Boat presence in the area. I am, therefore, pleased to announce that Walney will have a new boat to replace its old one. I expect the new craft to be on station in around 6 months.”

EDDYSTONE LIGHTHOUSE DESIGNER REMEMBERED

Candles were lit on November 26 to commemorate the tercentenary of the death of West Country lighthouse designer Henry Winstanley.

Winstanley lost his life 300 years ago when his world-renowned rock lighthouse - the Eddystone - was swept away during the Great Storm in 1703.

At the candle lighting ceremony at Smeaton's Tower in
Plymouth was TV producer and presenter Dr Adam Hart Davis.

He said: "It was terrific. I feel very privileged to have been able to go up the tower and light a candle. He was a very interesting man who was a bit of a joker at times but also was a social climber.

"To be able to build the first lighthouse on a rock is such an achievement. And the story of how it, and he, was swept away is incredible."

PHILIP GROUP PLC

HIGHER FERRY - the unique diesel electric paddle ferry which operated across the River Dart at Dartmouth lost one of its paddlewheels during a crossing on Thursday November 20

Press reports indicate that the ferry was the Kingswear slipway with passengers and vehicles on board when the downstream paddle shaft suddenly sheared and the paddle wheel fell off into 15 feet of water. 

The ferry was able to use its other paddle to get back to shore and the cars on
board disembarked safely.

Divers had to be sent down to locate the missing paddle wheel before it could be hauled out of the Dart.

Since then work has been going ahead to install a replacement shaft, repair the paddle wheel and refit it.

It was hoped to have the ferry operation back in towards the end of the past week.

Tony Tucker, the Dart Marina Manager, which is part of the Philip Group which operates the ferry, said: "We are sorry that this unfortunate incident has caused such inconvenience to our customers.

"This was one of those sudden metal failures that no maintenance plan can foresee and we simply had to go flat out to get the repair done as soon as possible.

"All our staff and contractors have worked extremely hard in sometimes difficult conditions to get the ferry back in action and we are grateful to them for putting in some very long hours at no notice."

The Abbotskerswell firm C and O Engineering has been involved in repairing the shaft.

The paddle wheel had to be hauled away by forklift truck once it had been recovered from the river and then sent off by truck to Walker Welding Ltd in Newton Abbot to be worked on.

November 22

Acknowledgements: Edwin Wilmshurst, Gwil Jones, Dave Crolley, Tommy Dover, Ian Collard, John Williams and "others"
NOTES & NEWS

UPDATES

During the coming week it will not be possible to post any updates as your web master will be away for a few days. As a consequence there will no replies to emails Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings. 

CRUISE CALLS

The Cruise Ship Calls Calendar has been rapidly filling up during the past few days. Worth taking a look to plan your photographic excursions. Of particular note for those on Merseyside, the condominium cruise ship THE WORLD will be making its first call in early June.

HOLYHEAD TOWING

AFON DYFRDWY [River Dee] is to be the name of the special low air draught ro/ro barge being constructed for the company by McTay Marine of Bromborough. 

The vessel is specifically designed for  the transport two wings per week of Airbus Industries aircraft from the Broughton Aircraft factory to Mostyn Docks. From Mostyn the wings will be shipped to Toulouse in France.

The vessel is due to be launched in JANUARY and handed over to the owners in February. Visit the Holyhead Towing site for more details.

DOUGLAS HEAD FERRY & THE PORT SODERICK BOATS

PortSod.jpg (23941 bytes)Just published by Twelveheads Press is "Douglas Head Ferry and the Port Soderick Boats" written by Captain Stephen Carter. 

This new work recounts the history of the once busy ferry service which operated across Douglas Harbour and also the services operated to Port Soderick to serve the once flourishing Hotel and leisure facilities. Whilst obviously  overshadowed by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, these local services once handled a significant passenger traffic during the summer season. The book is illustrated with many historic photographs, and also contains a detailed listing of the principal vessels which have operated on the harbour ferry and Port Soderick route. 

The author of the book is probably better known to Irish Sea ship enthusiasts as the proprietor of the Laxey Towing Company operator of the classic Philip of Dartmouth built KARINA. The KARINA has operated excursion sailings from Douglas on several routes, including that to Port Soderick, since 2001 and of course she features in the book. 

Further details and on-line ordering on the Twelveheads Press web site.

WICKLOW & EAST COAST NOTES from Tommy Dover

Its been quite busy at Wicklow port over the last week, with the coasters SCOT RANGER, BALTIC MAGDA  and CROWN BREEZE calling with cargoes.

The 'Irish lights' tender GRANUAILE was in the bay working around the 'Codling', she spent a short time outside the harbour, before heading north. The STV ASGARD 11 spent a night in port, before heading south.

The operation to raise the sunken mussel trawler near Brittas bay continues, the tug ADA DOROTHY and local work vessel KILQUADE leave the port each morning with divers etc onboard. I have heard reports that the ADA DOROTHY was only recently taken over by the present owners and will be based in Co. Cork. Floatation bags are being used to raise the vessel from the seabed.

Traffic in the bay included the ferry EUROPEAN AMBASSADOR southbound for Cherbourg, she returns to Dublin early on Monday morning. A tug towing the jack up rig 'ABEKO SERVER 2' went south after a job in KILLYBEGS, she would have passed her sister rig presently working on the North Arklow wind farm. 

MERSEY SAND SUPPLIERS

NORSTAR - the sand dredger which has been laid up for some time, following its replacement by the SAND SWAN, is being dismantled in Trafalgar Dock.

November 19

Acknowledgements: Edwin Wilmshurst, Frank Nieuwenhuys - Stena Line Freight, Ian Collard and "others"

NOTES & NEWS

UPDATES

A number of updates have been posted during the past few days to keep on top of things. The first details of cruise calls for all areas covered by Irish Sea Shipping have been posted. Further updates will follow over the coming weeks. Thanks are due to Edwin Wilmshurst for his assistance in compiling this feature.

ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY

SEACAT ISLE OF MAN and SUPERSEACAT TWO are expected to enter A&P #5 dry dock on Thursday November 20 at 08:00 for refit. The vessels will be in dock for around 4 weeks.

SEA CONTAINERS LTD

RAPIDE is expected to enter Harland & Wolf for annual refit on February 8, 2004.

It has been announced that the company will be reducing the Belfast - Troon service to seasonal operation only. During 2004 the service will run from March 12 until November 1.

This move expected to lead to up to 60 redundancies from cabin staff and deck department. The company has entered a period of consultation with staff.

STENA LINE

STENA ADVENTURER the news item posted on Sunday concerning an extended crossing time during the adverse conditions prevailing on Friday morning was inaccurate.

The actual crossing time as recorded by the ship's Master was 3 hours and 49 minutes. This is 34 minutes longer than the scheduled crossing time of 3 hours 15 minutes. All ferries experienced delayed departures due to atrocious wind and sea conditions. The Adventurer was able to safely depart her berth at 04:34 hrs and arrived at 08:23 in Dublin. 

The ship has shown itself to be extremely 'comfortable' at sea in adverse conditions and displays extremely good characteristics in terms of timeliness and service consistency. The Adventurer completed all sailings in spite of seas which at times were in excess of 6 metres and storm force winds up to 70 mph. 

The meteorological forecast was for seas in excess of 6 metres between midnight and 06:00 on Friday. The performance of the ship in these conditions was exemplary.

IRISH FERRIES

MERSEY MAMMOTH will be visiting Holyhead to undertake repairs to dolphin D9 on the Irish Ferries berth commencing November 23. 

CAMMELL LAIRD

The General Municipal and Boilermakers  Union is organising a demonstration outside the former Cammell Laird south yard on Friday November 21, 2003 between 10:00 and 13:00.

It follows concerns that ship building and repair in Merseyside could die unless the yard is made attractive to potential customers.

GMB Union regional organiser Mr. David Hulse said: "Local companies have expressed an interest in the shipyard and ship owners have stressed that the facilities at the site are as good as anywhere in Europe. But if we don't stop Reddington Finance [the yard's current owners] now, too much investment will be needed to make the shipyard attractive to prospective buyers.

"We are urging ex-employees, their families and anyone else who believes it is worth fighting for shipbuilding to come along on Friday."

Cammell Laird went into receivership in April, 2001, following the collapse of a £50m deal to build a mid-section for a cruise liner owned by Italian company Costa Crociere.

By the time Laird was sold to Southampton-based ship repairer A&P the following August, more than 1,300 staff had lost their jobs as work dried up.

But the yard has not remained idle. It has been used as storage space by local shipping companies and as a film set in November, when actors, stuntmen and a crew rolled in to make a war movie called 'White Light'.

The 67-acre site was bought for £10m in August by Reddington, a group of local businessmen, with plans to build a 5,000-seater arena, an indoor ski-slope and an ice rink as well as leasing some of the land to the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company. Earlier this month, three of the yard's oldest cranes were demolished.

Friday's demonstration has the full support of Birkenhead Labour MP Frank Field, who disagrees that the yard's days are numbered.

JEANIE JOHNSTON

The replica emigrant ship JEANIE JOHNSTON will be visiting Dublin again this winter following her successful tour of North America.

The JEANIE JOHNSTON will arrive in Dublin at 11:00 on Friday, November 28 and will be open to the public from Saturday November 29 until Tuesday January 6. The ship will be closed from Monday, December 22 to Friday, December 26th over the Christmas holiday period).

The ship will berth opposite Jury's Inn on the Customs House Quay, where she berthed last year.

Opening hours will be 11:00 to 17:00 with admission of  €5.00 per person, €10.00 per family. Accompanied children under 10 free. Prebooked school parties €2 per person.

www.jeaniejohnston.ie

ISLE OF MAN DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT

DOUGLAS HARBOUR - OCTOBER HARBOUR TRAFFIC FIGURES

Passenger figures compiled by the Harbours Division for October 2003 at 42,688 show a 0.7% decrease on the figure for the same period in 2002 which was 42,996.

The year to date figure at 604,123 passengers shows a 0.4% increase over the same period in 2002 which was 601,804.

During October car and motorcycle traffic through Douglas Harbour increased by 0.9% from 11,058 vehicles to 11,154 vehicles.

The year to date figure at 159,039 vehicles shows a 1.6% increase over the same period in 2002 which was 156,587.

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

City

plus/Minus

From

To

 

 

Dublin

minus 3%

1,913

1,857

 

 

Heysham

plus 4%

19,352

20,134

 

 

Liverpool

minus 4%

20,301

19,427

 

 

Freight Traffic

October commercial vehicles metreage increased by 1.2% from 41,275 metres to 41,752 metres.

Director of Harbours, Captain Michael Brew comments:

Passenger figures are very close to last years record October figure and are still the second best ever figures for October. Car and Motorcycle traffic and freight traffic are however record figures for any October. The Lady of Mann is now providing a daily return service to Liverpool . This extra choice and capacity should encourage the continuing growth in the passenger market

APPLEDORE SHIPBUILDERS

NAVY NEEDS COULD REVIVE SHIPYARD

The Western Morning News reports that n
aval plans for new offshore protection vessels could boost yard's appeal to bidders

Ministers last night faced calls to bring forward Royal Navy orders that could save Appledore Shipyard, after the Ministry of Defence launched an urgent review into a "shortfall in capacity" in the British shipbuilding industry.

The review, by the American-based Rand Corporation, will investigate whether the UK has enough shipyards and skilled workers to cope with the largest warship-building programme planned for many years.

John Burnett, Liberal Democrat MP for Torridge and West Devon, said it would be a bitter irony if the study concluded that more capacity was needed after it was too late to save the North Devon yard, which closed at the end of September with the loss of more than 500 jobs.

Although Appledore is too small to build the new aircraft carriers, submarines and destroyers ordered by the Navy, Mr Burnett said there were other orders that ministers could bring forward to provide work.

Mr Burnett said Navy plans for new offshore protection vessels could offer valuable work that would boost the yard's appeal to those bidding to buy the business from the receivers.

"There are plans for three or four offshore protection vessels that could make a real difference and that could be brought forward now," he said. "These reviews are just an excuse for the inability of ministers to take decisions. It is time the Government stopped vacillating and acted to ensure there is sufficient capacity in this country to meet both naval and civilian demand."

Former Appledore workers are waiting anxiously to hear the result of negotiations between the receivers and potential bidders for the yard. Plymouth-based DML, one of the front-runners, has indicated that it would need government support or orders to enable it to keep together Appledore's entire skilled workforce in the short term.

Gary Smith, senior West Country organiser for the GMB union, said it would be "an absolute disgrace" if Appledore was allowed to close permanently at a time when there was a shortfall in naval shipbuilding capacity. "The crisis in terms of jobs and skills in the shipbuilding industry was easy to foresee," he said. "We are an island nation and we cannot afford to lose these skills.

"We have always said that Appledore had a viable future, and given that it looks as though we do have a shortfall in capacity the current situation at Appledore is an absolute disgrace.

"This country needs a plan for shipbuilding. Ministers and civil servants need to want a viable UK industry and take action to secure it. I have a great fear that the MoD is looking for an off-the-shelf option which will mean buying from America - and that would be a travesty."

The MoD and Department for Trade and Industry insisted that their decision to order the review did not suggest that the UK shipbuilding industry had a capacity problem.


But with problems already affecting the carrier and submarine projects, the review document suggests that the MoD might be forced to slow down its procurement in the future.

It states: "Potential problems could be solved by reconsidering the rate at which we require capabilities to be delivered, or perhaps the inward investment of skills and resources into UK shipyards from overseas."

But critics fear that the review, which will be published in the middle of next year, could be used as an excuse to slash the Navy's procurement programme or reduce its cost by placing orders abroad.

November 15

Acknowlegements: Ian Collard, NSL, Melanie Richardson, Tony Brennan, Stephen Marsden, Chris Jones and "others"
NOTES & NEWS

UPDATES

A reminder that the late autumn / winter schedule of updates is now operation with weekend updates being posted on Saturdays. 

During the past week, two additional updates were posted on November 10 and 13 in addition to the scheduled update on November 12.

The next scheduled update is Saturday November 22, however, it is likely that at least one extra update will be posted during the week as a back-log of material remains to be cleared

ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY

BEN-MY-CHREE - the 19:45 sailing from Douglas and the 02:15 return sailing from Heysham on November 13/14 were cancelled due to adverse weather in the Irish Sea.

LADY OF MANN - as a result of forecast bad weather conditions, the LADY OF MANN's 19:00 Liverpool to Douglas sailing was retimed to 18:00 on November 14.

SUPERSEACAT TWO has moved to A&P Birkenhead.

PENINSULAR & ORIENTAL STEAM NAVIGATION COMPANY

Q3 TRADING SUMMARY 2003

Ferries peak season saw a continuation of the disappointing trends reported in the first half year. Passenger carryings were significantly down and tourist vehicle rates on the Short Sea route were weak. The freight business, however, continued to experience steady volume growth.

For Q3, P&O's total tourist vehicle carryings were 7% down compared to 2002 and total passenger carryings were 9% down reflecting weaker market conditions.

On the Short Sea, the overall tourist vehicle market declined slightly. P&O's tourist vehicle carryings were 3% down compared to the same period in 2002 and rates were approximately 6% down. The overall coach market declined approximately 14% compared to 2002 as a result of operators' decisions earlier in the year to focus on domestic UK holidays for the 2003 season. Consequently, P&O's Q3 passenger carryings were 10% below 2002. Average on-board spend per head increased.

On other P&O routes there was a 12% decline in tourist vehicles carryings and an 8% decline in passenger carryings compared to Q3 2002. Rates were generally similar or ahead of last year. Good growth in tourist vehicle and passenger carryings were achieved on the Irish Sea in a relatively static market but other routes continued to be significantly down on 2002. 

Freight: for Q3, P&O's total freight volumes were 4% ahead of 2002.

On the Short Sea, the overall freight market grew 5% and P&O carryings were 10% higher than last year. Rates, however, came under pressure and were slightly down on 2002. On other routes, P&O carryings were at similar levels to 2002 with rates broadly unchanged. For Ferrymasters, total Continental European volumes decreased 8% in Q3 compared to 2002 reflecting a weak quarter for UK and Continental European manufacturing. Average rates per unit were marginally better than 2002. Total Irish volumes increased 2% in Q3 compared to 2002 and average rates per unit were slightly down on 2002. Freight management volumes grew 15% in Q3 and margins remained at similar levels to 2002.

For full report go to
http://www.pogroup.com

EUROPEAN LEADER - A Merseyside couple were detained by Northern Ireland Police shortly after leaving the ship after a crossing from Fleetwood.

Cannabis resin worth £250,000 on the streets was found when officers searched a car near Larne harbour in Co Antrim.

The vehicle had been under surveillance as it crossed on the ferry from Fleetwood, Lancashire.

Two people, believed to be a husband and wife in their 50s from Liverpool, were arrested by drugs squad officers.

Security sources said the intercepted drugs were destined for Derry, but ruled out any paramilitary involvement.

EUROPEAN SEAFARER arrived on Merseyside on Thursday for engine and deck repairs to be undertaken by North Western Shiprepairers. She may also proceed to Canada Dry Dock for renewal of her passenger certificate.

WICKLOW AND EAST COAST NOTES from Tommy Dover

Tug ADA DOROTHY arrived in Wicklow on November 13 she will be working on the raising of the sunken mussel trawler off Brittas Bay, the local vessel KILQUADE will assist.

STV ASGARD II has was stormbound in the harbour ,she arrived on Wednesday evening., She departed Wicklow on Thursday  to sail around the bay, but returned a short time later to shelter from the weather.

WHITE STAR LINE

Tayleur.jpg (41428 bytes)TAYLEUR - Many readers will be familiar with Bert Starkey's book "Iron Clipper - The White Star Line's First Titanic" published in the late 1990s. The book details the brief career of the large Warrington built ship TAYLEUR, lost on the coast of Lambay Island near Dublin on January 21, 1854. 

The ship was on the first stage of her maiden voyage to Australia when she ran ashore. Of the 650 persons on board, only 290 survived.

Now Edward J. Bourke, author and publisher of the excellent series "Shipwrecks of the Irish Coast" has published a new work "Bound for Australia".  This new book adds a significant amount of additional material to that already published on the subject of the ill fated ship. The study covers all aspects of the ship, construction, the wreck, enquires, salvage, modern diving on the wreck, ballads and poems etc. Also included are selected biographies of the crew and passengers. Comprehensive appendices feature detailed passenger and crew lists.

The book is available from the author Edward J. Bourke in Ireland edward.bourke@esatclear.ie in the UK from Avid Publications info@avidpublications.co.uk

Copies of the book are also available in the shop of the Merseyside Maritime Museum.

IRISH FERRIES

IRISH FERRIES PUBLISH 2004 FRANCE FERRY GUIDE

Irish Ferries have unveiled their 2004 France Ferry Guide in which a EUR50 pre-January 19th early booking discount on return car fares is the headline offer.

Other discounts available in what is a comprehensive programme include 20 percent reductions for over-55s, and a new, EUR100 off a return car trip to Britain operative to May 2005 for those who avail of a standard return car fare to France during the June - August period.

Other popular items include special 5-day and 9-day fares for motorists and motorcyclists and the ever-popular Mini Cruise which remains at EUR99 pp return. When two or more travel together they can bring their car for EUR49 return.

This year Irish Ferries are highlighting their convenient departure and arrival times with daylight arrivals that take account of time required for onward travel.

Once again, their popular Normandy Nights cabaret will be a feature throughout the Summer season.

Full details can be had on line at <www.irishferries.com>,  through any travel agent or by calling 0818-300-400 (N.I. 353-818-300-400)

ULYSSES - is reported to have taken five hours twenty minutes on her early morning sailing from Holyhead to Dublin on Friday November 14, due to adverse conditions. 

PORT OF FALMOUTH

BBC Radio Cornwall reports that the Falmouth ship bunkering services will be terminated.

It is estimated that it will cost Falmouth Harbour about £250,000 in lost fees and reduce its business by some 40%. Between 300 and 400 ships use the port to obtain bunkers, or fuel or diesel oil, each year.

Chevron Texaco, which runs the contract, says changes are in the pipeline, but will not confirm or deny the reports.

Falmouth Harbour Pilot David Barnicoat said it could have a devastating effect on the whole town.

He said: "Ships arrive and not only do they take on bunkers, they buy charts, they buy provisions, people join and leave ships, they stay in hotels and use public transport to get to Newquay Airport.

"There's a whole knock-on effect throughout the port and the port's infrastructure."

Chevron Texaco spokesperson Jane Warton said: "Chevron Texaco have a bunkering and storage contract with Falmouth Oil Services based at Falmouth Docks.

"We can confirm that changes to that contract are under negotiation and discussions have been ongoing for 12 months.

"No announcement has been made and its not our policy to comment on negotiations that are ongoing because of commercial sensitivity.

MERSEY DOCKS & HARBOUR COMPANY

Plans for the first luxury homes at the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company's prestigious Princes Dock water front development have been submitted to Liverpool City Council for approval.

The new addition to the city's riverside skyline will feature 162 luxury apartments in towers of 20 and 10 storeys, including parking for 106 cars. Construction is expected to be completed two years after planning consent.

To be built by Harrogate and London based City Loft Developments, the apartments will be designed by Sir Terence Conran's internationally recognised architectural and design practice, Conran & Partners. The lower parking facility is likely to incorporate a revolutionary computer-controlled stacking system for cars.

The development, in the north-west section of the 29 acre (11.7 hectare) Princes Dock site, will provide its residents with panoramic views across the River Mersey and out to the Irish Sea.

Said City Lofts' Director Tony Brooks: "Our long-established partnership with Conran combines exceptional expertise and experience with total commitment to urban renewal through the highest quality city centre schemes."

Founded in 1997, City Lofts is a privately-owned property company specialising in developing city centre mixed use schemes comprising high quality residential apartments, offices, shops, bars and restaurants. The award-winning company has successfully completed projects in Leeds, Manchester, Harrogate, Reading, Halifax, London, Newcastle and Brighton.

The City Lofts' scheme is the latest in a series of new announcements by Mersey Docks subsidiary, the Princes Dock Development Company. The Queen's bankers, Coutts & Co, have just opened new offices at No 8 Princes Dock, joining other blue-chip companies such as KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Atlantic Container Line, and Bibby North West Factors Ltd.

Other recent newcomers to No 8 Princes Dock are Halifax Bank of Scotland and Henry Bath & Co, part of the Fortune 500 company Sempra Energy based in California, which is transferring its head office to the riverside location.

Said the Development Company's Chief Executive Ian Pollitt: "Princes Dock has established considerable stature in the marketplace for quality office accommodation. The City Lofts development adds a new residential dimension of matching excellence.

"This milestone in the masterplan for the City of Liverpool's premier waterfront redevelopment site leads the way in transforming the current commercial dominance of Princes Dock into the prestige 24/7 location Mersey Docks and Harbour Company has always envisaged."

The Development Company was advised on the City Lofts development by Manchester based residential agents Knight Frank. Mr Pollitt said Princes Dock was in serious discussion with prominent potential players in all sectors of the site development project. "On the back of such strong interest we look forward to making further announcements shortly," he added.

It is envisaged that the development will ultimately include one million sq ft of offices, of which 223,000 sq ft have already been completed, three hotels, 350 residential units, retail outlets including a crèche and multi-storey car parks with 1,160 spaces.

MADOG

The privately owned former University of Wales Research Vessel MADOG [ex PRINCE MADOG] which is normally based at Canning Dock, Liverpool has been undergoing work at Ramsey Shipyard on the Isle of Man during the autumn.

On Monday November 10, the vessel departed Ramsey bound for Liverpool, but suffered engine problems off Maughold Head and had to return to Ramsey.

STAR OF INDIA

The historic Isle of Man built sailing ship, THE STAR OF INDIA, celebrated her 140 birthday on November 14.

Built in Ramsey in 1863, she's the oldest seaworthy vessel in the world, and is on permanent display at the San Diego Maritime Museum, USA..

NORTH WESTERN SHIP REPAIRERS

Caledonian MacBrayne's ISLE OF MULL is due at Bidston Dry Dock for passenger certificate renewal on November 23.

The coaster CELEBRITY [Faversham Ships] is currently in Clarence Dry Dock undergoing steel repairs.

EXCALIBUR [ex Weislift 6] [windmill barge] undergoing leg repairs at Mostyn.

SEA CONTAINERS LTD

Sea Containers announced its best quarter and nine months in 13 years on November 13, 2003. The company had net earnings of $100.7 million ($4.68 per common share diluted) for the quarter and $99.7 million ($4.66 per common share diluted) for the nine months ended September 30, 2003 .  Total debt was reduced by $250 million in the quarter to $1.55 billion.

Revenue for the quarter was $480 million, up 2% from the year earlier period while revenue for the nine months was $1.3 billion, up 22%.  The third quarter 2003 did not include earnings or revenue from the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company which was sold effective July 1, 2003 .

The gain on sale of this unit was $100 million, however, the company also recognized non-recurring charges of $40 million resulting in a net $60 million increase in earnings.  The non-recurring charges are principally for restructuring of the company’s U.K. fast ferry operations, the write down of an old containership to current market value (the vessel has now been sold), and to cover the expected loss on disposal of certain containers being held for sale.

Apart from the gain on sale, the company enjoyed a strong third quarter in all its main business units.  Silja, the leading Baltic passenger and freight transport operator with a fleet of 12 modern ships, had operating profits (EBIT) of $27.4 million in the third quarter, up 27% over the $21.5 million earned in the year earlier period.

GNER, the company’s U.K. rail subsidiary, had operating profits of $28.8 million in the quarter, up 48% from the prior year due largely to cost reductions and increasing passenger volumes.

The company’s container division reported operating profits for the quarter of $8.7 million, up 61% from the prior year period.  $2 million of the $3.3 million increase was in GE SeaCo, the company’s 50/50 joint venture with GE Capital, due to strong demand for marine containers in many regions of the world.  The balance of the increase derived from the company’s factories, depots and equipment operated outside the joint venture (the joint venture does not include new container chassis leasing nor lease purchase transactions).

Net finance costs dropped 25% in the quarter to $19.8 million from $26.8 million due to the retirement of bond debt at the beginning of the third quarter and lower floating rate interest costs.

The reduction of $2.7 million in operating earnings from “other” ferry business reflects a $7 million reduction due to the absence of earnings in the quarter from the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company and an increase of $6.1 million in operating profits from U.K. fast ferry operations compared to the prior year period.  The company operates 4 fast ferries on English Channel routes and one on a route between Northern Ireland and Scotland .  Operating earnings of SeaStreak in New York were down $0.6 million in the quarter from the prior year period due to rental costs of two port facilities which could not be used pending delivery of new ships under construction.  The first of these vessels, “SeaStreak Wall Street”, entered service on October 15th and is the largest and most luxurious commuter ferry in service between New Jersey and Manhattan and should command an excellent following.  It has capacity for 405 passengers and a maximum speed of 50 m.p.h.  The second vessel is expected to enter service in March, 2004.

The company’s SNAV-SeaCat joint venture in the Adriatic had a satisfactory season and the partners have decided to introduce a second vessel, a Sea Containers owned SeaCat, on the Pescara/Hvar/Split route starting next summer.

The company reported under “other” operating profit a gain of $5 million arising from the sale of property in the port of Newhaven , England .  An agreement has been reached in principle for the sale of the company’s port interests in Folkestone , England while retaining a long lease for a nominal sum of the inner harbour for use as a lay-up berth for Hoverspeed’s vessels and the train station car park for use by Orient-Express Hotels for its Venice Simplon-Orient-Express tourist train.

Orient-Express Hotels, in which the company has a 47% shareholding, announced its third quarter results yesterday.  Net earnings were $8.2 million compared with $9.1 million in the year earlier period.  The modest decline was largely due to the effects of Hurricane Isabel which caused cancellation of bookings at its hotels in Maryland , Virginia and South Carolina in September.

Sea Containers 47% share of that company’s net earnings for the third quarter was $3.8 million compared with $5.3 million in the year earlier period when its shareholding was 58% of Orient-Express Hotels.

Mr James B Sherwood, President, said there had been a number of important developments to report.  Of particular significance, GNER has reached agreement in principle with Network Rail in the U.K. on GNER’s claims arising out of the Hatfield rail disaster in October, 2000.  The agreement provides for GNER to pay Network Rail $7.2 million of track access charges over-withheld.  The settlement is currently being audited by the Strategic Rail Authority and if they concur, the matter should be finally resolved by the end of this year.

Mr Sherwood said that GNER’s franchise comes up for renewal in April, 2005 and while it will be put to public tender it has so far generally been the practice of the Strategic Rail Authority to renew with incumbents who have performed satisfactorily.  GNER is considered to be one of the best run railways in the United Kingdom .  GNER is planning to bid for two other franchises if permitted by the Strategic Rail Authority.  In both cases these are new franchises and not an attempt to wrest franchises from incumbents.  GNER believes it can bring the same “tender loving care” to the passengers on the routes to be operated by these other franchises as it brings to GNER passengers.  GNER is one of the few U.K. railroads which operates without subsidy.

Mr Sherwood said that consultations are well advanced towards changing its U.K. fast ferry operations from year-round to seasonal.  The operation of larger fast ferries on Dover-Calais and Belfast-Troon has been successful this year and will be continued in 2004.

Silja’s m.v. Fanjet will undergo modifications and upgrade of passenger spaces in the spring of 2004 at a cost of Euros 15 million to prepare her for operation on the Rostock-Tallin-St. Petersburg route under a different European Union flag.  One third of the ship’s capacity on the new route has already been booked for 2004.  This service will dovetail with Silja’s two large SuperSeaCat fast ferries which operate on the Helsinki-Tallinn route and which had a successful season in 2003, capturing a significantly larger market share.

Mr Sherwood said that at September 30, 2003 GE SeaCo had taken delivery of $142 million of new containers and it appeared that new container deliveries for the year would surpass $190 million.  GE SeaCo’s owned container fleet currently enjoys 98% utilization while the “pool fleet” of containers owned by Sea Containers and GE Capital prior to the creation of GE SeaCo in 1998 has a utilization of 81%.  “Demand for containers is holding up well and our customers are buying more and larger new containerships to meet the expected growth in world trade.  The ocean carriers now seem to be operating profitably and the “tone” of the market is excellent with lessee bad debts at historic lows and length of receivables historically short.  Our idle container stocks in North America have dropped by 30,000 units in the last 12 months,” he commented.

Mr Sherwood indicated that the company’s EBITDA for the nine months was $251 million excluding earnings on its investment in Orient-Express Hotels and cash and undrawn credit lines at September 30, 2003 were $164 million.  The company’s 14.4 million common shares in Orient-Express Hotels have a current market value of about $245 million.

“The company’s results for the quarter, nine months and surely the year are splendid, despite a slow start due to the consequences of the Iraq War, SARS (which affected the container leasing business in Asia ), an exceptionally harsh winter in the Baltic and high fuel costs.  We’ve made major inroads into lingering problems such as excess idle container stocks in the U.S. and poor fast ferry performance in the U.K.   Through our sale of the Steam Packet Company we have demonstrated the enormous underlying value of our assets and have made a substantial debt reduction.  We will continue to strengthen our balance sheet while leaving the door open to expansion opportunities.” he concluded.

CARNIVAL CORPORATION

QUEEN MARY 2 a serious accident occurred Alstom Marine's Shipyard at St.Nazaire on Saturday November 15.

Twelve people were killed and 32 injured after a gangway collapsed during a visit by shipyard workers relatives.

November 12

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Kevin Bennett, Tommy Dover, Colin Attfield and Michael Bracken, Ian Collard, Philip Parker, Mike Deegan and "others".
NOTES & NEWS

This evening's update is somewhat shorter than planned due to other commitments. However, an extra update was posted on Monday November 10. There will be a further update on Thursday evening.

Please note that weekend updates will generally be posted on Saturdays during the late autumn / winter, reverting to Sundays from March. Though there may be some exceptions.

PENINSULAR & ORIENTAL STEAM NAVIGATION COMPANY

During December there is an opportunity for passengers from the UK to cruise to Cherbourg via Ireland.

Voel Coaches is offering a "Celtic Connection Tour" in conjunction with P&O. The trip 
featured in an ad in the Daily Post Newspaper on November 12.

The tour is over the weekend of December 12 to 15. The fare is  £189 fully inclusive.

The advertisement blurb:

"Join us in this unique weekend minicruise sailing from Mostyn to Dublin. The Tour itinerary includes a pleasant day excursion by coach travelling southwards from Dublin to Rosslare, then a further voyage from Rosslare to Cherbourg with time for shopping before returning to Mostyn via Dublin.

Accommodation throughout will be on board P&O's superb European Ambassador vessel in 2 berth cabins with private shower / wc and including supper on Friday, together with breakfast and dinner on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Sounds like a good trip, but one is  puzzled as to why there is a road journey between Dublin and Rosslare, I imagine its to allow time in Dublin. Perhaps those wanting to remain on board can? Tel: 01745 570154 for  more details, bookings.

MOSTYN - DUBLIN

The recent disruption to Norse Merchant Ferries - Birkenhead to Dublin service following damage to BRAVE MERCHANT has apparently been of benefit to P&O's Mostyn - Dublin service.

Though the future of this route is uncertain, Irish Sea Shipping has been informed that the route has never been busier during this period.

NORSE MERCHANT FERRIES

BRAVE MERCHANT left Canada Graving Dock on November 10 following repairs required as a result of her Twelve Quays mishap 


WICKLOW & EAST COAST NOTES from Tommy Dover

Coaster callers last week included  AMANDA , SCOT MARINER , ANKE ANGELA and UNION EMERALD.

Other vessels noted in port were ASGARD II, XANADU (yacht registered in Courtmacsharrey) and the RNLI Arun class lifeboat MABEL WILLIAMS (52-45), [normally based at Rosslare Harbour] on a overnight stop. [JHL's NOTE - This lifeboat put into Port St.Mary, Isle of Man on Saturday November 8.]

Work has started on the refloating of the sunken mussel trawler off Mizzen Head, the work vessel KILQUADE loaded floatation bags early in the week. Unconfirmed reports had said that the crane vessel MERSEY MAMMOTH had been over the sunken vessel a few weeks back.

MERSEYSIDE MARITIME MUSEUM

Mike Stammers who recently retired from the Merseyside Maritime Museum has won the Maritime Foundation's prestigious Media Award. You can read all about it on the Liverpool Daily Post & Echo web site

ROYAL NAVY

HMS SCYLLA - the Navy warship which is to be sunk to create an artificial reef has
returned to Plymouth.
 
Plymouth's National Marine Aquarium (NMA) bought HMS Scylla last month with funding from the South West Regional Development Agency (RDA).

The plan is to sink the 2,500-tonne frigate off Whitsand Bay in Cornwall for divers to explore, in addition to it being colonised by sealife.

The NMA bought the Leander Class Frigate last month for about £200,000 and she is returning to Plymouth to be converted for her new use.

A Leander Class Frigate with a general and anti-submarine role Built in the late 1960s
Weighs 2,500-tonnes and is 113 metres in length

The ship was recommended for disposal in 1991 and decommissioned in December 1993.
Similar ships have been placed on the seabed in Canada, Australia
and New Zealand 

It is hoped that work at Devonport Dockyard will begin later this month and the vessel could be sunk as early as next spring.

When the ship is placed on the seabed off Whitsand Bay she will become Europe's first artificial reef for divers.

Aquarium staff say they plan to use cutting edge technology to enable people on dry land to watch the ecosystem develop.


The vessel was taken out of active service in 1993 and has been used as a training facility in Portsmouth Harbour since then.

It was built in the late 1960s and was the last warship built in Devonport.

ROYAL FLEET AUXILIARY

Following the recent posting of  pictures of the RFA small fleet tanker BLACK ROVER which depicted the vessel carrying a school crossing sign above the bridge, Irish Sea Shipping has received a number comments on this practice from several former RFA people - a couple of which are reproduced below:

Colin Attfield writes:

"The sign that you were querying is a somewhat "tongue in cheek" indication that the ship is Station Tanker for Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST), ie "Schooly" ship. As one of the original "borrowers" of the sign (an older version) from a road in Portland, during a none too sober run ashore, back in the early seventies whilst serving as 3/O on the old Brown Ranger, I feel able to comment. The admiral at the time became aware of it and liked the joking inference, and when the Gold Rover took over as almost permanent FOST tanker, allowed the signs (By now legally obtained!), to be mounted on the funnel. Not too sure as to why the sign has reverted to bridge wing mounting again, but I am now ten years out of the RFA"

Mike Deegan of Hebridean Island Cruises writes:

In response to your question regarding the appearance of a School traffic sign above the bridge wings of RFA Black Rover (Irish Sea Shipping 5 Nov) I should inform you this sign is traditionally sported by the tanker operating for Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST) who is now based at Devonport. 

The tanker is used to train crews of Royal Naval warships in Replenishment at sea techniques during the "work-up" phase of their training.  The ship, therefore, is seen as having a training role - hence the school sign.

I was at sea myself earlier in my career and Black Rover is one of my old ships.  It was FOST tanker when I was embarked as well and we took the duty over from Gold Rover.  I well remember the ceremonial handing over of the road signs!!

Thanks to Colin and Mike and others who responded. 

LOUGH FOYLE FERRY

IC Derry reports that a Derry couple had a lovely surprise on Sunday when they were selected as the half-millionth party to board the Lough Foyle Ferry.

Grant Cameron, his wife Rhonda and their two children, from Coleraine, County Derry, went aboard the car ferry for a day trip to Donegal on Sunday, when they were chosen as the 500,000th party to use the service since it began in June 2002.

Ferry office manager, Kathleen McDonald said the Camerons were " surprised but delighted" with their unexpected win.

"Their silver car was sitting in the centre of the middle row of cars and when it came to leaving the ferry, we pulled them aside. They looked puzzled and thought they had done something wrong, but they were delighted when we told them why they were picked out," said Ms. McDonald.

The Coleraine couple, who are regular users of the Foyle ferry from Magilligan to Greencastle, received a beautiful bouquet of flowers from the company along with a delicious meal-for-two at Kealey's Seafood Restaurant, Greencastle. They also won a voucher for a free trip on board the ferry.

Sunday's celebrations represented a momentous milestone for the Lough Foyle Ferry Company which has spectacularly smashed its projected passenger targets by thousands, in its first year of operation.

Lough Foyle Ferry Company director, Jim McClenaghan told the 'Journal' the company was delighted with the volume of people using the service in its first 15 months.

 "To date the ferry has carried all types and classes of vehicles, from motorbikes, cars, coaches and lorries etc., and as you can see today we have now reached the 500,000 passenger mark, which gives us good reason to celebrate," said Mr. McClenaghan.

The ferry boss said the arrival of a new larger vessel earlier this year, had significantly enhanced performance and had increased capacity from 24 cars to 40 cars. The ferry had also seen a big increase in the numbers of people using the first service in the morning, at 7.20 a.m., to commute to work in Northern Ireland and Donegal.

 "The company is happy with the performance of our larger vessel, which has reduced delays at peak times, which occurred with the smaller vessel," said Mr. McClenaghan, who added that the company was now looking forward to celebrating with its millionth passenger.



JEANIE JOHNSTON

The replica emigrant ship JEANIE JOHNSTON arrived home on Thursday, November 6th, almost one week ahead of schedule, following a tremendously successful voyage to North America.

She is now berthed at her home port of Fenit, Co. Kerry. 

Visit the ship's web site at www.jeaniejohnston.ie for details of this highly successful trip which has confounded the ship's critics.

MERSEY FERRIES

WOODCHURCH which is currently refitting at A&P Birkenhead experienced and engine room fire on November 6.

November 05

 
Acknowledgements: Ian Collard, Philip Parker and "others" 
NOTES & NEWS

UPDATES

Please note that there will be NO UPDATE this weekend. Whilst another update may be posted tomorrow - November 06 the next scheduled update is scheduled for Wednesday November 12.

From Saturday November 15 the update schedule switches to its winter pattern of Saturday weekend updates, though there may be some changes during December which will be advised later.

ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY

SUPERSEACAT TWO did not operate her final Liverpool - Dublin sailing scheduled for Monday November 4 due to adverse conditions. She laid along side Prince's Landing Stage, before vacating the berth to allow for the arrival of the LADY OF MANN from Douglas. 

ISLE OF MAN DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT

From the 27th October 2003, the Department of Transport will commence work to construct a new jetty, footbridge and flapgate across Peel Harbour between the Weatherglass Corner and West Quay. The Scheme will take just over a year to complete and will cost approximately £3 million.

The main contractor will be the Department of Transport’s Works Division, although a number of specialist sub-contractors will be employed for elements of work. In particular, the piling will be undertaken by Dew Construction Limited, Island Drainage and Groundwork Limited will undertake the concrete works and the construction and installation of the flapgate and footbridge will be undertaken by Taylor & Sons of Cardiff.

The initial work will involve significant piling operations from the East Quay where the contractor’s storage area will be located. For the duration of the contract, the area of East Quay, north of Weatherglass Corner will not be available to the public on health and safety grounds. By concentrating the storage and work area on East Quay, it is not expected that the construction work will impact on traffic flows around the harbour. During construction, access for vessels to and from the harbour will be maintained. A minimum 10 metre wide channel will be maintained and in the early stages of construction, the available channel will be much wider. In the second phase of construction, access to and from the harbour will be through the flapgate channel, although the flapgate itself will not be in operation. Due to the narrow channel that will be available, traffic lights for vessels will be used if required. An improved radio link to Harbour Control, Douglas is already operational. For safety and security purposes the construction area will be monitored by CCTV cameras.

MERSEY DOCKS & HARBOUR COMPANY

LIVERPOOL SEA TERMINAL

Notices have been published "To construct car marshalling area for use in conjunction with the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company's ferry services and the new cruise liner facility, including covering part of the floating roadway cut and associated works including new taxi and parking facilities and dedication of a new public right of way at land adjacent to St. Nicholas Place, Pier Head"

BUSIEST WEEK AT SEAFORTH TERMINAL

Records tumbled at the Port of Liverpool as the Seaforth Container Terminal had the busiest week and weekend in its history.

It was also a milestone for one of the terminal's most recent major customers, Mediterranean Shipping Company the world's second largest container line. The MSC Sonia was the largest ship so far used on its weekly call and handled a record number of container moves through Liverpool since the Accordion service started in November 2001.

The Mersey Docks and Harbour Company which owns and operates the Seaforth Terminal, sees the rising volumes among its new and established customers as the reward for major investment and a reflection of growing recognition of the Port's strategic location.

In a record weekend, the Seaforth Terminal handled more than 3,000 container moves to end a week in which over 7,000 containers crossed the quays — more than in any other week in over three decades of operation.

Said Director of Marketing Frank Robotham: "More and more lines are recognising that they can get closer to their customers and to greater volumes of cargo by using Liverpool .

"The records of the past week are ample evidence that all the container lines operating out of Liverpool, both the long established and more recent, are reaping the benefit of over £25 million worth of investment, and of the Port's location closer to more major centres of production and population than any other UK container gateway."

Maersk Sealand, the world's largest container line, introduced a weekly service to Northern Europe , Iberia and the Mediterranean in the summer of 2002 and the French line CMA CGM, fifth in the global container league, introduced a weekly service from Liverpool to Le Havre in February this year. Last month it introduced an 840 teu vessel on the service, representing a 350% hike in capacity.

All three services dovetail with their lines' global networks to enable Liverpool to offer container links to all corners of the world.

MTL DUBLIN

Ireland's major container terminal is hitting record volumes following a €23 million investment programme by its parent company, the Mersey Docks Group.

In the first 10 months of this year, Marine Terminals Limited (MTL) in the Port of Dublin has already exceeded the number of containers handled in the whole of 2002.

MTL Managing Director John Forrester said: "The whole operation stepped up into a higher gear from early September as the benefits of the development programme began to show in higher efficiency.

"We passed last year's total of 110,000 lifts at the weekend and on this performance should handle over 130,000 in the full year," said Mr Forrester.

The investment programme included expansion of the terminal area to treble container storage capacity, the purchase of four ship-to-shore gantry cranes and the installation of four new rail-mounted container stacking cranes.

A fifth ship-to-shore gantry crane is on order from the Killarney, County Kerry plant of manufacturer Liebherr to give the performance of the terminal a further boost.

Since completion of the investment programme MTL has attracted two of the world's top container lines, Mediterranean Shipping Company and the French line CMA CGM, who both operate weekly services to mainland Europe, dovetailing into their global networks.

PRINCES DOCK

Another major international company is moving into Liverpool's Princes Dock, in the first of what is expected to be a flurry of lettings at the city's new river front commercial district.

Henry Bath & Son Ltd, which is part of the Fortune 500 company Sempra Energy based in San Diego, California, is to transfer its Head Office to No 8 Princes Dock from Knowsley Industrial Park.

The Princes Dock Development Company, a subsidiary of the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company, anticipates further announcements in the coming weeks on office, retail and residential developments at the waterfront location.

Said Princes Chief Executive Ian Pollitt: "We are in serious discussion on all fronts. All sectors of the scheme are stimulating strong interest and we are looking forward to making further announcements shortly."

Henry Bath joins other globally recognised names such as KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Queen's bankers Coutts and Co., Atlantic Container Line, HBOS and major outsource company Capita with Princes Dock as its prestige address.

A founding member of the London Metal Exchange in 1877, Henry Bath established its first LME warehouse in a British port when it began operating from Liverpool in 1875. Since then, the Henry Bath Group has continued to open other LME and commodity warehouses in Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Singapore, South Korea, Dubai and the United States. The Port of Liverpool is home to its biggest UK operation.

Henry Bath is also a member of Britain's LIFFE commodities exchange and is part of Sempra Energy, a Fortune 500 company providing value-added electric, natural gas, broadband and related products in North America, South America and Europe.

Said Anthony Key, General Manager of Henry Bath: "We are delighted to be moving our Head Office to Princes Dock. Henry Bath has long been associated with Liverpool Docks and hence the Mersey, therefore the waterfront location, yet within a vibrant, growing and prestigious modern development, not only provides a high quality working environment for our employees but says everything about what Henry Bath stands for today."

Princes Dock's Ian Pollitt said more similar announcements were pending. "We are confident that there will be three further lettings at the Twelve Princes Dock building before the year end. We also anticipate an announcement of the developer of the first residential building before the end of 2003 and we are currently in serious discussion with three potential developers of hotels for Princes."

Mr Pollitt said the modern office accommodation at Princes Dock was achieving increasing recognition as the economic, flexible option for companies seeking to maximise their use of space in a contemporary environment free from the threat of escalating service costs.

"Prominent names in the retail and leisure industry are also talking to us about being part of this exciting 24 hour environment in the very near future," he added. No 8 Princes Dock was the first of three office buildings developed by the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company subsidiary at the waterfront location adjacent to Liverpool's famous Pier Head. A four star Crowne Plaza Hotel was also successfully launched with another two quality hotels planned.

Twelve Princes Dock, the latest project, is the largest office development in a city where more and more older office buildings are being converted to residential apartments as new build commercial accommodation proves more cost efficient.

Plans for the 29 acre (11.7 hectare) Princes Dock site include a million sq ft of offices, of which 223,000 sq ft have already been completed, three hotels, 350 residential units and multi-storey car park with 1,160 spaces.

ISLES OF SCILLY STEAMSHIP COMPANY

SCILLONIAN III - Scilly News reports that passengers on the SCILLONIAN had a traumatic trip on October 29 when the crossing from Penzance took nearly seven hours.

The boat was taking 188 people to the islands but due to bad weather it could not dock by the quay. The 150 day-trippers had 45 minutes on St Mary's before the boat  returned to Penzance.

It is believes that several families were suffering from sea sickness but according to the Tourist Information Centre most people braved the journey back.

Scilly is experiencing bad weather conditions at the moment with force 7 gales and rough seas.

DML

Devonport Management Ltd - operators of the Devonport naval yard are reported by the BBC to be proposing to bring seven decommissioned nuclear submarines from Scotland for dismantling.

A bid to dismantle the vessels at the Nigg yard in the Highlands has been withdrawn following strong opposition from local people and MPs.

Devonport Management Ltd (DML), said on Wednesday that it was a "feasible option" to move the submarines from their current base in Rosyth, Fife to Devonport in Plymouth .

Devonport is the only yard in the UK currently licensed to dismantle the Navy's nuclear submarines.

A DML spokeswoman said: "We have the experience and the facilities, so people in the area should not be concerned.

"We would not bring them here if it was not a safe option."

Devonport already has four nuclear submarines awaiting dismantling, but work cannot start until the Ministry of Defence (MoD) decides who should get the licence to store the 800-tonne radioactive reactors.

DML wants to ship the reactors to a site at the Dounreay nuclear testing station in Caithness .

But the MoD is also considering proposals from three other firms.

Another 16 nuclear submarines are expected to be decommissioned in the next few years.

The MoD is expected to make a decision on the bids by August 2005 and start the new storage procedures in August 2006.

The MoD is currently asking the public for its opinions on the issue under the Interim Storage of Laid-Up Submarines (ISOLUS) consultation project.

November 02

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Ian Collard, Tommy Dover, Michael Bracken, Jenny Williamson and "others".
NOTES & NEWS

Your webmaster has returned from Devon and Cornwall with much new material for the web site which will be posted to the site over the coming days.

UPDATES

There will be a rolling programme of updates during the coming week. However, there will not be an update next weekend as I am off to the Isle of Man for the weekend. 

ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY

LADY OF MANN - bad weather led to the LADY commencing her regular winter service a few days earlier than usual. On Saturday evening she replaced SUPERSEACAT TWO On the 21:00 sailing to Douglas. 

The LADY departed Liverpool at 21:15 with a good load of passengers and cars, SUPERSEACAT TWO having come off the stage to allow the LADY OF MANN to berth. The first half of the crossing was reported by a correspondent to have been calm, however, the second half was somewhat more lively. The LADY arrived at Douglas at 01:15. 

The LADY OF MANN was also scheduled to operate the Liverpool - Douglas - route on Sunday and Monday, before taking up her published  schedules on Tuesday.

SUPERSEACAT TWO did operate to Douglas as scheduled on Sunday morning.

REDDINGTON FINANCE - CAMMELL LAIRD SOUTH YARD

The former Cammell Laird south yard cranes were blown up just after 11:00 GMT by Tisdale Demolition. 

The three cranes have been Mersey landmarks for years though they have not operated since the 1980s.

Earlier this year the south yard site, whose last major construction had been the ill - fated COSTA CLASSICA section completed in 2000, was sold by owner BAe Systems to a local consortium headed by Reddington Finance.

The consortium aims to redevelop the site primarily for leisure and recreational use with the promise of up to 4,000 new jobs.

Apparently the condition of the cranes had deteriorated in recent years and were considered a risk by the consortium's insurance company. However, one wonders why the will could not have been found to preserve the one or more of the cranes as was done with the famous Stobcross Dockyard crane on the Clyde


WICKLOW & EAST COAST NOTES from Tommy Dover

Coaster visitors at Wicklow port over the last fortnight  included GUDRUN II , CROWN ALIZEE , SCOT VENTURE , SCOT TRADER , PIA , MARIA H , UNION SATURN , RIKA , SEA WAAL and AMANDA.

MARI and JOPI continue to work on the coast protection project for Irish Rail at the 5 mile point.

Traffic in Wicklow bay included LE EITHNE (P31), COASTGUARD HELICOPTER, ASGARD 11 , EUROPEAN AMBASSADOR, WD MEDWAY 11.

The 'Aurora Borealis' (Northern lights) were visible over Wicklow bay on Wednesday evening

NORSE MERCHANT FERRIES

BRAVE MERCHANT on October 28 the ship fouled a wire when departing from Twelve Quays. This parting wire sliced a lamp post in half before wrapping itself around a propeller. This caused serious damage which caused the ship to loose lubricating oil. She was berthed overnight at the former Norse Merchant terminal in Canada #3 Branch Dock, before being moved to Canada Dry Dock around 14:30 on October 29 for repairs.

MERSEY VIKING a sick passenger was evacuated from MERSEY VIKING by helicopter to Douglas on the morning of Saturday November 1.

LAGAN VIKING on November 2 RAF Helicopter Rescue 122 was reported despatched to the ship with a paramedic to medivac a member of the crew who has suffered a suspected heart attack.

STENA LINE

STENA Line -which runs ferries from Holyhead-Dun Laoghaire -has landed a
string of top awards this month. For the 10th successive year the firm was voted Best Ferry Operator (Other Routes) at the prestigious British Travel Trade awards -with more than 48pc of the agents' votes.

Stena Line also took silver in the Best Ferry Operator (Short Sea/ Channel) category.

Earlier this month it was honoured with the title of the World's Leading Ferry Operator at the 2003 World Travel Awards held in New York. It is the sixth time Stena Line has received this accolade.

And the title of Best Ferry/ Shipping Company was awarded to Stena Line for the 11th time at the Northern Ireland Travel and Leisure News Awards.

Stena Line's string of successes began in March when Global Travel named it the Best Ferry Operator of 2003. Midconsort followed hot on their heels announcing Stena Line as its Favourite Ferry Company, and trade publication Selling Short Breaks declared Stena Line the Best Short Sea Crossing Operator of the year. In September Stena Line was named Top Ferry Company at the 2003 Travel Bulletin Travel Stars awards.

Held on the October 16 at London's Battersea Park Marquee, the British Travel Trade Awards are the highlight of the travel industry's calendar, with winners nominated and voted for by the travel industry and travel agents reading TTG magazine, who organise the annual awards ceremony.

Stena Line sales head Wendy Hartley said: "We are delighted to have received these honours. It is a great credit to the hard work of the whole Stena Line team.

"This has been a tremendous year for us, with 2003 seeing the introduction of our two new superferries the Stena Adventurer and the Stena Britannica, and the announcement of our planned route acquisitions on the Irish Sea.

"We have invested in all aspects of our business to ensure that we can offer a first class service to our customers, and we are proud to have received these recognitions from the travel industry."

MARITIME & COASTGUARD AGENCY

At 14:48 on Wednesday October 29, Falmouth Coastguard received a Mayday call from the yacht PROVIDENCE which was 32 miles southwest of the Isles of Scilly. The call was relayed by the container ship CANMAR HONOUR and reported that the lone yachtsman on board the PROVIDENCE had suffered head and neck injuries and was unable to move.

The St Mary’s RNLI Lifeboat, from the Isles of Scilly, and a Royal Navy Rescue Helicopter from Culdrose were scrambled. The CANMAR HONOUR maintained a radio link between the yacht and the Coastguard until the Rescue Helicopter arrived.

The helicopter lowered two crewmen who treated the yachtsman and then, because of the weather conditions and nature of his injuries, transferred him to the Lifeboat. The Lifeboat made for St.Mary’s where the yachtsman was taken to the Rescue Helicopter at the local airport and then on to Treliske Hospital in Truro for treatment.

Simon Rabett, Falmouth Coastguard Watch Manager, said: “This incident was complicated to resolve due to the weather and the nature of the man's injuries. We would like to thank the CANMAR HONOUR and M.V OCEANIS, who sheltered the yacht while the helicopter crew were working, for their efforts during this rescue. The yachtsman has remained conscious and alert throughout his ordeal and we hope he makes a speedy recovery.”

BALLYCASTLE - CAMPBELTOWN 

An Action group is to present new evidence to Transport Minister Nicol Stephen, claiming that the reintroduction of a Campbeltown to Ballycastle ferry service could attract 50,000 more passengers a year than an earlier study suggested.

The Dalriada Business Action Group is carrying out a detailed study to determine what it says is the real demand for a ferry on the route. It hopes to meet with Mr Stephen in early December.

The group decided to examine the potential for the route after recent Scottish Executive attempts to find an operator failed - even with the offer of a £1million a year subsidy.

The route was last served by Sea Containers, which pulled out three years ago saying it was a lossmaker.

A spokesman for the action group said: "We have been investigating, with the help of Campbeltown and Kintyre Enterprise Trust, two issues that may have influenced the lack of interest in the initial tendering process.

 "Firstly, the perceived unavailability of a suitable vessel for the proposed route and, secondly, the lack of any serious research on the potential of the route as a viable proposition."

 The group claims it has already identified four vessels that would be suitable.

An action group spokesman said: "On the question of potential trade for the route, in addition to the passenger figures posited in the Steer Davies Gleave (SDG) Report produced in 2001, we believe that there are genuine grounds for optimism that the route has the potential to attract an additional 50,000 passengers by 2006."

 

 

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