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NEWS BULLETIN

February 2004

February 29
Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Ian Collard, Michael Bracken, Tommy Dover, Tony Brennan, Kevin Bennett and "others"

NOTES & NEWS

Once again the weekend News Update has rolled between Friday and Sunday, therefore you are advised to check "What's New" for information on all updates.

ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY

SUPERSEACAT TWO commenced her 2004 season with the Thursday evening sailing between Liverpool and Douglas on Thursday February 26. The first sailing between Liverpool and Dublin on Friday experienced extended crossing times due to adverse conditions. On Friday the vessel used the Dublin Port Berth 49 passenger gangway for the first time. 

The company web site www.steam-packet.com has been revamped. 

IRISH FERRIES

Following the brokering of a deal by the Labour Relations Commission the 450 crew members laid off earlier this week have returned to work.

Normal scheduled sailings will resume on Saturday February 28 with 06:50 JONATHAN SWIFT sailing to Holyhead and the 14:30 ISLE OF INISHMORE sailing from Pembroke to Rosslare.

NORMANDY will commence her season as scheduled on Friday March 5.

The ULYSSES, which was not effected by the lay-offs has continued to sail as scheduled.

The formula under which crew are returning to work arose during joint negotiations, involving the company, SIPTU and the Seamen's Union of Ireland, which took place at the Labour Relations Commission until late Thursday evening. 

Talks will resume on Saturday and are expected to continue next week aimed at agreeing new terms and conditions which will bring costs into line with those of its main competitors.

CORNWALL FERRIES

Cornwall Ferries Ltd based at King Harry on the River Fal have put their newly refurbished ferry QUEEN OF FALMOUTH in service following an extensive four-month long refit.

The QUEEN OF FALMOUTH the company says is the St Mawes ferry flagship after being re-engined and repaired at Dave Cockwells Classic Boat Design based at Ponsharden.

The refit has included two new engines, a new wheel house and engine room, new planking and ribs and finally and, but by no means least, repainting in the new company colours.

The St Mawes ferry skipper manager Garrick Royle was delighted with the refit. "The whole team have worked hard to get this classic ferry ready for service as the pride of the fleet and I would particularly like to thank all ferry crew who have been heavily involved. The refit has been on budget and on time so we are delighted." he said.

The company aims to fully refit one ferry a year for the next three years and the QUEEN OF FALMOUTH is a good example of the standards the company wishes to meet for all its ferries.

QUEEN OF FALMOUTH was built in 1937 as the MAID OF BUTE and ran excursions from Rothesay until the early 1970s when she moved to Fort William.  She offered cruises from Fort William to a rock with a colony of seals.  Later she operated as MAID OF THE FORTH offering trips to the Island of Inchcolm until replaced by a new MAID OF THE FORTH in 1988. She retained her name following a move to Southend being renamed QUEEN OF FALMOUTH when she subsequently moved to the River Fal.

KNOTT END FERRY

Blackpool Today reports that Wyre residents have been told this week not to be too optimistic over proposals to refloat the foundering Knott End ferry service.

At a meeting of Wyre Council's ruling cabinet, Coun Peter Hawley, portfolio holder for physical environment, condemned the results of a public consultation as "woolly" and said the future of the boat was still uncertain.

Mr Hawley's remarks were made as the recommendations made by the physical environment committee were put before council leaders.

He said: "This is not a report I find particularly helpful. What came out were suggestions which could be looked into but I do not feel that any of them were investigated and properly looked at." There was nothing positive and there was nothing about what they would like us to look at."

Mr Hawley had particular criticism for the recommendation that Wyre Council should attempt to renegotiate their agreement with Lancashire County Council over the ferry.

He said: "This I find a little bit difficult. In fact I would even go so far to say that it is woolly.

"It does not give any details on what they want us to look at in reducing the terms." Coun Hawley said there was still a great deal of doubt over the future of the service.

He said: "Let me remind you that we went out and asked for expressions of interest before and got no response. In 2003 we got two, one of which pulled out of the process.

"There may not be the response which many people are hoping for. There is no provision in the budget for the higher operating costs and if the process did come to fruition I think we would be in a very difficult
position to find an exceptional amount of money."

The leader of Wyre Council, Coun Alan Vincent, was also critical of the way the way the committee, chaired by Coun Gordon McCann, had prepared the report.

He said: "We are all in a learning process and this is a difficult area. It is fair to say that the scrutiny was not the best in this case.

"Talking about the future of the ferry, Coun Vincent said: "We do not want to raise expectations unduly." I think Lancashire County Council would not make any more significant revenue contributions."

Wyre Council will now ask County Hall to consider operating the ferry as a winter-only service, as well as renegotiating issues over spare parts and the provision of a second boat.

Following approval by the council they will now also be re-advertising nationwide for expressions of interest.

Coun McCann defended his work claiming consultation with the public should have been carried out by the cabinet before the original decision to suspend the service was made. He said: "I do hope we get expressions of interest and we can provide an efficient ferry service."

BRITTANY FERRIES

Press Release from Mayer Werft regarding the early delivery of the new PONT-AVEN to Brittany Ferries:

Papenburg, 27.02.2004 - After building many ferries in the 60s and 70s and last of all SILJA EUROPA in 1993, Meyer Werft is back in the international ferry business. The new RoRo-cruise ferry PONT-AVEN (41,000 GT) will be delivered to the French owner Brittany Ferries on Friday 27 February - three days before the date agreed in the contract.

In summer, PONT-AVEN will provide daily service sailing at 27 knots between France and England and between England and Spain. The rest of the year sailings will be offered between France, England and Ireland.

In addition to a slim ship design including many glass facades the ferry offers the passengers outstanding amenities and luxuries on board like a swimming-pool, fitness centre, shopping mall, restaurants and bars. With a length of 184 meters and a breadth of 30.90 meters the ferry features 650 passenger cabins to accommodate up to 2,600 persons. The total track length of 3,500 meters allows embarkment of 650 cars and 20 trucks. The total engine power of 68,500 HP enables a sailing speed exceed-ing 27 knots (about 50 km/h).

The ferry will strengthen the leading position of the owner Brittany Ferries on the routes in the west English Channel. PONT-AVEN will officially enter service on 24 March 2004. Port of registry is Morlaix.

Ship Design

Main Particulars

Tonnage........................41,700 GT
Length overall...................184.3 m
Length between perpendiculars....170.8 m
Breadth moulded...................30.9 m
Number of decks....................11

Draught (at max. load).............6.8 m
Total engine power.............50,400 kW
Propulsive power...............43,200 kW
Speed.............................>27 kn

Passenger capacity (max.)..........2,400
Crew.................................183
Number of passenger cabins...........652
outside cabins (incl. suites)........210
Number of inside cabins..............442

Lane metres......................3,500 m
Number of cars.....................650
Number of trucks....................20


Classification...........Bureau Veritas


Cabins

PONT-AVEN features a total of 652 passenger cabins with 210 outside cabins including 16 "De Luxe" and 18 "Commodore Class Suites" as well as 2 separate "Owner Suites". Commodore Suites are characterized by private balconies, veneering furniture and wall panels. The ship provides 9 outside cabins for passengers with disabilities which are easily accessible on deck 6.

The following cabin categories are available on board:

Owner Suites.....................2
Commodore Class Suites..........18
De Luxe cabins..................16
Inside cabins (2 beds).........284
Inside cabins (4 beds).........158
Outside cabins (2 beds).........12
Outside cabins (4 beds).........97
Outside cabins (4 beds, long)...56
Disabled cabins..................9
..............................--------
...............................652

All cabins feature individual temperature control.


Public Rooms

Main Hall Deck 5-9
This area represents the centre of the ship. Two glass elevators give a view to the sky. The large glass facade on starboard side offers an intriguing view of the ocean. The exit to the promenade deck is located on deck 6.

Cinemas on deck 6
Two cinemas seating a total of 90 passengers offer best entertainment. Arrangement of seats together with slant floors ensure optimal visibility conditions.

Arcade on deck 7
This area next to the "Main Hall" was designed for relaxation purposes. Inspired by the view of the ocean or the displays in the showcases passengers will enjoy shopping on board.

Hospital on deck 6
Of course PONT-AVEN features a well equipped hospital with the ambulance station centrally located on deck 6.

Drivers Restaurant on deck 7
This separate area was particularly designed for the truck drivers conveniences.

Children´s playroom on deck 7
Younger guests will enjoy the playroom next to the restaurant with a softplay area where the children can play within their parents view.

Espace Restaurant on deck 7
The self-service restaurant "Espace" includes a coffee area as well as the large buffet area "Distribution". Passengers will love the magnificent view of the ocean.

Piano Bar on deck 7
The comfortably furnished area with bar counter and live music at the piano seats about 80 passengers.

Restaurant on deck 7
The Main Restaurant is one of the most beautiful rooms onboard featuring large panoramic windows which offer amazing views of the ocean. Further highlights are the open grill station and a cozy patio.

Main Bar on deck 8
Entertainment area including stages and dancing floors as well as a bar counter. A large staircase connects to the "Mezzanine Area" on deck 9. Adjacent to the bar is the casino area. The entrance of the shopping mall can be reached by an arcade.

Main Shop on deck 8
Large shopping mall with a lot of show cabinets and special features like a wine cellar. Stores offer perfumes, magazines, fashion, photography and videos, toys, books etc.

Commodore Lounge on deck 8
This exclusive room is limited to suite passengers only. From this area guests will enjoy the open view to the ship`s stern as well as the access to two side patio areas.

Teenage Room on deck 9
Featuring many game devices this room was particularly designed for teenagers.

Mezzanine on deck 9
A large flight of steps connects this lounge with the Main Bar. Comfortable lounge chairs and sofas invite the guests to relax and enjoy the crossing.

Pool Area on deck 9
This area includes the swimming pool under a glass roof and the pool bar. The sun deck is accessible from the pool area.

Reclining Seats on deck 9
This room offers 47 comfortable reclining seats for passengers without a cabin.

Roll On - Roll Off Device
PONT-AVEN features two regular car decks and one hoistable deck in the upper car deck. The hoistable deck is divided into 6 platforms on each side of the ship. The front and back platform serve as access ramp and can
therefore be lowered hydraulically. When not in use the individual platforms can be hydraulically raised and locked in their stow position under the ceiling of the deck. With only trucks onboard the main hold will take 72
trucks of 16.5 m length each and the lower hold will take another 16. With only cars onboard the main hold including the total hoistable deck will take 624 cars and the lower hold will take 79 cars.
Both car decks offer additional parking area for a total of 142 motorbikes. Vehicles can reach the lower parking deck from the main hold in the front and the aft over a 40 m long and 3.60 m broad fixed ramp. These ramps can be closed watertight by means of a hydraulically operated ramp cover.

The ferry features a stern and bow ramp for loading and unloading purposes. Both ramps are opened resp. closed hydraulically and serve as watertight door at the same time. The one-piece stern ramp closes the hold to the ocean. The back part of the three-piece hydraulically folding bow ramp which is fitted at the collision bulkhead closes the hold watertight to the foreship. The two front parts of the closed bow ramp are stowed and locked in the foreship below deck. 

The foreship is equipped with a hydraulically operated butterfly door. To avoid mutual damages the bow ramp can be lowered only with the bow door completely open and the bow door can be closed only when the bow ramp is completely locked.


Automation

The Siemens automation system consists of several workstations and monitoring stations and includes redundant main process stations communicating through a fibre optic network arranged in a circular way. All decentralised input- and output stations and several independent systems like the propulsion plant, diesel engines, A/C cooling plant, steam boiler system, fresh water generator, integrated bridge system etc. are connected to the independent main process stations through a field bus system in fibre optic technology which is also partially redundant. Operating and controlling of plants and systems is done in the engine control room and on the bridge.

The automation system covers the following main features:

- General automatic alarm and control of plants and systems
- Process visualization
- Emergency shut down features as independent system
- Temperature control of systems
- Control of all important consumers incl. standby valves
- Control of remote controlled valves
- Measuring of tank contents and draught
- Complete A/C plant control


Manoeuvring Aids

For optimum manoeuvrability PONT-AVEN is equipped with two controllable pitch propellers, two spade rudders as well as two bow thrusters and one stern thruster. The spade rudders have a surface of 18.5 m² each and are operated through rotary vane steering gears. Both bow and stern thrusters have a controllable pitch propeller with a propulsive power of 2,000 kW each.

Propulsion and Electric Power Supply

The ship is propelled by a four-engine system with reduction gears and controllable pitch propellers. The output of the flexi-bly mounted engines (MAK 4-stroke diesel engine, type 12 VM 43) is 10,800 kW (14,700 HP) each at
500 rpm. The engines have been designed to operate on heavy fuel oil. Through a re-duction gear (Flender twin gear, 21,600 kW propulsion output) two diesel engines each drive a controllable pitch propeller (Wärtsilä, propeller diameter 5,200 mm) and a shaft generator (4,500 kW). The shaft generator provides the transverse thrusters or the ship`s network with energy.

Electrical power is provided by three diesel generator sets (MAK 4-stroke diesel engine, type 8 M 25) with an output of 2,400 kW each at 750 rpm. These are flexibly mounted and have been designed to operate on heavy fuel oil. In addition, one emergency generator (Caterpillar, 600 kW at
1,500l/min) was installed.

Heat for the ship in service is provided by a steam boiler system with two oil-burning boilers (steam production 5t/h each at 7 bar) and four waste-heat boilers (steam production 1.5t/h each at 7 bar). The oil-burning boilers have been designed to operate on heavy fuel oil. The waste-heat boilers use the exhaust gases from the main engines to generate steam.


Water Supply and Discharge

Up to 300 m³ of potable water can be produced aboard PONT-AVEN per day. The potable water is generated from sea water through two vacuum evaporators driven by the exhaust gas in the cooling water circulation of the main engines. The water produced aboard will be pumped through a mineralization and disinfecting device to the potable water tank.

All sewage water (from toilets) is collected through vacuum piping in two vacuum systems and will then be treated in the biologically operated sewage plant. In addition, the sewage water may be temporarily stored in
particularly provided tanks allowing a later discharge ashore.


Air Conditioning System

The ferry is fitted with an air conditioning system guaranteeing for its service area a year-round constant room temperature of 23° C . More than 120 AC and ventilation plants are arranged in 9 fan rooms and handle a total air volume of approximately 1,164,000 m³/h. Public areas are served by central air handling units keeping the temperature at a constant level even under changing outside conditions and changing passenger frequency. All passenger cabins are equipped with individual temperature control. All necessary automatic control and regulation functions of the air conditioning system are controlled by a ships automation system.

WHITE STAR LINE

TITANIC LETTER AUCTION

TITANIC - whilst the White Star Line ship may have sunk 92 years ago there is no lessening of interest in the ship or artefacts associated with it.

During the past week a letter written by a passenger on the Titanic before it set out across the
Atlantic to New York sold for £13,000 at auction in Yorkshire to a County Dublin publican.

The price, double the estimate, was reached during a bidding war by six people talking to the auction by telephone.

The short letter, still in its envelope, bore a penny stamp.

Postmarked three days before the liner struck an iceberg and sank April 15, 1912, the letter was written April 10 by first-class passenger Alice Lenox-Conyngham, from County Down, who only sailed on the first leg of the voyage - from Southampton, southern England, to Cherbourg in northern France, where passengers from the Continent boarded.

The ship then went to Cóbh, Ireland before setting out across the ocean.  The note, written to a nephew in Cambridge, Alan Duff, is on paper with the White Star Line RMS Titanic letterhead.  It was part of the last batch of mail that left the ship before it set out on its fateful journey from Ireland, to cross the Atlantic.  "I am told this is the Titanic's maiden voyage, so I think I must use some of its paper," Lenox-Conyngham began her letter.

She said the ship had narrowly avoided a collision even before it left Southampton port. "There was nearly an accident just as we started, but we did not know till it was nearly over," she wrote.

She describes the Titanic in her sometimes shaky handwriting as a "vast place - five decks, immense drawing rooms, dining rooms and swimming baths and gymnasium - and a band playing."

During the auction at Tennants of Leyburn in North Yorkshire, the letter was bought over the phone by a bidder identified only as Mr Fitzgerald. Officials said he plans to hang it on a wall of the Poitin Stil, a pub he owns in the Dublin area.

The note was found by its unsuspecting owner hidden away in an old box of letters.

TITANIC MADE IN BELFAST

Meanwhile Belfast is preparing to commemorate the ill fated maiden voyage of the ship with a special exhibition and programme of events between April 10 and 17 - entitled "Titanic - Made in Belfast" Full details of a whole programme of events planned for the week on the special web site www.titanicmadeinbelfast.com 

WICKLOW & EAST COAST NOTES from Tommy Dover

WICKLOW PORT

Coaster callers this week were SCOT RANGER , KORMORAN , UNION GEM and SCOT MARINER

Traffic observed in the bay included EUROPEAN AMBASSADOR southbound out of Dublin  for Cherbourg via Rosslare. 'Irish lights' tender GRANUAILE working on buoy's along the Codling bank. A P51 type navel vessel went north for Dublin .

MARITIME & COASTGUARD AGENCY

10 FOREIGN SHIPS UNDER DETENTION IN THE UK DURING JANUARY 2004

The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) announced this week that 10 foreign ships were under detention in UK ports during January 2004 after failing port state control safety inspection.

Latest monthly figures show that 7 foreign ships were detained in UK ports during January 2004 along with 3 other ships still under detention from previous months. The overall rate of detentions compared with inspections carried out over the last 12 months is 6.4% which is a decrease of 0.6% on the detention rate to December. Of the vessels detained during the month 5 were targeted by the Paris MOU for priority inspection.

The ships detained in January included the following:-

• a St Vincent and Grenadines, 2962 GT, 1972 built, bulk carrier due to failure of Safety Management System, planned maintenance not carried out due to lack of spare parts and no company review, verification and evaluation being carried out
• a Bulgarian, 2041 GT, 1989 built, chemical tanker for 7 days due to depletion of fixed fire fighting medium for engineroom and pump room. It was noted that ship’s staff had regularly recorded depletion and no action had been taken to replenish medium
• a Cypriot, 2265 GT, 1981 built, general cargo vessel due to fractures in side shell plates, frames severely wasted and detached from shell. ISM issues included inadequate fire drill, tank entry without permit, senior officer not aware of dangers of oxygen depletion in enclosed spaces
• a Maltese, 22,354 GT, 1988 built, bulk carrier for defective radio installation, watertight integrity of fo'csle space compromised, no fuel leakage alarms or sheathed HP fuel pipes and failure of safety management system.

MCGA Detention List - January

February 25
Acknowledgements: Ian Collard, Michael Pryce, Jenny Williamson, Brian Chambers and "others"

ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY

lady 23 feb 04.jpg (62366 bytes)LADY OF MANN completed her intensive winter season operating with the 08:00 departure from Douglas on Monday, February 23. 

After departing Princes' Landing Stage at the completion of her journey she headed to her lay-up berth at Alexandra Dock

ssc2 douglas 24 feb 04.jpg (44359 bytes)SUPERSEACAT TWO operated a trial sailing to Douglas on February 24, showing off her newly acquired "Steam Packet" identity. 

SSC2 appeared at Douglas dressed overall.

IRISH FERRIES

The company has decided to lay up three of its four passenger ships.

NORMANDY, ISLE OF INISHMORE and JONATHAN SWIFT and has confirmed that crews of the vessels are to be laid off:

MEDIA STATEMENT - Wednesday February 25

Irish Ferries this morning confirms the laying off of crew members employed on the company’s Rosslare - Pembroke, Dublin - Holyhead fast ferry and Rosslare - Cherbourg services whose three ferry vessels were temporarily withdrawn from service yesterday (Tuesday, February 24th).

The action being taken by the company involves the temporary laying off of 450 crew members employed on the company’s three ferry vessels Jonathan Swift fast ferry (Dublin - Holyhead fast ferry service), Isle of Inishmore (Rosslare - Pembroke) and Normandy (Rosslare - Cherbourg/ Roscoff) all of which have been withdrawn from service.

Notice of the company’s intention to tie-up its vessels and proceed with the laying off of crew members was formally served on the personnel involved and their trade union representatives on February 16th last. A small number of crew members (76 persons in total ) is being retained to provide care and essential maintenance on each of the three vessels whilst they are out of service. The balance of the company’s 778 crewing staff is employed on the company Dublin - Holyhead cruise ferry ( Ulysses ) service which continues to operate.

The company is arranging transport home for crew members currently on board the vessel Isle of Inishmore in Pembroke Dock and the vessel Normandy which has been undergoing annual dry docking in Birkenhead .

As with the company’s decision taken yesterday to withdraw three of its four ferry vessels from service, the decision now taken to lay-off the 450 crew members employed on these vessels follows directly from the continued refusal of one of the trade unions involved (Seaman's Union of Ireland) to engage with the second trade involved (SIPTU) in joint negotiations with the company for the purpose of agreeing new manning levels which would bring the company’s cost base into line with those of its main competitor. The recommendation that both trade unions should engage in joint negotiations with the company was made by the (Irish) Labour Court following their hearing of the issues involved.

 In respect of this issue, Irish Ferries argues that it is operating in a very difficult competitive environment with lower and lower fares being demanded by customers. At present, the cost base on Irish Ferries vessels is over 30% out of line with those of its main competitor and even more out of line with other carriers with whom the company competes. In attempting to address this situation, the company has been attempting to engage in a process since mid-2003 to reduce costs.

In response to some published comments, Irish Ferries wishes to point out that its proposals in relation to cost reduction involve no reduction in pay or pension whatsoever. END.

SUI RESPONDS WITH ULYSSES CREW STRIKE BALLOT

Following the initial announcement of the laying up of the three vessels on Tuesday February 24, RTÉ reported that the Seamen's Union of Ireland announced that it  is to ballot members at Irish Ferries for industrial action over the company's proposal to lay off up to 600 staff by Friday.

The General Secretary of the Seamen's Union, Bob Carrick, said the union had taken legal advice, and will be initiating a ballot of crews on the one remaining operational ferry, the Ulysses.

He said that the SUI is planning to take official industrial action, which would require a secret ballot and seven days' strike notice.

The SUI has refused to negotiate jointly with SIPTU, despite a Labour Court recommendation that they do so.

The SUI says it has a conflict of interest with SIPTU which makes joint negotiations impossible.

COMMENT: The situation at Irish Ferries is a most unfortunate state of affairs, which will benefit nobody except the company's competitors and will dismay many of the observers of the local shipping scene.

The timing, at the period in the year when many people are making their summer holiday travel plans is doubly unfortunate. 

It is to be hoped that the three parties involved in the dispute can eventually resolve their differences and that probably the finest fleet of passenger ships on the Irish Sea can resume their sailings as soon as possible to ensure that no lasting damage is caused.

NORSE MERCHANT FERRIES

Norse Merchant Group announced the first part of its new business plan this week. 

The company is increasing the number of daily sailings on the Belfast - Heysham service from tow to three with effect from next week. The upgrade coincides with the return of the RIVER LUNE from charter.

Norse Merchant group's chief executive, Derek Sloan, said: "The restructured company is now in a strong position to develop our Irish Sea services from both Heysham and Twelve Quays, Birkenhead. "This major upgrade to the Heysham-Belfast route is the first element in our plan for the future, of which more details will be announced shortly."

RIVER LUNE will operate with MERCHANT BRILLIANT and MERCHANT BRAVERY on the Belfast - Heysham route and will enable the company to provide a daytime sailing as well as two overnight sailings.

STENA LINE

STENA LYNX III which has been laid up at A&P Birkenhead over the winter months, and which was recently bought by the company will refit at Harland and Wolf. She will be renamed STENA EXPRESS. She is due to return to service on the Rosslare - Fishguard service on April 8.

February 22
Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Kevin Bennett, Dan Cross, Tony Brennan, Ian Collard, Alex Mc.Cormac, C.J. Lawrenson, Michael Bracken, Phil Alderson and "others"

NOTES & NEWS

A rather large update this weekend which has been staged. You are advised to check "What's New" to ensure you have not missed anything. 

It has certainly been a somewhat hectic week news wise. The site as usual has tried to keep up with the many happenings thanks to our regular correspondents at various locations around the Irish Sea. 

As well as the reported news, there is a considerable amount of "scuttlebutt" circulating concerning several Irish Sea operators. At present it would not be appropriate to reveal anything or even post it to "Lamb Banana" though perhaps we may be seeing news of new tonnage and / or the acquisition of second hand vessels.

Whilst 2003 may have been a year of surprises, it looks as though there may be quite a few more in 2004. - Watch this space! 

DANIEL ADAMSON

Last weekend Irish Sea Shipping reported the sinking of the former Isle of Man dredger MANNIN. For many years the MANNIN was berthed alongside another historic vessel - the Manchester Ship Canal tug-tender DANIEL ADAMSON at the Boat Museum, Ellesmere Port.

In the early part of this week it was discovered that the historic DANIEL ADAMSON was due to make her final voyage to the breakers across the Mersey at Garston.

Fortunately due the efforts of local tug crewman Dan Cross, a stay of execution  was secured. On Saturday a large group of enthusiasts visited the vessel with a view to possibly securing her future. Please click on the link above to go to the new DANIEL ADAMSON section of the web site.

ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY

SUPERSEACAT TWO departed A&P wet basin for sea trials on February 18. She ran further trials into Liverpool Bay on February 19. When she appeared the vessel appeared to display something of a split identity.

This was due to the incomplete lettering and livery. Her port side displayed the IoMSPCo logo with "Packet Company" below and a small SEACAT. Here port side funnel appeared in steam packet red with black bands.

The image of "Bagpuss" - reputedly on of Jim Sherwood's pet cats had been removed from the port side, but remained on the starboard side. The funnel also remained painted in Sea Containers style. She put into Canada Dock for the completion of lettering after trials.

Whilst she was in Canada Dock, observers noted the reason for the incomplete "Packet Company" lettering on the port side. On Saturday, February 21, it was noted that a doorway had been cut into the vessels port side at the forward end of the saloon, Presumably to ensure compatibility with the passenger gangway at berth 49 at Dublin. It was also noted that work to complete logos and apply IoMSPCo bands to the starboard funnel.

The SeaCat branding has been toned down. Only a small SEACAT appears on each side [Not SuperSeaCat]. The IoMSPCo company logo and lettering is higher and of greater prominence. 

SEACAT ISLE OF MAN 10th ANNIVERSARY ‘CELTIC CONNECTION’  CELEBRATION CRUISE

SEACAT ISLE OF MAN will this year celebrate its 10th anniversary with The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company after first arriving on 23rd June 1994.

Exactly 10 years to the day the Company are marking the anniversary by operating a special evening celebration sail with the craft on Wednesday 23rd June 2004.

Departing from Douglas at 19.00 hours SEACAT ISLE OF MAN will sail to the Point of Ayre and then across the sea to Ireland to St Johns Point, framed by the Mountains of Mourne, then homewards to the Calf of Man returning to Douglas harbour for around 22.30 hours.

To add to the celebration sail, the ticket cost of £12.50 (£6.00 child) will include a Seacat Celebration Cocktail.

Tickets can be obtained from The Steam Packet Ferry Travel Shop, Sea Terminal Building, Douglas (01624) 661661.

In 2005 The Steam Packet will celebrate its 175th anniversary as the oldest, continuously operating passenger shipping company in the world.

[ISS COMMENT: Whilst it might be 10 years since SEACAT ISLE OF MAN first appeared on the Irish Sea, she has only operated for the company for 8 years. In 1996 she operated on the Baltic for the Sea Containers / Colour Line "ColourSeaCat" joint venture  as SEACAT NORGE between Langesund [Norway] and Frederikshavn [Denmark]. She returned to Isle of Man service in 1997 before switching to Sea Container's English Channel services in 1998. SEACAT DANMARK operating the Isle of Man services in 1998. SEACAT ISLE OF MAN returned to Isle of Man routes in 1999. Therefore, strictly speaking 2004 only marks the vessel's eighth year of Isle of Man service.]

ISLE OF MAN DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT

DOUGLAS HARBOUR - JANUARY HARBOUR TRAFFIC FIGURES

Passenger figures compiled by the Harbours Division for January 2004 at 17,126 show a 9.5% decrease on the figure for the same period in 2003 which was 18,922.

During January car traffic through Douglas Harbour decreased by 9.4% from 6,155 vehicles to 5,575 vehicles.

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

Heysham

minus 32%

from

11,033

to

7,493

Liverpool

plus 28%

from

6,925

to

8,870

Director of Harbours, Captain Michael Brew comments:

“January 2004 figures show an expected fall in passenger numbers which is attributable to the absence of the Ben-My-Chree and a consequent reduction in services on the Heysham Route .”

STENA LINE

STENA EUROPE - due to adverse weather conditions at Rosslare on February 22, the morning Fishguard - Rosslare sailing diverted to Dublin. STENA EUROPE arriving at berth 49 at 10:45.

STENA NAUTICA [ex Niels Klim] better known on the Irish Sea as the B&I Line / Irish Ferries ISLE OF INNISFREE [1992 to 1995] was in collision with a Polish freighter the JOANNA whilst in service on the Baltic on February 16. The ship was seriously damaged and in danger of sinking when she was towed into Varberg harbour. Whilst the passengers were safely evacuated there were concerns for horses trapped on board, however, these were safely lifted off the vessel later in the week.

STENA / P&O DEAL

Reports suggest that in the light of the Competition Commission Report the deal between Stena Line and the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company is now off. However, there is speculation that some revised deal my be arrived at.

WICKLOW & EAST COAST NOTES from Tommy Dover

WICKLOW PORT

As the Irish Air Corps have ceased search and rescue operations around the Irish Coast the future of the workboat KILQUADE which is based at Wicklow Port has lost a major winch training contract. In the coming months she will be working on the raising of a sunken trawler off Balbriggan but who knows what her future will be. Coastguard SAR operations are now provided by the Canadian Helicopter Corporation.

Three coasters called this week, they were RIKA , JOKER and SCOT RANGER. Traffic in the bay included ARKLOW CASTLE northbound for Dublin port . RNLB LORD SALTOUN continues to provide relief cover at Wicklow lifeboat station.

ARKLOW PORT

ASGARD II is back in the water after her annual refit.

Sillanpaa Oy's JOPI loaded rock at the Roadstone jetty, for the coastal protection project between Bray head and 5 mile point.

NORTHWESTERN SHIP BUILDERS & SHIP REPAIRERS

Dredger UKD DOLPHIN spent time in Canada Dry Dock. The vessel had been working in Barrow, but sustained damage to bow thrusters which required emergency dry docking.

NORSTAR - the remains of the dredger were moved into Clarence Dry Dock for final demolition  

IRISH FERRIES

NORMANDY transferred from A&P #5 dry dock to the wet basin on the morning of Saturday February 21.

DISPUTE MAY LEAD TO SERVICE SUSPENSION

It is feared that most of Irish Ferries services could be suspended as a result of an industrial dispute.

A report in the Irish Times suggests that the company is to proceed with plans to temporarily lay off 600 staff without pay and cease operating three of its four passenger vessels.

The deadline for unions to negotiate a cost cutting agreement passed on Friday without talks having taken place. The company is to meet the two unions involved, SIPTU and the Seamen's Union of Ireland (SUI), on Monday, to discuss the lay-offs.

Only the ULYSSES operating between Dublin and Holyhead is to be maintained by the company as long as the issue remains unresolved. The other three vessels, the JONATHAN SWIFT, ISLE OF INISHMORE  and NORMANDY - currently refitting at A&P Birkenhead, are set to be taken out of service within a week.

Passengers will be diverted to other ships including those operated by competitors or offered a refund.

The company is seeking to enter negotiations with the unions on savings it says are required to bring its costs into line with those of its competitors - notably Stena Line.

Talks have not taken place, however, because of a refusal by the SUI to accept a Labour Court recommendation that it negotiate jointly with SIPTU.

February 14

ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY

PONTUS - rough weather on Sunday February 9 saw Adsteam Tugs hurrying to Prince's Landing Stage to secure the floating terminal which was reported to be in danger of breaking away.

A company press release reveals the high reliability of the company's vessels during 2003. All the vessels returned a very creditable performance during the past year though the company's many followers will not be surprised to learn that the most reliable ship in the fleet is also the oldest and probably the most popular - the LADY OF MANN!

STEAM PACKET - YOU CAN RELY ON US!

The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company has released impressive levels of Company vessel reliability.

During 2003 the reliability record of its vessels which operate sailings from the Island to Heysham, Liverpool, Belfast, and Dublin and between Liverpool and Dublin, achieved excellent levels.

BEN-MY-CHREE maintains a twice daily year round schedule between the Island and Heysham:
Reliability record - 99%

SEACAT ISLE OF MAN operates seasonal fast craft sailings from the Island to Liverpool, Belfast and Dublin: Reliability record - 99%

SUPERSEACAT TWO  provides seasonal fast craft schedules between Liverpool and Dublin:
Reliability record -97%

LADY OF MANN operates winter weekend services between the Island and Liverpool, special excursions and charters: Reliability record - 100%

LADY OF MANN - two "Round The Island" cruises will be operated at the end of June.  The Alzheimer’s Society will charter the LADY OF MANN for a "Round The Island" cruise on Saturday May 29.  This charter is to celebrate the society's 25th Anniversary and will feature jazz band entertainment.

The Manxman Steamship Company "Round the Island" cruise will operate on Sunday May 30. Both cruises depart Douglas at 19:30 and return at 23:30. Fare is £18.00 inclusive of buffet meal.

Tickets for both cruises are available at the Douglas Sea Terminal. Tel: 01624 661661

EX STEAM PACKET SHIP FIRE

MARY THE QUEEN [ex MONA'S QUEEN] the LADY OF MANN's sister suffered a galley fire on February 10. The Philippine Coast Guard reported yesterday that the MARY THE QUEEN with 524 passengers and 131 crew, caught fire in its galley off Sibuyan Island en route to Manila last night. 

Reports reaching Coastguard headquarters in Manila disclosed that the vessel caught fire in the vicinity of Cajidiocan, Sibuyan Island. The blaze broke out at 18:05  and was extinguished at 19:00.

Fortunately, no one was injured during the one-hour long fire. Investigators are yet to establish the cause of the blaze. Command Duty Officer Lt. Commander Ramon S. Lopez said the ship belonging to the Manila-Banton-Romblon-San Agustin Shipping Lines had departed Cajidiocan at 15:31 for Manila when it caught fire.

CORK HARBOUR RECORD

RTÉ reported on Wednesday that A 266-year-old painting of Cork Harbour, which is believed to be the earliest surviving oil painting of the harbour, achieved a record price of ?360,000 at auction in Cork today.

Painted in 1738 by Dutch artist William van der Hagen, it depicts the island of Haulbowline and the castle that housed the clubhouse of the Water Club, the forerunner of the Royal Cork Yacht Club.

According to Auctioneers Woodwards, the painting was bought by a private collector and will remain in Ireland.

MANNIN

The historic former Isle of Man Harbour Commissioners Dredger MANNIN sank at Weston Point Docks, Runcorn this week. This historic little steamship which had also served at Glasson Dock had for some time been laid up at the Ellesmere Port Boat Museum. She had been removed from there some time ago in the expectation that she would be restored. However, she just appeared to exchange one lay-up berth for another.

MCGA

Liverpool Coastguard coordinated the search for a missing Ramsey registered fishing vessel the TETSUKO on February 12.

The vessel was reported missing late on February 11. Lifeboats from Peel and Ramsey were joined by the Isle of Man Government patrol vessel BARRULE , Workington Lifeboat, fishing vessel FREYA and RAF Rescue Helicopter 122.

The wreck of the vessel was located on the seabed 3.5 miles north east of Ramsey on Thursday February 12. The search is continuing for the lone crewman. Coastguard units have been searching beaches.

APPLEDORE SHIPBUILDERS

The future of the troubled Appledore Shipyard now looks secure following the announcement on Friday that Devonport Management Ltd [DML] operators of the Devonport Dockyard have completed a deal to buy the yard.

Appledore, which had been in the hands of the receivers since last September, had been struggling to attract new contracts. However, DML says it hopes to re-employ a small number of the 550 - strong workforce initially while it bids for new work. DML Chief Executive Dennis Gilbert said: "This is essentially a business start-up situation.

"We will be focussing on specific market niches as we begin our efforts to secure suitable inquiries for the Appledore facility, which will be run as an additional production unit under the Devonport organisational structure."

ROYAL NATIONAL LIFEBOAT INSTITUTION

DOUGLAS

Douglas lifeboat SIR WILLIAM HILLARY was taken out of service on Monday and locked in its station. A mechanic found traces of white powder, believed to be asbestos. This is believed to have been dislodged when the station was damaged in last weekend's gales

The building will remained locked until the substance has been analysed and given the all clear. A relief lifeboat from Falmouth will provide cover.

NEW BRIGHTON

The New Brighton station has taken delivery of a Griffon 470SAR hovercraft - MOLLY RAYNER for an evaluation period. The craft was photographed undergoing trials at New Brighton on Friday February 13 and West Kirby on February 14.

WICKLOW & EAST COAST NOTES

WICKLOW PORT

Coaster visitors included the Russian MEKHANIK TYULENEV and the Dutch HANSA BREMEN .

Traffic in the bay included the containership MAERSK WESTLAND northbound for Dublin. EUROPEAN AMBASSADOR returning from her weekend trip to France. Also observed was a P22 Class navel ship southbound possibly out of Dublin .

The relief Tyne class lifeboat LORD SALTOUN continues to cover, while Wicklow lifeboat is in Appledore.

Helicopter traffic included the Irish Coastguard s61n on a training flight along the coast, and a Irish Helicopters ' BELKOV ', she is chartered by ' Irish Lights' on various duties around the coast. 

IRISH FERRIES

NORMANDY - arrived at A&P Birkenhead late on Sunday February 08, 2004 and entered #5 dry dock for refit.

IRISH FERRIES AMEND SCHEDULE TO FACILITATE IRISH SOCCER SUPPORTERS 

Irish Ferries have amended their published sailing schedule in order to satisfy demand from thousands of Irish soccer supporters anxious to button down their travel accommodation to attend Ireland¹s World Cup qualifying game against France which takes place in Paris on Saturday, October 9th next.

New arrangements provide for departures from Rosslare on Tuesday, October 5th and Thursday, October 7th with return sailings from Cherbourg to Rosslare on Sunday, October 10th and Tuesday, October 12th.

For the game, the company is offering a special 5-day return fare of EUR229 for a car and up to 4 adults (motorcycle plus 2 adults EUR220) which provides up to two nights in France. A similar 9-day return fare with up to six nights in France is available for EUR349 for the same group of car plus 4 adults (motorcycle plus 2 adults EUR220).


STENA LINE

STENA EUROPE is due to return to service on the Fishguard - Rosslare route on the 03:15 Fishguard - Rosslare sailing on February 16. It had been originally anticipated that the ship would return to service on February 14.

Since the ship headed to dry dock on January 31, the service has been suspended.

February 07
Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Ian Collard, Alex MacCormac, Sara Cass, Tommy Dover, Michael Pryce  and "others"

NOTES & NEWS

IRISH SEA SHIPPING 2002

The new CD ROM featuring over 2200 high resolution photographs of ships on the Irish and Celtic Seas will be available to order by the end of the coming week. 

An announcement will be made on the Irish Sea Ships Yahoo Group.

ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY

BEN-MY-CHREE began moving out of North Western Ship Repairers Bidston Dry Dock at 09:30 on Saturday February 07. Adsteam Tugs COLLINGWOOD and BRAMLEY MOORE were in attendance.

Unfortunately as the BEN-MY-CHREE passed through Duke Street Bridge from West to East float her starboard side came into contact with the quay wall and resulted in a significant dent. MD&HC rope men had been in position with small fenders made of wood planking, looking hardly capable of deflecting a vessel of the Ben's size.

The BEN-MY-CHREE entered the Mersey around 11:01. She berthed at Douglas  at 15:55. Full photographic coverage of the Ben's departure from Birkenhead and her arrival at Douglas are provided.

LADY OF MANN - Her 19:00 Saturday sailing from Liverpool on February 07 was cancelled due to adverse weather conditions. A decision on sailing Sunday morning would be made around 07:00.

SUPERSEACAT TWO undertook a MES exercise in A&P Wet Basing on February 06. The vessel still does not carry any markings on her hull apart from her name cat logo.

WICKLOW AND EAST COAST NEWS from Tommy Dover

WICKLOW PORT

Coaster callers included RIKA , UNION GEM , KEEPER and RMS WADEU . The Everard tanker ALLURITY anchored in the bay overnight to shelter.

IRISH FERRIES

JONATHAN SWIFT re-entered service following collision damage repairs on the 12:15 sailing on Friday February 06. This followed repairs to damage caused when colliding with the berth at Holyhead last week. The JONATHAN SWIFT's sailings on Saturday February 07 were cancelled due to adverse conditions.

ISLE OF INISHMORE - departed A&P Birkenhead on the evening tide of February 06 bound for Rosslare.

NORMANDY is expected at A&P Birkenhead on Monday February 09.

ST.MARY'S BOATMEN'S' ASSOCIATION

The association which operates the passenger boats based at St.Mary's Isles of Scilly are to introduce a high speed passenger boat named WIZARD this season. It will be constructed by the same Welsh company which constructed CYCLONE for Bryher Boat Services last year.

KING HARRY STEAM FERRY COMPANY

Feock parish council has agreed to support a bid for Objective One funding to finance the purchase of a new ferry to replace KING HARRY FERRY 6.

Tim Light, managing director of the ferry company told councillors the present ferry had been running for 30 years. Last year a weight restriction had had to be put in place reducing the load to 7.5 tonnes. "We cannot always carry fire engines, although we do, but we should not," he said.

The new ferry will carry 16 tons laden, but with only up to maximum 25-seater coaches. It will also carry 32 cars, representing a 30 per cent increase.

The current KING HARRY FERRY 6 will be off service for annual refit from February 08 to February 23 inclusive.

PENINSULAR & ORIENTAL STEAM NAVIGATION COMPANY

STENA ACQUISITION OF P&O IRISH SEA FERRY ROUTE BLOCKED

The Competition Commission (CC)  announced this week that it has decided to block the transfer of P&O's Liverpool-Dublin ferry route to Stena Line. 

The CC confirmed its provisional finding that the transfer of this route was expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition. This would give Stena scope to increase prices to some customers of ferry services on the Irish Sea. It also confirmed that the transfer of P&O's Fleetwood-Larne ferry route to Stena was not expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition.

Publishing the first merger report under the Enterprise Act, the Chairman of the inquiry Group, Professor Paul Geroski, said:

"Following the publication of our provisional findings report and our remedies notice, we carefully considered the responses received from all parties. We looked closely at possible ways of remedying the expected substantial lessening of competition on the central corridor of the Irish Sea, but concluded that the only effective measure was to block the transfer of P&O's Liverpool-Dublin route to Stena."

The Group's inquiry was extensive. The Group held a number of hearings with both Stena and P&O as well as 17 hearings with other interested parties from Great Britain and Ireland. Evidence was received from other ferry companies, freight and travel customers, ports, trade associations, trade unions, consumer bodies, government departments, MPs, the Scottish Executive and the Welsh Assembly. Some hearings were held in Belfast and Dublin, where the inquiry Group also toured the ports and observed Stena's and P&O's operations. The Group also commissioned two independent customer surveys.

The CC found that, post merger, Stena's market share on the central corridor would more than double, giving Stena a market share significantly larger than its nearest rival. The four main competitors on this corridor would be reduced to three. The lack of transparency of pricing in the freight ferry market, coupled with Stena's enhanced market power, would give Stena scope to increase prices to some customers. The CC explored possible remedies, including a package of behavioural remedies proposed by Stena. Following consultation, the CC decided that the only effective remedy to the substantial lessening of competition identified was to block Stena's
acquisition of P&O's Liverpool-Dublin route.

The CC found that the transfer of P&O's Fleetwood-Larne route would result in Stena replacing P&O as the largest ferry operator on the northern corridor. P&O would, however, remain as a competitor, with a larger market share than Stena has now. The CC concluded that the transfer of this route would not be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition.

The CC's reasoning is set out in the report published on its web site.  

P&O Made the following public response to the report:

"P&O notes the findings from the UK Competition Commission with regard to the Group's proposed transaction with Stena AB relating to its ferry operations on the Irish Sea. P&O is currently reviewing the findings and considering its position."

STENA LINE

Stena Line responded to the Competition Commissions findings with the following comments from Gunnar Blomdahl, MD:

"We respect the decision of the Competition Commission, but are inevitably disappointed by this outcome. Stena Line is always looking at ways to offer customers a wider range of route options and services across the Irish Sea."

Michael McGrath, Freight Director for Stena Line comments: "Improving our freight and passenger services and investing in both long and short sea crossings on the Irish Sea, are of strategic importance to Stena Line. We are currently reviewing the information from the Competition Commission and will continue to consider how to proceed to further improve the services on the Irish Sea."


CARNIVAL CORPORATION

QUEEN ELIZABETH 2 - Carnival-Cunard in connection with the Liverpool Daily Post & Echo is offering a special deal on a Liverpool - Southampton sailing on May 31.

The sailing calls at Dunmore East, Cherbourg and St. Peter Port enroute. A return coach to Liverpool is included in the £449 fare. Bookings on 0870 4581067.

MERSEY FERRIES

ROYAL DAFFODIL despite the undertaking of berthing trails at Llandudno Pier in August 2003 it has been decided that there will be no sailings between Liverpool and Llandudno in 2004.

The reason given by Mersey Ferries in the North Wales Weekly News being that the company already had a full programme but trips are " a possibility in the future".

Basically we are back to the 1999 situation when the ROYAL DAFFODIL was rebuilt at Manchester to enable her to undertake coastal excursions.

ISLES OF SCILLY STEAMSHIP COMPANY

It is reported that the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company is to be restructured.

The Isles of Scilly Steamship Company is itself to become a holding company. The ships will be owned by the Lyonesse Shipping Company Ltd and operated by The Isles of Scilly Shipping Company Ltd.

Westward Airways and Skybus will continue to trade being directly owned by the Steamship Company. 

Company chairman Andrew May says the changes are being made to "provide greater protection to the group from potential operational and financial risks." It would also enable the introduction of outside funding into the company or subsidiaries.

JACK ROBINSON TRAWLERS

BBC Scotland has reported that the man accused of the manslaughter of seven crew on board the Solway Harvester has been committed for trial.

Richard Gidney, of Jack Robinson Trawlers, owned the vessel which sank 11 miles off the Isle of Man in January 2000. An employee of the company, Norman White, is accused of trawling over a shipwreck 12 days after the sinking.

The pair appeared before Acting Deputy High Bailiff Andrew Williamson at Douglas courthouse on the Isle of Man on Saturday February 07.

They were committed to stand trial on the charges.

Mr. Gidney, from Dumfries and Galloway , also appeared on behalf of Jack Robinson Trawlers, which is also charged with manslaughter.

Both men were granted bail and given permission to leave the local jurisdiction until their next appearance.

A date has yet to be set.

Reporting restrictions were not lifted.  

MARITIME & COASTGUARD AGENCY

On Thursday evening Liverpool Coastguard commenced coordinating a search for a group of cockle pickers working in Morecambe Bay who had become cut off by the incoming tide. 

Despite an intense overnight search it was apparent by Friday morning that a major tragedy had occurred with 19 bodies being recovered by the rescue services. The RNLI deploying one of the new hovercraft to take part in the search.

The sands of Morecambe Bay are notoriously treacherous and the cockle pickers, mainly Chinese nationals, were quickly overcome by the tide.

This disaster must rank as one of the worst large scale drowning incidents on the Irish Sea which has not involved the loss of a ship.

Police are reported to be investigating the incident and expect to make arrests shortly. The cockle pickers had been recruited by gangmasters, which local media sources suggest may have had connections with Chinese underworld groups.

February 04

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Ian Collard, Alex McCormac, Tommy Dover, Adrian Sweeney, and "others"

ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY

BEN-MY-CHREE Extreme weather conditions of above average rainfall and very high winds in the past few days have resulted in a delay in ship's return to service following her biennial overhaul and major extension work to the passenger accommodation. 

The following amended timetable will operate:

The LADY OF MANN will continue to operate Heysham and Liverpool passenger sailings to and from the Island on the following schedule carrying cars and small vans only:

Friday 6th February      Douglas to Heysham      08:45     

Friday 6th February      Heysham to Douglas      14:15

Friday 6th February      Douglas to Heysham      19:45

Saturday 7th February  Heysham to Douglas       02:15

Saturday 7th February  Douglas to Liverpool      08:45

The HOBURGEN will continue to cover the Freight operations on the following schedule:

Friday 6th February      Douglas to Heysham       16:30

Saturday 7th February  Heysham to Douglas       01:30

IRISH FERRIES

JONATHAN SWIFT is now due to be out of service until Friday February 06 following her altercation with the Holyhead berth last week.

ISLE OF INISHMORE her departure from A&P Birkenhead has been delayed. She had been due to resume the Pembroke service on February 04. However NORMANDY now appears to be operating until February 07.

MANXMAN STEAMSHIP COMPANY

LADY OF MANN will be chartered by the company for a "Round The Island Cruise" in support of the preservation and refurbishment of the ex Isle of Man Steam Packet steamer MANXMAN.

This years cruise will take place on the evening of Sunday 30th May. [Day before the Bank Holiday]. The LADY OF MANN will depart Douglas at 19:00 and return at approx 23:00. Fare is £18 which will include, as it did last year, a sumptuous buffet supper. Tickets are bookable now through the Steam Packet on (01624) 661661.

SEA CONTAINERS

HOVERSPEED GREAT BRITAIN departed her berth in Belfast and headed for Harland and Wolff. She was joined in dry dock by RAPIDE which was brought in by two tugs.

On Wednesday February 04, HOVERSPEED GREAT BRITAIN departed her berth around 08:45, followed by the RAPIDE at 09:10, the second vessel appearing not to be under her own power as she had tugs in front and behind her and was moving very slowly.  Both vessels are now sharing a dry-dock at Harland and Wolff, Belfast.

WICKLOW PORT NEWS from Tommy Dover

Coaster callers last week included EMSLAND , HELGA , HOHEBANK and SINA B.

Irish Lights Tender GRANUAILE was working in the area and anchored in the bay overnight. The LPG tanker STURGEON also sheltered from bad weather in the bay. Traffic in the bay included LE NIAMH, a P41 Navel vessel and large car transporters delivering to Dublin .

ROYAL NAVY

LIVERPOOL VISITORS.

HMS RICHMOND [F239] will be visiting between February 04 and 10. Her visit coincides with the launch of the new Carlton TV drama series "Making Waves" to be shown later in the year on ITV.

The series depicts life in the navy today and HMS RICHMOND will host the first screening of an episode of the new series on Friday. The series itself was filmed on HMS GRAFTON, which appears as the fictional HMS SUFFOLK.

HMS RICHMOND will be open to the public on Sunday February 08 between 12:30 and 16:30.

Other Naval Visitors to Merseyside due in February are:

HMS RAMSEY [M110] and HMS MIDDLETON [M34]both arrive February 07. New River Class patrol vessel HMS TYNE [P281] arrives on February 11 and HMS DULVERTON [M35] arrives February 14.

DOUGLAS VISITORS

The new HMS MERSEY  P 283 and HMS RAMSEY HMS  M 110 make a call at Douglas on February 28.

KNOTT END FERRY

The saga of the Knott End Ferry continues as reported by "Blackpool Today" on February 04.

CIVIC Centre bosses are proposing to take a cut of profits on the Knott End ferry if the threatened service proved successful.

Wyre Council is planning to scrap the ferry because it says it is too costly to subsidise. But a meeting of the borough's physical environment committee was told the council wanted 20 per cent of any takings from the boat if passenger numbers exceeded 20,000.

It was also suggested the council might be looking to profit from control of landing fees in Knott End and by renting out the docking stage in Fleetwood to the ferry operator.

Preesall Council leader Derek Hudson made a passionate plea to retain the service. He said: "If the ferry does not run we are going to have severe hardship in Knott End and Preesall. This is both a facility for the use of local people and a vital way of bringing in tourists.

"In Over Wyre there is quite simply one road in and the same one out. The ferry is a vital link. I cannot remember the last time there was a significant investment in Over Wyre."

A council official confirmed tender requirements had a clause to take back cash if the service became successful. 

Wyre's cabinet will now be asked by the committee to renegotiate conditions for the ferry with Lancashire County Council before putting the service back out to tender. 

 

 

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