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Finished With Engines: Irish Sea Shipping is now closed to new updates - J.H. Luxton Photography - Transport, Industrial History, Regional Photographs UK & beyond


April 2004

April 25
Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Tommy Dover, Michael Bracken, Dave Worth and "others"


HOVERSPEED GREAT BRITAIN, following stern door alterations at Cherbourg, berthed in St Malo on April 22 and is due was due to commence service on April 23. She now has "Jersey ferries" on her two sides about 2 metres above her Seacat logo.


Full details of the Mersey River Festival have been published on the festival web site. A large number of visiting ships are lined up for the festival. Some of which will be on display at West Float, Birkenhead.

Some of the vessels attending are: ASGARD II, MIR, PRINCE WILLIAM, BESSIE ELLEN, CHALLENGE, ANASTASIS etc. Full details of the principal vessels and events programme.


A card kit to construct a model of MANX MAID [2] the 1962 side loading car ferry has been produced. The kit is printed on a single sheet of A3 card and can be coloured using felt pens or paints.

The completed model measures 15" The price is £5.00 plus £1.00 P&P. The kit is sent by first class post in a reinforced A3 envelope.

Photographs of the completed kit can be found at

Kits to construct MONA'S QUEEN [5] and MANXMAN [2] will follow.



Coasters calling this week included KORALLE and PROVIDER.

Traffic in the bay included the coaster ANKE southbound out of Dublin ,and various containerships and tankers for Dublin port.

Coastguard crews from around the coast were in Wicklow over the weekend for a boat handling course, Wicklow lifeboat was expected to launch on Sunday morning for a joint exercise with the coastguard vessels.

Wicklow Sailing club yachts were lifted back into the river after the winter lay-up. The club is getting ready to host the Round Ireland Yacht race in June. 


STENA LEADER - the former EUROPEAN LEADER was noted on Sunday having her new Stena prefix name applied.

April 22
Acknowledgements: Michael Bracken, Gary Andrews, Trevor Kidd, Kevin Bennett, Melanie-Jane Richardson, Alex Mc.Cormac, Ian Collard, Edwin Wilmshurst and "others".


EUROPEAN AMBASSADOR [STENA NORDICA] departed from Liverpool on Monday April 19. She called at Larne [arr 00:45 on April 20] to pick up a stock of spares. She was reported arriving at Cityvarvet in Göteborg on Friday morning.

EUROPEAN ENVOY departed the Mersey as ENVOY on April 21. She is to be chartered to Kyst Link

On Monday April 19 STENA LINE assumed control of the Fleetwood - Larne service at 15:00. The company claims the move reinforces Stena Line's position as a key player on the Irish Sea, and will provide 20-25% more capacity for freight customers. The three vessels purchased from P&O as part of the deal will be renamed the Stena Pioneer, Stena Leader and Stena Seafarer, and will operate the same schedule as the previous service.

Michael McGrath, Stena Line's Director of Freight, commented:

"The new route will allow us to continue to improve our services by offering customers increased flexibility and capacity. It will also complement our existing Irish Sea services from Stranraer to Belfast, Holyhead to Dublin Bay and Fishguard to Rosslare."

The route will be managed by Alan Gordon, Route Director for Stena Line's existing Stranraer to Belfast route. His position working across the two routes will ensure maximum synergy to offer customers the best possible combination of services, frequency and flexibility on the Irish Sea. Approximately 170 employees will transfer to Stena Line from P&O.

EUROPEAN [STENA] LEADER took the 21:00 from Larne to Fleetwood on April 19 marking the first outbound Stena Line sailing from the port since November 11, 1995. (That last 11th Nov 1995 sailing was the 2000hrs sailing to Stranraer taken by the Stena Antrim)


ROYAL DAFFODIL has been withdrawn from service with serious engine trouble and is likely to remain out of action for five weeks. Three special cruises have been cancelled, including the first Manchester Ship Canal cruise of the season. With WOODCHURCH still being rebuilt in A&P Birkenhead the ROYAL IRIS has been left to soldier on without back up operating the daily passenger service and evening private functions.



P&O announces that it has completed the sale of part of its Irish Sea ferry operations and related assets to Stena AB and has received approximately £50 million in cash.

Stena has acquired P&O's Fleetwood - Larne route, including the three ferries EUROPEAN LEADER, EUROPEAN PIONEER and EUROPEAN SEAFARER and two P&O ferries previously operating on the Mostyn-Dublin route, EUROPEAN AMBASSADOR and EUROPEAN ENVOY.


Liverpool will host the world famous Tall Ships’ Race during the year when the city is European Capital of Culture.
Sail Training International, the Tall Ships’ governing body, announced on Thursday, April 22 that Liverpool will be the Host Port for the start of the 2008 race.
Liverpool was chosen from more than a dozen major European ports to host the start of the race, which will take in Norway before ending in the Netherlands.
It will bring close to 100 Tall Ships and more than 3,000 crew, from all over the world, to the banks of the River Mersey in the July of 2008.
Liverpool will welcome one million people to witness the spectacular sight of the Tall Ship’s fleet which will include a dazzling array of vessels, from 30 foot yachts to square-rigged ships over 300 feet long.
Scores of vessels – square riggers, schooners, brigs, brigantines, ketches, yawls, cutters and sloops - will be berthed in the city’s historic Albert and Central Docks for four days before the race starts.
For the maritime extravaganza:
• The entire Liverpool Waterfront will be used by the Tall Ship’s Fleet
• The new £15m Cruise Liner Terminal will host the biggest ‘Class A’ ships
• The world famous Pier Head will be the centre of the berthing area
• The Central Docks, to the north of the Pier Head, will host Class A, and smaller Class B, C & D vessels
• An Olympic-style Village will be created at the Albert and Central docks for the crews
The Leader of Liverpool City Council, Councillor Mike Storey said today: ‘’This is a fantastic boost for Liverpool as we look forward to becoming Capital of Culture. The arrival of the Tall Ships on our waterfront in 2008 and the Parade of Sail as they leave will be a truly spectacular sight.
“The fact that the Tall Ships will be back on the Mersey in one of the most important years in our history is cause for great celebration. This is what Liverpool’s docks were built for – Liverpool is the natural home for the Tall Ships.
‘’And we know the Tall Ships love visiting the Mersey. Our waterfront sets off their magnificent beauty and grace perfectly.
‘’The return of The Tall Ships’ Race will be a defining moment in our year as Capital of Culture. It will be one of the flagship events of 2008 and will give our position on the world stage an extra dimension. And above all, Liverpool will give the Tall Ships’ fleet a welcome to remember.’’
Nigel Rowe, President and Chairman of Sail Training International, who was in Liverpool to make the announcement, said today: ‘’The honour of hosting The Tall Ships’ Race always attracts a high number of bidding cities. The 2008 race was no exception and we had an exceptionally high quality field to choose from but Liverpool in 2008 stood out.
‘’The city has the unique advantage of being European Capital of Culture. It provides the crews from all over the world an opportunity to sample, experience and be part of one of Europe’s biggest cultural festivals of the decade. The city’s enthusiasm and plans for the race excited us greatly. Liverpool has a breathtaking package of cultural activities and facilities to offer our crews as well as the expertise to manage a world class event.
‘’Liverpool is a city which has undergone a remarkable transformation and is now using its maritime legacy and world famous river to build a global reputation.  We have no doubt all those who visit Liverpool in 2008 for the starts of The Tall Ships’ Race will experience a truly stunning festival.’’
David Henshaw, Chief Executive of Liverpool city council, said: ‘’The arrival of the Tall Ships will be a fantastic symbol of Liverpool’s renaissance.
‘’The Tall Ships will throw a huge spotlight on our Capital of Culture celebrations. The festival will help promote the city to millions across the world and be a huge bonus to the Merseyside economy for many years to come.’’
Liverpool’s bid to be Host Port highlighted the city’s maritime legacy, it’s expertise in handling international maritime festivals and an extensive programme of cultural activities for the crews.
In the run up to European Capital of Culture, a series of themed years will hone the city’s capacity for staging major events such as The Tall Ship’s Race. Of special relevance will be 2005 – The Year of the Sea – when Liverpool will be a major participant in the national celebrations of Sea Britain. Liverpool will also host the start and finish of the Round the World Clipper Race in 2005-06 and 2007-08. The city also welcomes more than a quarter of a million people every June to the annual Mersey River Festival.
As part of the deal to host The Tall Ship’s Race, the city council will be involved in a huge programme to promote sail training to young people, in partnership with the Ocean Youth Trust-North West, the Royal Navy, the Liverpool Watersports Centre, and Liverpool Yacht Club. By 2005, the programme will be annually training more than 400 young people.
Councillor Warren Bradley, Executive Member for Leisure and Culture, said ‘’Liverpool is one of the few European cities with the cultural capacity to absorb, entertain, involve and engage over 3,000 young people.
‘’The crews will be arriving in a city during one of Europe’s biggest ever cultural celebrations.  Their arrival will herald a spectacular festival of activities, competitions and events which everyone will remember.
‘’The city council is committed to developing opportunities for the people of Liverpool. The Tall Ships and Clipper Races give a fantastic opportunity for our young people to learn new skills and see the world.’’


SEACAT DANMARK - has been named PESCARA JET for operation on the Italy - Croatia service this season.

April 18
Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, John Lewis, Tommy Dover, Michael O'Connell, Paul Evans, Steve Mee, Michael Bracken, Kevin Bennett and "others"



The backlog of material, both gathered by myself and submitted by contributors is slowly being caught up. Though the backlog still exists a rolling programme of updates during the coming week should see it reduced. However, this is subject to other commitments.


Please note that to reduce the amount of spam that advantage has been taken of the increased anti spam facilities now offered by BT Spam Guard. It is now possible to block complete mail domains. As a consequence a number of mail domains have been blocked. As these appear mainly to originate in the far east it is doubtful if communication from contributors present or future will be impeded. I have posted a list of blocked mail domains in the contact section.  If you experience problems communicating with Irish Sea Shipping please send an email from a non blocked domain.


It has come to light recently that the Maritime Ring of which Irish Sea Shipping was a member has become defunct. As and when this happened it is not certain. Therefore, the logo has been removed from the front page of the web site. 


EUROPEAN HIGHLANDER departed A&P Birkenhead around 22:30 on Saturday April 17 to return to Larne.

EUROPEAN AMBASSADOR departed Canada Graving Dock and proceeded to Brocklebank Dock, old Belfast berth. Noted there on Saturday morning she retains her P&O markings. However, she is expected to depart for Gothenburg this week and will become STENA NORDICA.

A press release from Stena Line explains the reasons for her deployment:

In recent years freight and passengers traffic on the Karlskrona-Gdynia route has increased significantly. Stena Line is now taking the next step in its commitment to the route by replacing STENA TRAVELLER with STENA NORDICA (formerly European Ambassador). Freight capacity will thereby increase by around 30 per cent, which means it can take about 30 more trailers.

"The freight volumes have increased significantly in a few years. Poland's entry into the EU on 1 May will probably mean increased demand for marine transport, which we must be able to meet. The investments we make in the route are strategically important," says Stena Line's CEO, Gunnar Blomdahl.

STENA NORDICA was built in 2000 and has been acquired from P&O. The vessel previously operated on the Mostyn-Dublin route. It is estimated that STENA NORDICA will enter service in the beginning of May. New loading ramps will be added to speed up loading and unloading.

Stena Line's total investment is around SEK 400 million. "The investment we carry out will benefit the regions of Karlskrona and Gdynia and, along with other interested parties, we play an important role in stimulating the exchange of trade and tourism between the two countries," says Håkan Dahlquist, Route
Director Karlskrona-Gdynia.

STENA NORDICA will be Swedish flagged with Swedish crews.

EUROPEAN ENVOY remains laid up in the wet basin at A&P Birkenhead. She still carries P&O funnel markings however the P&O logo near the bridge has been painted over.

She is likely to be chartered to Kystlink and operate between Langesund and Hirsthals in Denmark from around May 1st. 

This will mean a doubling of the lorry-capacity between Langesund and Hirtshals, and a tripling if the present ferry M/S BOA VISTA continues this summer. At present the deal appears to be subject to agreement.


The official hand over of the Fleetwood - Larne service takes place on April 19. This weekend the ships operating the service have been noted undergoing changes in livery to reflect the change in ownership.


L1080034.JPG (100403 bytes)A plaque in honour of Dutch Merchant Navy seamen was unveiled at a special service at the Pier Head, Liverpool on April 16.

The remembrance ceremony was a tribute to the thousands of Dutch seamen who sailed alongside Britain’s Merchant Navy during World War Two. Over 40 veterans attended the service. 

Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Ron Gould, and Rudolf Visser, an officer of the Netherlands Merchant Navy Personnel unveiled the new plaque situated near the Ferry Terminal. Over 3,600 Dutch seamen were lost at sea during WWII. Councillor Gould said: “I’m honoured to be part of this memorable day.

“A plaque should have been unveiled in Liverpool decades ago.  Now, I’m pleased that the important role the Dutch seaman played during the Second World War has finally been acknowledged.

“Many Dutch sailors considered Liverpool their home port during the war.  This commemorative plaque is a tribute to them.”

He said: “The plaque is a symbol of the sacrifices made by the Netherlands Merchant Navy during the Second World War.

“We are delighted that the veteran’s efforts have been recognised in Liverpool and that their memory lives on here.”


The company has announced an agreement with the Princess Cruises division of Carnival Corporation which will see 10 cruise ships call at the port in 2005. The Princess ships will bring in over 26,000 passengers

Commenting on the contract, Mr. Enda Connellan, Chief Executive, Dublin Port Company said, "This deal represents a major endorsement for Dublin Port as an attractive international destination by one of the major international cruise liner operators contributing a further €23 million to businesses in Dublin

However, we now need to consider investing in a dedicated cruise terminal at Dublin Port to maintain and grow this lucrative business. A first step will be to see how this investment will be funded so that the cost is shared by those who will benefit from the increased cruise liner traffic."



Coaster callers included UNION GEM , MAREIKE and BALTIC SHAMROCK. The tender MICHELL was in port for a short time on Friday afternoon. Traffic in the bay included the Coastguard SAR helicopter and containerships for Dublin .


The coaster THRUSTER is in for repairs possibly to her bow thruster! Coasters noted recently at the rock jetty included TRINITY and JACKIE MOON.


The BBC reports that a celebration of surface shipbuilding in Barrow could mark the 40th anniversary of the launch of the largest ship the town produced.

The oil tanker BRITISH ADMIRAL[100,000 grt] was the largest ocean-going vessel in the world when she was launched 40 years ago

To tie-in with the anniversary the council is looking to have a Festival Of The Sea themed around merchant shipping.



The company has announced the launch of a new MSC direct weekly service between Bristol – North Europe – Portugal and Spain, providing an extensive range of connections to the MSC world-wide network of Liner services.

Sailings will commence with the MSC KATHERINE ANN arriving Bristol on April 24, with subsequent vessels maintaining a regular weekly service.

The introduction of this new MSC service provides customers in the South West, the Midlands and Wales with a local and regular means of exporting and importing their cargoes, avoiding the longer inland journeys and transport difficulties normally encountered.

In addition to the launch of the new Bristol service, the company has also announced a complete upgrade of the existing weekly Liverpool service with dedicated tonnage, commencing with the arrival of the MSC VENICE on April 24.


BALMORAL The engines have arrived "Internal Fire" they are available for inspection by interested parties but are not normally on public display at the moment. Over Winter 2004/2005 they will be installed in their new home which will be the same approximate dimensions as the Balmoral engine room both engines will hopefully both be returned to running order by Easter 2005.


The Western Morning News reported this week that boat owners running short ferry trips across West Country rivers say they are being hit with "ridiculous" red tape which is strangling their businesses.

They claim "overbearing" safety regulations mean that in addition to life jackets, the boats have to carry a compass, flares and a fog horn to cross stretches of water often only a few yards wide.

Because the boats carry passengers, operators have to follow strict rules which they claim are a "crippling" cost. Now they are to be subjected to rigorous stability tests.

Former fishermen Ivan Chaston runs a ferry across the river in Looe. The journey only lasts two minutes and costs 40p but his boat operators licence has more than doubled from £23 to £50, while the stability test will cost him £25.

He said: "The ferries have been running for generations and generations and there has never been a serious accident.

"Everyone understands the need for safety but it is getting too much. If it was so foggy to need a fog horn people wouldn't find the ferry steps in the first place."

Above all, he is concerned at the possible ramifications of forthcoming stability tests. He added: "I can carry 12 passengers and when they come down they're apparently going to put eight people on one side and four on the other.

"My capacity could then be reduced to ten, nine or eight depending on the outcome. It's ridiculous, if you've got 12 passengers you put six on one side and six on the other."

At 83, Jim Cairns is the oldest of the ferry boat operators in Looe. He bought the boat Kingfisher five years ago after spending 38 years providing local pleasure trips.

"Apparently we need a compass to find our way from one side of the river to another," he said. "We also need flares, whereas all we would have to do is shout to another of the ferry boats to come over.

"I have asked whether they couldn't apply a little bit of common sense given the situation in Looe but they say the rules have to be obeyed."

The concerns are being echoed across the region. Chris Ommanney owns Tarka Cruises, which operates in the Torridge Estuary in
North Devon . He also runs the Appledore to Instow Ferry, a journey of under a mile costing travellers around £2.

He said: "Some fisherman we know have joked that they need to tow a dinghy behind the boat to carry all the safety gear.

"But it is a pain, and an expensive one. We understand the need for safety but we are not cross Channel ferries. Because we are tourist providers it is hard to pass the cost on to the customer, because we need to keep the prices down."

Ray Shortman, who runs the
East Portlemouth ferry to Salcombe in South Devon said: "Some of the rules are crazy. They are a financial burden and are often over the top."

The new rules also apply to pleasure cruises and fishing trips around the West Country coasts. Yesterday, a spokeswoman from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, which has introduced the new regulations, said they were brought in after lengthy consultation.

She said there were both statutory regulations and guidelines for operators, depending on the size of their boat and the number of passengers they carried.

"These sorts of regulations are put in place to protect the public," she added. "I'm sure these boat operators are very reputable but they are covered by the same rigorous tests as the less scrupulous operators who really need the checks."


Two Canadian visitors to the Isles of Scilly had to be rescued by the crew of the gig MEN-A-VAUR after drawing an SOS in the sand on the uninhabited island of Samson.

The visitors had taken a day trip to Samson, last inhabited in the 19th Century but due to a mix up the boat due to pick them up never arrived as on the previous departure they thought they had collected all the returning passengers.

April 15
Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Michael Bracken, Tony Brennan, John Lewis, Chris Jones, Dave Crolley, Michael Pryce and "others".


Some recent news stories some of which escaped last Sunday's update.

Please note that some clearing out of older material has taken place. Not that some of it has been on line for a long period, but due to the fact that the areas concerned receive a lot of submissions.



James Fisher and Sons plc of Barrow, announced on April 05 that it has entered into contracts with Damen Shipyards Bergum for the construction of 2 double hull 5,000 dwt Clean Petroleum Product Tankers for a total purchase consideration of Euro 20.15 million (£13.42 million). 

The ships will be built in Damen Galati shipyard in Romania and are scheduled for delivery in November 2005 and June 2006. The contracts include options for Fisher to acquire a further 2 tankers. This order adds to the contracts for two Korean 12,800 dwt tankers which are entering the fleet on bareboat charter to Fisher in 2004 and 2005. 

As with its previous Korean new buildings, Fisher is currently negotiating with owners to take over the contracts. On delivery Fisher will take the vessels on bareboat charter for a period up to 10 years on competitive terms without any residual risk. It is expected that these arrangements will be finalised within the first half of 2004. 

The delivery of these ships is the next step in Fisher's fleet development plans and will maintain Fisher's position of operating the most modern fleet amongst tanker operators on the UK coast. The proposed charter arrangements are in line with Fisher's plans to develop its fleet without the commitment of further capital and on competitive terms. 

This has become more attractive under the new tonnage tax regime with its minimal tax charge, because the Company no longer requires capital allowances from the purchase of its own ships. When delivered, these ships will be operated by James Fisher Tankships, the market leader in the UK coastal clean petroleum products market, operating a fleet totalling 18 ships and carrying over 6 million tonnes per year under contracts with major oil companies.


HMS WHIMBREL It appears that a £1m deal has been negotiated to purchase the last surviving warship which served during the Battle of The Atlantic.

HMS WHIMBREL a  “Black Swan” class sloop built 1942 at Yarrow served as part of Captain "Johnny" Walker's hunter killer group. Acording to the report in the Liverpool Daily Post the agreement will include the purchase of the vessel and initial work at the Egyptian Navy's Alexandria Dockyard to prepare her for return to the U.K.


The agreement is subject to the steering committee raising the first £1m which it is actively working to identify. A further £1m will be required to repatriate the WHIMBREL to the UK aboard a heavy lift ship.

The vessel may find a home in Canning Dock, adjacent to the Albert Dock in Liverpool.


AUTHOR - the last container ship built for Harrison Line and now operated by Switzerland based MSC as the MSC CORSICA visited Liverpool last week.

Photographs can be found on Philip Parker's web site:


HSS STENA EXPLORER the vessel which has operated on the Dún Laoghaire - Holyhead route since 1996 carried its 10 millionth passenger just before Easter.

Stena presented the passenger Ward Catherwood with a hamper and travel for the rest of the year.


Stena Line will be taking over this route from P&O European Ferries Irish Sea with effect from Monday 19th April.

For reasons of contract, the sailings will commence on this date with P&O with Stena Line taking up later sailings the same day. 


NORMANDY - a teenager from County Wexford has been charged with criminal damage after being detained on board the ship.

The 19-year-old man was detained for two days as it sailed between Rosslare and Cherbourg after the damaged cars were discovered on Friday.

Authorities are investigating how he managed to get on to the car deck and allegedly damage the ignition of three cars, whose owners were due to begin their holidays in France.

He was arrested close to one of the cars after he was noticed by a crew member.

The man was detained in the ferry hold for two days and on return to Rosslare Euro Port he was charged by Gardaí with criminal damage and released on bail.


VANGUARD made an interesting trip to Falmouth last month. On March 05 she arrived in the Cornish port towing the small Whitaker barge HUMBER JUBILEE which it berthed at County Wharf. HUMBER JUBILEE is to be used to collect slops from vessels passing through the channel and in port. Later in the day, after spending some time moored alongside ETV ANGLIAN PRINCESS Vanguard set off for the return voyage to Liverpool.


From August visitors to Trelissick near Truro will be able to travel to the garden by boat for the first time.

The National Trust has commissioned the construction of a landing stage on the Fal Estuary, with the aim of increasing the number of environmentally friendly visits and improve the variety of travel options available to visitors.

The building work is due to start this month and will be completed in August. Visitors will be able to take a ferry from Falmouth, Truro and St Mawes using services provided by many of the existing ferry operators, prior to entering as Trust members or paying visitors.

The project is part funded by Objective 1 (with investment from the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs).

Further funding for the project is also coming from Cornwall Environment Trust Ltd and Carrick District Council Truro Harbour Authority.

Chris Curtis, Trelissick Property Manager said: "Trelissick is a stunning garden throughout the year with extensive views over the Fal. With the option of arriving by boat now becoming a reality, a visit to Trelissick promises to be an even more exciting day out.

"As a charity that aims to provide public access to its properties, the Trust is continually looking for new ways of improving site access.

"The landing stage is a fantastic project on a number of levels as it not only improves access, but also provides visitors with a fun alternative to travelling by car, which is a plus for the environment."

Carleen Kelemen, director of the Objective One Programme, said: "Objective One is committed to investing in the region's distinctive qualities that provide a boost to local tourism by providing visitors with an improved offering.

"Trelissick Gardens are already a great place to visit, but the creation of a landing stage and the ferry service that will enable should help to attract even more visitors to the gardens in a sustainable way, whilst providing valuable revenue for the ferry operator."

The new access route will direct visitors to enter the garden through `the Dell' via the woodland walk.


April 11
Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Ian Collard, Tommy Dover and "others"


This historic tug-tender Daniel Adamson was moved from Ellesmere Port to Liverpool in a two stage operation which commenced on Thursday April 08 and completed on Saturday 10. 


HOVERSPEED GREAT BRITAIN is reported by the BBC to have arrived in Jersey. She will sail this season under charter to Emeraude Lines.


Are believed to be the front-runner in plans to establish a new Ireland - France service after P&O closed the weekly Dublin - Cherbourg route.

The company, which unveiled its new €165m flagship PONT-AVEN in Cork Harbour last week, is also reported to be looking at other options to using Dublin. This includes possibly a second mid-week sailing to Ringaskiddy or perhaps the commencement of a new service from Rosslare.


Five directors of a Cornish shipping company have been cleared of conspiring to defraud the owners of a government-aided passenger and cargo service of £890,000.

The men, who worked for Curnow Shipping Ltd, of Falmouth, had been accused of cheating St Helena Line Ltd, which employed them as agents to run RMS ST. HELENA from Cardiff to St Helena in the South Atlantic. But the judge directed the jury to formally acquit the defendants, after he ruled that there was no criminal case to answer.

David Brock, 62, of Shute Hill, Falmouth, Christopher Gardner, 57, of Swanpool Court, Falmouth, Simon Sugrue, 63, of Cadgwith, near Helston, Andrew Bell, 69, of West End, Porthleven, and Jonathan Challacombe, 52, of Greenbank, Plymouth, all denied charges of conspiracy to defraud between 1992 and 2001.

At the trial's opening in January the prosecution alleged that the men defrauded St Helena Line Ltd by taking "secret commissions" on insurance for the ship, and on ships stores, through an alleged system of double charging.

But Judge Simon Darwall-Smith said there had been no fraudulent document prepared for the purpose of concealing profits and added: "The highest it can be said that these defendants did was to hide the commissions on insurance, and the gains on stores from SHL, which may make them liable in civil law but does not make them the subject of a criminal indictment for conspiracy to defraud."

Curnow Shipping subsequently lost the management contract for RMS ST. HELENA to Andrew Weir Shipping, who withdrew from Cardiff, transferring to the south coast at Portland. 

Recently it was announced that AWS has curtailed the service to operate between Walvis Bay, Namibia and St. Helena. 


Several weeks ago it was reported that the Fincantieri new build for Carnival Corporation due to enter service in 2005 would not be named QUEEN VICTORIA at Liverpool as had been previously indicated.

The lack of progress in carrying out improvements to Prince's Landing Stage had been blamed for the change of plans. 

However, it now appears that the new build will now be named ARCADIA and will sail for the P&O Cruises Division rather than the Cunard division.

Fincantieri will build a further ship for delivery in January 2007 for the Cunard division and this will now carry the name QUEEN VICTORIA.

One of the reasons given for the switch is the success of QUEEN MARY 2, and specifically the demand for her suites. The design of the new 2007 - QUEEN VICTORIA will be more consistent with the "grand ocean liner" style of QUEEN MARY 2.



The Competition Commission (CC) is consulting on undertakings it proposes to accept from Stena, which would prevent Stena from acquiring control of P&O's Liverpool-Dublin ferry route.

In its report on the proposed acquisition, published 5 February 2004, the CC prohibited the transfer of this route to Stena, concluding that if such a transaction were to proceed, it would lead to a substantial lessening of competition. Stena and P&O have announced their intention to go ahead with the acquisition of the Fleetwood-Larne route which the CC concluded would not raise any anti-competitive concerns.

Professor Paul Geroski, who was recently appointed to succeed Sir Derek Morris as Chairman of the CC said:

This is the first occasion that the CC has proposed accepting undertakings following an Enterprise Act merger inquiry. Schedule 10 of the Act introduces new procedures for consulting on proposed remedies prior to their implementation, which are designed to increase public awareness and the transparency of the remedies process. There is now scope for competitors or any other interested party to input further into the remedy process by commenting on these undertakings by 26 April.

The CC would like to hear from interested parties, in writing, by 26 April 2004.

To submit views, please write to:

T J Oyler Esq.

The Inquiry Secretary (Stena Undertakings Team)

Competition Commission

Floor 6, Zone 4, Point 38

Victoria House

Southampton Row





The Superstar Express commenced her seasonal services from Larne to

Troon and Larne to Cairnryan as scheduled on Thursday April 08 with the 07:40 departure to Troon.

Her schedule is the same as last year.

Larne - Troon departing Larne at:



Troon - Larne departing Troon at:



Crossing time 1 hour 50 minutes

Larne - Cairnryan departing Larne at:



Cairnryan - Larne departing Cairnryan at:



Crossing time 1 hour

EUROPEAN HIGHLANDER sailed for refit at A&P Birkenhead on Saturday evening April 10, arriving on the early morning tide. EUROPEAN SEAFARER is providing cover on the North Channel route.

EUROPEAN LEADER - The P&O logo on the starboard side of the hull was painted out on April 10. The logo below the bridge wing, the portside logos and the flags on the both sides of the funnel are still intact.

EUROPEAN ENVOY also appears to be in the process of having her P&O logos painted out, removing evidence of her P&O ownership.


PLYM - the prow of the vessel has been modified by engineers following problems of double decker buses grounding when boarding and leaving the ferry at low water,

In December 2003 on of First Group's double-deckers grounded as it was driven off the ferry at Torpoint at low tide.

The bus's compressed air system was punctured, automatically locking the brakes and leaving it stranded in the middle of the centre slipway, forcing passengers to get out and walk.

By the time a rescue vehicle arrived, 90 minutes had passed and the rear of the bus was under water.

First said it had modified its fleet of double-deckers but had been obliged to stop using the Plym.

Ferry operations manager Tony Whetton promised that the problems would be overcome, and now they have.

Ferry spokesman Andrew Vallance said: "The ferry prow has been re-profiled using wood in-fill.

"The ferries are very well maintained despite their age and, at 34 years, the Plym is actually the youngest."

The three ferries are soon to be replaced in any case.

Mr Vallance said: "The shipyard building the new ferries is making very good progress, with the first one due to be delivered in late December."

Gerald Taylor, managing director of First's bus operations in Plymouth, said: "I am delighted to announce that all buses can now drive on and off all three ferries.

"We deeply regret the inconvenience caused to passengers since December, but safety is our number one priority, and I took the decision to limit bus travel to two of the ferries, but I am very pleased that we can now use all three of the Torpoint ferries."



Coaster callers included RIKA, SCOT RANGER, EMSLAND and THULE . Traffic in the bay included the Irish naval ship LE NIAMH ( P52 ), and the Dutch VEGA .

afoncefni.JPG (68661 bytes)ARKLOW PORT

The VEGA loaded heavy equipment at the port last weekend, she made 2 trips to Dublin. The machinery from the IFI plant is being shipped to China via Rotterdam .

The photograph shows Holyhead Towing's AFON CEFNI at Arklow on April 03, 2004


Seatruck Ferries is reported to be "exploring all options" in respect of new ships and routes. The company is reported to be looking at second hand tonnage as well as discussing new builds with shipyards. The second hand tonnage would probably be a stop-gap measure as the Heysham - Warrenpoint operator seeks to increase capacity with new vessels which could offer twice the present available capacity provided RIVERDANCE and MOONDANCE.


The Western Mail reported on the relaunch of the Stena Line seasonal high-speed service operated by STENA LYNX III. The Incat vessel which had been chartered by Stena Line for some years was bought by the company during the winter lay-up period.

"The new-look Stena Express fast ferry makes its maiden voyage on the Fishguard-to-Rosslare route today [April 09] after a makeover. The newly-purchased vessel displays new livery as well as the Welsh Dragon and Irish Shamrock as part of a pounds 6.5m investment, and will offer the fastest crossing from Wales to Rosslare.

Stena Line's Vic Goodwin, newly-appointed route director, believes that the purchase of the ferry reflects the company's commitment to the route and the Fishguard area.

'In the last eight years since the launch of our first HSS on the Holyhead to Dun Laoghaire route, we have worked hard to raise standards in ferry travel with more luxurious and faster ships,' he said.

Carl Milne, route marketing manager on the Fishguard to Rosslare route, said sea links between Wales and Ireland have 'never been better'.

'The Irish Sea is a very competitive market so we are always looking at ways in which we can improve our offering to customers,' said Mr Milne.

'We have recently joined forces with the Wales Tourist Board to launch a sizeable marketing campaign aimed at attracting more Irish tourists to these shores.'"


A rare presentation copy of Cornish-born Captain William Bligh's account of the Mutiny on the Bounty in 1789 fetched £33,460 at auction on April 07 - twice as much as expected. The 1790 publication, signed "From the Author to Earl Howe" (commander of the Channel Fleet), is laboriously entitled: "A Narrative of the Mutiny, on board His Majesty's Ship Bounty; and the subsequent voyage of part of the crew, in the ship's boat, from Tofoa, one of the Friendly Islands, to Timor, a Dutch Settlement in the East Indies."

The rare first edition by the much-maligned officer - born at Tinten Manor, St Tudy, in 1754 - was bought by a private collector at Christie's in London when sold as part of the collection of explorer Quentin Keynes, great-great grandson of naturalist-explorer Charles Darwin.

Also on offer was a first edition of the official account of the Bounty expedition, with Bligh's text revised from his journal under the supervision of botanist Sir Joseph Banks.

It realised £8,365


The largest container ship ever to be handled in an Irish port slipped quickly in and out of Ireland 's major box terminal after sampling the benefits of a 23 million Euro make-over.

Marine Terminals Limited (MTL) at Dublin Port swiftly discharged and loaded the MSC Peggy, a 2,450 teu (20ft equivalent units) capacity giant operated by the world's second largest global container network.

The Mediterranean Shipping Company vessel made the call in place of one of the Line's regular vessels on the weekly service between Dublin and the Continent. She then sailed on to the ports of Liverpool , Antwerp , Vigo , Leixoes, Lisbon and Valencia , which offer Irish cargo links with MSC services to all parts of the world.

The 208 metre long vessel with a draft of 9 metres, was comfortably accommodated at MTL's 570 metre extended quay which has an increased minimum depth of water of up to 10.2 metres at all states of the tide. The terminal has another 130 metres of berthing space with a minimum depth of 8.5 metres.

MSC is one of two of the top five global container operators who have established services at MTL in the last 18 months, following the major investment programme. Redevelopment of the terminal has also included a trebling of container storage capacity from 2,000 teus to 6,500 teus and installation of new ship-to-shore and container yard cranes.

In the wake of the investment programme, units handled at MTL rose by 23.6% in 2003 to 136,000 units compared with the 2002 total volume of 110,000 units.

Said Eamon Sullivan, General Manager of Marine Terminals Limited: "Both the physical facilities and the terminal operations proved themselves comfortably capable of handling a ship the size and capacity of the MSC Peggy. The ease with which MTL turned round in just 9 hours the biggest container ship ever to call at an Irish port, plus the growing volumes of traffic now moving through the terminal, underline the wisdom of such major investment. We look forward to further growth."

Marine Terminals Limited is part of the Mersey Docks Group, Liverpool.

April 04
Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Ian Collard, Tommy Dover, Melanie Jane Richardson and "others"


HOVERSPEED GREAT BRITAIN - which has been refitting at Harland and Wolff has been chartered to Emraude Lines to replace SOLIDOR 5 on what has been described as a long-term basis.

The 74m catamaran, which can carry 80 cars, is due to arrive in Jersey on Monday and is expected to have its first sailing on Wednesday.


The problems with the SOLIDOR 5 are the latest in a series of blows for Emeraude which was bought out last year by French firm Sogestran.

Then there were arguments over whether it owned the SOLIDOR 5 and the news that rival firm Condor would be directly competing with it.

Then the SOLIDOR 5 went in for its scheduled winter service, only to be held in Cherbourg in a dispute over who pays for engine servicing next year.

Emeraude put the SOLIDOR 4 back on the route, but that developed engine problems and its sailings were cancelled.

SEACAT FRANCE - is expected to be refitted and reactivated during the peak summer season, it is expected that this vessel will be refitted to operate on the route. She has been laid up at A&P Birkenhead for some time and has been offered for sale.




Passenger figures compiled by the Harbours Division for February 2004 at 23,017 show a 1.4% decrease on the figure for the same period in 2003 which was 23,341.

The year to date figure at 40,143 passengers shows a 5% decrease over the same period in 2003 which was 42,263.

During February car and motorcycle traffic through Douglas Harbour decreased by 0.6% from 7,288 vehicles to 7,245 vehicles.

The year to date figure at 12,820 vehicles shows a 4.6% decrease over the same period in 2003 which was 13,443.

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


minus 8%






plus 15%






all minus





Director of Harbours, Captain Michael Brew comments:

“The decreases in traffic are due to “Ben My Chree” being off-service for overhaul. However, since “Ben My Chree” returned to service the underlying trend of increases in passenger traffic has returned. Comparing passenger traffic for the first two months with 2002, the previous time the Ben My Chree was off-service for overhaul, shows an increase of 7.6%.”


ULSTER PRINCE the former Liverpool - Belfast vessel now MANAR is reported to be beached at Alang for breaking.



The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) announced on March 31 that 10 foreign ships were under detention in UK ports during February2004 after failing Port State Control safety inspection.

Latest monthly figures show that 4 foreign ships were detained in UK ports during February 2004 along with 6 other ships still under detention from previous months. The overall rate of detentions compared with inspections carried out over the last 12 months is 6.0% which is a decrease of 0.4% on the detention rate to January. Three of the four vessels detained during the month were targeted by the Paris MOU for priority inspection.

The ships detained in February included the following:-

• a Hong Kong flag, 18117 GT, 1981, bulk carrier for 3 days in Portbury with 21 deficiencies including rotten unusable lifejackets, lifeboat davit attachments wasted, unsatisfactory fire drill and failure of onboard Safety Management System
• a Maltese, 996 GT, 1980 built, general cargo ship in Ipswich with 25 deficiencies including no sanitary water, no hot water, lack of provisions for crew, fire pump inoperative, engineroom fire alarm inoperative, poor fire drill, nautical publications and charts out of date, dirty engineroom and windlass drum end broken in two
• a Maltese, 823 GT, 1982, ro/ro cargo ship in Harwich with 16 deficiencies including insufficient charts, 40 degree gyro compass error and damage to hull



Holyhead coastguard coordinated a search for a passenger missing overboard from P&O's EUROPEAN ENVOY which was on a sailing from Mostyn to Dublin. 

The ship departed Mostyn at 20:30 on March 31 and arrived at Dublin at 05:00 the following day. The passenger, a lorry driver, was last seen in the ship's lounge around midnight, and did not return to his vehicle at disembarkation.

Three lifeboats (Holyhead, Moelfre, Llandudno) and an Irish search and rescue helicopter were involved in the search. It is believed that the ship would have been passing Great Orme's Head, Llandudno at the time that the man was last seen.

The driver's keys were found in his cabin. The Gardaí are investigating.



Coaster callers included HANSE, UNION EMERALD and CROWN ALIZEE. GRANUAILE anchored overnight in the bay early in the week.


The Dutch coaster VEGA arrived to load heavy machinery from the IFI factory at Shelton Abbey, the plant is being dismantled and  transported to China .


Wildlife guides will take to the water for the third year this season to help passengers bound for the Isles of Scilly. A team of five enthusiastic volunteers have been recruited by the RSPB to put their bird watching skills to the test on board The SCILLONIAN III.

They will be able to give passengers travelling to the Scillies on any Friday  - excluding July and August - advice on identifying seabirds and other marine wildlife as the ferry makes its way to the islands.

RSPB members can book a special day return ticket for just £16, instead of £32, on Fridays from April to June and again from September to October.

To book call Isles of Scilly Travel on 0845 7105555, quoting your membership number.

[Comment: - Pity they don't do a similar deal for members of the World Ship Society!!]


Scilly News reports that St Mary's harbour is to get a revamp after the council secured £200,000 of investment.

The work will be carried out by the Route Partnership to improve Scilly’s sea transport links with the mainland.

"This is a significant step for the Route Partnership", explained Councillor Dudley Mumford to Scilly News.

"It was just one year ago that the Partnership was established to look at how we could improve our transport links with the mainland. A year later we’ve signed a contract with the consultancy firm Scott Wilson to carry out our Stage 1 Technical Investigations and Appraisals. This work links the Penwith District Council’s project at the other end of the Route for improving Penzance harbour."

The consultant’s first job is to work with the local community to understand the issues and then come up with outline options for St Mary’s Quay and how this would effect a replacement vessel. Initial discussions have been held with members of the Route Partnership and quay users.

The public will have their opportunity to comment over the coming months. The first public exhibition takes place on St Mary’s in the Town Hall at the end of the week. Displays will present the background and issues, together with preliminary ideas.

Scott Wilson will also be there to meet islanders and hear from them. The exhibition will be open to the public on Thursday 1st April from 10am-6pm and on Friday 2nd April from 9am-1pm.

Free transport has been arranged for off-islanders wishing to come along. Copies of the displays can also be viewed at community halls on each of the off-islands


A new car ferry service is set to begin in May crossing Lough Swilly in Co Donegal between Buncrana and Rathmullan. Donegal county manager Mr Michael McLoone has confirmed the ferry will receive a subsidy of E147,667 and will operate on a pilot basis from May 14th to September 12th.

However, the service can only go ahead if a Euro 275,000 dredging programme at Buncrana harbour is completed on time. The proposed dredging work will also enable the RNLI lifeboat based in Buncrana to use the harbour at any time.

The ferry, which will accommodate 20 vehicles, will be operated by the Lough Foyle Ferry Company which already runs the ferry from Greencastle in Co Donegal to Magilligan in Co Derry.


STENA EUROPE restarted her sailings on Monday March 29 with the 21:50 ex Rosslare following dry-docking for repairs at Breast.



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