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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


June 2004

June 29


Please note that over the next few days site updates my a little sporadic or sparse! As a consequence there may not be a full update this coming weekend, and it is unlikely any other updates will be posted until at least Thursday June 08.

However, submissions and other material should continue to be sent as normal.


Wicklow port   1st - 27th  June 2004


Traffic in the bay included the sailing ship JEANIE JOHNSON , A RNLI TRENT Lifeboat on passage south , the liner ROYAL PRINCESS out of Dublin , ROTTERDAM, SILVERCLOUD II , the containership's DORETE , RYFJELL and ARKLOW CASTLE , RMS RUHORT, ARKLOW RIVER, CRESCENT HIGHWAY, ADRINA F and LINDA BUCK , other traffic included  Dolphins ! seen on many occasions along the Wicklow coast.

Visitors to the port were ASGARD 11 , TS ROYALIST , The Cornish fishing smack GRACE , And the Hoylake Mersey class lifeboat LADY OF HILBRE on passage back to the Liverpool station after a refit at Poole. Rosslare's new SEVERN class lifeboat called to the port, while on a training trip, just before the start of the big yacht race. As she was leaving she made a impressive high speed pass in the bay. Much to the delight of the crowd's on the East pier !

The KILQUADE operated by Hunter Marine had a busy few weeks ,early in the month she was observed working with a Dutch submarine in Dublin bay.

Wicklow lifeboat's launched on crew exercises in the bay over the past few weeks.

Aviation sightings over the bay included the Coastguard s61-n winch training with ships along the Wicklow coast, the Irish lights chartered 'Belkov' northbound and a dark coloured Gazelle helicopter which made a couple of  passes over the harbour, before possibly landing at the airstrip at Newcastle. A Agusta 109 landed on the Murrough, while a Air Corp CASA patrol aircraft routed north along the coast.

BMW Round Ireland 2004

Bad weather delayed the start of this year's race , the 1400hrs start was postponed on till 1800hrs on Saturday evening. 48 yachts started out on the 704 mile race around the Irish coast. ASGARD 11 had the honour of starting the race, this was the first year a navel vessel has not started the race, the navy were too busy patrolling and providing security for the US President's visit to a summit at Dromoland Castle on the West Coast. The first boat is expected to cross the line early in the week.


The following appeared in the Belfast Newsletter this week: Gone but not forgotten by its many supporters in north Antrim and Argyll, hopes are still very much alive of the return of the Ballycastle-Campbeltown ferry. An announcement on the future of the service by the Scottish Transport Minister, Nicol Stephen, is expected before the end of this month, according to the Dalriada Business Action Group.

With branches on both sides of the Irish Sea, the group was originally formed by a cross-section of interests from the Argyll business community concerned at the lack of consultation and progress on re-instating the ferry link from Campbeltown to Ballycastle.

Around 300 businesses are now represented on the body whose main objective is to make a commercial case for the ferry link.

They persuaded the Scottish Executive into reconsidering the route - which last ran in 1999 - as a viable proposition.


The major fire at Dublin Port on Sunday June 27 damaged the underground pipeline which supplied fuel to the JONATHAN SWIFT. The pipeline will take around a week to repair. As a consequence JONATHAN SWIFT is having to take bunkers from a road tanker. On Sunday her evening departure was delayed as she awaited a fuel delivery by tanker.


HEBRIDEAN PRINCESS is to undertake a Manchester Salford Quays to Oban voyage in 2005. Ports of call will be made in Ireland and Wales. Ship arrives on the canal on July 12th 2005 and departs for Oban on 15th July. Does anyone know when the last cruise departure from Manchester took place? [Mersey Ferries excluded!]


WAVERLEY entered dry dock on Sunday following her arrival at A&P Birkenhead. It appears she will remain in the yard until Thursday afternoon July 1,  with an aim to return her to service for an evening charter on Friday. 

It is beloved the hull received extensive damage. Selective repairs are being made to the approval of MCGA for a return to service with final repairs being undertaken later.

June 27
Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Kevin Bennett, Ian Collard and Philip Parker.


Please note the next scheduled update will now take place on Tuesday June 29 and NOT Wednesday June 30 as originally scheduled.


LADY OF MANN departed from Liverpool bound for the Azores and her Açor Line charter on Friday June 25. ETA at Ponta Delgarda noon on Monday 28. She is expected back on the Mersey on October 2, 2004.

SUPERSEACAT TWO adverse weather conditions led to the cancellation of the Liverpool - Dublin return sailing on Saturday June 26.


On the Belfast - Troon service from Monday, June 22nd 2004, a fuel surcharge of £1/€1 per person per single leg crossing has been added to fares due to increased fuel costs in recent months.


WAVERLEY entered A&P Birkenhead yard just after 16:00 on Friday June 25 for repairs to hull damage sustained off Sanda Island last Sunday when she struck a submerged object.

The following is from the unofficial Waverley Web Site

On Sunday 20 June 2004, during her cruise from Helensburgh to the Mull of Kintyre, Waverley came into contact with a submerged object near Sanda Island.   She continued to Campbeltown where she was examined by a diver.  As findings were satisfactory, she completed her scheduled sailing after a short delay.  

The paddler fulfilled her charter commitments from Ayr on Monday and from Glasgow on Tuesday.   Low tides at Glasgow on Tuesday unusually necessitated the use of Yorkhill Quay as there was insufficient water at Anderston Quay. 

On Tuesday the MCA imposed restrictions on her operation, pending full examination out of the water and completion of any repairs, limiting Waverley to sailing in daylight with wind speeds less than Force 3.   Weather conditions on Wednesday & Thursday precluded sailings.   It was therefore decided to seek the earliest possible dry docking.   The best option was at A&P, Birkenhead, and Waverley will proceed there as soon as weather conditions permit.

It is planned that Waverley will commence her scheduled public sailings on July 3.  Please check before travelling.

MV Balmoral continues in service as scheduled.


Just after WAVERLEY entered A&P Birkenhead wet basin on Friday, tug Gladstone, who was in attendance removed the former research vessel NORTHERN HORIZON from dry dock. This vessel which had been laid up at Langton since December 2002, was brought across the Mersey to A&P in April.

She has been undergoing refit and emerged from dry dock carrying a new name OCEAN BOOMER and carrying a much darker red hull colour than she carried previously.


A major fire broke out in Dublin Port on Sunday June 27. Ten fire appliances of the Dublin Fire Brigade attended a blaze at a jetty where bitumen was being discharged from a ship. Gardaí report that there were no injuries and the cause of the fire  is under investigation.


Western Morning News reported this week that the difficult task of raising a sunken French trawler that could contain three bodies is fully under way - and relatives of those lost when the Bugaled Breizh sank 14 miles off the Lizard in January are watching every move. The nets of the 60ft Breton-registered stern trawler have been brought to the surface by divers working with the crew of Dutch salvage vessel, Discovery.

All five crew were lost when the Bugaled Breizh sank in a Force Nine gale on January 15. The bodies of acting skipper Yves Gloaguen, 45, from Finistere, and Pascal le Floch, 49, from the Morbihan, were recovered soon afterwards, but the bodies of Patrick Gloaguen, 35, Eric Guillamet, 42, and Georges Le Metayer, 50, all from western Finistere, have never been found. The usual skipper of the Bugaled Breizh, Michel Douce, was not on board his vessel due to illness when she foundered. He is now on board the French naval minesweeper Andromede, which is leading the salvage operation.

French authorities sent remotely-operated vehicles down to the wreck. Video footage showed massive damage and the French Government announced a high seas hunt for the unknown ship it claimed had rammed the trawler.

It is hoped that raising the trawler will provide more clues to the tragedy. Coastguards say the window of opportunity is decreasing for salvage of the vessel, which is in 270ft of water.


SCILLONIAN III and GRY MARITHA sailings were unable to sail last Tuesday due to adverse weather conditions.



The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) announced on June 25 that 8 foreign ships were under detention in UK ports during May 2004 after failing Port State Control safety inspection.

Latest monthly figures show that there were 4 new detentions of foreign flagged ships in UK ports during May 2004, along with 4 other ships still under detention from previous months. This represents a decrease of 3 new detentions in comparison to April. The overall rate of detentions compared with inspections carried out over the last 12 months is 6.5% which is an increase of 0.1% on the 12 month rate to April 2004.

The ships detained in May included the following:-

• a Panamanian, 22076 GT, 1983, bulk carrier for 5 days following a Mandatory Expanded Inspection (MEI) in Bristol. Detainable deficiencies included poor condition of lifejackets, defective hatch cleats and brackets, poor condition of engine room CO2 system hoses, main engine HP double skin fuel pipes not sealed, poor drills and ISM deficiencies. The detention invoked a Refusal of Access order. The ship was re-presented for a full inspection in Belfast and the Refusal of Access order was lifted.

• a Portuguese, 5218 GT, 1974, ro/ro cargo ship inspected following information received from previous port of Bremen. A total of 29 deficiencies were recorded. The detainable deficiencies included MF/HF radio inoperable, no reserve source of power for radio equipment and Safety Management System failing. The ship is still under detention.

Last month the MCA Press Release made reference to the detention of a Brazilian flagged bulk carrier “Castillo de Olivenza” in Tilbury and stated that class was suspended. This in fact was not the case and class was not suspended, the MCA apologise for this misleading statement. However at arrival Tilbury the ship had exceeded the date set by class to effect substantial steel repairs and at the time there was discussion of class suspension.

June 24



Apologies to anyone who visited the news site since Sunday's update and may have seen the most recent news bulletin date as June 13. Due to an error when compiling the last weekend's news the incorrect date was inserted. The date should have read June 20. If you didn't read Sunday's bulletin because you thought the Bulletin file had not been updated, it appears  below this update.


SEACAT ISLE OF MAN - due to adverse conditions the Celtic Connection Tenth Anniversary Cruise billed for the evening of June 23 from Douglas was cancelled. Her 10:30 sailing from Liverpool to Douglas on June 24 was aborted and she returned to Liverpool due to adverse condition. She sailed light ship for Douglas mid afternoon, passing the inbound STENA LYNX III off Langton. This consequently delayed her scheduled 14:00 sailing from Douglas to Dublin which departed early evening and arrived at Dublin shortly before 22:00

SUPERSEACAT TWO - her sailings on June 23, were cancelled due to adverse conditions. Her departure from Liverpool on June 24 for Dublin required tug assistance from Adsteam's TRAFALGAR. 

LADY OF MANN departs Alexandra Dock, Liverpool for her Açor Line charter at 11.00 on Friday June 25.


Passenger figures compiled by the Harbours Division for May 2004 at 61,185 show a 23.2% decrease on the figure for the same period in 2003 which was 79,676.

The year to date figure at 195,409 passengers shows a 10.3% decrease over the same period in 2003 which was 217,789.

During May car traffic through Douglas Harbour decreased by 40.4% from 25,204 vehicles to 15,007 vehicles.

The year to date figure at 51,697 vehicles shows a 18.1% decrease over the same period in 2003 which was 63,127. Scheduled Routes show the following changes in passenger numbers for May:-





























Director of Harbours, Captain Michael Brew comments:

“May 2004 passenger figures reflect the fact that the TT period fell in June this year. Allowing for the impact of the later TT, May figures are reasonable with the underlying trend in line with last year’s figures. The current foot passenger special offer fare of £10 single will provide even more opportunities for people to travel by sea.”


STENA LYNX III suffered a major engine defect believed to be an engine  crankshaft problem earlier this week. She arrived at Liverpool Canada Graving Dock on June 24. She is likely to be out of service until July 27 which suggests some major work is required. Major engine work on an Incat can require the removal of an engine effected through hull.

STENA ADVENTURER - The Holyhead - Dublin schedule will be changed in July when the 20:45 departure from Dublin will be rescheduled to leave half an hour later at 2115 hrs. This new time will meet the needs of later loading traffic, providing flexibility for vehicles to arrive at Dublin port from their collection or consolidation points.

The new timetable will be:

From Holyhead

0230 hrs arr 0545

1430 hrs arr 1745

From Dublin

0830 hrs arr 1145

2115 hrs arr 0040

The changes have been introduced to assist hauliers and logistics providers in fulfilling the needs of their customers. 


WOODCHURCH / SNOWDROP On the afternoon of June 24 the WOODCHURCH returned to the Mersey Ferries berth at East Float following an extensive £3.5m rebuild undertaken at A&P Birkenhead yard by Mersey Heritage Ship Repair.

The most noticeable change has been the extension forward of the promenade deck to the bow. This extension provides a significant increase in open deck space at the forward end of the vessel and should prove particularly popular on Manchester Ship Canal cruises. Aft of the upper deck saloon a canopy similar to that fitted to ROYAL IRIS OF THE MERSEY has been fitted. On the main deck, the main passenger saloon now extends across the full width of the vessel.  

When viewed from a distance the forward deck extension appears to suit  the vessel. However, at closer quarters the extension clearly does not match the fine lines bestowed on this attractive little ship by her Devon builders, Philip & Son of Dartmouth, and to some extent looks "stuck on". However, you are left to draw your own conclusions.

Finally we come to the name of the vessel. There has been speculation for some months that WOODCHURCH would be renamed SNOWDROP. Two Wallasey Ferries having carried this name in the past. However, as can be seen,  the name WOODCHURCH is still carried. But look closely, that name is painted on a plate which appears to be very lightly welded in place presumably the new name will be revealed either when the ship re-enters service or when the necessary formalities have been carried out.


WAVERLEY is expected to arrive at Birkenhead on June 25 for repairs following the grounding of Sanda Island on June 20. 



The May Foreign Ship detention list has been posted to the MCGA site


The Maritime & Coastguard Agency can confirm that they have been investigating a report brought to them by the BBC into the fire retardant qualities of a bathroom wall and under basin fascia within the bathroom unit, on board various passenger cabins on the Queen Mary 2.

The liner is owned and operated by Cunard and built by Chantiers d’Atlantique, in France and is classed by Lloyd’s Register and flagged by the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) onto the Red Ensign.

The classification society which issued the type approval certificates for the bathroom units under consideration is Bureau Veritas.

The MCA has been working closely with Cunard and Lloyd’s Register to fully assess the situation.

A suitable sample of material under consideration was removed from the vessel by an MCA surveyor when she docked in New York earlier this month, and was flown to a fire test laboratory in Cheshire. Those robust tests under laboratory conditions now reveal that the composition of the material has failed and an investigation is under way to see how that material was introduced into those bathroom units despite a rigorous quality assurance procedure during construction.

It has to be stressed that the material under consideration is in a normally low risk wet area of the cabin and that the vessel already has a highly efficient sprinkler system throughout its passenger accommodation. The MCA is satisfied that passenger safety is not compromised.

Meanwhile, the MCA will continue to work closely with Cunard, Lloyd’s Register and the yard in order to find an efficient technical solution which helps to ensure that passengers continue to travel in safety. Cunard has already agreed to immediately install locally sounding smoke alarms and to commence an urgent programme of additional sprinklers.

June 20
Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, C.J. Lawrenson, Tony Brennan, Tommy Dover, Ian Collard, Dave Billinge John & Jenny Williamson and "others"


This weekend has seen yet another successful Mersey River Festival. The event appears to have regenerated itself over the last couple of years following a pretty uninspiring festival in 2002.  

The highlight this year was undoubtedly the appearance of the Russian full rigged ship MIR. She made a splendid sight on Sunday leading the "Parade of Sail" accompanied by a fire monitor salute provided by Svitzer tugs. You will find quite a few photos on the web site of this year's event, the big sailing ships were of course the principal attraction.

However, the webmaster still regards some of the fringe events as being plain daft and detracting from the overall event. Yesterday I watched two people dressed as a Viking ship marching up and down the quay at West Float pantomime horse style shouting "port and starboard". Whether this is really required is questionable, but then are the tastes of some people! 

However, the event did offer something for everyone and I must say I am not disappointed with the photo opportunities presented, though one needed to choose time and venues well to avoid the mass of people gathering at the Albert Dock complex. 

Having taken a trip on the ROYAL DAFFODIL to use this as a photographic vantage point for the "Parade of Sail" I am amazed at just how few people were actually on the ferry. Yes, two vessels were running a 30 minute service, but given the excellent vantage point offered, compared to the crowded river wall in the vicinity of the Canning entrance one wondered why so few people had bothered to use the ferries.

John H. Luxton June 20, 2004 


SUPERSEACAT TWO - due to technical problems the Dublin sailing on June 16 was cancelled.

LADY OF MANN - the special sailing from Douglas to Llandudno on the morning on June 18 was unable to transfer passengers at Llandudno. The vessel returned to Douglas with her outbound passengers. Leaving around 400 disappointed passengers on Llandudno Pier. The reason for the decision not to transfer passengers was the significant swell at the berthing head. 

The evening Douglas - Llandudno sailing diverted to Liverpool with Llandudno passengers being transferred by coach. The Lady then proceeded to Alexandra Dock following the completion of her TT and Special Sailings programme. She is due to head off to the Azores on June 25 on her annual summer charter.

Obviously the events of Friday were a major disappointment for many and perhaps there was some lack of communication as suggested by the first correspondent. 

Llandudno can be a tricky place to berth. Several years ago your webmaster was booked on a BALMORAL round Anglesey Cruise which had been due to depart from the Pier. Due to the swell this was rescheduled to start at Menai Bridge. Perhaps it was a shame it wasn't possible for the LADY OF MANN to have diverted to Holyhead with passengers being bussed round though it would probably have proved difficult for summoned enough coaches to move those assembled at short notice. 


STENA SEAFARER was withdrawn from service for 48 hours to facilitate repairs last week. This resulted in the cancellation of the following sailings:

From Larne

Thursday 17 June 1600 hrs & Friday 18 June 1600 hrs

From Fleetwood

Friday 18 June 0300 hrs & Saturday 19 June 0300 hrs

In order to allow for current tidal conditions and maximize capacity on the remaining vessels, a modified timetable was operated during the SEAFARER's withdrawal.

Thursday 17 June 04

Fleetwood - Larne 2200hrs will depart at 0030hrs arriving Larne 0815hrs

Friday 18 June 04

Larne - Fleetwood 1000hrs will depart 1200hrs arriving 2100hrs

Fleetwood - Larne 1000hrs will depart 1130hrs arriving 1830hrs

Larne - Fleetwood 2200hrs will depart 2130hrs arriving 0430hrs 19/6

Fleetwood - Larne 2200hrs will depart 0100hrs 19/6 arriving 0845hrs 19/6

Saturday 19 June 04

Larne - Fleetwood 1000hrs will depart 1230hrs arriving 2130hrs

Fleetwood - Larne 1000hrs will depart 1000hrs arriving 1800hrs

Larne - Fleetwood 2200hrs will depart 2200hrs arriving 0500hrs 20/6

Fleetwood - Larne 2200hrs will depart 2359hrs arriving 0745hrs 20/6

STENA SEAFARER was expected to return to service with the 16:00 departure from Larne.


Motorists on West Cumbria 's roads watched in disbelief as this new Lakeland ferry made its last leg of an extraordinary journey to Derwentwater.

Home Office approval was needed to allow a four-man crew to helm the TWIN STAR II from London to Workington port before it's final, slow journey along the A66 to Keswick.

The vessel arrived on Tuesday after a seven-day voyage which included several engine failures and a small fire in the engine room.

A special crane had to be brought into the port to lift the boat from the water onto a modified trailer that would take the ferry on the 21-mile road trip. The football-mad crew from Devon-based specialists Aardvark missed England 's match with Switzerland because it took them five hours for the road transporter to transfer the boat to Keswick.

They were accompanied by a police escort, which helped it manoeuvre around Workington's narrow road system and under bridges.

The boat, travelling on a trailer 25ft wide and 100ft long, arrived after 20:00 on Thursday. It is the biggest of the Keswick Launch Company's six-strong fleet, carrying 162 passengers.

The vessel, which is likely to be renamed before it goes on the lake, has to undergo some minor refurbishment work and a final assessment before it gets clearance to take its first tourists. Carole Peet, of the Keswick Launch Company, said: "The last time we did something like this was around five or six years ago when we brought another steel-bottomed boat down from Loch Lomond .

"It is the next generation of boat for our fleet. She will run for a season in her blue, red and white colours and then we'll take her off and paint her brown to blend in more with the other boats."

Mr Poole said: "This has been a unique transportation for us. We've not done anything like this before.

"It was quite an eventful trip on the sea. We'd had to get Home Office approval to sail her up here to Cumbria because we were told we couldn't transport her the full way from London by road. We had to carry out some modifications on the boat before we could sail her.

"It took us a week to travel up to Workington and we had a few engine failures and a small fire. Nothing major, but tiring."


Recent visitors to the port  were TS ROYALIST and the Hoylake Lifeboat LADY OF HILBRE on passage back to home. i got digi pic's of them , i will send them as soon as possible. The lifeboat left Wicklow on Friday morning at 09:30 for Peel, she was due home on Saturday. 

[LADY OF HILBRE was back in time to take part in the Mersey River Festival! - JHL]



The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) announced on June 14 that 14 foreign ships were under detention in UK ports during April 2004 after failing Port State Control safety inspection.

Latest monthly figures show that there were 7 new detentions of foreign flagged ships in UK ports during April 2004, along with 7 other ships still under detention from previous months. This represents a decrease of 12 new detentions in comparison to March. The overall rate of detentions compared with inspections carried out over the last 12 months is 6.4% which is an increase of 0.2% on the 12 month rate to March 04.

The ships detained in April included the following:-

• an Italian, 14765 GT, 1976, ro/ro cargo ship for 1 day with 19 recorded deficiencies including inoperable fire dampers and ISM major non-conformity,
• a Panamanian, 5131 GT, 1991 reefer for 12 days with 47 recorded deficiencies including, emergency fire pump inoperable, firemain holed, fire dampers not fully closing, a failing of the Safety Management System,
• a Cypriot, 9070 GT, 1989, reefer for 2 days with 19 recorded deficiencies including starboard lifeboat engine inoperative, deck watchkeeping officer not holding STCW 95 certificate.


The technical management of the Norse Merchant Ferries' fleet of 11 ships currently operating on the Irish Sea, the English Channel and Spain to Morocco has been awarded to IndoChina Ship Management (UK). The Norse Merchant fleet transferred into IndoChina's management on June 1.

According to Alastair Evitt, IndoChina's new managing director who has worked within the Acomarit group, and latterly V.Ships, for the last 14

years: "This award is the result of a long and thorough process of sitting down with the owner to find out exactly what they required."

He added: "Third party ship management has become very competitive. "Our focus is to investigate the market and move into specialised niche sectors."

Mr Evitt said that IndoChina was aiming to carry out third party ship management in a "different way": "For the Norse Merchant Fleet, our remuneration does not involve a standard management fee. Instead it is based on both our performance and that of the client's.

"Additionally, we have our expertise located at the point of the ferry operations.

"You cannot run such a diverse ferry fleet from a central office. This means higher overheads for IndoChina, but we identified that we had to have an interface at the point of operation."

IndoChina Ship Management (UK) established a major presence in Liverpool in March last year as a 50/50 joint venture between the UK arm of Hong Kong-headquartered IndoChina Ship Management Group and Bibby Line. This followed the acquisition by IndoChina of Bibby-Harrison Management Services in 2003.

According to Mr Evitt, IndoChina's links with Bibby Line, in particular the latter's offshore interests, has exposed it to the high safety standards of that sector. "We want to integrate these standards into the blue water fleet," he said.

June 13
Acknowledgements: Ian Collard, Jim Edgar, Chris Jones, Kevin Bennett, C.J. Lawrenson, Tony Brennan, Alex Mc Cormac, John Lewis and "others"



Great efforts have been made to catch up with submitted material and material collected by myself during the past week. Unfortunately the material has not always been posted in chronological order, as it has some newsworthy items have been posted earlier. It is anticipated that the final backlog of material, mainly collected by myself will have been cleared by the end of the week.


An update supplement has been issued to the popular comprehensive biennial guide to passenger ship and boat services around Britain and Ireland. For further details of the guide and supplement



Swansea Coastguard coordinated the rescue of two young men from deep mud off Burnham beach before the tide came up on the afternoon of June 06. The Coastguard Mud Rescue Team and their equipment were transported to the stranded casualties using the Burnham Hovercraft and were set down within 10 metres of the two and the team was able to free them and transport them back to safe ground.

The boys aged 14 and 19, from Kingswood, Bristol, had gone out about half a mile over the beach at around 11am but got into difficulty in an area which can become dangerous with thick sticky mud and quicksand. A member of the public saw them struggling at 12.40pm and called 999 for the Coastguard using a mobile phone.

The Burnham Hovercraft, called SPIRIT OF LELAINA which assisted in the rescue today came into service available as a search and rescue unit just 4 days ago. Swansea Coastguard were satisfied that training with the Burnham Coastguard Mud Rescue Team and the new Burnham Hovercraft resulted in a speedy response to today’s incident.

Swansea Coastguard urge people to always check tide times before venturing out any distance from shore.


The Port of Larne web site has received a makeover:

North Western Ship Repairers of Birkenhead now have a very interesting web site at



Irish Ferries are offering cheap day returns to Dublin between July 10 and August 28 for just £9.00 on sailings from Holyhead to Ireland. Child fares are £2.50

Exclusive discounts on Dublin’s City Tour Buses, meaning that adults can see the city for £8 and children for £4. 20% off admission price for adults or free admission for one child when accompanied by two full paying adults visiting Dublin Zoo

Alternatively, for the more adventurous, there is the Mystery Half Day Tour. Departing from Dublin at 1pm, the tour will take in some of Ireland’s loveliest countryside

Pembroke – Rosslare fares are from  £10  Adult and £3 child for travel on the ISLE OF INISHMORE.

As with Dublin, Irish Ferries has once arranged a number of deals with some of the leading attractions:

Soak up a bit of Irish culture and enjoy a complimentary Heritage Island Explorers pass. The pass will entitle the bearer to special entrance prices to all Heritage Island attractions in the South East, including 50% off the Waterford Crystal Tour. The pass will also allow Irish Ferries customers entry to the Dunbrody Emigrant Ship and Irish National Heritage Park

Take a walk on the wild side by visiting Fota Wildlife Park. Known across Europe for its breeding of endangered species, there is free admission for one child when accompanied by two full paying adults or 20% off the adult rate when not accompanied by children

To find out more about Irish Ferries day-trips and mini cruises, contact a member of the dedicated Irish Ferries team on 08705 171717 or visit


The recent air traffic control problems obviously spurred Irish Ferries to issue the following press release!


3 June 2004

A beautiful sunny day in UK and Ireland, summer holidays around the corner, and air traffic control has gone down again across the UK, leaving thousands of people stranded en route to their holidays.

Isn't it time we looked again at where we go on holiday, and how we get there? Ferry travel is now highly luxurious, and having your car with you on holiday gives you the ultimate freedom on what to do and when.

And, in today's world of delays and airport problems, ferries are one of THE most reliable forms of getting from A to B.

Irish Ferries in particular is raising the game on comfort and reliability with its giant cruise ferry Ulysses (in the Guinness Book of Records no less), which is proving to be something of a world-beater when it comes to reliability.

Since her maiden voyage on March 25th 2001, the vessel has not lost even one sailing to weather despite the storms which have gripped the Irish Sea over the past three years. In fact, Irish Ferries are confident that Ulysses is not only the biggest cruise ferry in the world, but probably the most reliable too.

With four return sailings per day between Dublin and Holyhead, Ulysses has operated nearly half a million sailings in the period since her introduction covering an overall distance of 260,000 nautical miles - a distance equal to twelve times around the world.

Just £99 for a summer short break return trip for 2 people with their car to Ireland - the cheapest ever! and you'll get there..

So if you can't face another day at the airport, but fancy the open road, wind in your hair, and planning your own destiny - oh and you fancy a good craic - Irish Ferries and Ireland are for you this summer! With return fares staring at just £99 for a car and two passengers - inclusive of all taxes, it’s simply to good to miss.


The Sunday sailing of the SCILLONIAN is a saviour for Saturday's fogbound visitors to the islands.

Thick fog on Friday and Saturday caused massive delays to flights to and from the islands. It resulted in two sailings on the SCILLONIAN on Saturday. Unfortunately there were too many passengers for the boat. So 15 passengers volunteered to get off the vessel and spend the night in Penzance.

Luckily for them Sunday had a Pirate FM SCILLONIAN Sunday sailing to Scilly scheduled.

Some fog bound passengers were lucky enough to get seats on the jet propelled boats "The Cyclone", "The Wizard" and "Lightening" which did trips to and from the mainland for desperate passengers.

[JHL's note: It should be noted that these three craft are RIBS! Must have been quite an interesting voyage to on these diminutive vessels! only intended for inter-island travel.]



The Royal Navy’s biggest public event of the year, Navy Days at Her Majesty’s Naval Base Devonport in Plymouth, takes place on Saturday-Monday, 28-30th. August, 2004.

Unique now to Devonport, the largest naval base in Western Europe, this biennial occasion offers the opportunity to go on board and meet the crews of Royal Navy ships and submarines as well as those of visiting foreign navies. Amongst them will be the helicopter carrier, HMS Ocean, the Royal Navy’s largest warship; the new commando ships HMS Albion and HMS BULWARK; frigates such as HMS Montrose and HMS Norfolk and the submarine, HMS Trenchant.

The historic South Yard will be open to visitors with its Museum and buildings dating from 1694, together with an exhibition area comprising displays from the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force, military and naval museums, maritime organisations and the defence industry. In contrast will be the action of each afternoon’s display combining for the first time Royal Navy aircraft, ships and Royal Marine Commandos.

DML is the commercial presence in the Dockyard and will be opening some of its facilities for the first time during Navy Days including Plymouth’s largest building, the Frigate Refit Complex, the Weapons and Rigging Shops.

Demand for submarine visits will be high and to assist in this, entry tickets will be issued at set times throughout each day. Such tickets are free but cannot be reserved in advance.

Navy Days will commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of D-Day in which Plymouth and the South West played such a significant part.

A minimum daily attendance of 20,000 visitors is anticipated

HMS SOUTHAMPTON arrived Liverpool on Friday [June 11] evening for a weekend visit and berthed at Canada #3 Branch Dock. She will be open to the public on June 13.

HMS MANCHESTER arrived Liverpool on Saturday June 12 and berthed at Huskisson #1 Branch Dock.


GRAND TURK the replica sixth rate 18th Century frigate operated by Turk Phoenix Ltd arrived at Canning Half Tide basin on the evening tide June 12, in preparation for next week's River Festival. Her entry to the dock was preceded by a cavalcade of small sailing and motor boats which had gathered off the river gate.


When it was announced that Trinity House had decided to wind down its Penzance Depot, fears were expressed for the future of the Trinity House National Lighthouse Museum which occupies part of the historic depot building. 

A report from BBC Radio Cornwall confirms these fears with a report that the museum collection could be relocated to Plymouth Dome.

Residents in Penzance are angry at proposals to move an historic museum from the town to Plymouth .

The National Lighthouse Museum is run by Trinity House, which says the centre gets about 6,000 visitors a year.

It is now considering moving the collection of lighthouse artefacts to the Plymouth Dome.

But supporters of the museum in Penzance say harbour redevelopment plans could see funds made available to extend the attraction.

The proposed move to Plymouth has been welcomed by Chris Murray, who is chairman of the Devon 's Top Attractions organisation.

He said Plymouth needed something new and the collection would be seen by more people if it was moved to the city.

"We have got the National Marine Aquarium, and the Mayflower Centre opening up as well on the Barbican, and it is a fantastic location which has a whole caucus of wonderful activities going on.

"It would also be great for Plymouth to have a quality collection of national significance," he said.

The Dome is situated alongside Smeaton's Tower - a former lighthouse - on Plymouth Hoe.

One of the directors of Trinity House, David Brewer, said a decision would be made at the end of the month.


L.E. NIAMH is to sail the Atlantic on a goodwill and promotional visit to the USA and Canada this summer.


Following the success of her 2003 transatlantic voyage and tour of North America, the replica Famine Ship, JEANIE JOHNSTON, has commenced her 2004 Ireland Tour.

The ship will be open to the public on the Custom House Quay, North Wall (opposite Jury’s Inn) from Friday June 4th to Tuesday June 8th 2004.

Visitors can experience both the conditions endured by the emigrants of 150 years ago and walk the decks of a traditional Tall Ship. The JEANIE JOHNSTON coped magnificently with all of the gales and storms that the Atlantic could muster between February and November 2003.

1.The accommodation deck is converted to a Famine Ship Museum in Port so that visitors can experience the atmosphere and sounds of a crowded emigrant ship of the 1850’s.

2.Organisations and groups can host events on board when in Port, by pre-booking, paying a fee and organising own catering.

3. The ship is licensed only to carry crew. 24 berths are available for sail trainees (see dates and duration of short voyages below). Trainees must be in reasonable health, some will and some may not have sailing experience. 


DUBLIN Port Visit, June 4th to June 8th
Located at: Custom House Quays, Dublin Docklands – opposite Jury's Inn
Open for visits:11.00am to 5.00pm each day (2.00pm to 5.00pm on June 8th)
Admission: €5 per adult, €12 per family and €3 concessions
Sail from Dublin to Derry on June 9th, arrive June 12th

DERRY Port Visit, June 12th to June 13th
Located at: Queens Quay
Open for visits:2.00pm to 6.00pm June 12th and 11.00am to 5.00pm June 13th.
Admission: €5 per adult, €12 per family and €3 concessions
Sail from Derry to Belfast on June 14th, arrive June 17th

BELFAST Port Visit, June 18th to June 20th
Located at: The Odyssey Centre
Open for visits:11.00am to 5.00pm each day
Admission: €5 per adult, €12 per family and €3 concessions
Sail from Belfast to Derry on June 21st, arrive June 24thth

Second DERRY Port Visit, June 25th to June 27th
Located at: Queens Quay
Open for visits:11.00am to 5.00pm each day
Admission: €5 per adult, €12 per family and €3 concessions
Sail from Derry to Killybegs on June 28th, arrive July 1st

KILLYBEGS Port Visit, July 2nd to July 4th
Open to the Public:11.00am to 5.00pm each day
Admission: €5 per adult, €12 per family and €3 concessions


EUROPEAN SEAWAY which had been at A&P Falmouth acting as an accommodation ship for crews off refitting P&O ships arrived at A&P Birkenhead around 17:15 on June 10. She berthed in the wet basin.

EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY undertook a special charter sailing in the early hours of this morning (13 June), sailing Larne - Cairnryan at 04:30 with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and road crew aboard. The band had played Dublin last night and are in Edinburgh tonight.

The EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY usually lies over at Cairnryan on a Saturday evening following the arrival of her 20:00 ex Larne, however last night she sailed for Larne again around 23:00 (believed light), berthing around 00:45 at Curran Quay. Following her charter sailing she was back in position for her 07:30 Cairnryan - Larne sailing. Last night provided a rare opportunity to see the EUROPEAN HIGHLANDER (on MacKean Quay) and EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY berthed together at Larne.


The Torpoint Ferry service could be slashed when new 'superferries' are introduced on the crossing next year. Proposals unveiled at a meeting last night would mean for 10 hours a day just one of the three new superferries would be running and there would be less frequent services, with fewer ferries, for most of the rest of the day.

Ferry chiefs told the meeting in Torpoint on June 08 that current proposals were to reduce the service from three ferries to two outside peak times: changing from a three-ferry, 10-minute service in the middle of the day to a two-ferry, 15-minute one; and moving to a one-ferry half-hour service from 8pm-6am when demand is lowest.

Members of the committee which runs the vital Devonport-Torpoint link expressed concern and said passengers would face longer waits.

Bridge and ferries manager David List told the meeting that as the ferries were bigger and more costly to run, he was looking to make 'reasonable economies' to keep costs down.

He said: "The real cost of a two-way crossing is around £4 per vehicle, but we get only 70p." Mr List added: "If we stuck to our present schedule, there would be lots of spare capacity."

Joint committee member Sheryll Murray from Millbrook said there were concerns over the proposed new service.

She said: "The people of Torpoint are being penalised by being made to wait longer for a ferry - an extra 15-minute wait is not fair on the community."

Torpoint town councillor Ray Skelly suggested keeping the present timetable after the new ferries were introduced to test the effect.

Mr List said: "We can run three ferries 24-7 but you will have to pay - if you are happy to pay double the toll we can afford all sorts of things."

A number of options were considered at the meeting, including a suggestion of raising tolls to up to £5 for tourists while keeping them at 50p for locals.

Local man Mike Howells suggested more flexibility was needed, and said extra ferries should be laid on when queues started to build up.

Mr List said the logistics of quickly bringing a ferry into service were difficult, particularly with regards to staffing.

Torpoint resident 'Mac' Mackay said locals were reluctant to use the ferries at present because of their unreliability, and businesses were deterred from coming to Torpoint.

Torpoint mayor Alan Brimacombe argued: "It's important to maintain a 10-minute service in the day when business activity is at its peak. SWERDA has just invested £6.1 million in Trevol Business Park, which will draw more traffic from across the water."

Today Devon and Cornwall Business Council chairman Tim Jones said reducing the frequency of the ferries would be a backward step as economic growth in Plymouth looked to expand into South East Cornwall.

He said: "It's not just about commuters. It is about growing the capacity of Torpoint. It is up to businesses to prove there is a demand there."

The new six-lane ferries, costing almost £5 million each, should all be in service by autumn 2005.

Mr List said consultations were still going on, and said proposals would be put to the Joint Committee on July 2.


A&P Falmouth breaks the ice with two polar visitors

Just as the port of Falmouth bids farewell to one polar travelling visitor, a second icebreaking ship has sailed into the port for a scheduled refit at A&P Falmouth. The Royal Navy's Antarctic Patrol Vessel HMS ENDURANCE has just docked ahead of a multi million pound mid-life refit that is scheduled to take four months. This is hot on the heels of the departure of another icebreaker, the M/V Polar Star, which left Falmouth two weeks ago following a refit.

The award of the refit contract is a major coup for A&P Falmouth, as is the first of its type to be awarded to a commercial shipyard for over a decade and demonstrates the expertise and proven track record of Falmouth over other competing yards which also bid for the contract.

Whilst in dry dock at Falmouth, refit work on HMS ENDURANCE will include complete hull blasting and repainting, general refit work, steelwork and the overhaul of the main 3,000 hp engines and auxiliary equipment.

The fourteen year-old Norwegian built Class-1 icebreaker was originally named MV Polar Circle. The Royal Navy chartered her in 1991 and she was later commissioned as HMS Polar Circle, subsequently being renamed HMS ENDURANCE.

Her mission, according to the Royal Navy, is: 'To patrol and survey the Antarctic and South Atlantic, maintaining Sovereign Presence with Defence Diplomacy and supporting the global community of Antarctica'. During her annual seven-month tours of duty of the Antarctic, the ship keeps close links with the Foreign Office, United Kingdom Hydrographic Office and the British Antarctic Survey.


Mr Child said: "We are delighted to have been successful in attracting HMS ENDURANCE to Falmouth and my journey to Portsmouth to accompany the ship to A&P Falmouth is our way of showing the Royal Navy the importance of the contract to the yard. "This is our second refit contract on an icebreaker ship in a short period of time and we have relished the opportunity to work on such specialised ships. We have just received a glowing letter of gratitude from the President of Polar Star's parent company praising the efforts of everyone at the yard for the work carried out on their ship. I can only hope that the completion of HMS ENDURANCE in October will meet a similar seal of approval from the Royal Navy."

Only two weeks ago A&P Falmouth completed a seven week refit contract on Finnish built icebreaker M/V Polar Star which is operated as an expedition cruising vessel by Polar Star Expeditions, a company of Karlsen Shipping.

M/V Polar Star is equipped to carry up to 105 passengers on expedition cruises that by definition are to remote destinations. On leaving Falmouth the ship is bound for an expedition to Spitsbergen in Norway where passengers can expect to see polar bears and reindeer along with other artic dwelling mammals.

June 06


MALLARD - The Windermere Car ferry recommenced service at the end of May following a £250,000 refit. The ferry which carries people and vehicles across the lake, has been given new engines, cables and pulleys and a new coat of paint.


It appears that a new ship may sail the Irish Sea next year replacing SEACAT ISLE OF MAN and LADY OF MANN. An as yet unidentified vessel is appearing when the online booking computer is used for dates in 2005. The new vessel may well be a large INCAT vessel.


RIVERDANCE is reported to have experienced and onboard fire on May 28.

The vessel was moored at the No 1 berth at the harbour. The blaze started when a tug-tractor on board caught fire. Three fire engines, a major incident support unit and an incident support unit attended the scene at 19:54 hrs. The Coastguard also attended but it is believed there were no casualties. 

A Coastguard spokesman said: "A tractor unit that was pulling a unit from the vessel set on fire as it was coming off the vessel." Sub Officer Steve Palmer, of Lancaster Fire Station, said: "The fire itself was very small. The hydraulic oil in the tractor overheated. There was the potential to be a large incident but luckily it wasn't. 

The only people on board were a few crew and the tractor workers. Nobody was evacuated



Irish Ferries¹ giant cruise ferry ULYSSES, the world¹s largest car ferry, is proving to be something of a world-beater when it comes to reliability.

Since her maiden voyage on March 25th 2001, the vessel has not lost even one sailing to weather despite the storms which have gripped the Irish Sea over the past three years.

With four return sailings per day between Dublin and Holyhead, ULYSSES has operated over 4,400 sailings in the period since her introduction covering an overall distance of 260,000 nautical miles - a distance equal to twelve times around the world.

Commenting, Irish Ferries sales manager Declan Mescall said with not one sailing lost to weather in over three years, ULYSSES is proving to be an excellent investment and may even be the world¹s most reliable car ferry.¹

Twelve decks high and weighing in at almost 51,000 gross registered tonnes,

ULYSSES is acknowledged by the Guinness Book of Records as the world¹s largest car ferry.

On board is almost three miles of vehicle lane parking space - enough to carry 1,342 cars or 240 articulated trucks. Its passenger facilities include two cinemas, a shopping arcade and numerous restaurants and lounge bars.


The BBC reported last week that a 10-strong team of ghost-busting experts has detected what they believe is paranormal activity at Plymouth's naval dockyard.

The analysts spent two nights examining psychic activity in the dock's Hangman's Cell.

The Navy allowed the team in after numerous reports of strange sightings around Devonport Naval Base.

These include reports of a girl's ghost seen playing in the Master Ropemaker's House and a bearded sailor.

Since World War II, The Master Ropemaker's House has built a reputation as one of Plymouth's most haunted houses.

The Hangman's Cell, where 141 French prisoners-of-war were said to have been executed, contains what is believed to be the only remaining working gallows in Britain.

One of the team, Barbara Jones, from Abercynon, South Wales, said they finished their vigil at 0500 BST on Sunday. She said the team of 10 all believed "beyond any degree of doubt" that they had detected paranormal activity at the base.

The hangman's cell was paranormally "very active," particularly below the hatch through which those hanged dropped.

There were changes in temperature in the cell, she said.

Although they did not see any ghosts, they had "very good" photographic evidence, yet to be analysed, which had them "jumping up and down."

Earlier, team leader Carole Bromley, known as Goldy, from West Drayton, Middlesex, said she had already seen a ghostly young girl and "quite a few figures" on the base.

The paranormal researchers brought toys and blackboards for child ghosts to play with.

They also set up objects, including a made-up bed, balls, marbles and furniture in an attempt to detect poltergeists.

Their report is expected to be submitted to Commander Charles Crichton in the next few weeks.

Before the exercise, he said: "The people who walk here report spiritual activity to me all over the place - it's rampant."

Devonport is the largest naval base in western Europe.

It was founded in the 17th Century by William of Orange.


Whilst in dry-dock, work will include final removal of the hull launch 'poppets' and complete coating of its underwater hull, plus other work as required by BAE Systems. In order to achieve the high standards of paintwork required for the vessel, the hull is to be covered under a special containment system, which will provide protection from the weather and allows heating to be applied to suit the coating application should the climatic conditions not achieve specified requirements.


EUROPEAN SEAWAY - it is believed that the cross channel ship which has been laid up at A&P Falmouth for some time will move to A&P Birkenhead for lay-up - arriving Birkenhead on June 09. 

Whilst at Falmouth she was being used as an accommodation ship for P&O staff that were working on their other ships at Falmouth to save putting them into local hotels.


The threat to Dún Laoghaire's future as a ferryport has been lifted with the signing of a €50 million deal between Stena Line and Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company. The contract, which involves a cut in harbour dues of over €1 million annually, aims to secure the ferryport's role in Stena's HSS fast-ferry Irish Sea link for the next seven years.

Neither Stena Line nor Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company would confirm the cut in rates, but Mr Michael Hanahoe, chief executive of the harbour company, said negotiations were "premised on the basis that the new arrangement would be profitable for both parties", and "recognised that the ferry market had been declining due to the competition from low-cost airlines".

Stena runs its conventional ferry from Dublin Port, and there had been speculation that it might move the HSS across the bay if it could not secure a satisfactory deal with Dún Laoghaire.

This would have broken a link with Britain, dating back to 1826, and would have represented a major blow to the borough and to the harbour company, which depends for 70 per cent of its income on the ferry link - reduced from a 100 per cent dependence when the port became a corporate entity.

Stena Line has carried 10 million passengers on the STENA EXPLORER since the HSS was introduced eight years ago.

Mr Hanahoe said that the company hopes dependence on the ferry business will be reduced when it completes development of the Carlisle Pier and a separate plan for its harbour yard.

Its marina is understood to have been loss-making, but the company earns some €600,000 annually from its pay and display car parking.

The harbour company has an annual turnover of €11 million and all of its revenue is invested back into Dún Laoghaire, Mr Hanahoe emphasises. It plans to spend €3 million on resurfacing the East pier.

This follows the discovery of major erosion last year on the West and East piers at an estimated remedial cost of €10 million.

The new agreement replaces the existing ferry contract which was due to expire in 2006.


MERSEY VENTURE was beached alongside the promenade wall at Kings Dock, Liverpool during low tide on Friday June 04, 2004 for attention to her propellers by North Western Ship Repairers.



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