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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


August 2004

August 26


Please note your web master is away from tomorrow August 27 to August 31 inclusive. Emails will not be responded to during this period. Urgent contact via text / voice to mobile only. .


Check out the listings for yet more nautical and other interesting items added to the current list of auctions which end between August 29 and September 04. .


The 2003 Irish Sea Shipping Compilation Photographic CD-ROM will be available during September. Work on the CD-ROM is almost complete. 


SEACAT ISLE OF MAN under went a quick dry docking on Tuesday August 24 at Canada Graving Dock to undertake minor hull repairs.

SUPERSEACAT TWO - was withdrawn from the Dublin route for the day and operated the Isle of Man Services. Dublin passengers being routed via Holyhead and Irish Ferries.

CARNIVAL CORPORATION - Cruise Call Correction
GRAND PRINCESS which was shown in the cruise call list as anchoring off Dún Laoghaire on August 30, will actually call at Dublin, on August 31.


PRIDE OF BILBAO - the ship chartered from Irish Continental Group is due in Dublin on December 29 operating a Christmas Cruise.


ISLE OF INISHMORE - a 33 year old Polish national died after falling overboard from the 14:30 sailing from Pembroke Dock to Rosslare on Wednesday August 26.

The body was recovered from the water and taken to Withybush Hospital, but was pronounced dead on arrival.

Dyfed-Powys Police said there were no suspicious circumstances, and are continuing with enquiries.

Milford Haven Coastguards say a helicopter from RAF Chivenor lifted the man out of the water at St Anne's Head.

August 22
Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Michael Bracken, Ian Collard, Tommy Dover and "others"


Due to predicted adverse weather, your web master has decided not to go to the Isles of Scilly during the first part of this week. However, I will be away next weekend as planned to attend Navy Days. At present I intend to depart on Friday, though this may be revised to Thursday. Therefore there will be another update during the coming week.


The second and final round of the Irish Sea Ships Yahoo Group Poll to select the most popular name for a SEACAT ISLE OF MAN replacement is now in progress and will remain open until September 04. The selection has now been narrowed down to the five most popular. Votes may now be cast for just one name in the second round.


The British Waterways Board is planning major work on the Canning Half Tide Dock this coming winter.

Maintenance work on the dock gates and bridges is due to commence in October. Work will also be undertaken on the Hartley Bridge. Work on this bridge is likely to take four weeks.

The Canning Half-Tide dock is likely to be drained from mid October 2004. During the time that pedestrian access across the river gates is obstructed it appears that temporary facilities will be provided to allow a crossing between the Pumphouse Public House and the opposite quayside.

Work on the dock is expected to take place right through the winter and last for approximately six months. However, the duration is expected to be weather dependent.


PONT-AVEN the company flagship remains out of service due to technical problems. She had departed Brest bound for Plymouth to resume service on Tuesday August 17 but was forced to put back to the French port.

Brittany Ferries confirmed that the most recent difficulties experienced on the Pont-Aven appeared to be related to last week's problems. PONT-AVEN is not expected to resume sailings from Plymouth until at least Wednesday August 25, 2004. Sailings from Cork should recommence next weekend. 

LATEST NEWS: PONT-AVEN reported departed BREST bound for SANTANDER at 22:00 on August 22. When she returns to service she will be operating on reduced power with consequently longer crossing times and a modified time table.


SNOWDROP - On Thursday August 19 at 14:15 WOODCHURCH was formally named SNOWDROP reviving a previously used Wallasey Ferries name. She is the third Mersey Ferry to carry the name. With this renaming all vessels on the Mersey now carry Wallasey Ferries names. 


STENA LYNX III experienced an engine room fire on Tuesday August 17. She was out of service for repairs until the 10:45 sailing from Fishguard the following day though was reported running on three engines and behind schedule.


Previously unseen footage of an historic car ferry which was decommissioned in 1966 is to be shown publicly for the first time.

The 1950s film of the Aust ferry was donated to an exhibition to be held at the Severn Crossing Visitors' Centre over the August Bank Holiday.

The ferry took cars and passengers from Aust to Beachley near Chepstow.

The service started in 1931 and was regularly caught on camera, mostly by amateur filmmakers.

The ferry boat, the SEVERN PRINCESS, fell into disrepair after being withdrawn from service but was rescued from Ireland in 1999, needing major restoration work.

Tim Ryan, a founder member of a group which works on the vessel every Sunday, said the restoration project had captured the imagination of the Chepstow community that used to rely on the river ferries.

August 15
Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Michael Bracken, Ian Collard, John Lewis and "others"



Please note that your Web Master will be away between August 23 and 30 visiting the Isles of Scilly and Plymouth for Navy Days. During this period all communication should be via text or voice messages to mobile: 07973 363 370.



The Isle of Man Steam Packet flagship BEN-MY-CHREE, (Manx Gaelic for ‘girl of my heart’) has sailed into the record books with a faultless record of reliability in the first six months of 2004.  Since her arrival in July 1998 she has sailed over 500,000 nautical miles and continues to add to the Steam Packet’s reputation as being the ‘Island’s Lifeline’.

A 100% record, despite a challenging and gruelling year-round schedule of twice-daily return sailings between the Island and Heysham every day except Christmas Day, puts her in a class of her own.

Hamish Ross, Steam Packet Managing Director said, ‘Without a doubt BEN-MY-CHREE is one of the most reliable vessels ever operated by our Company throughout its very long history.  Her reliability record since her arrival in 1998 has been excellent.  She is a fine vessel which, with her carrying capacity and undoubted reliability, has played a major part in our Company’s success in recent years.

Built in Rotterdam at a cost of £24m the BEN-MY-CHREE was purpose built for the Isle of Man market which has seen dramatic increases in carryings by sea since 1996.    A most versatile vessel, she is able to carry a mix of passengers, cars, coaches and freight of all sizes and types.

A further investment of £1.5m. was made in the vessel this year with the completion of a major project extending her passenger accommodation.   This work has created the potential for the vessel to carry an additional 200,000 passengers annually.

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


LINDAROSA had a short period off service for maintenance this week at Liverpool. Her sailings were covered Tuesday to Friday by VARBOLA which normally operates on the Heysham - Belfast service.


STENA SEAFARER departed Canada Graving Dock on Wednesday August 11 following refit.

This week the company announced that it is to upgrade capacity on its Birkenhead-Belfast service in 2005 by chartering two new 26,500 grt Ro-Pax vessels. The two ships are currently under construction at the Visentini shipyard in Italy and will be delivered to NorseMerchant in July and December 2005.

NorseMerchant Group Chief Executive, Derek Sloan, explained this is just the first step in re-launching NorseMerchant as a significant force on the Irish Sea:

"This signifies the start of our five year growth plan, which involves investment in vessels, terminals and systems. Our strength is our route network, which we plan to develop to its full potential, and the addition of these new vessels to our fleet represents major progress in this regard.

"We are currently talking to a number of shipyards about constructing new purpose-built vessels for our Birkenhead - Belfast service, with expected delivery in 2007. We wanted to upgrade our fleet before then, and these two new Visentini vessels will provide us with a perfect interim solution, coming into service in 2005. We are chartering them for an initial three-year period."

According to Managing Director Phillip Shepherd, the two ships will offer extremely high levels of driver and passenger comfort on the Belfast route:

"In addition to overnight Pullman seating, the new ships will offer berths for approximately 500 passengers in en-suite cabins. This gives them a passenger capacity of almost double that of our existing ships, LAGAN VIKING and MERSEY VIKING. Consequently, they will have more spacious public areas including dedicated passenger decks and superb on-board facilities.

"With a service speed of 23 knots, they will greatly improve scheduling and reliability on the Birkenhead - Belfast route. This is particularly important for overnight and time sensitive freight cargo."

The addition of these new vessels to the NorseMerchant Ferries fleet will also allow the company to increase its passenger capabilities on its Birkenhead-Dublin service. LAGAN VIKING and MERSEY VIKING, which have proved to be exceptionally popular Irish Sea vessels, are to be switched from Belfast to the Dublin route, thus restoring a full twice-daily service for both passengers and accompanied freight vehicles.

Phillip Shepherd welcomes this development too: "We have recently restored the passenger service on our Birkenhead - Dublin route using our Ro-Pax Brave Merchant. We are very pleased with the response we have received to date and our customers can now look forward next year to a full Ro-Pax service, matching the service currently offered on Birkenhead - Belfast.

"LAGAN VIKING and MERSEY VIKING will suit the Birkenhead - Dublin route perfectly and we will be free to redeploy BRAVE MERCHANT elsewhere. From a freight perspective, this switch will increase capacity by up to 20% on the route, and will provide a full driver accompanied service. Consequently the introduction of these new vessels will bring significant benefit not just to our Birkenhead - Belfast route but to our Birkenhead - Dublin route too."


The replica emigrant ship will be operating a number of day trips and three day voyages during the second part of August. The ship will also visit Cóbh and Dún Laoghaire over the next two weekends. For details of fares, times of opening for public inspection visit


ALACRITY [454grt] work has been undertaken during the past few days to remove remains of the vessel which ran aground at Portheras Cove, Cornwall in 1963.

Inaccessibility precluded salvage, and the ship began to break up. In 1982 a Royal Marines exercise saw the wreck being blown up. Unfortunately that only had the effect of scattering debris.

This year larger sections of the vessel have surfaced following storms which have potential safety implications. 

To remove the hazard PORTREE II - the former Caledonian Steam Packet Company car ferry, now operated as an offshore support and heavy lift vessel by MoJo Maritime of Penzance was contracted to bring equipment to the beach to remove more sections of the wreck.

Mac Johns of Mojo Maritime Ltd, which was contracted to clear the beach, said: "We have been dealing with this particular wreck since 1987, but this was by far the biggest piece we have removed.

"As a result of its size the only way we could get it out was to excavate it using a digger."

With no road access to the beach Mr Johns decided the only way to get machinery on to the beach was to land it at low tide, which had the potential to be a very tricky operation.

"I've got the experience of doing this sort of job before, but it doesn't get any easier - it can be a very difficult operation," said Mr Johns.

The team from Mojo also cleared around half-a-ton of wreckage that had accumulated at the top of the beach.

"All in all it was a very successful operation," said Mr Johns.


Some time ago it was revealed on Irish Sea Shipping that following refit the WOODCHURCH would be renamed SNOWDROP the name carried by a former Wallasey Ferries vessel.

Following her extensive rebuild WOODCHURCH appears to carry lightly welded plates bearing the name which could obviously be removed quite quickly to perhaps reveal something else.

However, to add to this intrigue it was noticed when travelling on the vessel on Saturday August 15 that the emergency procedure notices carry the words TSMV WOODCHURCH on yellow tape.  Quite clearly discernable on close inspection is the name TSMV ROYAL DAFFODIL beneath!!

Could it be that a swapping of identities could follow? Or could it be that they had too many ROYAL DAFFODIL notices made? 

You are welcome to come to your own conclusions!


The company's interim results published this week reveal that loses for the ferry operations reported an increased loss in the usually weaker first half of the year. Loses rose from £25.1m from £19.9m.

The result includes the Ferrymasters business which, as in 2003, was approximately break- even. The prior year result included a £4.1 million non-recurring charge following an EC requirement to repay previously approved state aid relating to the Portsmouth–Bilbao route. 


The underlying result was therefore £9.3 million lower than the prior year. Excluding the Irish Sea routes that were sold in March 2004 and Ferrymasters, net revenue (turnover less direct variable costs) declined by £16.7 million compared with the first half of 2003. Freight volumes grew by 1% despite the reduction in capacity on the Short Sea but average net freight rates reduced 8% year on year. 


The decline in rates started in the second half of 2003 and continued into the early part of 2004 before stabilising during the second quarter. Tourist vehicle volumes were down 5% year on year, mainly attributable to the Short Sea. Average net tourist vehicle rates increased 6% year on year although significant price competition has developed in the summer period. Passenger numbers decreased in line with the reduction in tourist vehicles and the net on-board spend per passenger fell sharply because of the impact of the rise in cigarette prices following the increase in French tobacco duty towards the end of 2003. As a result, net revenue generated from on-board sales was down by 21%.


The £16.7 million decline in net revenue was only partially offset by cost reductions. Vessel operating costs before depreciation were reduced by £8.3 million by operating one less ship on the Short Sea from April 2004, and by switching to a "lite-nights" service on that route. These savings were reduced by higher fuel costs (£1.7 million) and the costs of operating a new fast craft on the Portsmouth-Caen route. Port and overhead costs were down by £4.1 million, reflecting the benefits of the back office integration during 2003. Depreciation increased by £1.3 million. Hence profit reduced by £9.8 million. Including the Irish Sea routes that were sold and Ferrymasters, the underlying result was £9.3 million lower.


The conclusions of the ongoing fundamental business review are expected to be announced on 28 September. The review is focused on achieving a major improvement in the profitability of the business and will include a reassessment of the carrying value of Ferries' assets, which include goodwill of £105.1 million as at 30 June 2004


CILL AIRNE - the former Port of Cork passenger tender now owned by the Cork Institute of Technology is being offered for sale by auction at noon on Thursday September 09. 

The auction takes place at Imperial Hotel, South Mall, Cork. She is being "sold as seen"

Details available from Dominic J Daly, Auctioneer, Pembroke House, Pembroke Street, Cork, Tel (353) 21 4277399.

The vessel was designed by the marine Architects responsible for the River Mersey Ferries and looks very similar in design, though was built in the early 60s by Liffey Dockyard, Dublin. 

Her slightly older sister BLARNA who has been based in the USA for many years was also recently advertised for sale by US shipbrokers.

Unfortunately these two vessels were built just as the trans-Atlantic liner trade was collapsing and in many ways were constructed too late.


Two people were taken to hospital after a chemical escaped from a container in Runcorn docks on Tuesday. The cargo was being unloaded from the tanker CORAL ACROPORA [operated by Veder Rederijzaken of the Netherlands]  when the gas was discharged at about 1150 BST.

The gas, vinyl chlorine monomer, was discharged into the air. It dispersed and no-one outside the immediate area was endangered. The two injured people were taken to Countess of Chester Hospital, in Chester as a precaution.

The incident was classified as a "cloudburst", which means it was treated as a major incident by the police, fire and ambulance services.



The problem followed at leak in a cooling valve which caused the auxiliary engine room to flood taking on a reported 1,200 tonnes of sea water.

The withdrawal of the ship has caused major disruption given the fact that she serves several routes during the week.

Latest news suggests that the ship should be back in service from Tuesday.

This is how the story has been reported in Ireland and the UK:

From: Irish Independent 14 August 2004

HUNDREDS of Irish holidaymakers heading home from France will have travel hundreds of extra miles this morning because their planned sailing from the port of Roscoff has been cancelled.

The tourists were scheduled to catch the 10am ferry PONT-AVEN to Cork arriving there this evening. But the Brittany Ferries 41,000 tonne flagship has been forced into dry dock in Brest for major repairs after its auxiliary engine room was flooded with 1,200 tonnes of sea water when a leak occurred in a cooling valve.

Last night the tourists - many with young families and tired after long car journeys - were being diverted to St Malo and Caen where it is hoped to accommodate them on services to the UK.

The holidaymakers will then have to travel across Britain and catch ferries from Swansea, Fishguard and Holyhead adding hundreds of extra miles to their journeys.

Brittany Ferries last night confirmed that it has had to cancel planned sailings into and out of Cork today. The engine room mishap has also forced the ferry company to cancel sailings from Plymouth to Roscoff and to Santander in Northern Spain.

The damaged valve was spotted on Tuesday during routine maintenance work while the ferry was in port in Plymouth.

It is estimated that between 2,000 and 3,000 passengers have had their holiday plans hit by the breakdown.

Britanny Ferries accepted that people would be upset but said: "The reality is that Brittany Ferries is annoyed that this has happened in the middle of the tourist season.

"What we've found though is that people understand that this is an outside problem and that the safety of a vessel cannot be compromised."

Brittany Ferries said it is trying to contact as many affected passengers as possible to make alternative travel arrangements, either with other ferry companies or by re-routing through the UK.

"When we found out on Thursday, we sat down straight away and started contacting passengers. Anyone we have numbers for we are ringing, " said spokesman Roddy Guiney.

However he admitted that Irish people holidaying in France or French people visiting here will extremely difficult to contact.

"The likelihood is that hundreds of these passengers will turn up at the ports today but no boat will be there for them.

"There will be people who won't be reached but we're optimistic that if they are holidaying, they will see the story in the newspapers or hear it on the radio," he added.

Any passengers who do not want to use alternative arrangements are being fully refunded. The company said they will also make ex-gratia payments to customers for incontinence.

"It's very hard to quantify the monetary value of stress caused and time lost for somebody whose holiday has been cut short," said Dermot Jewell, Chief Executive of the Consumers' Association.

"Granted this is an unforeseen problem but I would expect - and so should the passenger - some sort of compensation or free travel in the future."

The PONT-AVEN, which can hold 2,200 people, 650 cars and 20 lorries, was commissioned earlier this year amid much fanfare. It is the first northern European car ferry with facilities normally found only on cruise ships, including an open deck pool with retractable glass roof.

Brittany Ferries said it is optimistic the vessel will return to full service next week but it is believed the passenger and freight backlogs will take over a week to clear after that. Passengers booked on this evening's Cork-to-Roscoff sailing who have not already made alternative travel arrangements should ring the company's office at Ringaskiddy on 021-4277801.

From: BBC Radio Cornwall:

Repairs to a ferry company's £100m flagship which has only been in service for five months are going to take longer than first thought.

Brittany Ferries' ship PONT-AVEN was taken out of service at Millbay Docks on Tuesday after a cracked cooling valve let water into auxiliary engines.

Now in Brest , France , for repairs, she will not be ready for the Plymouth to Spain route on Sunday as hoped.

Management hope to ready for a sailing to Roscoff next Tuesday.

BBC South West Business Correspondent Neil Gallacher said: "To lose their brand new £100m flagship at the height of the season is embarrassing, but a lack of information is making the situation worse.

"There's no information whatsoever about the travel changes on the Brittany ferries website, and passengers are being asked not to ring the company either because this is jamming the call centre."

The firm has said it will call passengers who are affected.

From Western Morning News - August 13

Brittany Ferries is thought to have lost around £5 million from the breakdown of its flagship vessel, the PONT-AVEN, business leaders claimed last night.

The new £100 million luxury ship broke down at Millbay Docks in Plymouth on Tuesday causing a number of crossings to France and Spain to be cancelled.

Yesterday it was finally moved out of the port's only berth, allowing some services to France to resume. At around lunchtime the vessel set off to sail to Brest in France, where it will undergo more repairs on its cooling system

A spokesman for Brittany Ferries said: "The engines are now working and the ship will sail to France for more repairs. We do not have the resources here for commercial ships like the PONT-AVEN."

During a routine check on Tuesday, engineers found a crack had appeared in a cooling valve and the engine room rapidly filled with water.

The water was pumped out overnight with the help of the Ministry of Defence and Devon Fire Brigade, and the damaged valve is being examined.

Two further crossing have been cancelled, as the vessel remains out of commission. The departures from Plymouth to Roscoff, that were to have been operated by PONT-AVEN, at 9am this morning and 11pm tonight have been cancelled.

Tim Jones, chairman of the Devon and Cornwall Business Council said the incident would have cost the company in the region of £5 million in total.

He said: "It's a huge body blow to the company and it could not have come at a worse time. It's a PR calamity. It's their flagship vessel which has been surrounded by publicity.

"Brittany Ferries is a big company in Plymouth and we feel a lot of sympathy for them. It's going to take an awful lot of PR to get back on track but the ship's quality, capacity and speed will help."

Since the PONT-AVEN left the ferry port, all departures for Roscoff on board one of Brittany Ferries' other ships - the Duc de Normandie - will continue as normal.

Brittany Ferries' staff are contacting passengers booked on the cancelled PONT-AVEN services and re-booking those wishing to travel on other crossings. Those not wishing to change their arrangements are being given a full refund.

The spokesman added: "We aim to re-book all affected passengers on our services and we are giving free on-board accommodation, subject to availability, to those booked on an overnight crossing from a port other than the one they were originally booked on."

On Tuesday the 2pm Plymouth to Roscoff sailing - which was booked out to its 2,400 capacity - was cancelled. Wednesday's 1pm crossing from Plymouth to Santander, Spain, was also cancelled causing chaos to the 1,800 passengers booked on the service.

Thousands of holidaymakers have been inconvenienced throughout the last three days, some have been forced to cancel their holidays.

Others have travelled to Portsmouth or Poole to catch other ferries. It is hoped that the PONT-AVEN will resume normal service next week.

However the company said that this cannot be confirmed until investigations have been completed. Any passengers booked on affected sailings in the next few days who wish to cancel are being given the option of a full refund.

August 08
Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Tommy Dover, John Lewis and "others"



Today's update is a little bit smaller than anticipated due to other commitments. However, material will continue to be posted during the coming week on a rolling programme basis. If you have not visited the site since last Sunday please check "What's New" for details of all weekday updates.


MALLARD the Windermere vehicle and passenger ferry is due to be taken out of service during Wednesday evening August 11 for minor repair work to be carried out. Sailings cease at 18:00 to allow remedial work to be carried out to the engine and drive shaft. The ferry is expected to be back in service for the first run at 6.50am the following day. The work follows on from the ferry's £270,000 refit earlier this year.



Coasters calling to the port this week included SCOT PIONEER, UNION SATURN, CROWN ALIZEE and CELTIC CARRIER [ex PAMELA EVERARD].

Wicklow Regatta on Bank Holiday Monday August 2,  started off with a bad thunder storm early in the afternoon and torrential rain lasting over a hour.  During the storm Wicklow lifeboat was launched for a search  after a call was made to say someone was in trouble near Wicklow head, she was joined by the Coastguard helicopter Rescue 116. After a search of the area the rescue services were stood down. 

The helicopter and lifeboat returned to Wicklow, the helicopter made some low level passes in front of the skiff racing spectators on the New Pier, before returning to Dublin Airport. In between the races Wicklow lifeboat and the ILB carried out some man overboard exercises off the New Pier. 

Wicklow Rowing club held it's Annual rowing Regatta , with the starting line at the New Pier. The club took line honours in the Schoolgirl and Senior races. The festival ended with a firework's display on the East Pier. 

Traffic sighting's included the Irish lights tender GRANUAILE northbound, ARKLOW CASTLE, EMMA and the small Rosslare based tug TR.1 southbound.  JOPI continued to work on the coastal protection project at Bray Head. The work vessel LADY OH is also working on the project , she is based at Greystones harbour. The mussel trawler's were working off the Codling bank late in the week.


Arklow shipping's new vessel ARKLOW ROCK was noted off her home port on Friday morning, she later resumed her passage south. An other visitor at Arklow recently was the new Custom's vessel RCC SUIRBHÉIR. She only spent a short period in the port.


Stena Line has reported an unprecedented 44% increase in freight traffic between the UK and Ireland. This week the company announced its Irish Sea business increase during the first six months of the year was mainly on the central corridor routes between Holyhead - Dún Loaghaire and Dublin.

In the opposite direction volumes from Ireland rose 36%. These increases compared with an overall 11% increase across the whole northern European route network.

The increase is partly attributable to the introduction of the 44,000 grt STENA ADVENTURER according to the company which offers a freight capacity of 3,400 lane metres and accommodates 900 passengers.

The Fleetwood - Larne service recently acquired from P&O is also reported to be doing well.


The DEPV HIGHER FERRY which operates a passenger and vehicle service across the River Dart between Dartmouth and Kingswear was out of action for over eight hours on August 5, 2004.

The vessel grounded at the Dartmouth Slipway when the vessel was offloading vehicles at 13:00. The crew had to wait until 21:00 for the incoming tide to refloat the vessel

Until then vehicles trying to get across the Dart at Dartmouth and Kingswear were forced to rely on the council owned Lower Ferry operation. This is operated by two car floats propelled by tugs.


PLYM II - The first of the three new passenger and vehicle ferries for the Devonport - Torpoint service was launched at Ferguson's Shipyard, Port Glasgow this week.

Spectators and 250 shipyard workers watched as the ferry slid down the slipway into the water.

To the accompaniment of a lone piper Tina Crago, wife of the Chairman of the Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry Joint Committee John Crago, smashed a bottle of champagne of the ship's hull.

Sister vessels LYNHER II and TAMAR II are currently being referred to by their hull numbers 718 and 719 before official naming will follow.

PLYM II will be in service by the end of this year, with the remaining vessels following in 2005.


It appears that proposals for a ro/ro system have been dropped in proposals to improve services between Penzance and St.Mary's Isles of Scilly.

The proposed option submitted to the Department of Transport would be for a combined passenger freight vessel. The ship would have a passenger capacity of 400 against the current 600. However, she would have a crossing time of just 2 hours. This would allow a more frequent passenger and freight service to operate.

If the Department of Transport gives its approval Harbour works at St.Mary's to accommodate the new vessel would be undertaken between 2006 and 2008. The new vessel would enter service in 2009. 

Harbour works would include a wave protection wall and improved craneage for the handling of freight and vehicles.


At approximately 09:30 on the morning of Sunday August 01, fishing vessel, Georg ‘Lou-N, registered at Troon, Scotland, ran aground near Beady Pool on St Agnes. The crew did not report the incident immediately - it was a local coastguard who spotted them whilst he was out fishing.

Scallopers regularly fish near to Scilly but they must not dredge within the islands, Georg ‘Lou-N must have been steaming when they hit the rocks on Tean Plat Point. The crew had hoped to keep it quiet but that was not possible due to a large audience watching from the coastline.

The vessel’s bow was quite firmly wedged between two rocks, which must have caused some damage to the for’ard fuel tank, as a small amount of diesel spilled into the sea. The crew patched up the hole so the ship could make the journey back to dry dock for repairs.

It was 14:45 that the tide lifted her afloat, which means the boat was on the rocks for over 5 hours. Considering this, the crew were very patient about being the centre of attention and having many cameras pointed their way! [ ]

August 04
Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Michael Pryce, Michael Bracken and "others".


NORMANDY appears to be suffering from major technical problems. She is reportedly down to two engines out of four having taken 26 hours to complete her last Rosslare - Cherbourg sailing. It also appears that the forward section of lower deck cabins on deck two have had to be closed.

There are various options for the French route - it is believed a decision about the future of the service will be taken in September and with few suitable second hand ships around it may close; the PRIDE OF BILBAO may replace the NORMANDY (though this seems less certain than it once was); or the ISLE OF INISHMORE may be converted to an overnight role with the PRIDE OF CHERBOURG recalled to return to the Pembroke - Rosslare route (though this option seems fairly unlikely).


James Fisher & Sons plc, one of the UK's leading marine services providers, announced on August 02 that it has launched a new tanker, the CUMBRIAN FISHER, in the Samho Shipbuilding Company Ltd in Korea. 

The vessel, a clean product/chemical carrier, will go on sea trials in September for delivery towards the end of the year. A sister ship is also under construction at the same yard for delivery early in 2005. 

The CUMBRIAN FISHER will enter service with James Fisher Tankships and is one of four ships currently under construction as part of the ongoing fleet development giving James Fisher the most modern fleet in its market. 

In addition to these two 12,800 dwt vessels, the CUMBRIAN FISHER and a sister ship, two new 4,000 dwt vessels are planned. The Company's intention is to replace smaller and older ships by bareboat charters in line with its commitment to develop further the fleet at minimal capital cost. This strategy has greatly befitted from the Tonnage Tax regime which removes the need for ship purchases to enable an operator to benefit from capital allowances. 

The average age of James Fisher's fleet is already lower than that of its main competitors but the Company intends to maintain this advantage and build a modern fleet that will establish market leadership in the UK. Nick Henry, Managing Director of James Fisher Tankships, said: 'We are committed to investment in new tonnage to serve our customers' needs. As ship owners and managers, our expertise and experience are in specifying and overseeing new ship constructions. Through our fleet modernisation programme, our aim is to build a competitive and modern fleet.'


QUEEN ELIZABETH 2 A news report on August 04 suggests that the QE2 was among the targets selected by two South Africans - captured in Pakistan along with a senior al-Qaida terrorist who were plotting attacke on tourists sites in their home country

Johannesburg newspaper, This Day, said the Queen Elizabeth 2 was a target that was supposed to be attacked when it arrived in Durban or Cape Town from Mauritius.

August 02
Acknowledgements: Ian Liston, Tommy Dover, Ian Collard and "others"


Your webmaster is having a grand clear out and tidy up. Therefore some new Nautical items amongst other things have found their way to eBay. Click on link above to see what is available. It is anticipated that further items will be posted as the week progresses.

Another update will be posted tomorrow, Tuesday, August 03.


CYMBELINE was an unseal visitor to Merseyside this weekend. She was understood to have been in Canada Dock an was noted sailing on Monday August 08.

WICKLOW NEWS from Tommy Dover


Traffic included the coasters RMS RUHRORT, ANKE, tanker CRESCENT HIGHWAY and cruise ship SAGA PEARL heading south for Dover 

JOPI  arrived back in Arklow to continue work for Irish Rail between Bray Head and 6 mile point along the coast, The FASTNET GULL loaded machinery at Greystones and took it to Bray Head, before heading south back to Cork.

Wicklow lifeboat RNLB ANNIE BLAKER launched to assist a trawler off Wicklow, after a rope fouled its propeller.

Visitor's to the port included the Ketch THE GREATER MANCHESTER CHALLENGE, she moored overnight at the East Pier and the landing craft' FASTNET GULL.

The annual Wicklow Historical Society journal is now on sale in Wicklow, of maritime interest is a feature on Wicklow's most famous seafarer Captain Halpin and his Great Eastern voyage, as well as a history of Wicklow sailing ships.

Wicklow Regatta Festival started on Sunday 25th July , the Festival programme has a good article about local ship enthusiast Pat Davis along with 2 of his drawings of a Dutch coaster and the Greek ELIANNA. On the bank holiday Monday Wicklow Rowing Club will host it's annual Regatta there also will be a Air sea rescue display with Wicklow Lifeboat and the Coastguard Helicopter. Later the same night there will be a Firework display at the harbour.


A river bus on the Liffey to run between Dublin city centre and the Point Depot could be in service next year. The Dublin Docklands Development Authority has ordered construction of a 54-seater vessel. The river bus is currently being built in Sweden for delivery next spring, when there will be several months of trials before it is formally commissioned. Initially, it will be used to transport tourists, but the authority's aim is to run it as a taxi service. It may also be used for corporate entertainment.

The river bus is part of the DDDA's River Liffey regeneration strategy, which also allows for the introduction of a fast commuter ferry service between the docklands and the coast - initially Dún Laoghaire. That strategy, published three years ago, proposed a cross-river ferry between City Quay and the Irish Financial Services Centre II among a series of initiatives to revive practical use of the waterway.

It is understood that the DDDA has held discussions with several operators in relation to contracting out the operation of the services. A private ferry was run for several years on the Liffey from Tara Street down to the Point Depot by Wicklow-based Capt Michael Reynolds.

However, navigation of the river's 15 bridges, specifically the upper reaches between the Ha'penny Bridge and Heuston Station, has always been restricted by tidal factors and the low headroom on fixed structures.

The new Millennium Bridge and the Talbot Memorial Bridge are particularly problematic at high tide and the riverbed rises above the Ha'penny Bridge, which causes a difficulty at low water.

However, the planned new bridge at Macken Street - linking the north and south quays east of the Talbot Memorial Bridge - will have sufficient headroom, according to the DDDA, and has been designed to pivot open for larger craft.

The DDDA estimates that almost 70,000 people will be working in the docklands by 2012 and that a third of Dublin's three million annual tourists will visit the area. Last year, tests on a new Danish-designed craft were carried out at high tide, in conjunction with marine surveyors.

It is envisaged that water bus stops could be located at Tara Street to link up with the DART, at the IFSC I and II, Forbes Street, Britain Quay, the Point Depot and the ferry terminal at Alexandra Basin.

Meanwhile, the superstructure for the new Macken Street Bridge is currently being built in Poland and will be carried up on pontoons to its location next December. Last week it was reported that rising costs of the complex steel structure might force a review of the project which was originally opposed by local residents.

[Irish Times - 02-08-04]

August 01

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Ian Collard, Steve Nicholl, Michael Bracken, John Williams, Sue Black and "others"


If this is your first visit to Irish Sea Shipping for a week or so please ensure that you check "What's New" as there have been many updates. Many new pages containing material from your webmaster's recent trip to Cóbh. 

A log of observed movements will be posted by Wednesday which reflects the wide diversity of shipping which passes through the attractive Cork Harbour passing Cóbh. 

Photographs of much of that which was observed have been posted but material will continue to appear for the next few days.


The remaining 35mm photographic gear which was once used to collect images for the web site before the switch to digital. The equipment is currently under auction on ebay


The UK Sea Containers fleet has changed classification societies from Det Norsk Veritas to Registro Italiano Navale. It is also believed that the ships will also change to the Italian flag and some British crew may be replaced by Italians.


It is rumoured that Fjord Line have made an offer for VAL-DE-LOIRE the longtime stalwart on the Cork and Plymouth routes.


Cobelfret Ferries CEMENTINE is currently in the Belfast shipyard for refit having arrived on Sunday July 25.


STENA LYNX III departed from Liverpool following engine repairs on Tuesday July 27 and proceeded to Holyhead. She was reported in and out of the port on engine trials from Tuesday evening until 11:30 on Thursday July 29 when she headed south to recommence service from Friday July 30. 


Full information on the vessels attending this year's Plymouth Navy Days over the August Bank Holiday weekend are now available on the Royal Navy web site .


Following two successful years of limited operation out of Liverpool Fred. Olsen Lines have announced that they will return again next year with an enhanced programme of cruises by BLACK PRINCE. Cruises will also be offered from Dublin in 2005. Full details on


The hull of the biggest yacht the UK has produced in 50 years will be built at Appledore Shipbuilders, creating around 100 jobs, in a deal announced this week.

The new owner of the yard - Devonport Management Limited (DML) - has successfully bid to construct a luxury "superyacht" at a cost believed to be around £80 million.

Some of the construction work will take place at Devonport dockyard in Plymouth, with the hull constructed at Appledore.

The news brings weeks of speculation to an end and ensures shipbuilding will continue at the North Devon yard - which went into receivership last October with the loss of around 350 jobs - for at least 18 months.

John Burnett, Liberal Democrat MP for Torridge and West Devon, said: "It is great news that DML has won this contract against very tough competition. The fact that construction work is going to start again before the end of the year is excellent. DML's work has been superb."

Tim Jones, chairman of Devon and Cornwall Business Council, said: "This deal is particularly pleasing because it is for commercial work, not military. If Appledore can forge a reputation for building quality vessels like this it will be in a very strong position in a growing market."

Measuring 80 metres in length, the superyacht will be four metres longer than two other yachts currently under construction at Devonport -- and the biggest built in the UK since the Royal Yacht Britannia.

Work on an aluminium superstructure will be carried out in DML's specialist unit, Devonport Yachts, with a steel hull built at Appledore.

Exact details of the contract have not yet been released, but experts say construction of this kind costs around £1million a metre.

Announcing the deal, DML's chief executive Dennis Gilbert said: "As well as a significant package of work for Devonport, the project will provide the start we have been working hard to achieve for our Appledore facility in North Devon."

Design work for the yacht is already underway by a team of 40 workers still employed at the Appledore yard. Work on the hull will begin later in the year and will provide employment for 100 construction staff, including many former employees, for around one year.

Union officials have welcomed the news, but warned that "more needs to be done" to secure Appledore's long-term future.

Gary Smith, senior organiser with the GMB union, called on the Government and the South West Regional Development Agency to do more to attract shipbuilding contracts to the region. [Western Morning News]


Gig rowers and islanders flocked to Fraggle Rock this week to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Bryher and Tresco gig CZAR.

Rowers from past and present were treated to a barbecue and face painting. A band made up of teenagers from Bryher and Tresco also played.

Charlie Bennett, who works at Fraggle Rock, told Scilly News: "It was a really great day. Loads of people turned up from all over Scilly. The music was fantastic and there was a great atmosphere."

The CZAR as well as the MEN-A-VAUR is rowed every week in gig races. But the boat has made up a large part of Scilly's history. It has assisted many shipwrecks on the islands. 

On 27 October 1927, the SS ISABO struck Scilly Rock in fog. Islanders on Bryher heard the ship's siren and rowed the CZAR from Great Porth to Scilly Rock. The boat had broken in two and many of the men were in the water clinging to timber. The CZAR helped to save many of the men

Of all the ISABO's 38 crew from Italy and Estonia 28 men were rescued by the CZAR and other boats. 

[ ]



The Wirral based boat builder established last year by two former Cammell Laird workers to build canal leisure craft has been awarded a contract to construct a fishing vessel for a customer from Fleetwood. Construction should be completed by September.


The Maritime & Coastguard Agency announced on July 22 that 9 foreign ships were under detention in UK ports during June 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 June 2004, along with 2 other ships still under detention from previous months. This represents an increase of 3 new detentions in comparison to May. The overall rate of detentions compared with inspections carried out over the last 12 months is 6.4% which is equal to May’s 12 month rate.

Even though there was an increase of 3 new detentions in June compared to May, June’s 12 month detention rate has remained the same as the previous 12 month rate due to the fact that the increase in the number of inspections was slightly larger than the increase in the number of detentions. 

The ships detained in June included the following:-

• an Antigua and Barbuda flag, 10,651 GT, 1980, reefer at Sheerness for 3 days with 27 recorded deficiencies. Detainable deficiencies included freeboard marks not as per Load Line certificate, missing insulation in engine room, insulation oil soaked and excess oil in shaft tunnel. Deficiencies indicated failure of Safety Management System.
• a St Vincent and Grenadines flag, 19,309 GT, 1977, bulk carrier at Teesport for 10 days. A total of 14 deficiencies were recorded including engine room bulkhead corroded, ballast pipe holed and leaking and MF radio installation inoperative. This detention invoked a Refusal of Access order for multiple detentions and the ship is currently banned from entering European ports.
• a St Vincent and Grenadines flag, 624 GT, 1967, cement carrier at Belfast for 9 days with 35 recorded deficiencies of which 9 were detainable, including pyrotechnics out of date, medical chest drugs out of date, rescue boat davit mountings to be repaired and retained oil to be pumped ashore.
• a Singapore flag, 85,722 GT, 1997, bulk carrier at Port Talbot for 3 days. Detainable deficiencies were port lifeboat winch broken, crew not familiar with lifeboat lowering procedures causing breakdown of winch, emergency drills unsatisfactory due to poor familiarisation of crew.

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