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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


October 2004

October 31
Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Ian Collard, John Lewis, Tommy Dover and "others".


Your web master has returned after a visit to Cóbh which turned out to be somewhat interesting meteorologically around the middle of the week!

Please note that this week's update has been posted in two stages - with the first batch of galleries posted yesterday. Please check "What's New" for details.

As usual when I am away a backlog of material has built up for the web site, this will be cleared towards the end of the week.

Also I would like to apologies to anyone who is still awaiting any email replies as I have not completed working my way through these either.

John H. Luxton


SUPERSEACAT TWO did not operate Liverpool - Dublin on Sunday October 24 or Wednesday / Thursday October 27 / 28 due to adverse weather conditions. She was reported running behind schedule on reduced power on October 31.

LADY OF MANN operated  21:00 Liverpool - Douglas in place of SUPERSEACAT TWO on October 27  and returned on the 07:00 sailing the next day.

A reminder for those in the UK who are fortunate in not having to work on Fridays during the next few weeks that the LADY OF MANN recommences her winter day drips from Liverpool on November 04, 2004. Departs Liverpool at 08:00 - arriving Douglas at 12:00. Returning 13:45 and arriving back at Liverpool at 17:45.


SEEBRIZE [1990 grt ]. The German owned 1974 coastal bulker grounded on rocks on the east side of the outer harbour at Kinsale during the early hours of Thursday October 28 during the storm which battered the south of Ireland and the UK.

The ship, which is registered in Belize and has a mainly Polish crew, had discharged her cargo of animal feed earlier in the week at Kinsale Quay and was due to sail to Rotterdam. However, her skipper had decided to seek shelter during the storm.

However, she is believed to have dragged her anchor and run aground. An attempt of refloat her on the evening of October 28, 2004 proved unsuccessful, however, she was refloated on the Friday morning tide.


HSS STENA EXPLORER was forced to return to Holyhead whilst undertaking her morning sailing to Dún Laoghaire on Thursday October 28 after being damaged by a wave.

The damage occurred when the ship was 30 minutes into the 08:55 sailing. All sailings are cancelled until further notice.




5th Jan last sailing 02:50 ex Holyhead.  Sails to H&W Belfast. Resumes service Dublin January 12,  21:05


4th Jan last sailing 14:30.  Picks up Holyhead sailings with 09:05 on January 5th. Dry-docks in H&W on January 12. Resumes service Ex Rosslare January 20, 21:00


4th Jan last sailing 20:15 ex Holyhead. January 5th Drydocks in H&W. Resumes service January 19 ex Dublin 12:15


ISLE OF INISHMORE on Wednesday October 27 the ship which was due to arrive at Pembroke Dock at 12:30 was stormbound off the Pembrokeshire Coast for twelve hours. This resulted in the cancellation of the 14:30 Pembroke - Rosslare and the 21:00 Rosslare - Pembroke.

NORMANDY - due to adverse conditions the following sailings were cancelled: Cherbourg to Rosslare 19:00 Tuesday October 26 and the 17:00 Rosslare to Cherbourg on Wednesday October 27, 2004.

JONATHAN SWIFT sailings were cancelled on October 27 / 28.

ULYSSES sailed as normal.


SIR GALAHAD - departed from North Western Ship Repairers on the evening of October 27. 


LAGAN VIKING entered the Liverpool Dock system at Langton Lock on October 30 and proceeded to the former Norse Merchant berth at Brocklebank. However, this was vacated on Sunday to allow a car carrier to berth.

On Sunday LAGAN VIKING was noted in Canada Dock, having lifeboats tested and other work carried out. 

There is a rumour circulating on the waterfront  that LAGAN and MERSEY VIKINGS may be sold and chartered back as has happened to MERCHANT BRILLIANT and MERCHANT BRAVERY.

October 20
Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Sean Robertson, Dave Crolley, Ian McPherson, Judith Bridges and "others".


SEACAT ISLE OF MAN will not make her last public sailing of the season [and probably her final sailing for the Steam Packet ] from to and from Liverpool on October 21 due to forecast adverse weather conditions. Her final sailing was the 10:30 from Liverpool to Douglas on October 20.

Passengers on the 07:00 sailing will be diverted to the BEN-MY-CHREE whilst the 10:30 Liverpool - Douglas will be operated by the LADY OF MANN, which would have had to sail light to Douglas to position for her weekend sailings to Dublin and Liverpool. It is understood that SCIOM had been due to cross to A&P Birkenhead on Thursday afternoon for the pm tide. However, it is not clear if that will be effected by the weather.

SUPERSEACAT TWO - the Thursday Liverpool - Dublin sailing is in doubt.

PONTUS - The floating terminal berthed at Prince's Landing Stage is believed to have been sold. 


ISLE OF LEWIS is understood to be heading for Birkenhead on Monday October 25 for refit. She is scheduled for a morning arrival,  presumably at A&P Birkenhead.


The sale of former Liverpool Bar Lightship PLANET has been confirmed. [Lamb Banana - October 17] However, the identity of the buyer is as yet unknown. However, the buyer is said to be in talks with the preservation group. Therefore, there is a possibility that she might not yet leave Merseyside.


ULYSSES - departed earlier from Dublin on October 12 and 13 due to work being undertaken on one of the engines. The ship operated on reduced power. The early departure was made to ensure she made her scheduled slot at Holyhead.


On October 20 the Irish Continental Group plc announced the restructuring of the Ireland to France service. Irish Continental Group plc announced that its Ferries Division is restructuring its service between Ireland and France in order to reduce costs and maintain competitiveness. The action is being taken against a background in which the volume of cars carried on the Ireland / France route has fallen 7% in the year to date compared with 2003

The initiative, which is a consequence of demand in the market place for lower fares, together with additional competition from sea and air carriers, in some cases State-assisted, will see crewing of our Ireland / France service transferred to a third party staffing agency who will employ fully qualified EU crew.

It follows a restructuring of crew rosters, principally on the Irish Sea, during 2004, which has enhanced competitiveness on the Ireland / UK routes.  The change will involve a reduction in directly employed seagoing staff of approximately 150 people, of whom approximately 125 are permanent and 25 are long-service temporary staff.  A number of seasonally-employed personnel will also be affected.  Irish Ferries employs a total of 1,200 people

A voluntary severance package, to meet the requisite number of seagoing staffing reductions, will be offered throughout the fleet.  Personnel from the Ireland/France service who decide not to avail of the voluntary severance package will be offered a transfer to the Irish Sea ships

It is envisaged that the proposed redundancies/transfers will be completed before the end of November when the operation of the Continental service will cease for the winter months.  Services will recommence in March 2005.

This development complements other initiatives being implemented including the streamlining of the sales distribution process (which involves the relocation of our call centre / retail outlet from Dublin’s city centre), a further concentration on maximising bookings via the internet and other cost reducing initiatives throughout the group including Dublin terminal operations.

The various initiatives will give rise to an exceptional charge to be taken in the results of the group for the year to 31 December 2004.  The amount will depend, inter alia, on the profile of those opting for voluntary severance but it is likely to be in the region of €7 million.


B & I Line / City of Cork Steam Packet


INNISFALLEN  1969 sister to MUNSTER and LEINSTER arrived at Alang, India for scrapping on the 17th October. 


It was announced this week that the King Harry Ferry which operates between Feock and Philleigh across the River Fal has been recognised as one of the world's top ten most beautiful ferry trips. Ranked alongside the Staten Island Ferry from Manhattan, the Star Ferry in Hong Kong and the Sydney to Manley Ferry in Australia, the King Harry Ferry was placed ninth by the Independent newspaper's travel writers.

Tim Light, managing director of the ferry, said it had been a "nice surprise" to open the newspaper and see the article.

"We had no idea we were being featured, so to see our little ferry listed alongside those in Dubai, Venice and Canada is amazing," he said.

"It has created quite a stir and I'm sure I speak for everyone who works here, both on the ferry and in the offices, that we have all felt a great deal of pride in being associated with such a well-known ferry."

The article, How To Get From A To B The Scenic Way, was written by Ryan Levitt and published in the Independent on Friday. A ride across Dubai Creek topped the list.

Of King Harry Ferry, which crosses a tranquil point of the River Fal, Mr Levitt said: "For more than five centuries a ferry has taken passengers from Feock, near Truro, to Philleigh, on the Roseland Peninsula, in Cornwall. There are conflicting stories as to why the ferry is named the King Harry, but the most intriguing associates it with Henry VIII who, it is said, spent his honeymoon with Anne Boleyn at St Mawes Castle. Today, the ferry has become a valuable commuter service, taking passengers to the office across the scenic Fal Estuary."

The King Harry Steam Ferry has been in operation since 1888, although steam has not actually been used to propel the vessel since 1956 when conversion was made to diesel electric propulsion.



P&O Chief Executive, Robert Woods, took the opportunity of a visit to Larne and Cairnryan on October 20 to make clear the company's commitment to its Irish Sea ferry operations.

Following a crossing onboard European Causeway and a tour of the Port of Larne, Mr Woods had high praise for the operation. "P&O Irish Sea has continued to perform exceptionally well despite difficult market conditions.

"We confirmed our commitment to the Larne-Cairnryan route in recent years with the purchase of two new sister ships, European Highlander and European Causeway, which have since established themselves as among the best and most reliable on the Irish Sea. Freight carryings are at an all time high while our confidence in the passenger market has been underlined by the introduction of our seasonal fast ferry service between Larne and Troon."

Port operations at both Larne and Cairnryan were also commended by Mr Woods: "A successful ferry business is dependent on a first-class service from our ports. The calibre of the Port of Larne's operation has been publicly acknowledged through the prestigious title "Irish Port of the Year" which was recently awarded to the port for its commitment to customer service".

Plans are underway for a major development at the Port of Cairnryan which will reinforce its position as one of the leading ports serving the Irish Sea.


The 1990-built WALRUS (ex CROWN MONARCH, CUNARD CROWN MONARCH, NAUTICAN), currently sailing on overnight gambling cruises from Hong Kong is to be chartered to UK operator Travelscope. In 2005, she will be renamed REMBRANDT 2 sailing from Tilbury, Greenock, Larne, Liverpool, Cardiff and Southampton

October 17
Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Michael Pryce, Brian Mc.Grath, Adrian Sweeney,Tommy Dover, Chris Jones and "others"


There will be an open meeting at the Lecture Theatre, Merseyside Maritime Museum, Albert Dock, Liverpool on Saturday October 23, 2004 at 14:00.

This meeting will enable both members and non members to come and find out how the project to preserve Britain's last steam tug tender is progressing and meet some of the active volunteers and committee members.


SEACAT ISLE OF MAN the vessels final sailing will be the 10:30 sailing Liverpool - Douglas on Thursday October 21. Despite rumours of a replacement for the 2005 season, there has, as yet, been no confirmation by the company. Whether the 10:30 sailing from Liverpool is the ship's final voyage for the company remains to be seen. 

LADY OF MANN commenced her winter season with the 08:30 Douglas to Dublin sailing on Friday October 22. She will operate on the Liverpool - Douglas route on Saturday October 23 and Sunday October 24.


A new packing and distribution facility will be opened at ABP Garston in the new year. Work is also reported to be underway  on a new aggregates import terminal for Hanson which will include a concrete batching plant and other facilities.


Dates and timings for Manchester Ship Canal Cruises in 2005 have been posted to the Mersey Ferries web site. 

The first Liverpool - Manchester sailing will depart Liverpool on May 07, 2005 at 11:45 and return to Liverpool on May 08, at 09:30.




Wicklow Sailing Club yacht's were lifted out of the water for Winter storage on Saturday morning.

Wicklow RNLI inshore lifeboat launched on a crew exercise in the bay on Friday morning, the all weather boat launched on Sunday morning for a exercise in the bay.

Local yawl's are presently fishing for 'hern's' ( herring ) in the bay.

Traffic in the bay included RHEIN CARRIER, LÉ RÓISÍN and tanker inbound for Dublin .


Following the opening of the Irlam container terminal in June 2004, which serves the Greenock - Southampton feeder service operated by Clydeport Peel Holdings is looking towards developing a large intermodal terminal at Barton with a handling capacity of 300,000 containers per year. This Port of Salford scheme would occupy 250 acres and cost £120m. The facility would aim to handle up to 250 ships per year and 16 trains per day.


STENA SEAFARER is going to be the Stena relieving ship, covering for all the ships dry docks early 2005. The 'Seafarer is due in a dry dock (as yet unnamed) in February 2005 for 3 weeks (due to the fitting of a sprinkler system and other work), then go round relieving Dublin - Holyhead, Fishguard - Rosslare and Belfast - Stranraer.

HSS STENA EXPLORER missed three round trip sailings on October 17 as the vessel was reported withdrawn to resolve technical problems.

Stena Line has been named Best Ferry Company for 2004 at the Midconsort Travel Group Awards which were held at the Belfrey Country Club in Lichfield.

This is the fifth time that Stena Line has won the award which is voted for by the Midconsort Travel Group's 130 independent travel agents which are spread across the UK and whose headquarters are in Birmingham.

Stena Line Business Development Manager Maggie Roche was delighted to receive the award from Midconsort Director Chris Quance.

"On behalf of Stena Line, I am delighted to accept this very important award and would like to say a sincere thank you to all Midconsort members who voted Stena Line their Favourite Ferry Operator," she said.

Stena Line has also just picked up the Best Ferry Operator Award at the Group Leisure Industry Awards as well as the Top Ferry Company Award at the Travel Bulletin Travel Stars Awards.


There was a slight error in last week's report concerning HSS refit arrangements this winter. Though corrected during the week the information should have read:

HSS STENA EXPLORER will be off the Holyhead to Dún Laoghaire route for around 5 weeks from early January. This is for her own refit and to provide cover for HSS STENA VOYAGER.

HSS STENA DISCOVERY will dry dock at Belfast on Tuesday January 25. She will depart from Belfast bound for Hook of Holland at on Thursday February 10.


The Port of Liverpool's longest established container line has doubled its weekly sailings to Spain to offer shippers a seaborne alternative to trucking cargo overland.

MacAndrews, which operated conventional services from the Mersey before switching to a container operation in the late 1960s, has launched a fixed-day Tuesday sailing to Bilbao to complement its long established Thursday service on the same route.

The introduction of the 448 teu DOERTE from Tuesday October 12, brings MacAndrews sailings out of the Seaforth Container Terminal to three a week – two to Spain and one to Portugal. In addition, the Line's parent company CMA CGM, has a weekly service from Liverpool to Le Havre.

Said MacAndrews' Managing Director Geoff Smith: "Upgrading the Spanish service is a direct response to growing customer demand to transfer cargo from road to sea. With a Tuesday and Thursday sailing from Liverpool, MacAndrews offers a level of frequency and reliability which shippers increasingly recognise as commercially competitive and environmentally preferable to overland haulage."

The DOERTE maintains a sailing schedule of Liverpool, Montoir, Bilbao, Dublin, Liverpool.

Mersey Docks' Director of Marketing Frank Robotham, said: "MacAndrews' decision to now offer a twice weekly service to Northern Spain is great news. This innovative approach offers a real alternative to overland routes and reflects the strength of cargo support from the North West Region."


The company announced this week that it had divided its passenger transport division into two separate components Ferry and Rail. 

Christopher Garnett has been appointed senior vice president of rail operations. 

David G. Benson, Senior Vice President, will be Chief Executive of the Ferries Division while Christopher Garnett has been promoted to Senior Vice President and Chief Executive of the Rail Division. Both Benson and Garnett will report to Group Chief Executive, James B Sherwood, President.

Garnett served as Regional Manager - Eastern Division of Sealink when it was owned by Sea Containers and later became Commercial Director of Eurotunnel before rejoining Sea Containers in 1996. He was largely responsible for obtaining the GNER franchise and for managing the business during the last 9 years. The franchise comes up for renewal in 2005 and GNER has also pre-qualified as a bidder for the new Integrated Kent franchise. It has also announced its intention to bid for the new Greater Western franchise together with Laing plc in 2006.

Mr Sherwood said "Christopher Garnett is one of the most respected and skilled rail executives in the U.K. and we are enormously pleased he will assume this more senior role in the company. He will also become Chairman of Great North Eastern Railway Ltd., the GNER operating company, while I will remain Chairman of the holding company, GNER Holdings Ltd."

"I look forward to working closely with Christopher in this important period in the development of our rail business", he concluded.


AULDYN RIVER [ex CLAUDIA W] is reported laid up and for sale by Sotheby's Brokerage. She is being offered for £85,000 for a quick sale. She is being offered for immediate commercial use or for conversion to a "superb Houseboat with room to spare for Disco/Art studio/swimming pool/Jacuzzi/Sauna/ etc etc". [More Details]

October 09
Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Ian Collard, Tommy Dover and "others"


Issue 9 of "Ships of Mann" magazine is now on sale at both UK and Isle of Man outlets. Subscribers should have received their copies already. Full Details of the latest edition on "Ships of Mann" web site.


Further to the announcement concerning the sale of the Cammell Laird North Yard to Reddington Finance, it appears that the dry docks are not part of the deal and will remain in A&P Ownership. The sale does include the wet basin and surrounding land which will be leased back by A&P.


Henty Oil's barge STANLEY H will dock at  Clarence Drydocks October 11/12.


LÉ AOIFE has been escorting the stricken HMCS CHICOUTIMI whilst off the Irish Coast. LÉ AOIFE replaced the LÉ RÓISÍN which was damaged in heavy seas when making its way to the submarine earlier in the week.


HMCS CHICOUTIMI is expected to arrive back in Scotland on Sunday October 10 under tow.

In Ireland members of the Irish Defence Forces took part in a ceremony at Dublin Airport to mark the departure of the body of submariner Lt.  Chris Saunders who passed away at Sligo General Hospital due to the effects of smoke inhalation.


Passenger figures compiled by the Harbours Division for August 2004 at 100,291 show a 9% decrease on the figure for the same period in 2003 which was 110,244.

The year to date figure at 487,138 passengers shows a 2.9% decrease over the same period in 2003 which was 501,544.

During August, car and motorcycle traffic through Douglas Harbour decreased by 11.9% from 25,913 vehicles to 22,824 vehicles.

The year to date figure at 128,736 vehicles shows a 3.5% decrease over the same period in 2003 which was 133,421.

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


Minus 9%






Plus 11%






Minus 4%






Minus 13%





Director of Harbours, Captain Michael Brew comments:

“August 2004 figures are impacted by the later dates for this year’s Manx Grand Prix and the disappointing August weather. August 2003 figures were the best August figures for 15 years and whilst this year’s are slightly disappointing this is the sixth year that August traffic has been over 100,000.”


HSS STENA EXPLORER will be off the Holyhead to Dún Laoghaire route for around 5 weeks from early January. This is for her own refit and to provide cover for HSS STENA VOYAGER.

HSS STENA DISCOVERY will dry dock at Belfast on Tuesday January 25. She will depart from Belfast bound for Hook of Holland at on Thursday February 10.



Coaster's calling at the port this week included AMANDA and PROVIDER. Traffic in the bay included SEVERN FISHER , ARKLOW CASTLE , BEN NEVIS and GUDRUN II . Wicklow lifeboat RNLB ANNIE BLAKER launched on a crew exercise in the bay on Friday evening.


It is reported that the operator of the Torpoint Ferry will introduce a new method of toll collection on the ferry during the coming year which will see fares collected from booths and a "fast tag" system introduced for both ferry and bridge. If approval is granted for the scheme it should be in operation by the end of 2005.



The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) announced on October 04 that 15 foreign ships were under detention in UK ports during August 2004 after failing Port State Control safety inspection.

Latest monthly figures show that there were 11 new detentions of foreign flagged ships in UK ports during August 2004, along with 4 other ships still under detention from previous months. This represents an increase of 6 new detentions in comparison to July. The overall rate of detentions compared with inspections carried out over the last 12 months is 6.4% which is a increase of 0.3% compared to July’s 12 month rate.

Vessels detained in August include the following:

A Panamanian flagged gas carrier was detained on Teeside on the 9th August 2004. The vessel had failed to inform MCA that it was due a Mandatory Expanded Inspection under the EU directive on Port State Control (details in MSN 1775). There were a total of 17 deficiencies recorded during the inspection. Notably, these included a lack of crew training in the launch of the lifeboat. The ship was released from detention on the 10th August 2004.

A St Vincent & Grenadines flagged, Det Norske Veritas classed, general cargo vessel was detained in Sunderland on 10th August 2004. During the inspection, 3 major non-conformities out of 23 deficiencies were recorded against the vessel. The fire main was holed through corrosion, liferafts were not safely secured and the gangway was unsafe. Furthermore the crew were unable to demonstrate familiarisation with the safety equipment. The deficiencies recorded showed evidence of a systematic failure of the ISM system.

A Norwegian flagged, general cargo vessel was detained in Hull on the 16th August 2004. Various ship certificates had been removed by the classification society as the annual surveys had not been carried out by the due dates. These included the International Load Line Certificate, Safety Radio Certificate, International Oil Pollution Prevention Certificate, Safety Equipment Certificate and Safety Construction Certificate. There were also major structural defects identified in the double bottom tanks and associated bulkheads. Conditions on board revealed a lack of ISM implementation on board. Bureau Veritas, the class responsible for the vessel’s ISM certificates, carried out an additional ISM/DOC audit on board before the vessel’s release from detention on the 28th August 2004. An additional ISM/DOC audit be undertaken by Bureau Veritas within the following weeks.

A Panamanian flagged, general cargo vessel was detained in Hartlepool on the 18th August 2004. A total of 14 deficiencies were recorded against this vessel, including corrosion of the aft accommodation bulkhead in the way of both port and starboard access doors and corrosion of the air conditioning trunking by the port lifeboat. The water supply on board was badly discoloured and there was also no hot water in the galley. There was also a serious defect to the starboard lifeboat. Initially the lifeboat was seized in the davit. It took the crew 1 hour to get the boat to move and the release hooks were seized which prevented the operation of the on-load release gear. The vessel was released on the 19th August 2004.   <

October 07
Acknowledgements: Michael Pryce, Sara Cass and "others"


SUPERSEACAT ONE is likely to replace RAPIDE on the Belfast - Troon route in 2005. RAPIDE would return to the Channel.


A few days ago it was mentioned on the "Lamb Banana" page that there was a rumour circulating that A&P had sold their Birkenhead site to Reddington Finance.

On October 9, 2004 Lloyds List revealed further information concerning this deal which has seen the controversial owners of the Cammell Laird South Yard acquire the North Yard site.

The article also revealed that Reddington had acquired the former McTay Marine Shipyard at Bromborough which closed down following the launch of the "AFON DYFRDWY" for Holyhead Towing.

"A&P Group has sold its Birkenhead yard to development company Reddington Finance in a move which has caused enormous anger in the region's shiprepair and shipbuilding community. The site, which has three dry docks and a wet basin, now looks likely - sooner or later - to join the southern half of the former Cammell Laird yard as part of a 140-acre waterfront redevelopment scheme. 

Neither party has officially confirmed the Birkenhead deal, but Mike Ryder, site director for Reddington, said: "An agreement has been reached between A&P and Reddington on the future of the site and more detailed information will be available in the near future." A&P's business development director, Clive Towl, said "an announcement" was likely within the next week but declined to go into details. Northwestern Shiprepairers and Shipbuilders (NSL), the Merseyside company set up three years ago by a group of former Cammell Laird directors, was outbid last year when it tried to buy the construction hall, which has two slipways. 

NSL managing director John Syvret is angry that Reddington has claimed there is no future for the industry on the Mersey. "We are losing assets we would dearly love to see in operation," he said. Based at Bidston, NSL leases docks on the Mersey and says it badly needs more facilities to cope with demand. 

Previously, NSL had leased the 300 metre Inchgreen dry dock on the Clyde in order to accommodate major contracts on the RFA Fort George and the Brambleleaf. "We are looking at all opportunities to expand our facilities at the moment; we want to establish a firm base at larger facilities for future work," said Mr Syvret."We have confidence in the future. We see there is going to be a shortage of capacity for the forthcoming shipbuilding programme, including the aircraft carriers." 

Reddington says huge investment would be needed in the construction hall site. "When we purchased the site from BAe, they had, at the time, just won the contract for the aircraft carriers. They said it would cost £120m to bring the yard back into the condition to build ships here," said Mr Ryder. "There is no company to build ships here and no more important skills and management skills; they don't exist here any more. The market doesn't exist in Europe. "While we appreciate what people are saying about shiprepair and shipbuilding, we could sit here for ever and delay looking at the potential of the site. "We are looking to the future; we are going to create 4,500 jobs onsite and 5,000 associated jobs."

October 06
Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Michael Bracken, Sara Cass and "others"


The BBC reported that Passenger ferries on one of Cumbria's most popular lakes will soon be powered by solar energy.

The innovative plan will see diesel engines in two 1920s launches replaced with solar powered engines.

The £100,000 scheme has been hailed as the first of its kind in the UK and is backed by grants from the Lake District National Park and the government

The vessels, owned by Coniston Launch, begin trials in December, with a full service operating by Easter 2005.

Countryside Minister Alun Michael, who is supporting the scheme, called it "a very exciting idea".

"This is seen a step forward in treating the environment and the economy of the Lake District seriously," he said.

Gordon Hall, who runs Coniston launch, said: "This is the first time in the UK that water going passenger vessels have been fitted with solar powered engines.

"Solar panels are fitted to the boats and will be able to run for about 90 minutes once they have been charged.

"It is costing about £50,000 for each boat.

"We begin trials with the new technology in December and plan to be running a service just after Christmas."

Part of the grant aid has come from the government's sustainable development fund, which has so far paid out more than £3m to projects round the UK.


HMCS CHICOUTIMI, the Canadian navy's fourth and final Victoria-class submarine [RN Upholder Class], was crossing from  Scotland to Canada after the official handing over of the vessel on Saturday when a small electrical fire forced it to surface Tuesday morning and left it without propulsion.

Nine members of the 57-person crew were treated for minor smoke inhalation, but no one was seriously injured, the navy said. By Wednesday evening HMS MONTROSE was reported to have reached the stricken submarine, with HMS MARLBOROUGH and RFA WAVE KNIGHT were reported to be enroute. 

On September 07 HMCS CHICOUTIMI had been undergoing trials off Skye, when the Merseyside based tug VANGUARD engaged to escort the vessel was wrecked on the Island of Rona


LÉ RÓISIN [P51] was forced by high seas to abort its mission to give assistance to the Candadian Submarine HMCS CHICOUTIMI. The Department of Defence reports that the ship suffered bow damage in heavy seas. The crew undertook  repairs and the vessel was reported making its way back to base at Haulbowline, Cork.


October 03
Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Ian Collard, Trevor Kidd, Tommy Dover, Stan Basnett, John Stoke and "others"


LADY OF MANN - returned to Merseyside after her charter to Açor Line on October 2. She was secure on Prince's Landing Stage at 10:55. She called there to off load a UK registered car, before sailing to her lay-up berth. She re-enters service with the 08:30 Douglas to Dublin sailing on October 22.


MERCHANT BRAVERY and MERCHANT BRILLIANT have now been sold and are flying the Jamaican flag, chartered back to NorseMerchant.


It is understood that the Belfast ship yard will refit three Irish Ferries vessel in January 2005. The company will also refit two HSS vessels for Stena Line in the new year. The company is also expected to receive two offshore rigs for work in November 2004.


The long awaited review of the company's ferry operations around the British Isles was published on September 28, 2004.

The effect on the Irish Sea is minimal compared to the decimation of services on the English Channel.

Subject to consultation the following changes will take place:

All P&O routes out of Portsmouth, with the exception of Portsmouth to Bilbao [ operated by Irish Continental Group's PRIDE OF BILBAO ] will close.

PRIDE OF CHERBOURG [ICG's ISLE OF INNISFREE] to be layed up or chartered out until mid 2007 when her charter ends.

CHERBOURG EXPRESS - the chartered Incat 047 will transfer to the Irish Sea replacing SUPERSTAR EXPRESS. The ship arrived at A&P Birkenhead on October 02, 2004 for winter lay-up.

CAEN EXPRESS to be returned to her owners Mols Linien when her charter ends in October 2004.

PRIDE OF PORTSMOUTH and PRIDE OF LE HAVRE to be chartered out to Brittany Ferries with crew and shore staff subject inter alia to contract and regulatory approval.

PRIDE OF PROVENCE to be sold. PRIDE OF AQUITAINE to be returned to owners at end of charter in 2005.

EUROPEAN SEAWAY which is currently laid up at A&P Birkenhead will return to service. 

SUPERSTAR EXPRESS at the end of her charter to return to her owners SuperStar Cruises. Ship is currently in laid up in A&P Birkenhead. 

EUROPEAN DIPLOMAT will switch to the North Sea to replace BORE MARI. Rosslare to Cherbourg to close.

The news of the closure of the Rosslare - Cherbourg service is a blow to Rosslare Europort. Port operators  Iarnrod Éireann, who have 90 workers in the Rosslare Europort, said last night that the departure of P&O would have a serious effect on revenue.

P&O operate three sailings in and three out of the Irish port every week, servicing both freight and passengers.

"The closure of this route will potentially have a disastrous economic impact throughout the region," Labour TD Brendan Howlin said last night.

A spokesperson for Iarnrod Eireann said it was not anticipated that there would be job losses with Iarnrod Éireann and that the company would be talking with other operators with a view to filling the gap left by P&O.

Last night, managing director of P&O Irish Ferries Terry Cairns said that the company did not employ any people in the port but the firm sub-contracted the work to Iarnrod Eireann.

He said that there would be no redundancies for people who work on the route as it was being moved to the North Sea.


STENA LYNX III arrived on the Mersey on September 29 and proceeded to NSL at Bidston for winter lay-up refit. 


Fares on the Strangford to Portaferry ferry are to rise after losses of £2.5 million in running costs. The Northern Ireland Department of Rural Development has announced that prices will go up to help counter the problem of the revamped ferry losing up to pounds £850,000 for each of the last three years.

It also revealed that the ticket revenue for the last three years was only covering half the annual running costs, which ranged from £1.3 million to £1.5 million over the period.


SIR GALAHAD [L3005] arrived at NSL Bidston for refit on Monday September 27, 2004.


At 12:45 local time on Sunday September 26 the cruise ship VAN GOGH which has been operating cruises out of Falmouth and which is due to call at Liverpool later this autumn was reported in collision with a fully laden tanker SPETSES [80,000 grt] in thick fog 10 minutes after departing Gibraltar for Tangier.

Fortunately (and miraculously) there were no casualties, nor any environmental damage. The VAN GOGH sustained substantial damage to

her bow but was able to return to dock alongside the Gibraltar Cruise Terminal unaided.

The tanker was towed to the Algeciras Oil refinery (her original destination). It was estimated that repairs to the VAN GOGH will take around two weeks. She has proceeded to Cammell Laird Gibraltar Ltd's dockyard for repairs.


SEACAT SCOTLAND - the former Irish Sea stalwart is one of three Sea Containers vessels to be refitted at the Pallion Shipyard on Sunderland. SEACAT SCOTLAND has already arrived. The yard will also refit SEACAT FRANCE and SUPERSEACAT ONE.

The Pallion Yard has been mothballed for some years and is probably best known as being the current home of the former Isle of Man Steam Packet Company's MANXMAN.

A spokesperson for Sea Containers said: "The reason why we're going to Pallion, is that the vessels will be out of the water and they'll lay up over the winter period."

He added that they will leave the yard next spring ready to resume service.

The shallow draft of the SeaCat ferries will allow them to safely navigate the Wear to Pallion as high tide approaches, in spite of the river's undredged state west of Corporation Quay.

The Regional Development Agency, One North East, has confirmed that funding for a dredging scheme on the River Tyne is being considered.

Sunderland City Council, which owns the Port of Sunderland, has refused to consider dredging the river unless firm shipbuilding orders are placed.


The James Fisher managed PNTL ships based in Barrow-In-Furness  PACIFIC TEAL and PACIFIC PINTAIL looked set to run the Greenpeace gauntlet again on the evening of October 02, 2004.  

The ships were reported likely to be intercepted by the Greenpeace Environmental ship MV ESPERANZA as they pass off the Lizard.

The two armed merchant ships are bound from the USA to Cherbourg carrying material removed from nuclear warheads.  Once in France , the plutonium will be transported to Cadarache in the south of the country to be processed and converted into mixed oxide nuclear fuel. 

Greenpeace claims that the weapons grade plutonium is dangerous and could be a terrorist target


The Western Morning News reported this week that the Helford Ferry, operating in Cornwall since  the 11th century and a vital river link between communities and attractions, is for sale. 

A river ferry with a fascinating history dotted with royalty, drunken operators in the 1800s and horse drawn carts is on the market as a rare business opportunity. With its earliest mention dating back to the reign of King Canute in 1023, the Helford River Ferry boasts a colourful past.

It was owned in the Middle Ages by the Bishops of Exeter and in the 19th Century by two men who became infamous for heavy drinking - so much so that a poem was written about them by a local farmer:

"Of all the mortals here below

Your drunken are the worst I know

I'm here detained, tho'sore against my will

While these sad fellows sit and drink their fill....."

Their alcohol-dependent timetable apparently became so impenetrable that, in 1885, a Miss Fox paid for a wooden ferry shelter on Helford Point where passengers could wait until the boatmen had finished drinking in the Shipwright's Arms - still a popular stop-off today.

Owners Simon and Tina Walker, of Helford River Boats, launched a new ferry in July this year, with the support of Cornwall County Council and the National Trust.

It is now thriving on its original route from Helford Passage to Helford Point, and water transport plans from Cornwall County Council, with stops at National Trust riverside attractions including Trebah and Glendurgan, near Falmouth.

The Walkers are selling the ferry package to concentrate on their other four businesses. Mr Walker, 55, said: "It has been a lovely job, there's absolutely no doubt about it and we are sad to be selling it. We run four other businesses and as age creeps up, we want to take things down a notch."

Offers in excess of £125,000 for the business covers £18,500 for 46 moorings, pontoon ramps and beach kiosks. An additional £80,000 covers stock, vessels, motors, marine equipment and trailers and will secure the buyer "a new way of life," according to agent Alan Chick of Scott Burridge Chick in Truro. He said: "It would suit somebody looking for a lifestyle change."

A photograph taken in 1898 of a horse - used until 1910 to haul carriages of produce heading for Falmouth out of the water - trying to climb aboard the ferry from its usual position swimming behind, is evidence of the ferry's place in history. Originally it would have been the main transport for residents of picturesque Helford and Mawnan Smith. Mr Walker said it is still a vital link for coastal path walkers.

For more information call Mr Chick on 01872 277397 and visit the website at


DUC DE NORMANDIE made her last sailing to Roscoff on September 28. She will lay up in Caen and be offered for sale. 


PLYM - the has been out of service for much of the week after failing around 16:00 on Sunday September 26.

The vessel was withdrawn as a 12-tonne weight failed in the tensioning mechanism which holds the north side chain. 

Large queues built up during the rush hour with delays of up to 45 minutes with all traffic being carried by TAMAR and LYNHER. 

PLYM will be the first of the three chain ferries to be replaced in December 2004. Her successor the higher capacity PLYM II was launched at Fergusons of Port Glasgow in August 2005.




Austal, the world's leading builder of high speed ships has launched the largest aluminium ship ever built, the 127 metre trimaran ferry "Benchijigua Express" taking to the water for the first time early on 25 September.

It is the most significant ship to arrive on the world high speed vessel scene, not just in terms of size but due to its ability to give a substantially smoother ride to passengers in rough sea conditions thanks to its trimaran design.

Construction of the ferry commenced at the Austal shipyard in Western Australia in September 2003. At the height of construction approximately 430 of the company's 1200 staff were working on the project.

When Austal signed the contract to build a second high speed vehicle-passenger ferry for European ferry operator Fred. Olsen, S.A. in June last year, it signalled the start of not just another ferry from the world's leading builder of high speed ships, but the creation of a new hullform that is set to revolutionise fast sea transportation.

Setting new industry standards for vessel performance "Benchijigua Express" is the outcome of collaboration between Fred. Olsen, S.A. and Austal involving more than three years of research and development to produce a new design which will not only enable operators to offer better service on existing routes but also begin operations on new routes where sea conditions are too challenging for existing fast ferries.

With power provided by four 8,200 kW diesel engines driving three water jets the Auto Express 127 trimaran will be able to maintain Fred. Olsen, S.A.'s projected service speed in excess of 40 knots and carry 1,350 passengers, over 340 cars and a substantial number of trucks.

Seeing the vessel afloat for the first time Austal's Chairman Mr. John Rothwell spoke of his deep sense of pride.

"The sight of this gigantic ship, the largest aluminium vessel to ever be built in the world, illustrates just how far Austal has come since it delivered its first vessel back in 1988," Mr. Rothwell said.

"At 127 metres this huge vessel is 4¼ times longer than the first Austal-built live-aboard dive catamaran of just 30 metres which was built in approximately six months with just 30 people. Now we employ 1200 people," he said.

"Benchijigua Express" is now undergoing final onboard fit out prior to undergoing sea trials during November. The vessel will then depart for the Canary Islands on a delivery voyage covering approximately 9,500 nautical miles.



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