NOTES & NEWS
Members entering the site via the home page will have noticed that a new look has been adopted after some extensive trials involving some regular contributors.
The new home page makes access to different areas of the site much quicker with a range of hyperlinks provided and a prominent link to the "What's New" page. The previous front page link to" What's New" proving to be a little ambiguous especially for new visitors.
The new home page has been optimised to full 1024 x 768 screen resolution and users are recommended to ensure that their monitors are set to 1028x768 to ensure the best viewing experience.
The change has come about due to the fact that previous home page was still based on the 800 x 600 screen format and had become somewhat dated having evolved over the past four to five years. Something tidier was obviously required.
Over the next few weeks further presentation changes will take place on a progressive basis to optimise other menus and pages to take full advantage of the 1024 x 768 screen resolution. Users will have noted that the top of the page menu has been redesigned to take full advantage of the 1024x768 format.
If anyone has any comments / suggestions - please email firstname.lastname@example.org
ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY
The company is reported to be seeing an extension to the Douglas Harbour User Agreement. The matter is due to be discussed in Tynwald shortly.
ISLE OF MAN DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
Passenger figures compiled by the Harbours Division for October 2004 at 42,884 show a 0.5% increase on the figure for the same period in 2003 which was 42,688.
The year to date figure at 588,003 passengers shows a 2.7% decrease over the same period in 2003 which was 604,123.
During October, car and motorcycle traffic through Douglas Harbour increased by 1.9% from 11,154 vehicles to 11,366 vehicles.
The year to date figure at 157,400 vehicles shows a 1.0% decrease over the same period in 2003 which was 159,039.
Scheduled Routes show the following changes in passenger numbers for October:-
Director of Harbours, Captain Michael Brew comments:
“October 2004 passenger figures are the second best October figures ever and only just below October 2002 which is the record October. Whilst passenger numbers are not quite a record, this October is a record October for car and motorcycle traffic.”
A 24 hour strike by members of SIPTU resulted in all services being cancelled between 06:00 on December 02, and 06:00 on December 03.
An all out strike by SIPTU members is planned to commence on December 06 and will lead to the cancellation of all services.
The dispute centres around the replacement of the crew on NORMANDY by foreign agency staff.
Irish Ferries issued the following statement on December 02:
STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO NOTICE OF STRIKE ACTION BY SIPTU SHIPS' OFFICERS
Irish Ferries confirms that it has received notice from the trade union SIPTU representing ships' officers advising them of their intention to engage in all-out strike action involving the company's passenger/freight ferry services on Dublin - Holyhead and Rosslare - Pembroke services effective from Monday next, December 6th. It is understood that this action by SIPTU was voted for by 59 ships officers out of a total workforce of 1,200 persons employed by Irish Ferries. The company is now making preparations ahead of this action by informing customers and in assisting to them in whatever way possible.
The decision by Irish Ferries to contract out employment of crew on its Ireland - France service from March next is one taken in the interests of safeguarding the long-term operation of the service in the face of competition from low cost air carriers and a state-subsidised foreign-owned ferry operator and of reversing the decline in passenger carryings experienced on the service over recent years. Crew contracted in under new crewing arrangement for the Ireland - France service, due to recommence in March 2005, will be drawn from Ireland, UK and other EU states.
In responding to the announcement by SIPTU, Irish Ferries reminds its customers and the public that ships officers employed by the company enjoy the finest working conditions existing within the shipping industry world-wide including pay, pensions, time on/off and working conditions on board. None of these conditions will be affected by any of the measures being implemented.
In the implementation of this new arrangement, Irish Ferries has remained committed to the provision of a voluntary severance arrangement for which EUR7 million has been allocated and which has been accepted by over 80 percent of the crew members concerned. There have been no forced job losses. The crew concerned were offered the option of a generous voluntary severance arrangement. Those who chose to continue working in the company have been offered positions on Irish Sea services.
Only by placing its Ireland - France service on a competitive footing through the proposed new crewing arrangement can Irish Ferries be hopeful of protecting its future operation in the wider interests of Irish tourism and import/export trade and of the economic well-being of the South East region in particular.
Passenger enquiries to : Ireland Tel: 0818 300400
Irish Ferries Chief Executive Eamonn Rothwell has advised Irish Ferries staff that in the event of a prolonged strike by SIPTU members commencing on December 06, the company will be "... be forced to lay off all staff that are not absolutely required for the duration of this strike as of this date."
The company appears concerned that should the French service not be restructured with the use of agency staff, the alternative will be either its closure or down-grade to a short seasonal operation.
This, Irish Ferries claim, could allow a new competitor into Rosslare. Once in Rosslare the company suggests it " ... would be likely to migrate its operations to the Irish Sea." There competitor is of course Brittany Ferries which is subsidised by the French Government.
ITF CHALLENGES IRISH FERRIES CLAIM
Inspector for the International Transport Federation in Ireland has challenged Irish Ferries management over suggestions that it endorsed the company's out-sourcing of jobs.
The ITF, the world trade union body which represents seafarers, has said this is not correct.
Inspector Tony Ayton has written to the Human Resources Manager of Irish Ferries, Alf McGrath, in relation to comments he made on RTÉ Television News on Thursday evening.
The ITF says his comments implied that foreign nationals being recruited for the company's ship, the NORMANDY , on the Rosslare-Cherbourg route, had ITF pay rates.
Mr Ayton, ITF Inspector for both the Republic and Northern Ireland , said he was unaware of any such arrangement and was 'greatly surprised' when Irish Ferries used the name of the ITF as a public endorsement for its recruitment policy.
He has called on Irish Ferries to contact the ITF and explain the basis of this statement.
LATEST NEWS - SUNDAY DECEMBER 4 - 16:30
Ireland - UK Services
Services Cancelled as a Result of Unofficial Industrial Action by SIPTU Ship's Officers
Irish Ferries confirms that services on its Dublin / Holyhead and Rosslare / Pembroke routes are now cancelled as a direct result of unofficial industrial action taken by SIPTU Ships' Officers which commenced at 14.30 hrs today ( Sunday, December 5th ), nearly sixteen hours ahead of their planned strike action which was due to commence at 06.00 hrs, tomorrow, Monday December 6th. Irish Ferries deeply regrets this action.
In the lead up to the planned strike action, Irish Ferries expressed the fear that its vessels would become bound up in the dispute in a manner unacceptable to the company, port authorities and other port users. This fear has been justified by the unofficial action that has now been taken.
Irish Ferries condemns the strike action being taken by the SIPTU ships' officers which, it is understood, was voted for by only 59 of their members. By engaging in such action, especially in the lead-up to Christmas, SIPTU ships' officers are putting at risk the livelihood of their fellow seafarers and their 1,200 colleagues who work in Irish Ferries whilst undermining customer confidence and forcing the transfer of passengers and freight to rival services.
The realities of the market place in which Irish Ferries operates is one in which customers now demand lower and better value fares that are truly competitive when matched against state subsidised and low fare air and sea carriers with whom the company is forced to compete. This is especially true on the company's Ireland / France service where the decision to contract in the crew required to operate the service when it resumes in March 2005 was one forced on the company by the economic requirement to restore competitiveness if the service is to continue.
Only by placing its Ireland / France service on a competitive footing through the proposed new crewing arrangement can Irish Ferries be hopeful of protecting its future operation in the wider interests of Irish tourism, the import/export trade, and the economic well-being of the South East region in particular. Failure to implement such measures could well lead to the closure of the route with all of the implications which this would have. Irish Ferries confirms that it has now paid out, with effect from 30th November, in excess of €8 million to the high proportion of its Ireland/France crew members who opted to accept the exceedingly generous voluntary severance package offered. Those crew members have now left the company. Those who chose to remain in the company, approximately 25 persons, have been offered positions on Irish Sea services, some of whom have already transferred.
Ships officers employed by Irish Ferries on the Irish Sea enjoy the finest working conditions existing within the shipping industry world-wide including pay, pensions, time on/off and working conditions on board. None of these conditions were to be affected by any of the measures being implemented. There have been no forced job losses in the implementation of the new crewing arrangements coming into force on the Ireland/France route.
Irish Ferries calls on SIPTU and the ships' officers responsible for this strike action to reflect upon the impact it will have and the long-term consequences it may have for the well-being of the company and all employed in it.
DUBLIN DOCKLANDS DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
Dublin’s new tour service on the River Liffey, the Liffey Voyage will be launched next Summer by the Dublin Docklands Development Authority. Designed by Danish naval architects, ‘THE STRUMPET’, a 52 seat low profile vessel is currently being built in Sweden.
Designed by renowned Danish boat designers, Ole Steen Knudsen A/S, the Strumpet will carry 52 people, including its driver, and is wheelchair accessible. The boat has been custom designed to navigate the River Liffey while at the same time providing users with comfort and great views of the city. The boat will travel between the Docklands and the Four Courts (it can also travel as far as Heuston Station but not at all tide levels).
Landing stations for the Liffey Voyage will be at the IFSC and off the boardwalk the Ha’Penny Bridge and O’Connell Bridge. An additional landing station is being constructed at the Point Depot to facilitate a concert night taxi service. The tour service will sail on average six to eight times a day, initially during daylight hours only. Tidal conditions on the River Liffey will determine the route of the trip. Journeys will take around 55 minutes including embarking and disembarking times.
The Strumpet tour will explore, but is not limited to, the historical associations of sights and structures around the River Liffey. A tour guide will deliver entertaining information on Dublin life specific to the Liffey and the Docklands that will be filled with hearsay, gossip and humour in true Dublin-style “craic”.
THE STRUMPET will be 16.8 metres long, 5.6 metres wide, and 1.15 metres deep. It is capable of travelling at 7.5 knots. The Strumpet is being built by Westersmekaniska in Udewalla in Sweden and delivery is scheduled for late March 2005. It will be trialled for several months before the service is formally launched. The Docklands Authority also has an option to purchase a second vessel.
The Liffey Voyage is part of the Docklands Authority’s River Regeneration Strategy, which aims to bring back life to the River Liffey. Developments undertaken to date under the Regeneration Strategy include the refurbishment of campshires (quaysides), the provision of city centre moorings (under construction), and the hosting of tourism-related events along the River Liffey such as Skyfest and the visit of the Tall Ships.
CAMMELL LAIRD is a new book from Merseyside maritime author Ian Collard Published by Tempus Publishing just in time for Christmas. Price £12.99. A full review will appear next week.
The book charts the history of the yard from is early days to its demise in the wake of the cancelling of the COSTA CLASSICA contract and the yards subsequent sale to the A&P Group.
Histories of key vessels constructed at Cammell Laird comprise the second part of the book.
128pp - illustrated throughout.
WICKLOW & EAST COAST NOTES
Coaster callers included WINGER, SIMONE, KOVERA and PIPER ( which was also the ex SIMONE ) Traffic included in the bay included BREAKSEA , JANE, BOWCLIFFE, EUCON PROGRESS and the liner VAN GOGH bound for Dublin.
The cable laying vessel COASTAL SPIDER left Arklow on Thursday morning under tow (photo).
The coaster BOUNDER was observed loading stone at Arklow Roadstone jetty the same day
PENINSULAR & ORIENTAL STEAM NAVIGATION COMPANY
P&O have announced the appointment of Sir John Parker to succeed Lord Sterling as Chairman
Sir John is Chairman of National Grid Transco plc. He is also currently Chairman of RMC Group, although he will be standing down from this position in January 2005 following the agreed acquisition of RMC by the Mexican company Cemex. He is also Senior Non-executive Director designate of the Court of the Bank of England and a Non-executive Director of Carnival plc. Sir John has had a distinguished career in engineering, shipbuilding and other capital intensive industries. His previous appointments have included Managing Director of Austin & Pickersgill, Deputy Chief Executive of the British Shipbuilders Corporation, Chairman and Chief Executive of Harland & Wolff and Chairman and Chief Executive of Babcock International. Sir John was Chairman of the Lattice Group on its demerger from BG Group in 2000 and remained Chairman when it merged with National Grid in 2002.
Commenting on the announcement, Lord Sterling said: "I am delighted that the Board has chosen Sir John as my successor. His achievements and breadth of experience, particularly in the maritime industries, will be invaluable in taking P&O forward into a new and exciting chapter in its long history."
Sir John commented: "P&O is one of the world's great global brands. I am honoured to succeed Lord Sterling, given his long and distinguished leadership of the company as Executive Chairman over the past 21 years. I look forward to leading the Board in continuing its transformation strategy. P&O has at its core a world class international container terminals business which has considerable growth potential."
EUROPEAN SEAWAY - has spent around a year or so in lay up. First at A&P Falmouth where she was utilised as an accommodation ship and since June at A&P Birkenhead. It is understood that before she returns to English Channel duty as part of the P&P restructuring plans she will receive a short dry docking.
TAMAR BRIDGE & TORPOINT FERRY JOINT COMMITTEE
PLYM II - the first of the three new ferries constructed for the committee's Torpoint Ferry departed from Ferguson Shipbuilders, Port Glasgow at 14:00 on December 2, 2004.
PLYM II is being towed by tug with the journey being expected to take around four to five days, dependent on weather conditions
On arrival in Plymouth, the PLYM II will be taken to Millbay Docks for some minor work and tests. The ferry will then be moved to Torpoint for full operational trials and crew training. The two other ferries TAMAR II and LYNHER II will be introduced over the coming months.
ISLE OF MULL is expected to depart A&P Birkenhead next weekend - probably Sunday December 12.
LORD OF THE ISLES is likely to be the next arrival for refit at A&P.
JAMES FISHER & SONS plc
James Fisher, the Barrow based marine services provider, announced this week the acquisition of three privately-owned companies, in the UK and Norway, Remote Marine Systems Limited ('RMS'), Nuclear Decommissioning Limited ('NDL') and Reanco Team AS ('Reanco'), for a total consideration of £7.3 million in cash.
The acquisitions are being funded out of existing resources. These purchases further strengthen James Fisher's growing Marine Support Services Division which, in the first half of 2004, contributed 46% of the Company's operating profit against 14% two years ago and represented 24% of assets employed. Tim Harris, Chairman of James Fisher, said: 'These acquisitions represent the latest step in our strategy of expanding our marine services activities and in particular increasing our presence in the growing nuclear decommissioning market in Cumbria.
Reanco adds to the range of services offered to the clients of our Scan Tech business'. Remote Marine Systems Limited ('RMS') and Nuclear Decommissioning Limited ('NDL ') The acquisition of the entire issued share capital of both RMS and NDL, which were under common ownership, is for a cash consideration of £4.9 million. In the year ended May 2004, RMS had a turnover of £3.47 million and a pre-tax profit of £0.62 million. Net assets at that date amounted to £3.67 million. RMS was a privately-owned company based in Malton, North Yorkshire, with 64 employees, concentrating on the supply of specialist services and remote handling equipment to the nuclear industry.
This involves design and assembly of equipment, predominantly used in decommissioning of nuclear facilities. These technical services are used on a number of client sites, the largest being British Nuclear Fuel plc's ('BNFL') Sellafield base in Cumbria. In addition, RMS has a successful 'Oilfield' division using their electrical design skills to provide electrical equipment used for artificial lift systems and for operation in hazardous zones in the demanding offshore and nuclear environments, complementing James Fisher's existing presence in these markets. NDL provides consultancy services to the nuclear industry.
RMS and NDL will be combined with James Fisher's existing nuclear decommissioning business and operate within a new company, James Fisher Nuclear Limited. Gordon Robertson, the current Managing Director of RMS, will become Managing Director of the group's nuclear decommissioning division. Reanco Team AS ('Reanco') Reanco is a privately-owned company situated in Haugesund and Stavanger on the Norwegian West Coast.
The entire issued share capital has been purchased for NOK 25 million (£2.12 million), with a further deferred payment of up to NOK 3 million (£0.25 million) based on achieving certain profit targets for the current year. In the year to December 2003 Reanco had a turnover of NOK 20.8 million (£1.8 million) and pre-tax profit of NOK 3.2 million (£0.27 million). Reanco provides a specialist service to customers in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea, upgrading accommodation and other facilities on fixed and floating offshore installations. This includes creating false floors, building noise screens, refurbishing cabins and other services to ensure the facilities meet new stringent Norwegian sector legislation relating to living space for offshore personnel, including the recent demise of multi-occupancy cabins.
The customers are predominantly the same as those to whom Scan Tech already provides a variety of services. Reanco will be added to James Fisher's existing Scan Tech operations under its Managing Director, Bjorn Erik Bjornsen, who is based in Stavanger. The local management will remain in place. The company has 16 employees.
EC Hambro Rabben and Partners Ltd acted as corporate finance advisors for the three acquisitions.
A widow suing the Stena Line ferry company over her husband's death when he went overboard faces an anxious wait for the outcome of her compensation claim after a judge yesterday reserved his decision in her case.
The High Court has heard, during a trial spread over three weeks, that former engineer Michael Davis, 35, went overboard whilst travelling on KONINGIN BEATRIX on a Rosslare - Fishguard crossing in October 2000.
His widow, Marion Davis, of Bristol, is suing the company for about £250,000, claiming it was to blame for her husband's death after launching an abortive rescue attempt to "extract" the drowning man from the water.
The court has heard how Mr Davis went overboard from the ferry and was spotted by a crew member on a nearby container ship. When the weather was adjudged too bad to launch lifeboats from the ferry, the giant Stena Line vessel was manoeuvred close to him in a bid to get him out of the water.
The rescue attempt was unsuccessful, and Mr Davis later appeared on the other side of the boat, "face down in the water, obviously dead".
In his closing submissions to the court, Simon Kverndal QC, for Mrs Davis, said Stena Line had shown "antipathy" towards risk assessment and failed to "think through the risks and problems" they would face in a man overboard situation in rough seas. He said it was likely the attempt to retrieve Mr Davis from the water had itself caused his death, claiming he would otherwise have survived until a rescue boat or helicopter arrived to save him.
Mr Kverndal went on to reject the suggestion made by those representing the ferry company that Mr Davis may have gone into the water in a bid to commit suicide.
But Michael Tillett QC, for Stena Line, argued the ferry company was in no way to blame for Mr Davis's death. The master and crew took all reasonable steps to rescue him. he said.
Mr Justice Forbes has now reserved his decision on Mrs Davis's damages claim until a later, unspecified, date.