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NEWS BULLETIN: January 2005


January 29Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Tony Brennan, Jim Edgar, Chris Allman, Tommy Dover, John Lewis, Michael Pryce, Brian Chambers and "others"


Welcome to this weekends update. Some unscheduled mid week updates were posted - details on the "What's New" page. Perhaps the most interesting event of the week was the removal of the damaged and partly sunken section of Prince's Landing Stage on Thursday afternoon. This was undertaken by Adsteam Tugs after MERSEY MAMMOTH had removed one of the securing booms. Fortunately I was able to get down to the Pier Head just before the move took place.


Speculation continues as to whether a new high speed vessel will appear in service this year, or at least a new vessel be announced for the future. At present SUPERSEACAT TWO and SEACAT ISLE OF MAN remain in A&P Birkenhead wet basing where they berthed at the end of last season.

It is rumoured that a new uniform will be introduced for crews to replace the current uniform which originated with Sea Containers.  The uniform change may occur when the new vessel enters service. It is believed to incorporate the Manx Tartan.


For the eighth year in succession - and the ninth time overall - Irish Ferries have been voted Ireland's Best Ferry Company. In the annual travel industry awards competition, sponsored by the influential publication Irish Travel Trade News, travel agents from  across Ireland gave the top award to Irish Ferries against competition from five other ferry companies.

The award, which recognises the investment made by Irish Ferries over  the past decade in the purchase of new ships and in improvements to  service at all levels, was presented to the company by Minister for Transport, Martin Cullen T.D.

Accepting it, their sales manager Declan Mescall said that, by their  vote, travel agents have confirmed Irish Ferries status as the undisputed leaders in the provision of passenger car ferry services into and out of Ireland.

LEILI which had been on charter to cover freight traffic on the Rosslare - Pembroke service during the absence of the ISLE OF INISHMORE departed Rosslare on January 27, returning to Dublin to take up service again for Norse Merchant Ferries.

JONATHAN SWIFT - the company have launched the new Club Class lounge which occupies the whole upper passenger deck.

The company claims that this luxurious new lounge makes travelling with even more  comfortable and enjoyable. Situated on the upper it boasts  magnificent sea views and offers a host of super benefits! · Reserved Seating – Your very own soft leather reclining
Pullman seat · Complimentary Drinks and Snacks – teas, coffee, wine and minerals · Complimentary Newspapers & Magazines – a wide range  available · Exclusive Lounge Bar – serving a wide range of delicious
food and drink.

Upgrade supplements are £10/€15 per person each way. Seats can be booked in advance, or if space allows, passengers may upgrade on the day of travel.


The damaged section of Prince's Landing Stage was removed on Thursday afternoon, just after 16:00. . Floating Crane MERSEY MAMMOTH had stood by after having removed the securing boom.


The RNLI New Brighton Hovercraft  H 005 HURLEY SPIRIT will be officially named by Mrs Kay Hurley on Saturday June 25,  2005 at a naming ceremony to be held on the Promenade at Harrison Drive, Wallasey.


PACIFIC SWAN - the second nuclear fuel carrier owned by BNFL subsidiary PNTL and operated by James Fisher & Sons has been despatched to breakers in the Netherlands. She will be broken up at the Scheepsloperij Nederlands facility in Gravendeel. This is the second vessel in the nuclear fleet to be sent to the breakers in the past twelve months. PACIFIC CRANE having been despatched in 2004.

Equipment from the vessel which made its final service voyage in September 2003 has been donated to the Fleetwood Nautical College.

Replacement vessels are being considered and BAe Systems of Barrow are reported in the Evening Mail Newspaper to have expressed an interest in tendering to construct replacement vessels.


EUROPEAN DIPLOMAT arrived in Rosslare to take up service with Celtic Link at 20:45 on January 27. She is due to commence service for her new owners this coming week. The following day at 17:00 she became DIPLOMAT. On January 29 the P&O logos were painted out.



Recent coaster visitor's included  THULE, MONICA, CITO, CROWN ALIZEE and RIKA .  Traffic in the bay included COASTAL WAVE, TRITON LOGA, C2C AQUARIUS and  EMMA .  Wicklow RNLI inshore lifeboat launched on a crew exercise in the bay. The Coastguard S61 helicopter was in the area on a training flight.


A new exhibition sponsored by Carnival Corporation's Cunard Division opened on January 28, 2005. "Liverpool to New York – the only way to cross", runs until 14 August 2005.

Liverpool to New York recreates the experience of travelling on transatlantic liners over the last century, with a focus on the golden years of travel from the 1920s to the 1960s. Visitors can get a taste of life on board and meet characters from the glamorous first class passengers to the crew below decks. 

The £25,000 deal makes Cunard the biggest ever business sponsor for the Merseyside Maritime Museum’s temporary exhibition programme.

Carol Marlow, Cunard director (Europe), says

“Cunard is delighted to be supporting this exciting exhibition, especially as it plays such a key part in the Sea Liverpool celebrations. Transatlantic crossings during this golden age of sea travel are central to Cunard’s heritage.”

Cunard’s sponsorship of the exhibition is especially appropriate given its long history as one of the major Atlantic shipping lines formerly based in Liverpool.  This history is reflected in many fascinating items to be displayed in the exhibition, such as a collection of medals and an engraved silver loving cup that were presented to Captain Arthur Rostron of the Cunard liner Carpathia, for his rescue of all the survivors from the Titanic. 

Dr Alan Scarth, curator at the Merseyside Maritime Museum, says

“These beautiful and emotive items are likely to be the among the stars of the show, especially as the public so rarely gets the opportunity to see them.” 

Another prize exhibit will be a superb 4metre model of the Birkenhead-built Cunard liner Mauretania (II) 1939-65, which will be on loan from the National Maritime Museum in London.

“Business sponsorship for our exhibitions programme is vital if we are to live up to the massive expectations of Liverpool's culture and keep these important shows free for visitors,” explains David Fleming, director of National Museums Liverpool, the organisation that runs the Merseyside Maritime Museum and seven other museums and galleries in the city.

“Business support means that our own money works harder.  It enables us to create special exhibitions that attract people from the city, the region, nationally and internationally.  A lively cultural scene with museums buzzing with activity improves the city’s image, encouraging people to come and live here, and come and spend money here.  Everybody wins. The Cunard sponsorship of the Liverpool to New York exhibition is a brilliant example of a business/culture partnership which unites two world class brands in support of Liverpool's regeneration.”

This exhibition is part of Sea Liverpool 2005 and the national Sea Britain celebrations.


The cargo vessel LADY HASSAN has returned to the deep-water quay in Cork Harbour after it took in water several miles off the Cork coast early on January 29.

The North Korean-flagged vessel left Cork for the Mediterranean but began to take water when it was about 20 nautical miles off the coast.

An Irish Coast Guard helicopter and Ballycotton Lifeboat attended the scene. The eight crewmembers aboard the vessel were not in danger.

The 82-metre vessel, which was travelling empty, had run aground off Kinsale last October and had since been under repair in the Cork docks.

The Department of Marine has now issued a detention order against the ship, which prevents it leaving Cork Harbour until there is a full inspection.


SEACAT FRANCE which spent a while laid up in A&P Birkenhead in 2003 through to May 2004 will be chartered to Emeraude Lines and will operate as EMERAUDE FRANCE on the Jersey - St. Malo Link. She will replace HOVERSPEED GREAT BRITAIN which has sailed as EMERAUDE GREAT BRITAIN whilst on charter to Emeraude

Emeraude claims this vessel will have better access for foot passengers and improved disabled facilities.


A&P Falmouth and the Pendennis Shipyard, have joined forces to make a bid for a multi-million pound contract to build the replacement King Harry Ferry due to enter service in 2006.

Total cost of building the 55-metre, 300-tonne ferry and enhancing the shore-side infrastructure is nearly £3 million with King Harry Ferries providing 65 per cent of the money. The remainder will come from Objective One funding through the European Regional Development Fund.

"Winning this prestigious contract would be good for the companies involved, the town and Cornwall. We are very excited about the prospect of building a `Cornish' vessel in Falmouth. This is a locally inspired project and it would be fantastic if we could win this all-important work with a 100 per cent local input," said Mr Child, A&P Falmouth's Managing Director.

Mr Child explained that if the bid was successful, the ferry would be built at the docks with Pendennis Shipyard personnel carrying out the internal fit out. "Pendennis Shipyard is designing the ferry. We would build the modular sections and then construct the ferry in Number Four dry-dock. Final fitting out will be completed in the Pendennis Shipyard dock complex."

Both Falmouth companies have the expertise to build such a vessel on the doorstep of the Fal estuary. It is understood that Clyde shipbuilders Ferguson and VT (Vosper Thorneycroft) along with some European shipyards are submitting tenders for the contract. A yard in Poland has withdrawn interest in the project although a Spanish shipyard is another main contender.

Building the ferry in Falmouth will obviously have many benefits to the ferry company who will be able to oversee the construction close to their headquarters. Transportation costs will be negligible compared with costs involved in bringing the ferry to Falmouth from other UK or European yards.

The current 28-car capacity ferry, built 30 years ago at Dredge and Marine, Penryn, will be replaced by an environmentally friendly ferry that will carry 34 cars. Modern cars are some 15 per cent longer and wider than they were in 1974 when the current ferry was built consequently she is now limited to 23 cars. Today, in Cornwall's buoyant tourism market, this strategically-located ferry crossing handles upwards of 270,000 cars each year, with numbers rising.

The King Harry Steam Ferry Company was formed on April 18, 1888, a year after Colonel Arthur Tremayne, of Carclew, first raised the idea of running a steam-driven ferry across the Fal. Penryn shipbuilders Sara & Burgess built the first ferry that was fitted with a vertical boiler and a two-cylinder Compound Condensing engine.

Brought to the Fal in 1934 KHF No III, a former Saltash steam ferry, only spent a few months in service due to high running costs. Sold in 1937 to Glasgow owners, she parted from a tug before grounding on rocks off St Agnes where she was declared a total loss. Ferry No V suffered a similar fate when she sank in the Channel whilst en-route to Spain. Built by Holman and Company, Penzance, the fourth steam ferry was almost lost before her maiden trip across the Fal. Under tow from Penzance to Falmouth by the tug Chew Magna in February 1951 the tow parted in gale force winds off the Lizard. She grounded at Spurnick Cove, west of the Black Head. After a successful salvage operation the ferry underwent repairs at the docks costing £12,000.

January 26Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Tony Brennan, Clive Jackson, Niall Magner and "others"


LOGOS 2 - The Christian Missionary Ship will be paying a final visit to Birkenhead this spring. The ship is due to arrive on May 16. She will operate a port programme from May 17 to May 25. Between the May 27 and 30 there will be a decommissioning celebration. The 1968 built ship departs Birkenhead on June 6.

LOGOS 2 was built as the ANTONIO LAZARO by Union Naval Levante SA of Valencia Spain in 1968, and for Compañía Trasmediterránea. The ship was designed to operate a ferry service to Morocco, carrying 400 berthed and 200 deck class passengers. She also carried side loaded cars. She has operated as a missionary ship for EBE since 1989.

She will be replaced by LOGOS HOPE [ex Smyril Line NORRONA] currently refitting in Germany.


LORD OF THE ISLES - is undergoing refit in Canada Dry Dock, Liverpool, having arrived earlier this week.


Demolition of the former Norwest Hovercraft Company Terminal at Fleetwood is expected to commence soon. It has been reported that a fence has been erected around the buildings prior to work commencing.

The terminal was built in the late 1960s on the site of the original Fleetwood Station. It served the shortlived Norwest service to the Isle of Man operated by STELLA MARINA and NORWEST LAIRD. Following the demise of Norwest, part of the building was taken over as a terminal for the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, whilst the remainder of the subsequently extended building was developed as a pub and cafe.

The building has been derelict for some years.


The Sunday Mail reported that Celtic and Rangers football fans have united to try and save the Sea Containers ferry service from Belfast to Troon.

The seasonal service which last season was operated by RAPIDE was placed under review by the company recently following un acceptable loses last year A spokesman for Celtic Social Club in Glasgow said: 'Our petition sheets here are filling up with signatures.' President of the Rangers Supporters Assembly, Jim Templeton, said: 'We're also supporting the petition.'


AURORA - repair contract has been awarded to Lloyd Werft, Bremerhaven. She is due there Friday. A&P Birkenhead and Harland and Wolff are believed to have placed bids.


ISLE OF INISHMORE is expected back at Rosslare, following her visit to Harland and Wolf, around midnight on January 26.


Peel Holdings is reported to have acquired over 10 million Mersey Docks & Harbour Co shares at a cost of £100M  to block an anticipated bid by private equity companies CVC and Cinven. Peel Holidings which owns the Manchester Ship Canal and Clydeport, already held 11.7% MDHC shares. With its latest purchase, Peel now holds 25% of MD&HC. This would effectively block any private equity bid.

January 22Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Dan Cross, Philip Parker, Niall Magner, Michael Pryce, and "others"


EUROPEAN DIPLOMAT - departed from A&P Birkenhead  for trails on the morning of January 22 [left]. She then returned to the Mersey and entered the Liverpool Dock system.

It is understood that she will operate on the Liverpool - Dublin route for a few days before proceeding to Rosslare on January 28 to resume services on the Rosslare - Cherbourg route for new owners Celtic Link Ferries Ltd.

PRIDE OF BILBAO caused a major headache for one woman living near A&P Falmouth where the ship is refitting.

A fire broke out in a restaurant and the ship yard's fire siren was sounded to alert the A&P workforce and ship's crew. The PRIDE OF BILBAO's crew soon brought the fire under control with A&P Falmouth conducting a full evacuation of the ship in line with its safe systems works procedure.

However, at the height of the emergency, a man telephoned docks management to ask if the fire alarm could be switched off as it was causing his wife a headache!


PACIFIC SANDPIPER - the nuclear fuel carrier has been out on trials this week. She returned to A&P Birkenhead wet basin on Friday January 21.


James Fisher, the Barrow based marine services provider, announced the acquisition of Harsh Environment Systems Limited, a privately owned company, for a total consideration of £1.6 million in cash this week

Harsh Environment Systems Limited ('HES') is based in Egremont, Cumbria adjacent to the Sellafield Nuclear Plant. HES provides bespoke solutions for remote operations and monitoring in the nuclear decommissioning industry.  It designs and develops equipment for use on hazardous sites with its own facilities for testing equipment on large-scale mock-ups prior to installation.  Barry Vernon and Trevor Singleton, the founding shareholders, will remain in their current position as Directors of the Company.

The purchase further strengthens the development of James Fisher Nuclear Ltd which has its origins in the acquisition of James Fisher Rumic in 2002 and is part of 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:

'Being neighbours to the BNFL site in Sellafield, HES have a natural advantage in working closely with BNFL for servicing their site operation and future decommissioning. The property has considerable room for expansion and HES will complement our recent acquisitions of Remote Marine Systems and Nuclear Decommissioning Limited.'

Gordon Robertson, Managing Director of James Fisher Nuclear Ltd, said;

'The acquisition of HES is an important building block in providing a broader spread of high quality services to our Nuclear clients and the strategic position of its property will also enable us to offer better local solutions and pre-commissioning testing facilities.'

Barry Vernon, Director of HES, said;

'We are delighted to become part of James Fishers Nuclear Ltd and look forward to integrating our products and services with their growing nuclear decommissioning activities'

EC Hambro Rabben and Partners Ltd acted as corporate finance advisors for this acquisition.


MUIRNEAG - departed A&P Birkenhead on the evening of January 22, following repairs.



Private equity company Cinven has joined talks to buy the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company. The company is already believed to be in talks with rival equity house CVC. Meanwhile Peel Holdings, proprietors of the Manchester Ship Canal Company have also been reported snapping up MD&HC shares


The Cat-Fuel barge which has been moored inside Prince's Landing Stage for some years as a store fuel for the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company fast craft was removed by MERSEY MAMMOTH on Friday January 21. The barge was berthed close to the partially sunken southern section of Prince's Landing Stage.


It is understood that on Saturday morning a man was apprehended by MD&HC Police at the Duke Street Bridge, Birkenhead. Apparently he is alleged to have attempted to lower the bridge when bulker PUFFIN accompanied by three tugs was passing between East and West Floats. Gossip on the waterfront suggests that he was frustrated by the delay caused by the open bridge which was preventing him from getting to a pub "happy hour" - this led him to cross the barrier and tamper with the bridge controls.


VAL DE LOIRE a passenger apparently fell from the vessel whilst she was on a Cherbourg - Plymouth sailing late on Friday evening. The missing 53 year old man is of Lithuanian origin. He was last seen in the bar area at 21:00. However, when the ship arrived at Millbay Docks at 22:30 he was reported missing by friends when he failed to collect his car. The crew carried out a full search of the vessel.

Brixham Coastguards have been coordinating a search which has involved Plymouth and Salcombe lifeboats and an RAF Helicopter from RAF Chivenor.

Dave Scullion, Brixham Coastguard Watch Manager said:

" A close search is being made of the 25 mile track of the vessel by the two lifeboats and from the air. However due to worsening weather condition of heavy rain and lowered visibility we have now released the helicopter which has returned to its base.

" We understand that the missing man was not wearing any lifejacket or immersion suit, and therefore time is of the essence if he is in the water in these winter months with cold sea temperatures of 10 degree Celsius at present."


AURORA - Five ship yards are believed to be bidding for the repair work to the P&O Cruises division's AURORA which was forced to abandon its round the world cruise this week.

Two Irish Sea yards A&P Birkenhead and Harland and Wolff are amongst the bidders, the other yards being A&P Southampton, Lloyd Werft and Blohm & Voss

January 19Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Tony Brennan, Jamie Andrews, John Lewis and "others"


Welcome to the update which nearly didn't happen. A power "grey out" which shut down the computer turned into a full power cut which lasted nearly two hours, it was apparently due to maintenance work in the local area which resulted in some buildings loosing power whilst others nearby didn't!


Passenger figures compiled by the Harbours Division for December 2004 at 26,607 show a 5.1% decrease on the figure for the same period in 2003 which was 28,038.

The total figure for 2004 at 635,083 passengers shows a 3.7% decrease over the total for 2003 which was 659,212.

During December car traffic through Douglas Harbour decreased by 1.7% from 8,642 vehicles to 8,495 vehicles.

The total figure for 2004 at 172,827 vehicles shows a 1.8% decrease over the total for 2003 which was 175,986.

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


Plus 61%






Plus 8%






Minus 25%





For 2004 scheduled routes show the following changes in passenger numbers:-


Minus 3%






Plus 4%






Plus 7%






Plus 1%






Minus 7%






Minus 53%






Plus 54%





Director of Harbours, Captain Michael Brew comments:

“Another steady year for Harbour Traffic whilst not hitting the highs and breaking as many records as last year. 2004 figures are influenced by a number of factors, such as increased competition, and poorer weather last summer compared to 2003.”


ULYSSES returned to Dublin from Harland and Wolff late on Monday January 17. She was able to take up a delayed 21:05 sailing to Holyhead. ULYSSES is believed to have departed Dublin around 23:30. JONATHAN SWIFT also returned to Dublin on January 17 following her refit at Harland and Wolff.



P&O have confirmed this week that that it intends to sell the EUROPEAN DIPLOMAT to the Irish company Celtic Link Ferries Ltd for an undisclosed sum.

P&O understands the new owners intend to continue operating the ship on the Rosslare-Cherbourg route and plan to commence operations towards the end of January.

Further negotiations between the two companies are continuing with a view to  P&O Ferries providing ship management and manning services for the ship but any such agreement will be subject to a separate contract.

EUROPEAN DIPLOMAT was built in 1978 and can carry 100 12-metre trucks and 118 passengers. P&O Ferries announced in September that it planned to move the vessel to the North Sea as part of its current re-structuring. The additional freight capacity the ship would have provided on the North Sea will now be covered by chartered tonnage.


The start of the new service operated by Celtic Link Ferries has been reported delayed due to "legal difficulties".

The difficulties apparently involve the transfer of staff management contracts to Celtic Link, from former operators P&O. The service is due to operate with the same captain and crew as was employed by P&O.

EUROPEAN DIPLOMAT still remains at A&P Birkenhead, though she had been due to commence service on Saturday January 22. However, the first sailing has now been delayed until January 25 or 27.

The O'Flaherty family, who are behind Celtic Link,  remain in active talks regarding the possibility of a joint venture with the French shipping company CMA/CGM who are also interested in servicing the Rosslare to Cherbourg route


RAPIDE & DIAMANT - At a hearing in Folkestone this week Sea Containers was successfully prosecuted by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

The company pleaded guilty to a total of 16 charges  brought under the Merchant Shipping (High-Speed Craft) Regulations 1996, the Merchant Shipping (Safe Manning, Hours of Work and Watchkeeping) Regulations 1997 and the Merchant Shipping (ISM Code) (Ro-Ro Passenger Ferries) Regulations 1997.

These charges covered a period from 25th August until 8th September 2003 when the RAPIDE and DIAMANT sailed from UK ports on about 130 occasions when they did not have any valid certification. Folkestone Magistrates fined Sea Containers Ltd a total of £7,000 plus £6,985 in costs were awarded.


Stena Line has launched its new Ferry Guide for 2005 featuring its biggest ever choice of route and craft from Britain to Ireland or Holland and a range of products and special offers to suit everyone.

Having enjoyed another great year, in which the company scooped another batch of best ferry company awards, Stena Line is looking forward to a successful year ahead with its new brochure offering customers a range of unbeatable prices on a choice of six routes with three types of vessel (Stena HSS fast craft, Stena Express fast craft and Superferry) and extensive onboard facilities.

Savings of up to £10 per car booking are available online with prices to Ireland starting at just £129 for a five day return based on a car and driver sailing from Stranraer to Belfast, with additional adults for only £10 each way and kids travelling for just an extra £5* each way. Other Irish Sea routes available include Holyhead to Dublin or Dun Laoghaire, Fishguard to Rosslare and Fleetwood to Larne.

Harwich to Hook of Holland prices start at only £159 for a five day return (car plus driver) with savings of 30% available for anyone booking their travel three months in advance as well as caravan specials and free meals available on overnight sailings.

Stena Line's extensive route network with some 13 ships also allows passengers the flexibility to mix and match crossings, travelling on different routes, different vessels and on different date bands if they wish.


Mersey Docks and Harbour Company has confirmed it is in talks with a private equity company which may or may not lead to an offer of 925p per share. The company is believed to be  CVC Capital Partners which made an approach in November.


Shannon Ferries plans to operate a cable car-ferry service across Lough Corrib in Co Galway.

Reports said the company, which already operates the Shannon Estuary car and passenger ferry service, had lodged a planning application  for the Corrib project with Galway County Council.

If approved, the cable guided ferry would be the first of its kind in Ireland. The vessel would have a capacity of 24 cars and would operate from Knockferry  to Kilbeg.

January 15Acknowledgements: Ian Collard, Dan Cross, Michael O'Connell, Kevin Green, Tommy Dover, Ian Liston and "others"



Updates have been posted continuously during the week to prevent a backlog building up. Please check "What's New" for full details.


BEN-MY-CHREE adverse weather disrupted sailings again January 11 /12. The 14:15 and 19:45 sailings were cancelled on January 11 and the 02:15 on January 12. The 08:45 sailing on January 12 was delayed until 10:00.

LADY OF MANN offered an 08:45 sailing to Liverpool on January 11 in stead of the 08:30 BEN-MY-CHREE sailing to Heysham. She returned to Douglas light at 17:00 on January 12.


EUROPEAN HIGHLANDER - paid a short visit to A&P Birkenhead for dry docking following her grounding at Cairnryan last weekend. She arrived on January 10 and departed on January 11.

EUROPEAN DIPLOMAT which has been reported sold to the Irish consortium CELTIC LINK remains in the web basin at A&P Birkenhead. On the morning of January 15, it was noted that painters looked to be about to undertake some work around the stern name.


LIVERPOOL VIKING [ex LAGAN VIKING] departed Canada Dock on January 12 and returned to service following her refit and renaming.

BRAVE MERCHANT was dry docked briefly at Canada Dry Dock on Friday January 14 for passenger certificate renewal.


MUIRNEAG - [Ex Isle of Man Steam Packet Company BELARD] arrived at A&P Birkenhead on Friday January 14, following her grounding earlier in the week at Stornoway.

LORD OF THE ISLES is understood to be due at NSL Bidston Dry Dock for refit on January 24.


The southernmost section of Prince's Landing Stage which is used for Isle of Man Steam Packet services appears to have sustained damage in the recent gales. By the end of the week the section on which the Pontus is usually berthed had partially sunk. MERSEY MAMMOTH attended on Thursday afternoon to remove portacabins and other items from this area.


PLYM II - the new Ferguson built car ferry, the first of three, for the Torpoint - Devonport service experienced technical problems this week. The £5m ferry experienced electrical problems which affected the starting procedure.

 Tamar Bridge and Torpoint ferries general manager David List said "There were no delays resulting from this problem, but action has to be taken to address it. "The ferry was not in operation at the time of the problem and no passengers were on board."


Preliminary details of the annual programme for the unique theatre ship FITZCARRALDO has been published on the company web site: .

The ship, which is now based in Canning Dock , Liverpool, will call at a number of Irish Sea ports over during its April to September season as well as voyaging further a field. The 2005 production will be "Noah's Ark". 

The FITZCARRALDO was the former Norwegian ferry BJARKOY.


NORMANDY - The ship which is currently berthed at  the Commissioning Quay, Belfast, whilst awaiting refit at Harland and Wolff broke her aft moorings in gales on January 11.

The stern swung outwards from the quayside and came into heavy contact with the James Fisher & Sons tanker SEVERN FISHER berthed at the Steel Delivery Wharf.

Tugs from Ferran  Port Services and Svitzer Marine attended to push Normandy back alongside. An excellent series of photographs if the incident can be found at:


Passenger capacity on CP Ships' Cast container operation will be more than  doubled this year with the arrival of three new ships now being built for  delivery over the next four months.

The Trans-Atlantic passenger service between Liverpool and Montreal will go  weekly in April when all three ships have entered service. The high season  fares for 2005 will offer reductions on those applicable in 2004 while the
off-season fares will be slightly higher. The fares (given below) bear no single supplement as the ships will be equipped with single cabins.

Three newly-built German-owned ships have been chartered for the route, with  the CAST PRESTIGE, CAST PROMISE and CAST PROSPERITY arriving in February,  March and April. The new ships will offer two double cabins and four singles, for  a total of eight passengers per sailing - the previous ships, which only  sailed two weeks out of three, could carry five passengers each. The new ships  will therefore more than double the passenger capacity on this route from about  165 a year to 400 in each direction.

Fares are in Euros but come out to the following at today's rate of exchange.

Liverpool/Montreal (11 days via Antwerp)
High Season £925 in 2005 (was £995)
Low Season £895 in 2005 (was £760)

Montreal/Liverpool (10 days direct)
High Season £855 in 2005 (was £995)
Low Season £825 in 2005 (was £760)

Low Season is November through March.

The full round voyage can also be taken as a 21-day cruise, at a fare of  £1,610 per person in High Season. This includes a three-night stopover in  Montreal, from Monday through Thursday morning.

It is 102 years since Canadian Pacific first entered the Liverpool-Montreal  trade when it acquired Elder Dempster Line's Canadian operations, previously  known as the Beaver Line, and 98 years since the introduction of the first  Atlantic Empresses.


Wicklow Port

Coaster caller's this week included DEFENDER, KIRSTEN, RIKA and GUDRUN II. The ARKLOW FORTUNE called for a few hours to take on bunkers before resuming passage south. Traffic in the bay included EUCON PROGRESS , FAST JEF , VICTRESS , KEEPER , UNION MARS and the customs cutter SUIRBHÉIR.  Helicopter traffic included a S-76 southbound over Wicklow bay. Wicklow lifeboat ( Relief Tyne OWEN & ANNE AISHER ) launched on a crew exercise in the bay on Friday night.



At 23:02 on Thursday night JANUARY 14, Liverpool Coastguard received MAY DAY alert by  mobile phone from the fishing vessel Siskin reporting that they were in difficulty  and were taking to a life raft, moments later, communications were lost. The Siskin  was 10 miles West of St Bees Head.

Communications were re-established by
mobile phone and the crew reported that  all three were in the life raft and that the vessel had now capsized. Liverpool  Coastguard requested attendance of Workington and Ramsey RNLI lifeboats and  Rescue Helicopter 177 from Prestwick.

Workington lifeboat was first on scene and assisted in the safe transfer of all three  crew in the life raft to the rescue helicopter which took them to St Bees Head to be  met by Whitehaven Coastguard Rescue Team. Workington lifeboat has recovered  the inflated liferaft.


The former Philip & Sons Shipyard, birth place of many vessels including a number of Birkenhead and Wallasey Ferries vessels past and present and Laxey Towing Company's KARINA is to be sold for redevelopment.

The following report is from the Western Morning News:

One of the most sought-after sites in the South of England is for sale for the first time in 150 years and is expected to realise more than £15 million. The Noss-on-Dart Marina on the banks of the River Dart at Kingswear, South Devon, consists of 36 acres of prime waterside real estate. Its sale has attracted huge interest from around the globe.

The former shipyard is currently owned by Noss Land Holdings Ltd, part of the Philip's group which also owns the Dart Marina, the Higher Ferry and the Dart Marina Hotel in Dartmouth.

Martin Rogers, of Knight Frank in Exeter, which is handling the sale, said it is likely to result in the site being developed to provide a mix of commercial and leisure use. He said: "We have had massive interest shown from all around the world and from a cross section of people, including entrepreneurs, household names in the sailing world, yacht builders, development and leisure companies.

"There is opportunity now to develop and increase the size of the marina, perhaps a mixed use with commercial ventures such as yacht building and associated enterprises such as sail making. People are also talking about hotels, restaurants, bars and all sorts."

Noss-on-Dart shipyard was set up more than 150 years ago. It was bought by Philip and Son at the end of the 19th century and during the Second World War the company built 250 vessels as part of the war effort.

In 1999, Philip's owners closed the shipyard, with the loss of 18 jobs. When the firm suggested building a 60-bedroom hotel and 200 self catering units across part of the site two years ago, concerns were raised that the Dart's last deep water shipyard site would become a "yuppies' yachties" village. The proposals were criticised by both the Dart Harbour board and Dartmouth councillors.

Noss Land Holdings Ltd say the company has been working to find a productive use for the land since the closure of the shipyard. It says: "It has always been the shareholders' vision that this prime location would be put to good use in a way that is both profitable but also sympathetic to the superb natural surroundings and the needs of the community.

"Noss is a very large site and it will require the input of many different types of expertise and resources if it is to be given the kind of inspired and prosperous future we envisage for it. For this reason we are putting Noss-on-Dart, including the marina, on the market."

January 10

Acknowledgements: Edwin Wilmshurst. Michael Pryce, Michael Bracken and "others"


EUROPEAN HIGHLANDER was successfully refloated at around 10:30 on Sunday January 10 with the aid of two Svitzer Tugs. She discharged her passengers and vehicles which had been stuck on board for around 30 hours. She is believed to be heading to A&P Birkenhead for repairs.


LAGAN VIKING has had LIVERPOOL VIKING names applied on Sunday January 10  in Canada Dry Dock.

January 09

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Ian Collard, Tommy Dover, Michael J. O'Connell, John Lewis, Michael Pryce, NSL  and "others".


A rather large update this evening, due to a large amount of submissions and news. I am afraid a back log of email responses has built up during the past few days. If you are awaiting a reply I will get back to you on Sunday. Another update may be posted tomorrow or Monday.


LADY OF MANN - the 19:00 Liverpool - Douglas sailing on Friday January 07 and the 08:00 Douglas - Liverpool sailing on Saturday January 08 were cancelled due to adverse weather conditions.

BEN-MY-CHREE - the 19:45 Douglas - Heysham sailing on Friday January 07 and the 02:15 Heysham - Douglas sailing on Saturday January 08 were cancelled due to adverse weather conditions. The morning sailing to Heysham on January 08 was delayed until around 10:00. She was expected back in Douglas at 20:30.


Management and staff are to discuss the future of the Belfast  - Troon service after losses during 2004

The company confirmed talks with staff representatives and unions would take place over the next month on the future of the route following losses incurred amid increased competition from low budget airlines and rising fuel prices.

Last year, the ferry service carried 302,656 passengers and 72,876 vehicles on the route. Management said the company had continued to sustain an unacceptable level of trading loss.

A total of 41 permanent staff are employed by SeaCat in Belfast and four in Troon.

Diane Poole, general manager said: "SeaCat were the pioneers of fast craft travel on the Irish Sea in 1992.

"Since then the travel industry has undergone immense change.

"Increased competition from budget airlines and spiralling fuel costs leave no option but to review the future of the operation."

Former Stormont economy minister Sir Reg Empey urged the company to examine all marketing strategies available to them to attract more passengers.

"As someone who used the service from time to time over the last few years, I have to say this is disappointing and my sympathies are with the staff at this uncertain time," the East Belfast Assembly member said.

"The service was particularly useful for those travelling onto Glasgow from Belfast and at a time when we are trying to fast-track tourism, the closure of any route in and out of the province will be a blow.

"There is no doubt that there has been fierce competition particularly from the low coast airlines, particularly along this route.

"But as this consultation begins I would urge everyone involved to explore all marketing strategies open to them to attract more business."

If the service closes it will mark the complete withdrawal of Sea Containers from the Irish Sea, an area in which they had a considerable presence until the sale of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company in 2003. In the heyday of the Sea Containers Irish Sea presence in addition to operating all the Isle of Man routes they also operated Liverpool - Dublin, Heysham - Belfast, Stranraer - Belfast and Stranraer - Belfast. One wonders, however, if the company had retained the Belfast - Stranraer route, and not switched the Scottish terminal to Troon, if the service would have been able to survive?


LINDAROSA sailed for Dublin on January 07. However, due to adverse conditions she was forced to take a sheltered anchorage off Anglesey. Her arrival at Dublin being delayed until the evening of January 08.

MERSEY VIKING made a sad sight as she sailed up the Mersey on the afternoon of January 08. She had a noticeable starboard list. Her mooring ropes had not been retrieved due to a power failure and one could be seen caught around her anchor as she berthed at Twelve Quays. Her bow thrusters were also inoperative. Tugs were required to manoeuvre her onto the berth and hold her in position. She was reported due to head into Canada Dock for repairs at 21:00 on Saturday evening.


Two major shipping companies are now battling for access to the Rosslare to Cherbourg live shipping route.

The Wexford-based O'Flaherty family have signed contracts with P&O Ferries for the purchase of the vessel currently servicing the route and also for the purchase of access to the route. However, French company CMA-CGM now also wants access to the route.

This is a complete turnaround from a few weeks ago when it was feared that no ship would sail between the two ports until March or April.

The French company CMA-CGM had been in intense negotiations to purchase a livestock vessel but it is believed that the company was not willing to pay for access to the route.

Meanwhile, the O'Flaherty family brokered a deal with P&O Ferries for the P&O vessel, the EUROPEAN DIPLOMAT (to be renamed the CELTIC LINK) and for access to the route. The entire package is believed to be worth in the region of €10m.

CMA-CGM is believed to have arranged a meeting with the O'Flaherty family later this week to discuss a possible deal between the two companies.

CMA-CGM is expressing an interest in buying into the O'Flaherty vessel, the CELTIC LINK. However, if no deal is made, they have threatened to also operate launch a live export vessel on the same route.

If this were to happen, CMA-CGM would still have to source and purchase a vessel that would meet the strict criteria for live animal transport.

Although a February start up date was suggested it now appears that CELTIC LINK will return to Rosslare by January 15 and enter service on January 22.

On Saturday January 08, EUROPEAN DIPLOMAT was noted out of dry dock at A&P Birkenhead and in the wet basin. There does not appear to have been any attempt to repaint the ship, remove the P&O logos or even rename her "CELTIC LINK".


EUROPEAN HIGHLANDER whilst berthing at Cairnryan this morning in adverse conditions a 100 knot wind caught the ship and forced her on to a sand and shingle bank near to the port. The 57 passengers and 43 crew were still on board on Saturday evening. It is hoped that she can be refloated on Sunday morning's tide when a suitable tug can reach the location.


RIVERDANCE departed from North Western Ship Repairers following her refit which took place over the Christmas holidays on January 05.

MOONDANCE arrived at Alfred Lock, Birkenhead around 17:30 on January 06 bound for North Western Ship Repairers  for rudder repairs.


ULYSSES and JONATHAN SWIFT both departed from Dublin bound for Harland and Wolff within a few minutes of one another on the afternoon of Wednesday January 05.

ISLE OF INISHMORE is now covering the ULYSSES sailings. However the overnight return trip to Holyhead on January 07 / 08 was cancelled due to adverse weather conditions.


Wyre council is to give the green light to £130,000 of improvements needed for the new Fleetwood to Knott End ferry boat at a meeting next week.

The service is to get a new vessel this summer but facilities for the disabled and other improvements are needed first. And the work must be done by the end of March so the ferry can resume after its winter break. With that in mind Wyre Cabinet on January 10 will be recommended by officers to hand the work to Birse Civils Ltd, rather than go through a tendering process.

Birse is currently working on the Cleveleys seafront improvements and would get the work under council regulations that cover work that needs to be done urgently. If the council went to tender, that would take a minimum of eight weeks and the start of the ferry's season would be delayed.

The bill is being footed by Lancashire County Council and will involve work on both sides of the River Wyre. There will be better access and safety, a new passenger shelter, a ticket kiosk and fuel storage. The cash being spent is part of £500,000 earmarked by the county which includes the building of a new passenger boat.

The service had been under threat before Wyre had a change of heart and gave it a 12-months reprieve. They opened negotiations with the county council which led to an historic deal which will see the two authorities sharing running costs over the next 10 years.


On January 6 it was reported that the Latvian owned SEA FOX bound for Liverpool with palleted timber and deck cargo with 10 crew on bard had developed a list to port of 35 degrees in a severe force 9 gale.

The vessel turned and proceeded to shelter of  Barra/Mingulay with the intention of jettisoning some deck cargo. By 11:15 the vessel's list had increased to 50 degrees and the Barra Lifeboat was summoned along with the Coastguard Emergency Towing Vessel Anglian Prince. A rescue helicopter was scrambled from Prestwick.

By 12:05 the ship's master had reported that 20% of the deck cargo had been jettisoned. The ship eventually made it to shelter Castlebay, Barra under its own power.

This was the second time the SEA FOX has required  assistance in UK waters. The vessel was brought to Falmouth under tow  after losing power following an engine room fire on 11 January 2004.


Cruise line executives from across the world are will be arriving in the city next week (10th – 12th January) for the start of a major international conference, at the beginning of Sea Liverpool 2005.*

Mersey Maritime, the organisation established to act as a catalyst for business growth and investment for the region’s maritime industry, worked closely with The Mersey Partnership (TMP) and the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) to secure the Seatrade ‘Cruise House Party’ over other UK cities.

Other sponsors include Cumbria Tourist Board, Liverpool Culture Company and Mersey Docks and Harbour Company (MDHC).  The event is seen as a major coup for the city, which is currently developing its own cruise liner facility. It also coincides with the SeaBritain 2005** campaign, which celebrates the country’s rich maritime heritage.

The two-day business networking event, which will take place from 10th to 12th January will see nearly 100 top representatives from the UK tourism industry and US and European cruise lines, including itinerary planners, arrive in the city for what will be only the second event of its kind.  During 2005, Seatrade is planning conferences across the globe, including Miami, Hamburg and London.

Felicity Goodey, Chair of the Tourism Forum for England’s Northwest said: “We are delighted to welcome cruise executives and conference delegates from around the globe to the Seatrade Cruise House Party 2005, Liverpool. We have an unrivalled opportunity to showcase England’s Northwest to the cruise tourism industry. From the stunning Lake District to historic Chester, from the bright lights of Blackpool, to the 24 hour ‘party city’ that is Manchester, our region has a great deal to offer any visitor. In Liverpool, they will be to experience for themselves, the vibrancy and energy that characterises this richly historic maritime city.”

Chris Hayman, Managing Director of Seatrade said: "The Seatrade cruise destination conference is a major international industry event. Since the first Cruise House Party two years ago, the number of cruise passengers visiting UK ports has grown strongly.  I firmly believe that this second event in Liverpool, attended by some of the world's leading cruise brands, will help the UK achieve its full potential as a cruise destination."

The Seatrade Cruise House Party will see delegates taking part in workshop sessions, with panel discussions on deployment, infrastructure, shore excursions, pre-and post-cruise packages, airlift and nautical operations. This will be followed by pre-scheduled business workshop sessions giving the UK delegates an opportunity to expand on their own region’s unique appeal as part of the overall UK destination package.

According to industry body Cruise UK, the world cruise market is growing rapidly. Between 2000 and 2003, the number of passengers entering UK ports rose by 55 per cent to 227,000, while those embarking on a cruise rose 56 per cent to 378,000.


The owners of the stricken coaster RMS MULHEIM were ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £42,000 after admitting breaching maritime safety rules on January 06, 2005.

The grounding of RMS MULHEIM off Sennen Cove in West Cornwall sparked a multi-million pound clean-up operation after tonnes of its cargo of shredded waste plastic ended up in the sea.

Camborne Magistrates heard how the MULHEIM's chief officer should never have been alone on night watch duties.

Just two days later, a Master working for the same company on board the RMS RATINGEN in Shoreham was caught asleep while on sole watch.

German-based Rhein Maas Shipping yesterday pleaded guilty to four breaches of Merchant Shipping regulations relating to the MULHEIM and the RATINGEN.

Magistrates opted for the maximum £5,000 fine for each of the charges and ordered the company to pay a further £22,000 costs.

Andrew Smyth, prosecuting for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, said by law, two people should have kept night watch.

The crew were on duty for long hours with the master and chief officer clocking up more than 300 hours work each in the month before the accident.

He said: "The accumulative effect of working such hours is not conducive generally to the safe operation of a ship.

"The chief officer was alone on the bridge working as officer of the watch and sole lookout.

"The chief officer says he bent over and fell and knocked himself unconscious. The prosecution's view is there is some confusion about what happened."

Mr Smyth said a medical examination of the chief officer showed no evidence of any injury.

Shortly before 5am on March 22 2003, the MULHEIM ran aground and a mayday was issued, although the crew was unaware of its position.

Two lifeboats and a rescue helicopter were scrambled and the six crew were airlifted to safety, the court heard. Around 890 tonnes of shredded car plastic, on route from Ireland to a landfill site in Germany, ended up in the sea.

Environmentalists claim it could take decades to break down.

Peter Sim, defending, said the master and chief officer had both had statutory periods of uninterrupted sleep.

"Fatigue should not have played a part in the grounding of RMS MULHEIM," he said.

He said that as well as losing a £4.5 million vessel, the company had paid out around £2.4 million in salvage, clean-up costs and compensation to the various authorities.

Although efforts were made to recover some of the 2,220 tonnes of cargo, the ship itself has been left to break up off Sennen.

"There is no evidence that any harm was suffered to the environment," said Mr Sim.

The owners admitted breaching Collision Regulations and the International Safety Management Code.

In imposing the maximum fine for each charge, chairman of magistrates Sarah Curnow said: "The cost in terms of the company are significant however the consequences could have been far greater than just the financial costs."

Outside court, Captain Andrew Phillips, enforcement officer for the MCA, said he was pleased that maximum fines had been levied on the company.

He said: "If they had followed all the relevant regulations they would not be in this situation.

"I think this sends out a tough message to companies."

Legal experts had advised the MCA that it would be unable to prosecute the company on pollution charges.


Cross River Ferries of Cóbh, have announced that they will be operating a two ship service on a regular basis at peak hours between 07:00 and 09:00 and 16:00 and 18:00, plus other busy times.

The need for a two ship service has been occasioned by increasing traffic congestion in the Jack Lynch Tunnel on the approach to Cork City and recent housing development.

To cover the costs of the increased service a modest fare increase has been implemented. Whilst singles remain the same at €3, the return has increased from €5 to €5.50. The whilst the 10 journey commuter ticket is increased from €20 to €23.

The service is operated by the former Caledonian Steam Packet Co [later Caledonian MacBrayne] car ferries KYLEAKIN and LOCHALSH. Now named CARRIGALOE and GLENBROOK the vessels have operated on the River Lee crossing since the service began in 1993.


Bidston Drydock

Stena Lynx III [Northern Marine Management / Stena Line  FishguardRosslare] undergoing annual maintenance and hull repairs with blasting and painting of undersides. Presently laid up on repair quay until return to service.

Riverdance [Seatruck Ferries Heysham – Warren Point] under went bi-annual drydocking during Christmas to 5th January with rudder repairs and steel renewals

Moondance [Seatruck Ferries Heysham – Warren Point] drydocking Thursday 6th January 05 emergency drydocking after substaining Port rudder damage.

Canada Drydock

Lagan Viking [Norse Merchant Liverpool – Belfast] drydocked on News Year for 7 days for Passenger certificate renewal / Stern door hinge replacement /100 mtrs of belting down portside and painting / general repairs.

Brave Merchant [Norse Merchant Liverpool – Dublin] drydocking 15th January for Passenger Ship certificate.

Clarence Drydock

WD SEVERN [Westminster dredging] drydocked for emergency repairs to std stern seals

R.V. CORYSTES [SMIT International] drydocking 17th January for general repairs

M.V. BOWCLIFFE [Campbell Maritime] drydocking 5th January for General repairs

Mersey Ferry vessel Royal Daffodil drydocking mid-January for general repairs.

BAE Wing Carrier Barge AFON DYFRDWY drydocking mid-January for guarentee drydocking

BEN ELLEN [Ramsey Steamship Company] drydocking for stern seals

 No 4 Drydock - Monks Ferry

Dock due to come back on line late January after new pumping system / electrical + water systems installed.

External Jobs

FORT GEORGE [RFA] finished an ‘assisted maintenance period’ in Scotland early January.

ENVOY (ex- EUROPEAN ENVOY) [Kystlink] Mitsui main engine bottom end bearing change in Norway.

BEN–MY-CHREE [Isle of Man Steam Packet Company] prefabricating sections to install at Douglas to increase passenger carrying capacity in time for TT week, this is follow up to conversion in 2004 when a new accommodation lounge was installed for 100 persons.

Isle of Mull [CalMac] Bow visor repair work in Inchgreen Port Glasgow.

Chartsman [James Fisher] Generator overhaul

Vessels stemmed for docking:

Lord of the Isles [CalMac] mid January.

January 02

Acknowledgements: Tony Brennan, John Lewis, Philip Bentley, Brian Chambers and "others".


FORMBY light float was noted on the beach at the west end of Hoylake Promenade on January 02.  It is about half a mile from the promenade road. Presumably it went wandering in the recent gales?


Following Brave Merchant's altercation with the mooring bollards at Canada #3 on New Year's Eve she appears to have been ballasted down to enable her starboard moulded rubbing strake to lie level with the quay wall. Needless to say in achieving this she has acquired quite a list to starboard.

Hull repairs are underway on the starboard side of Lagan Viking which is now in Canada Dry Dock.


LEILI - the ro/ro freighter which has been on charter to Norse Merchant Ferries is expected to arrive at Rosslare on either Monday January 03, or Tuesday January 04. Her first scheduled sailing will be an 20:00 sailing on Wednesday 05 to Pembroke. Return sailings from Pembroke will be at 08:00 the following morning.

January 01

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Michael Bracken, Tony Brennan, Michael O'Connell, Brian Chambers, Ian Collard, Edwin Wilmshurst, Tommy Dover and "others"



Welcome to the first News Bulletin update of 2005! Since returning on Thursday evening it has been something of a struggle to catch up with things again. The lack of a 2004 Year Review is noted, however, it looks as though 2004 will join 2002 as a year in which this feature has had to be omitted due to lack of time.

It is likely, however, that a further update will be posted on Sunday evening - January 02. Therefore, you are recommended to check back tomorrow.


With the arrival of the New Year it has been decided to give the news pages a new look, adopting the white background which has been applied to other pages recently. Hopefully this improved appearance makes for easier reading. Further improvements in presentation of the web site are planned for the coming year to take advantage of the recently installed FrontPage 2003 upgrade.


I would like to thank all those who have supported Irish Sea Shipping - The Online Shipping Magazine During the Past Year and hope that 2005 - the year of SEA BRITAIN - proves to be an interesting one nautically.


Liverpool Docks:

Canada Dock RoRO ramp - BRAVE MERCHANT,  Canada Dry Dock - LAGAN VIKING,  Gladstone dock - NORBANK

A&P Wet Basin:


A& P Dry docks:


NSL Bidston

RIVERDANCE - dry dock due to depart this coming week.

STENA LYNX III repair berth

Birkenhead East Float

Royal Daffodil
Royal Iris of the Mersey


PRIDE OF BILBAO visited Dublin on Wednesday December 29. She arrived around mid-day and sailed at 23:00. The ship which is owned by Irish Continental Group and chartered to P&O was operating a Christmas Party cruise excursion from Portsmouth. She berthed at ro/ro ramp #6.

NORBANK was reported at Larne's Curran Quay on Monday December 27 undergoing hull inspections. However she was back at Dublin on Wednesday December at ro/ro ramp #4.

EUROPEAN SEAWAY departed from A&P Birkenhead on December 29 assisted by Adsteam Tugs TRAFALGAR and GLADSTONE. She had been laid up, first at A&P Falmouth where she had been used as an accommodation ship, before moving north to A&P Birkenhead in June. She was reported approaching Dover on the morning of December 31. She is due to re-enter service on the English Channel on January 03.


BRAVE MERCHANT had an altercation with the mooring bollards when berthing at the former Norse Merchant Ferries Canada Dock terminal on New Year's Eve. The ship took out three mooring bollards. When BRAVE MERCHANT used Canada Dock on a regular basis Yokohama fenders kept the ship away from the quay wall. These are no longer present and the ship's substantial moulded rubbing strake appears to have caused the damage. [Photo: Michael Bracken].

RIVER LUNE - another Norse Merchant ship which appears to have suffered damage recently is sporting  substantial damage to her port foc'sle. An informed source has reported that RIVER LUNE has also recently sustained propeller damage either through grounding or striking an object.


HSS STENA EXPLORER refits January 6 to 26 then operates Belfast to Stranraer January 26 to 31. She then proceeds to Holyhead on February 1. She then lays up until resuming sailings on the 08:55 departure from Holyhead on February 10.

HSS STENA VOYAGER refits January 26 to 31.
HSS STENA DISCOVERY refits January 25 to February 16.
STENA ADVENTURER refits February 27 to March 05.

STENA EUROPE refits March 07 to March 15
STENA PIONEER refits Mar 16 to April 02
STENA LEADER refits April 03 to April 18
STENA SEAFARER refits April 19 to May 05
STENA SEAFARER is to provide cover for STENA ADVENTURER, STENA EUROPE, STENA PIONEER and STENA LEADER whilst a chartered vessel will cover her own refit period.




The French Titanic Society (Association Française du Titanic - A.F.T) have open an "on line" international petition to save the S/S NOMADIC. The S/S NOMADIC, was the  White Star Line tender used during the Titanic's Cherbourg call , in April 1912. Amongsth the passengers embarking there were John Jacob Astor, Benjamin Guggenheim and Margaret "Molly" Brown. Of the 274 passengers embarking, 115 died. To sign the petition visit:


Monday 26 December 2004 - Sunday 02 January 2005

Coaster callers included ANKE, KORALLE, UNION GEM and ELBIA .

Traffic included the P & O ferry PRIDE OF BILBAO northbound for Dublin . A Russian coaster anchored to shelter in the bay on New Years day .

Wicklow Lifeboat launched on New Year's Day, after a short religious ceremony wreaths were laid in the bay in memory of past lifeboat members and sailor's from the town lost at sea.

GRANUAILE the Irish light Commissioners tender was working on the outfall pipe off Wicklow port and around the Codling buoy, she anchored in the bay overnight.


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