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NEWS BULLETIN: April 2005

April 27Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Ian Collard, Tony Brennan, C.J. Lawrenson, Bernard Corbett, John Lewis, Sara Cass, Kevin Bennett and "others"

IRISH SEA EXPRESS

SEA EXPRESS 1 in inaugurated the Irish Sea Express service between Liverpool and Dublin on April 27. A correspondent reports that ship was away a few minutes ahead of schedule at 08:11 carrying 107 passengers and 31 vehicles. She arrived at Dublin at 12:46.

Departure from Dublin was at 13:56 with  a loading of 67 passengers and 22 vehicles. Arrival back at Liverpool was at 18:17. The photograph shows SEA EXPRESS 1 passing Formby outbound for Dublin. [Sara Cass].

PENINSULAR & ORIENTAL STEAM NAVIGATION COMPANY

P&O EXPRESS - Police in riot gear boarded a ferry in Larne after fighting broke out between rival football fans. Two crew members, one a woman, were slightly injured during disturbances on the boat after it left Troon on Sunday April 24

There were 350 passengers on board and it is thought up to 100 Celtic and Rangers fans were involved in fighting. Police boarded the P&O ship at 2145 BST and arrested three men and a woman. P&O marketing manager James Esler said the company was "horrified and disgusted".

"The primary concern is the safety of our passengers and crew - we are working with the PSNI, Celtic and Rangers football clubs and local supporters clubs in a review of what happened," he said.

Inspector Harry Miller said police had received reports of "considerable fighting and assaults" on the vessel. "But both sets of supporters were calm and offered no resistance to police at all," he said.

The violence followed clashes between Celtic and Rangers fans in Belfast city centre on Sunday afternoon. Celtic beat their Old Firm rivals 2-1 at Ibrox in a result which could secure the SPL title for the Parkhead club.

Police were attacked with stones and bottles after responding to reports of disturbances at the junction of Cromac Street and Ormeau Avenue at about 1530 BST.

Rival groups totalling about 60 youths were throwing missiles at each other.

One police officer received a minor leg injury and three police vehicles were damaged. A man and a woman were arrested.

Community representatives worked with police to end the disturbances.

Police believe youths from the Markets and Donegall Pass areas were involved in the disturbances, which lasted several hours.

EUROPEAN MARINER returned from dry-dock yesterday on Monday April 25 following her refit at A&P Birkenhead and recommenced operation on the Larne - Troon route.


IRISH FERRIES

IRISH FERRIES - NEW COACH/FERRY SERVICES TO BRITAIN AND EUROPE

Irish Ferries have joined with a number of major European coach operators to offer new scheduled coach and ferry services linking Ireland with cities in Britain and a number of other European countries.

Marketed on line at www.seacoach.com the new city to city service begins with departures from Dublin every Thursday, Saturday and Monday at 19.30 hrs to Birmingham, London and Antwerp with onward connections to Latvia and Lithuania.

Onboard coach facilities include air conditioning, stewardess service, refreshments, reclining seats, video, WC, and generous baggage allowance. Coaches, all non-smoking, stop every four hours for comfort breaks. Seats can be pre-booked.

Fares from Dublin to Birmingham and London are from EUR17 one way/ EUR30 return inclusive of all taxes and charges.


STENA LINE

Stena Line Confirms Irish Sea Routes Back In Profit

Having revealed its 2004 financial results last week, leading ferry company Stena Line has confirmed that its Irish Sea routes from Holyhead to Dublin and Dun Laoghaire and Fishguard to Rosslare have returned to profit.

Whilst not prepared to reveal the exact profit figures, Vic Goodwin, Stena Line's Route Director on both the Central and Southern Corridors, explained:

"Our target for both corridors was to return to profitability in 2004 and achieve a 5% return in 2005. I am pleased to say that we have achieved both our objectives.

"On our Central Corridor routes from Holyhead to Dublin and Dun Laoghaire, we carried more than 154,000 freight units during 2004, compared to 106,000 in 2003. On the tourist side, our coach business also increased and whilst we carried the same number of cars in 2004 as in the previous year, i.e. 253,000, this has to be seen against the increasing competition from other ferry operators and low-cost airlines and rising fuel prices.

"Our Southern Corridor also enjoyed tremendous success, carrying around 615,000 passengers, 154,000 cars, 2,700 coaches and 44,500 freight vehicles during 2004. We've seen a 10% growth in our freight volumes compared to 2003, which of course is very encouraging. As with the Central Corridor, our tourist volumes again were similar to 2003 but we are quite pleased with this bearing in mind that we experienced some operational difficulties on the route," added Vic.

"We are now seeing the benefit of the investment made by our Swedish owners in ships such as the Stena Adventurer Superferry which we introduced on the Holyhead to Dublin route in 2003 and our seasonal Stena Express fast craft service which starts up this Friday April 29 on the Fishguard to Rosslare route. We now operate a combination of fast craft and conventional Superferries on all corridors with a variety of sailing times to suit all our customers' needs. We are also constantly improving the on board experience for all our customers and the feedback we are receiving is very positive.

"We are in a very competitive business competing head on with other ferry operators and low cost airlines but are now in a much stronger position to face the future. These results not only reflect the investment from Sweden but also the hard work and commitment of all the employees associated with the business," continued Vic.

Much of the turnaround is also attributed to cost savings over the last 12 months across all areas of the business and timetable changes on both the Central and Southern Corridors.

"In response to customer demands, we introduced a later 2115hrs departure out of Dublin which means that freight drivers are able to build extra time into their departure schedules whilst, with their cargo arriving in Holyhead at 0030hrs, they still have ample time to meet the needs of any aspect of the UK market," said Vic.

"Having undergone an approximate £1M refit during the winter period, the Stena Express fast craft service will now start service with a new timetable on Friday April 29, operating through until September 25.

"The new timetable will provide customers with an attractive alternative in the peak season of either an 0800hrs fast craft or an 0900hrs super ferry sailing from Rosslare in the morning. We hope to encourage more visitors to take a short break from Ireland and our 0800hrs departure will give customers a nice early start in South Wales. Unlike our competitors, we can offer a unique combination of a fast craft or a conventional Superferry linked to an attractive timetable.

"We are looking forward to the start of the service and are planning some exciting on board introductory offers which will be available from April 29 until May 31. These will include discounts in our food and retail outlets as well as the ability to up-grade to our Stena Plus Lounge for a reduced price where you can have a reserved seat and relax and unwind with complimentary drinks and snacks," he added.

STENA NORDICA [EUROPEAN AMBASSADOR] RETURNS TO THE IRISH SEA

STENA NORDICA (formerly the EUROPEAN AMBASSADOR), which operated on the Mostyn-Dublin route until April 2004, will temporarily return to the Irish Sea. The STENA NORDICA will first replace the STENA EUROPE on the Fishguard- Rosslare Route and then the Stena Adventurer on the Holyhead-Dublin Route between 26th May and 12th June, while these vessels are at the shipyard for service and maintenance.

Stena Seafarer from Fleetwood-Larne Route will replace STENA EUROPE on the Fishguard-Rosslare Route between 19th May and 26th May, until STENA NORDICA arrives.

The STENA NORDICA is a RoPax vessel built in 2000 with the capacity for 450 passengers and 1,950 lane meters of freight.

On the Fishguard-Rosslare Route the vessels will operate in conjunction with the fast craft, the STENA LYNX III On the Central corridor Stena Line plan to undertake some extra trips of the HSS STENA EXPLORER operating between Holyhead and Dun Laoghaire to provide additional capacity for their Freight customers.

Proposed Schedule

19/5, Stena Seafarer starts on the Fishguard-Rosslare route. STENA EUROPE to the shipyard.

26/5, STENA NORDICA starts on the Fishguard-Rosslare route.

31/5, STENA EUROPE in operation after shipyard maintenance.

1/6, STENA NORDICA starts on the Holyhead-Dublin Bay route. Stena Adventurer to the shipyard.

12/6, STENA ADVENTURER in operation after shipyard maintenance.

15/6, STENA NORDICA back in operation on the Karlskrona-Gdynia route

RIPPLE

Restoration of an historic Cornish fishing boat at Newlyn could be completed by July BBC Cornwall reported on Tuesday.

Ripple, a 110-year-old doubled-ended lugger, was once one of many boats of its type fishing for pilchards, mackerel and herring off west Cornwall. 

For 70 years she was a houseboat on the river Fal before she was rescued by owner John Lambourn in 2003.

Now Mr Lambourn wants to restore the Ripple, one of only two left, to her full sailing condition.

Work has included replacing decayed and damaged frames and hull planking, refastening of the hull and a new deck.

That will be followed by installation of masts, rigging sails and two wing engines although the original Ripple would have been sail powered.

Mr Lambourn, 57, who has made his home in the port after 30 years in Hong Kong, said: "It is not restoration for restoration's sake.

"People will be able to go on board and we are going to try to give her a new function when the work is complete.

"But she will be returned to full sailing conditions to sail in local waters." 

April 24Acknowledgements: Ian Collard, Tommy Dover, Chris Jones and "others"

NOTES & NEWS

GOOD LUCK - IRISH SEA EXPRESS

It is not often that a new shipping line is born. This week sees the launch of Irish Sea Express reopening the Liverpool - Dublin route abandoned at the end of last season, by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company.

The abandonment of the route was a somewhat short-sighted move and reflects the Steam Packet's reversion to insular strategy which disappeared during the good old days of Sea Containers ownership.

One hopes that the Irish Sea Express finds the success it deserves and proves that there is a demand for high speed sea travel between Liverpool and Dublin and that the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company abandoned a worthwhile route. Not every one wants to travel on a  high density seated aircraft. For many travelling by sea is the only way to cross.

UPDATES

The next scheduled update is Sunday May 01. However, this update may be subject to change. It is likely that an additional update will be posted on Wednesday or Thursday of this week.

ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY

SUPERSEACAT TWO - departed Douglas rather late on April 23 bound for Liverpool. She didn't get away from Douglas until around 08:30. She arrived Liverpool around 11:35, departing back to Douglas at 12:25. By the evening sailing she appeared to be back on schedule.

IRISH SEA EXPRESS

SEA EXPRESS 1 - BBC Radio Merseyside Breakfast Programme on Friday April 22 was broadcast from the ship at Canada Dock. She departed Canada Dock shortly after 09:00 on Sunday and proceeded to Prince's Landing Stage via Langton Lock. Prior to boarding she made several turns on the river before approaching and berthing at the linkspan bow on. This is the first time either SEA EXPRESS / SEACAT ISLE OF MAN has been noted berthed bow on at Liverpool for some years. A full set of photographs showing her arrival at Prince's Landing Stage can be found elsewhere on the web site.

MERSEY FERRIES

ROYAL DAFFODIL operated a special sailing on Sunday morning April 24, 2005 to commemorate the storming of the Mole at Zeebrugge, in which action the Wallasey Ferries DAFFODIL and IRIS played a significant part on April 30 1918.

Wreaths were laid at the RMA memorial at the ferry terminal on and further floral tributes were cast into the Mersey from the decks of the ROYAL DAFFODIL.

WICKLOW & EAST COAST NOTES from Tommy Dover

WICKLOW PORT

Coaster callers this week were ANNLEN G, UNION MARS, UNION GEM, MONICA, KORALLE, KIRSTEN, EMUNA, SCOT VENTURE and SCOT RANGER.

Traffic included a P21 Type navel vessel possibly LÉ EMER, HELSE, BAY TRADER, OSA ex MARMAN, tankers SEVERN FISHER, the new CLYDE FISHER and COASTAL DENIZ ex SYBILLE , she was recently renamed at Dublin port. 

Hunter Marine's work vessel KILQUADE was busy during the week , winch training with Coastguard helicopters in the bay , EL - SAR from Waterford and EL - MES from Dublin were noted working with her on Monday night in the bay.

CABLE ONE was back in port during the week , all her equipment was loaded onboard and she departed on Thursday evening . 

Wicklow lifeboat launched to assist a trawler with engine trouble , the lifeboat towed the vessel into the port.

The Irish customs cutter SUIBHEAR paid a very brief visit to the port, before resuming passage south .

A survey was carried out on the wreck of the converted trawler that sank off Wicklow a few week's ago. I saw KILQUADE at the marker buoy during the week . 

The Irish navel vessel LÉ ROISIN anchored in the bay, she departed next morning for Dublin possibly with LÉ EITHNE. The Irish lights tender GRANUAILE motored into the bay, her tender landed some personnel and equipment before she resumed her passage south to Tusker Rock!, earlier she had carried out repairs on the Arklow and Codling Lanby's.

Aviation traffic included the Coastguard helicopters EL -MES and EL - SAR , a Bell 407 Ranger helicopter, Irish helicopters Belkov together with a Ecureuil 355 heading south along the coast and a Air Corp Pilatus aircraft . 

ABP PLYMOUTH

The abandoned grain silo which stands alongside the Brittany Ferries terminal at Plymouth could be transformed into a diving centre. Planning permission and funding is to be saught by  Mike Leece, chief executive of the National Marine Aquarium.

This would involve filling the silo's main tower with water and provide deep sea divers to train at depths of up to 50 metres. Mr. Leece who was behind the creation of the HMS Scylla artificial reef would also like to see a rooftop restaurant on the silo.

His plan for the silo has been welcomed in principle by Associated British Ports, South West Tourism and Plymouth Chamber of Commerce.

The silo lies on a government-owned, 27 acre site, which is regarded as one of the most significant regeneration opportunities in the region.

April 20Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews,  Ian Collard, Edwin Wilmshurst and "others"

IRISH SEA EXPRESS

SEA EXPRESS 1 - Despite being listed on the Dublin Port "Ships Due" list last week, the vessel remained in Canada Dock Liverpool on Wednesday April 20.

ISLE OF MAN DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT

Passenger figures compiled by the Harbours Division for March 2005 at 37,763 show a 23% increase on the figure for the same period in 2004 which was 30,694.

The year to date figure of 75,461 passengers shows a 6.5% increase over the same period in 2004, which was 70,837. During March car traffic through Douglas Harbour increased by 5.8% from 9,680 vehicles to 10,240 vehicles. The year to date figure at 22,806 vehicles shows a 1.4% increase over the same period in 2004 which was 22,500.

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

Route

Change

From

To

Heysham

Plus 15%

14,281

16,473

Liverpool

Plus 25%

13,986

17,418

Dublin

Plus 10%

709

780

Belfast

Plus 147%

466

1,153

Director of Harbours, Captain Michael Brew comments:

“March 2005 passenger figures were influenced by the impact of Easter traffic. The introduction of the larger and faster Super SeaCat on the Liverpool route has contributed to the improved performance of that service.”

STENA LINE

STENA CALEDONIA arrived at A&P Birkenhead on the evening of Wednesday April 20, 2005 just before 21:00.

Stena Line's profit in 2004 was the best reported by the company since 1995.

The profit of £8.5 million represents an increase of £7.5 million compared to 2003 with the most positive performances being seen on the company's five Irish Sea routes between Britain and Ireland.

According to Stena Line's CEO, Gunnar Blomdahl, the company has succeeded in improving profits in 2004 due to a combination of strategic business investments, improved service and quality, continued efficiency and reduced costs.

"In recent years we have focused on Stena Line becoming a profitable company, and we are pleased to announce that we are well on our way," said Mr Blomdahl. "Future developments look positive and we now have an opportunity to continue expanding our business and become even more successful and more appreciated by our customers.

"We have invested around £340 million in our vessels and route network in recent years. Our business investments are continuing and we are also investing in developing our customer service. Providing guests with experiences that exceed expectations, both in terms of service and on board experience, will be an important competitive device in future," he continued.

All Stena Line's markets reported improved profits compared to 2003 but the most positive performance in 2004 was on the Irish Sea, which had previously reported relatively weak profits.

"We have considerably strengthened our market position on the Irish Sea, via investments such as the new Fleetwood-Larne freight route and the introduction of the Stena Adventurer RoPax ferry on the Holyhead-Dublin route in 2003. Both of these investments have been very successful," explained Gunnar Blomdahl.

Business is also continuing to develop steadily for both freight and passenger operations in Scandinavia.

"The two new vessels on the Göteborg-Travemünde route are showing good progress and we expect the Karlskrona-Gdynia route to retain strong growth for freight and passenger operations in the future. To assist this trend we are refitting the Stena Baltica at a cost of £18 million, which will provide dramatically increased freight capacity as well as completely new, modern onboard concepts," stated Mr Blomdahl.

North Sea operations are under increasing competition, which they are succeeding to control well.

"We strongly believe in the market and developments on the North Sea. We will introduce two newly built RoPax vessels in 2006 on the Hoek van Holland-Killingholme route, which is a strategically important freight route for us. This is an investment that we believe will have a positive impact on business," concluded Gunnar Blomdahl.

MERSEY FERRIES

A special service will be held at Seacombe to commemorate the storming of the Mole at Zebrugge, by the Wallasey Ferries DAFFODIL and IRIS on April 30 1918.

Wreaths will be laid at the RMA memorial at the ferry terminal on April 24 and further floral tributes will be cast into the Mersey from the decks of the ROYAL DAFFODIL.

VIPs attending the ceremony will include the Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside Alan Waterworth, representing the Royal Marines, Commander Christine Bradford from the Royal Navy, Wirral's mayor Cllr Hilary Jones, Merseyside RMA president Captain Albert Lilley and the association's honorary colonel Sir David Trippier.

April 17Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Michael Bracken, Tony Brennan, Alex Mc. Cormac, Ian Collard, Michael J. O'Connell and "others"

NOTES & NEWS

UPDATES

Welcome to this weekend's update. Please note that there have been two mid-week updates this week to keep up with news and views. A mid week update is scheduled for Wednesday April 20.

ISS HOUSEKEEPING

Some housekeeping has been undertaken this weekend. Material from last year's Mersey River Festival has now been transferred to the Mersey Events Archive 2003 / 4 which is stored on a satellite site.  Also I am in the process of removing some other older material from the main site.

ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY

LADY OF MANN - departed from her Alexandra Dock lay-up berth on Friday, proceeded via Langton Lock to Prince's Landing Stage and then crossed the river to A&P Birkenhead, entering #6 dry dock. It had been reported last week that she may have followed SEA EXPRESS 1 into Canada Dry Dock for dry docking by NSL.

SUPERSEACAT TWO - missed her morning sailing from Douglas to Belfast on Sunday April 17, though her afternoon sailing to Liverpool did operate.

IRISH SEA EXPRESS

SEA EXPRESS 1 departed from Canada Graving Dock and moved to Canada #1. It is understood that BBC Radio Merseyside's Breakfast Programme  Friday April 22 will be transmitted from the ship whilst she is berthed at Prince's Landing Stage. For those living outside the Radio Merseyside reception area the programme can be listened to live on line at www.bbc.co.uk/liverpool/  following the listen live link.

SEA EXPRESS 1 is scheduled to call at Dublin Port for berthing trails at 11:59 on Wednesday April 20.

SEA EXPRESS 1 is operating additional TT sailings to the Isle of Man. A correspondent has been through the on line booking system and has discovered the following departures to and from Douglas/Liverpool

(Wed)01st June L - D 21:30 Arrive 00:00  (Thu)02nd June D - L 01:00 Arrive 03:30 L - D 20.31 Arrive 22:31
(Fri)03rd June D - L 00:15 Arrive 02:45 L - D 19:15 Arrive 21:45 L - D 22:45 Arrive 01:15

(Sat)04th June L - D 20:00 Arrive 22:30 D - L 23:30 Arrive 02:00 (Wed)08th June L - D 19:00 Arrive 21:30 D - L 23:30 Arrive 02:00

(Fri)10th June L - D 19:00 Arrive 21:30 D - L 23:30 Arrive 02:00

(Sat)11th June L - D 19:00 Arrive 21:30 D - L 23:30 Arrive 02:00 (Sun)12th June L - D 19:00 Arrive 21:30 D - L 23:30 Arrive 02:00

On the 11th of June she is the only Vessel on an evening run to Liverpool.

It is also noted that on the 2nd Of June both the SSC2 and SEX1 Leave Liverpool within one minute of each other. Now if they could manage to get the stage fixed and have the room for 2 vessels to load at once, and depart on time, a race would seen likely  between "rivals".

STENA LINE

STENA LYNX III departed from Birkenhead around 06:00 on Sunday April 17 bound for Fishguard.

HSS STENA EXPLORER the 11:10 Dún Laoghaire - Holyhead sailing was reported running 25 minutes late on April 15 - due to a technical problem she was forced to travel at reduced speed, combined with the prevailing adverse conditions she did not arrive at Holyhead until 13:55 - just over 1 hour late. Her return afternoon sailing was reported to be running up to 90 minutes late.

IRISH FERRIES

ISLE OF INISHMORE was reported to have diverted to Dublin Port on Friday April 15 due to adverse conditions at Rosslare arriving at Dublin at 13:30. She departed for Rosslare around 16:30

NORMANDY - Details of the inspection which led to the brief detention of the vessel at Belfast during late February have been published:

NORMANDY
Inspection details :
Date of first boarding : 23/02/2005   Date of final boarding : 25/02/2005
Port of inspection : Belfast, United kingdom. Type of inspection : Initial inspection
Nb of deficiency(ies) : 5  Nb of deficiency(ies) ground(s) for detention : 1
Duration of detention : 3 days

Ship's particulars at the time of inspection : IMO number : 7901772 Name : NORMANDY Flag : Bahamas Callsign : C6UD3
Ship type : Roro passenger ship Gross tonnage : 25745 Keel date : 1982

Classification society :
- Class certificate issued by Det Norske Veritas (DNVC), classification society responsable for issuance of class certificate as at date of first boarding
Statutory certificates :
- Passenger ship safety (inc. exemp.) is issued by Det Norske Veritas
(DNVC)
- Document of compliance (DoC) is issued by Germanischer Lloyd (GL)
- Safety management certificat (SMC) is issued by Germanischer Lloyd
(GL)
- Load lines certificates is issued by Det Norske Veritas (DNVC)
- Oil pollution prevention (iopp) is issued by Det Norske Veritas
(DNVC)
- International ship security certificate is issued by Germanischer Lloyd (GL)
Ship manager
- DOBSON FLEET MANAGEMENT LTD, Dobson House PO Box 54809, Limassol, Cyprus
Areas inspected : - Engine and steering room - Navigation bridge
Operational controls carried out
- Abandon ship drill
- Communication equipment
- Emergency fire pump
- Emergency generator
- Fire drill
Deficiencies :
- Fire safety measures, Fire fighting equipment and appliances
- Fire safety measures, Fire prevention structure
- Fire safety measures, Fixed fire extinguishing installation
- Ship's certificates and documents , Other (certificates), Other, ground for detention
- Structural safety, Closing devices/watertight doors.

JACK ROBINSON TRAWLERS

SOLWAY HARVESTER- The trial for manslaughter of the managing director of Jack Robinson Trawlers, Richard Gidney, got underway at Douglas this week.

The vessel has spent several years berthed at the south side of the harbour following recovery.  This week the SOLWAY HARVESTER was moved across to the Edward Pier by the Laxey Towing company to enable members of the Jury to inspect the scallop dredger.

The seven men and five women met at the courthouse before being taken to the trawler with Judge Andrew Moran.

BUGALED BREIZH

The Ministry of Defence has dismissed claims that a navy submarine was involved in the sinking of a Breton trawler off the Cornish coast.

According to an investigation by French TV channel FR3 with a Paris magazine, the boat was sunk by HMS TURBULENT.

The BUGALED BREIZH sank off the Lizard with the loss of its crew of five on 15 January last year.  The programme said the submarine returned to Devonport naval base that night for repairs to its hull.

It was claimed that earlier in the day TURBULENT had been taking part in an exercise off the Lizard.  But a Royal Navy spokesman at Devonport said that while there had been a Nato exercise in the area, he insisted the submarine had been in the naval base throughout the day.

He said the nearest submarine at the time had been HMS Torbay, and that was about 100 miles away.  He said: "There is no question at all, HMS TURBULENT was alongside in Devonport all day on the 15th.

"As the trawler sank on the 15th, the TURBULENT could not have been involved in any way with the incident."  Lawyer 'unaware'

HMS TURBULENT is one of five of the Royal Navy's seven Trafalgar Class hunter-killer boats based at Devonport.  A French lawyer representing the families of sailors who died on the BUGALED BREIZH said he would be asking French magistrates to investigate the claims regarding HMS TURBULENT.

Christian Bergot, said: "We have been completely unaware of this until now.

"It will be necessary to issue international letters to the British so that they give details on their position with regard to all these elements and so that they don't content themselves with denials." [BBC Cornwall]

On Saturday the Western Morning News reported that the team of French investigative journalists denied they had accused Royal Navy submarine HMS TURBULENT of being involved in the sinking of the French trawler BUGALED BREIZH.

The investigators did claim the Royal Navy misled them over details of a war games exercise in the area of the sinking - and they still claim a collision with a submarine was behind the sinking.

The loss of the BUGALED BREIZH on January 15 last year with the death of all five crew was the subject of a French TV documentary broadcast on Thursday night.

The programme was compiled by the team of four journalists in a joint investigation for French TV channel FR3 and the news magazine Le Point.

The journalists said the Royal Navy initially denied there had been military exercises going on in the area where the BUGALED BREIZH sank 15 miles off The Lizard.

The Ministry of Defence now admits war games involving four submarines had been going on, but says the TURBULENT was tied up in its home base of Devonport all day on January 15.

The journalists also claim the Navy told them that no submarine had sailed into port for repairs during the days following the sinking of the BUGALED BREIZH. It has now emerged that the TURBULENT suffered damage to her hull on January 16.

In a statement, the French journalists said: "We are not accusing the TURBULENT of having sunk the BUGALED BREIZH.

"We are simply pointing out that it suffered damage the day after the accident, whereas we have been told since the start of our investigation that no submarine had damage repaired during the days following the sinking."


The French investigators claim the TURBULENT sailed into port for repairs at about 1am on January 16, 12 hours after the tragedy. In an interview yesterday, a Paris-based journalist, who worked on the 90-minute documentary screened to millions of French viewers on Thursday night, told the WMN: "We first started working on this case last summer. I and other reporters repeatedly asked the British Navy whether there had been an exercise off the Lizard on January 15. On each and every occasion the answer was a definite 'No'.

"They said the only exercise taking place was on the 16th off the south coast of Ireland.

"Now we are very keen to know why the British Navy hid the truth about the exercise on the 15th.

"We also want to know which Navy was operating a helicopter equipped with a submarine sonar detector seen close to the spot where the tragedy took place."

The Ministry of Defence has admitted that the TURBULENT was one of several submarines from different countries taking part in a Nato exercise in the area. But officials have strongly denied any link between TURBULENT and the loss of the BUGALED BREIZH.

An MoD spokesman said yesterday: "The Royal Navy has co-operated fully with the French investigation. The investigation did not point towards a Royal Navy vessel being involved in the sinking of the trawler."


Commenting on allegations by defending St Ives Lib-Dem parliamentary candidate Andrew George that he had been forced to "wring" information out of the ministry, the spokesman said: "Suffice it to say we have provided him with information in the normal way. We have answered his parliamentary questions fully and directly."

Evidence released in Thursday's documentary appeared to add weight to the theory that a submarine was involved in the loss of the trawler - although it appeared a Dutch submarine was now the most likely candidate.

A lifeboat man and a fisherman both saw a submarine close to the scene of the tragedy a short time after the trawler and her five crew had disappeared without trace. One of the witnesses says he was convinced it was the Dutch submarine DOLFIJN, although the Dutch navy has denied any involvement in the tragedy.

PENDENNIS SHIPYARD

After beating off tough competition from boatyards across the country, the directors of Pendennis Shipyard in Falmouth last week signed the lucrative contract to build the replacement King Harry Ferry.

News that the new ferry is to be built locally was a cause for celebration for both companies as the shipyard reaps the financial benefits and can secure work for its employees, while the ferry company can keep an eager eye on the progress of the project.

The seventh replacement for the King Harry Ferry will weigh in at 400 tonnes and will be eight metres longer, at 55 metres, and two metres wider than the current ferry. It will be able to carry 34 cars as opposed to the current 28-car capacity ferry.

With the contract awarded to Pendennis Shipyard, something of a tradition is being upheld as the first ferry was built in Penryn in 1888 and was replaced in 1913 by one built by Messrs Silley, Cox & Co in Falmouth.

Mike Carr, a director of Pendennis Shipyard, said: "It is great that we will be building this boat. We have been working together with the ferry company for the last two years and talking about it over that period. To be standing here today having signed it up is great."

The design work for the new ferry is fairly well advanced and it is anticipated that work will start on its construction within the next two months.

The new ferry has a completion target of next March so that it can be put into service for that season.

"We have been talking with the King Harry Ferry Company to make sure they have a product that is a little bit different from their last boat, but something that will last a long time and be easy to maintain," added Mr Carr. "Keeping it simple has been the key word."

David Hodgson, chairman of KHF, said: "We are particularly pleased that local Cornish company Pendennis Shipyard has won the contract against stiff competition from other UK and continental shipyards.

"The current ferry was built in Penryn in 1974 and has given wonderful service. We are convinced the new ferry, which is designed for the 21st century, will be equally reliable whilst being technologically more advanced, as well as being more environmentally friendly."

CARNIVAL CORPORATION

QUEEN ELIZABETH 2 - Three crew members on the QE2 have been arrested on suspicion of damaging the cruise liner.

The men are being questioned over an incident on Thursday night, when damage costing thousands of pounds was caused.  A 1969 tapestry of the Royal family was vandalised and police believe it may have been thrown overboard.

There was also damage to the ship's entertainment area, crew toilets and a lifeboat.  The men were held after the ship docked in Southampton on Saturday.  Hampshire police are questioning them at Southampton Central Police station.

Officers are appealing to anyone who may find the tapestry, which was commissioned to mark the QE2's launch, to make contact.

They say it could be washed up on shore or picked up by fishermen.  The cruise liner docked alongside the Queen Mary 2 on Saturday in Southampton, on their first UK visit of the year.

April 13Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Michael Bracken, Alistair Eagles - Seatruck Ferries and "others"

ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY

SUPERSEACAT TWO - a man was reported to have been arrested by Police following an incident on SUPERSEACAT TWO on the Saturday evening sailing from Liverpool to Douglas.

A female member of the crew and a male passenger needed hospital treatment for injuries, and were later discharged. The incident happened in the public bar at around 23:50 on Saturday. Another man was arrested in unrelated circumstances.
 

ULLSWATER TRANSIT & NAVIGATION COMPANY

The Ullswater and Transit and Navigation Company has announced that the company has acquired the TOTNES CASTLE from Plymouth Boat Cruises. The vessel will enter service with the company this autumn.

The vessel was originally built in 1949 as the BERRY CASTLE for the River Dart Steamboat Company, by the well known ship builders - Philip & Son Ltd of Dartmouth.

BERRY CASTLE left the River Dart during 1972 and traded on the River Medway as the GOLDEN CORMORANT. However, she returned to the Dart in 1977 as TOTNES CASTLE for Dart Pleasure Craft Ltd, successors to the River Dart Steamboat Company.

In 1985 TOTNES CASTLE was sold to Plymouth Boat Cruises who have operated her since then.

The arrival of TOTNES CASTLE on Ullswater will allow the launch LADY DOROTHY, to provide a service to the smaller jetties around the lake for the first time.

TOTNES CASTLE will be sailed to Whitehaven, from where she will be conveyed by road to Ullswater where she will be lifted into the lake.

Following a major refit she will enter service this autumn with a new name LADY WAKEFIELD.

Ullswater Steamers said the new vessel will offer more facilities for groups and special hires, including meals on board and a meeting place for conferences. There will be covered areas as well as the traditional viewing seats on the top deck.

Peter Hensman, executive director, said: "Our board of directors have decided that this new vessel should be named after my own grandmother Lady Wakefield and she will take her place next to our other two gracious ladies."

The name has been chosen in recognition of Lord Wakefield's role in saving the steamers from being scrapped in the 1950s.  The photograph shows TOTNES CASTLE awaiting departure with an afternoon sailing on the Plymouth - Saltash service in May 2004.

KING HARRY FERRY

A ferry crossing voted one of the world's most beautiful can now be appreciated from homes and offices, thanks to the installation of three webcams.

The King Harry Ferry, near Feock in Cornwall, has one camera watching over it as it takes the 20-minute journey towards the Roseland and back.

Another shows the view up the River Fal from the ferry, and a third shows the slipway on the Truro side of the crossing.

Each contributes to providing a picture of river life to Internet-savvy ferry enthusiasts.

Green banks, calm blue waters and water traffic are all part of the critically-acclaimed vista.

Tim Light, managing director of the ferry, said: "The cameras have been installed for a few reasons. The first is to let our regular customers see how busy the ferry is and also to confirm it is running in periods of very poor weather; the second is for anyone who is planning a journey or has been on the ferry - whether years ago or recently - to view it and bring back memories; and the last to improve security.

"The view shown by the camera looking up the river is beautiful - especially first thing on a morning when the mist is just above the water."

The King Harry Ferry was recently voted one of the world's most beautiful crossings by the Independent on Sunday newspaper.

Others crossings listed included those by the Staten Island Ferry in Manhattan, the Star Ferry in Hong Kong and the Manly Ferry in Sydney, Australia.

The cameras were installed by CDA, a Newquay-based company.

Mr Light also plans to install webcams for the St Mawes Ferry Company and at Ponsharden Park and Float, Penryn, during the next year.

The webcams can be viewed by going to www.kingharryferry.co.uk.

[JHL COMMENTS: This facility is rather good offering a choice of slipway view, a view up river from the ferry during the crossing. The star feature is a controllable camera which can be moved and from which one can watch the progress of KING HARRY VI as it sails back and forth across this beautiful section of the River Fal. Obviously at the right time of day other river traffic is visible too!

Unlike many web cams which only offer a picture every 30 seconds or so, this one is "live action" just like watching CCTV, what is more the resolution is good too!

It is possible that you may have a little difficulty setting things up as I did, especially if you run a fairly secure browser.

If you experience problems you should add www.kingharryferry.co.uk to your IE browser trusted site list, to enable you to download the active X controls. You may also need to customise your browser security settings, However, its well work the effort!
]


MERSEY RIVER FESTIVAL 2005

The line up of significant vessels taking part in the Mersey River Festival will be:

Wellington Dock

Khersones,  Prince William & Lord Nelson

Albert Dock

Bessie Ellen, Grand Turk, Eye of the Wind, Iris, Ruth, Zebu, Glaciere, HMS Shoreham [M112] HMS Charger [P292] and HMS Biter [P270]
 

TRINITY HOUSE

Views of Godrevy are said to have inspired a Virginia Woolf novel  People campaigning to secure the future of the light at a lighthouse  in Cornwall are waiting to hear its fate.

Lighthouse authority Trinity House plans to switch off Godrevy light  on the edge of St Ives Bay by 2010.

It has completed a consultation over several sites and says it received a large response about Godrevy.

Those who have raised concerns include local fishermen's societies,  the local harbour master and former Trinity House pilots themselves.

The octagonal white tower at Godrevy marks a reef called the Stones  and has been in service since 1859. It was automated in 1939.

Fishermen say electronic navigation cannot be the only source of  taking bearings for vessels approaching the coast.

The historic lighthouse inspired novelist Virginia Woolf to write  her most famous work. Her novel "To The Lighthouse" is said to have  drawn on memories of her childhood holidays at St Ives and the view  of Godrevy Island and its beacon.

A spokesman for Trinity House has told the BBC News it will make a  decision by the middle of May. It has already said if the switch-off  took place, the Grade II listed lighthouse would remain intact. [BBC CORNWALL]

 

SEATRUCK FERRIES

Seatruck Ferries is to introduce a third vessel onto to its Heysham - Warrenpoint service in the summer of 2005. The LEMBITU, to be renamed CHALLENGE, will join the Seatruck fleet on a two-year charter, allowing an additional 25,000 units per year to take advantage of the specialist freight route.

With a capacity of 65 units and a service speed of 16.5 knots, the "Challenge" is well proven on the Irish Sea and will join the MOONDANCE and RIVERDANCE to increase schedule frequency from 2 to 3 sailings per day in each direction. The additional sailings will be timed to ideally fit the needs of the Irish Sea transport industry. Seatruck expect volumes to increase to 85,000 units per year.

General Manager Alistair Eagles says, "We have been seeking a third vessel for some time in line with demand for additional capacity on the route. The CHALLENGE will be a fantastic boost for our loyal customers, who will now be able to fully realise the benefits of the Warrenpoint service. We also have unprecedented interest levels from new clients and are predicting a rapid build-up of traffic on the extra sailings. This development will allow even more traffic to 'Swap to Seatruck' "

"We have a fantastic team who enjoy what they do and share in the belief of a bright future ahead. The Seatruck spirit is alive and kicking."

The third vessel will create a number of new jobs in both the Heysham & Warrenpoint Seatruck offices.

Seatruck Ferries recently announced a newbuild program that will see two purpose-built vessels entering service in 2007. In 2004, Seatruck was named Irish Sea Shipping Line of the Year, and is confident that the substantial growth in the unaccompanied trailer freight market will underpin its new investments and increased capacity. On arrival of these new 22-knot, 120-unit vessels, Seatruck Ferries capacity will increase once again to 130,000 units per year.

IRISH FERRIES

The full ICG 2004 Report and Accounts 2004 is now available for download at: http://www.icg.ie/icg_pdfs/icg_ar_04.pdf

TAMAR BRIDGE & TORPOINT FERRY JOINT COMMITTEE

YACHT COLLISION

A yachtsman was reported injured following a collision between his yacht and one of the Torpoint Ferries. The casualty was racing with the Saltash Sailing club when his yacht was in collision on Saturday.  The impact of the collision broke the yachtsman's arm, who was taken to Derriford hospital in Plymouth. A spokesman for the ferry company says no damage was done to the vessel concerned and services were not affected.

TOILET PROBLEMS

Torpoint Ferry management  has appealed to passengers to stop abusing the toilets on board the new ferries PLYM II and TAMAR II. The toilets have had to be closed as often as three times in one week,

Operations Manager Tony Whetton said: "People keep asking what's up with the toilets, but we have repeatedly had to call in specialists to unblock the system. This has a pure treatment plant which macerates the waste, separates it, treats it with chlorine and discharges it over the side. The system doesn't need to be pumped out, and is environmentally friendly.
But it was not designed to take the sort of things people put down it: coke cans, nappies, sanitary towels, whole loo rolls, clothing, underwear and hypodermic syringes."

Mr Whetton said that extra new equipment is to be installed in loos of the three new ferries to separate out large items and mince up the rest.

But this will cost thousands of pounds and will have to be shoe-horned into a void space. He added: "The toilets were designed for the number of people we carry. "There are lots of signs asking people to put down only human waste and toilet paper, but they persist in doing it. The staff toilets, which work on exactly the same system, are working fine."

Each ferry is smothered in 11 security cameras covering the engine room and all public areas - but not the toilet.

Public toilets are provided near the slipways on both sides of the river. Mr Whetton said he was very pleased with the performance of the new ferries, which had so far made 98 per cent of their scheduled journeys.

"We were expecting some problems, and took a number of professional, measured risks, which have all paid off," he said.

"The first ferry was a prototype and we learned lessons from that, so the introduction of the second was much smoother. But we are not complacent, and know we still have problems to sort out.

"Last week, the shipbuilders spent six days modifying PLYM II, but we ran it in the rush hour and took it out of service during the day - the work has to be done some time."

Mr Whetton said the true cost of providing a return car trip on the ferry was £3.40, but the 50p voucher journey was heavily subsidised by Tamar Bridge tolls.

The LYNHER, the last remaining original ferry, will be scrapped in June, and the system will run with just two new ferries until November, when slipway improvements are complete and LYNHER II can go into service.

Mr Whetton added: "This is the biggest change the ferries have seen in 25 years, and some disruption is inevitable, but we are doing our level best to provide the best service we can."

MERSEY FERRIES

Captain Dennis Titherington, Operations Manager of Mersey Ferries has retired after spending 44 years working on the Ferries. He commenced his career as a deck hand for Wallasey Ferries. At a farewell party aboard the Royal Daffodil he was presented with as set of golf clubs.

Commenting to the Wirral Globe newspaper Captain Titherington said: "In my career I've seen the fortunes of the ferries turn a full circle and I have to say I've never been more optimistic about their future. There's been a multi-million pound refurbishment of the fleet and it's never looked better. The biggest change for me has been the huge increase in leisure cruises with more people from across the world wanting to sail on the legendary Mersey Ferries. The weather has improved too - or rather the visibility. When I began the navigation wasn't quite so sophisticated and deck hands had to spend hours at the bow on look-out in freezing cold filthy fogs. I've often been asked if a ferry captain gets bored - but the fact is that the River Mersey can change its face and mood by the minute. You have to concentrate all the time - there's no time to get bored."

April 10Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Tommy Dover, Alex McCormac, Michael Bracken and "others"

NOTES & NEWS

Please note that that if you have not visited the site since last Sunday an additional update was posted on Monday April 04.

SHIPS OF MANN

The latest edition of Ships of Mann is now available in the shops. It is also available by subscription. Visit www.shipsofmann.org.uk for further information.

ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY

SUPERSEACAT TWO - adverse weather led to some disruption of schedules this week. The Tuesday evening sailing to Belfast was cancelled with passengers being transferred to the Wednesday Dublin sailing, with bus transfers to/from Belfast for foot passengers.

The Wednesday morning sailing to Douglas was also cancelled, passengers being transferred to the BEN-MY-CHREE sailing to Heysham with bus connections to/from Liverpool.

During this disruption to schedules the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company's web site sailing information page was informing visitors to the site that everything was running to schedule!

On Sunday April 10, the Isle of Man Constabulary were appealing for witnesses to a "serious incident" reported have occurred in the Bar during the vessel's evening sailing from Liverpool on Saturday April 09.

NORSE MERCHANT FERRIES

LEMBITU has now entered service on the Dublin to Heysham route.

 

MERSEY FERRIES

The £650,000 Seacombe Ferry Interchange was officially opened by Wallasey MP Angela Eagle last week.

Unveiling a plaque at the ferry terminal building last week Ms Eagle applauded the "strategic vision" of Merseytravel, Wirral council and Wirral Waterfront for the revamp.

She said the new interchange, linked with the multi-million pound Spaceport development at Seacombe, would be a big attraction for tourists drawn to Liverpool's City of Culture celebrations.

Merseytravel chairman Cllr Mark Dowd said the new interchange was an ideal gateway to both the ferry terminal and the town of Wallasey. He said that of an estimated 80,000 annual visitors to Spaceport between 10,000 and 15,000 would arrive by ferry.

A further 48 parking spaces have been created at the interchange; cycle stands and three bus bays have been built. Lighting has been improved, designated taxi stands built and the area is covered by closed circuit television.

KING HARRY STEAM FERRY COMPANY

Work on constructing the vessel, for a service which has taken travellers over the river Fal for almost 120 years, should start within the next couple of months and take about a year to complete.

The Pendennis Shipyard at Falmouth will build the 400-tonne ferry, which carries vehicles and passengers across the short stretch of river between Trelissick and Tolverne on the Roseland.

Almost £1 million is coming from Objective 1 through the European Regional Development Fund, and the remainder from the shareholders of the ferry company.

The shipyard has not built a chain ferry before, but commercial director Mike Carr says they have plenty of experience with steel hulls and motor vessels and he is confident they have the ability to carry out the contract.

The seventh ferry will, at 55 metres, be eight metres longer than the current ferry and two metres wider, carrying 34 cars as opposed to the current 28.

NORTH WESTERN SHIP REPAIRERS

On April 09, SIR TRISTRAM moved from Bidston dry dock to West Float to permit fleetmate SIR BEDIVERE to enter the dry dock.

WICKLOW & EAST COAST NOTES

WICKLOW PORT

Coaster callers this week were THULE, MARC ANDRE and SCOT VENTURE. CABLE ONE returned to the port early in the week, she tied up at the East pier.

Traffic in the bay included the coastal tanker BREAKSEA southbound on Monday .

A Coastguard boat handling course was held in the bay over the weekend, crew's from various stations around the coast took part.

ARKLOW

CABLE ONE and the Holyhead Towing tug AFON LAS are currently working at the wind turbines off the port.

IRISH NAVAL SERVICE

LÉ EITHNE [P31] will represent the Irish Naval Service at the Spithead Naval Review to be held on June 28, 2005.

MERSEY RIVER FESTIVAL

Some of the sailing vessels visiting Merseyside for the 25th Annual Mersey River Festival in June will include: LORD NELSON, PRINCE WILLIAM, IRIS, EYE OF THE WIND.

April 03Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Michael Bracken, Tommy Dover, Ian Collard, C.J. Lawrenson and "others"

NOTES & NEWS

One of the problems of going away for a few days is that one quickly becomes overwhelmed with material for suture updates. Not just what one collects oneself, but also that which is supplied by others!

An update was posted on March 31, full details in "What's New". The principal feature of this update is a detailed voyage report of my trip on Brittany Ferries superb PONT-AVEN. Further material from my holiday wanderings will appear in future updates these will include a look at the second Torpoint Ferry TAMAR II.

NEW WEB SITE

Brian McGrath who has supplied photographs of ships calling at Galway Docks to Irish Sea Shipping has now established his own web site at www.galwayships.com. You are recommended to check this site out.

ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY

SUPERSEACAT TWO has been suffering engine problems for the last few days and is currently managing speeds of around 29 to 30 knots. An engine running on reduced power is blamed for the problem.

BALTIC PRESS TOWED TO FALMOUTH

The BALTIC PRESS (built 1979) was towed to Falmouth at the end of last week  after an engine crankcase

explosion left the ship without power. Multraship Salvage’s twin-screw tug Multratug 7 reportedly reached the ship

on 22 March and took the Baltic Press in tow.

The Baltic Press was left immobilised and drifting in 49° 23'N, 04° 37'E on Monday after the explosion, which also caused the failure of a hydraulic pump. The Swedish flagged ship was on a voyage from Sodertalje to Ferrol in Spain with a cargo of 4,450-mt of paper and a crew of ten.

SOUND CRUISING - PLYMOUTH

A new ferry service between Plymouth, Saltash and Mountbatten was launched on Friday April 1 in Saltash. Sound Cruising Ltd, in association with Plymouth Boat Cruises, have joined forces and re-designed their cruising services around the Tamar estuary for visitors and the residents in Saltash, Plymouth and the surrounding areas. They plan to introduce more modern ferries and new routes to Looe, the Yealm, Salcombe and Calstock.

The new partnership has rescheduled the times of the Saltash to Plymouth service. The first ferry will run from Saltash at 10.15 am and the last ferry will leave Plymouth for Saltash at 15.30 pm in June and July. The new ferry will include a service to Mountbatten.

Daniel Stevens, of Sound Cruising, said the combined companies will continue to develop the service with routes between Saltash, the Barbican, Mountbatten, North Corner, Mount Wise, Torpoint and other points in the estuary.

The Mayor of Saltash, Sue Hooper, inaugurated the service on Friday morning.

For more information: www.soundcruising.com.

IRISH SEA EXPRESS

The new company's service utilising 74m Incat SEA EXPRESS 1 [Ex SEACAT ISLE OF MAN] was given good media coverage last week.

The web site is now on line and reservations can be made. www.irishseaexpress.com.

Meanwhile extensive advertising is now underway as can be seen from the poster photographed by Michael Bracken. SEA EXPRESS 1 is currently refitting at Canada Graving Dock.

NORSEMERCHANT FERRIES

LEMBIUTU - As part of an ongoing strategy to upgrade services on its Heysham routes, NorseMerchant Ferries has secured the charter of the roll-on/roll-off ferry LEMBITU. Built in 1998, LEMBITU is a modern, dedicated freight vessel able to carry 12 drivers. She will replace the older Merchant Brilliant, built in 1978, which has been chartered out to Cobelfret.

With a service speed of 16.5 knots, LEMBITU is faster than Merchant Brilliant and will improve scheduling and reliability on the Heysham - Belfast route. She will also offer excellent on-board facilities for freight drivers.

Declan Cleary, Freight Sales and Marketing Director, acknowledges that NorseMerchant Ferries is very pleased to have secured this charter.

"The addition of LEMBITU to our fleet is very significant. It reflects our ongoing strategy to upgrade service for freight customers across all our routes. Less than 12 months ago, we significantly increased capacity on Heysham - Belfast by expanding from a two ship to a three ship service. LEMBITU will operate within this three ship service and will improve significantly the schedule offered to our Heysham customers."

Demand for NorseMerchant Ferries' Heysham services continues to strengthen. Mr Cleary explains:

"The significant rise in the cost of diesel has sharpened focus on the cost of road miles. In addition, the Working Time Directive has sharpened focus on the cost of drivers. These two major changes for the freight operator have helped strengthen demand for the cost effective long sea crossings. Against this background of increasing demand, we are very pleased to offer an improved service through Heysham."

WICKLOW & EAST COAST NOTES

WICKLOW PORT

Coaster callers this week were UNION MARS, ANNLEN G, EMSLAND and THULE.

Traffic in the bay included CELTIC PIONEER, ASIAN CHORUS, COASTAL ISLE, MARIA SCHEPERS, RYFJEL, LYSFOSS and  LINK STAR .

CABLE ONE and tug AFON LAS were in port for a time during the week, work is nearly complete and the vessels will be leaving soon .

Wicklow lifeboat launched on exercise with the Coastguard s61n helicopter on Sunday morning in the bay.

ARKLOW PORT

Vessels noted on the slip at the port this week were Rosslare lifeboat and Hunter Marines KILQUADE .

HMS PICKLE

A replica of HMS PICKLE will visit Liverpool from August 19, to 22.

One of Britain’s most famous ships is being recreated in Gloucester Docks to celebrate one of the country’s most famous naval battles, reported The Citizen on Wednesday 16 February 2005.

HMS PICKLE - which brought the first news of victory at the Battle of Trafalgar and Admiral Nelson’s death back to king and country – is being rebuilt by some of the country’s finest craftsmen. The reincarnation of the early 19th Century wooden vessel is scheduled to set off down the canal to Sharpness in May and then set sail around the British Isles once it is completed.

At the moment, the ship is being lovingly restored to become the flagship of naval celebrations for the 200th anniversary of The Battle of Trafalgar, which was fought out on 21 October 1805 off Cape Trafalgar. The battle is heralded as being the last great naval conflict of its era and was fought out off the Spanish coast between the combined fleets of Spain, France and the Royal Navy.

HMS PICKLE is one of the famous ships in history with its journey back to Falmouth and the bearing of the news being commemorated by Warrant Officers at the beginning of November every year. The event is known as PICKLE Night – the expression “PICKLEd”, meaning drunk, is said to originate from it. The PICKLE is being recreated out of an early 19th Century merchant ship replica which was specially built by a Russian millionaire and sailed over to this country and brought up the canal to the Docks for refurbishment last summer.

When completed, The PICKLE, will sport the yellow and black colours of Admiral Nelson’s ship HMS Victory and be launched at the Docks on May Day bank holiday. It will then begin a six-month “Nelson Tour” of the UK, stopping at many ports including Cardiff, Bristol, Ipswich and Liverpool.

The schooner – which will have a 27metre mast and be sailed by at least four crew – will eventually finish the tour in Penzance in time for PICKLE Night. The tour hopes to recreate the bearing of the first news with actors – who will sail on the ship – telling the story of Trafalgar when they arrive in each port.

The Ocean Youth Trust – which is organising the events – is also inviting young people to join the ship on its three and four day passages from one port to another. “We’re really looking forward to it,” said Tommi Nielsen, who heads the traditional ship building company in the Docks.

For more information log on to www.hmsPICKLE.org.uk

IRISH FERRIES

A beauty therapist on an Irish Ferries ship who was paid one euro an hour has won a £17,000 pay out, claims a union. Salvacion Orge had refused to leave the Pembroke Dock to Rosslare ferry over the Easter bank holiday after the firm closed its beauty salons in a pay row.

Talks between Irish Ferries and the ship workers' union Siptu took place on board the Isle of Inishmore on Tuesday March 22. The union claims Ms Orga is set to land a 25,000 euros pay out. Irish Ferries said an agreement had been reached.

Siptu negotiator Paul Smith said mother-of-three Ms Orge was very happy with the deal and planned to return to the Philippines on Wednesday. He said: "She's over the moon. She'll be a millionaire in Filipino terms and she is planning to set up her own beauty saloon there."

Irish Ferries said Ms Orga had been employed via a contractor. Siptu said it had secured an undertaking from the company that hired Ms Orge that she would not be discriminated against when seeking any future employment. Ms Orge had said that under her contract she was expected to work 12 hours a day, seven days a week, and was offered just three days off a month - the equivalent to earning just over one euro an hour.

The union took up Ms Orge's case after crew members discovered her rate of pay. She began working on the ship last Wednesday and her rate of pay was found out on Thursday.

Her contract was cancelled after Irish TV company RTÉ posed questions about her wages - equivalent to 75p an hour - and working conditions.

The talks on Tuesday included Irish Ferries' director of human resources, Alf McGrath, Siptu representatives and Ms Orge. In a statement, the firm said: "Irish Ferries confirms that an agreement has been reached between the company, Siptu and Salvacion Y Ortenero Orge the details of which all parties have agreed to keep confidential."

Two further Fillapina members of crew are also reported to have reached a cash settlement with the company.

SWANSEA - CORK FERRIES

South Wales Evening Post has reported that the Swansea-Cork ferry passenger numbers have fallen by two per cent to 116,000, in 2004. A total of 3.6 million people travelled on the six main sea routes between Britain and Ireland last year.

The roll-on, roll-off ferry service is marketed as a major time-saver for people wanting to visit the south and west of Ireland.
 

SEA CONTAINERS

The company published its Annual Report this week. The full report can be found at www.seacontainers.com.

As far as the company's nautical operations are concerned - the company as had a bad year in 2004 as this extract from the report reveals:

"The company's ferries business has had a troubled and unsatisfactory year which has necessitated restructuring which is still in progress. Fuel costs adversely impacted results.

The impact was especially heavy on SeaStreak, the New York City commuter ferry services, which is a dollar denominated company.

Silja's net earnings before interest and tax for the fourth quarter were a loss of $2.6 million compared with a profit of

$12 million in the prior year period, while for the year net earnings were $23.4 million compared with $42.8 million in 2003.

The $19.5 million reduction in Silja's earnings year on year was accounted for by a loss on the new m.v. Finnjet service which led to a reduction in profits from the vessel of $17 million compared with 2003 and fuel cost increases. The company has taken a hard look at the new Finnjet line between Rostock, Germany, Tallinn, Estonia and St. Petersburg, Russia and has concluded the second year of operation should produce a breakeven, so the line will be continued at least for 2005.

Silja will be adding a third SuperSeaCat to its Helsinki-Tallinn service to cater for the rapidly rising volumes on this route, and will be redeploying a loss making freight ship from Helsinki-Tallinn to Turku-Stockholm where extra freight capacity is needed.

Hoverspeed's operations have been restructured by withdrawal of the loss-making Northern Ireland and Newhaven-Dieppe services which will incur a restructuring charge of approximately $3 million in the first quarter of 2005. The Northern Ireland ship has been re-deployed to Dover-Calais where she will operate alongside a sister vessel and the Newhaven-Dieppe ship will go to Silja as mentioned above.

Losses were incurred on the Newhaven-Dieppe route in 2004 when the French operator on the route, Transmanche, refused to honor contracts, giving rise to a claim against them which will be pursued in the courts, if necessary. Transmanche had earlier indicated they would take over the fast ferry service in 2005, then changed their minds at the last minute.

Hoverspeed is transferring its Newhaven-Dieppe bookings to its Dover-Calais service which should improve results of that line in 2005.

Hoverspeed has entered into a joint venture in Greece with the highly respected Eugenides Group to operate a 600 passenger/90 car vessel between Piraeus and the Western Cyclades islands of Sifnos and Milos starting late in April, a route which has been chronically short of capacity. The new service is named Aegean Speedlines. The plan is to add additional routes in

Greece in 2006 using vessels displaced from UK operations. It had been planned to operate two additional vessels of this type in Greece this year, however, the Greek authorities refused to accept them on technical grounds, although all major West European countries accept them. As of this moment the intention is to charter the two vessels for seasonal employment, however, if satisfactory charters cannot be obtained they will be laid up.

Part of SeaStreak's problems in 2004 was due to heavy ice conditions, start up costs of bringing two new vessels into service and unsatisfactory financing arrangements of the owner. Steps are in progress to resolve these issues and winter weather disruptions have been less this winter. Fuel costs, however, will be a continuing problem for SeaStreak as prices show no sign of abating. Market growth continues to be satisfactory.

Other ferry operations which include Hoverspeed, SeaStreak, the SNAV-Hoverspeed joint venture in the Adriatic and charters incurred a loss of $16.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2004 compared with a loss of $6.1 million in the 2003 period. Nonrecurring write offs, which include the company's two hovercraft and spares (which may have continuing value), and write down of fixed assets in connection with the terminated Troon-Belfast fast ferry service amounted to $5.1 million of the increased loss. For the year 2004 the loss from other ferry operations was $36.3 million vs. a loss of $12.9 million in 2003 (excluding profit from the Isle of Man Steam Packet

Company which was sold in mid-2003). The increase in loss was due to the non-recurring write-offs mentioned above, extra fuel costs, late delivery of two vessels into service in peak season and higher than expected repair and maintenance costs.

Mr Sherwood said that part of the problem has been the rapid increase in discount air services from the U.K. to Ireland and the Continent, drawing passengers from the ferries. The U.K.

Customs & Excise continue to discourage travel to France by unlawfully harassing passengers in an attempt to discourage them from buying alcohol, tobacco and other products for personal use which do not carry excise taxes as are imposed in Britain on such goods sold in Britain. Hoverspeed has won a landmark case against Customs & Excise for having reduced its passenger and car carryings due to this unlawful behavior and has claimed $90 million in damages. The damages hearing date has not yet been set but it is expected that an award will be made by 2006 if not earlier.

"While we will not entirely eliminate the other ferries loss in 2005 we think it will be substantially less than in 2004 and our strategy is to move this business into profit for 2006 largely by moving our fast ferry fleet from the U.K. to the Mediterranean. However, Hoverspeed's Dover-Calais service will continue unless its results prove unsatisfactory, in which case its ships will also be moved to the Mediterranean," Mr Sherwood said.

The writing is clearly on the wall for the Hoverspeed service!

BALLYCASTLE - CAMPBELTOWN

Renewed effort to reinstate the Campbeltown to Ballycastle ferry service was announced on March 30.

Tenders will be invited for a service that links Argyll and Moyle through a fresh joint Scottish Executive and Northern Ireland Administration initiative which offers a maximum £1m annual subsidy over a 5 year contract period.

The decision to re-tender the service again follows a joint SE and NI Office review of the service and work undertaken by the Kintyre and Moyle business communities. The Dalriada Business Action Group (DBAG) has presented work to demonstrate the case for a further tendering exercise, and raised the profile of the route for potential operators.

Transport Minister Nicol Stephen said:

"There is strong local support for this service, especially from businesses in Kintyre, to ensure the future economic growth of the local community. A new ferry service would also create new opportunities in trade and tourism between Kintyre and Antrim. That is why we want to ensure every effort is made to restore this service.

"The Dalriada Business Action Group (DBAG) has played a key role in our review, helping to demonstrate the case for re-tendering. Their work has raised awareness of the potential for the route in both Scotland and in Northern Ireland. We very much hope that this tendering competiton will result in the ferry service operating in 2006."

Barry Gardiner, Northern Ireland Office Minister for Regional Development said:

"I am pleased that we are in a position to retender this service. This is an important step forward and demonstrates very clearly the strenuous efforts being made by the Scottish Executive and the NI Office to secure the reinstatement of the route."

A summer only ferry service operated between Campbeltown and Ballycastle in Northern Ireland for three years 1997-99. The service was operated on a commercial basis. The service was terminated just before the 2000 season on the grounds that it was making unsustainable losses. It was concluded that the service would only restart if a subsidy was paid to support operating costs.

A previous tendering exercise in 2002 did not produce interest from the market. Ministers agreed to review options for the future of the proposed passenger and freight ferry service between Campbeltown and Ballycastle. During the review the Minister agreed to a request from the Dalriada Business Action Group (DBAG) to review policy for future support of the service. This involved the group submitting further work to the Executive which supported the case for reinstating the ferry service. The reports provided explored the market for increasing potential tourism interest and freight traffic. DBAG considered that there was greater potential in these sectors which had not been fully developed in previous work. DBAG's work has been useful in raising awareness of the potential for the route in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The Scottish Executive and Northern Ireland Office have now agreed to pursue a further tendering exercise. Both parties agreed to proceed subject to the following conditions:

a.. The tender will be based on the same or very similar terms to the previous 2002-03 competition;
b.. That the maximum annual amount of subsidy to be made available for support of the service will be £1.0 million over the 5 year contract period. The tendering exercise would be led by the Scottish Executive and would proceed on a similar process to the 2002 exercise under procurement and EC Maritime State aid rules. Potential bidders would be invited to express interest in a pre-qualification exercise and in passing this stage, would be invited to Tender.

EDUCATIONAL BOOK EXHIBITS

LOGOS II - Due to delays in refitting the LOGOS HOPE [Ex Norrona], LOGOS II will not decomission at Birkenhead as originally planned. She will viist Birkenhead between May 17 and June 1. She will then visit Cork from June 02 to June 20 before proceeding to the Netherlands for dry docking and lay up.

MERSEY DOCKS & HARBOUR COMPANY
 

The latest office development at Princes Dock, Liverpool's premier river front location, has been fully let with the Charity Commission and the UK shipping company CMA CGM (UK) signing leases for the final, significant areas of space.

When their combined staffs of nearly 500 move into Twelve Princes Dock this Spring, it will bring the number of people working in the city's new business quarter to almost 3,000.

The Charity Commission, which is the independent regulator for charitable activity in England and Wales, has leased 3,420 sq m (36,821 sq ft) consisting of the third floor and a large area of the fourth floor in the five floor building. Its 240 staff will transfer from Liverpool's Queen's Dock to Princes Dock in May.

Jim Howard, Head of Facilities Management for the Commission, said: "The quality of the building and the flexibility of the space to meet the needs of a modern office environment, were important factors in our choice of Twelve Princes Dock as a new base when our current accommodation arrangements expired. We are very happy to be part of the exciting Princes Dock development."

CMA CGM and its sister company, MacAndrews, are consolidating their presence in the City of Liverpool by moving into 2552.3 sq m (27,474 sq ft) of office accommodation on two floors of Twelve Princes Dock. More than 230 staff will move to the new river front location from CMA CGM's existing offices in the city. Commented David Halliday, Executive Chairman of CMA CGM (UK) Limited: "We have been seeking a combined office in Liverpool for the two staffs for some time. Twelve Princes Dock will give our combined teams a stimulating work environment and offers much greater functionality than our existing facilities. It is a state-of-the-art development which befits a company that is at the cutting edge of container shipping."

The CMA CGM Group which ranks fifth among the world's major container lines, is becoming an increasingly significant player in the UK and in the Port of Liverpool in particular, where it operates four weekly container services, three to the Iberian Peninsula under the MacAndrews banner and a regular link with CMA CGM’s global container network through their hub port of Le Havre.

Said Princes Dock Development Company Chief Executive Ian Pollitt: "It is good that Princes Dock is retaining its maritime links through prominent players like CMA CGM and Atlantic Container Line, a long established tenant and the leader among lines serving the UK and North America. It is also gratifying that the location and facilities are winning the acclaim of blue chip organisations such as the Charity Commission."

Across the dock from Twelve Princes, a 760 space multi-storey car park is set to open for business at the beginning of April and has already let the majority of positions to contract holders. Further north, the development of 162 luxury apartments in towers of 10 and 20 stories is well advanced and a second development of a 270ft high tower of 182 prestige apartments is now under way. Work is soon to start on Princes Dock's second quality hotel which is being developed by the Malmaison chain of boutique style hotels.

LIVERPOOL CULTURE COMPANY

Liverpool ''Eye'' set for waterfront

The Liverpool Culture Company, supported by National Museums Liverpool, is to submit a planning application to locate the 'Liverpool Eye' on the city's spectacular waterfront. If agreed, the Liverpool Eye will stand more than 197 feet high - commanding views of the city's World Heritage listed waterfront and Albert Dock complex, and enabling day trippers to see as far as North Wales and out to the Irish Sea.

And culture bosses are promising visitors to expect the best revolutionary ride of their lives as the Liverpool Eye would revolve three times - compared to London's one.

The giant wheel, one of the world's biggest and the most modern is owned by World Tourist Attractions Ltd. Fitted with climate control and air conditioning it cost ?5 million Euros to build and would take approximately one week to transport and construct. 

Day trippers could expect a commentary of Liverpool as they take in the spectacular views from revolving glass 'see pods'. It is set to be sited at the Canning Half-Tide Dock.

The Liverpool Eye weighs 345 tonnes and is supported by tanks containing 40,000 gallons of water. Standing as high as 15 double decker buses, the wheel is expected to attract more than 60,000 people - with 336 people per ride.

Once built, the wheel would be the biggest eye-catching addition to the city's Capital of Culture themed year - Sea Liverpool 2005 - and will allow visitors to capture unique views of events such as the 25th Mersey River Festival, the UK's biggest free maritime festival.

Jason Harborow, Chief Operating Officer for the Liverpool Culture Company, said: ''The Liverpool Eye will offer stunning views and a fantastic ride. 

''It will give visitors eye popping views of the river and the city which will be jam packed with spectacular events as we celebrate our year of Sea Liverpool 2005.''

The 'Eye' would be programmed to revolve three times per ride taking between 12-15 minutes. Tickets would cost £5.50 for adults, £4.50 for senior citizens and £3.50 for children.

World Tourist Attractions Ltd are proposing to operate the 'Eye' from 10am-11pm, seven days a week.

Liverpool City Council Leader Mike Storey, said: "They say New York is so good they named it twice, well Liverpool is so good you need to see it three times. Visitors will be really in a spin. And the 'Liverpool Eye' will be the best value for money eye in the world.

''It will be a great addition to the waterfront and will give local people and visitors a fantastic bird's eye view of this beautiful city of ours."

The 'Eye' will also help light up the city's world famous sky-line at night. It boasts 60,000 Light Emitting Diodes (LED's) along its 21 huge steel spokes and 42 'see pods', which can each accommodate a maximum of eight people.

David Fleming, Director of National Museums Liverpool, said: ''If the Capital of Culture team can satisfy all the technical and planning conditions, the Liverpool Eye could be a tremendously exciting venture - just imagine the views! 

''We've all seen the massively positive impact the London Eye has had and in my opinion the Liverpool waterfront is just as spectacular as the Thames embankment. The Liverpool Eye will be a fabulous family and tourist attraction and yet another great reason to visit the city.''

A&P GROUP

TRITON

Bought by Gardline Shipping from QinetiQ for an estimated £7m ($13.2m) in January as a triple-hull demonstration vessel TRITON, has re-emerged as a one-off hydrographic surveying vessel following a month’s work at A&P Falmouth.

Two-thirds the size of a destroyer, the 90 m long, steel-hulled former test vessel is due to commence work on a Maritime and Coastguard Agency hydrography programme, delivering data to maintain British Admiralty charts, initially in the western approaches. It will then transfer to the northwest approaches.

Work at A&P, which cost upwards of £500,000, included installation of a survey sensor suite that incorporates a Kongsberg Simrad EM1002 multi-beam echo sounder, a global positioning attitude-heading system, surface navigation and ultra-short baseline sub-surface acoustic tracking system. Voyager5, Gardline’s new integrated survey system, and a Caris post-processing system have also been fitted.

Drag from the extra surveying equipment has reined in top speeds from 22 knots to about 18 knots. The job also included conversion of part of the ballast tanks to store 250 tonnes more fuel, giving the ship a 35-day range on the basis of a seven-tonnes-a-day fuel consumption for surveying and 10 tonnes a day at top speed.

Bow thrusters were also installed. With a crew of 12 and up to 13 surveyors, Triton features two laboratories while its accommodation, with all cabins featuring en suite bathrooms, represents a big step up for Gardline vessels. Triton even has room for its own home cinema.

Gardline has engaged officers formerly employed by QinetiQ to run the ship.

A&P WIN CARNIVAL CORPORATION MULTI SHIP CONTRACT

A&P Southampton has won a multi-ship deal from Carnival. The world’s largest cruise ship operator, Carnival, owners of P&O Cruises, has awarded A&P Southampton a multi-ship deal for the refit and refurbishment of three of their cruise vessels.

The refits of the Adonia, Ocean Village and Oceana will be completed over a six week period during April and May 2005 at A&P Southampton, all three vessels to be drydocked in the yard’s large King George V drydock. The 77,499 grt, 1998-built Adonia will be first to arrive.

Currently operated by P&O Cruises, she is to be renamed the Sea Princess, and transferred to the Princess Cruises operation. In addition to her routine refit schedule Adonia will complete a total re-branding exercise, leaving the shipyard to commence service
out of Southampton in full Princess livery. The 63,524 grt, 1989-built Ocean Village and the 77,499 grt, 2000-built Oceana refits, which follow on directly after Adonia, include all regular refit work and a number of upgrade projects for the passenger and crew facilities.
“We are delighted to secure this three ship deal and are pleased to be working with P&O Cruises on major refits again.” says A&P Southampton’s Managing Director, David Parry. “With a fairly intensive programme over a short period of time, we have dedicated a specialist team for the planning and project management of these consecutive refits. We have been working very closely with the technical teams from both P&O Cruises and Princess Cruises and look forward to successful completion of these projects.”

 

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