NEWS BULLETIN: November 2005
|November 26||Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Ian Collard, Michael Pryce, Edwin Wilmshurst, Michael Bracken and "others"|
NOT A GOOD TIME TO CROSS THE IRISH SEA ......
Crossing the Irish Sea this weekend is likely to be a difficult experience for many on the central corridor.
Irish Ferries sailings on Saturday were all cancelled due to ongoing industrial trouble.
HSS STENA EXPLORER damaged a bow thruster on Saturday afternoon and will be out of service until at least Wednesday morning which means no sailings on the Holyhead - Dún Laoghaire route.
Meanwhile the Norse Merchant Birkenhead - Dublin service appears to be suffering significant delays with only the Twelve Quays south berth noted in operation on Saturday.
ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY
SUPERSEACAT TWO CANCELLED AGAIN
SSC2 missed another sailing between Douglas and Liverpool on Friday November 25 this time due to technical reasons. She was seen belching very sooty smoke before her scheduled departure. Passengers had to be offloaded and put on the BEN-MY-CHREE's 08:45 sailing to Heysham.
BEN-MY-CHREE to LIVERPOOL
BEN-MY-CHREE - The timetable announced for the period January 10 to March 23 reveals that the ship will operate from Douglas to Liverpool on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Full details of the changes, which obviously result in changes to the Heysham - Douglas schedule can be found on the Isle of Man Steam Packet web site [ click here ].
STEAM PACKET 175 GALA CONCERT
The Isle of Man Steam Packet will end its 175th anniversary year celebrations with a big musical bang at a spectacular musical gala concert.
The internationally famous Foden’s Richardson Band, the current British Open Champions will bring the Company’s unique year to a close with a one-off concert at the Island’s superb concert hall, Villa Marina on Sunday 4th December starting at 3pm.
The highlight of the concert will be the premiere of a specially commissioned piece to celebrate in music the Company’s landmark year. The music has been composed by internationally renowned composer and conductor Derek Broadbent, who for many years has enjoyed a musical association with the Island and the Manx Youth Band who are hosting the visit of this hugely acclaimed band.
Whilst on the Island, Foden’s band members will share their expert musical skills with members of the Island’s brass band movement in a workshop for local band members.
Geoff Corkish, Steam Packet Communications Manager said, ‘We are so very fortunate that a band of this calibre and a conductor of such great standing are joining to celebrate with us in our unique year. It will provide for us a fitting end to our year- long celebrations and for the Manx public a superb and unforgettable entertainment. Our special musical composition will be available for brass bands to play worldwide enhancing both our Company and Isle of Man profiles’.
Tickets for the concert are available from the Villa Marina box office and are priced at £10 per adult and £3 child (under 16).
Several weeks ago it was reported that the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company had surrendered its Isle of Man alcohol licences. As a consequence the company would no longer serve alcoholic drinks within the Isle of Man 12 mile Territorial Limit.
This week the company's operations director appeared in court accused of being a licence holder who sold liquor to a drunken person and permitting drunkenness on licensed premises.
In relation to the same incident a crew member appeared in court accused of aiding and abetting another to sell liquor to a drunken person and aiding and abetting drunkenness on licensed premises.
Both defendants have denied the charges.
PENINSULAR & ORIENTAL STEAM NAVIGATION COMPANY
With a history going back to the formation of a partnership between Arthur Anderson and Brodie Wilcox in 1822 the Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company could rightly claim to be the world's oldest shipping company, despite claims from another "local" company!
However, over 180 years of British Maritime heritage is likely to come to an end next week as reports suggest that the Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company board will recommend the £3.5 billon take over offer from Dubai Ports World.
The offer could bring shareholders £4.60 per share a 50% premium over the level the shares were trading at before the offer.
A.P. MOLLER- MAERSK GROUP
NORSE MERCHANT FERRIES
RIVER LUNE owned by Swedish Orient Lines and chartered to Norse Merchant Ferries is to be renamed HANSALAND.
It appeared on Saturday November 26 that the Twelve Quays north berth is out of action. BRAVE MERCHANT waited for a considerable time on Saturday before berthing on the south berth. She had arrived late arriving. Her morning departure did not get away until late afternoon. It is understood work is underway on the north berth to replace the fenders.
It has been reported that LIVERPOOL is close to landing one of Maersk's new transatlantic services to be introduced in February 2006.
However it appears that company will be commence a Trans-Atlantic service serving Antwerp, Liverpool and Montreal this would replace the current CP Ships and OOCL service on which P&O Nedlloyd and Maersk take space which currently serves Thamesport.
The change comes as Maersk reorganises services following the take-over of P&O Nedlloyd.
STENA LYNX III - is now in Bidston Dry Dock refitting. There have been rumours of a charter before her season on the southern corridor recommences.
STENA ADVENTURER a fire broke out in a truck cab shortly before 05:00 whilst the ship was on her morning sailing from Holyhead to Dublin. Passengers were evacuated to the open decks whilst the crew dealt with the incident. The fire took 15 minutes to bring under control.
HSS STENA EXPLORER is believed to have burned out her bow thruster when berthing at Holyhead on the afternoon of Saturday November 26. This appears to have happened when she was caught be a 50knot gust when berthing. Sailings are currently suspended until at least the 08:55 sailing on Wednesday morning.
STENA LINE IRISH SEA FREIGHT ROUTES CELEBRATE TENTH ANNIVERSARY
TWO of Stena Line Freight's five Irish Sea routes are celebrating 10 years of service between Britain and Ireland.
Both the company's Holyhead to Dublin and Stranraer to Belfast routes reached this significant milestone within the space of one week in November.
First up was the Stranraer to Belfast route, which has carried some 1.4 million freight units in the past decade, utilising one of only three award winning Stena HSS fast ferries in the world. A total of more than THREE MILLION miles has been travelled on the route, which is the equivalent of 120 trips around the globe.
Stena Line's Irish Sea Area Director Fredrik Lantz said: "The Northern Corridor is a pivotal element in the market and I'm delighted that the Stranraer to Belfast route is still going from strength to strength after 10 years. It's been a great move for us and over the last ten years we have invested a total of £120m in the route, including a new state-of-the-art terminal in Belfast and the introduction of the £65m Stena Voyager HSS vessel."
"However, while Stranraer to Belfast has proved to be a great success story for the past decade the company has no intention to rest on its laurels and plans are also well advanced to increase investment by a further £60m with our proposed relocation from Stranraer to Cairnryan in the next few years.
"The Irish Sea is a key layer in Stena Line's European operations and the Stranraer-Belfast route has made a significant contribution to the continued success of the Irish Sea's performance," said Fredrik.
The proposed investment in the route will be of great benefit to freight customers, as Stena Line Freight Commercial Manager Frank Nieuwenhuys explains.
"We constantly review our business model in order to improve performance, hence the decision has been made to invest a further £60m in the Stranraer to Belfast route over the next few years," said Frank.
"As a major gateway for both freight and tourism business between Britain and Northern Ireland, the route requires a significant amount of support and ongoing development. The key aspects of the investment will be a new passenger and freight terminal facility in Belfast, known as VT4 which will be located further along Belfast Lough and a new port share operation with P&O at Cairnryan.
"It is estimated that both these changes will result in a 30% reduction in journey times which will enable us to make the crossing in just 75 minutes. The target date for completion, which is subject to planning approval, is autumn 2007.
"Furthermore, we are working closely with the Scottish Executive to implement a road infrastructure programme to and from Loch Ryan which will further improve the overall journey time and bring the economies of Scotland and Northern Ireland closer," added Frank.
One week after the Stranraer to Belfast celebrations, Stena Line also marked the tenth anniversary of its Holyhead to Dublin route with the announcement that it plans to invest almost £1 million in upgrading services onboard the Stena Adventurer and facilities at the Dublin ferry terminal in the next year.
In the past decade, the company has carried more than one million freight units on the route which has enjoyed particular success since the introduction of the Stena Adventurer Superferry two years ago.
Stena Line again points to factors such as investment and dedication to a high standard of service combined with reliability, as having led to the company's strong trading performance on the Central Corridor.
Stena Line Freight Commercial Manager Frank Nieuwenhuys said: "We are delighted to be celebrating 10 years on the Central Corridor's Holyhead to Dublin route which is a very important gateway from Ireland to Britain and onwards to Europe. Throughout the last decade we have enjoyed an excellent relationship with Dublin Port and our stevedoring Company, Ro Ro Services Ltd, which has no doubt assisted us in providing the best possible service to our customers.
"The introduction of the brand new Stena Adventurer Superferry at a cost of £68 million in July 2003 gave an indication of our commitment to this service which coincided with the investment in a new twin tier berth at the Port of Holyhead at a cost of over £10 million specifically built for this new ship.
"With its user-friendly loading and unloading facilities, the Stena Adventurer is the first short-sea vessel into Dublin each morning ahead of the rush hour traffic, which enables drivers to meet exacting delivery schedules each day. This, along with a number of important timetable changes to suit customer needs, has contributed to the tremendous success that the route has enjoyed in recent years," concluded Frank.
Enda Connellan, Chief Executive of Dublin Port Company, added:
"We are delighted with the progress this service has made over the last ten years. Together with all my colleagues, I wish the service continued success. We will be working with Stena Line next year to improve the shore facilities in Dublin Port, which again demonstrates our commitment to ensuring both Freight and Tourist customers using Dublin Port receive the best service possible."
Fredrik Lantz, Stena Line's Irish Sea Area Director (Irish Sea) concluded:
"Whilst the last ten years have seen significant changes for Stena Line, the next ten years should be equally exciting. We are confident in looking forward in spite of the challenges that we face within the industry that the Holyhead to Dublin route and indeed all our Irish Sea routes will go from strength to strength.
"Stena Line has successfully managed to move into profit in recent years on the Irish Sea and this has been aided by the investment and advances we have made on both our Holyhead to Dublin and Stranraer to Belfast routes."
At the time of compiling this update the ISLE OF INISHMORE and ULYSSES are currently stranded in Wales at Pembroke and Holyhead respectively.
Sailings were cancelled when what is believed to be 4 crew members of the ISLE OF INISHMORE barricaded themselves into the ship's engine control room and the ULYSSES crew refused to sail.
The press claim that the crewmembers used an anti terrorism drill to hold off 15 security guards who boarded their ship on Thursday afternoon, November 24, at Pembroke Dock. It is suggested in one report they boarded as passengers in Ireland and changed into uniform in the toilets before the ship arrived at Pembroke.
Once the guards were on board a replacement crew of Latvian's is believed to have boarded the ship in coaches. They had been due to familiarise themselves with the operation alongside Irish Ferries staff.
At present various claims and counter claims by union and management are being made. To say the situation is confused would be an understatement. On going reports are being posted to the RTE news site as a number of crew who are barricaded in the engine room are believed to have mobile phones and are updating the Irish media. This is probably the best point of contact for this rapidly developing story. [ www.rte.ie/news ]. Further up to date coverage can be found on the BBC Wales News site [ www.bbc.co.uk/wales/news ]
Reports on Saturday evening suggested that the NORMANDY would be turned away by port workers at Rosslare, or Dublin if diverted, when she returns from France on Sunday.
[ISS Comment: What is for certain is that the drastic action at Pembroke combined with the fact that the company has decided to unilaterally reject the Irish Labour Court ruling is likely to seriously damage the reputation of Irish Ferries and its parent company the Irish Continental Group in the eyes of many people.
Whilst it is acknowledged that 90% of the IF crews have voted to accept quite generous severance terms one must question the ethics of the whole affair. Not only have current jobs been "sold" but also those of future generations.
There have been claims this week suggesting the action by Irish Ferries will reduce the number of Irish seafarers by around 50%. Irish Ferries was Ireland's "flag carrier" questions should be asked. But apart from condemning the move, the Irish government has not acted.
Presumably the next stage will be to rename the company which has a proud heritage dating through its somewhat complicated family tree back to the City of Dublin Steam Packet as "Latvian Ferries"? As it appears there will be very few, if any Irish crew on board the ships in future. ]
DAY OF PROTEST
The Union's General President, Jack O’Connor, is to call on the Irish Congress of Trade Unions Executive to hold a national day of protest, next Friday, December 2, in support of embattled Irish Ferries workers. He will make the call at the ICTU Executive Council meeting later this morning.
He said the dispute represented a defining moment for workers, employers, the Government and every citizen about the type of society in which they wished to live; one based on decency and fair play, or one based on thuggery, exploitation and the law of the jungle.
“The Irish Ferries dispute is a defining moment in the relations between employers and workers in this country. It is a moment which challenges everyone, on all sides, to declare on the side of decency, social dialogue and constructive engagement, or on the side of thuggery, brutality and the law of the jungle.
“At moments such as this it is not enough for those who are entrusted with public responsibility to utter comforting words and do nothing else. To use an old adage, ‘All that is required for evil to prosper is for people of good will to stand back and do nothing’.
“In a moment such as this you are on one side or the other. Indeed I am aware that a great number of employers are repelled by the scenes that are unfolding.
“As SIPTU has consistently stated throughout, the future of social partnership comes down to the question as to whether the Government is prepared to take the necessary measures to address job displacement, exploitation and the protection of employment standards. Whereas we have said that its future will not be decided by one dispute, it is difficult to see how it can survive if the Government cannot bring itself to address these issues in this high profile situation.
“At today’s meeting of the Executive Council of ICTU we intend to move a motion asking Congress to intensify its campaign of support for Irish Ferries workers and its call for measures to address these issues of job displacement, exploitation and protection of employment standards. We will be calling for a national day of protest on Friday, December 2, with a march from Parnell Square, Dublin, to Government Buildings to highlight these demands; inviting not only trade unionists but citizens from all walks of life to participate," he concluded.
VAN GOGH the ship which is chartered to cruise operator Travelscope had been due to arrive at Liverpool on November 25 on conclusion of a cruise to Gibraltar and North Africa.
However, at 10:00 on Friday November 25, passengers were apparently informed that the Port of Liverpool was closed and that the ship would sail for Greenock. Reports in the Liverpool Echo suggest that passengers on the cruise are not happy with the diversion and claim that calls at Tangier and La Coruna were cancelled.
A spokesman for the company claimed that it might not have been safe to go into Liverpool and that they were not able to pick up a pilot on the Isle of Man to take them in.
However, Mersey Docks claim that a pilots had been flown to the Isle of Man to bring ships, including the VAN GOGH into to Liverpool. However, the VAN GOGH decided to go to Greenock, the company then claiming it was a safety and comfort issue.
Passengers were due to be bussed from Greenock back to Liverpool.
ISLE OF MULL is expected to arrive at North Western Ship Repairers (Cammell Laird #4) on Monday November 28 for refit.
ILFRACOMBE - SWANSEA
Following recent renewed interest in a regular Bristol Channel link between south west England and Wales the following article appeared in the North Devon Journal this week:
"Ferries could begin running from Ilfracombe to South Wales, cutting tourist journey times and boosting the local economy. The service is unlikely to start within the next two years, but a Somerset businessman with experience of setting up ferries around the world has begun writing a basic business plan.
Sailor and entrepreneur Chris Marrow told the Journal it made perfect geographical sense to set up a ferry link between the town and Swansea.
The 24-mile boat ride would cut hours from the journey from North Devon to South Wales.
Mr. Marrow is also considering a similar service from Minehead to Barry to run alongside the Ilfracombe-Swansea route.
Running two services would mean lengthy delays when ferries are taken out of service for overhaul or repairs would be eliminated, because one vessel could cover two routes.
District councillor Geoff Fowler said: "At the moment we are in exploratory talks with a possible provider who needs to do a real business study to see the economic viability on it.
"These are still very early days, and we don't want to raise people's hopes at this stage, but Mr Marrow has got quite a wealth of experience behind him so he's not coming into this with pie-in-the-sky ideas."
Mr Marrow was due to come up with a basic business plan which would be presented to the district council in the early part of next year.
"I think it's got tremendous implications for the town," Cllr Fowler said.
"It opens up the town on a regular basis to people who want to come across here and spend a day or two here and vice versa.
"Swansea is only 24 miles away from here, that's half the distance to Exeter, and it could also tie into the Swansea-Cork ferry link."
Mr Marrow said: "It is early days and it's a very technical thing to set up. There is no fixed time-scale and it certainly won't be next summer.
"I start from the premise that there should be a service. The drive around from Wales to the South West is very long and the roads aren't that good.
"There should be ferries because geographically it makes sense, but before we get too excited let's see if it can work.
Mr Marrow said the decision to go ahead would come down to cost and whether or not it could be profitable.
|November 23||Acknowledgements: Ian Collard, Edwin Wilmshurst, John Williams, Michael Pryce and "others"|
ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY
BEN-MY-CHREE sailings were disrupted due to adverse conditions created by the recent fog. On Monday 21, the 08:45 sailing did not arrive in Heysham until 14:45. Departure from Heysham was at 16:00. On Tuesday a combination of late running due to fog and technical problems let to the cancellation of the 08:45 sailing from Douglas to Heysham and the 14:15 return sailing were cancelled on October 22. Passengers were transferred to the 19:45 and 02:15 sailings respectively.
ISLE OF MAN DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
DOUGLAS HARBOUR TRAFFIC FIGURES
Passenger figures compiled by the Harbours Division for October 2005 at 41,160 show a 4% decrease on the figure for the same period in 2004 which was 42,884.
The year to date figure at 548,630 passengers shows a 6.7% decrease over the same period in 2004 which was 588,003.
During October, car and motorcycle traffic through Douglas Harbour increased by 2.8% from 11,366 vehicles to 11,681 vehicles.
The year to date figure at 156,122 vehicles shows a 0.8% decrease over the same period in 2004 which was 157,400.
Scheduled Routes show the following changes in passenger numbers for October:-
Director of Harbours, Captain Michael Brew comments:
“Excluding the Dublin route which did not operate this year, passenger traffic on the core routes remains practically constant. The Heysham route shows strong growth at the expense of the Liverpool route.
The positive trend in vehicle numbers seen in recent months continues with passenger vehicle traffic being a record for any October.”
MARITIME AUCTION - LIVERPOOL
Liverpool Auctioneers Outhwaite and Litherland will be auctioning the extensive maritime collection of the late Mr. Winfield Hallam which includes postcards of all major shipping lines, photographs, books etc.
Viewing will be on Sunday December 04 and Monday December 05. The auction of The Hallam Collection will take place on December 07
Mr. Hallam was a leading light behind the founding of the Merseyside Branch of the World Ship Society.
DANIEL ADAMSON PRESERVATION SOCIETY
The society which is working to preserve and return to operating condition Britain's last surviving steam tug-tender the DANIEL ADAMSON has been awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund Project Planning Grant. Further details can be found at www.danieladamson.com
COLLISION GOLDEN BELLS 2 & PLATO
On November 22 it was reported that the fishing vessel GOLDEN BELLS 2 was in collision with the coaster PLATO which was bound for Derry. The GOLDEN BELLS 2 was escorted by the Newcastle RNLI all weather lifeboat to Kilkeel whilst PLATO resumed passage.
|November 19||Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Ian Collard, Thierry Dufournaud and "others"|
A mid week update was posted on November 16 - this appears below this news update.
CLYDEPORT CONTAINER SHIPS / DÖHLE ISLE OF MAN
PHILIPP (2567 gt, built 1978) which was on a voyage from Manchester to Greenock with empty containers was at 08:00 on Friday November 18 reported 5.5 miles north east of the Calf of Man with a rudder jammed 10 degrees to starboard. Whilst the ship had main engines she was unable to steel. She was able to maintain her position until a tug was able to attend the vessel. She was towed into the Cammell Laird wet basin at 13:00 on Saturday November 19.
JONATHAN SWIFT will refit between 6 Jan & 19 Jan 2006. The last Dublin Swift Sailing on 5 Jan will be at 14.50 and the first sailing on 20 Jan will be at 12.15.
The Irish Independent reported on November 18, that divisions in the Irish Ferries dispute deepened amid claims management at the company had no knowledge of a plan to break the deadlock. Details of the new initiative emerged late on Wednesday night after talks were held on the fringe of the An Post discussions at Government Buildings. Irish Ferries management met with crew on its ships in Dublin on Thursday morning and in Rosslare on Thursday evening.
But the initiative appeared scuppered when Irish Ferries said they were told nothing about the plan to get the two sides back talking. This is despite the fact that union officials were aware of the developments. Although journalists knew the plan was being developed on Wednesday night, one senior Irish Ferries director said the first he heard of it was from a radio report.
But, a spokesperson for the National Implementation Body, hosting the talks between Ibec and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, said both groups "have been maintaining contact with the parties".
Ibec said that it was in regular contact with Irish Ferries on the issues discussed at the National Implementation Body talks.
The proposal would envisage two representatives from each side, who had no direct input in talks so far, sitting around a table together. The plan was developed in a bid to resolve the deadlocked dispute which worsened on Monday when Irish Ferries rejected Labour Court recommendations.
The court has said the company should put its plan to replace over 550 Irish staff with cheaper agency workers from overseas on hold. However, it now looks like any hope of a breakthrough has been shattered. following Irish Ferries' claims that they were kept in the dark.
"This development took place without Irish Ferries having any knowledge of it, without Irish Ferries being consulted a
On Wednesday November 16 the shares in Irish Ferries parent company Irish Continental Group tumbled 6% after Goodbody Stockbrokers cut the ferry operator's rating from "reduce" to "sell".
Wednesday's fall left the share price at €9.75, almost 10% lower on the week, but still significantly ahead of Goodbody analyst Joe Gill's €8.50 price target.
Mr Gill cut his profit forecasts by 5% in the current year but said next year's bottom line would be 28% lower than previously thought. He cited this week's Labour Court ruling on the company's planned cost-cutting measures, coupled with fresh information on operational performance.
"With further slippage in passenger volumes likely, due to structural changes in travel preferences (from sea to air), Irish Continental Group faces a squeeze between costs (exacerbated by oil prices) and limited revenue growth," he said.
"For a capital intensive business, faltering revenues and fixed costs threaten returns and profitability. It also faces intense political pressure and a possible strike over the sensitive Christmas period." Davy Stockbrokers analyst Stephen Furlong said the Labour Court ruling, which blocks the company's attempts to replace its Irish-based staff with a cheaper outsourcing arrangement, would leave the company locked into an uncompetitive cost base.
But he said investors who had faith in the management's ability to agree a deal with unions could be rewarded eventually.
nd it has taken place without any invitation for Irish Ferries to be involved. It came as quite a bolt from the blue," a spokesperson said.
The company, which operates under the Irish Ferries brand, told the stock exchange on Tuesday that profits would suffer if it failed to strip out costs.
Devonport Management Limited (DML) has announced that it beat off stiff competition from at least two other dockyards after its bid to extend the life of the Royal Navy's Type 42 destroyer HMS Manchester was accepted. This contract will secure 300 jobs.
The new multi-million-pound refit is particularly welcome for DML in the light of Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon's announcement of Navy cuts, including the scrapping of several surface ships.
Devonport Dockyard-based DML was fast running out of work and the past months had seen it thrust into the centre of a major political campaign to win it new orders and save jobs.
Type 22 frigate HMS Cornwall is the only surface ship refit currently being undertaken at Devonport and the company is facing a short period with no surface ship docking work.
The work will start in March 2006 and will be completed in Autumn 2006.
DML is currently involved in two further competitive bids for the docking period of HMS Portland and the refit of HMS Somerset. Both contracts are due to be awarded in December 2005.
MARITIME & COASTGUARD AGENCY
The Maritime & Coastguard Agency announced on November 17 that 10 foreign ships were under detention in UK ports during October 2005 after failing Port State Control safety inspection. [List MCGA Site]
Latest monthly figures show that there were 7 new detentions of foreign flagged ships in UK ports during October 2005, along with 3 other ships still under detention from previous months. The number of new detentions compared to last month has fallen by 1 while the overall rate of detentions compared with inspections carried out over the last 12 months is 5.15% which is a 0.14% decrease on September¡¦s 12 month rate.
During the month of October 140 Port State Control Inspections were carried out in the UK, which brings the total so far this year to 1083 inspections. For those ships inspected during October a total of 107 vessels had deficiencies raised against them. 68 had between 1 to 5 deficiencies, 25 had between 6 to 10 deficiencies, 11 had between 11 to 20 deficiencies and 3 had more than 20 deficiencies.
Over half of the vessels detained in October were registered with flag States listed on the Paris MOU white list, while the remainder were registered with flag States listed on the Paris MOU black list.
Two bulk carriers, two general cargo ships, one oil tanker, and one Ro-Ro Cargo vessel ship were detained in the UK during October.
Vessels detained in October included the following:
Two Thai flagged Bulk carriers operated by the same company were detained within 7 days of each other at Silvertown. One of the vessels was found to have severe corrosion in the lifeboat davit arms, and a Major Non Conformity was raised under the ISM Code as the standards of maintenance for the ship and its equipment were not in accordance with the onboard Safety Management System. The second vessel was found with its food provisions out of date and signs of cockroach infestation in the galley and pantry areas. Both vessels were over 20 years old.
A 39131 GT Singapore flagged oil tanker was detained at the River Tees when it was inspected as part of the Paris MOU Concentrated Inspection Campaign of GMDSS equipment. The purpose of the Campaign, which is taking place between 1 September and 30 November 2005, is to ensure that the ship's radio station complies with Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS), and also includes verification that radio operators are able to demonstrate that the station is in a satisfactory working condition and used for its intended purpose. In this instance the automatic charging unit for the GMDSS battery had not been fitted, and this fact had never been spotted by the crew even though the vessel was 9 years old, they had simply switched the unit to automatic and replaced the batteries every 6 months unaware that the charging unit itself was not present. There was also a software problem in the DSE controller which the service people had known about for 9 years but had done nothing about it. The Classification Society involved was deemed to be responsible for the detention as they had completed the annual Radio survey just over one month before in Brazil. The deficiencies were identified by a Selex Surveyor working on the MCA's behalf, however the MCA Surveyor involved said that these deficiencies were relatively easy to spot even for a non specialist. He said ¡¨this detention highlights the need for crew members to take responsibility for robustly checking their communication equipment themselves, and that they should not take it for granted that a successful Survey would guarantee that all was working correctly.
A second vessel, in this case a1900 GT Dominica Flagged General Cargo vessel, was detained as a result of the GMDSS campaign. Here the battery was found to be completely flat and the charger faulty, so if in the event of an emergency had the crew needed to use the reserve source of power to send a distress signal they would have been unable to do so. This fault would have been apparent if they had followed the procedures outlined in the SMS, i.e. regularly checking the equipment and recording these results in the Radio log. Their failure to do this highlighted a breakdown in the onboard Safety Management System. The Master of the vessel also took a large risk by attempting to pick up a pilot at Harwich without the necessary charts for the area being available on board. The fact that they knew the charts were unavailable and ordered them prior to setting sail, again highlighted a breakdown in the SMS procedures.
DART VALLEY RAILWAY PLC
Devon County Council has stepped in to support the Sunday and evening services operated by the company on the Kingswear to Dartmouth route.
South Hams District Council Deputy Leader John Tucker said of saving the ferry: "This is a one-off subsidy which is agreed on a use-it-or-lose-it basis." This position will be reviewed in six months time to see if usage has increased to a service-saving level."
If the company withdraws the service, foot passengers will have to use the South Hams District Council Car Ferry, which does not offer sheltered accommodation for foot passengers as cars are conveyed on open pontoons propelled by tugs.
SEA CONTAINERS LTD
The one time big player in Irish Sea ferry operations has now divested itself of its remaining holding in Orient Express Hotels, which was once a Sea Containers operating division.
Assuming that the underwriters exercise their over allotment option in full, Sea Containers will no longer own any shares of Orient-Express Hotels. Sea Containers plans to use the proceeds from the sale of the class A common shares to repay a portion of its outstanding indebtedness and for general corporate purposes.
Stena Line's statistics of Internet bookings show a significantly greater interest from private individuals who book via the Internet. The total number of Internet bookings in September 2003 was around 8 per cent of the total number of bookings. In July this year this figure had risen to 18 per cent, or more than double over the past two years.
"We have seen excellent progress and there are two reasons for this. The first is that over the past two years we have invested heavily in developing our Internet booking dialogue and have made more products available via the Internet. The second is that more people are seeing the benefits of booking via the Internet. This is partly due to reasons of access and simplicity," says Lars Olsson, in charge of Stena Line?s Internet development.
Internet maturity, or the willingness to book and pay for travel via the Internet is different in the countries where Stena Line operates. It has been common practice for quite some time in the UK, Ireland and Holland to use the Internet for booking travel. It is only in the last six months that the number of Internet bookings has seen a dramatic rise in Scandinavia.
"Certain countries are way ahead of others in terms of the percentage of internet bookings. One example is Norway, where it's 25 per cent and Holland, where it's around 23 per cent. Other markets, except Poland, are at around 15-20 per cent. This trend hasn't really taken hold in Poland yet.
The Internet is an important channel for us where sales and marketing are concerned, and the aim is for the number of Internet bookings to increase constantly," Lars Olsson.
Stena Line continually carries out in-depth customer surveys about user-friendliness of the different markets' websites.
"It's important for us that our development is governed by customer requirements and the surveys are very important to us. Stena Line aims to constantly increase the number of internet bookings and to provide good service and attractive products," concludes Lars.
HOLYHEAD - DUBLIN INVESTMENT
On November 18, 2005 Stena Line marked the tenth anniversary of its Dublin- Holyhead route with the announcement that it plans to invest €1.25 Million in upgrading services onboard the STENA ADVENTURER and facilities at the Dublin Ferry terminal in the next year.
As it reaches this milestone, the company which has carried over 3 million customers between the two ports during the last decade is highlighting the importance of the Dublin- Holyhead route. Stena Line is pointing to the investment and dedication to a high standard of service combined with good value for its customers, as having led to the Central Corridor's strong trading performance, in what is currently a difficult market place.
Vic Goodwin, Stena Line's Route Director for the Central Corridor said: "Today is an important day for the Irish Sea generally and the Dublin - Holyhead route specifically. The Central Corridor is a pivotal element in the market and is the gateway from Ireland to Europe. I am delighted that after ten years, this route is going from strength to strength. Throughout the last decade we have enjoyed an excellent relationship with Dublin Port and our stevedoring Company, Ro Ro Services Ltd, which has no doubt assisted us in providing the best possible service to our customers. Stena Line has successfully managed to move into profit in recent years on the Irish Sea and this has been aided by the investment and advances we have made on this route.
"The introduction of the STENA ADVENTURER, a brand new Superferry at a cost of €100 Million, in July 2003 gave an indication of our commitment to the Dublin - Holyhead service which coincided with the investment in a new twin tier berth at the Port of Holyhead at a cost of over €15 Million specifically built for this new ship."
Announcing further investment plans for the Dublin - Holyhead Service in 2006 he added: "I am delighted to announce today, on our 10th Anniversary, the company's plans to invest a further €750,000 in order to upgrade the facilities for our Tourist Guests by building a new Stena Plus Executive Lounge onboard the Stena Adventurer."
Similar to the Stena Plus onboard the HSS Stena Explorer, which operates on the Dun Laoghaire -Holyhead route, for a small charge of €15, guests will be able to enjoy complimentary drinks and relax in comfortable surroundings, including reclining chairs and can choose a meal or snack from an exclusive Stena Plus Menu. Dedicated staff will be on hand to assist in providing a first class service to guests. There will also be an area dedicated to the Business Traveller who may want to "Log-In" and catch up with all those emails.
"Other exciting plans for the route include a major face-lift for the shore facilities at the Dublin Ferry Terminal supported by Dublin Port Company, which will provide a dedicated lounge for Tourist Guests in addition to the current facilities for Freight Drivers," Vic Goodwin concluded.
Enda Connellan, Chief Executive of Dublin Port Company who joined in the celebrations added: "We are delighted with the progress this service has made over the last ten years. Together with all my colleagues, I wish the service continued success. We will be working with Stena Line next year to improve the shore facilities in Dublin Port, which again demonstrates our commitment to ensuring both Freight & Tourist customers using Dublin Port receive the best service possible."
Fredrik Lantz, Stena Line's Area Director (Irish Sea) concluded: "This is a significant landmark in the history of the route. Whilst the last ten years have seen major changes for Stena Line, the next ten years should be equally exciting. We are confident in looking forward, in spite of the challenges that we face within the industry, that the Dublin - Holyhead route and indeed all our Irish Sea routes will go from strength to strength."
Over the past ten years Stena Line has accommodated over 600,000 Cars, 16,000 Coaches, 1 Million Freight Units and travelled over 1.2 Million Nautical Miles on the Dublin - Holyhead route - that is equivalent to more than 50 trips around the world!
|November 16||Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Ian Collard, Tommy Dover and "others"|
ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY
The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company is believed to amongst the companies which have expressed and interest in tendering for the Firth of Clyde services operated by Caledonian MacBrayne which are being put out to tender.
The closing date for expressions of interest was November 14 with the process attracting 17 bids covering the Clyde and Hebridean services.
For travel on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays between December 06 and 15 the company is offering the bargain priced single fare of just £29 for a car + driver which gives a return fare of just £58. These fares apply for online bookings only.
STEAM PACKET 175 THE ALBUM
"Steam Packet 175 The Album" compiled by Stan Basnett has been published this week. This book contains a superb selection of photographs featuring the world's oldest continuously operating shipping company.
The album features not only the ships but also the people, ports, ephemera and events related to this historic company.
The photographs are grouped into seven chapters - "Setting The Scene"; "The Driving Force"; "The Winter Lay-Up"; "Called up for Service"; "Carrying the Goods"; "Away from Home" and "Memorabilia".
The selection of photographs is right up to date with the most recent featuring the PANAGIA SOUMELA ex LADY OF MANN awaiting departure from Liverpool in October 2005.
This is not a book filled with standard 3/4 ships views but one which gets down to the interesting details, not always photographed in dry docks, the engine rooms, the engineering workshops etc.
"Steam Packet 175 The Album" is highly recommended - copies can be obtained from Ferry Publications .
NORSE MERCHANT FERRIES
DUBLIN VIKING departed from dry dock at Birkenhead on the morning tide of November 15.
NORMANDY - it appears that the NORMANDY will operate Pembroke - Rosslare during the Annual Overhaul period of the ULYSSES and ISLE OF INISHMORE (January 03, to February 01, 2006). Crossing times have been adjusted accordingly to take into account the vessel's slower speed.
LABOUR COURT RULES AGAINST IRISH FERRIES
On November 14, 2005 The Labour Court ruled that Irish Ferries, which is trying to replace almost 550 Irish staff with cheaper agency workers from overseas, should honour its current agreements with unions.
Last year SIPTU and the Seamen's Union of Ireland concluded an agreement with the company permitting outsourcing of staff on the French route. In exchange, the company was to maintain normal staffing on its Irish sea routes until 2007.
In a Labour Court ruling, Chairman Kevin Duffy said that the company had not made a sufficiently compelling case to justify its unilateral termination of that employment agreement.
He said the proposals put forward by the company went significantly further than merely seeking to review the agreement.
Mr Duffy also said that the Labour Court was not satisfied that all possibilities of renegotiating aspects of the agreement had been exhausted.
He ruled that the company should continue to honour last year's agreement on staffing and that the parties should resume negotiations on such modifications as may be necessary in order to address any changes in circumstances.
He also ruled that the terms of a Registered Employment Agreement for ships officers was clear and binding on both sides.
This means that both the company and unions will be obliged to give two weeks' notice in writing of any proposed change or industrial action.
IRISH FERRIES VIEWS LABOUR COURT RECOMMENDATIONS AS BEING INCAPABLE OF IMPLEMENTATION
Irish Ferries confirmed that it had received the Recommendations of the Irish Labour Court in relation to the cost reduction programme proposed by the company in respect of its Irish Sea vessels.
The background against which Irish Ferries has come forward with its proposed cost reduction programme is one whereby the company is facing unprecedented adverse trading conditions.
At current rates, fuel costs will almost double from Euro 13 million in 2004 to over Euro 24 million in 2006. The car tourism market is in decline. Irish Ferries Irish Sea car carryings were down 12% in October versus October 2004 while foot and coach passengers were down 21%. Freight, which represents one third of Irish Ferries revenue, was up 5% in the same period but this is materially outweighed by the decline in tourism.
Irish Ferries labour costs are substantially higher than those of its competitors who use outsourced agency crew. Unless the company takes action to reduce its labour costs via the substantial voluntary severance and outsourcing programme proposed, the outlook for Irish Ferries in 2006 and beyond is for a material reduction in earnings. Indeed, given the fiduciary responsibilities which must be discharged by the Board of the Company under law, it is impossible to see how management can accept any course other than the cost reduction programme proposed by the company.
This cost reduction programme is one which envisages the outsourcing of crewing on the company's three Irish Sea vessels at international terms and conditions, and the offer of a voluntary severance package to existing crew members which 90% have elected to accept.
There are two separate Labour Court recommendations, one in respect of each of the unions involved, SIPTU (representing approximately 220 members) and The Seamen's Union of Ireland (SUI, representing approximately 323 members).
Irish Ferries considers these Recommendations as being incapable of acceptance and implementation in the circumstances given that an overwhelming majority of the staff involved (90%) have applied for the severance package and, by so doing, have expressed their wish to sever their employment with the company.
Against this background, the Company cannot continue to incur the substantial cost of accommodating the high proportion of crew members who are seeking to avail of the voluntary severance package on offer without first having clear knowledge of what an acceptable cost of replacement staff would be.
Against the deteriorating environment in which the company is now operating, conditions that make Irish Ferries a special case, it is regrettable that the Recommendations did not take these matters into account or provide any guidelines helpful to the company in respect thereof. Mindful of the fiduciary responsibilities binding upon them, it now falls back on the management of the company to consider what their future course of action should be.
RMT CALLS FOR ACTION TO END SOCIAL DUMPING
On November 15 the RMT Union renewed its call for Europe-wide government action to plug legal loopholes that allow shipowners to sack union-organised seafarers and replace them with super-exploited overseas labour.
The call follows news that Irish Ferries intends to ignore an Irish Labour Court ruling that its plan to sack 545 unionised workers and replace them with cheaper east European crews should be dropped.
Members of RMT earlier this month joined a demonstration of more than 10,000 people who marched through Dublin to demand an end to the practice, known as 'social dumping', in which replacement crews are expected to work unacceptably long hours on scandalously low pay
"Our colleagues in Siptu won their case fair and square in Ireland's Labour Court, but the fact that Irish Ferries can simply ignore the ruling underlines the need for Europe-wide action," RMT general secretary Bob Crow said today.
"We need joint government approach to ensure that all shipowners observe decent minimum standards of pay and conditions and are bound by UN conventions on human rights.
"In Britain that also means ending the exemption of shipowners from the Race Relations Act that allows them to continue discriminating with impunity," Bob Crow said.
"UK shipowners rake in millions in tonnage-tax relief and most avoid paying national insurance by off-shoring their crews, RMT national secretary Steve Todd said.
"But in return they are simply sacking crews and paying replacements at rates often below the minimum wage, and it has to be stopped.
"RMT will continue to work alongside Siptu and our union colleagues across Europe to send out the message that we will not rest until the scourge of social dumping is removed from the ferry industry," said Steve Todd.WICKLOW & EAST COAST NOTES from Tommy Dover
Monday 31st October - Sunday 14th November 2005
Coaster visitor's were MEKHANIK FOMIN, LEDA, UNION SATURN, UNION PEARL, CROWNBREEZE, LINDA, SCOT RANGER, SCOT CARRIER and AJOS G.
Visitors to the port were the sail training vessel ASGARD II, the mussel trawler WINGS OF THE MORNING and the Dutch cruiser MISHA.
A P22 type Naval vessel anchored in the bay midweek, Everard tanker ALLURITY sheltered in the bay, as well as the CIL tender GRANUAILE .
Sillanpaa's JOPI was working north of Kiloughter, she loads over 500 tonnes of rock armour at Arklow Rock and drop's it on the beach ,
Traffic in the bay included MUNGO, MIRA J, RHEIN CARRIER, RED DUCHESS, GAS PIONEER, GRANUAILE and a RNLI Severn class lifeboat on passage south .
Wicklow lifeboat launched on a crew exercise on Friday evening.
CELTIC LINK FERRIES
DIPLOMAT - due to technical problems the schedule operated between November 16, 2005 and November 21, 2005 will be changed, with the Tuesday night sailing from Rosslare cancelled.
|November 12||Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Aubrey Dale, Ian Collard, "GG", Alex McCormac and "others"|
Please note an additional news update was posted on November 07 which appears below.
ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY
SUPERSEACAT TWO - yet again adverse weather conditions led to the cancellation of sailings on Friday November 11. Passengers on the 08:00 sailing were diverted to the 08:45 BEN-MY-CHREE sailing to Heysham and and those passengers travelling on the 12:00 sailing from Liverpool were sent to Heysham for the 14:15 sailing. The list of cancelled, and delayed sailings continues to grow. This week an email was received from a passenger who travelled on last Saturday's sailing.
It remains unclear if SEA EXPRESS 1 / SEACAT ISLE OF MAN will re-enter service on the Liverpool - Douglas route as originally suggested earlier this week to operate instead of SUPERSEACAT TWO.
PANAGIA SOUMELA (LADY OF MANN) is reported to have arrived at Piraeus.
AP MOLLER - MAERSK GROUP
NORSE MERCHANT - NORFOLKLINE
DAWN MERCHANT entered the Liverpool Dock system after arrival at Birkenhead on Thursday morning and proceeded to the former NMF Belfast berth at Brocklebank Dock. There she was renamed EUROPAX APPIA. On Saturday she departed from Liverpool bound for Greece for refit and service on the Mediterranean from Italy.
AYTON CROSS is to move Tees to Mersey in exchange for SVITZER BOOTLE Mersey to Tees, move is expected during the week beginning November 14.
STENA has confirmed that it will withdraw from the port of Stranraer in 2007. This move will mark an end to 150 of Irish Sea ferry services from the port.
Stena is moving across to Cairnryan home to P&O services. Cairnryan lies six miles closer to the mouth of Loch Ryan. This, combined with a relocation of the Belfast Terminal, will reduce sailing times between Scotland and Belfast by 30 minutes. The shortening of crossing times will permit an increase in the number of sailings each day.
The company had aimed to have the terminals completed by mid-2005 but this was delayed. The company said it now planned to have the new passenger facility at Belfast, known as VT4, and the new port share operation in place in two years time, subject to planning approval.
Fredrik Lantz, director of Stena Line, said: "Over the last 10 years we have invested a total of £120m in the route and plans are well advanced to increase that investment by a further £60m with our proposed re-location to Cairnryan in the next few years."The Irish Sea is a key layer in Stena Line's European operations and the Belfast-Stranraer route has made a significant contribution to the continued success of the Irish Sea's performance."
Alan Gordon, route director of Stena Line, said the Belfast to Stranraer route was a "major gateway for both tourism and freight business between Northern Ireland and Scotland and as such requires a significant amount of support and ongoing development".
Before the announcement was made, Stranraer councillor Tommy Sloan said he had mixed feelings about the move. "I think it will be a sad day for the people of Stranraer when it actually happens and we watch the last ferry sail out of the harbour," he said.
"We are also trying to see this as an opportunity for Stranraer so we can develop the waterfront and make it more attractive for visitors - it's happiness and sadness at the same time."
Stranraer businessman John Ross said he saw it as a big chance for the town.
"The opportunities are very significant because we are going to have what is basically an industrial site of 26 acres that will be opened up for development," he said.
He said channels in Loch Ryan previously used by the ferries could now be opened for leisure sailings.
In Cairnryan, some residents object to the inevitable increase in traffic, particularly from lorries.
James Coulter of the Cairnryan Community Committee said: "We are going to have to put up with it night and day." Stena Line currently operates two vessels on the Belfast to Stranraer route, the Stena HSS fast ferry service and the conventional Stena Caledonia offering up to 14 sailings per day.
TAMAR BRIDGE & TORPOINT FERRY JOINT COMMITTEE
The severe weather conditions combined with spring tides which caused one of the car ferries to collide with a shore based lamp post on November 03 has resulted in a tug being used in certain weather conditions to help guide the ferries as they come on to the slipways which have been undergoing refurbishment work.
The Goole-built OCEAN BOOMER ex NORTHERN HORIZON ex MARBELLA which was refitted at A&P Birkenhead last year for deep-sea salvage work has been renamed JOHN LETHBRIDGE (Panama) whilst at Falmouth.
IRISH SEA EXPRESS
SEA EXPRESS 1 it was reported in the Liverpool Daily Post this week that the plan to repay creditors by selling the vessel, formerly SEACAT ISLE OF MAN, has failed.
David Moore of recovery specialists Begbies Traynor had hoped to exercise an option to buy the catamaran used on the route from its owner, the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, for more than £2.6m. However, in the time available Mr Moore could not generate enough interest in the vessel at a price which would be sufficient to repay the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company and produce equity for creditors.
He said: "It is unfortunate that I had insufficient time available to me to arrange an orderly sale of the vessel. Although I asked for an extension to the purchase option, this was refused. "Based upon the information now available, it appears unlikely that ordinary creditors will receive any repayment.
WHITE STAR LINE
NOMADIC - the last surviving White Star ship failed to sell at auction on Thursday November 10.
Bidding had been due to start at €500,000. Another auction has been confirmed for 14:30 on January 26, 2005 at the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris (Palais de Justice - 4, boulevard du Palais - 75001 Paris.
The starting price being reduced to €250,000.
|November 07||Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Alex McCormac and "others"|
ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY
SEA EXPRESS 1 - it is as yet unconfirmed, but there is a suggestion that Steam Packet engineers have been dispatched to reactivate the former SEACAT ISLE OF MAN currently laid up at North Western Shiprepairers at Bidston.
The Douglas to Dublin Christmas seasonal sailings have reappeared on the Steam Packet web site timetable. They had disappeared a while back and it was thought that they may disappear in the same way as the October sailings vanished.
Douglas to Dublin - December 21st and 28th at 0800
Dublin to Douglas - December 21st and 28th at 1200
It is a shame that full day excursions to Dublin are not being offered as they were last year when the LADY OF MANN operated the Christmas service to the Irish capital.
NORSE MERCHANT FERRIES
On November 07, 2005 Norfolkline and Wayzata Investment Partners announced that the acquisition of Norse Merchant Group Limited ("NMG") and its subsidiaries has been completed. With the clearance obtained from Irish and British Competition Authorities, all conditions to the transaction are fulfilled.
Combining the expertise and market coverage of the two companies in the freight and passenger ferry industry will broaden and strengthen the service offering and create opportunities for customers as well as employees.
Announcing the news, CEO of Norfolkline Group, Thomas Woldbye stated that: "We are very happy to have now completed this transaction and look forward to welcoming the Norse Merchant Group employees to Norfolkline and the A.P. Moller - Maersk Group. The acquisition of Norse Merchant Group firmly establishes Norfolkline's commitment to the UK and Irish markets. It will provide multiple opportunities for our customers, including land bridging to and from the Continent via Norfolkline's newly enhanced Cross Channel services."
All activities of NorseMerchant Ferries will be integrated in the Norfolkline Ferry Division. Derek Sloan, NMG CEO, has decided to seek other opportunities and will resign, whilst NMG Managing Director, Phillip Shepherd will join the Norfolkline Management team as the Director of Irish Sea Ferry Services.
The integration is expected to be completed no later than April 2006 and until then NMG and Norfolkline Ferries will continue to operate under separate brand names. The two companies will eventually trade under the Norfolkline brand name.
The headquarters of the Norfolkline Group will remain in Scheveningen. The offices of Norse Merchant will remain as they are at present, there being no intention to reduce the number of offices currently involved in the Norse Merchant operations.
Wayzata, a fund manager based in Minnesota, USA, is the majority shareholder of NMG and led the disposition process on behalf of the shareholders. Wayzata is pleased with the successful outcome of its investment in Norse Merchant Group.
The parties have agreed not to disclose transaction details including price.
It is understood that Norse Merchant ships will receive Norfolk Line Livery.
Alex Mc. Cormac had been working on a photograph of LAGAN VIKING this weekend to give an idea of what the Norfolk Line livery would look like when applied to one of the new "Super Vikings"
DIAMANT - which briefly served on the Irish Sea between Liverpool Douglas and Dublin providing cover for SUPERSEACAT THREE in early 2003 had the honour of operating Sea Co's last scheduled passenger voyage in British waters on the evening of Monday November 07, 2005 operating the 20:15 Hoverspeed sailing from Calais to Dover.
FINNJET the gas turbine ro/pax has been advertised for sale for U$18,000,000.
|November 05||Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Michael Pryce, Alex Mc.Cormac, Dave Crolley, Thierry Dufournaud, Edwin Wilmshurst and "others"|
ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY
This week the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company advertised a time charter requirement for a ro/pax or car ferry with a passenger certificate of 200 or more. The ship should have a minimum speed of 16knots and is required for the month of January. Freight capacity should be for a minimum of 30 x 13m trailers with a 4.7m deck height. The vessel should be equipped with a straight stern door ramp. The charter is to provide refit cover for the BEN-MY-CHREE.
SUPERSEACAT TWO has once again had its schedules put into disarray due to adverse weather conditions. . Since September 26 - 14 sailings have been cancelled, 13 have suffered from weather related delays and two Saturday evening sailings have been rescheduled to mid-day thus forcing day trip passengers from Douglas to Liverpool to return home on the 02:15 Sunday morning BEN-MY-CHREE sailing from Heysham.
On Friday November 04 SUPERSEACAT TWO departed Douglas at 07:50 and arrived Liverpool at 10:50. However, it was not possible to discharge until around 12:20 due to the motion of the linkspan pontoon despite the assistance of Svitzer tug - SVITZER BIDSTON which was used to retrain the motion of the linkspan. The 12:00 sailing to Douglas finally departed around 13:50.
On Saturday the 19:00 departure was again rescheduled to 13:00 forcing day trippers to Liverpool travel back to Douglas via the 02:15 BEN-MY-CHREE sailing from Douglas.
WHITE STAR LINE
SS NOMADIC (former tender to RMS TITANIC) has been moored in Le Havre docks, Quai de Seine, since April 2003. She is still afloat thanks to the French Ministry of Culture and Communication.
The ship will be sold by auction with a reserve price of €500.000 Euros, on Thursday, November 10th 2005 at 14:30 pm, at the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris (Palais de Justice - 4, boulevard du Palais - 75001 Paris).
There are reported to be a number of interested parties including an American collector, a company from Monaco, several private individuals and Belfast City Council for the Titanic Quarter development.
SS NOMADIC was built in 1911 by Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast tendered the first and second class passengers to the RMS TITANIC, during her Cherbourg call, in April 10th 1912. She served for American soldiers landing during the two world wars and the evacuation of Cherbourg and Le Havre populations.
Following the Cunard-White Star merger SS NOMADIC was renamed INGENIEUR MINARD and served the great liners calling at Cherbourg.
|NEW TITANIC MOVIE DVD |
Released on November 07 a special 4 disk Collectors Edition of the 1997 blockbuster movie TITANIC. The new release features:
- Newly Remastered with 6.1 sound
- New 16x9 Anamorphic HD transfer
- 29 Never-Before-Seen Deleted Scenes
- 9 Minute Never-Before-Seen New Alternate Ending
- 61 Branched “Behind-the-Scenes” Footage
- 7 Production Featurettes
- 3 Commentaries
- 3 Titanic Parodies
- Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” Music Video
Copies can be ordered via ISS Amazon Shop for just £17.99 a saving of £7.00 on the list price of £24.99. Click on link left.
WYRE WASTE MANAGEMENT - KNOTT END FERRY
It appears that the as yet to be named new Knott End - Fleetwood ferry may now enter service on November 08. The vessel and crews now have the required certification, however, the operator is now awaiting the green light from County Hall which is expected to arrange a reopening ceremony for the service which waarly closed down last following problems over funding a new vessel and terminal improvement works.
TAMAR BRIDGE & TORPOINT FERRY JOINT COMMITTEE
The Torpoint ferry service was cancelled for much of the morning on November 03 due to high tides, strong winds and one ferry hitting a lamppost!
Commuters were redirected to the Tamar Bridge to get into the city. A spokesperson for the Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferries Joint Committee said one ferry was taken off the service after it rode up on the tide and hit a lamppost on the Torpoint side of the Tamar.
The incident happened in the early hours of the morning and the spokesperson said to keep the ferry running would be a health and safety risk.
He added that the weather would probably have meant its cancellation anyway.
The other ferry was not running because of an 'extremely high spring tide' and strong winds.
The spokesperson said: "The size of the new ferries makes it awkward to run them in bad weather.
"We can't be sure if this will be a problem every time there is poor weather and high tides. It might be that the lampposts have to be moved. They are very close to the river bank.
Sea Containers, the one time major player on the Irish Sea this week signalled its intention to withdraw from passenger shipping operations. On November 03 the company announced that it was restructuring operations.
Offers were being invited to buy the Baltic Silja Line and New York Harbour Seastreak Operations. Non-core Silja Line ships were to be sold.
After much recent speculation the company has announced the closure of its Hoverspeed operation on the English channel. Hoverspeed said that last scheduled sailings of would be the 17:30 hours crossing from Dover returning from Calais at 20:15 on Monday 7 November 2005.
The two SR-N4 hovercraft PRINCESS MARGARET and PRINCESS ANNE have been reported sold. Though the new owners have not been officially identified online gossip suggests the craft may have been sold possibly as a source of engine parts for the gas-turbine powered heritage vessel BRAVE CHALLENGER. BRAVE CHALLENGER was built as a private yacht for Stavros Niarchos based on the Vosper Thonycroft Brave Class MTB's. It requires Proteus engines as fitted to the hovercraft and can operate at speeds up to 60 knots.
A FERRY WEIGHTY PROBLEM
Britain's expanding waistlines have forced a safety review on Cornwall's ferries.
The boats' stability has in the past been calculated using an average passenger weight of 64kg. (10st 1lb) But that figure dates back to the 1950s - and marine safety officials have been alarmed to discover that since then, the average Briton has put on one and a half stone.
So now, all ferries in Cornwall have got to carry out stability tests with a full complement of passengers, based on the new average weight - 75kg (11st 8lb).
One company keen to get people to help test its ferries is offering free pasties and beer to volunteers.
The new stipulation comes in the wake of a report into an accident on the Norfolk Broads when one person drowned after a cabin cruiser capsized. The investigation by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch found that the ten people on board weighed an average of more than 75kg.
One ferry company that will have to carry out the tests is Enterprise Boats, which runs four 127 capacity boats between Falmouth and Truro.
Its spokesman Austin Johns said: "I haven't noticed passengers getting fatter. If they can fit through the ferry doors they can get on.
"But if the MCA says people are getting fatter we have to abide by that.
"It is a bit silly, isn't it, because all they are doing is going down the river, they are not going out to sea."
The new rule is in line with a growing trend towards obesity in the population. The average woman in Britain now weighs 63.5 kg (10st) compared to 54 kg (8st 5lb) back in the 1950s.
With post-war rationing now a dim memory for most, 23 per cent of women and 21 per cent of men in the UK are now obese, according to Government statistics.
Maritime and Coastguard Agency spokesman Fred Caygill said: "In the light of the general increase in the average weight of the population it is deemed important to review the small passenger boat fleet and set the standard passenger weight of 75kg throughout."
The tests, which must be carried out, in time for the new season next spring, involve unevenly distributing the weight around the boat, to ensure it does not tip over.
Falmouth ferry companies are opting to use human guinea pigs to make sure their boats are safe for larger people.
The Cornwall Ferry Company, Enterprise Boats, K & S Cruises and Falmouth Pleasure Cruises, need 120 volunteers to help them test their boats on November 15.
As people board the boat each will be weighed and marked with a sticker.
Out on the water two-thirds of the passengers will then be asked to walk to one end of the boat to test its "heeling moment". The exercise will then be repeated on each of the ferries one-by-one. Garrick Royle, operations manager, stressed that no-one will be in any danger.
Lunch will be supplied to get passengers through the day and afterwards a disco boat will cruise across Falmouth Bay with a free bar for the first two hours.
Mr Royle, whose company runs passenger services from St Mawes to Falmouth, said: "I have done it in the past using water weights but that is time-consuming because we have got to move them around. If we have passengers they move around themselves.
"Each boat has a number of people it can take. Our boats take 100 people so we have got to get 750kg on board."
Out on the water two-thirds of the passengers will be asked to walk to one end of the boat to test its "heeling moment". The exercise will then be repeated on each of the ferries one-by-one. "All you have to do is sit on a ferry, move a bit and then get on the next one," said Mr Royle.
He said the MCA's decision to increase the weight of the average passenger to 75kg (11.8st) was "mainly because people are getting larger, but it is also to increase safety, and if people have bags and shopping it does add weight to the boat".
In East Devon, Mark Rackley, who runs the passenger ferry across the Exe estuary, from Starcross to Exmouth, said he would be carrying out the tests using containers filled with water. "People are bigger than they used to be," he said.
Over 5,000 workers took part in a march from Liberty Hall to Dáil Éireann in protest against controversial redundancy plans by Irish Ferries.
The company wants to make over 500 of its workers redundant and replace them with cheaper agency workers.
SIPTU General President Jack O'Connor told marchers on the Irish Ferries rally at Leinster House this afternoon '"not to hang up your walking boots yet, because we'll be doing a lot of walking this winter to stop greedy employers from destroying decent, unionised jobs".
He said that every worker "whether he comes from Wexford or from Warsaw has a right to be treated with courtesy, decency and respect". He rejected employers' claims that the replacement of unionised staff in Irish Ferries by migrant workers on a third of the current rates was an isolated incident. Workers in areas as varied as construction, cleaning and the security industry knew that "the process of displacement is well underway".
He welcomed support from the Labour Party, whose leader Pat Rabbitte was among almost 20 TDs who attended the rally. He also welcomed support from Sinn Fein, the Green Party and the Socialist Party. He said some TDs in other parties were in "self-denial" about the seriousness of the crisis, while others were supportive of "a strategy of competitiveness through cheapness.
"The management of Irish Ferries has actually done us a favour by their actions and given us a glimpse of the nightmare that those pursuing a neo-liberal agenda are plotting." Worse will follow if the EU Services Directive is adopted in its current form.
The International Transport Federation co-ordinator for France, Francois Caillou, told the crowd that "the Irish Ferries dispute is not only an Irish problem, it is a European problem". It was no more acceptable in France or the UK that Irish Ferries be allowed to reduce staffing levels, cut pay and increase working hours than it was in Ireland. "There is no place on our seas for flags of convenience. There should be only Irish, French and UK flags, with staff working under Irish, French or UK registered agreements."
Seaman's Union of Ireland General Secretary Bobby Carrick said seafarers had been fighting displacement of crews by Irish Ferries for over a year and would continue to do so. So far they have received nothing from Government ministers except empty expressions of concern.
ICTU General Secretary David Begg said the Irish Government had contributed to the problem by opposing an EU Ferries Directive in 2001. The business community was "succumbing to greed". Contrary to what some commentators were claiming, public sector unions stood fully behind their private sector colleagues in the Irish Ferries dispute.
Irish Ferries Response
Irish Ferries issued the following response to the march:
"We have no choice – changes must be made"
Irish Ferries understands the concerns being expressed by Unions at today’s march to Dáil Éireann, in particular as they relate to the economy as a whole and to developments taking place at EU level. However the Irish Ferries case is one that is unique in the Irish context and should be viewed as such.
Irish Ferries is a company struggling to compete with a domestic cost base which is wholly out of line with its international competitors in the shipping sector. Rather than accepting that this cost base is impossible to sustain, the Unions have spent years using every possible means to block, stall and prevent necessary change.
Time has now run out for Irish Ferries. Change is needed now to bring the company’s cost base into line with its sea competitors, allow it to compete with low-cost airlines and ensure a future for the company.
The following are the facts relating to Irish Ferries’ market, the environment in which the company is competing and the efforts which it has made with the Unions in its attempts to become competitive :
The market for Car Ferries is in decline
The number of people using ferries is down by over 10% in the last 2 years. Increased competition from low-cost airlines is the main reason for this decline.
Many ferry routes have closed in the last year including :
° Irish Sea Express ( Dublin - Liverpool ) closed last month with the loss of 150 jobs.
° P&O Ferries closed 5 routes with 1,200 redundancies. Routes closed included Dublin - Mostyn, Dublin - Cherbourg and Rosslare - Cherbourg.
° Seacat closed Dublin - Liverpool and Belfast - Troon.
95% of competitors already do what Irish Ferries is proposing
95 % of all ships using Republic of Ireland ports are manned by outsourced crews.
In February 2005, the Labour Court stated “the type of arrangements proposed by the company are now commonplace within the shipping industry internationally”.
For years, Irish Ferries has been trying to negotiate change
Irish Ferries’ crewing costs have been out of line with all of its competitors for many years. In July, a Government agency, the Irish Maritime Development Office, stated “Irish seafarers … are between 50-60% more expensive on a positional basis than other seafarers”.
Over the last 3 years, Irish Ferries has attended 40 meetings at the Labour Relations Commission, the Labour Court and the National Implementation Body in efforts to agree change.
Projections confirm that, without change, Irish Ferries will be loss making by the end of 2007. These projections have been independently audited.
Outsourcing is the only realistic option
Despite having all of this information presented to them, the Unions have refused to accept the seriousness of the situation.
Both SIPTU and the Seamen’s Union of Ireland have argued that the necessary savings being sought were unacceptable yet neither produced any workable solution.
Having failed to find any realistic alternative through negotiations with the Unions, Irish Ferries sees outsourcing as the only way to achieve the level of savings that the company requires.
Irish Ferries crew are being offered a very generous package
Recognising the scale of the change that would be required, and the long service of the staff involved, a generous voluntary redundancy package has been offered. For those who wish to stay, compensation for change will also be paid.
Over 90% of the crew concerned have already applied for this redundancy package. Significant numbers will leave with payments of over €100,000 and some up to €300,000.
Like their competitors, Irish Ferries proposes to contract with a reputable international agency to provide services for its ships’ operations. All services will be provided by EU citizens only.
Pay and conditions will be at, or above, published International Transport Federation (of which SIPTU is an affiliate union) rates.
Given that all will live on-board with accommodation, food, travel and other living expenses paid for, coupled with favourable income tax treatment, even the lowest paid will be financially better off than those working and living in Ireland for the minimum wage.
“Only by making these changes can we compete with low cost carriers, protect the jobs of our remaining 250 employees and ensure a future for the company.” Eamonn Rothwell, Chief Executive.
SIPTU RESPONSE TO IRISH FERRIES LETTER
Siptu responded to the above letter from Irish Ferries which appeared in a number of newspapers with a detailed critique:
Detailed critique of Irish Ferries Advertisement
Exploiting Vulnerable Migrant Workers: This is the Irish Ferries' choice. They do have alternatives
- 04 November 2005
The Irish Ferries advertisement in today’s national newspapers is misleading and, in some areas, simply wrong. A full investigation into all of the company’s claims was carried out by Greg Sparks of Farrell Grant Sparks and Martin King of Ampersand Consulting. Having considered detailed submissions from both sides they came to conclusions and made recommendations taking into account all of the relevant information and following a thorough examination of the company's market position.
Sparks and King did not support the claims now being made by Irish Ferries in this advertisement.
If Irish Ferries want to set the record straight we call on the company to release Sparks and King from the confidentiality restrictions imposed on them so that they can contribute to the public debate. The points listed in the advertisement are made up of half truths, are self serving and misleading. In some cases they are downright wrong.
Issue: The market for Car Ferries: Company's claim - misleading
While passenger numbers are down freight business is up substantially and this more than compensates for any reduction in passenger numbers. The company’s overall market share has been maintained and there is no evidence that it is losing business to any other operator on the Irish Sea. Irish Ferries is under no business pressure to take the action it now proposes. Some changes are needed and the unions are prepared to negotiate these.
Issue: Closure of Routes: Company's claim - misleading
Irish Sea Express was a start up company that was operating from Dublin to Liverpool. This was never a viable route and indeed was abandoned decades ago by B and I, a forerunner to Irish Ferries. It is in no way comparable to the Dublin-Holyhead route, which is a much shorter sea journey. P & O has not closed any routes in the Republic of Ireland. [WEB MASTER COMMENT: Of course P&O closed two routes - The Dublin to Mostyn Route and Rosslare to Cherbourg though that latter route has been reopened by Celtic Link Ferries.]
Issue: Competitors are already doing what we are doing: Company's Claim - Half truth
This claim is misleading. The two main companies in the ferry business on the Irish Sea are the Stena line and Irish Ferries. They account for the vast bulk of the ferry traffic. Stena line is not doing what Irish Ferries proposes to do and has said it has no intention of going down that route.
Irish Ferries is referring to cargo boats. These comprise a completely different market. It suits Irish Ferries to confuse the issue. The exact same claim was made by Irish Ferries to the consultants who examined the company’s accounts and they were not taken in by this sleight of hand. Again, we call on the company to release the consultants from their confidentiality restrictions to comment on this claim.
Labour Court: Company Claim - Misleading
The Labour Court has never approved of the rates of pay or conditions of employment that Irish Ferries is now applying on the MV Normandy or those proposed on the Irish Sea. Rates of pay were never adjudicated upon by the Labour Court. We challenge the company to put the rates of pay and conditions of employment on the Normandy to the Labour Court and have the matter tested.
Irish Maritime Development Office: Company Claim - Not the full story
Irish Ferries has failed to mention that the Irish Maritime Development Office has made recommendations to the Minister to address the disadvantages experienced by Irish shipping companies. The Minister has indicated he is prepared to act to implement such changes. Irish Ferries does not want to know.
Negotiating change: Company claim - Not True
The unions are not only willing to negotiate with Irish Ferries but have agreed change programmes with in the past. As recently as last July an agreement was reached which benchmarked the cost base of Irish Ferries against other operators on the Irish sea. This agreement has two years left to run. We challenge Irish Ferries to deny the existence of this agreement and to explain why it is now abrogating commitments given then. The fact is that the unions (SIPTU and the Seamen’s Union of Ireland) have concluded agreements based on recognition of the need for change and co-operated with the company on implementing those agreements. Irish Ferries is breaking those agreements.
Issue: Projections: Company's claim - Misleading
The projections to which the company refers are neither credible nor realistic. They were put to the consultants - agreed by the Company and the Unions - to examine the matter and were rejected. Again, we challenge the company to release Sparks and King, so that they can speak publicly on this matter. We doubt if the Company will agree, as it would expose the extent to which their statements are misleading and self-serving.
Issue: Outsourcing: Company claim - Half truth
After an exhaustive examination of the company Sparks and King made proposals which did not require the draconian measures now being proposed. The unions are prepared to work with the company on these proposals as the basis for a comprehensive settlement of all the issues at stake. The company will not do this. Instead, it has set an unjustifiable target for savings that has failed to pass the test of independent analysis. Management has engaged in no debate on the matter.
Termination Terms: Company's Claim - Half Truth
No guaranteed package has been put to staff. To this day nobody knows whether they will receive the indicative figures published by the company and management has refused to make irrevocable offers. There is also confusion about whether a genuine redundancy situation exists.
The company will give no assurances on this, or on the tax and social welfare implications that would arise. Many staff have said publicly that they felt pressurised into applying for the terms and that they would now, on reflection, make a different decision.
Outsourcing Arrangements: Company's Claim - Misleading
The company intends using vulnerable migrant workers paid between €3 and €4 euro an hour and compelled to remain on board the boats for months so that it can increase profits. Essentially it intends to build profitability on the backs of poorly paid, highly vulnerable workers.
Unions in Europe negotiate pay and conditions of employment directly with employers. The notion of an agreed European rate for ferry employees is a myth. The company is re-flagging its vessels outside the European Union to take it outside the European employment law framework.
Treatment of Workers: Company's Claim - Misleading
To suggest that workers wages are being augmented by allowing them to live and sleeping on board a boat is shameful. Workers cannot leave a boat on the high seas and must eat and take rest. To include this in the calculation of their total income is pathetic and shows how greedy this company has become.
To argue that savings on subsistence expenses, coupled with "favourable tax treatment", make migrant workers financially better off than those working on the minimum wage ashore is an admission by Irish Ferries that it wants the tax payer to subsidise its low paid regime. It does indeed provide a glimpse of where the ‘race to the bottom’ will lead if the European social model is replaced by the proposed new Services Directive.
SIPTU remains available to negotiate a change package that will address the needs of the company and maintain standards of employment. We invite management to engage.
STELLA RIGEL - IN DIFFICULTIES
On November 03 it was reported that the asphalt tanker STELLA RIGEL (2456 gt, built 1988), laden with 3,100 tonnes of asphalt, informed MRSC that it was in position lat 51 48.6N, long 05 52.7W, drifting, not under command with an engine problem and anticipated it would take between one to two hours to repair the problem. The ship had 11 crew on board. Weather on scene was westerly, force seven.
The defect appeared to be with the crankshaft and repairs were not possible. The vessel was drifting and it was anticipated that it could run aground on the Smalls. However, the vessel was able to lower its anchor and hold position.
Following requests from the master a number of crew were evacuated by air to St.Davids. The vessel was also attended by the St.David's Lifeboat. Svitzer tug ANGLEGARTH took the vessel in tow to Milford Haven.
TAMAMIMA The former Bank Line CREST BANK which has been laid up at Tolverne on the River Fal has been renamed BERGA following its recent sale for likely demolition.
PENINSULAR & ORIENTAL STEAM NAVIGATION COMPANY
It appears that a £3 billion-plus bid battle is set to break out for P&O after the Singapore government's investment arm yesterday hired advisers to explore a potential offer for the British ports and ferries group.
Temasek, which owns the world's second biggest ports group - the Port of Singapore Authority - is understood to have hired investment bank UBS to work on a possible bid.
It is the first rival to emerge for Dubai Ports World, the Gulf- state-owned ports operator, which made a preliminary takeover approach to P&O last weekend, sending its shares soaring to a five- year high.