The Irish Sea Shipping Archive

About ISSContactContentVoyage ReportsISS Amazon Shop
PhotographsFeaturesShip AISShips on FilmNews
Finished With Engines: Irish Sea Shipping is now closed to new updates - J.H. Luxton Photography - Transport, Industrial History, Regional Photographs UK & beyond


April 30Acknowledgements: Philip Parker, Tommy Dover and "others"


The presence of two ACL G-3 ships in Seaforth Dock last weekend was not the first occasion that this has occurred. Apparently the ATLANTIC CARTIER and ATLANTIC CONVEYOR had met at Seaforth in October 2002.


The historic former steam tug-tender arrived at NSL Birkenhead #4 dry dock on Thursday April 27. Further details and a large selection of photographs can be found at .



Coaster callers included SCOT VENTURE, HYDRA, INKERI, DERK and PONGO .

Wicklow lifeboat RNLB ANNIE BLAKER put to sea at lunchtime on Monday to assist a yacht with a rope fouled propeller, the yacht was taken into Wicklow where divers cleared the propeller .

Wicklow Rowing Club skiffs crews were out training for the 2006 East coast Regatta's, the club host's its Regatta on August Bank holiday Monday.


The Sillanpaa vessel JOPI is currently loading rock at the Arklow Rock jetty for projects on the East Coast. The 2006 Celtic Rowing Challenge from Arklow to Aberystwyth took place on Saturday, the race was expected to take between 16 - 20 hours to complete .An ex Ostend pilot vessel has arrived in Arklow . 

The CIL tender GRANUAILE was anchored off the port on Monday morning. 


KING HARRY VI the final operation of the current vessel will be on Monday May 01, 2006.

The service will then close down until the following Monday when the new KING HARRY VII will enter service between Feock and Philliegh on what has been described as one of the most beautiful ferry routes in the world.

Even if you can't make Cornwall for a final trip on the old vessel - you can watch her in operation on her final day on the company's excellent web-cam.


Seatruck Ferries has confirmed options for the third and fourth vessels in a four-ship series building in Spain. The latest orders for 2008 delivery. Last year, Seatruck ordered two 142 metre-long, 120-unit, 22-knot vessels from Astilleros de Huelva in Spain. These vessels - the  CLIPPER POINT and the CLIPPER PACE - will be delivered in 2007, replacing the RIVERDANCE and MOONDANCE, doubling capacity and significantly increasing speed and efficiency on the company's Warrenpoint to Heysham route.

The new vessels will be the largest and fastest freight-only ships on the Irish Sea, offering a new level of service and reliability. New ramp and terminal facilities at both Heysham and Warrenpoint will meanwhile help ensure speedy and efficient handling.

Confirming that the third and fourth vessels in the series will be delivered in 2008, Seatruck general manager Alistair Eagles says the company is "currently investigating a number of different deployment opportunities for these vessels in European markets."

Emphasising that Seatruck has great faith in its low-cost, freight-only model, Eagles explains, "With the support of our parent company, Clipper Group Ltd, we are committed to making a major investment in new tonnage which will move traffic faster and more reliably on this key route."


Liverpool Rail movements of steel through the Port of Liverpool have more than doubled to meet market demand in Ireland and the North West of England.

Both steel coil and plate are now regularly arriving at the Gladstone Steel Terminal from South Wales for onward shipment to Dublin and Belfast and regional distribution in Britain.

The number of EWS trains carrying the cargoes has risen to as many as five a week in 2006 from the one to two each week last year.

The Mersey Docks and Harbour Company steel terminal expects to handle 180,000 tonnes of the railed traffic in 2006, with onward shipment to Ireland undertaken by Mersey Docks' subsidiary, Coastal Container Line.

Said John Rogers, Mersey Docks' Business Development Manager: "We have been handling steel coil shipments arriving by rail from early in 2005. The increase in the number of trains in 2006 and the addition of steel plate volumes is a response to market demand and a reflection of the quality service the Port of Liverpool is able to provide."

Both the coil and plate are discharged from the trains within the Gladstone Steel Terminal's 95,000 sq ft warehouse, using 30 tonne capacity roof gantry cranes, which also load onto special flats for the short movement to quayside and waiting ship.

Coastal Container Line is the major lift-on lift-off operator on the Irish Sea, sailing to Dublin daily and Belfast three times a week from its own terminal at nearby Seaforth Dock.

Said Coastal's Chief Executive John Forrester: "The greater volumes arriving at the Gladstone Steel Terminal by train for onward shipment to Ireland consolidate Coastal's long term relationship with a major supplier. We are delighted to have the opportunity to write a new chapter in a quality service we have been providing for a good number of years."

April 27 


The annual Mersey Dock and River Cruise will take place on Saturday June 17, 2006. It is expected that the cruise will be operated by ROYAL DAFFODIL. Departs Seacombe 12:05, Woodside 12:20 and Liverpool 12:35. Fares: Adults £11.00 Children £6.00.

Tickets from Seacombe Ferry Terminal or by post from The Membership Secretary, 7 Foxcovers road, Bebbington, Wirral, Merseyside CH63 3EQ.


Plans to renovate Holyhead's 19th Century breakwater could include building up to five wind turbines to help pay for the work . Stena Line state that they need to spend up to £10m to maintain the structure which uses over 50,000 tonnes of rubble each year.

However, there are opponents to the scheme who claim that the turbines are too close to the town and could be source of noise pollution.

A feasibility study has been commissioned by Stena. "The breakwater is not in immediate jeopardy, but unless we do something in the next few years, there is a possibility of a serious breach," said port manager Wyn Parry. Stena said building the turbines would help to strengthen the breakwater,

Town councillor John Chorlton said he was open-minded about the plans, but  the wind turbines could become a tourist attraction in themselves." No doubt people will be against it, and it is right to protect the beauty of the area but people need to live here, and this would attract tourists," he said.

Councillor Trefor Lloyd Hughes said if the breakwater was breached areas of Holyhead could be flooded. But, he added, even so the plans for the turbines so close to the shore was too much.

"These are just too close to the shore, and there could be problems with noise," he said.

STENA LYNX III was reported out of service on the afternoon of April 27 with a technical problem she started her 2006 season earlier in the day.


The HSS STENA EXPLORER, the World's largest and most technologically advanced fast ferry, is celebrating its tenth anniversary on the Irish Sea.

Described on its launch as a 'floating hotel', the Stena Explorer first set sail from Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead in April 1996 and revolutionised the ferry industry in Ireland and the UK.

Two similar HSS 1500 vessels were subsequently introduced on the Stranraer to Belfast and Harwich to Hook of Holland routes while a smaller version, the HSS 900, currently operates between Sweden and Denmark.

During its ten years of service, the Explorer has carried a staggering 12 MILLION passengers, 2.5 MILLION cars, and more than 4,000 freight units on the Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead route, helping Stena Line to maintain its position as market leader on the Irish Sea where it carries over THREE MILLION passengers per year, more than its rival ferry operators combined.

In the past decade the Stena Explorer has made some 25,000 trips across the Irish Sea, travelling almost 1.5 MILLION miles in the process. Now, even ten years on, the sheer size, speed and comfort of the Stena HSS remain unrivalled in the world of ferry travel.

Each Stena HSS 1500 vessel is the size of a football pitch and travels at speeds of up to 50mph with four jet engines offering 100,000 horse power of raw speed.

The on board experience is equally impressive with a variety of bars and restaurants on each ship along with play areas for the kids, video games and Stena Line's excellent on board shopping. In recent years, the Stena Plus service has also proven very popular with passengers looking for extra comfort. For a small supplement, guests have access to the exclusive Stena Plus lounge with complimentary refreshments and reading material, work stations for business travellers and priority boarding and disembarkation to help motorists avoid the traffic.

Stena Line's Irish Sea Area Director Fredrik Lantz reflected on a very successful ten years for the flagship of the Stena Line fleet.

"It's hard to believe that it's ten years now since we launched the Stena HSS which was revolutionary in terms of size, comfort and most importantly speed, setting the benchmark for the entire ferry industry," said Fredrik.

"The HSS opened up the market by making travel between Ireland and Britain quicker by car and remains unrivalled to this day. Since its launch, we have continued to raise standards in ferry travel and provide customers with a positive overall experience from initial booking and onboard facilities to final arrival at their destination.

"We are not resting on our laurels though and are always looking at ways to further improve and expand this service, as evidenced by ongoing investment in our fleet, ports and facilities. In fact only last week we announced a new freight service between Dublin and Holyhead starting this summer. It is this ability to meet and exceed customer expectations that positions Stena Line as the number one choice in ferry travel," he added.

Despite the success of the Stena HSS since its introduction ten years ago, it is unlikely that Stena Line will be building any more similar vessels due to the rising cost of fuel, as Fredrik Lantz explains.

"The HSS has been a wonderful success managing to fend off competition from smaller catamaran type vessels and establishing itself as the most popular fast ferry," said Fredrik. "However, rising fuel prices could mitigate against the production of more HSS vessels.

"In addition, the emergence of low cost airlines and new subsidised air routes has also proven to be a challenge not only to Stena Line but also to Britain and Ireland as holiday destinations but the HSS, with it's combination of speed, comfort and convenience, has continued to attract customers seeking a viable and more pleasurable alternative to air travel," he concluded.


An operator for the replica emigrant ship which is now owned by the Dublin Dockyard Development Authority has been found - a sailing programme will be announced shortly.


LAGAN VIKING has been noted running very slowly and of schedule this week.


The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) announced on April 20 that 10 foreign ships were under detention in UK ports during March 2006 after failing Port State Control safety inspection.

Latest monthly figures show that there were 7 new detentions of foreign flagged ships in UK ports during March 2006, along with 3 other ships still under detention from previous months. The number of new detentions compared to last month has decreased by 12.5% while the overall rate of detentions compared with inspections carried out over the last 12 months is 5.25%, which is a 0.09% increase on Februarys 12 month rate.

During the month of March 87 Port State Control Inspections were carried out in the UK, which brings the total this year to 1792 inspections. For those ships inspected during March a total of 65 vessels had deficiencies raised against them. 39 had between 1 to 5 deficiencies, 18 had between 6 to 10 deficiencies, 8 had between 11 to 20 deficiencies, but none had more than 20 deficiencies.

Two of the vessels detained in February were registered with flag states listed on the Paris MOU white list, I vessel was registered with a flag state listed on the grey list, 4 were registered with flag states listed on the Paris MOU black list, and the remaining vessel was registered with a state not appearing on any of the Paris MOU lists.

One container vessel, 1 refrigerated cargo vessel, 6 general cargo vessels and one part-built hull section were detained in the UK during March.

Vessels detained in March included the following:

• a 5,983 GT Panamanian flagged general cargo vessel detained in Falmouth for 6 days with main engine and starting arrangements inoperative. The same vessel had been detained in Falmouth the previous month for 28 days with 20 deficiencies;

• a 2,481 GT Russian flagged general cargo ship detained on the River Tees for 4 days with serious bulkhead and deck corrosion. Altogether 9 deficiencies were recorded;

• a 3,466 GT Danish flagged container ship detained in Grangemouth for 1 day with leakage between starboard fuel and ballast tanks and an inoperative oily water separator, out of a total 10 deficiencies.


April 23Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, John Hake, Ian Collard, Michael Bracken, "River Spy", Kevin Bennett and "others"


Steam Packet Holidays, the inclusive package holiday arm of The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company can now offer a holiday link into Europe.

The popular Landbridge fares have been reintroduced allowing travellers from the Island direct access to Europe via the port of Dover. The Company will work in partnership with Norforkline who operate the Dover-Dunkerque route with up to 20 crossings every day. Fares from Isle of Man to Dunkerque start at just £295.00 for a car + 5 passengers travelling midweek off peak, with midweek peak fares starting at only £395.00.

PONTUS: The former Silja / Sea Containers / Isle of Man Steam Packet floating terminal PONTUS departed from the Mersey bound for Norway towed by a Norwegian tug on Wednesday afternoon - April 19, 2006.

SEA EXPRESS 1 had an extra day in service whilst SUPERSEACAT TWO was undergoing repairs not returning to NSL until Thursday April 13.


Some information to clarify how North Western Ship Repairers operate at the former Cammell Laird site:

Northwestern Shiprepairers have leases on #4, #5 and #6 dry docks.

NSL subsidiary Scott Lithgow Shiprepairers have leases on #7 dry dock and the wet basin.

NSL started SLS years ago when they leased Inchgreen Dry Dock on the Clyde.


The vessels were noted moved to Vittoria Dock on Friday April 21. What is likely to happen to the ships remains unclear.


Passenger numbers have reportedly dropped by 16% following the sinking of George's Landing Stage in early March. The fall in passengers is blamed on the need to share the remaining section of Prince's Landing Stage with the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company. Consequently some calls at Liverpool have to be omitted when SUPERSEACAT TWO is at the stage.

A spokesman for Merseytravel urged people to continue using the service, adding that a new temporary landing stage should be in place by next month.

Work appears to have begun on providing a temporary replacement stage. It was noted on Saturday April 22 that a section of railing and river wall edging had been removed on Prince's Parade just north of the Prince's Landing Stage used by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company.

It appears that the temporary "spud-jack" stage which is being prepared in Rotterdam will initially be situated north of the Prince's Stage.

Once the remains of the old George's Stage are removed the "spud-jack" will be moved to the south of Prince's Stage to allow construction work on the extension of the Prince's Landing stage to commence in September.

A replacement permanent replacement landing stage for Mersey Ferries is unlikely to be in place for 18 months to two years.


An unusual sight greeted anyone arriving or departing from the Mersey on Saturday April 22. The presence in Seaforth Dock of two ACL container ships.

ATLANTIC CARTIER was located on its usual berth whilst over on S7 berth an already delayed ATLANTIC CONVEYOR running a week behind schedule was undergoing engine repairs and is expected to depart on the evening of April 23 bound for Antwerp.

It is believed that this is the first time that these two ships have been in Seaforth Docks at the same time.


KING HARRY VII - the new £3 million vessel built to serve one of the world's most beautiful ferry routes was dowsed with champagne as she was lowered into the water at a West Country shipyard on Wednesday April 19, 2006.

The seventh King Harry Ferry will now undergo safety testing by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency at Falmouth before she is towed to the River Fal and put on her chains.

If all goes to plan, the bright blue ferry will carry the first of her 300,000 vehicles a year across the Fal between Feock and Philleigh on May 8.

She will replace the trusty KING HARRY VI which has been in service on the 1,000ft-wide river crossing since 1974 after being built by Dredge and Marine Ltd, of Ponsharden, Penryn.

 Most of the new ferry has been built and fitted out at Pendennis Shipyard, Falmouth. Initial steelwork was sub-contracted to Ravestein in Holland.

At 55 metres, she is 11 metres longer than the current ferry and can carry 34 cars compared with the current 23, in perpetuating a ferry crossing stretching back five centuries.

Her low-emission, turbo-diesel hydraulic engines will not only propel the 400-tonne vessel across the river in under four minutes but will also reduce emissions by at least 75 per cent.

To ensure maximum reliability for passengers, she has three engines. One will be in use, another on standby in case the first breaks down plus a third on hand.

One of only five chain ferry services in England, she will operate every day except Christmas Day and occasional days when northerly or southerly gales make landings too difficult.

Mike Carr, commercial director of Pendennis Shipyard, pledged: "The new ferry will be the most efficient and reliable vessel of its kind in service."

The project has been made possible by a Cornwall Objective One investment of almost £1 million, awarded because of the community benefits and reduction of traffic through Truro.


STENA LYNX III departed from Birkenhead Docks where she laid up for the winter following refit at NSL on Tuesday April 11. She is due to resume on the Fishguard - Rosslare service on April 27.

Photo: Michael Bracken



Orla Noonan has been appointed as Stena Line Route Marketing Manager for the central corridor, with responsibility for all route marketing activities on the Dun Laoghaire - Holyhead and Dublin - Holyhead routes.  In addition, Orla will continue with her existing functional responsibilities in respect of overseeing internet marketing for all Irish Sea routes.  She has been working for Stena Line for just under two years as Internet Marketing Manager, having joined the leading ferry company from the Belfast-based GCAS Group where she worked for over six years. Educated at Trinity College Dublin, Orla holds a degree in Advanced Marketing Techniques. She will continue to be based at the company's offices in Dun Laoghaire.


Stena Line has announced plans to increase freight capacity on its Holyhead to Dublin route with the introduction of an additional vessel.

The company will redeploy an existing vessel from its North Sea fleet, the STENA SEATRADER, to commence operations on the Central Corridor during July 2006.

The new service will complete one round trip per day between Holyhead and Dublin, leaving Holyhead at 22:15hrs and Dublin at 15:15hrs, increasing capacity on the corridor significantly.

"In recent years, we have seen Holyhead Port grow in importance to freight customers who now see Holyhead as the main gateway for transport to and from Ireland," said Vic Goodwin, Stena Line Route Director for the Central Corridor.

"This is due to the opening of the A55 dual carriageway in 2001 which has reduced the journey time to the port and enabled freight traffic to grow by 100% through Holyhead port since the turn of the decade," he added.

The announcement comes on the back of a successful year for Stena Line which saw total freight volumes grow by 8% during 2005. The company's five Irish Sea routes were particularly successful enjoying growth of 16%, with the biggest increase taking place on the Holyhead to Dublin Bay routes where the number of freight vehicles travelling on these routes jumped to 173,000 units.

This success has prompted the company's latest decision, as Stena Line's CEO Gunnar Blomdahl explained:

"Stena Line has a long term commitment to improve its service on the Irish Sea and as a result of recent growth in this area, we have now decided to increase frequency and capacity on the Central Corridor by introducing another freight vessel.

"On top of this we have also invested almost £1M in upgrading services onboard the Stena Adventurer and facilities at the Dublin ferry terminal this year," added Gunnar.

Stena Line Freight Commercial Manager Frank Nieuwenhuys believes that the addition of the new ferry will have great practical benefits for customers.

"In addition to providing greater frequency and capacity for our freight customers, we believe the new sailing times will prove attractive for customers who want to arrive in Dublin and get underway before the morning rush hour and return early thereby improving vehicle turnaround time and fleet utilisation," explained Frank.

"This year, we are introducing new tonnage on our North Sea routes from Killingholme to Hoek van Holland with two new ships due to start service in July and December. This gives us the opportunity to expand our freight services on the Irish Sea by redeploying a vessel from our North Sea fleet to start this service," he concluded.


The Fleetwood - Knott End ferry service finally reopened on April 10, 2006 as the Blackpool Gazette reported. As yet the vessel does not have a name.

Bright sunshine and calm seas - there couldn't be a better day for this historic journey. Sitting in still water at the end of the Fleetwood ferry berth, the new ship looks like a bathroom toy, floating in the shadow of the massive STENA LEADER.

Freshly painted in red and white, the ferry boat looks a far cry from the former vessel, HARVESTER, which now sits high and dry at the head of the dock.

Six months after it was due to start running, the ferry service is finally ready to set sail - but it seems the message hasn't got through to the public. Just before 08:00 we were called to board the boat. It is easy to see the improvement over the old ferry.
Compared to the open decks and damp wooden seats of HARVESTER its replacement seems money well spent.

The big picture windows provided a stunning view of the Lakeland hills as the ferry manoeuvred slowly away from the dock. I had barely finished chatting to the one paying passenger on the maiden voyage when the engine note changed and the long ferry slip at Knott End came into our view.

After just a couple of minutes in Knott End, the boat swung round on a sixpence to head back to Fleetwood and two minutes later we were back alongside the dock at Fleetwood.

Now all the service needs is passengers to justify the £500,000 investment which has brought it into the 21st Century.
Tourism chiefs are now planning an advertising campaign to promote the service.

The maiden voyage brings to an end a long period of uncertainty for the ferry service, which ceased in 2004 after the old boat nearly sank. The service was facing the scrapheap after a row between council bosses over who should pay to run it.

Will Burgess was the man piloting the boat on its first day of operation. He said: "This is so much better than the old HARVESTER. This is just the perfect vessel for the job."

The Fleetwood-Knott End ferry runs every half hour, on the hour, from Fleetwood, from 08:00 to 18:00 seven days a week.


There is opposition to proposals to develop a car ferry between Greenore and Greencastle, Co Down, members of Louth County Council heard at their monthly meeting on Monday.

Noting that the Council had included the project in its Capital Works Programme 2006-2008, Cllr Jim Loughran said that he understood that there was a active campaign against the ferry in Greencastle. He thought that the Council's priority was seeing a bridge built at Narrow Water.

Director of Service Ms Joan Martin explained that the ferry project was being led by the Chambers of Commerce in Dundalk and Newry who had received funding from Interreg for an updated cost study. The Council was keeping the project in the Capital Works Programme as it was an objective of the County Development Plan.

The Narrow Water bridge was also an objective of the County Development Plan and they would be interested in pursuing it as funding arises. "As rightly said there is opposition on the northern side to the ferry," she said. Chairman Cllr Peter Savage said that the ferry wasn't in conflict with the bridge as the proposal for a bridge had been agreed 25 years ago.

While there was an operator ready to put a ship on Greenore to Greencastle route, there was opposition in Greencastle from those who didn't want their tranquillity disturbed.

He also accused the Department of Environment in Northern Ireland for being very slow and for putting obstacles in the way of the project. "I can't see it in our lifetime," he said of the ferry service. Cllr Seamus Keelan felt that the Council's efforts should be directed towards the bridge at Narrow Water considering there was a dispute over the ferry proposal.

There was an active campaign in Warrenpoint in favour of the bridge and Newry and Mourne also had it as an objective, while there was a willing committee in Omeath as well.

As they all knew, it was a very narrow strip of water over which a bridge would have to be built. [Irish Independent]


Proposals for a cable ferry across Lough Corrib have been  thwarted by An Bord Pleanala. Shannon Ferry Group's Patrick J Newell of Headford Co Galway had been granted permission by Galway Co Council for the ferry, to carry 24 cars between Kilbeg and Knockferry.

The development included building two new access roads, a car park and 114 square metre building as office, store and workshop.

The plan was appealed by eight groups and individuals, including An Taisce, Friends of the Irish Environment, angling clubs and locals.

The development of North Galway will be severely impacted by the An Bord Planala? decision to refuse planning permission for the Kilbeg/Knockferry ferry link, according to Galway East Independent TD Paddy McHugh.

Deputy McHugh has described the decision of An Bord Plean? as a major blow to the people and to the many groups and organisations in the north Galway area that would benefit from the ferry going ahead.

North Galway has been hamstrung in relation to benefiting from tourism due to the fact that access to the region has been totally inadequate. A direct link to Connemara would be of enormous benefit to towns like Headford and Tuam and to the entire North Galway area,? said Deputy McHugh.

Deputy McHugh said that the provision of a ferry service across Lough Corrib linking the Tourist region of Connemara directly with Headford had been spoken of for many years. ?One of the main reasons for refusal was the inadequate roads infrastructure in the area to serve the ferry. If the government are serious about achieving balanced regional development they must now act to ensure that this project proceeds,? he added.

April 09Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews,Antoin Dalton, and "others".


SUPERSEACAT TWO will be dry docked at NSL Birkenhead this week. She will depart Douglas for Birkenhead via Liverpool at 06:45 on Monday April 10.

SEA EXPRESS I then operates the following:

11:00 Liverpool to Douglas.

14:30 Douglas to Liverpool

18:30 Liverpool to Douglas

Tuesday - all Liverpool sailings will be operated by Sea Express I as will Wednesday sailings up to 14:30

Wednesday April 12

07:30 Douglas to Liverpool
11:00 Liverpool to Douglas
14:30 Douglas to Liverpool

SUPERSEACAT TWO undocks and operates 18:30 Liverpool to Douglas.

CFF SEINE - the Clarkson-Harrison vessel departed Douglas Friday and was believed heading for Falmouth.


Tributes flooded in this week for Irish Maritime Historian and campaigner John de Courcy Ireland who has died.

He died at Clonskeagh Hospital in Dublin on Tuesday afternoon, following along illness.

President Mary McAleese has extended her deepest sympathies to the family of the 94-year-old, describing world recognition of his work as a tribute to his unique expertise and great love of Ireland`s maritime tradition.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern says he was a man of great principle and a life- long committed socialist.

John de Courcy Ireland authored ten books including "The History of Dun Laoghaire Harbour", "The Admiral from Mayo", "The Sea and the Easter Rising", "Ireland's Sea Fisheries", "Wreck and Rescue on the East Coast of Ireland" and "Ireland and the Irish in Maritime History".


The 2005 Annual Report is now available on line [ click here ]

NORMANDY - The reason why the ship missed a round trip last week was due to failing an inspection. Here are the details:

Inspection details :Date of first boarding : 29/03/2006
Date of final boarding : 31/03/2006
Port of inspection : Rosslare Harbour, Ireland.
Type of inspection : More detailed inspection
Number of deficiency(ies) : 10
Number of deficiency(ies) ground(s) for detention : 2
Duration of detention : 3 days
Ship's particulars at the time of inspection :
IMO number : 7901772
Flag : Bahamas
Callsign : C6UD3
Ship type : Roro passenger ship
Gross tonnage : 25745
Keel date : 1982
Statutory certificates :
- Passenger ship safety (inc. exemp.) is issued by Lloyd's Register (LR)
- 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 Lloyd's Register (LR)
- Oil pollution prevention (iopp)  is issued by Lloyd's Register (LR)
- International ship security certificate is issued by Germanischer Lloyd (GL)
Ship manager
- DOBSON FLEET MANAGEMENT LTD, Dobson House, P.O. Box 54809, 3728 Limassol, Cyprus
Operational controls carried out
- Abandon ship drill
- Fire drill
Deficiencies :
- Fire safety measures, Fixed fire extinguishing installation, Not as required, ground for detention
- ISM related deficiencies, Maintenance of the ship and equipment
- ISM related deficiencies, Maintenance of the ship and equipment
- Life saving appliances , Launching arrangements for survival craft
- Life saving appliances , Launching arrangements for survival craft
- Operational deficiencies, Abandon ship drills
- Operational deficiencies, Fire drills, Lack of training, ground for detention
- Operational deficiencies, Operation of Life Saving Appliances
- Safety of navigation, Voyage data recorder (VDR)
- Structural safety, Other safety in general
April 05Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Steve Cheeseman, Alfie Windsor, and "others".


The company issued the following press release on April 05:

The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company flagship, ‘Ben My Chree’ has returned to service following her biennial overhaul and refit.

In addition to her engine overhaul, the work schedule costing in excess of £1 million  included a refurbishment of the main passenger lounge, upgrading of the catering outlets and an extension and refurbishment of the popular Blue Riband lounge.

Additionally, all 20 passenger cabins have been refurbished and enhanced with a DVD facility.

Ben My Chree returned to service after just a fortnight with her scheduled sailing from Douglas to Heysham at 19.45 hrs on Sunday 2nd April and will now continue her twice daily year round sailings between the ports.

Meanwhile the twice daily summer services to and from Liverpool commence on 7th April operated by the Company’s fast craft SUPERSEACAT TWO and providing superb short break opportunity’s with a crossing time of just two and a half hours.


Details of excursions being operated on the Irish Sea Historical Ships ARTEMIS and THALASSA are now available for download in pdf format at . The earlier proposed programme of trips out of Fleetwood has been dropped in favour of a more extensive programme based on Douglas. Trips include day trip sailings, a two night "Round The Island" cruise as well as a major Irish Sea Golfing Cruise visiting Wales, Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Man commencing in Liverpool. Fares range from £40 to over £1000 - so, therefore, there is something for all pockets.

Having taken a sail on the ARTEMIS during 2005 your web master has no hesitation in recommending a trip on these tall ships.


An excellent well researched web account has appeared recently documenting the stranding and subsequent loss of HMS Conway in the Menai Straits has been added to the HMS Conway web site. Here are more details forwarded by Alfie Windsor.

HMS Conway was one of Britain's premier naval training establishments and one of the last wooden wall sailing ships of the line. She ran aground in the dangerous Swellies (part of  the Menai Strait, North Wales) on 14th April 1953 whilst being towed to Liverpool for a refit.

Theories abound about what happened that day but most are based on half truths or misunderstandings. As with any 50 year old account memories fade, some anecdotes come second even third hand, some claims cannot be verified and there are gaps and inconsistencies in the records. Even the simple sequence of events has not previously been accurately recorded. However the authors have attempted to overcome all these challenges and produce a definitive account of the loss of the ship. The HMS Conway web site ( attempts to set the record straight in a special feature called "Two Bridges Too Far".  The account is in two parts:

A simple chronology of events produced by Alfie Windsor (Conway 64-68) and supported by over 200 photos. It takes the reader from the early discussions and planning of the move right up to the unexplained destruction of the ship by fire. He has consulted most of those onboard on the day, several spectators in small boats and lining the shore, and a variety of published accounts including the Committee of Inquiry's report. 

An exhaustive analysis by Captain David Williams (Conway 49-51) of how physical conditions, navigational challenges and human actions combined to cause the loss of the ship. Supported by the investigations of oceanographers and a wealth of scientific, meteorological, tidal and other material, this is a definitive study of the very unusual physical factors unique to the Menai Strait which resulted in the loss of the ship. 


A spectacular aerial display involving Royal Marines and a Lynx helicopter officially launched the countdown to this summer's Navy Days event.

Hailing the August bank holiday weekend event as the "biggest and best" ever, organiser Captain David Larmour said he hoped to break previous attendance figures.

With the theme Future Navy, this year will boast a display by the new Eurofighter Typhoon, Royal Marine landing craft demonstrations and presentations of the new Type 45 destroyer as well as many other attractions during the three-day event from Saturday to Monday, August 26 to 28.

"We started planning the event in September so it is just about a year in the planning," said Capt Larmour. "It is important to think about what theme we will take because you have to keep it fresh to give it a new flavour.

"It will be better than the event in Portsmouth and more focused. It's our creation and we will be proud parents when we stage the event."

Displays showing the future destroyer and the successor to the Sea Harrier, the F-35, will be on show as will graphics of the new Astute-class nuclear-powered submarine.

Nearly 20 warships and two nuclear-powered submarines will open their gangways to the public, while in the air, the Typhoon will thrill crowds with a stunning display.

The Fleet Air Arm is not being left out - the Black Cat Lynx helicopter display team from RNAS Yeovilton, Harrier jump jets from RAF Cottesmore and Blackhawk and Merlin helicopters from RNAS Culdrose are planning to demonstrate their skills in the sky over the three days.

Visitors can also see HMS Bulwark - the Royal Navy's newest amphibious assault ship - at close quarters. This will involve an exciting trip on one of the Royal Marines' landing craft from the naval base right into the depths of the ship's huge floodable dock.

Visitors will see the work carried out by anti-terror and drug patrols, complete with explosions and Marines fast-roping out of helicopters.

Members of foreign navies are due to take part over the weekend, as are tall ships, and there will be many other exciting exhibits. Attractions will also include arena displays, marching bands and culinary demonstrations.

Capt Larmour said he hoped the introduction of new special ticket deals for Plymouth City Council and Caradon District Council taxpayers would help to improve local attendance figures.

"We want to attract a larger number of local people. We see a great many people from outside the area but we'd like to see more this year."

Tickets for the August bank holiday event are on sale now, with discounts for those who book early.

For more details, call 0870 800 8118 or visit www.navydays.mod.

[Western Morning News]

April 02Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Alex Mc. Cormac, Jenny Williamson, Michael Pryce, Edwin Wilmshurst, Ian Collard and others


BEN-MY-CHREE- departed from NSL Bidston yard on completion of her refit around 22:20 on Saturday April 01 and returned to Douglas. She now has the company web address in bold letters on the white upper works. 


Rumours have been circulating for some time that Celtic Link Ferries operators of the Rosslare - Cherbourg service may be looking to expand operations. It looks likely that the company will open a Liverpool - Dublin service during May using the ro/ro freighter NORTHERN STAR. She once operated on charter to P&O Irish Sea on services out of Liverpool.


STAR PRINCESS - as a result of the recent major fire on board this vessel - the Irish Sea call at Cóbh scheduled for May 09 has been cancelled. The ship is expected to be out of service until late May whilst she undergoes repairs in Hamburg.


A report in the Plymouth Evening Herald last week suggests that some Plymothians are being disturbed by Brittany Ferries superb flagship PONT-AVEN.

Angry residents in Plymouth are so fed up with a monotonous droning noise every time the ferry Pont Aven docks at Millbay that they are holding a meeting to debate the issue. The "horrendous" noise has been happening for nearly two years - but the Bretagne, the other vessel Brittany Ferries deploys, is silent when docking.

Stonehouse resident Stephen Barrett said the constant noise was caused by the generators, which continually run when the £100 million ferry comes alongside in Millbay.

Councillors and residents were given an update on the issue during a recent area committee meeting for Stoke and St Peter and the Waterfront.

During the meeting they were told that no complaints had been made by residents since November - but residents say the Pont Aven has returned to Millbay since Christmas and there have been a number of complaints extending to areas such as Greenbank, West Hoe, Stoke Damerel and North Hill.

A spokesman for Brittany Ferries said the company would be considering "significant moderations" when she undergoes a major refit in 2007 - but residents believe this is not good enough.

Belinda Warne, of the Artillery Arms in Stonehouse, said an environmental officer for Plymouth City Council had agreed for a meeting to be held at the pub in the coming weeks.

Mrs Warne said: "The ferry has obviously been away and since she's come back it's been absolutely dreadful. It all depends on which way the wind is blowing - if we're downstairs in the bar we can deal with it, but if we are on the second or third floor it vibrates through the whole of the building.

"If you lived where I live, you would understand how bad the noise is. "When I see her coming in, the hairs on the back of my neck go up - it's got that bad. The council won't put an enforcement notice on Brittany Ferries because it would take so long to go through the courts and would cost them a lot of money.

"We really want some action taken because it means we are entering a third year with the problem now, which is not really good enough."

 Peter McQuillan, who lives in the Greenbank area of the city, said: "It's hard to believe that the noise can travel that far because it comes right over the hill to us. It must be affecting an awful lot of people. It's almost like you can really feel it because it's so deep - you can really feel it going through your body like an organ pipe."

Mr Barrett, who initially reported the noise to the environment office, said: "It's not like we can stick an anti-social behaviour order on her so we need to make sure people keep putting pressure on the local councillors and MPs to get something done as soon as possible."

Stephen Tuckwell, a spokesman for Brittany Ferries, said the company was working hard to solve the problem.

“There's a willingness on our part to solve the problem, which is why we are considering these significant modifications in January next year," he said. "We're aware of the noise issue - it's caused by the generators while she's alongside.

 "We've been working with Plymouth City Council's environmental regulation services to try and solve this problem. We have taken a number of steps."


LE AOIFE came to the assistance of the Crescent Marine Services oil products tanker BREAKSEA on Sunday March 26. The vessel suffered engine failure near the Tuskar Rock Lighthouse in rough seas. LE AOIFE assisted the vessel until she was reached by tugs.


Police officers based in Portadown matched the power of HSS STENA VOYAGER during a sponsored row onboard the vessel. A team of 14 officers rowed the 56 miles in under three hours and 40 minutes. The time taken for the ship to undertake a return sailing to Stranraer.

The team averaged seven minutes a mile on two Concept rowing machines on board the ferry and completed the task in three hours, 10 minutes and 12 seconds.

And they not only burned off 6,104 calories, they also raised over £2,000 for Marie Curie Cancer Care.


NORMANDY - failed to operate her return sailing from Rosslare to France on Wednesday March 29 due to "technical reasons."


The shares in the Barrow in Furness based company jumped to a new high on the stock market closing at 527p on Friday March 31. Speculation in the press suggests that the recent sustained rises could either be due to takeover speculation or a re-evaluation of the business as it changes its focus to marine services.


Wicklow Harbour

Coasters calling included HOHEBANK, SCOT RANGER, HYDRA, UNION MARS and DELPIN. Traffic in the bay included a RNLI relief fleet Trent class lifeboat 14 - 06 southbound, LINK STAR north for Dublin and the containership GRACECHURCH COMET.  

The sunken trawler at the East Pier was refloated, the operation involved 2 cranes and divers. CIL tender GRANUAILE anchored overnight in the bay, she departed the next day heading south. 


Greystones Harbour

The oral hearing by An Bord Pleanala commenced on Thursday 30th March 2006 at the Royal Hotel, Bray, the oral hearing will deal with the 6,000+ objections received in relation to the plans for Greystones Harbour. It's expected to last a week .


Those who read the item regarding the former HMS GAY ARCHER may be aware that an error on the contributor's computer may have resulted in an incorrect date being given. The vessel departed Salford Quays last Saturday March 25 and not as originally stated. The error was subsequently corrected.


Visit for Transport, Industrial Heritage & Regional Digital Photographs and Growing Online 35mm Archive

Irish Sea Shipping - What's New July 2008Irish Sea Shipping - What's New August 2009Back Home Up Next 

Irish Sea Shipping © John H. Luxton 1995-2018. Content © John H. Luxton and Contributors