ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY
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.
NORTH WESTERN SHIP REPAIRERS
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.
ATLANTIC CONTAINER LINE
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 STEAM FERRY COMPANY LTD
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.
ADDITIONAL IRISH SEA VESSEL
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.
KNOTT END FERRY
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.
GREENORE - GREENCASTLE FERRY
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]
LOUGH CORRIB FERRY
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.