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NEWS BULLETIN - JULY 2006

July 25, 2006Acknowledgement- Gary Andrews,  Ian Collard, Tony Brennan, Gordon McKeith, Susan Hanley-Place  and "others".

ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY

SUPERSEACAT TWO once again the ship has developed a technical problem, and needs attention from the vet! On this occasion it's a gearbox which has malfunctioned.  She has been noted running on reduced power at around 26 knots for the past few days and has typically been taking an extra 50 minutes to complete a crossing.

It appears that repairs will have to be conducted in two stages.

To facilitate the commencement of repairs as soon as possible it has been necessary to cancel the vessel's schedules as detailed below:

Tuesday 25th July - Liverpool/IOM @ 18.30 hrs – Cancelled
Tuesday 25th July -  IOM/Belfast @ 21.45 hrs – Cancelled

Wednesday 26th July – Belfast/IOM @ 01.15 hrs – Cancelled
Wednesday 26th July – IOM/Liverpool @ 07.30 hrs - Cancelled

On resumption of services the craft will operate on a reduced speed until repairs have been fully completed. Presumably when the offending part is ready for reinsertion she will be taken out of service again.

Passengers on disrupted UK sailings will be switched to the BEN-MY-CHREE whilst passengers bound for Dublin will be transferred to the scheduled Dublin sailings on Wednesday 26th July.

She appears to have had her fair share of technical problems this season and things are starting to resemble her less than inspiring performance on the Irish Sea in her debut year of 1998!

PENINSULAR & ORIENTAL STEAM NAVIGATION COMPANY

Rumours have started to circulate that the company may recommence the Liverpool - Larne service using EUROPEAN MARINER, the route was last operated by NORTHERN (CELTIC) STAR.

EXPRESS - SUPERSEACAT TWO is not the only high speed craft suffering technical problems. EXPRESS has also been experiencing technical problems during the past few days.

PEEL PORTS - PORT OF LIVERPOOL

LIVERPOOL TOOLS UP FOR MORE CONTAINER TRADE

Five new straddle carriers have gone into service at the Port of Liverpool as part of an £4.25 million investment programme in response to growing trade at the UK's third busiest container terminal.

Each capable of lifting containers one above two, the carriers were constructed on site after being shipped in knock-down form from the German manufacturers, Noell Crane Systems and bring to 34 the fleet available for operation at the increasingly busy facility.

Liverpool's Royal Seaforth Container Terminal last year handled 626,000 teus and has attracted three new North Atlantic container services since the start of 2006, consolidating. Liverpool's position as the No. 1 UK port for trade with the USA and Canada.

The Port is currently awaiting the outcome of a Public Inquiry into plans to build a post-Panamax container terminal at the mouth of the River Mersey in anticipation of the North Atlantic trade switching to the larger generation of container ships. The development, which would almost double Liverpool's container capacity, would also keep pace with growing volumes of trade from other parts of the globe.

Meanwhile, the Royal Seaforth Terminal which underwent a £25 million restructuring at the beginning of the decade, has been targeted by the Peel Ports Group for further investment including:

• The amalgamation of the Coastal Container Terminal into the deep-sea terminal
• Creation of another 500 teu slots on the container park
• Expansion of the interchange area for trucks delivering and collecting containers by 5 bays from 25 to 30 bays
• Automation of another two lanes for deep-sea and coastal traffic at the main gate to the Royal Seaforth Container Terminal
• Raising the height of the straddle carrier maintenance workshop – known colloquially as the giraffe house – by another 3.5 metres to accommodate today's larger machines.

Budha Majumdar, Managing Director of Mersey Ports (Port of Liverpool and the Manchester Ship Canal) commented: "Coming so soon after a major multi-million pound re-shaping of the facility, the acquisition of additional straddle carriers and the implementation of other adjustments to the Container Terminal are indicative of the Port of Liverpool's growing stature among the container shipping community."

"In addition to the three new container services to North America, Liverpool is now handling containers from 100 non-EU origins and destinations including India, the Far East and China."

The delivery of the five new straddle carriers brings the number of Noell machines at the Liverpool terminal to 25. "The latest order placed with Noell reflects our satisfaction with the reliability and availability of the fleet," added Mr Majumdar.

GEORGE'S LANDING STAGE

The operation to remove the sunken George's Landing Stage will being in August - five months after the stage sank

The stage failed to refloat in March after grounding during a low spring tide. Specialist engineers are due to commence work during August with work taking up to 10 weeks.

Liverpool Councillor Joe Anderson has called the delay unacceptable and says the Pier Head has been left with an eyesore.

"I'd like to know why it's taken so long to sort out as the sinking happened in March and it now looks a mess.

"The waterfront is one of Liverpool's main attractions and its a sour sight for visitors when they go down to the river."

The Mersey Docks and Harbour Company says negotiations with contractors to remove the rest of the landing stage have been ongoing.

A spokesman said: "We have to ensure the right methods are in place for safety reason.

"It's a complex procedure and there a number of engineering challenges." [Liverpool Echo]

STENA LINE

STENA ADVENTURER -Coastguards have slammed drunken vandals who dumped a life raft into the sea off the North Wales coast.  Rescuers received reports of a large object drifting in the busy shipping lane 10 miles off Holyhead.

Holyhead launched the port's lifeboat to investigate shortly after 07:15. Spokesman Ray Steadman said: "Upon arrival the object was identified as a 39-man life raft from the STENA ADVENTURER.

"It looked like the ropes holding the raft had been cut, possibly by someone travelling on the ship, causing it to fall some distance off the ship into the sea. It was drifting in the busy shipping lane and could have been struck by other vessels. The life raft was so large it could not be lifted on board the lifeboat and had to be towed back to port. It is an awkward shape to tow and the operation took longer than anticipated and the boat did not return to station until 11:00 when it was passed over to Stena Line."

A Holyhead Coastguard spokesman described the incident as "inappropriate in every respect". He said: "It is not known how the life raft came to fall into the sea but it could have fallen on to another vessel. "It was certainly a hazard to other vessels at sea and it compromised the safety equipment of the ship.  "Of course the STENA ADVENTURER, like every other ship at sea, carries more rescue equipment than it needs but had it been needed this life raft was not available."

Stena Line spokesman Wyn Parry said the raft was cut free by a group of drunks on board the ship. He said: "They were refused alcohol on board the ship and this was their retribution. "In addition to setting one of the rafts free they damaged a couple of others. The raft has been recovered and will be sent away for testing and repacking before being brought back onto the ship."

July 21, 2006Acknowledgement- Gary Andrews, Trevor Kidd, C.J. Lawrenson, John Thomas, Philip Parker, Damian Casey, Ian Liston Shaun Whitehead, Ian Collard and "others".

ISLE OF MAN DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT

DOUGLAS HARBOUR - JUNE 2006 TRAFFIC FIGURES - Harbours Press Release

Passenger figures compiled by the Harbours Division for June 2006 at 87,572 show a 0.6% decrease on the figure for the same period in 2005 which was 88,094.

The year to date figure at 259,397 passengers shows a 1.9% decrease over the same period in 2005 which was 264,491.

During June, car and motorcycle traffic through Douglas Harbour decreased by 6.7% from 34,898 vehicles to 32,571 vehicles.

The year to date figure at 82,505 vehicles shows a 0.3% decrease over the same period in 2005 which was 82,724.

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

Route

Change

From

To

Belfast

Minus 18%

3,543

2,899

Dublin

Minus 13%

2,338

2,036

Heysham

Minus 6%

42,070

39,500

Liverpool

Minus 2%

36,772

36,033

Larne

Plus 20%

2,296

2,745

Director of Harbours, Captain Michael Brew comments:

“June scheduled figures are impacted slightly by the TT Festival dates. However, the year to date figures show very little change in traffic with only slight falls in passenger and vehicle numbers.”

KNOTT END FERRY

The £500,000 Fleetwood to Knott End ferry has been grounded for almost two months since its engines were damaged. A consultant's report on the extent of the damage is due on Friday - with service bosses expecting to be hit with another bill.

The boat, delivered in September last year, sustained damage to its engines when mud and rocks from the river bed were sucked up. County Councillor Tony Martin, portfolio holder for transport, said all  recommendations from the report will be followed - regardless of the cost. Councillor Martin said: "In the first six weeks of running the ferry carried 6,500 passengers, more than we ever expected. It has been a very successful venture and we are very keen to get it back into service as soon as possible.

"The manufacturers have looked at the boat and we are just waiting for the report, which is due on Friday, before we decide what we do. "The boat will probably need new blowers and new grills, which should hopefully prevent the same thing happening again.

"That could cost up to £20,000. "It is not money I want to pay." But if that is what it takes, we will have to find the cash to get the ferry back up and running." The ferry boat - built in South Wales - has been dogged by a series of setbacks.

Engine problems and a lack of properly trained crew delayed the launch of the revamped ferry service by more than six months.

It was only six weeks after the first service ran across the Wyre estuary the ferry was once again taken out of service because of the latest damage. Councillor Martin said the report into the problems which had crippled the ferry service would be available to the public.

He said: "We are going to be quite open about what has gone wrong." For the last seven weeks the ferry boat has been replaced by a bus service, which takes more than five times as long to make the journey from Fleetwood to Knott End.

[Blackpool Gazette July 19, 2006]

PENINSULAR & ORIENTAL STEAM NAVIGATION COMPANY

RR TRIUMPH has taken up service with P&O this week operating as the third ship on the Dublin - Liverpool route. She arrived from Zebrugge on Monday entering service on the afternoon departure to Liverpool.

KING HARRY STEAM FERRY COMPANY

KING HARRY VI - The new  £3 million cross-river ferry was grounded and hundreds of passengers were delayed when a French tourist refused to get off - because his fellow countrymen had been left behind.

The angry Frenchman staged a two-hour protest on the boarding ramp of the King Harry Ferry, blocking in cars, caravans - and a group of 15 cyclists en route from Land's End to John O'Groats.

The vessel was about to make its usual journey across the River Fal in Cornwall when the tourist approached with a party of other cars from France on their way to a wedding. Because the ferry was nearly full, the Frenchman was allowed on but the gates closed - leaving his friends on the riverbank to wait 20 minutes for the next crossing.

But the irate motorist thought his fellow wedding guests were being turned away permanently and reversed on to the boarding ramp - refusing to budge until they were allowed on.

The crew, who couldn't speak French, tried to explain to the Frenchman, who couldn't speak English, why he couldn't leave his vehicle on the ramp.

But two hours later he still had not moved. During the argument the tide ebbed - and the 300-tonne ferry got stuck in the mud.

To clear the congestion all 35 cars on board had to be reversed off and diverted to an alternative route. Ferry director Tim Light said the incident, on Saturday, had cost the company about £2,500 in fares and refunds.

Staff were even forced to take some customers across the river - which runs from Feock to Philleigh - in a rowing boat.

Mr Light said: "They were late for the wedding but not all of them could get on board.

"Some of the party tried to leave their cars on the slipway to join those already on board but we couldn't allow that.

"The problems were compounded because they couldn't speak English and my men couldn't speak French.

"Then one Frenchman drove his car on to the ramp with the front wheels on the ferry and the rear wheels on the slip and refused to move.

"After a while we realised that the hull of the ferry was on the mud and couldn't move so we had to shut it down.

"If this one man had not been so silly we could have shuttled them across and they would have got there."

SEA CONTAINERS

The Scotsman Newspaper reported earlier this week that Sea Containers could be forced to sell its East Coast rail franchise in an attempt to stave off bankruptcy in the United States.

Bermuda-registered Sea Containers is thought to hope to receive £200 million for the firm, which was awarded a new ten-year passenger franchise last year.

Sea Containers, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, was said to have breached several lending agreements with its bankers and needs the money to settle debts and restore liquidity.

The reports said the only alternative to a sale would be for Sea Containers to seek Chapter 11 protection from creditors in the US, but that would lead to a breach of its UK franchise and could result in the company being stripped of the contract.

An industry source told The Scotsman: "The sale of GNER would be a surprising development, since Sea Containers' core strategy is focused on ferries and rail, but in business you cannot rule anything out."

WICKLOW & EAST COAST NOTES

Monday 3rd  - Sunday 16th July 2006

WICKLOW HARBOUR

Coaster callers included NORDFJORD, CROWN ALIZEE, UNION MARS, HYDRA, OSTEREMS, STINA, LEDA, DERK, UNION MERCURY and SCOT RANGER .

Traffic in the bay included 3 Dutch Naval vessels , AUTOPRESTIGE , CELTIC VOYAGER  ,EMPIRE STATE and RED BARONESS . 

Wicklow lifeboat was launched after a yacht with 2 people onboard got into difficulties after a rope got tangled in her prop, the yacht was towed into Wicklow harbour . 

Wicklow RNLI lifeboat Open day will took place on Sunday 16th July .

Padstow's new Tamar class lifeboat SPIRIT OF PADSTOW arrived to refuel and a night stopover,  She departed the next morning heading south . 

Visitors to the port included the mussel trawler MYTILUS, she moored at the North pier , the STV's ASGARD II FARAMIR and LORD RANK .

There was great activity around the harbour before the start of the 2006 BMW Round Ireland Yacht Race , among the highlights were a firework display and a maritime history of Wicklow harbour. 38 boats crossed the start line on the 704 mile race, the weather was perfect and crowds lined the East pier and Castle for the start . The 30 metre sloop KONICA MINOLTA was the first yacht home on Wednesday evening in the Round Ireland Yacht Race, CAVATINA was the overall winner on corrected time . 

KILQUADE was out winch training with the Coastguard helicopter in the bay .

A ship is currently working near the Codling Buoy , l assume she is working on telephone cables ,

WHITE STAR LINE

NOMADIC - The homecoming ceremony for the SS NOMADIC was been delayed after a man  working on the ship at the Harland and Wolff shipyard collapsed and died.

The former White Star Line passenger tender NOMADIC had arrived in Belfast on Saturday July 15.

It had been planned that the boat would be towed up the River Lagan on Monday evening for a ceremony at the Odyssey complex. However, this ceremony was rescheduled for Tuesday.

NIO Minister David Hanson said the event would now be held on Tuesday.

The Nomadic Preservation Society's John White said: "It's very tragic that this has happened today, and our deepest sympathies go out to his family." Mr White, who had travelled from Southampton for the unveiling, said the  delay would not matter. "She's been away from Belfast for 75 years - another day sitting up the Lagan won't make any difference," he said.

The ship has been cleaned up since it arrived after its four-day trip from the French port of Le Havre. The government has set up a trust to look after the ship. Members will decide what restoration should take place and look at ways of  raising money to complete the work.

It is thought the bill to fully restore the Nomadic could be as much as £7m, but Social Development Minister David Hanson said it was too soon to say how much money would be needed.

"If we want the Nomadic back on the lough in Belfast doing trips it will cost much more than if we simply want to put it in dry dock at the side of  the Odyssey," he said.

"But it is not government's job to fund the restoration of the vessel. "Government has played its job by buying it and bringing it back and I am giving the trust ample time to make very strong inroads to raise the level of money they need to ensure that we get the best out of Nomadic for the future of Belfast."

David Scott-Beddard of the Nomadic Preservation Society said that while the restoration process would take years, it was tremendous to see the ship return to its home port.

"It's lovely to see her back here, to see 95 years of history, the last White Star Line vessel afloat, built by Harland and Wolff, back in Belfast - it's a tremendous day," he said. [BBC] [Photo - Trevor Kidd].

July 15, 2006 

ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY

BEN-MY-CHREE is due to operate her second "Round The Island" cruise on the evening of July 15, departing Douglas at 18:45.

Some classic Steam Packet film sequences have been posted to the "You Tube" film hosting web site and includes Mona's Queen in white livery. [click here]

LAXEY TOWING COMPANY

KARINA requires some mechanical repairs and has been out of service which has resulted in no sailings being operated during the latter half of the week. She is not expected to return to service until Sunday July 16.

PENINSULAR & ORIENTAL STEAM NAVIGATION COMPANY

EUROPEAN HIGHLANDER departed Larne, bound for A&P FALMOUTH for refit on Thursday July 13.

WHITE STAR LINE

NOMADIC departed Le Havre on July 11 on board the barge AMT MARINER. She is due to arrive Belfast on Sunday July 16, 2006.

PASSAGE EAST FERRY

The inaction of the County Council and Department of Environment have been  blamed for the continuing traffic congestion problems in Passage East, which have got so bad the village's councillor has announced he's selling his home.

The Passage East Car Ferry Company has pointed the finger of blame for the traffic snarl-ups on the government authorities, accusing them of not doing enough to build a vital access road for the new ferry terminal proposed for a site about a mile upriver from Passage East.

Derek Donnelly, MD of the firm, has also accused the Co. Council of not paying enough interest or attention to the infrastructure needs of the east of the county, of which the ferry service between Passage East and Ballyhack is a vital part.

He was responding to Cllr. John Carey's latest passionate outburst about the traffic congestion caused by cars queuing for the ferry and travelling through the village after disembarking.

At this week's Co. Council meeting he declared that after a life time living in Passage East he was selling up his home because he has had enough of the traffic. (See full story on Page 2)

He claimed that residents had to keep their windows closed due to the car fumes, that the road had collapsed and the footpaths damaged because of the high volume of traffic passing through the village.

"I will be 64 next August and I am getting out because I can't live there. It's unreal," he said.

But Mr Donnelly responded that the Car Ferry Company submitted to the Council its plans for the proposed new ferry terminal six years ago. Despite promises, the funding still hasn't materialised for the project, he said.

And he declared: "Rather than flaring up at Co. Council meetings, why doesn't he lobby with us for the new road. There is a problem and that problem is not going to be solved by people shouting and making threats at Co. Council meetings."

Mr Donnelly agreed that the traffic problems were "absolutely disgraceful" in Passage East, particularly at commuter rush hour times.

He pointed out that meetings had taken place a number of months ago between Cllr. Carey, the company, a garda inspector and the County Engineer to try and improve the situation.

He claimed that certain traffic changes were agreed at those meetings but they haven't been implemented.

Mr Donnelly outlined that the Department of Environment first promised funding would be made available for the access road to the new ferry terminal in 2001 provided a feasibility project was carried out.

A total of €250,000 was made available for site investigations and this feasibility study, carried out by a consultants firm, was completed last year. It was submitted to the Council last October and the Council submitted the project to the Department of Environment but nothing seemed to be happening.

Mr Donnelly said the company had no idea as to the current status of their application for funding and they had been unable to secure a meeting with the Co. Manager on the issue to date.

"What level of priority they are giving the project, I just don't know. One has to ask the question," he said.

"This is going on for years and years. We have made endless submissions to the Co. Council, Waterford City Council and also request meetings with the new Co. Manager to discuss it.

"Why doesn't the Co. Council take a greater interest in this part of the county? We are here 24 years and this ferry is a vital piece of infrastructure but we can't get a small road built.

"The South Eastern Regional Airport, which carries a fraction of the passengers we carry, is getting a new road. They (the Council) are not paying sufficient attention to infrastructure and environmental problem." [Waterford News & Star]

July 8, 2006Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Ian Collard, Andrew King, John & Jenny Williamson, Tony Brennan, John Williams & Sue Black and "others"

 ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY

BEN-MY-CHREE - a reminder that the ship will operate a "Round The Island" cruise departing Douglas at 18:45 next Saturday - July 15.

SUPERSEACAT TWO appeared to have bow thruster problems and required tug assistance on Friday July 07.

WAVERLEY STEAM NAVIGATION COMPANY

BALMORAL - adverse condition disrupted the ships sailing programme over the weekend of July 08 / 09, 2006. Her Saturday sailing from Whitehaven was cancelled and the ship sailed light to Douglas where she arrived around 13:30. Her afternoon cruise to the Calf of Man was cancelled. On Sunday the Garlieston to Douglas sailing operated but once again her afternoon cruise was cancelled.

SEATRUCK FERRIES

MOONDANCE has arrived at NSL Bidston.

REDDINGTON FINANCE

Demolition of the former Engine Shop on the former Cammell Laird south site commenced during the latter part of the week. By Saturday July 09 a substantial portion of this familiar landmark building had been destroyed.

ST. MAWES FERRY COMPANY

Falmouth boat builder Cockwells has secured the contract to build a new St Mawes ferry in wood.

When asked by the St Mawes Ferry Company to quote for a GRP hull, Dave Cockwell suggested that a traditionally built wooden boat would last longer and would be cheaper. The order has enabled Cockwells to take on six new apprentices.

The boat will be roughly 60ft (18m) long and 16ft (18m) wide.  The build will be much in the manner of a pilot cutter but with a shallower hull form; it will be created from larch planks on oak frames. The ferry, which will ply between St Mawes and Falmouth in Cornwall, will have a capacity of 100 passengers when it is launched next summer.

MERSEY FERRIES

A special cruise will be operated on July 29, 2006 to welcome back the yachts from the round the world Clipper Yacht Race which commenced on September 18, 2005.

The cruise departs at 11:00 from Pier Head, 11:10 from Woodside and 11:20 from Seacombe. Duration three hours. Advanced book essential.

SS NORWAY / FRANCE

Breakers face mounting woes and legal problems over bid to scrap historic ship

The ship breaking consortium hoping to scrap the former SS NORWAY, the last of the great transatlantic cruise liners, is facing a growing list of woes in India where the ship is anchored.The SS NORWAY, now renamed the 'BLUE LADY', is anchored just off Pipavav Port while she waits to be inspected by a committee appointed by the Indian Supreme Court, which will assess the pollution risk posed by fire retardant asbestos on the ship.

Environmental campaigners have so far successfully blocked the ship's demolition by claiming the breakers – Haryana Ship Demolition – are incapable of safely removing the asbestos.

However, the Khaleej Times has learnt that Haryana and the Liberian shell company Bridgend Shipping, which currently controls the ship, are facing mounting legal, financial and contractual problems in their bid to scrap the liner.

Chronic weather has prevented the Supreme Court's inspection team from boarding the vessel. The region is under a torrential deluge which is creating swells of up to eight meters and wind speeds reaching 40 knots. Such is the concern over the safety of the ship that the liner's insurers are threatening to withdraw cover unless the liner is moved away from India to safer waters: loss of insurance would invalidate the $19.3 million promissory note Haryana have used to stake claim to the liner.

And despite Haryana's alleged pledge to beach the 'BLUE LADY' as early as this week, sources connected to the tug operators currently towing the ship have said they will refuse to beach the liner without a valid court order. A tug boat captain familiar with the situation said: “there's no way any tug company would risk their company and beach a boat in defiance of a court investigation.” There is no way to beach the liner without tugs.

The Khaleej Times is told by sources connected to Haryana that a second, 45 day contract extension was obtained by the breakers from the SS NORWAY's owner Star Cruises on June 18, but that time is now ticking away so quickly many at Star believe they will never be able to scrap the vessel.

The Supreme Court, which must review the inspection committee's report before making a decision on whether to allow the liner to be beached at Alang, is not scheduled to sit until July 30 at the earliest, making it almost impossible for the breakers to meet their contractual deadlines. The Haryana source said the breakers were facing costs of up to $100,000 per day to keep the ship anchored, with no sight to the saga in end.

Meanwhile Bridgend Shipping executives have just concluded two days of face-to-face talks with members of Project Dubai, the joint UAE/US venture that wants to buy the ship and bring her to Dubai as a floating hotel, conference center and concert venue.

The $100 million plan, which would pay for the SS NORWAY's asbestos to be expertly removed before the ship is refitted, has gained the support of Dubai authorities who are said to view the plan as a prestige development for the city and the Emirates as a whole.

The Khaleej Times understands a draft contract has been drawn up, but problems remain over a $2 million penalty clause Star holds over Bridgend if the ship is used for any other purpose other than scrap. Last night, a source familiar with the Dubai authorities discussions on the project commented: “The CEO of Star Cruises was here just a few weeks ago making presentations about why Dubai should become a new port of call for his company's latest cruise ships. “It's ironic that given this city's interest in Project Dubai's success and having the SS NORWAY come to this city, that Star seem to be standing in the way by not lifting that clause.”

Environmental campaigners are also stepping up pressure to prevent the ship's scrapping in India. Activists will hold a press conference later today in which at least one MP and judge will publicly voice their opposition to the ship breakers. John Voet, a Project Dubai partner along with Rashid al-Noori, commented: “We are still very optimistic that we will be able to come to a satisfactory agreement with the owners and save the ship. We won't give up until the ship is either on the beach or safely on its way to Dubai.” [Maritime Clippings].

STENA LINE

HSS STENA DISCOVERY - it appears that the North Sea operation will continue beyond the suggested closure date of January 07, 2007 to April.

Mr de Lange speaking for Stena Line said the Discovery would be returned to Stena's Swedish parent company in April, who would then try to dispose of the ship.

He said because of running costs he doubted it would operate in northern Europe, but could find a buyer in the Gulf.

HOLYHEAD BREAKWATER PROBLEMS

A major storm could bring waves crashing through the crumbling  Holyhead breakwater at any time, bringing potential economic disaster to the town.

Even under normal weather conditions, it is estimated a breach could occur before 2010.

A report conducted by a consultant engineer for Stena Line shows that each year, more than 50,000m3 of the rock mound which supports the breakwater's sea-wall below the waterline, is washed away.

It could take over £16m to repair, a sum Stena say it could not afford without a revenue-maker like the recent wind-farm proposal. The report says that the breakwater is weakened enough now to suffer a breach during a major storm. The effect would be disastrous for Holyhead.

Newry Beach would come under attack from waves up to 1.5metres higher than it currently withstands, which could be crippling for businesses situated on the seafront, including the Maritime Museum and the new marina development.

There could be more delays and cancellations of the ferries, a higher cost of repair and maintenance of port installations, and loss of refuge for fishing vessels, pleasure craft and cruise ships which draw tourism into Holyhead.

Also, it is stated that a new fixed breakwater would need to be built at the Holyhead marina at a cost of £2m. Stena Line is under no legal obligation to maintain the breakwater but as harbour authority, it has statutory powers to raise funds for the maintenance and upkeep of the structure.

Stena currently spend about £150,000 per year on maintaining the sea-wall, however, it is believed that almost half a million would need to be spent each year to prevent further degradation of the defensive structure.

The port company recently began a feasibility study into a proposed wind farm built on the outer side of the breakwater as a way of bringing cash in to maintain the wall.

Port boss, Wynne Parry, said: "I have explored all avenues in my power to come up with another solution to raising money to maintain the breakwater and can't find one, if anyone else can come up with something viable I would like them to bring it forward." [Holyhead Mail]

AN POST

The Irish Post Office issued two new stamps last Monday to mark the centenary of the Rosslare/Fishguard ferry service.

The 48c stamps feature the SS Patrick, one of three ships which started on the route in 1906, and the Stena Lynx III which operates today.

The ferry service has operated since 1906 without interruption, even during both world wars, carrying passengers and mail between Ireland and Wales.

The stamps were designed by Paul Raftery from illustrations by Vincent Killowry. They are available at all main post offices in Ireland and online at  www.irishstamps.ie

ROYAL NAVY

HMS OCEAN - An outbreak of tuberculosis aboard a Westcountry-based warship has been confirmed just a week before the Queen was due on board.

The amphibious helicopter carrier and assault ship HMS Ocean, which is based at Devonport, Plymouth, was set to sail up the Thames next week as part of celebrations to mark the 250th anniversary of The Marine Society.

However, the Royal Navy hurriedly cancelled the ship's immediate duties last night after it confirmed two cases of the disease, which is responsible for three million deaths a year worldwide.

A Royal Navy spokesman last night confirmed that a seaman in his early 20s was struck down by tuberculosis in May and taken to hospital in Scotland. Tests confirmed the infection last month.

A second seaman aboard the ship, which is currently in Portsmouth, was diagnosed with tuberculosis on Wednesday. He is being treated in hospital. The source of the infections is not known.

"The first went to hospital, was treated and has been discharged. He is expected to return to work," the spokesman said. "A second case is being treated in hospital at the moment."

He said before they knew with "any certainty" whether it was an outbreak they were awaiting the results of the latest case. They will not be known for "some weeks".

The spokesman confirmed that the crew members had worked in the same department but would not give further details.

However, a relative of a crew member on HMS Ocean told the Western Morning News that the debilitating disease had struck the Marine Engineering department, which is responsible for mechanics and electrics.

The woman, who does not want to be named, said the personnel had been so badly affected that they had been "coughing up blood".

The woman, who lives near Plymouth, said she fears the disease may have spread within the close confines of the warship.

"The crew in Marine Engineering work in very close contact - they share the same mess deck and even the bunk space," she added. "They aren't even allowed up on deck - they are virtually cocooned. Two people have active tuberculosis - they are coughing blood sick. They're now checking if any of the others have the latent form of the disease."

Incidents of tuberculosis have been rising in the UK in recent years with 7,000 cases being reported last year. It is often spread through close contact with an infected person and can affect any part of the body. The disease is most common in the lungs and lymph glands. It can be effectively treated with combinations of antibiotics, although courses last around six months. Most of the deaths worldwide occur in developing countries where drugs are not available.

The Royal Navy said it had informed the health authorities of the suspected outbreak and had taken advice from the Health Protection Agency on investigation and control measures.

A spokesman confirmed that all crew members who worked in close contact with the two seamen were being screened for signs of the disease. It is not yet known whether other cases have been diagnosed.

He stressed that the public health risk was "extremely low" and that HMS Ocean had not been put under quarantine. However, Royal Navy bosses decided to cancel HMS Ocean's duties over the next week, which included its Royal engagement in London on Friday. Those will now be carried out by HMS Albion, another Devonport-based amphibious assault ship.

The spokesman said: "It is an enormous disappointment for the crew of Ocean. But what is a disappointment for one ship's crew is a welcome opportunity for another."

HMS Ocean is one of the three largest ships in the British fleet alongside aircraft carriers Invincible and Illustrious, and can carry up to 1,270 servicemen. It was most recently deployed on a training exercise in Norway and returned to Plymouth in April.


WHITE STAR LINE

NOMADIC will be making her way home on the 11th July and will arrive into Belfast on the 17th July at about 18:30, being piggy backed up the Belfast Lough and into the Abercorn Basin, where she will be berthed for a short while until her immediate future is decided. www.nomadicpreservationsociety.co.uk

IRISH FERRIES

NORMANDY Devon coastguards co-ordinated the rescue of a man had to be airlifted to hospital on the evening of July 05, 2006.  The man complained of chest pains on the journey from Cherbourg to Rosslare

Brixham coastguards co-ordinated the operation which involved a helicopter from RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall.

The man, who is believed to be French, was taken to Plymouth's Derriford Hospital for treatment.

 

July 5, 2006 

A.P. MOLLER - SVITZER

On Monday July 03,  Svitzer Wijsmuller - part of the A.P. Moller-Maersk Group, operators of tugs in Liverpool and other UK ports announced details of their take over of the Australian owned Adsteam Marine.

The board of Adsteam will be  reccomending the takeover to shareholders. The price to be paid will  be AU$2.57 per share which is approx 28% above the share price of  AU$2.02 at close on June 30th. 90% of shareholders are required to  accept the offer for it to proceed.

Regulatory approval also needs to be sought in Australia and the UK.

It is hoped the deal will be complete subject to the above by September 2006.

For more information including a video visit  www.svitzerwijsmuller.com 

IRISH NAVAL SERVICE

LE ORLA - Paul Fazakerley has emailed to state that her visit to Merseyside over the weekend of July 02 / 03 was not the ship's first visit to Merseyside. Her first was actually a very low-key affair between October 02 and 05 1998. When she was berthed in Canada Dock #3. The berth used in 1998 was  same one in which her sister HMS STARLING was commissioned in 1984. The photograph left shows LE ORLA departing in 1998.

 

MERSEY SLIPWAY COMPANY

It was announced this week that a new joint venture, The Mersey Slipway Company, had been formed to take over the abandoned McTay Marine ship-yard at Bromborough.

The new company is a joint venture between two well known local maritime businesses Mersey Heritage Ship Repair and Warbreck Engineering.

The new company has spent £1.5m buying the former McTay boat building slipway, construction hall and workshop facilities at Bromborough.

The company's first contract will be a refit of the Henty Oil Barge STANLEY H.

Joint boss Eddie Dybell said the new firm is ambitious: "We hope to build vessels of 500 to 600 tonnes and we could bid forwork to break up toxic vessels."

Controversy has raged over the prospect of Wirral docks being used to break up ships that have come to the end of their life. Northwestern Ship Repairers at the former Cammell Lairdship yard indicated it would be interested in bidding for such work.

But Mr Dybell said: "Our facility is one-and-a-half miles away from Cammell Laird and in the middle of two petro-chemical companies, so it would not be as sensitive as the Cammell Laird site."

He said the two partners aim to create new shipyard jobs, but initially the venture will help safeguard the jobs of their combined 70-strong workforce.

Current work includes building barges for British Waterways in a deal by Warbreck Engineering.

KNOTT END FERRY

A solution could soon be at hand for the beleaguered Fleetwood to Knott End ferry.

The new £350,000 craft has been out of action for five weeks with engine trouble and experts from Lancashire and Wyre councils have been unable to find a solution.

Now an extra £4,000 has been spent on a specially-appointed consultant who is preparing a report which is expected within days.

A Wyre Council spokesman said: "A consultant has visited Fleetwood, inspected the craft and is writing a report which is expected to be received very soon.

"When the report is received there will be a meeting to discuss the findings and, hopefully, a course of action will emerge."

The county portfolio holder responsible for the ferry, County Coun Tony Martin, said: "We've a jet engine which sucks up water and blasts it out again. We got that for good engineering reasons - it clears its own path as  it goes across the river.

"No-one knows why it isn't working and, as a result of it sucking up some of the river bed, there were questions about whether grilles on it are suitable.

"Theoretically it should cause less maintenance rather than more, as we have now. "From a fantastic replacement vehicle which is going to maintain the ferry for the next 10 years we've had it working for three minutes and it's broken."

The new boat should have been the answer for a service which been unreliable in the past and has not always run in winter.

But the new ship has been dogged by delays since it was constructed in Pembrokeshire.

After it arrived last August there were hold-ups while sufficient staff were trained and adjustments were also needed to the craft.  The service eventually resumed in April 2006.

When the vessel is running, she provides great manoeuvrability with bow

thrusters and powerful engines. She is resistant to damage with a steel hull

A county council spokesman said whether the extra £4,000 could be recovered under warranty depended on the contents of the consultant's report. 04 July 2006 Blackpool Gazette.

ARTEMIS

The tall ship ARTEMIS was noted to still be at Canning Half Tide Basin on Wednesday July 05. She was supposed to have commenced an Irish Sea Golfers Cruise on July 02 which would have concluded at Glasgow on July 13.

July 2, 2006Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Ian Collard and "others"

ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY

BEN-MY-CHREE - The company issued the following press release on Thursday concerning the Round The Island Cruise.

The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company flagship Ben My Chree will operate the very popular `Round the Island Cruise' on Saturday 15th  July 2006.

The cruise has been operated by the Company for many years and is always a sell out. Ben My Chree operated her first cruise last year on the most perfect summer evening to celebrate the Company's 175th anniversary.

Ben My Chree will depart Douglas harbour at 18.45 hrs with an estimated return time of 23.30 hrs after exploring the Islands beautiful and spectacular coastline.

The cruise fare is £17.50 for adults and £12.50 for children which includes a buffet meal, complimentary drink and musical entertainment.

Hamish Ross, Steam Packet Managing Director said, `Our Round the Island cruises have become very much a part of the Island's summer scene and are always well supported by residents and visitors alike.

We regard it as one of our special and unique roles outside of our day to day shipping responsibilities to the Isle of Man'.

In the interests of added passenger comfort tickets are strictly limited and intending passengers are advised to book early to avoid disappointment.

Tickets can be booked only at The Ferry Travel Shop, Sea Terminal Building, Douglas or by telephone on 08705 523 523.

TYNWALD DAY CELEBRATIONS

Visitors to the Island and residents alike will be offered a range of Manx delicacies on all Steam Packet sailings as the Company joins in with the Manx National Day celebrations centred around Tynwald Day on 5th July.

During the period 1st to 9th July, the Company will be serving their passengers such Manx traditional fayre as bonnag, Manx crab sandwiches, Manx Loughtan Lamb 'Bangers and Mash' and of course Manx kippers.

To add to the Tynwald Day celebrations, all children travelling on 5th July will be given a Manx flag.

Hamish Ross, Steam Packet Managing Director said, 'What better way to treat our passengers whether arriving or leaving our Island than to offer the best of our own Manx traditional food especially during the Island's unique celebrations. Our special menus will compliment the large selection of Manx goods always on sale on board our vessels throughout the year'.

Recently, the Company was presented with a plaque to mark its support for the Manx Welcome programme. This year alone, 65 Steam Packet personnel ashore and afloat have completed the course developed in partnership between  government and industry to improve customer care, communication, food hygiene and health and safety.

Following a long standing tradition, Steam Packet vessels will be dressed overall on Tynwald Day with Manx flags very much in evidence as they sail around the Irish Sea.

LAXEY TOWING COMPANY

Those ship enthusiasts who will be heading to Douglas for the BEN-MY-CHREE RTI on Saturday evening July 15 may also like to take advantage of a cruise to Castletown on board the Laxey Towing Company's KARINA.

The vessel will depart Villier's Steps - just outside the Douglas Sea Terminal at 14:00 connecting with the 13:30 SUPERSEACAT TWO arrival from Liverpool.

She will return to Douglas in good time around 17:15 to 17:30 for the BEN-MY-CHREE cruise which departs at 18:45.

NORFOLK LINE

During July and August on the Liverpool to Belfast sailings, every Friday and Saturday night local talent Daniel Noble will entertain passengers with singing.

On Saturday and Sunday day sailings Bingo sessions will be offered on board.

From July there will be an on board beauticians on the Belfast - Liverpool route offering passengers a range of onboard beauty treatments from facials to manicures, acrylic nails and pedicures!

BELFAST MARITIME FESTIVAL

Eight tall ships attended Belfast's first Maritime Festival including RUTH, DE GALLANT, ZEBU, GRAND TURK, TENACIOUS. Other vessels visiting were HMS RAMSEY and the German Navy's FGS BRANDENBURG

MERSEY FERRIES

Some work appears to have been undertaken this week on the sunken George's Landing Stage - the framing of the pagoda tent which was at the bottom of the bridge has been cut away.

BRITISH WATERWAYS PIER HEAD CANAL

A report in the Liverpool Echo this week revealed that the multi-million pound waterfront canal could be re-routed at the last minute, leading to West Waterloo dock being filled in.

An extension to the Leeds-Liverpool has been planned for more than two years.

But weeks before work was due to start, British Waterways wants to change the route.

They say the flagship 2008 scheme would go ahead even if their request was rejected by the council.

Residents fear filling in the dock would provide potential new building sites.

Work is due to start this summer on the link between the Leeds-Liverpool canal and the Albert dock via the Pier Head.

But if British Waterways plans are allowed, the route would be shifted several metres inland at Trafalgar dock, allowing more attractive landscaping.

West Waterloo dock would then be filled in with rubble dug up from the Pier Head to create a flat area.

Residents have reacted angrily to the proposal - while the ECHO understands council planners are also unhappy with the dock being filled.

British Waterways has already shelved one re-design following council talks.

A spokesman said: "We are just looking at a slightly different, improved route and it does not affect the entire scheme."

Residents at the Waterloo Quay apartments, which overlook West Waterloo dock, pledged to fight the plans.

Tony O'Leary, chairman of the residents association, said: "These docks are part of Liverpool's heritage and they need to be preserved.

"When we bought these apartments, one of the attractions was the environment, overlooking water.

"We supported British Waterways' initial application wholeheartedly because there was never any indication that West Waterloo dock would be filled in.

"Filling in the dock would create a valuable piece of land. But it might take 20 years for that land to settle, and for all that time it would be a derelict mess in an historic dock area."

Kirkdale councillor Malcolm Kennedy said: "We have had no indication of what might eventually be built on the infilled dock, and I find that dishonest.

"The canal project will be wonderful for the whole city and I am also concerned that making changes now could delay it unnecessarily." [Liverpool Echo]

 

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