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


September 27Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Maritime Clippings and "others"


I would like to thank Philip Simons of the World Ship Society Small Craft Group for pointing out an error in the caption concerning HMCC SENTINEL which was posted at the weekend. Given that there had been a recorded change in vessel management between the customs service and "unknown" according to Equasis it had been assumed that he letters SIS under "disposal" which appeared in in Philip's very useful "Class Directory of HM Customs & Excise Cutters and Launches" suggested the vessel's transfer to the Secret Intelligence Service. Apparently SIS - was indicative of the vessel being "Still In Service"!


Christmas and New Year Cruises to Holland announced from only £139 per person

As the major ferry operator on the western channel sailing between the UK and France and the UK and Spain, Rotterdam may seem a little off the beaten track for Brittany Ferries. The reason for this slight diversion, however, is that its £100 million flagship, PONT-AVEN, has been chartered by specialist tour operator, Cruise World, for two very special 4-day cruises from Portsmouth to Rotterdam, one over Christmas and the other over the New Year period.

Departing on 24th and 29th December, respectively, each allows 2 days ashore in Rotterdam. With prices starting at only £139 per person for either cruise (based on 2 people sharing), these cruises represent outstanding value. To book call Cruise World on 0870 743 1000.


Ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne has confirmed that MV BRUERNISH, built in James Lamont and Co Ltd, Port Glasgow, 1973, has left the Cal-Mac fleet.

The ship was sold on Monday September 25 and left Oban the following day bound for her new home port.

Cal-Mac understands that the ship will be used to operate freight services on the west coast of Ireland.

Cal-Mac Operations Director Phil Preston said: "We wish the ship and her new owners well. MV BRUERNISH has served the company well, particularly on the Gigha station for 13 years, and I am sure that her new owners will find her a useful addition to their own operation."


KILMORE - the former CHONG MING DAO is undergoing work in China in preparation for her deployment on the Liverpool - Dublin route.


SEA EXPRESS I - after returning to service to replace the ailing SUPERSEACAT TWO, the veteran 74m Incat, experienced technical problems on Sunday September 24. This resulted in slow running on her afternoon round trip to Liverpool and an arrival back in Douglas just after 23:00. Monday sailings were cancelled with passengers diverted to the BEN-MY-CHREE. She returned to service on Tuesday September 26 and was again noted running rather slowly in the morning though later that day she had returned to what appears to be her normal operating speed of around 30knots.

On Wednesday September 27 her 14:30 sailing to Belfast and the 18:30 return sailing were cancelled due to adverse conditions. These sailings have been rescheduled to Thursday morning September 28 at 06:30 returning at 10:30. This has resulted in the cancellation of the 07:30 sailing to Liverpool and the return 11:00 sailing - passenger being rerouted via the BEN-MY-CHREE.

Photo: SSC2 Wet Basin, NSL Birkenhead September 26, 2006 by John Thomas


Hopes that the troubled Fleetwood to Knott End ferry could be back in the water this week have been dashed.

And it could still be two months before the service, touted as a year round facility, is back in action.

Earlier this month the man responsible for the service, Lancashire County Councillor Tony Martin, said repairs were underway and he hoped service could resume by this week.

But that has now been scuppered, with repairs still on-going and unlikely to be finished soon. Some equipment has to be sent back to Finland where it was made.

The state-of-the-art new ferry boat was pulled out of service just weeks after it was launched in April following damage to the boat's powerful thrusters.

The county council spent £500,000 on the vessel as well as improvements to the landing stages, with Wyre Council agreeing to operate it for 10 years. This week Coun Martin spoke of his bitter disappointment at the continuing delays.

He said: "I am as sick as a parrot about this. It is desperately disappointing for all concerned.

"We hope things can be sorted out as quickly as possible, and that once things are put right, they will stay right."

Wyre Council said this week that Taylor Marine of Liverpool have been commissioned to organise the repairs to the ferry which are underway.

The council understands it could be seven weeks before the work is completed. The part that needs to go to Finland is part of the impellor system which needs to be repaired after it was damaged by stones drawn into the jet propulsion system which it is hoped to cure by placing guards over the inlets.

 A Wyre Borough spokesman said: " It is important to try and get these repairs right first time to avoid more problems in the future."


Technical problems have delayed the introduction of electronic toll collection on the Tamar Bridge and Torpoint ferries by eight weeks, it has emerged. The scheme, which will replace the present paper voucher system for regular users, will now be introduced around the end of November.

General manger David List told the Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferries Joint Committee yesterday that while much of the work had gone smoothly and was on time, there had been difficulties with the detailed design and procurement of the lane control signs.

Dean and Dyball have also experienced a delay in the manufacture of the toll-booths, due to the complex geometrical requirements of the roof structure.

Mr List said: "These issues have all now been resolved and a recent inspection of the booths at the factory demonstrated construction to a high standard. It is expected that the first three booths will be brought to site at the end of September."

Toll system contractors Tescidel have continued with their development work on the software application, including integration of the approved hand-held unit for ferry toll collection, lane control and payment signs and 'merchant services' for the debit and credit card application. Complete site trials are expected in mid-October, with full commissioning of the system in late November.


New tests on the wreck of a French trawler have pointed to fresh potential links between the tragedy and two British nuclear submarines.

The Brittany-based BUGALED BREIZH went down about 19 miles off the Cornish coast in January 2004, killing five crewmen.

A NATO exercise was taking place in the area at the time, which included submarines HMS TORBAY, HMS TURBULENT and the DOLFIJN, a Dutch submarine. Tests by a French government laboratory have revealed traces of titanium on the 72ft trawler's cables. The discovery has prompted some experts to conclude a submarine became tangled in the cables and caused the boat to sink as it manoeuvred to free itself. Submarines are covered in titanium-based paint.

Christian Bergot, the lawyer representing the victims' families, said the substance was taken from a cable that was between 40 and 50 metres deep - about the same depth at which submarines were operating nearby.

Richard Foltzer, the French investigating judge heading the inquiry, also told families of the victims last month that a submarine may have been responsible for the sinking.

Dominique Perben, the French transport minister, said the theory of a collision with a submarine was still being examined by investigators.

French authorities initially believed the trawler had been rammed by a container ship after prosecutors said photographs of the trawler suggested it went down after "a very violent collision".

An investigation by French TV channel FR3 last year claimed the vessel was sunk by HMS TURBULENT. It claimed the submarine returned to Devonport naval base hours after the disaster in need of repairs to its hull.

But Ministry of Defence officials later insisted the submarine had been in the naval base throughout the day. They claimed the nearest submarine at the time had been HMS TORBAY, about 100 miles away.

Dutch officials have said that the DOLFIJN was also at least six miles away.



The MAIB report has been published into the grounding of the PS WAVERLEY at Girvan harbour on August 07, 2006. As can be seen from the report the press accounts of the incident were widely exaggerated!

WAVERLEY had made her approach to Girvan a little over an hour late before LW, to pick up more passengers for an evening cruiser. The usual practice was for the vessel to contact the harbour master before approach, but this was omitted on this occasion.

The depth below keel was monitored on the way in and the least depth recorded was 0.9m. This was as expected. The ship remained alongside for 10 minutes, and then prepared to sail. The stern lines were let go, and the headlines tightened so that the vessel pivoted around the paddle box, and the stern moved away from the jetty.

The vessel then started to move astern, and having moved no further than 2 metres, contact was felt on the starboard side aft. Two further attempts were made after swinging the stern further from the jetty in each case. They were unsuccessful and the vessel re-berthed to await the tide.

On the day in question, the tidal height was approximately 0.3m below its predicted level. There was no tidal gauge in the harbour, so people had not registered this.

Dredging work was being carried out in the harbour, and a survey carried out that morning by the harbour master showed that there was sufficient depth of water in the entrance, but that the shallower patch at the seaward end of the jetty had yet to be dredged. It is probable that Waverley briefly touched this patch on her way out. A survey of the vessel the following day found no damage.


The Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents has written to Waverley Excursions Limited, the operators of WAVERLEY, to note the positive response to previous recommendations, and to encourage a positive reporting procedure with the harbour master when using Girvan. He also wrote to the Chief Executive of South Ayrshire Council, the owners of the port, to encourage the placing of a tide gauge near the entrance to the port, so that an approaching vessel can see the actual height of tide in the port.


September 24Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Ian Collard, Carl Lawrenson and "others"


The future of Appledore as an attraction for tourists to North Devon has been dealt a massive blow. Appledore businessman Chris Ommanney is to close the Appledore to Instow ferry service, Schooners coffee shop, Quay Cabin gift shop and Tarka Cruises.

This will leave a gaping hole in the Appledore tourism industry. Mr Ommanney said he was saddened by the closures which are for financial reasons.

Speaking from the Sea Chest in Appledore, another shop he owns, Mr Ommanney told the Journal: "I am very worried about Appledore's future, but I can't run a business on one month of trade."

He has run the ferry service on SWIFTSURE for 24 years and Tarka Cruises on NEPTUNE for 10 years.

"The lack of tourists is the reason behind the closures," he said. "Appledore used to be serviced by coaches that parked in Churchfields car park.

"They used to come from Germany, Holland and across Britain and people would take a boat trip and spend money in the local shops.

"Now the coaches can't get through, as people park on the quay, so they have stopped coming here."

Mr Ommanney said subsidies from Devon County Council and the Countryside Agency had also stopped, while insurance costs had soared.

While all the closures will have a huge impact on the village, it is the end of the ferry service which saddened Mr Ommanney the most.

The ferry has been operating for more than a century and used to carry passengers and mail from Instow Railway Station.

It was run by the Johns family of Instow from the 1870s and operated every 15 to 20 minutes, for two to three hours either side of high tide, between Easter and October.

Once the railway closed, the ferry continued to operate as a tourist attraction.

Mr Ommanney added: "Much to my disgust, I have got to let the boats go. "It is very sad because I love my boats."

James Morris of the North Devon Marketing Bureau said: "We are trying to compete more and more with UK and foreign-based holidays and the loss of the Appledore to Instow ferry will have a negative impact on tourism in the area.

"It is a real shame, as both Appledore and Instow attract large numbers of holiday-makers.

"The ferry was an extra attraction that added to the uniqueness of the area and was one of those things that made part of a day out while on holiday.

"North Devon is trying to spend a lot on marketing itself and we need attractions like these up and running, as once lost, they are very hard to replace.

"We would like to encourage both tourists and local people to use the attractions that are here on our doorstep."

South West Tourism chief executive Malcolm Bell echoed Mr Morris's sentiments: "This closure is regrettable.

"One of the challenges we have is getting people out of their cars." Ferries are a very attractive proposition and are good for the environment, tourism and local people.

"It is very sad that it has closed and it will affect the quality of holiday experiences for many people." [NORTH DEVON JOURNAL]


ATHENA - it appears that the veteran 1948 built passenger ship which has visited Liverpool several times this season had a lively trans-Atlantic crossing this week between Falmouth and New York. A report in the New York Times suggests she encountered seas with up to a 40ft swell. The rough weather apparently caused a doctor to be knocked to the floor with fatal results - the body having to be put ashore at Halifax.



Irish Ferries have commenced taking bookings for 2007 sailings on their Ireland - France services.

For those keen to secure their preferred travel dates, an attractive early booking offer promises next year sailings at current year rates for all who book before 6th January next.

Other attractive packages on offer include a web fare from EUR99 one way for a car plus driver and discounts of up to 30% on Short Breaks of up to 6 nights in France valid for travel from Ireland up to 19th June.

Also included in the mix is the ever-popular Mini-Cruise to France for just EUR99 per person return, which includes two nights cabin accommodation. A car can be carried for only EUR59 return extra when two travel. This package is valid for travel out of Ireland up to 19th June.

In light of the various difficulties that have affected air travel in recent times, Irish Ferries are forecasting a significant swing back to Continental motoring holidays next year.

To encourage this trend, the bonus of a free cruise ferry trip to Britain for a car plus 2 passengers is offered to all who take a return car trip on their direct service to France between 1st June and 31st August next.

To underline what Irish Ferries regard as another point of comparison in their 'flying is plane crazy' campaign, customers are reminded that fares quoted for 2007 include all taxes and fuel surcharges.



Passenger figures compiled by the Harbours Division for July 2006 at 81,959 show a 0.1% increase on the figure for the same period in 2005 which was 81,421.

The year to date figure at 341,356 passengers shows a 1.3% decrease over the same period in 2005 which was 345,912.

During June, car and motorcycle traffic through Douglas Harbour decreased by 5.5% from 18,915 vehicles to 17,881 vehicles.

The year to date figure at 100,386 vehicles shows a 1.2% decrease over the same period in 2005 which was 101,639.

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






Minus 7%




Minus 13%




Plus 5%




Minus 1%



Director of Harbours, Captain Michael Brew comments:

“In general passenger traffic remains static with 2006 figures very close to those for 2005.”

September 20Acknowledgements: Kevin Bennett, Jenny Williamson and "others"


It appears that the Steam Packet could be about to enter the TT Festival accommodation business according to a press release issued on September 20:

2007 TT ACCOMMODATION – Unique Opportunity!

Are you or do you know anyone you know looking for accommodation with a difference for the TT Centenary in 2007?

If the answer is yes, then Steam Packet Holidays is investigating a unique opportunity that you may wish to consider.

We are looking at bringing in a Norwegian cruise ship, which will be berthed alongside the Victoria Pier in Douglas harbour for 10 days.

Before we proceed with this venture, we need to know whether there will be sufficient demand and are offering you the opportunity to reserve a cabin now. Payment in full will be required by October 15th. We will reserve cabins in strict order of receipt of replies should we go ahead with this exciting venture.

Prices for cabins are as follows and for the 10 day period from May 31st - June 9th, 2007:

Standard Inner: £90 per person per day

Standard Outer: £100 per person per day

Suite: £150 per person per day

Large Suite: £200 per person per day

All cabins have external views with the exception of the Standard Inners. Standard cabins have twin beds and the suites all have double beds. All have showers, toilet and wash hand basin en-suite. Three of the Standard Cabins have been adapted for disabled use.

Prices are quoted per person based on two people sharing, with single occupancy prices available on request.

These prices include breakfast, buffet lunch and evening meal served in the Halogaland Restaurant which will have views overlooking Douglas Bay.

Bookings can only be accepted for the full 10 day period.

Other facilities on board include two lounges with bar facilities, a cafe with 24 hour service, gym and sauna, treadmill, exercise bikes and a multigym, outside Jacuzzis, internet cafe, library, self service laundry and a wonderful observation lounge from where you can view the magnificent sweep across Douglas Bay.

Jenny Williamson writes: "It appears that the ship in question could be the NORDNORGE. She will be positioning back from the South Atlantic and possibly dry- docking at  around that time. LYNGEN is set to cover for her until 6 June 2006, but could probably be kept out for another round trip."


SEA EXPRESS I The first autumn gales disrupted sailings on September 20 with SE1 sailings being cancelled. Liverpool passengers were routed via Heysham whilst those bound for Belfast are being sent via Heysham and P&O from Cairnryan.


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

Latest monthly figures show that there were seven new detentions of foreign flagged ships in UK ports during August 2006, along with one other ship still under detention from the previous month, compared with six new detentions during July. The overall rate of detentions compared with inspections carried out over the last twelve months dipped just below 5%, a slight decrease compared with Julys twelve month rate.

During the month of August 167 Port State Control inspections were carried out in the UK, which brings the recorded total from January to August this year to 1149 inspections. For those ships inspected during August a total of 50 vessels had no deficiencies raised against them, 76 had between one and five deficiencies, 23 had between six and ten deficiencies, 16 had between eleven and twenty deficiencies and 2 vessels had more than twenty deficiencies.

Four general cargo vessels, two bulk carriers and one ro-ro cargo vessel were detained in August, one vessel was registered with a flag state listed on the Paris MOU black list, two were registered with a state on the grey list and four were registered with states on the white list.

Among the vessels detained in the UK in August were:

• a 47,500 GT ro-ro cargo vessel detained at Port of Tyne with car deck ventilator trunking corroded through and repaired with tape, also severe corrosion to the port lifeboat davit arms;
• a 21,030 GT bulk carrier detained at Tilbury for defective lifeboat launching gear, an inoperative emergency fire pump and inadequate fire drill.


Date & Place of detention: 02/08/2006 – Port of Tyne
Vessel Name: GLOBAL SPIRIT (Ro-ro Cargo Vessel)
GT: 47,500
IMO No: 8517279
Flag: Liberia
Company: World Marine Co Ltd
Classification Society: Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (NKK)
Summary: 6 deficiencies in total, detained for 2 days with severe corrosion to the port lifeboat davit arms and several car deck vent trunkings, which had been patched with tape: the three-monthly ventilation control plan report to the company indicated that the vents were in good condition. The vessel was released on 04/08/2006.

Date & Place of detention: 08/08/2006 – Southampton
Vessel Name: VINETA (General Cargo Vessel)
GT: 916
IMO No: 7396460
Flag: Norway
Company: Flekkefjord Bulk A/S
Classification Society: n/a
Summary: 23 deficiencies in total, detained for 3 days for inoperative NAVTEX and oily water separator, oily bilge water in engine room bilges, holed forward cargo hold venting ducts (port and starboard) and seized lifeboat launching gear (port and starboard). The vessel was released on 11/08/2006.

Date & Place of detention: 11/08/2006 – Silvertown
Vessel Name: STEFANIS (Bulk Carrier)
GT: 12,557
IMO No: 7632929
Flag: St Vincent and the Grenadines
Company: Pikey Navigation, Piraeus
Classification Society: American Bureau of Shipping (ABS)
Summary: 9 deficiencies in total, detained for 4 days with an inoperative MF/HF radio installation, inoperative NAVTEX and inadequate radar. The vessel was released on 15/08/2006.

Date & Place of detention: 11/08/2006 – Tilbury
Vessel Name: GO PRIDE (Bulk Carrier)
GT: 21,030
IMO No: 8018015
Flag: Bahamas
Company: John J Rigos Marine Enterprises SA
Classification Society: Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (NKK)
Summary: 22 deficiencies in total, detained for 10 days with defective lifeboat launching gear, inoperative emergency fire pump and inadequate fire drill. The vessel was released on 21/08/2006.

Date & Place of detention: 16/08/2006 – Port of Tyne
Vessel Name: PIONER YAKUTIL (General Cargo Vessel)
GT: 5,370
IMO No: 7646750
Flag: Russia
Company: Northern Ship Management
Classification Society: Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RMRS)
Summary: 5 deficiencies in total, detained for 2 days with lifeboats not properly maintained and corrosion to the hatch covers. The vessel was released on 18/08/206

Date & Place of detention: 17/08/2006 – Hartlepool
Vessel Name: AMUL 2511 (General Cargo Vessel)
GT: 3,086
IMO No: 9155418
Flag: Russia
Company: Transonega Shipping
Classification Society: Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RMRS)
Summary: 8 deficiencies in total, detained for 1 day with ventilators to accommodation, boiler room and laundry room corroded through at deck level. The vessel was released on 18/08/2006.

Date & Place of detention: 29/08/2006 – Ipswich
Vessel Name: KARL LEONHARDT (General Cargo Vessel)
GT: 4,397
IMO No: 7352464
Flag: Malta
Company: Leonhardt & Blumberg Schiffahrtsgesellschaft
Classification Society: Germanischer Lloyd
Summary: 15 deficiencies in total, detained for 2 days with serious corrosion to lifeboat davits starboard aft and port forward. The vessel was released on 31/08/2006.


Date & Place of detention: 26/07/2006 – Howdendyke
Vessel Name: LYRA (General Cargo Vessel)
GT: 1,511
IMO No: 7232963
Flag: Estonia
Company: OU Esman
Classification Society: Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RMRS)
Summary: Vessel detained with 24 deficiencies recorded before the Port State Control inspection was suspended. The inspection revealed numerous SOLAS-related deficiencies, forward focsle bulkhead holed and the engine room very oily – a major fire risk. The vessel was released on 05/08/2006.


Those who remember the popular long running BBC Period Drama "The Onedin Line" which was set in Liverpool but filmed in the West Country may be interested to know the series 3 and series 4 can be obtained from outlets in mainland Europe quiet easily over the web through Ebay.

Unfortunately in the UK the BBC have only ever released series 1 and 2 - first on VHS and later on DVD.

However, the series had a big following on mainland Europe and the Dutch DVD producer "Memphis Belle" has issued series 3 and series 4 (They also publish series 1 and 2).

The DVDs for series 3 and 4 are the full episodic instalments of the series. Unlike series 1 and 2 they have not been edited together.

All dialogue is in English by the way, the Dutch subtitles can be switched off.

If you wish to renew your acquaintance with this series or discover it for the first time a search on Ebay will quickly return details or dealers in the Netherlands and Germany who stock the disks at very reasonable prices.


The R&H Hall mill and grain store in Cork city has been extensively damaged in a fire.

Seven units of Cork fire service fought the blaze on Kennedy Quay assisted by the Port of Cork tug GERRY O'SULLIVAN which has fire-fighting capability.

Gardaí are treating the fire as suspicious. The silos were almost full with 6,000 tons of Barley.

Four people are employed in the grain stores, which were extensively damaged.


Thousands of Navy servicemen stormed a Cornish beach on September 19 and 20 as part of a massive military exercise. Operation Vela 2006 involves up to 3,000 personnel from the Royal Navy, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Ships, Royal Marine Commandos and Royal Navy helicopters.

Naval chiefs say the deployment is designed to demonstrate the UK's ability to conduct coastal and beach operations in hot equatorial and jungle environments.

Vela 2006 consists of two phases. The first, Exercise Grey Cormorant, began on September 4 at a beach near Vellan Head, near RNAS Culdrose, and will run until September 22. It incorporates Royal Marines boat and air training, helicopter and boat raids and saw a dramatic amphibious Commando assault on the beach on Monday and yesterday.

The second, Exercise Green Eagle, is to take place from October 11 to November 5 in Sierra Leone, West Africa. It includes jungle training and supporting international military training teams in Sierra Leone.

Commodore Phil Jones, who is in charge of the operation, said: "It proves our global reach and is a clear display and application of military force from the sea to inland areas." [Western Morning News].


Thousands of Westcountry jobs could be lost if Devonport Naval Base is axed, following a government review, fears were expressed last night.

There are worries the base could close after Secretary of State for Defence, Des Browne, announced a review of the size, scale and operation of the Plymouth base.

Mr Browne's six-month review, announced yesterday in the House of Commons, will look at all naval bases across the country.

Around 1,000 military personnel and 4,000 civilians are employed at Devonport, which services Royal Navy vessels, including the huge Trident submarines that carry Britain's nuclear deterrent.

Gary Streeter, Conservative MP for South West Devon, said: "We have a battle for survival on our hands - if the base gets the chop it will rip the very heart and soul out of our city."

Sixty years ago, Devonport dockyard employed 21,000 people but with the demise of the Cold War in 1987 that figure had plummeted to 11,000.

It was partially privatised with Devonport Management Limited (DML) brought in to manage the site.

Between 1987 and 1991 a further 6,000 jobs went. In February, it was revealed that a reduction in submarine work would lead to more job losses.

Coupled with bleak projections about its other future work, DML bosses announced their intention to slash the number of jobs to 3,800 by 2008.

There are three main naval bases in the UK - Devonport, Portsmouth and Faslane, near Glasgow.

Mr Streeter said: "There is a real threat the Government might decide the country can get by with just one naval base.

"Faslane will be safe because it is for specialist submarines such as Trident.

"If the conclusion of the review is for only one other base then it will be a fight between ourselves and Portsmouth."

Lib-Dem defence spokesman Nick Harvey, whose constituency includes the Appledore shipyard, owned by DML, said the announcement was "worrying".

Mr Harvey, MP for North Devon, said: "It does sound serious. Views differ as to whether the Government intends to cut one base altogether or inflict a bit of pain on each, but it is worrying.

"Because of the nuclear work at Plymouth it is hard to see it being closed. But if they decide to inflict a bit of pain on each then it could well have job implications for Devonport."

Colin Breed, Lib-Dem MP for South East Cornwall, warned that any move to downgrade Devonport Naval Base would also have implications for the dockyard, the region's largest private employer.

Mr Breed said: "As Devonport is associated with the dockyard, it's inconceivable we would close the naval base at Plymouth and maintain the dockyard."

Mr Browne said the review of naval bases was needed to ensure "their capacity is no more and no less than we need to support the needs of the fleet now and in the years to come".

Recommendations from the review are expected to be finalised in spring 2007. [WESTERN MORNING NEWS]


A teenage girl had to be airlifted from a training sailing ship off Plymouth. A rescue helicopter from RNAS Culdrose was called to the Tall Ships Youth Trust vessel PRINCE WILLIAM which was about 15 miles (24km) offshore.

The 17-year-old had become ill with seasickness and hypertension, coastguards in Brixham said. She was taken to Derriford Hospital for treatment.

Coastguards said she may rejoin the ship when it docks in Dartmouth on Sunday The £5.5m Prince William is a 195ft (59.4m) square-rigged sailing ship which accommodates 19 crew and 48 young trainees. It was launched in 2001. [MARITIME CLIPPINGS]


September 17Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Andrew King, Michael Hamm, Jenny Williamson and "Others"


CHONG MING DAO - it appears that deployment of the second ship has been delayed.


SEA EXPRESS I made a welcome return to the Irish Sea on Monday September 11, 2006 replacing SUPERSEACAT TWO which has retreated to the wet basin at Birkenhead. During the course of the week she had gained "Legs of Man" roundels on her MES hatch covers as were carried during the last years of Sea Containers operations. However, no fleet names have been applied.

Your web master travelled on her on September 16 and she appeared to be in reasonable condition inside. However, it appears that no attempt has been made to replace some of the Irish Sea Express fixtures and fittings. In the forward section of the former Irish Sea Express Club Lounge there are pencil marks on a panel with the work "clock" on them! A couple of other points which your web master finds a little puzzling - why is there now less space given over to the Blue Riband Club as was provided previously on this vessel and also why have a new version of the silly "Wild West" saloon "flip flop" doors been inserted between Blue Riband and First at what amounts to face height your web master is sure it wont be long before someone gets hit in the face with one and observed at close call yesterday, furthermore the spring loaded doors are a hazard to crew carrying trays.

However, SEA EXPRESS I is only running at around 30 knots. She arrived on time at Liverpool at 20:00 on Saturday, but departed Douglas at 17:15 - a quarter of an hour ahead of schedule. On the outward journey she had departed Liverpool at 10:54 and arrived at Douglas at 13:40 there was a period of slow speed running in the vicinity of the new wind farm of Queens Channel and also a slight pause for a committal at the Liverpool Bar.

On Tuesday her 14:30 sailing to Liverpool departed early at 14:15 but was forced to return to Douglas at 14:40 due to a medical emergency on board which resulted in late running.


LV PLANET has been moved from the former McTay's fitting out berth where she has been undergoing repairs and painting. She was towed across the river to the Albert Dock on Wednesday September 13, 2006.



On the evening of the November 25, 2006 A Gala Evening to raise monies towards the restoration of NOMADIC will take place in Belfast at the Grand Opera House, followed by a Reception / Buffet in The Europa Hotel after the show. Tickets are £45 (inc. best seats in theatre).


Waterford County manager has strongly refuted accusations that it is to blame for the traffic chaos in Passage East by allegedly not doing enough to push the case at government level for funding for a vital access road for a new ferry terminal upriver from the village. Mr. Ray O’D-wyer rounded on the criticism levelled by the Passage East Car Ferry company by stating that the Co. Council was "absolutely not at fault in any way" for the access road for the proposed new ferry terminal not being in place. He issued the state-ment at this week’s Co. Council meeting and outlined in detail the recent lobbying the Council has engaged in on behalf of the project.

The meeting was told that County Engineer John O’Flynn had written to the Department of Environment during the summer requesting the proposed road be designated a Strategic National Route, like the access road to the South East Regional Airport, and that funding be allocated for the project as soon as possible.

"The Department wrote back to us on August 31 asking for further studies. The request for further information is quite significant. We will be responding straight away, and if we get the funding we will do it straight away but we couldn’t possibly take it on (from our own resources). It’s a significant sum of money. It’s €7m and it would serve the ferry only," said Mr O’Dwyer. The County Manager was responding to Passage East’s public representative Cllr. John Carey, who declared that he didn’t agree with the criticism levelled against the Council.

The Fine Gael councillor led several recent high profile residents protests over the traffic congestion in the village caused by vehicles travelling onto and from the car ferry across the Suir Estuary. The peak commuter time protests are currently suspended pending the out-come of negotiations between the residents, the car ferry company and local garda superintendent. Cllr. Carey told the Council meeting the protests were successful and boasted: "We caused havoc in Wexford". "We made certain demands and we are not walking away from this empty handed. We won’t walk away unless we get something achieved," he told the Council.

Cllr Carey said the residents were waiting for the Garda superintendent to come back to them. He requested a representative of the County Manager to attend the next round of talks as he believed it was important that the local authority sign-off on any decisions reached.



The former Mersey Docks and Harbour Company web site is currently being redeveloped by Peel Ports as new web site covering The Port of Liverpool and Manchester Ship Canal.


The salvage ship JACOMINA (1967) owned by Sea Salvage SL, of Cartagena, Spain was noted at anchor off the sunnken George's Landing Stage on Saturday September 16, 2006.

The buildings on the Prince's Landing Stage which were formerly used by the Isle of Man Steam Packet company as booking offices and waiting facilities up early 1995 have now been almost completely demolished.

Only part of the covered entrance walkway and building frame work remained by Saturday September 16. The landing stage lighting also appeared to have failed on Saturday. Passengers arriving on SEA EXPRESS I were greeted by an almost blacked out stage. None of teh lights on the northern section of the stage or foot bridge were working.

Meanwhile in the floating roadway cut a concrete foundation has been laid.


The Royal Navy officially welcomed a new Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship into service in Cornwall on September 15. A special ceremony was held at the vessel's affiliated town of Falmouth.

The state-of-the-art RFA, named Mounts Bay, is the first of the new class of landing ship.

There have been four made to replace six Sir Galahad class landing ships which have been gradually decommissioned in recent years.

The main task of an auxiliary ship is to supply warships with food, fuel and ammunition, but these new vessels are so advanced they can even disembark troops.

The ship's commanding officer, Captain Ross Ferris, said: "The few months since Mount's Bay was accepted from the shipbuilder, has been an intense but highly successful period and we are entering fleet service in record time."

One of the she ship's innovative features are electric propulsors - propellers on sticks enabling the vessel to turn 360 degrees very quickly, replacing the traditional rudders.

Weighing more than 16,000 tonnes with a full load, the Bay Class is much larger, with more flexibility and capabilities. They have twice the capacity of the ships they are replacing.

The vessels will support Royal Navy warships on patrol worldwide, enabling them to continue for many months at sea without the need to enter port for maintenance, supplies or other specialist services.

RFA Mounts Bay's first operational task will be to join a deployment to West Africa, with troops and equipment from 40 Commando Royal Marine.

The ship has the ability to carry four self-defence guns. She can transport and operate two medium Merlin-size helicopters or a single Chinook helicopter and can service the aircraft.

The aircraft can be refuelled on deck and in-flight, operating from the ship. [Western Morning News]


Has commenced a drop trailer service between Liverpool and Leixoes, Portugal. BALTIC EAGER was noted at the Celtic Link Terminal at Brocklebank Dock on Saturday - September 16. She sailed that evening.


STENA SEA TRADER - The introduction of the ship onto the Dublin - Holyhead route, which is currently at Birkenhead,  appears to have been delayed until October 02, 2006. Apparently the MCGA are not happy with her and more deck steel work is required.


September 10Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Ian Collard, Dan Cross, Michael Clarke, Alex McCormac, Carl Lawrenson and "Others"


The Northern Ireland Office has refused to reveal why it is holding up the tendering of the Campbeltown to Ballycastle ferry.

Two parties successfully filled in pre-qualification questionnaires in April to allow them to be considered as potential operators to reintroduce the Argyll -Ireland ferry link.

One party, headed by Pentland Ferries, was informed by the Scottish Executive at that time that the tender documents would be with them "in six weeks". But more than four months later the tender documents have still not been issued for the route, which people in Kintyre see as a sure way of boosting the local economy.

An agreement was reached between the Scottish Executive and the Northern Ireland office long ago that the ferry project would be a joint partnership.

The executive promised annual funding of £750,000, for a £1million subsidy for the route for the next five years, while the Irish agreed to fund the remaining £250,000 a year.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Executive confirmed on August 31 that the delay in tendering was being caused by the Northern Ireland Office.

She said: "The transport minister is in dialogue with the Northern Ireland Office and has expressed his disappointment at the time being taken, but we hope to have a resolution as soon as possible."

As yet another week passed with no progress on the route's reintroduction, the Press and Journal contacted the Northern Ireland Office.

But a spokeswoman for the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment would only say: "This is currently with Enterprise Minister Maria Eagle for consideration. "Asked the reason for the delay, the spokeswoman said she could not comment.

Several people closely connected with the ferry plans claim the Northern Ireland Office is playing "political games" to put pressure on the Northern Ireland Assembly - which remains suspended - to meet again. But the department spokeswoman refused to comment on these suggestions.

Highlands and Islands MSP Jamie McGrigor, who has written to the First Minister demanding action, said the executive should get the tenders out, fund the Irish subsidy contribution and then worry about reclaiming the cash.

Mr McGrigor said: "It's absolutely ridiculous. There have been two election promises that there is going to be a Campbeltown ferry and I think it's scandalous if the people of Campbeltown and Kintyre have to wait because of some gerrymandering."

Argyll MSP George Lyon expressed concern that delays could cause potential operators to pull out and said: "I am totally exasperated that it is now more than two months since the Scottish Executive sought agreement from the Northern Ireland Office to move to the next stage of tendering. It appears to be caught up in the internal Northern Ireland politics." [Press and Journal]


The French judge investigating the sinking of a Breton trawler and the deaths of her five crewmembers off the Lizard two years ago has spoken for the first time of the possible involvement of a Dutch submarine. In a letter to the families of the lost crew of the BUGALED BREIZH, judge Richard Foltzer hinted strongly that the prime suspect is the DOLFIJN, despite strong denials of any involvement in the tragedy by the vessel's sub-commander and the Dutch Navy.

The DOLFIJN was taking part in a NATO exercise in the English Channel on the day of the tragedy and was said to be the closest submarine to the BUGALED BREIZH on the day she sank.

Monsieur Foltzer wrote to the families, saying: "After consulting with specialists in the fields of submarines we envisage carrying out further enquiries in Holland concerning the DOLFIJN."

The judge revealed that "in the light of certain conclusions reached by experts it appears more and more crucial to further examine the theory that a submarine became entangled in one or both of the BUGALED BREIZH's trawl cables".

The trawler and her cables were recovered during a salvage operation six months after the sinking and returned to the French port of Brest where they were subjected to detailed examination.

French suspicions about the Dutch submarine DOLFIJN began when it emerged that an inspection a few weeks after the sinking revealed damage to her hull. Details of the damage were given in a naval report handed to French judges after being leaked to a French newspaper. The damage report carried out in April 2004, three months after the tragedy, referred to a series of deep scratch marks and dents consistent with the submarine having collided with trawl gear and the hull of a smaller vessel.

The Dutch Navy put the damage down to the submarine having struck a series of cables linking floats to lobster pots.

A French journalist working for Le Telegramme De Brest, said that "a very reliable person working closely with investigators" had revealed details of the damage to the submarine.

His article also referred to testimony by a British Navy safety officer responsible for security in the sea area where the NATO exercise was taking place. According to the newspaper, the officer confirmed that the DOLFIJN was the only submarine present within a 25-mile radius of the spot where the BUGALED BREIZH sank. At 12.53pm on the day of the tragedy, the January 15 2004, 30 minutes before the French trawler sent out a distress call, the DOLFIJN was 12 miles from the collision point, according to the source.

The French newspaper revealed that shortly after the collision as they were heading towards the trawler's last known position after its distress call, Frederic Stephan, mate of the Bugaled's sister trawler the Eridan, and Ken Thomas, skipper of the British trawler Silver Dawn, both saw a submarine surface "from nowhere".

When the Eridan attempted to approach the submarine in question it "seemed to be intent on leaving the scene", according to Frederic Stephan.

In his testimony, the captain of the DOLFIJN maintained that he remained on the surface during the period when the collision occurred.

When the Dutch submarine was asked to produce its log book and "any other information relative to the day of the tragedy", the captain claimed that no records of its movements had been kept. Lawyers for the families of the lost crew have also claimed that the Dutch submarine commander's statements contained "anomalies inconsistent with the facts of the case" and contradictions.

A French television documentary later revealed that an unidentified red life raft was found floating near the spot where the BUGALED BREIZH sank a short time after the tragedy and an unidentified helicopter was seen hovering over the area.

It emerged that a British diver who arrived at the scene on board a second helicopter shortly afterwards was ordered to slash the life raft and sink it.

This summer the British, Dutch and German navies released secret documents containing positions of submarines which took part in a NATO exercise in the Channel on the day of the tragedy.

The three countries agreed to lift the secrecy ban on details of navy manoeuvres after pressure by the French Defence Ministry. The documents have now been given to the judicial authorities. Documents concerning the position of French vessels which took part in the exercise were handed over last year.


The Dart Valley Railway Company which operates the Paignton to Kingswear Railway as well the Totnes - Dartmouth and Dartmouth - Kingswear passenger ferries along with harbour and coastal cruise services is locked in battle with a major shareholder - Mr David Barry.

Mr. Barry now understandably wants a seat on the company board. What is of interest to those observing the maritime scene is the following comment from his letter to shareholders:

"River operations have shown a higher turnover than rail since their acquisition, higher growth than rail in 5 of the past 6 years, and higher profits than rail in 2005 but, judging by the special resolution at the AGM, the board seems to view them as ancillary. I detect a bias against the river on the part of some of the directors. The railway will always be the core operating division but I see more opportunities to expand river activities than rail. I recently suggested a potential marine opportunity to them which has been very successful in Guernsey"

This is how the local press have reported the matter:

Wealthy businessman David Barry wants to secure a place on the board of the Dart Valley Railway Company, which runs a nostalgic steam train service between Paignton and Dartmouth. He claims the company is in need of "fresh ideas" and is seeking election as a director. He sparked fears of a buyout in the past when he offered £14 for each £1 share in the company which runs the railway, which attracts more than 350,000 visitors a year.

His opponents claim Mr Barry is a maverick who "does not understand railways" and wants to strip the company of its assets and sell its land to developers.

Mr Barry claimed the directors were "behaving like a bunch of boys playing with a train set they don't want to share". "This scaremongering campaign against me is absolute nonsense," he said.

Last month, construction magnate Sir William McAlpine, who is one of the railway's directors, sent a letter to the 2,900 shareholders, warning that if Mr Barry were elected, the railway would become derelict and land would be sold to developers.

Now Mr Barry - who has so far been denied a place on the board by its ten directors even though he holds nearly 27 per cent of the shares in the railway - has called an extraordinary meeting of the railway board later this month, where he will seek election as a director.

Mr Barry, sole director of Guernsey-based Value Investments Limited, denied he wanted to buy the company outright and said he had no interest in destroying the railway in which he has spent 11 years acquiring shares. "Even if I wanted to, I couldn't afford to," he said. "To make a bid I would probably need to offer something like £20 per share, which would value the company at about £5 million. I don't have that type of money."

Railway general manager Barry Cogar said some members feared Mr Barry would use his power as a director to approve his company buying out shareholders. If Mr Barry increased his share in the company by just 3 per cent, he would be forced to make a takeover bid.

The extraordinary meeting will be held in the Singer Room at the Palace Hotel, Paignton, on Saturday, September 16 at noon. [Western Morning News].

More information can be found at


Commentary by Gary Andrews

In their new form listing numbers of passengers by UK port and listing the domestic passengers as an aggregate figure they are not as useful as previous but still produce some interesting facts.

With Easter it is always important to consider Q1 and Q2 figures together when comparing one year to another. Also it is notable that for the 4% growth in this quarter there was a 4% decline in the previous quarter.

Masked by an increase at Dover the number of passengers for the year to date are down, if not by much though an Easter in Q2 tends to generate more holiday traffic than Easter in Q1. Q3 will as always be the crunch of how well the routes are doing. We also need to bear in mind that most fares are lower than they have been for some time so at a time of flat or no growth the income is also lower. Some general comments (though before using this information I recommend that you carry out your own checks on these snippets): Gary Andrews

- Passenger figures at Ramsgate have gone up by about 6,000 so far this year.

- Dover has regained approximately 500,000 passengers over Q1 and Q2 2005 when passenger figures were badly hit by the chaos at Calais - at the same time the Channel Tunnel has lost around 300,000 passengers, obviously those that had switched from ferries last year. Given capacity increases at Norfolkline and the very poor year last year, the very low fares and the removal of Hoverspeed figures are still slightly down on Q2 2004.

- Newhaven - Dieppe has improved by 48% Q2 to Q2 and 39,000 passengers - impressive, though given the fares charged it remains to be seen how much of an improvement this will have on profitability.

- Plymouth routes are down 27,000 passengers so far this year. (Though only 1% on the quarter).

- Portsmouth saw a 15% Q2 to Q2 decline and 218,000 passengers lost compared to last year - this can be, at least in part, be attributed to loss of P&O's Le Havre capacity though with Trasmed and LD Lines operating the signs are of a shrinking market. Indeed overall the Western Channel is down 6% so far this year or 191,000 passengers.

- Swansea - Cork was virtually on a par with last year so far, down 2,000 passengers.

- Irish Ferries were flat at Pemboke Q2 to Q2 with 88,000 passengers though are down 4,000 so far this year.

- Stena's Fishguard - Rosslare had a good quarter, up 21,000 compared to Q2 2005 - though they remain down 7,000 passengers so far this year.

- Holyhead - Dublin routes were down 1% (575,000 to 572,000 Q2 2005 to Q2 2006) and down 80,000 passengers so far this year.

- Liverpool - Dublin routes, were down 22% Q2 to Q2 from 54,000 to 42,000 passengers and down 31,000 passengers so far this year. Q3 should show the impact of the loss of the Irish Sea Express service and any gains from Norfolkline's increase in capacity.

- Overall the Irish Sea was up 1% Q2 to Q2 but down 98,000 so far this year.

- Rosyth - Zeebrugge was down 40% from 56,000 to 34,000 and 30,000 for the year. Looking at the figures the reduction of to a one-ship service naturally has a bigger impact when the route is busier and people can't find a viable sailing to suit their travel plans.

- The Hull routes show a 12% Q2 to Q2 increase and 44,000 extra passengers so far this year to 474,000 passengers - P&O's Hull services are some of the most stable passenger routes in recent years.

- The Newcastle routes experienced a 3% decline in passenger numbers (6000 passengers). Year to date figures are down 41,000 passengers. Without a route by route breakdown it is difficult to establish where things are going wrong here.

- The Harwich routes were down 11% Q2 to Q2 or 32,000 passengers and 63,000 passengers year to date - surely down to continually falling numbers on the HSS and the closure of the DFDS Cuxhaven route.

- The overall numbers show a 4% Q2 to Q2 increase in International passengers and 129,000 passengers year to date and 1% Q2 to Q2 incease in Domestic passengers and a drop of 49,000 passengers year to date.


Irish Continental Group reported a rise in pre-tax profit for the six months to June of 2.7 mln eur from 1.7 mln but warned that it expects a "challenging revenue environment" in the second half.

The company reported revenue of 141.9 mln eur, up from 139.6 mln a year earlier and earnings per share of 10.6 cents compared with 6.4 cents.

Chairman John McGuckian said: "We have achieved a solid result inchallenging circumstances. Our labour cost savings and capacity management have compensated for a demanding trading environment."

But he said the peak tourist season, the company's most important period, had seen growth in freight but weaker car volumes, which are down 12 pct overall year-on-year.

He warned for the second half that: "New competing freight capacity coming on stream in the second half may affect our ability to grow our freight business, against a backdrop of expected market growth.

"Overall we expect a challenging revenue environment in the second half mitigated by the flow through of our cost savings."

Full details can be found at


BEN-MY-CHREE - the ship had one of her scheduled maintenance breaks over the evening of September 09 /10 and the  20:00 / 02:15 sailings did not operate.

However, a regular correspondent to ISS spotted the following sailing information update early on Sunday morning:

Sunday 10th September 2006


Heysham to Douglas at 02:15 - Arrived at 05:25

The ship didn't sail - the errant message was later corrected.

SEA EXPRESS I departed from NSL BIRKENHEAD just after mid-day on September 09. After departure of SSC2 she moved to the stage after stemming the tide for a while. She arrived at Douglas just after 18:00. She is expected to re-enter service on September 11.

The company issued the following press release this week confirming the reactivation of SEA EXPRESS I to replace the ailing SUPERSEACAT TWO:

The 74 metre fast craft Sea Express 1 will enter service for The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company in September.

The Company has put her through a full overhaul in Birkenhead, and the craft formerly known as Seacat Isle of Man will assume the schedules operated by fast craft Superseacat Two which is presently operating on three of its four engines after suffering the failure of a gear box which necessitated it being removed from the craft and despatched to its manufacturers in Germany for assessment and repair.

Despite a temporary timetable being introduced to reflect its slower passage time, Superseacat Two has operated throughout August and the busy Manx Grand Prix completing 76 round trips.

The introduction of Sea Express 1 will enable the standard fast craft timetable to be reinstated.

The Company flagship Ben My Chree and Superseacat Two together with the chartered fast craft P&O Express carried around 24,000 passengers, 5,000 vehicles and 2,500 motor cycles from Liverpool, Heysham and Ireland to the Isle of Man for the 2006 Manx Grand Prix event.

Hamish Ross, Steam Packet Managing Director said, `The gear box assessment and repair programme is continuing but we are highly conscious of our commitment to the Island to provide a fast craft sea service. Although Superseacat Two continues to operate at an impressive 27 knots, Sea Express 1 will operate at above 30 knots.

We anticipate her arriving to take up her schedules on 11th September. We have appreciated the co-operation and understanding of our passengers during this period and apologise for any inconvenience incurred'.


SvitzerWijsmuller, the towage and salvage arm of AP Moller, has taken its spending on Adsteam Marine shares to close to $20m. For the fourth consecutive day this week the company raided the Australian stock market, this time picking up just 84,128 shares at AUD2.54 each.

In a formal announcement Thursday SvitzerWijsmuller confirmed that it now controls 10.1m Adsteam Marine shares, or 3.7% of the company. The Copenhagen-based company has now snapped up over 650,000 shares in Adsteam Marine since Friday.

Last week, SvitzerWijsmuller said it was “considering its options” after its bid for Adsteam was referred to the UK Competition Commission. SvitzerWijsmuller’s offer to acquire Adsteam was conditional on the proposed acquisition not being referred.

The UK Office of Fair Trading referred the bid over potential concerns about a monopoly in towage services within the UK. SvitzerWijsmuller launched its recommended offer for Adsteam in July in a deal that valued the Australian company at about AUD693m ($513m). [MARITIME CLIPPINGS]



SEA EXPRESS 1 departed #5 Dry Dock on Saturday September 09.

PHILLIP which has been in Bidston Dry Dock for a while undergoing bottom damage repairs is expected to depart this week

EUROPEAN MARINER is due to enter #6 Dry Dock on Monday - she has been operating on one engine since one of her propellor shafts was removed for repairs


RFA BAYLEAF is nearly complete at Keppel Shipyard in Singapore after undergoing refit.

NSL have a 12 month enabling contract to maintain the vessel.
RFA FORT VICTORIA is under going an 'assisted maintenance period' in Scotland.


STENA SEATRADER is still being upgraded and expected to leave around 16th September.
SAGA MOON is expected to entered the wet basin on September 07 for steel repairs following contact damage at Heysham.


The first images of a stunning Manhattan-style skyline for Birkenhead, with Wirral's own Three Graces to mirror Liverpool's historic waterfront, have been revealed.

Peel Holdings, owners of the Port of Liverpool, this week outlined graphic details of its £4. 5bn plan to transform the Birkenhead docks system with homes, offices, retail and leisure schemes.

It was described by Peel last night as the largest regeneration project in the UK.

Councillors in Wirral have already seen the ambitious plans which Peel has called Wirral Waters, and have given an enthusiastic welcome to the proposals.

Wirral council leader Cllr Steve Foulkes said: "It is a fantastic opportunity and will place the Mersey waterfront on a par with the world's greatest such as New York and Shanghai. Peel have a great track record for delivering and we will work with them over the coming months to move this forward."

Peel's development director Lindsey Ashworth has spent 18 months designing a scheme that over 30 years will see Wirral's waterfront become a cluster of skyscrapers. It includes 18m sq ft of developments and will create 27,000 full-time jobs.

"It will rank as the biggest regeneration scheme in the country," Mr Ashworth said.

He said Peel's track record, including Salford Quays and the Trafford Centre, demonstrated the ability of the family-owned company to carry out its scheme without public funding. Three 50-storey towers, already dubbed Wirral's Three Graces, will dominate the scheme which will also include a major retail shopping centre at Bidston Moss.

Mr Ashworth said the scale of the plan meant it needed a government public inquiry before work can start.

Peel, also owners of Liverpool John Lennon Airport, plan to submit a planning application next year.

The company wants to carry out major schemes across the river along Liverpool's waterfront.

All the land, 500 acres in total, is already owned by Peel, meaning there are no compulsory purchase order issues. The company, owned by the Manchester-based Whittaker family, will also fund the scheme, without the need to seek any public money.

Mr Ashworth said: "We will create the best waterfront regeneration scheme in the UK, and hopefully the world."

The scheme will be divided into four segments. At Bidston Moss an impressive retail and leisure park will be built not far from the existing superstore and B&Q. It will cost around £200m, and will aim to attract shoppers currently heading to Liverpool and Cheshire Oaks.

The West Float and Twelve Quays areas will remain as port-related areas, but both will be greatly enhanced.

The big scheme, around Alfred Dock and Vittoria Wharf, will be an island development costing £4. 3bn creating 15,000 apartments for around 25,000 people, offices and leisure facilities. It will include 17m sq ft of residential space and 5m sq ft of office space.

There will even be a high-rise structure resembling the world-famous Grid Iron building in New York.

Mr Ashworth warned: "If we don't get this scheme through it may be another century before anything like this comes up again. What we have put forward is a very bold vision."

Peel, who bought the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company last year, see high-rise developments on both sides of the river as a stunning Ocean Gateway

The East Float scheme, around Vittoria and Alfred Dock, will be dominated by world-class architecture.

A new pedestrian bridge, similar to the Millennium Eye across the Tyne, will create a new pedestrian link into the heart of the island development.

The water space will be transformed into a marina for tourist boats visiting the area.

Cllr Foulkes admitted last night that he had been impressed by the scale of Peel's proposals for Wirral.

He said: "It is fantastic and exciting and in line with our strategy for the waterfront. It will help both Wirral and Liverpool to firmly win a place on the world map. The scheme is exciting beyond belief and I feel honoured to be working on such a project as leader of the council.

"I accept there are many hurdles to cross in the future, but we as a council will work over the coming months to bring this plan to reality. Peel have a fantastic track record for delivering projects and I am confident they can make it happen."

Peel owns assets worth £4.15bn, with 9m sq ft of investment property and 11,000 hectares of land. Currently it employs more than 4,000 people. When the firm announced its plans for the Trafford Centre the critics said it would never happen. Fifteen years later it attracts 30m shoppers a year. [Liverpool Echo]

[COMMENT: The good news about the plans is the comment that Marine Activity will be concentrated on the West Float, that means that vessels will still pass through the Birkenhead Dock system as they do today to reach the West Float Quays. ]


Onlookers strolling on a Westcountry beach could have been forgiven for thinking they had been transported 500 years back in time. In front of them were two huge galleons with full rigging resplendent in the September sunshine.

The ships were being used for the filming of Hollywood star Mel Gibson's latest epic "Apocalypto" in Carlyon Bay, near St Austell.

The historic ships were on loan from the Square Sail Fleet Company, which is based just along the coast at Charlestown.

Mr Gibson is keeping the story- line of his latest project under wraps and yesterday the cast and crew were not giving anything away.

Members of the public, however, were free to walk along the beach and get a good look at the ships and some of the actors involved.

One onlooker, who did not want to give his name, said: "The whole thing was incredibly impressive. The ships were totally rigged up with flags on and some of the cast were in mediaeval costume."

Although the star himself was not on set there were some other sights worth watching out for. "At one point a monk sped past me on a quad bike," said the onlooker. "It was quite surreal."

"Apocalypto" - taken from the Greek word for a new beginning or an unveiling, is largely being filmed in Mexico and the dialogue is in an obscure Mayan dialect. Ships from Charlestown have been used in a host of films and television series such as Mansfield Park and the naval drama, Hornblower. [Western Morning News - September 08]


September 03Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Ian Collard, Michael Bracken and "others".


KINGSWEAR BELLE - Sharp-eyed boatmen saved a £600,000 South Devon ferry from sinking to the bottom of the Dart after spotting a midnight fire on board the vessel.

The owners of the Kingswear Belle are breathing a huge sigh of relief after "brilliant" work by fire-fighters saved the catamaran from certain destruction in the early hours of Tuesday.

Mike Palmer, praised staff for raising the alarm and the fire-fighters who quickly extinguished the blaze after commandeering a boat on the Dartmouth side of the river to reach the mid-estuary incident.

"They did a marvellous job working together to get the fire under control very promptly," he said. "Without their actions we would have lost the boat. It would have been a disaster."

He said the company was extremely fortunate the fire had happened after Dartmouth Regatta when all three of the company's boats were involved in carrying thousands of passengers during the hectic week of events.

"We would not have been able to cope if the regatta had been this week instead of last. The Kingswear Belle is an excellent boat. She's had a lot of careful attention from us over the years - and this summer in particular she has been in peak condition."

But an electrical short circuit in the engine room triggered a slow-burning fire which took off when it hit fresh air as it broke out of the bulkhead. Fire spokesman assistant divisional officer Glenn Askew said: "Five of our fire-fighters did an extremely good job to get in there and put out the fire. I was very impressed.

"In all seriousness, the boat should be at the bottom of the Dart. It was very fortunate that company staff spotted a problem as they brought another vessel alongside the pontoon at midnight."

He said the fire could have been smouldering since 5pm when it was moored up.

It is believed the source of the problem may have been faulty starter motor cables which overheated and set boat timbers alight. [Western Morning News]


SUPERSEACAT TWO - the SuperSickCat is continuing to run on a temporary revised timetable whilst work is underway to put SEA EXPRESS I back into class. The latest sailing information can be found on the Steam Packet Web Site. How many other shipping companies in these islands operate such a constantly unreliable service as this?  


The ill-fated Fleetwood to Knott End ferry could be out of action for a further three weeks. The £350,000 vessel has already been sidelined for more than three months with mechanical problems.

And now Lancashire County Council is working frantically to get it back in service. After a delivery of new parts, work is progressing but county bosses are reluctant to set a firm date for the renewal of the service in case further delays leave them with egg on their faces.

A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said: "Repairs are in hand with the aim of getting the ferry back in the water in the next two or three weeks.

"We have not been able to set a date for the service to resume." The county and Wyre Council have invested £500,000 to guarantee the service for the next 10 years.

But there have been a series of problems since the new vessel sailed into the River Wyre estuary almost 12 months ago.

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

And it was only six weeks after the first service ran across the Wyre Estuary that the ferry was taken out of service again because of the latest damage.

The boat had been crippled because of debris being sucked into the engine by the bow thrusters which provide great manoeuvrability.

The parts which have been obtained include new grilles to prevent rubbish from the river bed being sucked up into the engines.

For the few weeks that the vessel was running, passenger numbers were high and council officials are confident that it has great potential once the teething problems are overcome. [Lancashire Evening Gazette].



The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has referred the anticipated acquisition by SvitzerWijsmuller A/S of Adsteam Marine Ltd to the Competition Commission (CC). The CC has been asked to decide whether the acquisition may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition in the market for the supply of harbour towage services in the UK.

The CC is expected to report by 14 February 2007.

The CC would like to hear from all interested parties, in writing, by 22nd September 2006. To submit evidence, please write to:

Inquiry Secretary (Svitzer/Adsteam merger inquiry) Competition Commission

Victoria House

Southampton Row





Liverpool Opens Up US South Atlantic With Third New Service

The first ship has left Liverpool on a new Italia Marittima-Zim container service – the third North Atlantic service attracted to the Port since the beginning of 2006.

The 1800 teu capacity Artemis made the inaugural sailing from the Royal Seaforth Container Terminal bound for New York, Norfolk and Savannah.

The weekly fixed day service will be maintained by four ships, two deployed by Italia Marittima, part of the Evergreen Group, and two by Zim Integrated Shipping Services.

The Italia/Zim service will offer direct calls at Antwerp and Hamburg before Liverpool as the last European port of call.

All three new services to start from Liverpool since the beginning of the year are operated by members of container shipping’s “premier league”. Said Frank Robotham, Marketing Director of Peel Ports Group, owners of the Port of Liverpool: “We are delighted to have the Italia Marittima-Zim service to further consolidate Liverpool’s No 1 position in UK-USA container trade. We are particularly pleased that this service opens up the Port of Savannah as a new gateway into the US South Atlantic Region for business through Liverpool.”

The two other North Atlantic container services introduced at Liverpool this year are operated by Mediterranean Shipping Company and Maersk and CMA CGM and China Shipping Container Line.

Agents for the Italia Marittima service are Warrant Group plc of Liverpool. Zim provide their own agency service.


HMS OCEAN - An expert in public health has warned that more potentially deadly illnesses on a front-line warship could follow after two further cases of active tuberculosis (TB) were diagnosed on a Westcountry-based vessel. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has confirmed that five crew members of HMS OCEAN, the Devonport-based amphibious helicopter carrier and assault ship, now have the infectious form of the disease after TB first emerged in May.

The unidentified crewmen have been prescribed with up to six months of antibiotics to keep the life-threatening illness under control.

The MoD last night said that all five cases of active TB were confined to the marine engineering department, which is responsible for mechanics and electrics. Fifty-five latent forms of the illness emerged on board following a screening process of the entire crew.

The latent form produces no symptoms and is not contagious, as the bacteria are not active, although they can become active in later life if another disease puts pressure on the immune system.

The MoD said the two new cases of active TB had developed from the 29 latent forms apparent within the marine engineering department. The source of the original infection is still not known.

Dr Josep Vidal-Alaball, a GP and specialist registrar for the National Public Health Service for Wales, an expert in the disease, said that if all of the crew members had been screened there was every chance of limiting the full-blown infection. As such, sailors with latent TB have been given a three-month course of antibiotics.

Dr Vidal-Alaball, a former doctor at Plymouth's Derriford Hospital, said: "There could be more. There have been a lot of outbreaks in prisons, and it's a very similar situation - people together in a small space for a long time with a lack of ventilation."

He said the level of the disease would only be a major concern if around 10 per cent of the 400-strong crew were taken ill with active TB - a figure that would be "very high". He said: "People outside the ship shouldn't be concerned."

Rates of TB have been rising in the UK in recent years, with 7,000 cases being reported last year. The disease is most common in the lungs and lymph glands. TB is responsible for three million deaths a year worldwide, mainly in developing countries.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said of HMS OCEAN: "There are now five [cases of active TB] of which two were suspected at the end of last week. One member of the crew developed TB earlier this year and there have been four further with active TB."

HMS OCEAN is docked in Devonport ahead of deployment for low-flying helicopter exercises over Wales and the South West on Monday.

The ship was moored away from its Westcountry home when the latest cases of TB emerged after it had been withdrawn from last weekend's Navy Days event at Devonport after consideration was given to public health and confidence.

The third crew member struck down with tuberculosis has already returned to service.

[Western Morning News]


Organisers hailed this year's Devonport Navy Days a huge success after more than 30,000 people enjoyed the three-day event. Massive crowds at the Plymouth Navy base enjoyed a wide variety of attractions over the bank holiday weekend. They ranged from awe-inspiring hardware, such as the Typhoon Eurofighter and the HMS TORBAY submarine, to the outstanding skills of Navy personnel.
A bomb-disposal diving team were among those pulling in the crowds with demonstrations of their underwater skills.
 Delicious healthy meals were whipped up by Royal Navy cooks, and the Raiders para- chute team put on a display.
The fighting hardware from other countries was also popular, with foreign craft creating huge interest. A Dutch ship had more than 10,000 visitors, a
US ship more than 12,000 and a German vessel about 17,000.
 Event director Captain David Larmour said: "Navy Days was hugely successful. I was on site throughout and had plenty of positive feedback from visitors.
 "Most people seem to like the exciting air and river displays, which were extremely popular.
 "We are very grateful to all those who took part and who supported and helped organise this unique event as well as all thousands of visitors from across the country who made this an occasion to remember."


September 01Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Ian Collard, Michael Bracken and "others".


Bibby Offshore Ltd, the Aberdeen based Subsea Contractor, part of Bibby Line Limited of Liverpool, has placed an

order for a second new-build diving support vessel (DSV) to the market, following on from the BIBBY SAPPHIRE

which delivered in the first quarter 2005.


The new vessel, named BIBBY TOPAZ, is under construction in Trondheim, Norway at the Fosen yard and will be available for sub-sea operations from July 2007.


As with the BIBBY SAPPHIRE, Bibby Offshore will be the disponent owner of the BIBBY TOPAZ, taking the vessel on long term time charter from Volstad Seismic A/S. The vessel, which is a Skipsteknisk AS design to Bibby Offshore specification, will be 107 metres long and have a beam of 22m. She will have a twin diving bell, 18 man dive system rated to 300 meters water depth. The vessel will also have a heave compensated 150 tonne crane, a working deck area of 1000 m2 and accommodation for 106 persons.


The vessel will be the first purpose- build Diving Support Vessel available to the North Sea Market since the late 1980’s and will be the most advanced and powerful vessel in her class. The diving and ROV services on the vessel, like the company’s other DSV’s, BIBBY AQUAMARINE and BIBBY SAPPHIRE will be provided by Aberdeen based contractor, Integrated Subsea Services (ISS) from their growing and specialist manpower and equipment pool.


The vessel, whilst targeted at the North Sea Market, will be capable of supporting operations worldwide and be an integral part in the company’s strategic plan for growth.


The BIBBY TOPAZ, when operational next year, will have a dual redundancy Dynamic Positioning system, an advanced ROV with comprehensive and dedicated survey facilities on-board and three six man deck decompression chambers, together with diver and chamber gas reclaim. Topaz will also be fitted with a helideck capable of taking 12.8 tons or Sikorsky N92 or equivalent.


The Portsmouth - Cherbourg NORMANDIE EXPRESS route will be closed over the winter from 28 October 2007 to 23 March 2007. However, the NORMANDIE will operate a 23 and 30 December Portsmouth - Cherbourg sailing at 23:15 and 26 December and 2 January Cherbourg - Portsmouth sailing at 10:00. Meanwhile, the BRETAGNE will sail on the same route on 27 December, 08:00 ex Portsmouth and 22:00 return.

As expected the BRETAGNE will take over Plymouth - Santander from the PONT-AVEN on 29 October, operating on the route until the sailing ex Spain on 21 December. The route will then be closed until the PONT-AVEN returns on 4 March 2007.

Interestingly the timetable currently indicates that the PONT-AVEN will remain on the route through to the end of the timetable period on 18 November 2007. The BRETAGNE will also operate the final Cork sailings of the year on 27/28 October. In place of the PONT-AVEN the BRETAGNE will operate a weekly Plymouth - Roscoff roundtrip on Sundays during November and December.

Similarly the PONT-AVEN will take over Portsmouth - St.Malo from 30 October until 28 February. There are no sailings 27 - 29 October nor over the Christmas and New Year to allow for the planned festive cruises which this year will operated between Portsmouth and Rotterdam.

Poole - Cherbourg sailings with the BARFLEUR and CONDOR VITESSE appear to be pretty much as 2006. Things are also pretty static on the Portsmouth - Caen route and all throughout the PONT L'ABBE continues to run Plymouth - Roscoff.

If the timetable is accurate of plans there does not appear to be an awful lot of overhaul activity this winter...

The NORMANDIE on Portsmouth - Caen is being replaced by the BRETAGNE 2 - 27 February, the BRETAGNE appears to be out of service during January and the PONT-AVEN appears to have a couple of days off between finishing at St Malo and returning to her Santander run.


A metaphorical question mark has been hanging over the future of the yard for some time since it was acquired by Reddington Finance.

However, a real question mark looks as though it will be hanging at the yard for the Liverpool Biennial Arts Festival which runs from September 16 to November 26.

The yellow neon punctuation mark will cost £30,000, will be 60 feet high, and illuminated until midnight for each day of the festival

The question mark is the work of Berlin-based artist Hans Peter Kuhn, who came up with the image after a visit to Liverpool last November.

He says he was drawn to the river, which is the "defining feature" of Liverpool's cityscape and which has shaped the city's life over eight centuries.


Students might soon be able to catch a ferry to school Cornwall County Council is working with Cornwall Ferries Ltd to provide an early morning ferry from St. Mawes to Falmouth, aimed at students and commuters.

The new service is part of a wider scheme to improve transport links between the Roseland Peninsula and Truro/Falmouth.

It will also create further travel options for the Roseland population.

A transport survey was conducted on the Roseland earlier this year, and a new transport planning tool measured areas suffering from poor 'accessibility. Both showed that better links were needed.

In response to this the timetables of the year-round ferries operating to/from the Roseland have been extended, with the King Harry Ferry operating an extended service starting at 07.20 from the Truro side (Feock) until 21.50 from the Roseland.

Commencing on September 1, the first ferry departs St. Mawes at 08.00 for Prince of Wales Pier in order to assist those wishing to be in work or college in Falmouth by 09.00.

The early St. Mawes Ferry will be operated for a trial period until May 2007.

Passenger figures will be monitored and, if successful, the improved service will become a permanent feature of the St. Mawes Ferry timetable.

Garrick Royle, Operations Manager of the St. Mawes Ferry Company, said: "We are always keen to improve our services and I would like to hear from anyone who would like to use this earlier service to ensure the service meets their requirements."

Clare Gwennap, Transport Policy Officer at Cornwall County Council, said: "We are eager to help improve access to work and college through sustainable forms of transport and wish this service every success for its continuation in the future. We also hope that the free trial will encourage new passengers to try the service and see just how the service can fit into their travel arrangements." [Truro Packet].


A report on Seascapes claims that the number of Irish sea-going staff still serving the company is now down to just 17 persons a reduction from 48 since the company settled the dispute over outsourcing of crewing early in 2006 A correspondent to the weekly maritime affairs programme says the number will drop further and claims there are on-going difficulties with staff feeling they are being forced out.


RTÉ's Seascapes reports that there is trouble in the Irish Naval Service, based at Haulbowline Island in Cork Harbour.

Those in the ranks aren't happy with the officers who manage the service. Their representative organisation, PDFORRA, says there is low morale, a sense of hopelessness and huge disenchantment over time spent at sea, causing depression, resentment, high-levels of stress and family problems for serving personnel.

This was all outlined in the 118 pages of a research study carried out over 18 months. The core of the row is an agreement, which PDFORRA, maintains is Government policy and under which personnel should be liable for sea duty for two years, then rotate ashore for two years.

Naval management said the PDFORRA report was being examined, but would make no further comment. Defence Minister Willie O'Dea is to meet PDFORRA for what he described as a "frank discussion."


SEA EXPRESS I finally entered #5 dry dock at NSL Birkenhead on August 23, joining BIBBY SAPPHIRE which was already in the dry dock. It is anticipated that she will return to service later this month, possibly when the temporary timetable expires on September 09.


SNOWDROP a male passenger, believed to be in his 70s, died around 14:00 on August 30 after falling from the vessel near Prince's Landing Stage. A lifeboat crew pulled the elderly victim from the river, but they  were unable to resuscitate him.


The contract to remove the remains of the sunken George's Landing Stage used by Mersey Ferries has been awarded to maritime heavy lift specialists Mammoet. Work is expected to start mid September with completion by the end of October.


The popular weekly radio maritime magazine programme Seascapes will move to a new slot on Monday evenings at 20:30 commencing on September 04, 2006. Listeners in the UK can tune in on the radio on 252AM or of course listen on line via the RTE web site, from which recordings of past programmes can also be played.


Reports in the Lancashire Evening Post this week suggest that Stena Line is considering major investment in the Fleetwood - Larne service.

The investment could include the provision of two new ro/pax vessels and the upgrade of terminal facilities to cope with an increase in passengers.

If the plan goes ahead the new vessels and terminal facilities could be in operation by 2009

In a statement, Stena Line said it was "constantly reviewing its business model" and was looking at investing in its Fleetwood-Larne service. The company said: "We can confirm that in respect of the Fleetwood -Larne  route we are looking at a number of potential investment options although at  this stage no final decision has been taken as to which option represents  optimum value for Stena Line.

"Stena Line has been operating the route for the last two and a half years and has been encouraged with its performance to date." In fact, in January of this year, Stena Line announced that the route helped its Northern Corridor business (which also includes Stranraer-Belfast) record a 16% year-on-year increase in freight volumes between 2004 and 2005."

Improvements would see new ferries which could carry up to 500 passengers, a large number of cars and freight between Fleetwood and the Northern Irish coast.

It would also take 90 minutes off the journey time, which currently takes around eight hours.

The improvement of the terminal and services would have an impact on tourism and retailers in the Fylde coastal town and across Lancashire. A spokesman for the county's tourist board said it would welcome any such development to connections between Lancashire and Northern Ireland.

He said: "Ireland is the top international market for Lancashire, so any service which increases in the links between there and Lancashire is obviously very positive.

"The impact of tourism would not only be good news for Fleetwood but for the whole county, as people would certainly be attracted to other parts of the county."


Stena Line has teamed up with BEAT 102-103 to offer the very best in entertainment on board the Stena Europe on Friday September 29. For only €45 per person guests can enjoy a return crossing from Rosslare to Fishguard, a main course meal and a complimentary drink.

Should your dancing feet need a rest during the night guests can also book a cabin, two-berth for only €55  or four-berth for only €72. The Stena Europe departs from Rosslare at 21.15hrs and returns to port at 06.15am the following morning. For more  details or to book a place on the BEAT 102-103 Party Cruise click on call Stena Line on Rosslare 053 9161560, Dublin 01 2047600 or visit your local travel agent quoting reference A109.

Running order for the party cruise is as follows:

19.30 – 20.15hrs Check-in

20.15 – 22.00hrs Main Course – Food City

22.00 – 05.00hrs BEAT 102-103 DJ Music

04.00 – 05.45hrs Breakfast

06.15 – 06.45hrs Disembark


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