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Finished With Engines: Irish Sea Shipping is now closed to new updates - J.H. Luxton Photography - Transport, Industrial History, Regional Photographs UK & beyond


November 29Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Nick Widows, David Farclough, Michael Bracken, "River Spy" and "others".


KILMORE, supposedly Celtic Link's second ship, remains at Shanghai but her AIS is now showing destination as Masan, with an ETA of 30/11/06, 09.00. Masan is a city in South Korea which has a shipyard. Arrival at Dublin still seems a long way off!


Serious questions have been asked over the long-term future of the Lough Swilly Ferry service.

Its been suggested that the service should go out to tender again to ensure that Donegal County Council is getting best value for money for its subvention of the service.

Its emerged the Foyle Ferry Company, which operates the service, is seeking up to two hundred and twenty thousand euro in subvention from the Council to help run the ferry in 2007.

In light of this some councillors have expressed a concern over the ferry's future but Councillor Liam Blaney is more upbeat



Union officials have presented a claim for over €200,000 in 'back-pay' for a group of Polish, Latvian and Russian crew members aboard MERCHANT BRAVERY.

The claim was lodged by Ken Fleming of the International Transport Federation (ITF) to Norfolk Lines, the company chartering the Merchant Bravery freighter in Dublin Port.

He claims some crew members earned as little as €2 an hour. However, a spokesperson for Norfolk Line said it was the responsibility of the companies that own and manage the ship to pay the wages.

Mr Fleming met with company bosses in Dublin yesterday and threatened to have the ship detained, a power which he has as an ITF inspector, if the workers were not properly paid.

Last night, a Norfolk Lines spokesperson said the firm paid a monthly rate to the owners of the ship.

While they were concerned about the low salaries, it was not their responsibility to pay crew members, he said. [Irish Independent]


Following on from the news in the last news update concerning SS MANXMAN the following statement has been issued by Chairman Bill Ogle.

"I was advised last week that Manxman was moved into the Pallion dry dock, on Tuesday. The purpose being to effect urgent hull repairs. Once again there are rumours that she has been sold for scrap, this time to either Italian or Egyptian interests. However such a move would require a Waste Management Licence and an MCA survey. These would specify extensive and costly hull repair work (which we have built into the costing schedule) and probably explain why previous alleged sales have fallen through – in only four years she has allegedly been sold to Nigeria, Bilbao, Nigeria (again), Rotterdam and Denmark. We are not complacent regarding this issue and meanwhile are pushing forward as quickly as possible with the anticipated bid whilst maintaining contact with MCA and Department for the Environment."


Northern Ireland Social Development Minister David Hanson MP has welcomed the vision for the future restoration of the SS NOMADIC announced by the Charitable Trust.

At its first meeting the Nomadic Charitable Trust Board agreed the following vision for the project:

"To restore the SS NOMADIC and make her accessible to the people of Northern Ireland such that she can play a role as a celebration of the Titanic and our maritime and industrial heritage and act as a catalyst for tourism and social and economic development".

The meeting was presented with an assessment of the current condition of the ship together with recommendations to deal with essential repairs and maintenance. Whilst the ship is generally in good condition the main urgent task is to protect the Nomadic from any further deterioration from rainwater ingress through leaking superstructure and the Board agreed to procure a temporary canvas cover to fit the entire vessel as quickly as possible. This cover will be designed to enable access to carry out other agreed work pending the ultimate reinstatement proposal which will be agreed by the Trust in due course.

The Charitable Trust undertook to try to carry out initial works to at least make the two lounges accessible to the public in the short term.

Chairman of the Trust, Denis Rooney, stated that:

"I am delighted to be heading such an expert and enthusiastic Board and feel confident that the Trust can meet the exciting and demanding challenge in making the most of this great asset." He went on to say that: "Funding will be the key which will determine how ambitious we can be and we look to the whole community to support us in whatever way they can".

The Charitable Trust has set up special committees to deal with key aspects of the restoration project. Roy Snowdon will head up the Technical Committee which will deal with all matters relating to the repairs, maintenance and mooring arrangements. Ian Savage will lead the committee dealing with the concept development of the project and the business plan. David Scott-Beddard will chair the Fund Raising Committee.

The Minister for Social Development Minister, David Hanson welcomed the vision statement of the Charitable Trust and reiterated that "much needs to be done from a fundraising point of view." He went on to say that:

"I am confident that the Trust can restore the SS Nomadic so that her wonderful history will help to promote Belfast and Northern Ireland as a marketable visitor attraction alongside that of the Titanic brand."

The SS NOMADIC will shortly be removed from the Harland & Wolff quay to Barnett's Dock where it will be moored for 18 months. Denis Rooney expressed the Trust's thanks to Harland & Wolff for their support to date and to the Belfast Harbour Commissioners for their kind offer of mooring facilities and other support.


The Ravestein SKYLINE BARGE 15 which, until last week, was acting as a temporary landing stage for Mersey Ferries was removed on the afternoon of Tuesday November 28, 2006 and towed into the docks. The linking bailey bridge had been removed at the end of last week. Mersey Ferries are now using the Prince's Landing Stage.


MV ARTICA HAV arrived at Bidston for attention by Scott Lithgow Ltd for emergency bow repairs sustained after the vessel struck the quay at Silloth.

November 25 


The management of French ferry operator Brittany Ferries is preparing for major changes as a result of the retirement of the company's founder and chairman Alexis Gourvennec, who is reported to be seriously ill. Gourvennec has called for an extraordinary board meeting to be held on 1 December, which will decide on a new managerial organisation.

In his absence, Henri Jacob, 67, a member of the board of directors since the company was set up in 1972, has been appointed as temporary chairman.

New appointments will be made at the board meeting. Charismatic Alexis Gourvennec has been the driving force behind the company's remarkable growth and observers say it not be an easy task to find a replacement; for this reason questions are being asked about Brittany Ferries' future. The company is the dominant ferry operator on the Western Channel with a fleet of seven modern ferries and two high speed ships. The company operates seven ferry routes between northern France, England, Ireland and Spain, carrying about 2.7M passengers and 800,000 cars a year.


The UK's last diesel electric paddle vessel will be replaced by 2009.

Dartmouth's Higher Ferry will be replaced in April 2009 by a multi-million pound replacement, doubling its capacity. The decision to replace the current ferry has been taken by parent company the Dartmouth to Kingswear Floating Bridge Company after the Marine Coastguard Agency informed them they would have to replace the whole bottom of the boat by 2009.

After examining costs and the age of the current boat, it was decided it would be better to replace it. The current ferry is now 46 years old, having been built at the Philip & Sons Noss Shipyard in 1960. It can carry up to 18 vehicles at one time and takes four minutes to complete a crossing.

The proposed replacement would carry up to 40 cars, and take three minutes to cross the Dart. The new ferry will not be paddle driven, as the current one is, because it is very inefficient.

The company are looking at a number of options including propellers, jets, or even a cable drive ferry. With extra cars travelling across at every trip, there could be a need for extra staff to satisfy health and safety regulations. Tony Tucker, a director of the company which is owned by Dart Marina Hotel owner Richard Seton, said that lots of details still had to be decided.

'We looked at replacing the bottom of the boat and that would mean it would be taken out of service for up to five months which is, of course, unacceptable,' he said. 'We have been investigating a number of different possibilities with the new ferry. We want to make sure it is future proof and will be able to cope with the new demands. 'We want to bring an end to long queues for the ferry in the middle of summer.' The company have  employed Pendennis Shipyard to design and organise the build of the new vessel.

Pendennis Shipyard, Falmouth recently designed and built the new KING HARRY VII chain car ferry in Truro. The company has used the costing of the King Harry to estimate how much the new vessel will cost.

'The King Harry cost £3million,' said Mr Tucker. 'It carries 32 vehicles at a time. We want to have a vehicle carrying 40.' The ferry, as a floating bridge, is officially part of the road network, and the company cannot raise prices without express permission from the Department of Trans-port. This means a wholesale passing on of the costs incurred from a new ferry is unlikely. 'We are looking at this as a long-term investment,' said Mr Tucker. 'Not only do we have to consider the Department of Transport, but we also have competitors such as the Lower Ferry, so realistically prices cannot rise dramatically, if at all.'


The West Country's biggest private employer is at the centre of a political storm after its parent company was accused of letting a £30 million shipbuilding contract slip out of its grasp.

KBR - the US-based owner of dockyard management firm DML - now faces demands to "get out of the country".

DML employs 4,500 people at Devonport in Plymouth and Appledore in North Devon, making it the biggest private sector employer in Devon and Cornwall. It has an annual turnover of £400 million.

The 180 workers at the Appledore yard were told last night that DML had missed out on the contract to build an offshore survey vessel, which had instead been awarded to a firm in Norway.

Industry insiders last night claimed the controversial flotation of KBR - which owns a 51 per cent share in DML - had caused delays in securing the Appledore bid and cast doubt over the future of all new investment.

Observers warned this latest development would further weaken the relationship between the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and KBR.

Last week, US oil group Halliburton went ahead with the stock market listing of its subsidiary KBR despite warnings from the MoD that it remained dissatisfied about the future security of the nuclear submarine base at Devonport. The MoD has threatened to strip KBR of the Plymouth base if it fails to give sufficient assurances.

The loss of the Appledore contract sparked a furious reaction from local Tory MP Geoffrey Cox: "I am steaming mad. It's now reaching the point where there needs to be a major investigation by the Government into the fitness of KBR to run dockyards in this country. The time has come for KBR to get out of this country."

The MP for Torridge and West Devon has contacted Defence Secretary Des Browne demanding an urgent inquiry into KBR's role in the loss of the contract. "It casts a huge doubt over whether they are fit to own facilities like the Devonport dockyard, which is currently under review by the Government. Appledore shipyard has a highly regarded workforce and management scheme, and a proven track record, and deserves the full backing of its owners.

"It is simply unbelievable that this company could be so inept and allow this contract to slip."

He also warned the workforce is "now going to be facing months of idleness".

The loss of the contract comes only weeks after Mr Cox received assurances from the board of KBR that the company is fully committed "to supporting DML in generating a long term successful future for the yard and its current workforce."

But sources at Appledore told the WMN there had been "difficulties in getting approval" from KBR to go ahead with the bid for the contract. It is believed there were delays in getting the costs of the contract underwritten by the parent company while it proceeded with the floatation last week.

Shipbuilding industry experts said the contract would have been for between £30 million and £40 million. Last night, it was unclear how the loss of the contract would affect the workforce, but insiders stressed had it been won by Appledore, it would have been "very, very important in securing the futures" of the 180 staff. [WESTERN MORNING NEWS]


Dublin Port Company has said the volume of goods passing through the port in the third quarter of this year was 7.5 million tonnes, up nearly 12% on the same period last year.

Imports increased by 10.7% to 4.8 million tonnes, and exports reached 2.6 million tonnes, an increased of 14.3% on the same period in 2005. The total for the first nine months of 2006 is running 8.4% ahead of a year earlier.

The number of trade cars coming through Dublin Port in Q3 fell by 9%, however, to 18,519, while ferry passenger numbers were down 10% to 421,229. Tourist cars were down more than 20% to 85,022. Dublin Port says that while ferry tourism numbers continue to decrease due to increased competition from the low-fares airlines, the cruise industry at Dublin Port experienced its busiest year to date. In 2006, Dublin Port Company hosted 75 cruise liners, carrying more than 65,000 passengers and 28,000 crew members. It says this has injected up to €50m into the local economy. [RTÉ]



Passenger figures compiled by the Harbours Division for October 2006 at 41,135 show a very slight decrease on the figure for the same period in 2005 which was 41,160. The year to date figure at 536,706 passengers shows a 2.2% decrease over the same period in 2005 which was 548,630. During October, car and motorcycle traffic through Douglas Harbour decreased by 1.0% from 11,681 vehicles to 11,560 vehicles. The year to date figure at 153,049 vehicles shows a 2.0% decrease over the same period in 2005 which was 156,122. Scheduled Routes show the following changes in passenger numbers for October:-


All plus






Minus 4%






Plus 7%





Director of Harbours, Captain Michael Brew commented: “Allowing for a slightly later school half-term break the traffic figures are broadly static, although the underlying trend is positive.  The return of Sea Express 1 has had a positive effect on the core Liverpool route with growth of 7%.  Overall, a satisfactory month”.




BEN-MY-CHREE - adverse conditions forecast for the Irish on Sunday November 19, 2006 led to the cancellation of the 08:45 Douglas to Heysham sailing and the 14:15 Heysham to Douglas sailing. Several correspondents have commented that the morning sailing could have operated with the BEN-MY-CHREE sheltering at Heysham from that afternoon's severe gales. The evening 19:45 departure from Douglas was also delayed until the weather abated.


SEA EXPRESS I - failed to operate her 15:00 / 19:30 Sunday round trip to Liverpool on November 19 and her 09:00 / 19:00 Saturday round trip to Liverpool on November 25 due to adverse conditions.



ATLANTIC OSPREY - As predictable as leaves falling off the trees in autumn whenever the Fisher managed PNTL ships are reported to be on the move there is usually something of a fuss created which fails to take into account the high standards to which these vessels are operated. This time it is the turn of ATLANTIC OSPREY which recently arrived at Vittoria Dock, Birkenhead  to attract unwanted attention! 

An international association of local authorities is warning that a planned shipment of nuclear fuel by sea is both an environmental hazard and a potential terrorist target.

The shipment in question will be the second to make use of a converted roll-on/roll-off ferry, the Atlantic Osprey, to transport MOX (mixed oxide fuel) from Sellafeld, on England's northwest coast, to the French port of Cherbourg.

MOX is a blend of plutonium and natural uranium, reprocessed uranium, or depleted uranium which behaves similarly to the low enriched uranium feed for which most nuclear reactors were designed. An attraction of MOX fuel is that it is a way of disposing of surplus weapons-grade plutonium.

The concerns about the Sellafield-Cherbourg shipment are being voiced by KIMO--an international association of local authorities. Originally founded to address the clean up of pollution in the North Sea, KIMO now has broader aims and over 128 members in 10 countries.

Kimo says that "in the next couple of days" the Atlantic Osprey, owned by the British Nuclear Group, will transport 1.25 tonnes of mixed oxide fuel (MOX) fuel containing about 90 kg of plutonium to Swiss utility Nordostschweizerische Kraftwerke (NOK).

"The route will pass close to one of the most densely populated areas in the world and will cross some of the busiest shipping lanes, therefore increasing the potential for collision and making it easier for a potential terrorist attack," says KIMO.

"Traditionally MOX has been transported to and from Japan using purpose built vessels that are of the best available technology currently in service," says KIMO. "However shipments of MOX to Switzerland, of which this is the second, are using the Atlantic Osprey, an ex-roll on roll off ferry. The Atlantic Osprey has a single hull, single engine and will travel unescorted throughout its journey unlike the shipments to Japan which travel in purpose built vessels with twin engines, double hulls and naval armament, with two vessels travelling together to provide support in case of an attack."

KIMO charges that "the lack of emergency planning in the event of a marine accident involving nuclear material is also a serious issue along with the questionable integrity of the flasks used to transport nuclear fuel. Evidence shows that shipborne fires last longer on average and at a more intense heat than the safety criteria used in flask stress."

The potential impact on coastal communities from an accident or terrorist attack would be "devastating," says KIMO.

"KIMO remains convinced that the transport of nuclear materials should be halted and that such materials should be stored at the point of production," says KIMO International President Councillor Angus Nicolson. "However should these shipments go ahead Governments should be insisting that the highest standards of ship and security arrangements are in place to protect their citizens."

Nicolson says that "Best Available Technology (BAT) should be applied to the ships and flasks used in European shipments and should be at least to the same standard to the ships that are used for MOX shipments to Japan. The arrangements surrounding these proposed shipments are flawed and second rate."

"It is absolutely irresponsible in this day and age where we are requiring super tankers carrying oil to have double hulls to protect our marine environment that these dangerous cargoes are being transported in an ex roll on roll off ferry with a single engine and single hull through some of the most populated areas of Europe with no escort," says Nicolson.

British Nuclear Group is owned by the British Government . It operates the Atlantic Osprey shipments as part of its spent fuel services.

British Nuclear Group describes the Atlantic Osprey as a "multipurpose cargo vessel that meets IMO's INF2 classification.

A RO/RO vessel is used for these voyages since the MOX is contained in purpose-built packages that are then loaded into a high security vessel that is transported by the ship.

British Nuclear Group says that a "safety in depth system" is applied that provides a series of barriers to protect the materials, packaging and transport vehicles.

A transport plan governs all aspects of the voyage, as it does for any voyage involving nuclear materials. The overall plan is subject to the approval of the United Kingdom Government's independent security regulator, the Office for Civil Nuclear Security (OCNS).

The physical protection measures in the transport plan are reviewed and take account of a threat assessment carried out by U.K. competent authorities. The review bodies must be satisfied that the physical protection arrangements are sufficient to protect the cargo against theft or sabotage and any other acts of international terrorism.

The physical protection measures taken to secure the vessel and cargo against potential threats meet the standards required by the United Kingdom Government's independent security regulator, OCNS and are in line with international requirements and recommendations.

British Nuclear Group says a fully trained and equipped team of marine and nuclear experts is available on a 24-hour emergency standby system, required by the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA), to deal with the unlikely event of an emergency situation.


It is believed that the last surviving Isle of Man Steam Packet turbine steamer, SS MANXMAN, has been sold to overseas interests rumoured to be either Spanish or Egyptian. She was moved into the Pallion Ship Yard Dry Dock on Tuesday November 21, 2006. Presumably to prepare her for a tow.

The Manxman Steamship Company has been working hard since early 2002 to secure the vessel for preservation on Merseyside.  According to recent media reports, the society had been hopeful of moving the project forward following meetings with Liverpool City Council representatives. Councillor Mike Storey had stated that she would "Become a floating ambassador for Merseyside".

However, it appears that the sale and movement of the ship was not notified to the Manxman Steamship Company which has been working hard to try and save the historic Cammell Laird constructed vessel and operate her as a maritime heritage centre and corporate hospitality venue.


MERCHANT BRAVERY -UK Maritime Union RMT has joined Irish sister union SIPTU in calling for an urgent investigation into all ferry and ro-ro vessels trading in the Irish Sea after an international Transport Workers' Federation inspector today discovered workers on rates as low as €2 an hour.

ITF Inspector Ken Fleming boarded the ro-ro ferry MERCHANT BRAVERY this week in the Port of Dublin, at the invitation of ratings who said they had not been paid for more than four months.

The ITF has gathered evidence that 'double bookkeeping' was employed on the vessel, chartered by Maersk subsidiary Norfolk Line operating between Heysham and Dublin, and is acting to recover all the crews' wages and report its findings to the appropriate maritime authorities. [The ship is actually owned by Bravery International Shipping of Latvia and managed by ADG Ship Management also of Latvia.]

The 22 crewmembers on the Jamaican-flagged vessel are a mixture of Polish, Ukrainian and Russian seafarers.

The ITF found one able seaman who should have been earning around $3,200 a month, in accordance with his first contract of employment, was only being paid around $1,000 for 365-plus hours a month - or just over €2 an hour - on a second contract of employment.

Another rating who should have been earning $1,984 on one contract of was being paid only $850 on his second contract.

"This is what we call 'double book-keeping'," said ITF inspector Ken Fleming.

"It appears that the hours of work regulations are being abused on a daily basis and there is also a question mark over false certificates of competency. Further investigation by the ITF will follow."

He added that the ITF was considering the lawful arrest of the vessel on behalf of the crew members to reclaim wages in accordance with their first contract.

SIPTU and RMT, who have been campaigning jointly against 'social dumping' in the Irish Sea, are demanding the fullest investigation by the Irish and UK maritime authorities on all ferry and ro-ro vessels trading in the Irish sea.

"This is the shocking reality of social dumping, with crews employed in UK waters being paid at rates well below the minimum wage, and that is why we need urgent action to ensure that shipowners can no longer evade minimum employment standards," RMT general secretary Bob Crow said today.

"This is another example of the detrimental impact of unfettered global capital on weak and vulnerable people," said SIPTU general president Jack O'Connor, who also called for immediate action in accordance with international law to rectify the injustice and ensure that at the very least a minimum threshold of decency is applied in the case of these seafarers.



Mersey Ferries operations have reverted to Prince's Landing Stage following the re installation of the wire fencing to separate passengers. On Saturday work was still continuing on the stage preparing the former Steam Packet Portakabin for use as a Mersey Ferries waiting room.

SKYLINE BARGE 15 is expected to be removed early next week - probably Monday. MERSEY MAMMOTH lifted off the footbridge on Friday.


Earlier this autumn it was reported that the floating crane would be making a trip up the Manchester Ship Canal to Runcorn. The purpose of this trip is to remove the old lock gates which have laid against the wall separating the Ship Canal from the River Mersey opposite Old Quay for some time.

Since the closure of the MSC Old Quay maintenance and the redevelopment of the Quay for residential purposes it has been decided to move the old gates along the canal to the Weaver Lock. As the MSC Floating Steam Crane is out of service MERSEY MAMMOTH will be undertaking the job.

MERSEY MAMMOTH is expected to sail up to Old Quay on December 11. On December 12 she will move the old gates. She will return down the canal on December 13

This unusual operation should prove interesting for photographers as a good view of the operation will be possible both from the promenade at Runcorn and from the Widnes road bridge.


The company which sold its only ship to middle eastern interests in October 2006 is believed to be looking at COLOUR TRAVELLER as a replacement.

November 18Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, "River Spy", Edwin Wilmshurst, "Irish Sea Pioneer" and others.


The American owners of Plymouth's Devonport Dockyard yesterday went ahead with a controversial stock market flotation, fuelling fears for the job security of workers. US defence giant Halliburton faced down a Ministry of Defence warning not to go ahead with the flotation of subsidiary KBR - which owns a 51 per cent stake in dockyard owners Devonport Management Limited.

UK ministers and officials fear that a stand-alone KBR would not be big enough to raise the capital investment needed to secure the future of the dockyard business.

DML employs 4,500 people making it the biggest private sector employer in Devon and Cornwall. The privately-owned yard is the only UK site equipped and licensed to refit, refuel and de-fuel nuclear-powered submarines. It sits alongside the Royal Navy's military naval base.

Devonport is already facing a threat from a review of Britain's naval dockyards. It will today launch a campaign aimed at proving its case for avoiding cutbacks.

Earlier this week, the MoD wrote to Halliburton demanding a delay of the flotation until it had completed its analysis into the financial security of the dockyard, due to report at the end of this month.

Ministers said that without proof that there would be sufficient capital to support Devonport, they would have "little option" but to force KBR to give up ownership of the dockyard, which is an option under the 1997 agreement privatising the dockyard. Halliburton's move to ignore the threat and proceed with the flotation suggests transatlantic relations have reached a new low. [Western Morning News]


A last-DITCH effort has been launched in an attempt to save one of Southampton's most famous transatlantic visitors, SS FRANCE, from being scrapped.

If the liner is successful in cheating the breaker's yard it would be another remarkable twist in a story in which the ship previously narrowly escaped an ignominious end.

Once the epitome of French chic on the Atlantic route between Southampton and New York, the liner is languishing at an Indian breakers' yard waiting for demolition gangs to move in.

However, in a race against time an organization has been formed aimed at buying back the liner, later known as SS NORWAY and then BLUE LADY, and returning her to Europe where she will be converted into a hotel, an education centre, museum and tourist attraction moored on the River Seine.

The president of the newly-formed Club Le France Prestige, Jean Philippe Prieur, has issued an urgent appeal to anyone who remembers the ship when she was a regular visitor to Southampton docks and who would like to help preserve this unique vessel by purchasing shares in the liner to save it from being turned into razor blades.

This is going to be a tough challenge for the organization, based in the picturesque French Normandy fishing village of Honfleur, as steel now fetches high prices on the international market making the liner, once the longest in the world, an attractive proposition to be cut up and sold.

SS FRANCE, with her distinctive winged funnels, was once a familiar sight in Southampton from 1962 on her maiden voyage up to 1974, when rising costs forced her owners to withdraw her from service and lay her up, abandoned and awaiting an unknown fate.

In 1979 France, was reprieved from the scrap yard when she was bought and converted into a successful Caribbean cruise ship, sailing under the name SS NORWAY.

A few years ago NORWAY suffered a major explosion in her engine room while alongside her berth in Miami which sealed her fate as a cruise ship. There were several plans to turn her into a floating casino in the Far East but eventually a contract was signed with a firm of Indian ship-breakers for her demolition. "We know that we can still save FRANCE from being dismantled,'' said Monsieur Prieur. "There will be a lot of restoration work, furniture will have to be remade and thousands of other details to be put right. This ship is a part of maritime history and we must not lose it.'' Shares in the liner cost 55 euros and all money will be repaid if the scheme is not successful. [Maritime Clippings]


ISLE OF INISHMORE - A man died on Saturday November 18 after falling overboard and going missing for two hours.

The man was travelling from Rosslare in Ireland to Pembroke Dock in Wales when he fell into the sea at Milford Haven estuary at around 00.40 on Saturday.

The Angle Lifeboat and a rescue helicopter from RAF Chivenor were launched to carry out a search of the immediate area. Shortly after 02.30, the man was spotted in water near the Texaco Oil Refinery Jetty, which is between 100-200 yards offshore. He was taken by the rescue helicopter to Withybush Hospital, Haverfordwest, but was pronounced dead on arrival.


SCILLONIAN IV - the long awaited £17.5m replacement for SCILLONIAN III and GRY MARITHA could finally become a reality. Though SCILLONIAN IV has appeared on the Equasis register (below) since 2002 as "in build" - the ship was never actually ordered.

IMO number:9269582Name of ship:SCILLONIAN IV
Call Sign:UNKNOWNGross tonnage:1800
Type of ship:Passenger shipYear of build:0
Flag:GibraltarStatus of ship:In Build
Registered owner:ISLES OF SCILLYAddress:Hugh Town, St. Mary's, Isles of Scilly UNITED KINGDOM
Ship manager:ISLES OF SCILLYAddress:Hugh Town, St. Mary's, Isles of Scilly UNITED KINGDOM
Last update:22-07-2002

A decision to go ahead with plans for a new ship and to revamp the Harbours at Penzance and Hugh Town have been agreed in principal this week with a final decision expected in January.

The local authority hopes to raise £14m from loans and the rest from Objective One funding. It will then lease the ship to the Isles of Scilly Steamship group.  The Department for Transport has also agreed to contribute funds to the project.


Celebrations were took place this week on both banks of the Foyle after the Magilligan to Greencastle ferry scooped a top award for excellence in Dublin.

Limavady Borough and Donegal County Councils scooped the top Economic Development gong at the Chambers Ireland 2006 Local Government Excellence Awards.

The local authorities were nominated by Letterkenny Chamber for the Lough Foyle Ferry/ Atlantic Drift tourism project, which had successfully ferried over one million passengers by July 2005.

The awards ceremony took place at the Burlington Hotel in Dublin and was attended by representatives from both councils and the Lough Foyle Ferry Company.

Welcoming the award to the North West, chief executive officer of Letterkenny Chamber Joanne Sweeney said: "We are absolutely thrilled that once again Donegal and the region is being recognised on a national stage at an awards ceremony. The Excellence in Local Government Awards recognise local authorities' work in a range of categories."

Donegal and Limavady beat off stiff competition from Cork, Laois and Leitrim County Councils in the Economic Development category.

The commercial ferry project was initiated by the two councils in 2002.

As part of the marketing strategy for the service and the region, both councils were successful in an application to the North West Region Cross Border Group under INTERREG IIIA for grant funding and received 612,000 euro for the Atlantic Drift Initiative, designed to promote the region as one entity.

It brought together both authorities in conjunction with Udaras naGaeltachta, North West Tourism, Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs and the Lough Foyle Ferry Company to promote tourism development and the sustainable growth of tourism visitor numbers in the region, with the cross-border ferry service as the catalyst. [Belfast Telegraph]


The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) announced on Friday November 17 that eight foreign ships were under detention in UK ports during October 2006 after failing Port State Control (PSC) safety inspection.

Latest monthly figures show that there were seven new detentions of foreign flagged ships in UK ports during October 2006, compared with four new detentions during September. One further vessel was subject to preventative detention, having failed PSC at an Irish port and been sent to Belfast for repair. No vessels remained in detention from the previous month. The overall rate of detentions compared with inspections carried out over the last twelve months is just below 4.6%, a slight decrease compared with Septembers twelve month rate.

During the month of October 157 Port State Control inspections were carried out in the UK, which brings the recorded total from January to October this year to 1488 inspections. For those ships inspected during October a total of 33 vessels had no deficiencies raised against them, 68 had between one and five deficiencies, 34 had between six and ten deficiencies, 16 had between eleven and twenty deficiencies and 6 vessels had more than twenty deficiencies.

One bulk carrier, one offshore supply vessel, one tanker, four general cargo vessels and one other cargo vessel were detained in October. One vessel was registered with a flag state listed on the Paris MOU black list, three were registered with states on the grey list and four were registered with states on the white list.

All the vessels detained in September failed PSC for at least one ISM major non-conformity in addition to other detainable deficiencies. Major non-conformities were raised against company responsibilities and authority, resources and personnel, development of plans for shipboard operations, emergency preparedness and maintenance of the ship and its equipment. [List].


Work was noted to be underway to reinstall the fencing which was used to subdivide the passenger bridge and separate the north end of Prince's Landing Stage earlier this year to enable the Mersey Ferries and Isle of Man Steam Packet Company to share Prince's Stage once again. The long portakabin which stood alongside the former IoMSPCo terminal buildings on the stage has now been moved closer to the river - presumably to provide a waiting area for the ferries

The present temporary stage provided by Ravestein's SKYLINE BARGE 15 will be removed shortly to facilitate work on extending Prince's Landing Stage. It had been intended to relocate SKYLINE BARGE 15 to the site of the sunken George's Stage.

Unfortunately work on removing the sunken stage which should have been completed by the end of October has been abandoned for the time being due to technical difficulties brought about by silting. It is understood that the stage will either have to be broken up in situ or lifted using a floating sheer leg crane.

Meanwhile construction work on the northern extension of the Prince's Stage by Balfour Beatty is well underway in Canada Graving Dock.


MERCHANT BRAVERY arrived at NSL Birkenhead on Friday November 17 for propeller blade renewals.


The Dept of the Environment has asked for further information on an application by Waterford County Council for 'strategic status' for a proposed new access road to serve the Passage East Car Ferry.

County Engineer John O' Flynn told Monday' s meeting of the Council that he wrote to the department at the end of August seeking funding for the new road and requesting that it be designated a strategic road, which is a new category of route. The Airport Road is the only other road in this category in the county.

The Dept replied to the letter asking a whole lot of questions in relation to the ferry and its impact on Co Wexford. Mr O' Flynn in turn wrote to Wexford Co Council asking them for support for the new road and seeking information in order to answer some of the questions raised. Local FG councillor John Carey said his information was that there was no commitment from the landowner involved in respect of the proposed road.

Passage East village could no longer take the traffic using the ferry; local people could not tolerate it any longer and protests had resumed.

The ferry owners, FBD Holdings Plc, made profits of €87 million last year and they should put up the €7m necessary to construct the new road, he said. [ Munster Express ]


Regular users of the Strangford ferry are concerned they could face a detour of over 100 miles by road if the replacement boat currently in service were to break down unexpectedly.

The concerns have been raised after it emerged that the ferry's operators - DRD Roads Service - have no dedicated back-up vessel to cover the route should there be any technical problems with the replacement boat, which is used if the main boat is being serviced.

The 0.6 mile stretch of water between Portaferry and Strangford is normally crossed in just eight minutes, dozens of times a day, by the £2.7m MV PORTAFERRY II, which carries up to 28 cars.

But, with the vessel currently undergoing its annual refit - which could take up to six weeks to complete - the route is being covered instead by the older vessel MV STRANGFORD, which has a 40% smaller vehicle capacity than the MV PORTAFERRY II.

"I was concerned to discover, at a recent meeting with Roads Service representatives, that currently there is no back-up facility in place to offer users of the Strangford Ferry service in the event of the MV STRANGFORD experiencing mechanical problems," revealed SDLP Ards councillor Joe Boyle.

"Whilst serviced regularly, the reality is that this vessel is 37 years old and was originally deemed to have a life span of 30 years of service."

Councillor Boyle said he believed the effect of the MV STRANGFORD succumbing to unexpected mechanical problems could prove disastrous for local people who rely on the service.

"There is a lot of usage from both sides of the lough, but particularly the Portaferry side," he said.

"We have a lot of regular users who work in Downpatrick and Newry. If the ferry was out of commission, then they would have to drive round by Newtownards.

"The return journey time could effectively become 2.5 hours for people on an average day, because they would have to leave home earlier and would get home later."

Councillor Boyle also explained the boat which would have been used as a back-up to the MV STRANGFORD, the passenger-only vessel MV ISLE O'VALLA was recently auctioned off without replacement or a standby contract being put in place.

"It is important to the many regular users that a facility is maintained with this service in the event of unforeseen difficulties, particularly with an ageing vessel as the only current support in place to maintaining the current service," he said.

The effects of losing the ferry service, even for a short time, are already familiar to many users. Last month, ferry staff held a one-day strike over pay which, as Mr Boyle explained, had a pronounced impact on Portaferry.

He said: "It was like a ghost town. Places which would have been fairly busy were quiet. Business was down because they couldn't get supplies in."

A spokeswoman for the DRD Roads Service said that due to "financial constraints", it currently had no plans to replace the MV STRANGFORD.

She said: "The Department may consider other options as a back-up in the event of the Strangford breaking down in the near future. The other options would be procuring a small passenger vessel or getting a private contractor to provide a standby, passenger-only service."

According to the Roads Service website, the ferry service has operated with at least a 99% reliability rate over the last three years.

In 2003 and 2005, the service lost only one hour of sailing time through mechanical failure, but lost 5.5 hours in 2004.

November 12Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Ian Collard, "River Spy" and others.




NORMANDY - Irish Ferries are currently offering wine lovers a chance to go shopping for pre-Christmas bargains in France escorted by wine writer, broadcaster and Master Of Wine, Martin Moran.

Departing Rosslare on Friday December 08 for a round trip fare of EUR99 per person return including berth, the package will include wine tastings on board, the chance to preview some of the wines that can be bought ashore plus lots of advice on the bargains available.

Once in Cherbourg, passengers will visit a selection of outlets where savings can be as big as EUR10-12 per bottle for champagne, over EUR10 for spirits, up to EUR8 for wine and where beer can be cheaper than water.

In addition to the EUR99 return fare, passengers can increase their carrying capacity by taking a car for just EUR59 extra when two or more passengers travel together.

Further information and bookings telephone to 0818 300 400


A wanton act of official vandalism has seen the concrete "Stabit" which stood beside the Douglas Sea Terminal destroyed. This concrete construction featured in the Douglas Maritime Heritage Trail leaflet and carried a marker plaque and a plaque commemorating its designer a senior partner at the firm of consulting engineers for the breakwater project - and a former pupil at Douglas High School. Given the space available surely this interesting civil engineering artefact could have been found a new site on the wide expanse of Douglas Promenade?

The "stabit" took its name from the Manx motto "Quocunque Jeceris Stabit", which translates as "whithersoever you throw it, it will stand".  The landmark weighed 23 tonnes and was one of 3,740 made for the armouring of the sea defences at Battery Pier.


SEA EXPRESS I cancelled her Douglas to Liverpool round trip on Saturday November 11. Passengers were diverted to the 08:45 sailing to Heysham with a coach connection to Liverpool. It was observed that passengers awaiting the coach had a somewhat lengthy wait before their coach arrived.

BEN-MY-CHREE - the Ben had not been scheduled to sail on Saturday evening and had been due to play host to a Blue Riband Club Members' reception. After arrival around an hour behind schedule due to adverse conditions she put to see again bound for Heysham to retrieve the passengers from the cancelled 19:00 sailing from Liverpool. The Blue Riband function being transferred to the Sefton Hotel.

The MAIB is conducting an investigation into the brief grounding of the vessel at Heysham on November 03.


The Barrow - in - Furness based ship owner and marine services provider has been expanding during November.

On November 01 James Fisher announced the acquisition of Gjerde Lofteteknikk AS ('Gjerde') for a total consideration of  NOK 8.0 million Norwegian Kroner (£644,400), payable in cash at completion. The  acquisition is being funded out of existing resources.

This purchase further strengthens James Fisher's growing Offshore Services  activities in Stavanger and Aberdeen and is the fifth acquisition made by the  Company in this sector since 2001.

Gjerde is a privately-owned company situated in Stavanger on the Norwegian West Coast.  In the 8 months to 31 August 2006 Gjerde had a turnover of NOK 17.6 million (£1.42 million) and pre-tax profit of NOK 1.6 million (£129,000).

Gjerde provides specialist equipment to customers in the Norwegian and UK sector of the North Sea, designing and customising lifting equipment and cranes for sale and rental to the offshore rig and subsea market. Current products provided to the offshore oil services industry by James Fisher include compressors, steam generators, power packs, winches and the Hydro Digger excavation tool.

Gjerde will become part of James Fisher's existing Scan Tech operations under its Managing Director, Chris Stevens, who is based in Stavanger.  Gjerde's  Managing Director Kare Stokkeland and a staff of 10 will remain with the Company.

On November 02 James Fisher Defence Ltd, operators of the Royal Navy's submarine rescue service, has signed an agreement with the Government's Defence Sales Agency to acquire the operating assets of the UK submarine rescue service, for an undisclosed amount, in order to provide submarine rescue services to other nations. The company is working closely with the Defence Export Services Organisation to market its submarine rescue services worldwide.

James Fisher Defence Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of James Fisher and Sons plc (FSJ.L), the UK's leading provider of marine services. Through its subsidiary, James Fisher Rumic Ltd, the company currently operates and maintains the LR5 manned rescue submersible, the Scorpio ROV and ancillary equipment under a contract to the Royal Navy and has played a key role in the development of the UK's world-leading submarine rescue capability.

The team, based in Renfrew, Scotland, was mobilised to the KURSK disaster in 2000 and in August 2005 rescued seven Russian submariners trapped in the mini-sub PRIZ at a depth of 625 feet off Russia's far eastern Kamchatka peninsula.

Commenting on the agreement, Roger Chapman, Vice Chairman of James Fisher Defence, said:

'This marks a significant step in the development and future plans for our submarine rescue capability.'

He added: 'I would like to commend the professionalism of our team, which works hand in glove with the Royal Navy and the other naval authorities as demonstrated in the dramatic rescue last year. The submarine rescue assets are on 24-hour standby to save the lives of crews of stricken submarines. We are pleased that we are now able to offer this service, using one of the only such systems in the world, to other nations' navies.'

On November 06 Fishers announced the formation of James Fisher Inspection & Measurement Services to
provide inspection and measurement services to the nuclear, defence and offshore sectors and has appointed Dr Paul Read as its managing director, who joins from British Nuclear Group, where he was managing director of its instrumentation subsidiary, with extensive experience in the field of measurement and characterisation technologies.



The saga of the Fleetwood - Knott End Ferry continues. Considering its short route length - just a few hundred yards - this must be Europe's most unreliable ferry service!

Although the vessel was delivered 15 months ago it has seen only six weeks  service and has spent most of its time out of the water for major repairs. Last month, it was hoped to get the service back up and running in a matter of weeks but now Lancashire County Council bosses have decided to delay the big day until January.

Worried at suffering further red faces if there is another breakdown, they want more extensive tests before they finally say it has been properly fixed.

"County Hall are insisting on a lot more stringent tests," said Coun Keith Tebbs, Wyre Council portfolio holder for living economy.

"They are doing these tests although I am sure everything is alright. "We don't want the embarrassment starting again. They want to make sure that when they are running it they are doing it properly.

"They also want someone to examine the original design and they want to speak to the people who are operating it to make sure they are satisfied." Hopes were high when the £300,000 vessel sailed up the Wyre last August. Lancashire County and Wyre councils had come to a £500,000 deal to have the boat built and subsidise it for 10 years.

But there were delays while crew were trained and the Maritime Coastguard

Agency were sufficiently happy to give it a certificate to operate. However, the bow thrusters which give the boat manoeuvrability became

clogged with debris as it worked the 300-yard route across the river. A consultant was called to look at the troubled craft and eventually new

protective grilles and other parts had to be specially ordered. Some of the parts were available in this country but others had to be sent back to the manufacturers in Finland for repair.

Both councils had planned a grand opening ceremony with the boat being named in a competition involving local schools.

But such ideas are firmly on the back burner while the service continues to provide ongoing problems. [BLACKPOOL TODAY]


It was revealed in the local press this week that salvage and heavy lift company Mammoet have stopped work on attempting to recover the sunken George's Landing Stage. The job proving much more difficult the contractors are reported to be sending a report to the stage's owners Peel Ports suggesting options for its removal.


STENA LYNX III  and Alfred Lock gate will be docking Tuesday or Wednesday next week at Bidston Dry Dock
A special lifting frame will be used on Alfred lock gate to enable MERSEY MAMMOTH to 'float' it through the dock system.
November 08Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Patrick Taylor, Ian Collard and "others".



Passenger figures compiled by the Harbours Division for September 2006 at 56,215 show a 10.2% decrease on the figure for the same period in 2005 which was 62,661.

The year to date figure at 495,571 passengers shows a 2.3% decrease over the same period in 2005 which was 507,470.

During September, car and motorcycle traffic through Douglas Harbour decreased by 10.5% from 18,778 vehicles to 16,808 vehicles. The year to date figure at 141,489 vehicles shows a 2.0% decrease over the same period in 2005 which was 144,441.

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



Plus 14%






Minus 80%






Plus 10%






Minus 23%






All Plus






Director of Harbours, Captain Michael Brew comments:


“September 2006 passenger figures are disappointing, particularly on the Liverpool route which may have suffered due to the problems experienced by SuperSeaCat 2.  Now Sea Express is operating the route with a return to normal fast craft crossing times, traffic should improve.”






MERSEY VIKING has been a visitor to Harland and Wolf again on Monday.




Since the sinking of the George's Landing Stage used by the Mersey Ferries earlier this year intending passengers have had to walk along the river front from the ferries ticket office first to Prince's Landing Stage and later to the temporary "Skyline Barge" stage located north of Prince's Stage.


However with effect from Monday November 06 passenger will have a much longer walk as the footbridge over the former floating roadway cut has been closed. This is to enable Balfour Beatty to continue with their work in connection with the Prince's Landing Stage extension and improvements.


Originally it had been intended to have the sunken George's Stage removed by now. This would have enabled the "Skyline Barge" to be relocated to a position outside the Mersey Ferries ticket office. Unfortunately work at recovering the old stage which was first scheduled for completion in September and then put back to October remains far from complete - virtually no progress has been made at all!


Of course it was always known that that bridge across the floating roadway cut was going to be removed sooner or later as part of the stage improvement work and if the plans to remove the sunken ferry stage had been completed on time it would not have presented a problem.


From November 06, 2006 passenger will have to walk around the Balfour Beatty construction compound into St. Nicholas Place and then make their way down to the temporary stage.


Of course it is quite clear that sooner or later Balfour Beatty are going to need access to the river front area currently occupied by the "Skyline Barge" to continue with their work to extend the Prince's Stage northwards. 



Peel Ports, the operators of the Port of Liverpool, Manchester Ship Canal, Heysham Port, Medway Ports and Clydeport, have announced multi-million pound investment from RREEF Infrastructure as the catalyst for a dynamic, high-growth future.

With an annual turnover of £430 million and annual earnings in excess of £100 million, Peel Ports is the UK's second-largest ports group and one of the country's most significant transport-related companies.

It operates key port facilities on the Mersey and the Manchester Ship Canal, the Clyde in Scotland, on the Medway in the South East and in Dublin and Belfast.

RREEF is the real estate asset and infrastructure management arm of Deutsche Asset Management, the global investment management business of Deutsche Bank, with a range of long-term investments in real estate and infrastructure assets worldwide.

Tom Allison, chief executive of Peel Ports, described the deal as "one of the most significant ever seen in the UK ports sector.

"This is overwhelmingly good news for Peel Ports, for our customers and for our people. The combination of one of Europe's largest port operators and a global financial institution such as Deutsche Bank creates a compelling and powerful partnership.

"We’re confident that we can realise a range of tremendous growth opportunities and are committed to expanding the business. This deal will help accelerate those plans."

A core element of Peel Holdings, Peel Ports has over 2,200 employees across 14 sites and handles more than 63 million tonnes of cargo a year. As well as its strategically important port locations, the group also operates short sea shipping lines serving Northern Europe, the North Sea and the Irish Sea.

It also controls the UK's largest port consultancy with contracts across the globe and haulage/logistics operations covering Britain and Ireland.

Tom Allison said: "It is no secret that a number of financial institutions and investors have become increasingly focussed upon the ports sector in recent months. It was clear from the outset of our discussions several months ago that we and RREEF share common ambitions, determination and values."

John McCarthy, head of RREEF Infrastructure Europe said: "We are very excited to be making the investment in Peel Ports which is consistent with the partnership model that RREEF is looking to apply in the European marketplace



HSS STENA VOYAGER - it appears that the HSS is suffering from technical which resulted in disruption to the timetabled service in the first part of the week.

November 04Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Tony Brennan, Alex Mc.Cormac, Ed Swain and "others"


LUSITANIA - A multi-million euro exploration and development project for the Lusitania is planned by the wealthy American owner of the wreck if he gets the go-ahead from a High Court judge.

Last Friday, grandfather and New Mexico-based entrepreneur Gregg Bemis made his first dive on the wreck at the age of 76.

The remains of the famous Cunard liner are lying 300 feet down on the seabed off the Cork coast almost 12 miles southwest of the Old Head of Kinsale.

Mr Bemis's exploration proposal, which he estimates will cost about $3m (€3.6m) is on hold pending the result of a legal action he took against the Government claiming they are blocking his plans.

He won a declaration of ownership of the wreck in courts in Ireland, Britain and the US in the mid 1990s. The liner was torpedoed by a German U-boat in 1915 as it made its way from New York to Liverpool.

It sank in 18 minutes with the loss of 1,195 lives. A total of 764 passengers survived.  A mysterious secondary explosion was blamed for sending the Lusitania to the bottom so fast.

Mr Bemis believes there was a cover-up and wants to probe whether the liner was carrying munitions.  In 1995, however, the Government placed the country's first underwater heritage order on the wreck.  It only allows Mr Bemis to "look but not touch." [Irish Independent]


Two major fires have been reported this week. Early in the week the R&H Hall Plant suffered a major fire which flared up again towards the end of the week. On Friday there was a major fire at the Shell Bitumen storage facility.

[Photos: Tony Brennan]



BEN-MY-CHREE grounded on a mud bank at Heysham in the early hours of November 03. She floated off on the tide though did not arrive at Douglas until 08:10 - 2 hours 40 minutes late. The 08:45 sailing departed late at 09:30, though by the evening she was almost back on time.

PDF Files of the 2007 timetables are now available for download from


Relatives of those killed in the Carlingford Lough disaster have gathered  near Newry to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the tragedy. More than 90 people lost their lives when two ships collided at the mouth of the lough in 1916.

The London North Western Railway passenger ship SS CONNEMARA bound from Greenore to Holyhead crashed into the collier SS RETRIEVER in bound from Garston and sank at the  mouth of the lough on 3 November 1916.

The relatives gathered for a short ecumenical service at the mouth of the Newry canal. The names of the dead were read out before a wreath was laid at the permanent memorial to the disaster at Greenore in County Louth.

There are a number of references to the disaster on the web  [BBC] and [Irish Identity] being the most informative.


The prospect of a Severn Barrage has once again raised its head. The once topical project which was touted during the 1970s looks to be back on the agenda again according to a report in the Western Morning News:

Ambitious plans to build a ten-mile tidal barrage across the River Severn to create the UK's largest renewable energy project have been unveiled at a meeting of environmentalists and politicians.

If the scheme to harness tidal power goes ahead it could provide up to 7 per cent of the
UK's energy requirements and would more than double the UK's output from renewable energy sources.

The meeting, held in Gloucester, was told that the barrage, which is planned to stretch ten miles across the Severn Estuary between Weston-super-Mare and Cardiff, was needed to provide energy to UK households.

John Redman, spokesman for the Severn Tidal Power Group, the civil engineering company leading the project, called for a detailed assessment to be carried out as soon as possible. "If the comforts provided by electricity are to continue, our systems for providing energy must be replaced," he said.

The estimated building cost is £14 billion and most of the money could be raised in the private sector.

The barrage could also have roads and railways running across it, and would contain locks for ships to pass through.


TITANIC - The ashes of a woman who believed she was conceived by her eloping parents on board the Titanic have been scattered at sea following her death aged 92.

Ellen Walker claimed her mother Kate Phillips fell pregnant on board the doomed liner in 1912 after running away with married businessman Henry Morley.

Shop girl Kate, then 19, escaped on a lifeboat but her lover died along with 1,523 fellow passengers after the ship struck an iceberg.

Her mother was one of only several hundred of the 2,220 people on board to survive - and gave birth in
England nine months later.

Throughout her life she tried to prove she was the youngest survivor of the Titanic, but never succeeded in having Morley officially named as her father.

She died last October aged 92 and her ashes have now been scattered from an RNLI lifeboat off Padstow in Cornwall into the Atlantic - the sea where her life began.

Coastguard Ian Fuller, a friend of Ellen, said: "She was a lovely lady who had a fascinating tale to tell.

"She kept all the cuttings about the Titanic that she could collect, and I believe she had a cabin key from the ship.

"She fought very hard to get her father's name put on her birth certificate - she was determined to be remembered as a survivor.

"Ellen was passionate about the work of the RNLI, probably because her life, and that of her mother, was saved by a lifeboat.

"She has left money to the charity and it seemed fitting that her ashes should be scattered in this way."

Ellen's mother Kate was a shop assistant in Worcester when she began a relationship with her boss Henry Morley, who owned a string of high-class confectionery outlets.

Both families frowned upon the union because Morley already had a wife and children, and they decided to elope to start a life together.

They caught the transatlantic liner Titanic on its maiden voyage, booking in under the false names of Mr and Mrs Marshall.

Henry's brother and Kate's parents travelled with the couple to see them off and it was during the voyage, when they shared a second-class cabin, that Ellen believes she was conceived.

The ship sank and by August 1912, Kate was back in Worcester - four months pregnant.

Dr Chris Upton, senior lecturer in history at Newman College of Higher Education in Birmingham, said Ellen fought tirelessly to have her heritage recognised.

He said: "When Ellen was born the following January, only her mother's name was entered on her birth certificate.

"It was her lifelong ambition to have her father's name put on the certificate, but to do that she needed to make contact with Henry Morley's family and to request one of them to take a DNA test.

"But Morley's descendants were rather suspicious of her motives and doubtful of her case - nor did they want to open old wounds, so her request was refused."

Friends say Ellen, who was known as Betty, kept her father's photograph on her bedroom wall. She married twice and had a son, Robert Farmer.

Although she lived in London and Worcester, where she died, Ellen always had strong links to North Cornwall and asked that her ashes be scattered at sea.

After a short reading by Rev Judith Pollinger on board the RNLI's Tamar class lifeboat, The Spirit of Padstow, her ashes were scattered just off Cataclew Point.

Ellen was only told of the drama surrounding her conception by her mother during an argument as a child.

Speaking in 1996, she said: "When I was 18, I said the most terrible thing to my mother and I can remember her reply as clearly as if it were yesterday.

"'Don't look at me like that', she said. 'That's how your father looked at me, with the same eyes, when I was thrown into that lifeboat'.

"It was an extraordinary moment. She had never mentioned my father to me before, never even admitted his existence to me.

"Mr Morley sold two of his shops and left the other two to support his wife and 12-year-old daughter. Then he booked a passage for San Francisco. I don't know what my grandparents thought.

"Of course, my parents never had a chance to make a new life.

"Only the women and children were allowed into the lifeboats. My father didn't want her to go and tried to cling on to her.

"But the sailors threw her into the boat. She was the last person in.

"No one knows if my father sank with the ship or made it into the water. He couldn't swim, but in any case the water was so cold that people died within minutes."

After growing up in Chesterfield, Ellen later moved to Ealing in London with her mother and new husband.

She said: "My mother didn't want me to think about Henry Morley at all. I don't think I even knew my father's name until I was 12 or 13, when one of my aunts told me.

"Throughout my teens, they continued to mention bits and pieces, until I gradually discovered what had happened. But the story of the Titanic didn't mean that much to me. It was just some ship that had sunk."

Aged 14, Ellen was given a picture of her father by an aunt - and began a life-long quest to have him recognised as her father.

In 1989, Ellen moved to Worcester and aged 78 found a book containing pictures of people from the area who had died on the ship - including a picture of Henry.

She said: "I burst into tears. My father's name isn't even on my birth certificate - there's just a line through the space. Seeing his face it means more to me than ever.

"I've always been ashamed to be have been born out of wedlock. I was born without a father but I don't want to die without one."

The British Titanic Society has officially recognised Ellen Walker as the descendent of a Titanic survivor.

A statement said: "Records show that her mother and Mr Morley were booked in the same cabin on the Titanic. It certainly appears that they'd eloped together so he was the man most likely to have been Mrs Walker's.
father." [Western Morning News]
November 01Acknowledgements:  Michael Bracken, Kevin Bennett, Jenny Williamson, Ian Liston, Edwin Wilmshurst, "River Spy" and "others"


BIBBY RENAISSANCE - the accommodation vessel which has been laid up at Barrow Docks is reported by a newspaper to on its way to Merseyside in the near future for refit to enable its use as a floating prison to relieve the current jail overcrowding problems.


ISLE OF MULL will refit at NSL and is expected to arrive on Merseyside on November 27, 2006.


Cammell Laird Holdings plc has lost the long running dispute with Carnival Corporation's Costa Crociere division

The Italian arbitration tribunal hearing the case ruled unanimously this week that termination of the agreement between the two parties had occurred due to non performance on the part of Cammell Laird which was placed in administration in April 2001.

The dispute arose over the performance of a contract for the yard to build and insert a hull section to lengthen the ship, due to have taken place in between late 2000 and early 2001.

The tribunal decided that it was Cammell Laird’s failure to complete the construction in time and to proceed with the lengthening that prompted Costa to suspend the $80M contract while the ship was on its way to the yard. The contract was cancelled in January 2001 and Cammell Laird became insolvent in April the same year.


Irish Continental, the parent group of Irish Ferries, has seen a 5.2% growth in freight on its Irish Sea routes in September, bringing the growth over the year to date to 3.5pc.

Car traffic performance in the tourism market continues to decline, with a fall of 3.8% in September making a decline of 10.7% for the year to date.

The group's volumes have lagged the market due to the reduction in fast-craft sailings from three to two on the Dublin/Holyhead route, resulting in a loss of market share over the summer, according to NCB Stockbrokers analyst John Sheehan.

"The (car tourism) performance in September saw the group regain some of this volume," Mr Sheehan said. Roll-on roll-off freight carryings were up 5.2% in September and are 3.5% up in the first nine months of the year.

"Year to date growth at Irish Ferries is 6.5pc on Rosslare-Pembroke and 2% on Dublin-Holyhead. Freight markets continue to deliver strong growth in line with positive economic trends and increased Ireland/UK integration," Mr Sheehan said.

While strong freight and weak tourism is no surprise at Irish Ferries, Mr Sheehan argues that "the relatively stronger tourism performance in September is encouraging."


SEA EXPRESS I missed sailings due to adverse weather conditions on October 26 and 31 with passengers being diverted via the BEN-MY-CHREE sailings to and from Heysham.

On November 01 SEA EXPRESS I departed Douglas in find conditions but went "technical" after leaving the harbour. This resulted in her return to Douglas for attention before departing around 40 minutes late.


KING HARRY VII will be out of service between November 06 and November 11 2006. The company has undertake some works the slipways that are dependent on low spring tides.  It was hoped to complete the works during the nights but tides and the extent of the works will not allow this. The work also coincides with resurfacing work on the ferries approach roads being undertaken by Cornwall County Council.

KING HARRY VI the old ferry which was withdrawn from service earlier this year is currently laid up at Falmouth Dock Yard and can be seen from the viewing area overlooking the shipyard.


The ill fasted ferry service was branded a "farce" last week after revelations it will not run throughout the winter.

Lancashire County Hall bosses revealed the Fleetwood to Knott End ferry will be grounded because they have no cash to run a winter service.

The ferry has been out of service for five months after a new vessel - part of a £500,000 rescue package - hit problems just six weeks following its launch was launched in April.

The news today sparked a furious response from campaigners who demanded action into the latest farce which has rocked the service. Dorothy Ramsden, a member of Preesall and Knott End Parish Council, was one of the campaigners involved in getting the ferry service back afloat. She said: "It is disgusting what has happened. "Everyone was so hopeful when we got the new boat and it started sailing.

But since then it has been a joke. "Someone is responsible for this farce. Heads should roll. "For them now to turn round and say there is no money after promising to run a winter service - It just isn't funny."

Bob Stevens, landlord at the Bourne Arms Hotel, Knott End, said: "For the few weeks when the ferry ran our takings were up. But people don't come on the bus. What use is it?

"We all suspected the ferry wouldn't run in the winter. "Unfortunately, once again, we've been proved right." Lancashire County Council provides £52,000 each year to run the service, a sum matched by Wyre Council.

But it has been dogged with problems ever since the service was relaunched in April. Just six weeks into its later, it was suspended when the water jets on the  boat were damaged by silt and rocks from the bed of the River Wyre.

Parts had to be sent to Finland for repairs and have only this week arrived back in the UK.

Councillor Keith Tebbs, portfolio holder for Living Environment at Wyre Council, said users could now see the service restored for a week or so before being pulled ahead of the doomed winter period.

He said: "We have done our bit, the money is there in the budget. "I am sure they could have found the cash from somewhere. "We were going to look at the ferry operation after one year to review how it was doing.

"How can we do that when it only ran for six weeks? "It now seems the boat will be fixed and put back in the water only to come straight back out again."

A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said: "We had been hoping to secure a grant from Government for the winter running. "However that has not happened and we have been looking for alternative cash  to keep the ferry running over the winter.

"At the moment that is not going to happen. "The issue of the ferry will be discussed at a Lancashire County Council  Lancashire Locals meeting at Fleetwood High School tomorrow.


MERSEY VIKING paid a visit to Harland and Wolff on Monday October 23, 2006 whilst LIVERPOOL VIKING was noted there on Monday October 30 having arrived on Saturday October 28. RR SHIELD providing cover.


Nine fire crews and three specialist units were called to 12 Quays terminal in Birkenhead, Merseyside, after a road tanker began leaking phosphoric acid at the Twelve Quays Terminal on October 26.

Fire-fighters wearing full protective suits managed to stop the leak, cover drains and place a boom around the tanker to keep the terminal open.  No-one was injured in the incident.

The leak was caused by a faulty valve on the tanker and the 2,500 litres of acid contained in it was decanted into another vehicle.

A spokeswoman said three fire crews were still at the scene on Thursday morning, being assisted by the Environment Agency. [BBC]



A World War II mine which was found by fishermen on October 27 and reported to Swansea Coastguard was successfully exploded by Royal Naval Bomb Disposal experts.

The skipper of the fishing vessel GIRL EILEEN II contacted Swansea Coastguard on Friday morning to report that they had suspected ordnance in their nets. The Coastguard advised the vessel to go to an anchorage in Swansea Bay which had been agreed by the harbour master. The skipper was then transferred from his vessel onto another fishing vessel FULMAR, owned by his twin brother. The two brothers kept a watch on the GIRL EILEEN II and the mine until, later on in the day, when the Royal Navy dive unit were taken out to the vessel by the Mumbles RNLI Inshore Lifeboat. They inspected the 12ft ordnance and confirmed that it was a live World War II mine. The mine was then carefully lowered back down onto the seabed.

Swansea Coastguard made broadcasts throughout the night, to all shipping, warning of the danger. The Royal Navy Bomb Disposal Unit returned on Saturday October 28 and exploded the bomb on the seabed at midday.


The 2007 Manchester Ship Canal details are now on the Mersey Ferries web site. [click here].

A new 45ft-high, three-storey structure has been proposed to replace the existing "tent" style terminal at Liverpool's Pier Head. It appears that the existing Shanghai Palace Restaurant may have to be demolished for the plan to be completed. However, according to the restaurant's owner - Joe Farley - he knows nothing about the scheme!

An artists impression reveals that the structure, which is around the same height as the present tent, will have a balcony overlooking the Pier Head and a glazed viewing area overlooking the River.


A North Devon web designer is launching a campaign to bring ferries to Ilfracombe and open the region to trade and tourism with South Wales and Ireland.

Marten Gallagher, who lives in Bideford and runs Annery Kiln Web Design, has set up to provide the story so far and offer an online survey to gauge support locally for a ferry service.

"It would be a huge boost for the area if the idea is moved forward," he said.

"I am Irish, but getting from here to South Wales and then Ireland is always a pain in the neck - one of our 'local' airports is Cardiff."

Marten was contacted by Chris Marrow, a marine consultant and experienced ferry operator, who has been working on the possibility of ferries from Ilfracombe to Swansea and Minehead to Barry for some time.

They decided an online survey would be the best way to find out what people thought and the information would also prove valuable to support any future funding bid.

"North Devon really needs something more than ordinary tourism to rely on and the ferry idea is so obviously just sitting there waiting," said Marten.

"People can go online and enter general comments, but it would be useful if they could take the time to fill out the survey - constructive views would be more than welcome."

Chris Marrow said he didn't think there was enough awareness of how many people actually wanted to see a ferry service.

"I spoke to the director of Swansea Cork Ferries, who said whatever we put on in Ilfracombe would not be big enough within a couple of years - he was convinced there was a viable market. [North Devon Gazette].


No4 Dry-dock - THORNGARTH and SCAN WARRIOR departed October 25, 2006

No 5 Dry-dock - MDHC dredgers have been at work preparing entrance / approach for RFA Fort George due to arrive for refit later this month.

Bidston Dry Dock PHILIP departed October 25 following reclassification.
Mersey Ferry 'Daffodil' due to dry dock to continue to finish off 2006 dry-dock works started in April.


According to a report in a local newspaper truck drivers from Northern Ireland have been experiencing the big itch recently after some of them discovered their vehicles were infested with bed bugs.

The news first came to light after a Portadown haulier contacted the Stephen Nolan Show to complain about a problem he claimed originated on a P&O crossing.

The ferry company, however, defended its actions, saying the problem was nipped in the bud. "I started to scratch and I couldn't stop. My God, the bites were itchy," the lorry driver said.

"Then some of the boys started to find insects in their lorries - they're wee flat bronze coloured things with a black spot and they only come out when it's dark.

"Everyone has been talking about it for some time now. A friend of mine was eaten alive after his lorry was swarmed with them."

The 29-year-old, who asked not to be named, said he believed he caught the bugs on a P&O crossing between Larne and Cairnryan.

"I make that journey up to six times each week. In July, P&O said there was a 'small problem', so the commercial drivers lounge was closed - and completely refurbished," he said.

"I wouldn't like to see it if there was a big problem. The company has a duty of care to freight drivers and hauliers, so why weren't we told sooner?"

He added the financial repercussions have been serious for both himself and his colleagues. "This is the third time I've had to fumigate my lorry - it costs £500 a go.  The professional pest control people have to rip out the interior of the lorry each time," he said.

"I earn a reasonably good wage for my wife and two children, but something like this can wipe out a man's livelihood."

A spokesperson for P&O Ferries yesterday said there was a "possible pest control issue" on the Larne-Cairnyran route at the end of July.

"This area was immediately closed and treated and we then took the added precaution of completely refitting all fittings and furnishings in the Commercial Drivers Lounge. This area was subsequently reopened to commercial drivers in late August."

He added that there had been an inspection on Monday. "Once again both external experts, Rentokill Initial and Environmental Health Officials from Larne Borough Council, gave the EUROPEAN HIGHLANDER and the EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY vessels a complete clean bill of health," he said.

Further information suggests that the problem was isolated to EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY and was caused by some drivers, believed from be from Eastern Europe bringing contaminated bedding into the drivers' lounge.


The Cóbh based builder of high performance off shore craft has secured contracts from Dublin Port and the Port of Liverpool this autumn.

The company is constructing two Interceptor 42ft pilot boats for the Port of Dublin due for delivery in Spring and Autumn 2007.

The Port of Liverpool has ordered a Wildcat 40 twin hull craft as a new survey vessel.

For full details of these new orders [click here]


Unconfirmed reports have started to circulate suggesting that the former British Railways vessel DUKE OF LANCASTER which has resided on a mud berth at Mostyn for may years has been sold to a local scrap dealer and will be broken up by Christmas. Given that the vessel will likely have a high asbestos content on wonders if the cost of safe removal will outweigh the actual scrap value.


Services were suspended for one day on Friday October 27, 2006 as a result of industrial action by crews protesting at rates of pay.

The Strangford skippers are on a basic wage of £14,000 + allowances. The main comparator pays £29,000 basic, a shortfall of around £6,000. Amicus is seeking a fair wage for their members employed on the Strangford Ferry. The skippers have a legal responsibility for the safety of the passengers and crew when sailing in one of the fastest and difficult currents at the entrance to Strangford Lough. They operate the ferry for 16 hours each day, 364 days per year and are proud of the service provided to members of the public.

Despite Strangford Ferry management acknowledging that the rates of pay, especially for skippers, fell substantially short of that paid by other companies no action has been taken to address this. Instead, a further review is being undertaken. Whilst Amicus members co-operated with this, the continued delays are a cause of extreme frustration. They believe the management team are not listening to their concerns and the publication of an interim report for the latest review seeks to incorporate a proposal that was rejected in July last year.

Steve Tweed, Amicus Regional Officer, says, "Negotiations have been on-going for over 3 years and our members have demonstrated magnificent patience. However they now don't believe their concerns are being taken seriously and to demonstrate the strength of feeling they have, reluctantly, taken the decision to protest with a one-day strike.


NOMADIC - restoration of the last nautical link to the TITANIC has got underway. The SS NOMADIC - used to ferry passengers to the ill-fated liner - was towed to Belfast in July.

Over the weekend it was stripped of the artefacts of its last incarnation - as a floating restaurant in France. The government has spent almost £700,000 just buying and getting the ship back to Belfast.

A charitable Trust has been set up to oversee and raise funds for NOMADIC's restoration and Roy Snowden of the Nomadic Preservation Society said that would decide on the ship's future.

"I know that figures of up to £7m have been expressed but it depends on what the NOMADIC Trust feel what the future of the vessel is going to be," he said.

"Whether or not to restore her to a full working ship with sea-going capacity, or not to put engines in her at all, but just treat her as a tourist attraction."

Since the NOMADIC's return thousands of people from all over the world have been asking when they can come and see her.

Campaigners say there is no doubt she will prove her worth as a tourist attraction.

The NOMADIC's return to Belfast was almost a century after it was built by Harland and Wolff, the company which also built the TITANIC.

It was commissioned by the famous White Star Line and used to take first and second class passengers out to TITANIC at Cherbourg in 1912.

The TITANIC entered legend when it sank with the loss of more than 1,500 people on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York, but the NOMADIC's story continued.

It saw out the end of the century as a floating restaurant beside the Eiffel Tower in Paris before being sent for storage in Le Havre. [BBC]


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