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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

NEWS BULLETIN - April 2007

April 29Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Jenny Williamson, Neil Marsden, John Thomas and "others"


PONT L'ABBE suffered engine problems shortly as she entered Plymouth Sound on the evening of April 26. A tug was summoned to bring her into Millbay Docks where she arrived at around 21:45 an hour and a quarter behind schedule.

A spokesman for the company said: "The vessel had been experiencing engine problems earlier in the journey.

"By the time she was just a few miles from home the engine had failed altogether. It was considered unsafe to enter the port so the captain called for a tug. "This is not something we are aware of happening before. "The delay was around one hour 15 minutes. We apologise to our customers."

The technical problems appear to have been resolved by the time the ship departed on her 23:00 sailing to Roscoff.


JONATHAN SWIFT - The company has announced timetable changes as a result of the on going engine problem with the Austal fast craft which have resulted in the vessel only operating on three engines

A temporary schedule has been introduced which will operate between May 02 and June 05, 2007 as follows:

Depart Dublin 07.45 Arrive Holyhead 10.15

Depart Holyhead 11.00 Arrive Dublin 13.30

Depart Dublin 14.15 Arrive Holyhead 16.45

Depart Holyhead 17.15 Arrive Dublin 19.45

The Vessel will not operate on Wednesdays commencing May 09 2007 during  the operation of this revised schedule.


The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) announced this week that ten foreign ships were under detention in UK ports during March 2007 after failing Port State Control (PSC) safety inspection.

Latest monthly figures show that there were six new detentions of foreign flagged ships in UK ports during March 2007. Four vessels remained in detention from the previous month. The overall rate of detentions compared with inspections carried out over the last twelve months remains just below 4.5%, unchanged from Februarys twelve month rate.

During the month of March 83 Port State Control inspections were carried out in the UK. A total of 25 vessels had no deficiencies raised against them, 32 had between one and five deficiencies, 16 had between six and ten deficiencies, 8 had between eleven and twenty deficiencies and 2 vessels had more than twenty deficiencies.

Out of the detained vessels five were registered with flag states listed on the Paris MOU white list and one was registered with a state on the grey list.

Vessels detained in March included:

• a 1,948 GT offshore support vessel and a 17,356 GT bulk carrier both detained with inoperative fire pumps;
• two general cargo vessels detained with ISM major non-conformities: on both vessels the maintenance of ship and equipment was not according to the Safety Management System, one also recorded a further ISM major non-conformity for lack of emergency preparedness.

Of those ships detained the following were in the Irish and Celtic Seas:

Date & Place of detention: 02/03/2007 – Newport
Vessel Name: PIA STEVNS (General Cargo Vessel)
GT: 1,892
IMO No: 8213407
Flag: Antigua & Barbuda
Company: THH Denizcilik
Classification Society: Lloyds Register of Shipping (LR)
Summary: 12 deficiencies in total, detained for 5 days with malfunctioning engine room fire detection and 2 ISM major non-conformities: emergency preparedness and maintenance of ship and equipment not according to SMS. The vessel was released on 07/03/2007.

Date & Place of detention: 06/03/2007 – Coleraine
Vessel Name: DEFENDER (General Cargo Vessel)
GT: 1,512
IMO No: 7915125
Flag: Antigua & Barbuda
Company: Reederei Erwin Strahlman
Classification Society: Germanischer Lloyd (GL)
Summary: 21 deficiencies in total, detained for 3 days for defective cargo hold bilge pumping and an ISM major non-conformity, maintenance of ship and equipment not according to SMS. The vessel was released on 09/03/2007.

Date & Place of detention: 17/03/2007 – Ellesmere Port
Vessel Name: JOMI (General Cargo Vessel)
GT: 2,827
IMO No: 9038397
Flag: Bahamas
Company: Misje Rederei AS
Classification Society: Germanischer Lloyd (GL)
Summary: 1 deficiency, detained for 6 days with a non-compliant alarm system for the jacketed high pressure fuel line. The vessel was released on 23/03/2007.

Date & Place of detention: 20/03/2007 – Belfast
Vessel Name: NAXOS (Bulk Carrier)
GT: 15,056
IMO No: 8118360
Flag: Panama
Company: Jin Yang Shipping
Classification Society: Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (NKK)
Summary: 31 deficiencies in total, detained for 6 days for an ISM major non-conformity (emergency preparedness), lack of training in lifeboat operations, flooding to cabin space and an emergency escape blocked. The vessel was released on 26/03/2007.

The following Irish Sea detentions were carried over from the previous month:

Date & Place of detention: 22/02/2007 – Liverpool
Vessel Name: GOLDEN GLORY (Bulk Carrier)
GT: 36,433
IMO No: 8800107
Flag: Bahamas
Company: Dockendale Shipping Co.
Classification Society: Lloyds Register of Shipping (LR)
Summary: 31 deficiencies in total, detained for ISM major non-conformity, maintenance of ship and equipment. The vessel was released on 23/03/2007.

Date & Place of detention: 28/02/2007 – Belfast
Vessel Name: JEROME H (General Cargo Vessel)
GT: 1,297
IMO No: 8505927
Flag: Antigua & Barbuda
Company: Helms
Classification Society: Germanischer Lloyd (GL)
Summary: 9 deficiencies in total, detained for 3 days with 2 ISM major non-conformities (shipboard operations and masters responsibility not according to SMS), missing navigation records, inadequate use of appropriate scaled charts and failure to maintain an accurate record of the vessels position on chart. The vessel was released on 03/03/2007.


Marine surveyors and senior managers in the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) have voted overwhelmingly for industrial action in a dispute over pay.

Their union, Prospect, said the result reflected the anger among members at an offer which is below inflation, more than nine months late and failed to honour commitments to remedy pay disparities.

On a 69 per cent turnout, 87 per cent of members voted in favour of industrial action short of a strike with only 15 members voting against.

It follows an earlier ballot in February where members rejected a tabled pay deal that provided an average 2.5 per cent increase for Prospect members.

The action, from May 21, will take the form of a ban on overtime. It is expected to lead to a backlog in the vital survey work undertaken at ports across the country. Prospect negotiator John Ferrett said: "The below- inflation award compounds existing frustration at the disparities in pay between MCA surveyors and comparable Department for Transport colleagues in the Marine Accident Investigation branch who are paid literally twice as much.

A spokesman for the MCA said: "There is no intention of reopening negotiations.

"We have got contingencies in place to cover their action."


Mersey Ferries have announced that services will return to a normal timetable from Monday 30th April.

The ferry will berth in Liverpool at the relocated Reavestein SKYLINE BARGE 15 at Pier Head and tickets will be sold from the Mersey Ferries Pier Head office nearby  Tickets will no longer be available from the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company as of Monday 30th April.

Photographs of the relocated temporary stage can be seen on this site [Click Here]


The  MSC NAPOLI is due to be towed away from the World Heritage coast where she has been grounded for more than three months.

The 62,000-tonne Napoli could be moved once the operation to remove the remainder of the containers she was carrying is completed.

A spokesman for the vessel's operators, Zodiac Maritime, said: "The intention is to refloat her intact and a decision will be taken where we go from there."

The Napoli was grounded on January 20 a mile off nearby Sidmouth during a tow to Portland, Dorset.

Her hull had been damaged in a storm - during which her 26 crew was rescued - and there were fears she would sink.

Around 300 of the 2,206 containers being carried by the vessel still remain to be lifted off into waiting craft an operation which is expected to take a further month.


SEACAT SCOTLAND - the one time Irish Sea based 74m Incat has been delivered to her new owners MJ Properties propritors of Fortune Maritime based in Athens. She has been renamed SHIKRA

She is bound for Pireaus where she will have sprinklers added and additonal seats.  After about two weeks, she will sail for the Red Sea for service in the Egypt to Saudi Arabia trade. Owners have other vessels in the trade.


Seatruck Ferries, freight-only specialists on the Irish Sea route, are about to introduce a major increase in capacity for the link between Heysham and Warrenpoint, Northern Ireland. Seatruck is part of the major shipping consortium Clipper Group.

Four state-of-the-art newbuildings are to be delivered by Spanish shipbuilders Astilleros de Huelva over the coming 12 months. Seatruck has now decided that the fourth vessel in the series will also be a 142 m "Heysham Max" ship.

The first of the new ships - offering double the capacity of the existing vessels - will be the Clipper Point. She will enter service in July, followed by Clipper Pace in November and Clipper Pennant and Clipper Panorama, in January and March 2008 respectively.

Seatruck Commercial Director Alistair Eagles says: "Clipper Point will be by far the largest and most powerful ferry to operate from Heysham. Each of the new ships can carry over 120 units. Service speed, at 22 kts, will cut the crossing time from nine hours to 6.5 hours. We have now decided to amend the specification for the fourth of the new vessels, bringing her into line as a Heysham Max vessel, of a size ideal for operations at that port.

"Furthermore, we are actively considering options for further newbuilding orders with a similar specification or a larger class, with a carrying capacity of 140 units, but also with a 22 kts service speed."

Clipper Group's strong support for Seatruck has been a decisive factor in the freight ferry operator's rapid development. Seatruck CEO Kevin Hobbs adds: "Our intention is to continue to reinforce our close relationships with core customers and maintain a reputation as a friendly company with the advantage of substantial corporate backing. With the entry into service of the newbuildings, we are working closely with the port authorities to explore opportunities to ensure that the benefits of the new vessels are fully exploited."


Seatruck Ferries has welcomed a new Chairman to its Board of Directors. Ole Frie has joined the close knit ‘Seatruck Team’ and will provide invaluable experience as the company moves forward.

Dane Ole Frie is extremely well known in shipping & road transport circles having retired as CEO of DFDS A/S on 31 December 2006.  As CEO for DFDS A/S Ole Frie was responsible for both the DFDS Tor Line and the DFDS Seaways, freight and passenger operations. DFDS operate 65 vessels with 4,300 employees. During his time as CEO Ole saw the company through a period of significant restructuring and growth.

Prior to the appointment to CEO of DFDS A/S in 2000, Ole Frie was CEO of subsidiary DFDS Transport A/S operating large scale European door/door services.

Kevin Hobbs CEO of Seatruck comments: “We are delighted to have Ole join Seatruck, we are already discussing a number of new projects and we will be working very closely with him as Seatruck move forward over the coming months.”

Ole Frie comments: “I have been impressed by the Seatruck operation. They have proved that with hard work and good service it is possible to compete with the larger players. The next few years will see the service grow significantly. I have no doubt that the new vessel program is a fantastic opportunity for Seatruck and I will enjoy working with the management team as they build on their achievements so far.”  

Seatruck was established in 1996 to meet the Irish Sea transportation needs of the haulage industry. It started with just one vessel, dedicated to filling a gap in the market for a freight operation serving Ireland, “We have come a long way since then,” says Alistair Eagles, Seatruck Commercial Director. “The backing of our parent group, Clipper, has been a major factor in our development, but we have remained close to our core customers, the haulage industry, which regards us as a friendly company with huge corporate backing. We offer the best of both worlds, and will continue to do so.”

Seatruck Ferries operates between Warrenpoint, Northern Ireland, and Heysham, Lancashire, offering operators real choice in a market place dominated by a small number of large players. Seatruck Ferries is part of the Bahamas-based Clipper Group Ltd, a major shipping consortium owning, operating and managing a fleet of some 250 vessels, mainly within bulk transportation, MPP/Project transportation and product/chemical carriage. Clipper Group has global offices servicing its clients worldwide.


The company's switch of ports from Stranraer to Cairnryan has been approved by the Scottish Executive. Though an official announcement has not yet been made the local press indicates that he move to Cairnryan has been given the go ahead.


The Royal Navy and a West Country harbour pilot have been implicated in the deaths of two American sailors who were swept overboard from a nuclear-powered submarine.

A report into the incident in Plymouth Sound involving the USS MINNEAPOLIS-ST PAUL (MSP) revealed that a similar incident took place involving a British submarine, HMS SOVEREIGN, just months earlier.

Senior US military officials have criticised the Royal Navy for not disclosing the first accident, in which two men were trapped on the deck of the British submarine for 30 minutes in bad weather and had to be treated in hospital.

In the MINNEAPOLIS-ST PAUL, the US Navy blamed an experienced Plymouth pilot for giving the American crew "poor advice" and not sharing information about "potentially dangerous sea states" past Plymouth breakwater.

The US crew were also unaware that surface vessel movements in Plymouth Sound had been restricted because of the heavy swell and gale-force winds.

Five crew were knocked off the deck of the Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine as the pilot was being transferred to a smaller boat.

A spokesman for the Royal Navy stressed that the report was "being taken very seriously" but would not comment on the actions taken by the pilot - a civil servant employed by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

 He said the Navy could not comment on the HMS SOVEREIGN incident as it was the subject of legal action.

 On the MINNEAPOLIS-ST PAUL, in December, two men - Senior Chief Petty Officer Thomas Higgins and Petty Officer Michael Holtz - were on deck and tethered to the vessel. They died after being swept overboard and pounded against the hull of the submarine by 20ft waves.

A detailed report into the incident, obtained by the Western Morning News, said the pilot, who has not been named, had "several concerns over ship's practices and sea conditions" but they were not "communicated to ship's personnel".

It added: "Local authorities did not inform USS MINNEAPOLIS-ST PAUL of restrictions on some surface ship movements due to gale winds on December 29, 2006, thus depriving the commanding officer of an additional indicator of potentially challenging sea states.

"While it appears MSP personnel did at times interpret the silence of local authorities as acquiescence with their plan, they also took affirmative steps to seek out the opinions of local authorities and experts. MSP was unanimously advised that it was safe for their vessel to get under way."

It concluded: "Although there were noted deficiencies of the pilot's performance, this does not alleviate (Commander Edwin Ruff) from his responsibility to independently assess the impact of the weather and oceanic effects on the effective and safe operation of his ship."

A spokesman for the Royal Navy in Plymouth said it had only recently received the report and it was still being studied.

He added: "The safety of personnel at all times is a priority for the MoD and Royal Navy, especially in potentially hazardous environments. Therefore, this report is being is being taken very seriously.

"The report is under consideration by the MoD in consultation with the US Navy and any lessons that can belearned to improve safety at sea will be implemented.

"The MoD will not comment on action against or by specific individuals employed by the MoD. A police investigation at the time cleared all UK personnel involved of any criminal offence."

Cdr Ruff was relieved of his command three weeks after the incident. The executive officer received a punitive letter of reprimand. Charges against two junior officers and a chief petty officer were dismissed.

The inquiry concluded that the men died because they had remained tethered to the submarine - on lanyards which were too long and not permitted.

"Had personnel not been tethered to the deck, fatalities, serious injuries, or significant equipment damage would have been unlikely," it concluded.

"If personnel had not been tethered to the deck, nearby escort boats would have quickly recovered the personnel and the forward escape trunk hatch would have shut promptly after they went overboard.

"Likewise, if the evolution had been conducted inside the lee of the breakwater, personnel would not have been washed overboard. Once faced with the situation of men overboard but still tethered to the ship, ship's personnel lacked sufficient training and experience to perform a recovery in a timely manner."

Several recommendations have been made including improving training, revising man-overboard procedures and revising pilots transfers. The US submarine force was stood down for a week in January to revisit basic seamanship.

The report has also suggested US Navy commendations for the British crews of support boats who were involved in the rescue effort "at great personal risk". [WESTERN MORNING NEWS]

April 22Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Ian Collard, Tony Brennan and "others"



After close of business on 13 April 2007, the Consortium (comprising Doyle Group Limited and One Fifty One plc) entered into a formal process with the Company and commenced its confirmatory due diligence which it is expected will take up to four weeks to complete.


The replica trans-Atlantic emigrant ship has a busy programme for 2007 which includes day excursions, longer voyages and visits to a number of ports.  For full details see the ship's web site [click here]. She will be on Merseyside for the Mersey River Festival this year.


The Fleetwood - Knott End ferry is operating a successful service - and it is now hoped months of problems are behind it as the summer season approaches. A catalogue of faults had kept the Knott End ferry out of the water for long periods over the past year.

But since its relaunch in time for Easter there have been no problems so far. A report into problems which left the ferry high and dry has been released and discussed by Wyre Council's Cabinet.

The Taylor Marine report said fendering - bumpers to stop the boat being damaged when docking, had come off - exterior panelling was bent, and electrical connections in the engine room had worked free.

Also listed as damaged were a deck wash pump coupling; electrical winches on the passenger ramp; engine hydraulic pumps and part of the engine cooling system.

Two jet propulsion systems had suffered bent and broken impeller blades after sucking up stones and silt.

That damage was blamed for many of the other problems onboard. It is now hoped the catalogue of problems may be over. [Fleetwood Weekly News]


Sea Containers Ltd announced this week a number of organisational and management changes, which are subject to U.S. court approval.


As Sea Containers Ltd and Sea Containers Services Ltd enter a new phase of the Chapter 11 process, preparatory to achieving an inter-creditor settlement, and further progress non-core asset sales, there is a growing emphasis on simplifying the corporate structure. These activities require more technical restructuring skills and for this reason Sea Containers

proposes to engage AlixPartners, a prominent financial advisory firm specialising in corporate restructuring. This engagement will result in a number of senior management changes at Sea Containers.


Laura Barlow, a Managing Director in AlixPartners' London Office, will be appointed Senior Vice-President, Chief Restructuring Officer effective from 2 April 2007 and Chief Financial Officer effective from 1 May 2007. Ms Barlow, who will be assisted by Craig Cavin, a Vice President of AlixPartners, will oversee the disposal programme and company simplification initiative. She has more than 15 years experience working with companies that face significant operational and financial challenges and has held interim restructuring and advisory positions including Dana Corporation's European operations, Stolt Offshore SA, Boxclever, Marconi plc and Hyder Consulting. She will report to Robert Mackenzie, Chief Executive Officer of Sea Containers Ltd.


Ms Barlow will succeed Ian Durant, who has been Chief Financial Officer of Sea Containers Ltd since 1 January 2005. Mr Durant will be elected as a Director of Sea Containers Ltd and will continue to serve as a Sea Containers' appointed Director of GE SeaCo. Mr. Durant will also be available to advise the Sea Containers' management team on an on-going basis, including with respect to matters relating to GNER. During his time at Sea Containers Mr Durant oversaw the final sale of Sea Containers' interest in Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. In November 2005, the sale of its Silja ferry subsidiary, the transition of GNER into a management contract and the sale of other container and ferry assets in 2006. He also acted as interim Chief Executive Officer during autumn 2005.


Commenting on the proposed changes, Mackenzie said: "We thank Ian Durant for his sterling efforts, particularly during difficult times. The proposed appointment of AlixPartners reflects the nature of the US Chapter 11 process in terms of an increasing requirement for technical restructuring skills, specialist legal tax needs and a diminishing emphasis on operational business management and transactional support."




It appears that Wirral Borough Council are about to impose charges for the use of the popular Monk's Ferry Car Park close to Cammell Laird.


Pay and display notices have so far been erected though the ticket machines do not appear to have arrived yet. Charges will apply from 08:00 to 18:30.


Those who gather to photograph arrivals and departures from Cammell Laird will be disappointed by this action.


Furthermore, the amount of parking space has been reduced as yellow lines have been applied copiously in the immediate vacinity. All very disappointing and typical of the anti-car attitude which appears to prevail with local council's on Merseyside.

April 15Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Jim Edgar, Michael Bracken and "others"


A 50 year old model of of Falmouth Docks have been donated to the National Maritime Museum Cornwall by A&P Falmouth. 

The model was presented to the museum by David Bolitho, nephew of its maker, George Bolitho.

The model was commissioned by docks then owner Mr Silley in the late 1950s in order to visualise any alterations to the dockyard.

It shows an aerial view of the wharves and dry docks as they were at the time.

For many years it was used by A &P Falmouth as a touring exhibition model and as such it has been seen all over the world.

As well as donating the model, A &P Falmouth has made a generous donation towards the cost of transporting it to the museum, cleaning it and housing it in a new display case before it goes on show in the summer.

Peter Child, managing director of A &P Falmouth, said: "We're delighted to donate the Falmouth Docks model to the National Maritime Museum Cornwall.

"The company is keen to see the model on display for all to enjoy and it is a fitting tribute to George Bolitho.

"Anyone who worked at the docks from 1956 onwards will find the model of great interest as it is a snap-shot of what the yard looked like at that time.

"Mr Bolitho was a talented man and we, in association with his family, are really pleased that his work will be on general display."

Jo Warburton, the museum's curator, added: "It's a wonderful opportunity to save an important record of Falmouth's history and we're looking forward to adding it to our Falmouth displays.

"The model is captivating and a must-see for anyone with an interest in the history of the town and docks."


BEN-MY-CHREE - the popular annual BEN-MY-CHREE "Round The Island" cruise is scheduled to take place on Saturday July 14, 2007. This is subject to final confirmation.


The new cruise liner landing stage will be towed into its new home before the end of May. The city council will formally endorse the name as the "City of Liverpool Cruise Terminal".

The new roadway leading to the stage will be called the Samuel Cunard Way to celebrate the historic links between the world-famous shipping line and Liverpool.

The council is working with the Port Police and the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company on a security plan. This will cover everything from bomb evacuation to guarding restricted areas of the landing stage.

There will be airport-style security systems to check passengers and crew leaving and arriving at berthed cruise liners.


The Branscombe Vale Brewery has introduced a new brew to commemorate the grounding of the MSC NAPOLI off the east Devon village in January 2007. The new ale which is 4.1% is named "On The Rocks" and carries a picture of the stricken container ship and a coastguard vessel standing by.


There was further good news for County Wexford's hundreds of regular users of the Passage East Car Ferry last week.

The Department of Transport have provided funding to Wexford and Waterford County Councils to appoint consultants who will look at upgrading the R733, which takes all the car ferry's traffic on a daily basis, due to the vital link it provides between the two counties.

This is also expected to speed up the process of providing a new access route for the Passage East Car Ferry, an issue which came to a head in Passage East last year.

Local residents undertook a series of Friday evening protests last year to highlight their plight as hundreds of vehicles using the car ferry service choked the small village every morning and evening.

This caused major disruption, particularly to the service's many Wexford users who were returning home from work on Friday evenings, while it also led to longer than normal tailbacks at the already problematic O'Hanrahan Bridge bottleneck in New Ross town.

Conor Gilligan, Operations Manager of the Passage East Car Ferry, said the consultants will look at the whole route from Waterford to Wexford.

He said it was hoped that this would also make it easier to get funding for an access road to a new slipway, as moving the slipway out of the village of Passage East will be central to any plans for the busy route.

Earlier this year the Government signalled their intention to meet the demands of the local residents and car ferry users and move the car ferry slipway out the village, which would also require an expensive new access route.

Waterford County Council was this year granted €100,000 under the Non-National Roads Grants 'Strategic Routes of Importance' category for the 'New Ferry Access Route Design'.

The proposed new access route will be located 'upstream' from the current slipway in Passage East at a site already identified by the Government two years ago.

Mr. Gilligan said relations between village residents and the car ferry company were 'reasonably good' at the moment and that the steward the company appointed to keep an eye on traffic in the village to ensure they stick to the designated route and turned their engines off seemed to be making a difference.

The car ferry is now entering its busiest period of the year and the addition of significant tourist traffic over the coming weeks will see the amount of vehicles travelling through Ballyhack and Passage East increase considerably.


STENA LYNX III - departed from Birkenhead on Sunday April 15 bound for Dublin where she will undertake berthing trials on berth 51a. Is this further indication of Stena's intention to quit Dún Laoghaire and withdraw HSS STENA EXPLORER from the Irish Sea?

The rumour mill currently suggests that HSS STENA EXPLORER will cease operations in October 2007 being replaced by the STENA LYNX III until January. The HSS will then return for the 2008 season before being laid.

STENA CALEDONIA is due to be off the Belfast - Stranraer route April 21 - 29 April. Her last sailing is the 07:15 ex Stranraer on 21 April, returning with the 19:00 ex Belfast on 30 April. Her place will be taken by Fleetwood - Larne's STENA SEAFARER - her own sailings being cancelled during this period.


On 23rd March 2007, SVITZER announced having received acceptance of more than 90% of the issued shares in Adsteam.

Jesper T. Lok, Group CEO, said in that connection: “Now that we have received acceptance from more than 90% of Adsteam’s Shareholders, we look forward to bringing our two great businesses together.

With more than 4,000 Colleagues, operating 600 vessels in some 35 countries around the world, we have a unique opportunity to be the preferred provider globally of safety and support services at sea.”

The integration of Adsteam will mark also the launch of a new common Group identity. Moving forward all towage and salvage activities of the Group will be branded SVITZER:

All Towage activities will be branded SVITZER.

Salvage will be branded SVITZER Salvage.

SmitWijs will be branded SVITZER Ocean Towag

Only ESVAGT and Express Offshore Transport will continue under their current brands.

On Merseyside the Adsteam operation has been acquired by Smit.

The Svitzer Maltese cross logo will be replaced by a four-bladed propeller, however, it will only be used only as a funnel mark. [MARITIME CLIPPINGS]


The Liverpool programme for the 2008 Tall Ships Race is now on line [Click Here to Visit Liverpool 08 site]. HMS ARK ROYAL will be berthed at the Landing Stage whilst HMS LIVERPOOL will escort the parade of sail on departure.



Steel and coal from the Titanic have been transformed into a new line of luxury wristwatches that claim to capture

the essence of the legendary oceanliner which sank in 1912.


Geneva watchmaker Romain Jerome SA billed its "Titanic-DNA" collection as among the most exclusive pieces

showcased this week at Baselworld, the watch and jewelry industry's largest annual trade fair.


"It is very luxurious and very inaccessible," said Yvan Arpa, chief executive of the three-year-old company that hopes the limited edition watches will attract both collectors and garrulous luxury goods buyers.


"So many rich people buy incredibly complicated watches without understanding how they work, because they want a story to tell," he said. "To them we offer a story."


The North Atlantic wrecksite of the Titanic, which hit an iceberg and sank on its first voyage from the English port of Southampton to New York, have been protected for more than a decade but many relics were taken in early diving expeditions.

Romain Jerome said it purchased a piece of the hull weighing about 1.5 kg (3 pounds) that was retrieved in 1991, but declined to identify the seller. The metal has been certified as authentic by the Titanic's builders Harland and Wolff.

To make the watches, which were offered for sale for the first time in Basel for between $7,800 and $173,100, the Swiss company created an alloy using the slab from the Titanic with steel being used in a Harland and Wolff replica of the vessel.The gold, platinum and steel time pieces have black dial faces made of lacquer paint that includes coal recovered from the debris field of the Titanic wrecksite, offered for sale by the U.S. company RMS Titanic Inc.

Arpa said the combination of new and old materials infused the watches with a sense of renewal, instead of representing a reminder of the 1,500 passengers who drowned when the oceanliner met her tragic end off the coast of Newfoundland. "It is a message of hope, of life stronger than death, of rebirth," he said in an interview in Romain Jerome's exposition booth in Basel, where more than 2,100 exhibitors are flaunting their latest wares amid a boom for the luxury goods sector.

The company will make 2,012 watches to coincide with the centenary anniversary of the Titanic's sinking in 2012. Arpa said the young watchmaker would unveil a new series next year commemorating another famous legend, but declined to offer clues of what is to come. [MARITIME CLIPPINGS]


The original passenger lists from the Titanic are being made available online for the first time, 95 years after the ocean liner sank on its maiden voyage.

The lists could previously be seen only at the National Archives in Kew, south-west London.

They will be free to view on the website for a week - after which a fee will be charged.

The anniversary of the disaster, which claimed 1,523 lives, will be marked on Sunday with a service in Southampton.

The ship set sail from the Hampshire city on 10 April 1912, and 549 of the victims hailed from there.

The outdoor public service will be held at the Titanic Engineer's Memorial in Above Bar Street in the city centre at 1100 BST.

Searching through the lists of passengers who sailed on the Titanic has been awkward in the past, as they have been kept in 34 separate boxes at the Kew museum.

It is hoped that the move to put them online will help people who are trying to trace relatives who moved abroad.

The Titanic lists are part of a larger project - with 1.5m ship passenger lists dating back to 1890 being put online.

Elaine Collins, from the Findmypast website, said the lists provided a fascinating insight.

"What you're going to find is the details about the voyage - the individuals, what class they were travelling, where they were planning to land, their country of intended future permanent residence," she said. [BBC]

April 09Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Jenny Williamson, James Kinsella  and "others"


A new sign has been erected at the main gate to the Cammell Laird yard at Birkenhead. Once again the sign carries the proud name of Cammell Laird and the company's house flag camel logo.

RFA WAVE KNIGHT arrived on Monday April 02 and is expected to remain at the yard until June. She is in #5 dry dock.


The historic vessel HMS PLYMOUTH could be given a permanent home in the West Country after all - attracting a possible 90,000 visitors a year.

It is likely that the Royal Navy frigate, a veteran of the Falklands conflict, would be based in Sutton Harbour, Plymouth, between the city's picturesque Barbican and Hoe districts.

The site has been put forward by Warship Management, which was set up to purchase and move the vessel from its current position in

The signs are that Plymouth
City Council, which owns the land, will give the scheme the go-ahead.

Yesterday's announcement came just days after some of the most senior-ranking officers from the
Falklands conflict wrote a letter to the council highlighting the importance of bringing the ship, and the heritage she represents, back to her home town.

It is hoped that within weeks the council will come to a decision on whether to go ahead with the new plan to berth the ship as a tourist attraction in the bustling
Sutton Harbour area, adjacent to the Barbican.

Supporting the proposals, Councillor David Salter said the focus of the project would be "tourism and heritage".

"We have a responsibility for the heritage of
Plymouth as a maritime city and the influence this has had on the city," he said.

"There is a future element as well - we want the commercial side of things to be the way forward for the city."

Councillor Salter said he envisaged an extra 90,000 visitors a year would visit the Barbican area if the warship were berthed there.

The neighbouring National Maritime Aquarium would also benefit. It has seen a sharp fall in visitor numbers this year.

Councillor Salter added: "All together it's a very exciting prospect."

The new berth site is on council-owned land at the entrance to
Sutton Harbour and the Barbican - close to Plymouth's preserved Citadel.

Previously a berth at Millbay had been approved, but new developments in that area did not cater for the ship.

HMS PLYMOUTH's current berth on the Mersey has also been made unavailable and it is only a matter of time before the current owners, Peel Holdings, sell the ship to get rid of her.

While Warship Management Ltd has raised the capital to purchase and bring HMS PLYMOUTH back to her home town, the key was to find a suitable berth - the Millbay district had originally been suggested, but that fell through.

Twenty-five years ago, HMS PLYMOUTH played a pivotal role in the
Falklands conflict, and Argentina's surrender was signed in her wardroom.

Mike Critchley, chairman of the firm, said the site at
Sutton Harbour was the "gold standard choice" for HMS PLYMOUTH.

"The berth at Millbay was the silver option, Devonport wouldn't even be considered as an option, but Sutton Harbour is the gold standard choice to berth HMS PLYMOUTH. If that berth can be made available we are on a winner."

He added: "The disadvantage is that this option requires a lot of work, whereas Millbay didn't. There are infrastructure, cost and time restraints."

The team is now drawing up a business proposal to present to the council at the next full meeting, after the May elections. Mr Salter reassured Mr Critchley that support for this berth was very strong among council members.

If the plans are given the green light, the next step will be raising the funds for the development and attracting other interested parties.

Tim Jones, chairman of the
Devon and Cornwall Business Council said: "We will be amazed at how much something like this could benefit the economy. I would expect an additional £10 million to be pumped into the Plymouth economy.

"It's another fabulous story that can only be a benefit to



Maritime Communications Partner (MCP) has signed a contract with Irish Ferries to deliver GSM coverage onboard the ISLE OF INISHMORE  and the ULYSSES. This follows the successful installation of MCP's CellAtSea service onboard Irish Ferries' NORMANDY on the Ireland-France route at the beginning of 2006.

For the passengers, the mobile services are transparent, readily available on their own personal mobile phone, operating seamlessly through MCP's network in the same way as when travelling abroad. MCP tariffs all calls, and handles the revenue flow generated by the networks, through industry standard billing and accounting systems. The customers are charged by their home operator through normal invoicing routines.

ULYSSES - Aker Finnyards are understood to have surveyed the vessel recently with a view to providing a 30m mid ship extension. Alteration to the berth at Dublin will also be required should the lengthening of the ship go ahead.

Two companies which have been buying shares in ferries group Irish Continental Group recently have announced that they are in talks about a possible takeover offer.

Doyle and One51 say they see their potential offer at a level of 'not less than €20' per share. They say they will ask the independent directors to open ICG's books to them. Doyle has around 3% of ICG, while One51, the former IAWS Co-op has snapped up almost 6%.



EMERAUDE FRANCE arrived on Merseyside on Tuesday April 03. She berthed first at Prince's Landing Stage, before crossing the river to Birkenhead. She entered Birkenhead Docks and berthed in the West Float. She will remain on Merseyside whilst she is prepared for service.

SUPERSEACAT TWO appears to have been suffering from engine problems this week which have resulted in reduced speed operation and delays.

SPIRIT OF ONTARIO - the Austal fast craft has been sold to the German operated FRS for operation on the Spain - Morocco service. The Steam Packet are understood to have viewed the craft which has been up for sale for over a year.


THE bitter row over whether Liverpool can keep the historic Mersey Bar lightship Planet lurched into further confusion this week.

A statement from the Albert Dock authorities said that Planet cannot stay in either Albert Dock or Canning Dock and will be removed to Salford.

However, the ship’s supporters from across the world are fighting back, supported by Judith Feather, Liverpool Culture Company’s maritime supremo.

Planet’s owner Gary McClarnan claims that Ms Feather, head of marine events, told him that it is not necessary for Planet to go to Salford because of inadequate infrastructure here.

Instead, she suggests that the electricity and water supplies that the ship would need in Canning Dock could be installed at a reasonable cost.

This contradicts a statement released by Albert Dock Company, its public spaces management company Gower Street Estates and British Waterways, blaming “lack of infrastructure” for ejecting Planet.

The statement says: “All (Albert Dock) partners would like to see the lightship remain in the South Docks area but, unfortunately, a suitable location cannot be found which meets health and safety requirements, the needs of the owner and the partners.

“Unfortunately Canning Dock cannot be used permanently because it is a tidal dock used during the operation of ships sailing through Canning river lock.”

This also appears to be at odds with long-term plans for the permanent berth in Canning Dock of HMS WHIMBREL, the Battle of the Atlantic Memorial Ship, which is far bigger than Planet.

The Albert Dock statement adds: “Although all partners recognised the historic significance of the Mersey Bar lightship, some concerns were raised from occupiers of the Albert Dock estate about the vessel being moored there.

“On 18 January 2007, during extreme weather, the mooring lines securing the vessel to the dock wall broke away and the vessel was moved to Canning Half Tide Dock for health and safety reasons.”

Mr McClarnan, a Manchester-based music and property entrepreneur, denied he was consulted about the statement and disputed much of its content.

He says: “Planet could be moored securely in Albert Dock with ropes around the warehouse columns as shown in old photos, and a practice used by Merseyside Maritime Museum’s vessels.

“I wasn’t asked to move Planet from there for health and safety reasons, but threatened with trespass by Gower Street Estates if I moored the ship to the columns. That’s why the ship broke free in the storm.”

Pam Brown, Mersey Bar Lightvessel Preservation Society president, says: “I hope that some kind of sense will still prevail to keep this iconic vessel here.

“There is plenty of quay space in Canning Dock for Planet’s permanent berth. It’s simply a case of the relevant authorities sitting around a table if they are committed to make it happen.”

Planet, the former Mersey Bar lightship and Britain’s last manned lightship, was likely to be sold abroad when Mr McClarnan bought it for £100,000 and spent a further £100,000 on restoration. [DAILY POST]


The Crosby Herald reported that a £6M landing stage could be built in Seaforth as part of plans to launch ferry services to the Iron Men.

The tourist attraction is included in designs for the £20m redevelopment of Seaforth radar tower.

Talks are now underway with Merseytravel and Mersey Waterfront about the possibility of ferries visiting the Gormley statues.

Louise Goodman, director of Mersey Waterfront, said: "The idea of a ferry linking Liverpool's Pier Head with Crosby beach, two of our key waterfront attractions, is one we are keen to develop.

"However, this proposal is at a very early stage and there would be a number of detailed operational and financial issues to explore along with Merseytravel and other key partners before it could be formally integrated into the Mersey Waterfront programme.

"We are already looking at the radar tower as a tourist attraction, with a project known as The Observatory.

"We are sure that being able to sail from Liverpool or Wirral to view the Gormley statues would be a major attraction."

A Merseytravel spokesman said: "We are happy to explore this further and would look seriously at any genuine opportunity to expand other ports of call for the Mersey Ferries. We will certainly discuss the plans for Crosby Marina further and would consider operating ferries to the location if there
is a good enough business case."

It is hoped a new tower can be built at Crosby Marina, complete with a viewing platform, with room for 200 people, as well as a visitor centre.

An investigation by the Mersey Basin Campaign has ruled out renovating the existing structure.

Iain Taylor, research and development director of The Observatory, said: "A landing stage at the tower is a brilliant idea.

"One of the things to come out of our research into The Observatory is that access needs to be improved from South Road and Crosby Marine Lake, part of this would include a ferry stop or landing stage.

"It would make a fantastic loop service and we are hoping to work closely with Merseytravel and get local residents involved in the project."

The landing stage is not part of the £91m regeneration programme announced last week by Mersey Waterfront.


RFA WAVE KNIGHT arrived at Cammell Laird #5 dry dock on April 02, 2007

RFA FORT ROSALIE called at Douglas on April 06 - Laxey Towing Company's KARINA provided tender facilities.

Photo: Jenny Williamson)


Liverpool's oldest ship broker, SC Chambers & Co, has been acquired by Sanderson Maritime, backed by Merseyside Special Investment Fund (MSIF).

Established in 1887, SC Chambers & Co specialises in the sale, purchase and valuations of ships, including bulk carrier and general cargo vessels, small and medium-sized tankers as well as specialist tonnage vessels) for the last 50 years.

The Sanderson Maritime Group operates globally from the Port of Liverpool Building. It was set up in 2003 and specialises in maritime services including floating accommodation – used, for example, to accommodate per- sonnel where areas might lack the necessary infrastructure and international barge transportation.

Managing director Julian Sanderson said: “The funding from MSIF and Lloyds TSB allowed us to fund the acquisition which enhances our commercial broking and consultancy activities.” [DAILY POST]


A lot of new material has been posted to the excellent Sealink Holyhead web site at:


Ambitious plans have been unveiled for a multi-million pound redevelopment of Stanley Dock in Liverpool.

The scheme includes digging out the centre of the Tobacco Warehouse to create a garden-filled courtyard surrounded by apartments.

More than 930 apartments will be built in the three warehouses on the site, with 650 duplexes in the 13-storey Tobacco Warehouse itself.

Reflective sails will be installed on the side of the dock to shine extra light on to the side of the giant warehouse, whose lower floors will become car parking for hundreds

The development, due to start in late 2008 or early 2009, will take seven years to complete.

But the regeneration scheme will mean the end of the heritage market on the Stanley Dock site.

Plans were submitted to Liverpool city council last Friday and revealed at yesterday’s Liverpool ECHO Stop the Rot campaign meeting.

Architect Howard Carter, from London-based Thinking Space Architects, said: “It’s a comprehensive redevelopment of the complex.

“The north and south warehouse proposals are similar. We’ll remove some of the later additions at roof level, and return the buildings to their original form.

“The area of the south warehouse closest to the Tobacco Warehouse will be offices and the other end will be accommodation.

“The Tobacco Warehouse itself is a challenging building. Just the sheer size of it is an enormous logistical issue.

“It’s 160ft from window to window and the ceiling height is only 7ft, it’s very deep and very shallow.

“We’re going to take the core out of the building and create at central courtyard with gardens.”

Some apartments will be a duplex with a two-storey high living area. The windows will also be enlarged.

One-bedroom flats will surround the courtyard, while the building will also have 372 two-bedroom apartments and 53 three-bedroom flats.

Offices, shops and restaurants are also included in the plans.

Peter de Figueiredo, of English Heritage, said: “We’ve been quite closely involved in discussions with the architects and agents.

“The north and south warehouse schemes are very sympathetic. The Tobacco Warehouse requires a lot more intervention and change to make it usable.”

Stop the Rot forum chairman, the Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Rev James Jones, said: “I welcome this development and it’s good to see them bringing in both work units and residential.” [IC LIVERPOOL]


Following the take over of Adsteam operations on the Mersey by the Smit group it appears that the tugs CANADA, COLLINGWOOD and GLADSTONE are to be sold and replaced by three new vessels. GLADSTONE and COLLINGWOOD have served Merseyside for around 26 years and GLADSTONE around 16 years.


Stena Line staff are voting on whether to take strike action after the suspension of eight colleagues. The eight members of staff, thought to be from Wexford, are facing disciplinary action after refusing to take a breath test without having their union representative present.

Stena Line staff are not allowed to drink on board ferries at any time. Union members are now planning to hold a ballot until April 12th, to decide if they will take strike action over the row.

A spokesman for the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers told members: "We believe this whole issue has been poorly dealt with by management, and your colleagues are not being given a fair hearing.

"I call on all members to vote strongly in favour of strike action in defence of your colleagues. "Eamonn Hewitt, Irish Sea communications and PR manager for Stena said: "The disciplinary process is ongoing and we won't be commenting until that process is completed." [Western Telegraph]


WORK IS expected to begin at the end of this month on the breakwater for Stranraer harbour.
The contract which is costing £1,300,000 will be carried out by R. J. MacLeod and is expected to take seven months to complete.

As part of the Stranraer and Lochryan Waterfront development, the breakwater will protect the western side of the harbour, allowing for the development of pontoons, which will then see the up to 50 berths created to meet the current demand.

The project follows a series of preparatory projects which have taken place over the last 20 months including the dredging of the harbour, and the removal of the redundant Sea Container berthing piles.

Cost is being shared between Dumfries and Galloway Council and Scottish Enterprise Dumfries and Galloway, each putting in £350,000 and £600,000 from the European Regional Development Fund.

Mairi Henderson of the enterprise company said: "This is great news for the Stranraer area, and lets the people of Stranraer and the community see something visible and that the project is really happening.

A lot of work has gone on behind the scenes to get this far and RRAG have worked with the Stranraer Harbour Improvement Project through the Rhins Renewal Harbour Team to ensure their expertise has contributed to the development of the project and to ensure that all the developments in the harbour address the needs of the existing users as well as looking at new demands by future users.

"So far without any publicity Dumfries and Galloway Council have already received 18 enquiries from people looking for berths at Stranraer, so we are hopeful that the development will meet expectations". Donald MacKinnon from South of Scotland European Partnership commented: "I am delighted that European Regional development finance has been able to invest in this particular project, now taking shape. A key factor in
supporting the overall waterfront project has been the key positioning of Stranraer as a hub on the A75 Euro-route and also the strategic significance of the project to the economy of Dumfries and Galloway".
Scottish Enterprise Dumfries and Galloway have also began initiating discussions with the private sector on how to expand the marina from an initial 50-berth marina to a potential 250 to 400 berth marina with the
support of private sector marina operators.

Galloway MP Russell Brown is critical of the way the delay in the project - over a lease at Stranraer's West Pier - had been handled.

And he pointed the finger at both Sea Containers, who held the lease from the Crown Estates and Dumfries and Galloway Council. The company were granted the lease in connection with their SeaCat operation
to Belfast.

But delays in surrendering the lease so the council could proceed with the breakwater, a vital component in the marina project as part of the waterfront regeneration added £130,000 to the cost and threatened to add even more to the final bill.

Mr Brown stepped in to press the parties involved - the council, Scottish Enterprise Dumfries and Galloway, Crown Estates and Sea Containers - to ensure that the lease issue was resolved so that the project could progress quickly, and without costs spiralling any further.

The appropriate paperwork has now been finalised to allow the next phase of the project to progress without the need for a further re-tendering process. The MP said he was obviously pleased the issue had been resolved. However he added: "But I remain concerned that the situation was allowed to
reach this crisis point.

"The parties involved knew about the lease issue over a year ago and yet it was left until now to resolve it, costing the council £130,000 in the process and threatening to cost more still. "And all along all that was needed was for a relatively simple piece of paperwork to change hands - which thankfully has now happened as a result of pressure being put on the parties to get this sorted.

"The Waterfront regeneration project is crucial to the economic development of Stranraer and the surrounding areas, and for it to be jeopardised by the inactivity of the partners involved in the project is unacceptable. "This situation should be reflected upon to ensure that if any further issues arise they are dealt with immediately". [STRANRAER FREE PRESS]


The Ullswater Transit and Navigation Company have announced that HRH Princess Alexandra will attend the renaming ceremony of the LADY WAKEFIELD (ex TOTNES CASTLE) at Glenridding Pier, Ullswater, Cumbria on Tuesday April 17, 2007.

There are more details and a photo of her at

The company appears to have done a tremendous job. When I last travelled on this vessel on the Plymouth - Saltash ferry a few years ago when she was owned by Plymouth Boat Cruises she was looking a little tatty.


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