NEWS BULLETIN - August 2007
|August 29||Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Chris Brindle and "others"|
The large (4ft) metal spanner which, mounted on a plinth, has stood close to the entrance of Millbay Docks, Plymouth has been stolen. It was one of the features on the Plymouth Maritime Heritage Trail. The spanner dates from mid 19th century when Brunel was commissioned to design Millbay Docks. Any one with information should phone police on 08452 777444.
An expedition is attempting to explore the wreck of the CARPATHIA, the ship which went to the rescue of the Titanic survivors and was herself torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine 160 miles south-east of Ireland in July 1918, during the First World War. [RTÉ]
The takeover batter between Aella and Moonduster consortiums continues. It was reported by RTÉ on Saturday August 25 that Developer Liam Carroll was now holding a 19.37% stake in ICG, the firm that operates Irish Ferries. He paid more for the shares than the price Aella, the management buy-out team led by chief executive Eamonn Rothwell, has offered for the firm.
The revised €24 per share offer from Aella needs 75% shareholder approval so may run into difficulty as rival bidders Moonduster, made up of One51 and Doyle Shipping, and Liam Carroll together hold almost 40% of the company.
IRISH NAVAL SERVICE
LÉ EITHNE was summoned to Broadstrand Bay, County Cork on August 28 when a local fisherman found a German anti-submarine mine dating from WWII
A spokesman for the Irish Navy said that charges were placed on the 6mx1.2m cylindrical mine and it was detonated safely at 14:00.
Navy divers confirmed that the mine, containing some 159kg of explosive, had been destroyed.
A.P. MOLLER - MAERSK GROUP
LIVERPOOL VIKING has entered dry dock at Cammell Laird after her Saturday sailing from Dublin. She has been replaced by SAGA MOON.
HMS ARK ROYAL A multi-million pound contract has been awarded to Babcock Marine, owners of Devonport Dockyard, for a major upgrade to the Royal Navy's Plymouth-based helicopter carrier HMS OCEAN
The focus will be on improving the accommodation for sailors and Royal Marines on the assault carrier and further equipping her for her world-wide role.
The contract is worth about £30 million and covers the provision of maintenance and upgrade work on the 21,000 tonne ship. Work is expected to start this September and, following extensive sea trials, the ship will return to service in September 2008.
During the HMS OCEAN overhaul, the carrier HMS ARK ROYAL will take on her role of helicopter carrier able to embark a force of Royal Marine Commandos for amphibious operations - a role for which Ark Royal routinely exercises. [Defence Aerospace]
|August 22||Acknowledgements: Ian Collard and "others"|
IRISH NAVAL SERVICE
LE AOIFE, was forced to cancel part of a diplomatic voyage around Europe after Turkish officials refused the ship access to its waters.
The ship and its 38 crew were en route to the Bulgarian ports of Varna and Burgas when word came through that international clearance had not been received in time.
“They were en route to Bulgaria and had to pass through the Bosphorus Straits but the clearance necessary wasn’t in place,” an Irish Defence Forces spokesman said.
The embarrassing faux pas meant the ship had to return to Crete and stay there over the weekend before getting back on schedule by leaving for Malta.
The spokesman would not say who was at fault but it is understood officials in Ireland had not applied for clearance in time. The ship, which returned to Ireland on 21 August, is not expected to visit Bulgaria until next year. [MARITIME CLIPPINGS]
HMS ARK ROYAL - the planned visit of the aircraft carrier has been cancelled. HMS ARK ROYAL had been due to arrive on Merseyside on September 14 to take part in that weekend's departure celebrations for the Clipper Ventures 2007 - 8 Round The World yacht race. However, due to the delays in completing the Cruise Terminal extension to Prince's Landing Stage the MoD have decided to cancel the visit.
SMIT CYMRYAN an investigation has begun into how the aircrew training vessel operated on behalf of the Ministry of Defence by Smit ran aground off Holyhead on Monday August 20. The incident took place in an internationally important wildlife area during a training exercise, when the six crew members had to be airlifted to safety.
The 105 tonne vessel with her decks awash and low in the water, a lifeboat and tug towing the vessel decided to take her to the safety of Porth Trywyn rather than risk the longer trip to Holyhead marina.
|August 19||Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Michael Pryce, Ian Collard, S&M Salter and "others"|
ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY
SUPERSEACAT TWO appears to have been running slow during the week and only operating on three engines at reduced speed.
LIVERPOOL CRUISE TERMINAL
The first section of the new Prince's Stage extension was towed out of Cammell Laird #5 Dry Dock on Friday August 17. Two sections of the stage have been in dry dock for two weeks undergoing last minute repairs. [Photographs: Click Here]. Though the stage emerged in the early afternoon, it was not installed against the dolphins off Prince's Parade until the evening, the delay being partly due to the late running SUPERSEACAT TWO.
ANGLIAN EARL delivered the bow section of the MSC to Harland & Wolff on Friday August 17. She was assisted through Belfast Lough by Svitzer tugs WILLOWGARTH and SVITZER MALLAIG.
SEA STALLION A replica Viking longship arrived in Dublin on Tuesday August 14 at the end of a six week journey from Denmark. She is an exact replica of a vessel built in Dublin in 1042 by Viking settlers.
The original ship was in use until the end of the 11th century when she was scuttled to block the Roskilde Fjord in Denmark.
Representatives of the Irish and Danish governments officially welcomed the ship. She was then lifted out of the water and conveyed to Collins Barracks Museum in Dublin where she will be on display to the public. Her return voyage takes place next year
SWANSEA CORK FERRIES
The following lines appeared in the "Southern Star" this week in an article by Nora Strong -
"STOP PRESS: I have just heard that Swansea-Cork Ferries have bought a boat. Things are looking up already!"
There has yet been no official announcement - though if anyone has heard anything on the "grapevine" Irish Sea Shipping would be pleased to hear!
A full-scale rescue operation was launched on the River Tamar after a cruise vessel with 95 people on board began to take in water.
The drama aboard the PLYMOUTH SOUND began when Tamar Cruising's 14:00 sightseeing tour of the dockyard and warships arrived upstream of the Torpoint Ferry on Tuesday August 14.
A cooling water pipe either fractured or became detached and began flooding the engine room.
Power was lost and the stricken boat began drifting helplessly until Dockyard tugs and a Ministry of Defence police launch came to her aid.
With the boat visibly down at the stern, it was decided to evacuate all 95 passengers to the TAMAR BELLE, fleetmate of PLYMOUTH SOUND, and relay them back to Mayflower Steps.
The RNLI's Plymouth lifeboat 'Sybil Mullen Glover' was launched to assist the rescue. Athough arriving within minutes of the alarm being raised, the PLYMOUTH SOUND skipper and crew already had the situation under control.
Meanwhile, Brixham Coastguard had been alerted by a member of the Tamar Coastguard team who works on the Torpoint Ferry.He had spotted the cruise boat drifting with tugs in attendance opposite the dockyard's tugboat entrance and realised something was wrong.
The coastguard contacted the Long Room in Plymouth, who told them the rescue operation was being managed by the Queen's Harbour Master. Brixham Coastguard watch officer Fiona Iris said: "It seems that a cooling water pipe became detached or fractured and was pumping water into the engine room - she was effectively sinking herself, and was visibly lower at the stern.
"She lost electrical power and was completely disabled with 95 people on board. "With a large ingress of water, at the time it must have been quite scary."
A spokesman for Tamar Cruising praised the passengers for not panicking. He said: "We had a problem with one of the engines on board the PLYMOUTH SOUND.
"The skipper found it necessary to contact someone for assistance and contacted Brixham Coastguard. "The MoD police launch arrived quickly and assisted. The passengers were transferred to our sister ship.
"There was no panic on board. They acted very sensibly."We spoke to a few of them afterwards and they were fine."
A spokesman at the office of the Queen's Harbour Master said the TAMAR BELLE, which picked up the passengers, dropped some at Cremyll and the rest at the Barbican.
The PLYMOUTH SOUND was put on a buoy in the Cremyll area, where staff pumped the water out.
TITANIC CENTENARY 2012
TITANIC - Yes it may still be over four years to the one hundredth anniversary of the completion and subsequent sinking of the White Star Line but the town of Cóbh, Titanic's last port of call is already making plans as reported by the Irish Independent.
An Irish town is to play a major role in the 100th anniversary commemorations of the sinking of the Titanic.
Titanic left Belfast's renowned shipyard in 1912 hailed as the new wonder of the world. It was the largest and most luxurious ship at that time, and Cobh in Co Cork was the liner's last port of call before its fatal voyage. A total of 1,513 people died when the ship hit an iceberg off Newfoundland in April 1912.
Yesterday, Michael Martin, a former member of the Naval Service who runs the Titanic Trail in Cobh, confirmed that the local council had signed a memorandum of understanding with a series of other Titanic related cities in relation to the centenary commemorations.
Cities such as Southampton, Liverpool, Halifax (Nova Scotia), New York and Cherbourg are to work together to host a series of events in 2012. Cobh Town Council has formally approved plans to be involved in the commemoration ceremonies.
Mr Martin said the events hosted in Cobh would remember all of the people impacted by the tragedy, including the 79 who boarded the liner when it anchored in the Co Cork town. "It will all be commemorative not celebratory. For the 95th anniversary we lit 79 candles in St Colman's Cathedral here and also had a ecumenical service.
"We will do something on a larger scale for the 100th."
"We will have a series of events and would be inviting people who attend to go to Spike Island as well. Spike is the closest island to where the ship was anchored and anyone there would have seen the towering image of the Titanic. Cobh Town Council are completely on board for this. It is at the planning stage at the moment."
In 2000 Mr Martin was involved in the placing of a brass memorial plaque on the Titanic. The wording on the plaque read "Commemorating all those lost on RMS Titanic. From the people of Cobh (Queenstown) and Ireland. Go dtuga Dia suaimhneas siorai dananamacha."
The diver who placed the plaque on the Titanic, Rory Golden, is expected to be come to Cobh for the centenary celebrations.
Meanwhile, Michael Martin is hoping to launch a book on the Titanic to coincide with the 100th anniversary in 2012.
His Titanic walking tour has been operating on a daily basis since 1998.
The actual building in which the White Star Line Office was is visited as is the pier where Titanic passengers departed.
Anyone who has a connection to the Titanic who would like to play a role in the commemorations is asked to email Mr Martin at email@example.com or c/o The Titanic Trail, Carrignafoy, Cobh, Co Cork.
|August 12||Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Michael Pryce, Ian Collard, C.J. Lawrenson and "others"|
HARLAND & WOLFF
Belfast based Harland and Wolff Heavy Industries, in conjunction with Golder Associates (UK) Ltd, confirmed this week that they have been awarded the contract for the decommissioning and recycling of the forward section of the MSC NAPOLI.
The forward portion of the 62,000 dwt vessel, which was beached at the direction of the Secretary of State’s Representative in storms off England’s south-west coast in January of this year is reported to be under tow to Belfast by Klyne Tug's ANGLIAN EARL.
On arrival, the MSC NAPOLI will be placed in Harland and Wolff’s 556m long dry dock. There it will be decontaminated, deconstructed and materials collected for recycling offsite. The entire project is expected to take some four to five months.
Announcing the award of the contract, David McVeigh, Harland and Wolff’s head of Sales and Marketing, said, “Harland and Wolff have an extensive track record in the Marine and Offshore industry, dealing with large and complex projects. The decommissioning and recycling of MSC Napoli will utilise existing methods and procedures proven over hundreds of prior projects”.
Mr McVeigh continued, “Owners with vessels coming to the end of their working lives generally had no alternative but to use traditional ‘beach-breaking’ methods, which come with their inherent environmental and human impact.”
“This project, arising in very different circumstances, will establish a solution for European ship recycling, as Harland and Wolff / Golder Associates offers ship and offshore structure owners large, modern facilities combined with proven operating procedures that ensure high environmental and Health & Safety standards. Today is a good day for Harland & Wolff and the environment.”
Julian Jones, Golder Associates (UK) Ltd MD said, “Harland and Wolff and Golder decided several years ago to apply their joint brand and expertise to raising the standards of ship and offshore structure decommissioning and recycling. Golder Associates have an extensive track record of decommissioning, remediation and recycling projects, throughout Europe and across the world. We are working hard to progressively develop a state-of-the-art decommissioning and recycling facility for owners looking for a solution that is corporately and socially responsible
LIVERPOOL CRUISE TERMINAL
Two sections of the new structure remained in Cammell Laird #5 dry dock on Saturday August 11. Concern over possible delays in having the structure commissioned in time for its official opening on September 21 have now been highlighted in the local press. The contractors claim that the hand over day is September 04 that is two days after visit of the Carnival - HAL ship PRINSENDAM.
It also appears that the planned visit of HMS ARK ROYAL to coincide with the start of the Clipper Ventures Yacht Race over the weekend of September 14-17, may also now be in jeopardy if the stage is not ready in time.
NINDAWAYMA the former MANX VIKING (ex MONTE CASTILLO) which has been gently decaying in Montreal for several years has been reported to be on the move recently. She was reported heading along the Welland Canal bound for Sault Sainte Marie - where rumours suggest that she will be converted into a barge. The former Aznar Line ship brought the ro/ro revolution to the Isle of Man when she inaugurated the Manx Line service from Heysham in 1977.
|August 05||Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Michael Pryce, Ian Collard, C.J. Lawrenson and "others"|
The largest transformation of Falmouth Docks to take place in decades could begin within months if a newly lodged planning application is successful. A&P Falmouth, which owns the docks, has made no secret of its plans to create a yacht marina.
Now a formal bid for planning consent has been submitted to Carrick Council.
Lodged by A &P Ports and Properties, the application seeks consent to create a yacht marina between Queens and Duchy Wharves, along with changing rooms, an office building and car parking areas.
The proposed development would comprise five pontoons, measuring 10, 12 and 15 metres, with about 290 berths.
A new floating breakwater is also proposed to protect the marina from prevailing winds. This will also provide additional berthing for commercial vessels and 'super yachts'.
Welfare facilities, which will include shower, changing and drying facilities for boat users, will be provided in a temporary building and a marina office is proposed within an existing temporary building. It is planned that both these will be replaced with permanent facilities as part of the proposed cruise liner terminal development.
A 255-space car park is also proposed, along with a 49-space overflow car park.
A &P maintains that the marina will not impact on any of the port's existing functions or operations and says it will improve the sustainability of the working docks by upgrading areas of wharfage which are currently under-utilised.
RPS Planning and Development, acting as agents for A &P, say: "It is considered that the marina development will provide long-term economic benefits for Falmouth.
"The proposed development will secure increased inward investment in the area by diversifying the dock operations to ensure their continued competitiveness and economic productivity.
"The local economy will also receive indirect benefits from services paid for by the boat owners, including harbour dues, bunkering, waste disposal, repairs/maintenance and security, as well as spin-off trade for services such as hotels, restaurants and shops.
"This will be a unique facility on the south west coast and as such will generate the potential for a completely new and vibrant business to emerge that will bring considerable new economic activity to the local area."
If consent is granted, A &P would hope to have the marina up and running by next spring.
The application is due to be debated by Falmouth's planning committee on Monday evening.
The planning application can be viewed at www.carrick.gov.uk
[WESTERN MORNING NEWS]
Dublin Port Company is highlighting the journeys taken by some of Ireland's greatest writers who used the port to move their lives and their art, to acknowledge and celebrate the great tradition of sea travel out of Dublin ports. The campaign brings together some of Ireland’s great writers, all of whom used ferries from Dublin to make good their getaways, exile and in some cases, their return to Ireland.
The campaign, which will run this summer and autumn, brings Behan, Beckett, Joyce, O’Casey, Shaw, Wilde and Yeats and their works back to Dubliners through billboards, bus shelters and newspaper advertising. It reacquaints Dubliners with the humour, wit, irreverence, vision, and insight which has endeared these Irish writers not only to the Irish but to the world at large. Dublin Port Company’s aim is also to capture the imagination of the travelling public and to encourage them to follow in the footsteps of these great writers. The campaign will bring Irish writers to the public in a new, more accessible way.
Portraits of each writer were commissioned from Dublin artist Sean Lennon who executed the work in a unique Irish ‘Pop Art’ style. Weaving these together with some of their famous quotes we see that Art, Literature and Sea travel can be combined for a great textured life. The first of the writers to be featured is Brendan Behan, to be followed by James Joyce and the others. [Further Details DP web site]
The bodies of two divers who went missing while on a recreational dive on the wreck of HMS SCYLLA have been recovered by coastguards.
A man and woman, both thought to be in their 40s and from the Gloucestershire area, were discovered in Whitsand Bay, near Plymouth, after a major search after they were reported missing this week.
The two divers were diving from a Plymouth charter boat the Maid Maggie 2 just off Whitsand Bay when they failed to resurface at their arranged time.
A massive search party was launched, involving the Brixham Coastguard, Plymouth Lifeboat, the Royal Navy and the Ministry of Defence Police.
The man's body was recovered from within the sunken frigate whilst woman's body was located, also inside the wreck and hour later.
Brixham Coastguard was alerted after the divers disappeared from the Maid Maggie while diving on the bow of the Scylla wreck as part of an organised dive.
The crew called rescue services after they failed to resurface. Both were found inside the wreck of the scuttled warship, which is owned by Plymouth's National Marine Aquarium (NMA).
Andrew Robertson, the NMA's managing director, said: "We extend our condolences to the families of the divers recently lost on the Scylla. Such occurrences do highlight the risks involved with diving and wreck diving in particular.
"Although the National Marine Aquarium are not directly involved with public diving on HMS SCYLLA, we fully support the local diving community who use the Scylla for recreational purposes.
"We do not have any details regarding this incident so are unable to comment further.
"This does remind us, however, that the sea poses many dangers and requires our full respect when any underwater activity is undertaken."
RNLI lifeboats from Plymouth and Whitsand, a rescue helicopter from Culdrose, the Looe Atlantic lifeboat, and yachts and fishing boats in the area all searched for the missing divers.
Another military helicopter from the HMS NOTTINGHAM and rigid inflatable boats from HMS CAMPBELTOWN were also called in for assistance and three coastguard rescue teams, including those from Plymouth, Tamar and Looe were deployed along the shoreline.
HMS SCYLLA was a Leander-class frigate which served in the Royal Navy between 1970 and December 2003. After she was decommissioned, she was bought by the NMA and sunk in Whitsand Bay on March 27, 2004.
It is now one of Europe's largest artificial reefs. Despite its obvious draw, some diving instructors have in the past warned that the wreck is unsafe for inexperienced drivers.
Christopher Sidgwick, from Chelmsford, Essex, became the first diver to die on the wreck of the Scylla in June 2005.
An inquest into his death found that the wreck was "extremely hazardous" for divers and was "a tragedy waiting to happen". [WESTERN MORNING NEWS]
IRISH CONTINENTAL GROUP
With a stalemate situation developing in the take over batter for ICG between Aella and Moonduster Consortiums the Independent Directors of ICG have announced that having consulted with the Irish Takeover Panel that it is their current intention that, in the absence of any further material development, they will, by no later than 17:00 on 17 August 2007, terminate discussions with both Moonduster and Aella and withdraw from each offer. In the event that the Independent Directors take this action the current offer period will be brought to an end.
In the event that the Moonduster Offer and the Aella Offer are withdrawn or do not become effective then, except with the consent of the Panel, both Moonduster and Aella will be precluded from announcing or making an offer for the Company for 12 months thereafter. Furthermore, the Company may be required to make payments to both Moonduster and Aella under the terms of their respective Expense Reimbursement Agreements of up to in aggregate approximately €11.2 million.
A further announcement is expected on or before August 17.
IRISH NAVAL SERVICE
Two French fishing vessels were detained by the Naval Service this week for alleged fishing offences.
One is being held in Castletownbere while the other is being escorted to Dingle. Both were arrested by naval service patrol vessels.
The LE AISLING arrested the SYMPHONIE about 333km west of Inishbofin Island on the Co Mayo coast and escorted it to Dingle.
The LE ORLA detained the ASPIN about 46km west of the Bull Rock off west Cork and escorted it into Castletownbere.
The two arrests bring the total number of trawler detentions for this year so far to six. [RTÉ]
KATHLEEN & MAY
The last British triple-masted wooden trading schooner is up for sale at a guide price of nearly £3.5 million.
The historic KATHLEEN & MAY, which is based at Bideford, North Devon, is already attracting interest from across the globe, primarily from Caribbean and US investors.
Bideford businessman Steve Clarke, who owns the schooner, said the vessel, which was built in 1901, was priceless to him and he was heartbroken to have to sell her.
He said: "I am gutted. I have had her since 1998 and have been looking for funding to support her since then. The Maritime Trust has told me that she is priceless because she is the only example of a genuine three-masted West Country wooden schooner."
He paid for a £2 million rebuild with a "substantial overdraft", but failed to obtain Heritage Lottery and European funding that would enable him to keep the ship, previously berthed at Plymouth, in British waters.
Mr Clarke said: "Since I first saw its neglected hull in Gloucester docks back in 1998, the restoration has been a true labour of love. It has taken every penny I could raise but there is no alternative, she must be sold."
The KATHLEEN & MAY is one of only 60 ships on the UK's National Register of Historic Vessels' Core Collection, and her name is alongside national treasures including the Cutty Sark and Mary Rose.
The KATHLEEN & MAY was a regular trader between the west of England and County Cork, since restoration she has visited Youghall on a number of occasions. She was built in 1900 at the Ferguson & Baird Yard on the Dee Estuary for the Welsh ship owners Coppack Brothers for more information see www.kathleenandmay.co.uk.
[ISS COMMENT: It is nothing short of a utter disgrace that the owner of this historic Irish Sea ship has been forced to put this vessel on the market for want of official support. It is about time that the likes of the HLF and other funding bodies awoke to their responsibilities to support maritime heritage projects such as this rather than supporting some of the off-beat projects which appear to be the recipients of significant handouts. What is even more notable is that unlike many other maritime heritage projects the KATHLEEN AND MAY has already been restored.]
LIVERPOOL CRUISE TERMINAL
On Saturday August 04, 2007 sections of the delayed cruise terminal extension to Prince's Landing Stage were towed to Cammell Laird #5 dry dock. The first section being moved over on the early morning tide, the second on the afternoon tide. Further details and photographs [CLICK HERE]
MV LILLIAN which has been detained at New Ross since a dispute arose over damage to her cargo of steel in May is to be auctioned on August 08. The Russian crew who had been stuck on board the vessel are to be repatriated. The International Transport Federation said it was satisfied that the crew's wages would be paid. They had not been paid for several months. The ship is to go for auction at New Ross on Wednesday week, August 8. The sale will be carried out by Cork auctioneer, Dominic Daly. [RTÉ]
|August 02||Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Michael Pryce, Ian Collard, C.J. Lawrenson and "others"|
Dublin City Council is set to recommend a significant redevelopment of the Dublin Port site to create a whole new quarter for the city.
A confidential report into the future of the Dublin Bay area is being finalised and will recommend an expansion of the city into the port site with residential, leisure, business and office developments.
The report is expected to stop short of calling for Dublin Port to move to another location in the short term, but will not rule out the possibility of a long-term strategic phasing out of port activities at the current location at some time in the future.
The study will be followed by a special report to be commissioned by the Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey into the future of Dublin Port.
The council's report, due to be published in the autumn after it is finalised by councillors, comes at a time when there are serious question marks over the future location of Dublin Port's activities.
Independent TD Finian McGrath has said that he secured assurance from the Taoiseach in writing that there would be no expansion of port activities on the north-east side of the site.
This will come as a blow to Dublin Port's plans to reclaim land from the sea for expansion, given the congestion taking place as the port grows its business by 10 per cent per year.
It could spell good news in the long term for whoever succeeds in the bidding to buy ferry operator ICG, because it has a lease on a 30-acre site at the port. [Sunday Business Port]
HARLAND & WOLFF
MSC NAPOLI A report in Lloyds List suggests that the Harland and Wolff ship yard at Belfast is close to securing the contract to break up the bow section of the ill fated container ship which was deliberately split in two during July. If H&W are successful in the bid, it will be the first time the company has undertaken ship breaking work. The yard only recently having been awarded a waste management licence
IRISH CONTINENTAL GROUP
OSCAR WILDE - the following facilities will be offered aboard the former KRONPRINS HARALD when she begins service with Irish Ferries:
- The Berneval Waiter Service Restaurant
- The Gaiety Lounge (ShowBar).
- The Merrion Lounge (Bar).
- Jokers Wilde Casino.
- The Happy Prince Play Area.
- Cinema De Cannes.
- The Left Bank Brasserie (Presumably the self service restaurant).
- Oscars Piano Bar.
On July 31, 2007 the following announcement was made concerning the bids by Aella and Moonduster consortiums currently battling to acquire Irish Continental Group.
On 23 July 2007 the independent directors of ICG (the "Independent Directors") announced that on 19 July 2007 the Independent Directors had written to both Moonduster Limited ("Moonduster") and Aella plc ("Aella") requesting them to confirm to the Independent Directors, by no later than 12.00 p.m. on 26 July 2007, the highest price per ICG Unit which they were prepared to offer to acquire the Company and also their intentions in the event that a higher offer, other than their own offer, was made. Subsequently, on 27 July 2007 the Independent Directors announced that this deadline had been extended until 5.00p.m. on Monday 30 July 2007.
Moonduster has confirmed to the Independent Directors that in respect of approximately 20.38 per cent. of the issued share capital of the Company which it controls, it would vote against an Aella Offer of €22.00 per ICG Unit.
Aella and its concert parties have confirmed to the Independent Directors that, in respect of approximately 19.14 per cent. of the issued share capital of the Company in which they have an interest, they would vote against a Moonduster Offer of €22.00 per ICG Unit. Furthermore, neither Moonduster nor Aella have confirmed the highest price per ICG Unit which they are willing to offer to acquire the Company.
The Independent Directors also note that a third party has acquired a significant interest, thought to be up to 11.40 per cent., in the Company through contract for differences (CFD) instruments. This third party, as of yet, has not formally confirmed its identity to the Independent Directors nor havethey indicated what their intentions are towards the Company.
Taking all these facts into account together with the Independent Directors concerns regarding the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the Company as a result of the protracted offer period the Independent Directors wish to resolve the current uncertainty in the shortest timeframe possible. Therefore the Independent Directors will now consult with the Irish Takeover Panel (the"Panel") in order for the Independent Directors to determine the most appropriate manner of seeking to resolve the current uncertainty which may include progressing with either the Aella or Moonduster scheme or withdrawing from both schemes. In the event that the Independent Directors withdraw from, or abandon, the Aella or Moonduster schemes then, except with the consent of the Panel, both Aella and Moonduster will be precluded from announcing or making anoffer for the Company for 12 months thereafter.
Shareholders should note that there is no guarantee that an offer with an improved certainty of execution will be forthcoming as a result of the currentprocess.
A further announcement will follow in due course.
LOUGH FOYLE FERRIES
This September's celebration of the 400th anniversary of the Flight of the Earls is without doubt the biggest event to take place on Lough Swilly in living memory. But some people don't seem to think that we need to bother having the Buncrana to Rathmullan ferry on hand for the occasion. The seasonal service is due to cease its 2007 operation on September 09, just one day before the main week of the festivities are due to take place.
The Flight of the Earls took place on September 14th 1607, when Ireland's native aristocrats fled from Crown rule. They set sail from a beach just outside of Rathmullan, never to return and the scene was set for the Plantation of Ulster.
Donegal County Council, Derry Council and Tourism Ireland have invested substantial sums in organising a year of events to mark the important anniversary, with a cross-border conference, museum exhibitions, parades, concert, festivals and banquets scheduled throughout the year. The replica famine ship the JEANNIE JOHNSTON will visit Lough Swilly for the week of 9th-16th September, when the year-long celebrations are due to reach their climax.
It seems however, that no Lough Swilly ferry will be on hand to help visitors get back and forth to Buncrana.
An infuriated Councillor Rena Donaghey said this was not acceptable. "The Buncrana to Rathmullan ferry simply must be in operation during the culmination of this year's Flight of the Earl's 400th commemoration," an exasperated Colr Rena Donaghey said. "No excuses will be accepted."
She says that the events planned for September 09 - 16 are "the highlight of the year's celebration and a key tourism opportunity which we cannot afford to miss."
Councillor Donaghey brought a motion before Donegal County Council in April of this year to ensure that the ferry service would be extended for one week beyond its advertised finish date of September 09 to coincide with the festivities in Rathmullan. The motion was enthusiastically agreed at the Council meeting.
However, it is understood that the advertised date for the end of the summer ferry service remains unchanged.
Enquires to local tourism offices and to the ferry company met with the reply that the ferry service will finish for the year on September 09.
Jim McClenaghan, of Lough Foyle Ferries, the company which operates the Lough Swilly ferry, told our reporter: "I've heard that the Council want the service extended but nobody's been in touch with me about it."
Councillor Donaghey challenged the statement, noting that the Council held a meeting regarding the ferry service just last week. "The contracts are signed and there is an agreeement in place for the ferry to run for 80 days this year. It is my understanding that the ferry is to run one week beyond the original date of 9th September.
"This is an important chance to publicise the fact that the ferry exists, when so many people will be flocking to Rathmullan, surely the operators can see that as well as ourselves. It would not be in anyone's best interest for the ferry to be sitting idle during such a critical week."
She undertook to monitor the situation closely "to ensure that Buncrana does not lose out on this very important opportunity."
STENA SEAFARER - further information on the fire reported briefly in teh last update. It took place in Cammell Laird #7 dry dock on July 23. An investigation is underway to establish the cause of a blaze on board a car ferry moored in dry dock. A storage area beneath the car deck was gutted during the fire, which broke out just after 23:00. Six fire engines, including the force's chemical incident team were called to the scene. No one was injured.
From mid July children's favourite Curious George will be arriving on Stena Line's ferries, creating a unique selling point for agents booking family ferry holidays. Stena Line's kids' areas will boast a Curious George theme on five of the leading ferry company's ships on the Irish Sea.
Which include the following vessels
STENA VOYAGER: Stranraer - Belfast route
STENA EXPLORER: Holyhead - Dun Laoghaire route
STENA ADVENTURER: Holyhead - Dublin route
STENA EUROPE: Fishguard - Rosslare route
STENA LYNX III: Fishguard - Rosslare route
On the Irish Sea a Curious George character will appear onboard in full costume, every day from mid July to 9 September, as well as October half term and the Christmas period. Children will also receive Curious George goodies, including a set of postcards to colour in and foldable Frisbee plus lots of other treats.
On the Irish Sea sailings agents will be able to entice passengers with the opportunity to win a family holiday to Universal Studios Hollywood with an onboard children's colouring prize draw. The money-can't-buy prize will include a VIP tour to meet the Curious George animators.
In the 2006 film (starring the voices of Drew Barrymore and Will Ferrell) museum guide Ted travels to Africa in an attempt to obtain a huge ancient ruin that could save his struggling museum, which the owner's son wants to turn into a more profitable car park. Instead, Ted brings back a mischievous, childlike monkey who inadvertently causes all kinds of trouble for him.
A TV series of Curious George, due to be broadcast on ITV, will see Curious George return with another set of adventures, narrated by Primetime Emmy® Award Winner William H. Macy (Seabiscuit, Pleasantville).
FLEETWOOD SAND PROBLEMS
Wyre Council is investigating how to solve the problem of shifting sand - which is threatening the future of Stena ferries using the port of Fleetwood.
Ferries, as well as other vessels, including Fleetwood Lifeboat, need clear access to their berths in the river.
But the build-up of sand at the entry to the port means that more and more dredging is needed.
Wyre Council is looking into the problem after Stena revealed it wants to dock even larger ferries at Fleetwood in the future.
Councillor Vivien Taylor, portfolio holder for corporate resources, had talks with Stena staff, including David Eccles, captain of the Stena Leader and also a member of the lifeboat. Also present were Associated British Ports and Natural England.
Councillor Taylor said afterwards: "Stena's senior managers came to discuss the problems they were experiencing with the amount of sand that has been building up from the south.
"We are responsible for the coastal defences and we take our responsibilities very seriously. If there is any way we can help Stena we will. It is important to Fleetwood."
A massive engineering project is now being considering to remove 100,000 cubic metres, or 200,000 tonnes of sand from the the mouth of the river, which would take a fleet of excavators at least two weeks.
The council was aware of the problem in 2002 when an extra metre was added to the height of wooden groynes controlling the movement of sand between Fleetwood Pier and the RNLI Station. But those are now buried and the groynes cannot be made any bigger.
A Wyre Council spokesman said: "We are looking into how we can move the sand as this would provide benefits to the port and its users."
The council's first task will be to carry out electronic monitoring.They will then talk to other parties about how to pay for the work and seek permission from organisations such as the Environment Agency and Natural England. [FLEETWOOD TODAY]