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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 - January 2009

January 31

Acknowledgements:  Gary Andrews, Matthew Davies, Tony Brennan,  Edwin Wilmshurst and "others"


The Cornish River Fal is playing host to a flotilla of ships forced to moor in the county because of the credit crisis. In the midst of a global decline in demand, 10 unused ships are laid-up along the sheltered River Fal.

An 11th ship is expected within the next week or so. Ships began arriving on the river in December after ship owners started to take vessels out of service because of slowing economies across the world.

Two of the vessels, CHALLENGER II and ADVENTURE II, both have a capacity of just under 40,000 tonnes and dwarf the other ships dotted along the river.

Until recently, they had carried coal between the Baltic and the UK. Carrick District Council charges by the week for the stricken ships to berth on the Fal.

At the lower end of the scale, vessels up to 1,500 tonnes pay £92.14 a week with ships of more than 30,000 tonnes paying £737.12 a week.

Captain Andrew Brigden, Port of Truro harbourmaster, employed by the council, described the weekly charge as "cheap".

He said: "Historically, the River Fal is a barometer for the world's economy.

"If the river is empty, it means freight – raw materials and manufactured goods – is up and all the ships are working.

"If the river is full of ships, times are bad with ships out of work standing idle. The river has been empty for the past eight or so years while times have been good."

As many maritime legal disputes are settled in the UK, mooring in British waters provides easier access to the courts.

Five of the ships moored along the River Fal are under arrest due to court orders.

Captain Brigden said the ships were registered all over the globe with crews from countries including Portugal, France, Ukraine, the Philippines and Russia.

He added: "Traditionally, during good times, some ships would be laid-up here for up to three months at a time.

"For example, a ship carrying bananas from the Caribbean to Russia would stay here during the growing season and then head off in time for the harvest.

"Or ships destined to be scrapped would be laid-up here until the price of scrap metal rose.

"If there is a legal dispute over a vessel, the parties involved normally want the matter settled in a British court because our system of sorting out maritime problems is the best in the world."

Captain Brigden said that in previous recessions, up to 30 ships were laid-up along the Fal.

He went on: "In those days, the ships were much smaller so more could be moored.

"Also, people pretty much berthed where they wanted to without any consideration for the environmental impact – today there are far more restraints."

As the recession continued to bite, more ships could be heading for the River Fal.

Captain Brigden said: "You could put another three moorings down there – another six to eight berths depending on the size of ships." [WESTERN MORNING NEWS]


ASGARD II - an online petition has been posted aimed at the Government of the Republic of Ireland to raise the graceful brigantine which sank in Autumn 2008 and which as was a popular visitor to ports on both sides of the Irish Sea and was one of the vessels at the Liverpool Tall Ships gathering in summer 2008.


CITY OF HAMBURG the new airbus ro-ro vessel will be making a maiden call at the Port of Mostyn arrival February 02, 2009 at 15:30 departing at 15:00 on February 03, 2009 at 03:30.


SNAEFELL was noted afloat in Cammell Laird #5 dry dock on Saturday January 31, 2009 which suggests departure will be quite soon.


Dozens of crew members were rescued from a barge after three of the five wires anchoring it in position in the Solway Firth broke on Friday January 30, 2009.

It is understood that lifeboats and a Sea King helicopter helped to evacuate 36 crew in storm conditions.

Six other crew members have remained on board to try to repair anchor cables and get the barge stationary again.

The barge RU 101 has been working on building the Robin Rigg wind farm midway between Dumfries and Galloway.

The alarm was raised early on Friday in gale force winds after the barge started drifting towards the pylons being installed for the wind farm.

The barge had been anchored to the sea bed by five wires - two of which broke away during heavy seas overnight and one early this morning.

'Sitting comfortably'

One of the support vessels managed to get a tow line on board and stopped it drifting.

A rescue helicopter from RAF Valley in Wales and the Workington lifeboat took off 36 of the 42-strong construction crew.

The skipper is reported to have said that the barge is now "sitting more comfortably".

Maryport Coastguards and a Sea King helicopter from RAF Valley are still standing by.

In September 2007, 36 crew members had to abandon a rig after it began listing in strong winds in the Solway Firth.

The jack-up rig Lisa A was being used to work on Robin Rigg, which will have 60 huge 420ft wind turbines when it is completed.



STENA VOYAGER - a truck operated by Turners of Soham made an unscheduled exit from the ship off Corswall Point on Wednesday January 29, 2009. The semi-trailer overhanging the stern with the tractor unit caught on the vehicle deck. The ship had 156 passengers and 33 crew on board. STENA VOYAGER put back to Stranraer. However, passengers had to remain on board for almost 24 hours until the errant truck could be secured, the vessel berthed and the vehicles on board discharged.

Sadly at the time of the mishap the body of a 79 day old baby Cieran Megaw was being conveyed on the sailing. The child's tiny white coffin was removed from the ship and taken to Cairnryan by a Stena Line employee from where he was taken by a P&O back to to Ireland. 

Portadown parish priest Fr Michael O’Dwyer thanked everyone who had  co-operated in the sad task when he conducted the Requiem Mass, and sympathised with the child's family in St John the Baptist church on Thursday afternoon.

The priest recalled that Cieran’s 79 days on Earth were marked with sadness,  but had ended with great kindness as everyone co-operated to bring him home  to be laid to rest.

STENA VOYAGER is believed to be out of service until February 02, 2009.


THOMSON CELEBRATION - information, believed to be of a reliable source, has reached Irish Sea Shipping this week indicating that a factor which contributed to the cancellation of the "Taste of Ireland Cruise" in October 2008 was a technical difficulty with the ship's rudder.

If anyone can add to this information please get in touch as there are probably many passengers, who would like to know the honest truth!


It was “an emotional decision”, but, after 150 years, the former Vosper Thornycroft said this week that it would never build another ship. VT said that it was selling out to BAE Systems, Europe’s largest defence company, and was ending its illustrious history in the shipbuilding industry.

The two groups merged their dockyards last year in a deal that created the last big shipbuilder in Britain. Now VT is to exercise an option to sell its share of the joint venture to BAE for £380 million.

John Thornycroft founded his dockyard at Chiswick on the River Thames in 1860. Twelve years later, Herbert Vosper founded a yard in Portsmouth. The Thornycroft yard built HMS LIGHTENING, the world’s first torpedo ship. Launched in 1876, it was the first ship to be armed with self-propelled torpedoes.

The Vosper yard also has claims to fame. It built and repaired smaller craft, including the Bluebird K4 in which Sir Malcolm Campbell broke the water speed record in 1939. He reached a speed of 141.74mph.

Vosper Thornycroft, as the company was called after the two merged in 1966, was nationalised in the 1970s and became part of British Shipbuilding. It was bought out by its management in 1985 for £19 million and floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1988. It has a market capitalisation of £1 billion after developing its services business in the Nineties, when ship orders began to collapse.

VT provides such services as managing police vehicles and offering careers advice in schools, but about 70 per cent of its business remains in the defence sector, in areas such as base management and training.

Paul Lester, its chief executive, said: “Without shipbuilding we could not have got where we are today, but it is time to move on. It is an emotional decision, but it is the best one for our employees and the company.” The deal should be completed in July.

BVT, as the shipbuilder is now called, includes VT’s dockyard in Portsmouth as well as BAE’s yards at Scotstoun and Govan on the Clyde. The company has gone out in a blaze of glory : HMS DARING, the Type 45 destroyer built by the combined group, completed its maiden voyage this week. [The Times]

January 28

Acknowledgements:  Gary Andrews, Roger Pescodd, David Lloyd-Jones, Ian Collard, Edwin Wilsmhurst and "others"


ARMORIQUE was delivered to Brittany Ferries on Monday January 26, 2009 by builders STX Europe (formerly Aker). (photo: STX Europe)

The vessel worth approximately 110 million euro and has given some 700 man-years of work to the yard.

The new vessel has been developed by STX Europe in close cooperation with Brittany Ferries. She will be particularly fuel efficient as well as environmentally-friendly by keeping CO2 emissions to a minimum.

The vessel is designed to carry passengers, cars and road cargo vehicles between France and the United Kingdom. Named after the national park in Brittany, it has been designed specifically for use between Plymouth and Roscoff.

"STX Europe is proud to have built this state-of-the-art ferry incorporating the very latest environmental technology for Brittany Ferries", says Martin Landtman, President of STX Finland Cruise Oy. "We are the market leader in the world ferry market, and in all our new vessels we have special focus on ecological alternatives and energy economy" Landtman continues.

The 168.3 metres long and 26.8 metres wide vessel has an operating speed of 23 knots and top speed of 25 knots. The two-deck loading and discharge allows for fast turnaround times in ports. There will be 980 lane metres of vehicle space, i.e. for 470 cars or some 60 trucks.

With 1,500 passenger capacity, ARMORIQUE features a large shopping area, dedicated areas for teenagers, a cinema, and a variety of bars, restaurants and lounges. There are reclining seats for day passengers. A total of 248 cabins will provide overnight accommodation for a maximum of 780 passengers, including a small number of suites.

The hull of the vessel is identical to that of the CONTENTIN delivered from STX Europe in Helsinki last year. The only difference in the vessels' appearance is that ARMORIQUE has a much larger upper deck passenger area.

Brittany Ferries is an old customer to the STX Europe yards. In addition to the two above mentioned, the car-passenger ferries MS NORMANDIE and MS BARFLEUR were delivered to their fleet in 1992 from the Turku and Helsinki yards of STX Europe.


The new Dartmouth Higher Ferry was reported to arrived at Southampton recently en-route from the Ravestein Shipyard, Netherlands to the Pendennis Shipyard in Falmouth. She was conveyed by barge towed by Falmouth registered tug MTS INDUS and put into Southampton to shelter from the weather. She departed Southampton on Tuesday January 27.

Once completed by Pendennis she will replace the DEPV PHILIP - the last River Dart paddler and the last operating diesel electric paddle vessel in the UK - in June 2009..

Currently the Higher Ferry service is suspended whilst £400,000 is spent on Slipway improvements at Dartmouth and Kingswear to accommodate the new vessel. The Higher Ferry is expected to recommence operations on February 25.


A cross-border ferry company which offers an important link between Donegal and County Londonderry is under threat. The Lough Foyle Ferry company estimates that it could lose nearly 224,000 euro this year.

Last year, the company which operates between Magilligan and Greencastle lost 56,000 euro. SDLP MLA John Dallat said the Northern Ireland assembly and the Dáil in the Republic of Ireland should step in.

"I intend to contact the British Irish secretariat in Belfast and I understand TDs in the Republic will do likewise," he said.  "This is something that the assembly and the dáil should be involved in and not simply two local councils with very limited budgets."  The ferry began operating in 2002. It offers a one-mile crossing which takes about 15 minutes. It has helped boost tourism in both communities. [BBC]



MAERSK's European short sea ferry subsidiary, Norfolkline, has announced a reduction of tonnage on its North Sea and Irish Sea services from May, with as yet unquantified job cuts. Norfolkline ferry division managing director Kell Robdrup said: "Discussions on the impact on our staff are ongoing, but unfortunately it looks like it will be impossible to avoid redundancies in connection with this tonnage reshuffle.

"The reduction of tonnage on the North Sea and Irish Sea is in line with our current initiatives to optimise our operations and adapting to the market. Through rationalisation of our resources, Norfolkline will remain competitive in face of difficult market situation."

The service between Vlaardingen and Felixstowe will be reduced from four to three vessels from May 15. The operator said that two vessels, the MAERSK VLAARDINGEN and the MAERSK VOYAGER, will be deployed from the Killingholme service onto the Felixstowe service from mid-May and September respectively, replacing three of the current vessels operating on the Vlaardingen route.

The MAERSK IMPORTER and EXPORTER will be redeployed to Norfolkine's Irish Sea routes in May.

The MAERSK FLANDERSs will follow its sisterships in September. Replacing the vessels redeployed from the Killingholme service will be two new vessels, the HUMBER VIKING and MAAS VIKING.

Mr Robdrup said: "The two vessels deployed on the Vlaardingen-Felixstowe route have a larger capacity and a higher speed than the current vessels deployed on the route, which together with MAERSK ANGLIA, will enable us to maintain capacity and regular sailings on the Vlaardingen-Felixstowe service, although we are reducing the number of departures from four to three per day.

"On the Irish Sea, MAERSK IMPORTER and MAERSK EXPORTER will replace older tonnage in the Heysham-Dublin route and Heysham-Belfast route respectively. While Heysham-Belfast will continue to operate two vessels, we will only operate one vessel in the Heysham- Dublin route.

This effectively means that the Heysham-Dublin route will run a one-ship operation compared with two vessels today."

He added: "Once the redeployment plan is fully executed, we will operate with a five vessel operation from our port in Vlaardingen to the two locations in England as opposed to six vessels today. "On our routes from Heysham Irish Sea, we will reduce from a four-vessel operation to a three-vessel operation. All in all, we take two vessels out of our current fleet.


STENA CALEDONIA arrived at Cammell Laird, Birkenhead on January 27, 2009 for an £800,000 refit which will last until February 12. During the refit the following work will be undertaken:

- a new Stena Plus Lounge fitted.

- a Barista Coffee house/bar fitted.

- a Curious George themed children's' play area.

- a new guest services desk.

- installation of free wi-fi.

- refurbishment of the Pantry Restaurant, which will be re-branded as Food City.

- décor and seating will be upgraded.

- extra seating will be added to the ship's cinema.

- refurbishment of the onboard shop.

- improved disabled/lift access from the car deck (currently this is very small).

The accommodation upgrade is being carried out by Co Down based MJM.

A further £1 million is being spent on general annual refit work to engines etc.

The ship is also set to feature new Stena Line livery designs, which are currently being finalised.

The STENA LEADER and STENA PIONEER have also recently visited Cammell Laird - having £900,000 and £1 million respectively spent on them. New accommodation for crew was added on both ships.

January 24

Acknowledgements:  Gary Andrews, Gary Davies, Jenny Williamson, Seatruck and "others"


It has been reported in the local press that tourism officials fear that the local economy will suffer following Brittany Ferries decision to make timetable changes on the Plymouth - Santander service which will see one sailing per week operated to and from Portsmouth as well as the ending of the popular mini-cruise facility.

It is estimated that Plymouth's economy will suffer a £1.5million loss this year as a result of the change.

The company has run a twice-weekly service from Plymouth to Spain for more than a decade. But from March the PONT-AVEN will only depart Millbay on Sundays, with the Wednesday crossing departing from the south coast port instead.

The change will also mean the end of the firm's popular cut-price mini-breaks because after leaving Plymouth the Pont-Aven, which carries up to 2,400 passengers, will not be back until the following Friday.

Tourist chiefs said the change was a blow to the city's economy, because it meant fewer travellers would be staying in Plymouth, spending less in hotels, shops, bars and restaurants.

But Brittany Ferries said the move made business sense.

A large number of its customers live in the South East and it wants to increase passenger numbers so it can bid for a new £150million vessel.

It said the change was being trialled this year but could become permanent.

But it stressed it would not be pulling the Plymouth to Santander route totally, there would be no Plymouth job cuts, and insisted the city would gain when the new, larger ARMORIQUE was introduced to the Roscoff route later this year.

The Plymouth Hospitality Association, which has more than 70 members including top hotels and restaurants, was due to discuss the issue at its meeting today .

Roy Martin, the association's chairman, and boss of the Hoe's Invicta Hotel, said losing the Santander service would cost the city up to £1.5million this year and is something an already struggling industry can little afford.

"We have to voice ourselves to Brittany Ferries and say the economy is in such a bad state we can't afford to lose this," he said.

Dave Marshall, the association's vice chair, and boss of the Hoe's Caledonia Guest House, said the Portsmouth move would 'definitely' hit Plymouth's economy because numerous travellers stopped over in the city.

And he added: "With the weak Pound we were expecting to see visitors from Spain but now they will go to Portsmouth."

Richard Smith, director of Plymouth Gin and Plymouth Chamber of Commerce, also said the city was set to benefit from a favourable exchange rate, but stressed Brittany Ferries 'proposals work against this'.

He said the city should be encouraging visitors to stay the night and added: "Everyone would like to see it (the service) brought back.

"We need to encourage people to travel through and stay here at either end of their journey."

Andrew Huckerby, chairman of Visit Plymouth and a director of the Kitley House Hotel, said: "Any changes will have a knock-on effect with the city's economy."

Another industry figure said: "Cutting the Santander ferry will have an adverse effect on people coming in."

Brittany Ferries' communications director, Steve Tuckwell, said the firm needed to justify to its shareholders any plan to buy a new ship.

"We will be able to show how successful we are out of Portsmouth," he said. "About 75 per cent of our passengers come from outside the West Country, a lot from the South East. This is likely to be more attractive to them.

"If it's a great success we will continue. If it's a disaster we may see it move back to a twice weekly service from Plymouth.

"But we have done our sums and think there is potential there."

But he stressed the Plymouth to Santander route had been a success and added: "It's very unlikely that we will ever sever Plymouth to Santander."

He said that if the new scheme was a 'great success' the firm could even charter another ship and run services from both ports, with two a week from Plymouth again, but added: "It's early days."

He said that any loss to the city's economy would be offset by the arrival of the £81million, 1,500-passenger ARMORIQUE.

"That will benefit the city," he said. "It's six of one, half a dozen of another - losing one crossing but benefiting from the other ship which should attract more passengers through the city."



A proposed ferry service from Cork to Gijon, in northern Spain,  will not be up and running for this summer. Port of Cork Company, which has  been negotiating with potential financiers and operators, is hopeful it will begin next year. A spokeswoman says she has received many inquiries from the public about the service.


The German shipyard has produced a concept design for a new generation of ro/pax ferry to be known as the ICON. It is a monohull of very interesting design. A video can be found on the company's web site. The design may not be to everyone's liking - but it is revolutionary.


MANANNAN - work on the vessel continues at Portsmouth dockyard.

The photograph courtesy of Gary Davies ( shows the exterior of the ship on January 08, 2009. Shots of interior work can be found on the company web site [CLICK HERE].



£165,000 is to be spent to ensure the future of the Fleetwood to Knott End ferry service. Complete loss of the service and an environmental catastrophe could ensue if urgent repair work is not done to the ferry dock on the Fleetwood side of  the River Wyre, local councillors have been told.

Emergency measures were carried out as piles began to slip last year, but now more permanent work is needed to keep the landing stage safe.

Wyre Council's cabinet will meet on Monday and is expected to approve work to be done in February when the ferry boat Wyre Rose has its annual service.

Wyre Council will ask Lancashire County Council, which also supports the service, to share the cost. Council officials were alarmed in April last year when piles at the lower  end of the ferry dock began to slip.

Consultants investigated and discovered the oldest part of the ferry dock had piles much shorter than the rest.

There was a significant danger of a major failure and Birse Coastal, working on the new Cleveleys promenade, was drafted in for emergency repairs.

The work is so urgent the council is likely to waive its usual competitive tendering process and award the contract to Birse Coastal because of its knowledge of the works and ability to do it in the shortest time.



The heritage centre constructed around the sectioned German U-boat U534 will open at Woodside Ferry Terminal, Birkenhead on February 10, 2009. [CLICK HERE]


CLIPPER PANORAMA - the new build arrived at Heysham on Thursday January 22, 2009. Her first commercial sailing to Warrenpoint will depart from Heysham on Sunday January 25, 2009.

This new freight ferry will join sistership CLIPPER POINT on the Warrenpoint-Heysham route, boosting capacity on this service to around 120,000 freight units annually. During 2008 Seatruck Ferries' vessels carried nearly 90,000 units on this important Irish Sea route.

The third and fourth 22 knot vessels in the series, CLIPPER PACE and CLIPPER PENNANT, will enter service in March and May respectively, on Seatruck Ferries' Dublin-Liverpool route.

In a climate of tougher trading conditions, Seatruck Ferries expects to see a further increase in unaccompanied shipments across the Irish Sea during 2009, as this transport solution offers significant cost-savings.

Alistair Eagles, Seatruck Ferries' Deputy Managing Director, says: "Clipper Panorama's debut on the strategic Warrenpoint-Heysham route provides much-needed additional capacity. In the current economic climate hauliers are looking for fresh opportunities to reduce door-to-door costs. By switching to unaccompanied shipments on a central corridor route, they can reduce their shipping costs and also achieve a significant reduction in road-miles."

The new 120-unit ships are the only purpose-built freight ferries for Irish Sea service to be introduced over the past 20 years. Their service speed of 22 knots cuts the crossing time from nine hours to seven hours.

Alistair Eagles adds: By the summer of 2009 Seatruck's Irish Sea capacity on the two routes will have risen to 240,000 freight units annually. We remain the only Irish Sea operator totally dedicated to freight movements and we believe there is plenty of scope to expand unaccompanied shipments. It makes good economic sense, especially in the current economic environment.

"Demand for Seatruck's dedicated freight service remains strong and we look forward to moving increased levels of traffic on both routes with the arrival of the new vessels. The speed and capacity of these new ships - together with their ability to move all types of cargo, including high tautliners, double decks, hazardous cargo and abnormal loads - will attract a great deal of interest amongst hauliers."

The CLIPPER PANORAMA replaces the MOONDANCE which will be redeployed on a brand new Seatruck Ferries service from Fredericia in Denmark to Moss in Norway. The new service will start on February 02, 2009.


Thanks to hedging fuel prices for 2 years at a favourable price Stena have yet again revised their Belfast - Stranraer schedule this year.

It's almost a complete U-turn from the earliest version and largely a continuation of the status quo.

Despite the fact that there is actually a minor reduction in the use of the STENA CALEDONIA she is still getting her major refurbishment of passenger  accommodation and heads to Cammell Laird this week.

From Monday the STENA  SEAFARER will operate her Belfast - Stranraer sailings until 8 February.  9 - 12 February the STENA VOYAGER will operate alone but will include a  00:15 sailing ex Stranraer and 02:30 from Belfast operated at full speed.

The STENA SEAFARER has been covering the STENA PIONEER's Larne - Fleetwood  sailings whilst that ship has been at dry-dock. The STENA PIONEER will return to service with the 2200 from Fleetwood on Monday evening.

Meanwhile the STENA VOYAGER returns to service tomorrow to allow the STENA EXPLORER to go to dry-dock.

STENA VOYAGER Based entirely around 25 minute turnarounds.

Belfast - Stranraer

0725 arrives 0925.

1215 arrives 1415

1705 arrives 1925

2235 arrives 0055

Stranraer - Belfast

0440 arrives 0700

0950 arrives 1150

1440 arrives 1640

1950 arrives 2210 (2200 Sunday).


Belfast - Stranraer

0310 arrives 0600 (Tues - Sat)

1100 arrives 1350 (Sats 1/7 - 31/8 & Fri 1/5 - 30/9)

1150 arrives 1450 (Sun 1/5 - 30/9)

1920 arrives 2210 (Mon - Fri)

2000 arrives 2250 (Sat & Sun)

Stranraer - Belfast

0700 arrives 1000 (Tues - Sat)

1515 arrives 1815 (Sats 1/7 - 31/8 & Fri 1/5 - 30/9)

1550 arrives 1850 (Sun 1/5 - 30/9)

2310 arrives 0210 (Mon - Fri)

2359 arrives 0300 (Sat - Sun)


Hopes are rising for a re introduction of the Swansea - Cork service with the vessel - JULIA - which is currently laid up in Finland being one possible option.

The of Cork Company is optimistic that the Swansea-Cork ferry will be up and running in time for the 2009 tourist season following extensive negotiations.

Since the service was suspended in 2007, campaigners, local representatives and the port authorities have made efforts to restore it.

Captain Michael McCarthy from the company said this week he was optimistic the service would be back in operation by this summer.

He said the service had not stopped because it was unprofitable, but because the ferry owner had sold the original vessel, MV SUPERFERRY, with the intention of buying a bigger ferry. However, doing this had proved difficult.

Capt McCarthy said a business plan carried out by Strategic Transport Services on behalf of the company – which is facilitating the re- establishment of the service – showed that by the third year of operations, it would be very profitable. He said they were focusing on two vessels that fell in price by up to 35 per cent over the past six months to €10-€12 million.

"We are confident the route will be financially viable, even if the price of oil rises again. The infrastructure is in place to take the ferry. We have facilities on each side, an operator and an internet booking system."

He said an international bank had agreed to provide 60 per cent of the cost of the new ferry and there was a shortfall of about €3 million. They were very close to agreement with a number of investors and were looking for additional investment.

"We need a decision in the next two to three weeks so that the service can start advertising and people can book their holidays for this summer," Capt McCarthy said. "We are confident that we will be able to compete on price, delivery and service on board."

It is estimated the service contributes more than €30 million a year in tourism revenue to the Cork and Kerry region. More than three million passengers travelled on the route since it was established in 1987.

The port company reported that traffic reached 10.1 million tonnes in 2008, a fall of 5 per cent on the 2007 figures of 10.6 million tonnes.

Commenting on the performance, company chairman Dermot O'Mahoney said this "illustrated the critical importance of the port to the Irish, regional and local economy and re-affirmed Cork's position as the premier port on the south coast of Ireland".

The port's container traffic fell by 6.97 per cent from 200,000 TEUs (units of cargo capacity) in 2007 to 187,000 TEUs in 2008.

Reflecting the global downturn in the car industry, the number of vehicles handled in the port in 2008 was 53,000, down 31.44 per cent on 2007.

The port hosted a record number of cruise vessels in 2008, with 51 ships bringing over 60,000 passengers and contributing over €44 million to the region.


January 17

Acknowledgements:  Gary Andrews, Ian Collard, John Pryce, Tony Brennan, Michael Pryce and "others"


The Appledore Shipyard in north Devon has secured a £50m contract to construct sections for the planned aircraft carriers HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH and HMS PRINCE OF WALES it was announced on January 16. This will secure 150 jobs.


BOUDICCA - it has been reported in the Merseyside press that following withdrawal of the BLACK PRINCE this autumn, she will be replaced at Liverpool by BOUDICCA. The BOUDICCA (28,372gt) which has twice the passenger capacity of BLACK PRINCE was originally constructed by Wartsila as ROYAL VIKING SUN in 1973. After a varied career she was acquired by Fred. Olsen in 2005. She is named after the Queen of the Iceni who fought the Roman occupiers of Britain.


Plans have been announced for a cruise ship berth at an Anglesey port has seen a surge in  bookings of luxury liners, which could pump millions in tourist cash into North Wales.

Last summer cruise bookings for Holyhead slumped after the opening of a new berth at Liverpool diverted big spending North American tourists.

Passenger numbers fell from 15,000 in 2007 to just 3,700 last summer - more than 2,000 of those on the JEWEL OF THE SEAS never made it ashore because of high winds.

Cruise liners currently wishing to visit Holyhead have to anchor in the port and transfer passengers to the dockside by tender - which is entirely dependent on weather conditions.

So far this summer there are six liners carrying just over 3,000 passengers booked. But for 2010, when the £9m berth should be in place, the port has already secured five luxury liners carrying nearly 5,000 passengers.

Four of those ships are new bookings and they include the super liner Carnival Corporation Holland America division's WESTERDAN, which carries 2,000 passengers estimated to pump £175,000 into the local economy.

More bookings are now expected as plans progress for the berth at the existing Anglesey Aluminium jetty, - which research says could pump £3m annually into the tourist economy.

Councillor Bryan Owen, portfolio holder for economic regeneration on Anglesey council, said: "The outlook is good for 2010 when we already have four new ships confirmed and another return ship - these include the biggest liners around.

"This is not just good for Anglesey, it is also good for north Gwynedd and Conwy as passengers will take tours across the region. This will bring money into the economy.

"We must get the berth in place by 2010.

"The weak pound makes the UK an attractive destination at this time and we must take advantage of that, there is the potential to have a ship here every week in the summer, which would have a big impact on the economy."

The Welsh Assembly has invited companies Opus, Hyder, Mouchel and Mott Macdonald to tender for the design and feasibility work of creating an 'alongside' cruise berth, and assess the feasibility of extending the capability of the existing jetty.

The tender bid was co-ordinated by the Welsh Assembly Government on behalf of a partnership that includes Stena Ports Ltd, the port authority and Anglesey Aluminium - the owners and operators of the jetty.

It forms part of a wider partnership between Holyhead and five other Welsh and Irish ports seeking funding under the Wales-Ireland INTERREG programme to market the Irish Sea.

Deputy Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones, AM for Anglesey, said: "A dedicated berth will help develop this very important market and provide a significant boost for the local and wider economy of North Wales." [DAILY POST]


The cast iron lighthouse on the end of the breakwater at Port St. Mary was washed away in last Sunday night's gale:

Port St Mary residents awoke on Monday morning to find an important village landmark was no longer there.

The Victorian 'pepper pot' lighthouse at the end of the outer breakwater had been washed into the sea.

A combination of a high tide and strong winds over night dealt a fatal blow to the 19th Century light that has been there since the breakwater was built, between 1882 and 1886.

Captain Michael Brew, director of harbours at the Department of Transport, said the lighthouse is in 'several pieces' on the seabed off the breakwater.

The department's first priority is to remove any debris from the seabed and erect a temporary navigation light.

Captain Brew said: 'Whether we replace the lighthouse or not, I do not know. We will have to weigh up what we need to do.'

He added the breakwater needs to be reinforced and that will happen once the budget is approved by Tynwald.

{IOM Onlin]


SNAEFELL moved from Alexandra Dock to Cammell Laird #5 dry dock via the Landing Stage on Friday January 16, berthing astern of FORT VICTORIA. Basically she is occupying the same position as she occupied last winter behind FORT GEORGE.

BEN-MY-CHREE - the morning Birkenhead and evening Heysham sailings from Douglas on Saturday January 17 were cancelled due to adverse weather conditions in the Irish Sea.



The third in a series of six high-performance terminal escort tugs, the SVITZER KILROOM entered service at the Dragon LNG terminal in Milford Haven, UK, at the end of December, 2008.

The SVITZER KILROOM is the largest and most powerful of the RAstar series of tugs being built for this major terminal operation, all to the new RAstar designs developed by Vancouver-based naval architect Robert Allan.

This RAstar 3900-class tug was constructed by Freire Construcciones Navales of Vigo, Spain and completed trials in early December, 2008. In addition to this 39-metre tug, a series of five smaller sisters tugs of the RAstar 3400-class are also being built by Freire.

SVITZER KILROOM measures 39.1 metres in overall length on a moulded beam of 14.7 metres and a moulded depth of 6.11 metres.

The vessel is equipped for typical ship-handling and escort work, with a Rolls-Royce model TW 3000/1000H single drum hawser winch on the fore deck, with a capacity for 250 metres of 76mm diameter high strength towline. The escort-rated winch is driven by a twin-pump electro-hydraulic pump set, and features a three-speed drive system, capable of line recovery at 100 tonne line pull at 5.2 metres per minute or of rendering at 150 tonnes at eight metres per minute in the first speed range, or of recovering at 24 tonnes at 18 metres per minute and rendering at 50 tonnes line pull at 28 metres minute in the third speed range. The aft deck is strengthened for an aft towing winch, but that is not presently fitted.

Accommodation is to a very high standard for a crew of up to ten persons. Two spacious officer's cabins are located on the main deck, each with private en-suite facilities, and below decks are four double cabins, two of which also have private en-suite facilities. The fully equipped galley serves a large common lounge/mess area, equipped with the latest in video and audio entertainment systems.

A great deal of attention was paid throughout the design process to mitigate the propagation of noise and vibration. This includes the essential resilient mounting of the main engines, isolation of all exhaust system components, and the extensive use of visco-elastic floating floor systems throughout.

The wheelhouse is designed to provide maximum all-round visibility from a single split type master console.

The SVITZER KILROOM is built in accordance with Lloyd's Register of Shipping requirements and also in compliance with the UK MCA regulations. The fire-fighting capability is provided by a pair of main-engine driven pumps, each rated 1,400 cubic metres per hour, which serve a pair of Kvaerner water/foam monitors and a self-protection waterspray system.



Charges will be introduced for lunches on the Irish Sea day time services in 2009. A three course lunch will cost £9.95. Previously lunches had been included in the fare. The company has stated that they will maintain the 2008 standard fares during 2009.

On Saturday January 17 a very damaged "curtainsider" trailer was noted on the Twelve Quays Terminal Landing Stage.

The trailer appeared somewhat twisted, with damaged roof and contents appearing to spill out onto the stage. Presumably a victim of the recent lively weather.



The proposed multi-million-pound development for a West Country harbour will damage the environment and the local community, campaigners have warned.

A public exhibition of plans for a new ferry terminal and freight facilities in Penzance, Cornwall, opens on Monday.

Campaign group Friends of Penzance Harbour says the project will destroy a valued natural asset and views, as well as forcing a council tax rise, without bringing any benefits to the town.

The controversial project is being put forward by the Route Partnership – made up of Cornwall County Council, the Council of the Isles of Scilly, Penwith District Council and the Duchy of Cornwall – which says it will improve the transport link between Penzance and the Isles of Scilly.

The £23.84 million scheme proposes extending the town's South Pier to accommodate a new combined passenger and freight vessel and building a passenger terminal and freight building next to the cenotaph.

John Maggs, spokesman for Friends of Penzance Harbour, said: "These plans will destroy a beautiful and valued natural asset in the heart of the town.

"What they are trying to do is like building a flat-roof extension on St Paul's Cathedral. There are better, cheaper and less-destructive alternatives to all of their objectives."

Mr Maggs is urging people to attend the exhibition. "You only need to go and see the plans to know they are wrong," he said.

The campaign group has also published 8,000 leaflets, detailing its objections to the proposals, to be delivered to homes in the area this week



CLIPPER PANORAMA is now believed due around January 24 / 25. When she arrives she will relieve MOONDANCE for the new Norway to Denmark service. There are rumours of problems with the acceptance of CLIPPER PEAK from the builders.

January 10

Acknowledgements:  Gary Andrews, Ian Collard, Jenny Williamson, Damian Casey and "others"


The Captain of the ASGARD II has expressed confidence that the national sail training vessel can be raised from the seabed off north-west France. Captain Colm Newport, who was responsible for the safe evacuation of all 24 fellow crew and trainees from the vessel last September, hopes that approval for the salvage will be given by Minister for Defence Willie O'Dea after a second survey. Captain Newport confirmed to RTÉ this week that the vessel's rigging was largely intact, and said that a salvage partner had been identified after a "fairly lengthy" tendering process.

However, the west Cork based company which is due to carry out a second underwater survey of the ship in mid-January says that trawling in the area could inflict damage upon the hull if it remains much longer on the seabed.

This poses a greater risk to the hull now than weather, according to Karl Bredendieck of Remote Presence underwater survey and inspection. "Trawlers are always attracted to the returns from wreck fishing, and a sail training ship which sank in the same location last year has already been trawled through," he said.

The 42-metre THO-PA-GA wooden schooner, built in Spain in 1924, sank off Brittany last July and is lying in 130 metres of water. Mr Bredendieck's company carried out the first remote underwater survey of the ASGARD II in late September last year, just over a fortnight after the vessel sank 22km west of Belle-Ile while en route to La Rochelle. "It is a very rocky area, but fortunately the vessel landed in one flat sandy spot, and, remarkably, was standing upright," he said.

"There is a regular notice to mariners, but trawlers may still be tempted to fish very close to it," he said. The vessel was insured for €3.8 million, and its insurers approved a salvage some time ago. "If the Minister has already decided to leave the ASGARD II at the bottom of the ocean, he should say so," Fine Gael defence spokesman Jimmy Deenihan has said. "A three-month delay is inexcusable," he said last month.

Former defence minister Bobby Molloy, who was involved in financing the ship's construction, has also expressed concern about the fate of the vessel. Mr Molloy told The Irish Times it was "regrettable" that the Minister had not "acted quickly" on a salvage. "I hope it will be raised sooner rather than later, as it would be a terrible pity for Ireland and for Irish sail training if it was left," Mr Molloy said.

Several marine experts have said that suitable weather windows in the Bay of Biscay area have been missed. The longer the wooden vessel is left underwater, the more difficult the salvage may be and the more expensive it may be to restore, they have said. The department said that replacement vessels for lease for next year's sail training programme had been examined. No decision would be taken prior to a decision on salvage, a spokesman said.



It has come to the attention of Irish Sea Shipping that "Urban Explorers" have gained entry to the well known Irish Sea turbine steamer DUKE OF LANCASTER which has languished at Mostyn for almost 30 years. A number of interior on board photographs have appeared on the Derelict Places forum.


OSCAR WILDE - the return night sailing to Pembroke Dock scheduled for January 05/06 was cancelled after the ship struck the linkspan at Rosslare. Freight traffic was transferred to the STENA EUROPE sailing. OSCAR WILDE has been covering for the ISLE OF INISHMORE which had been relieving ULYSSES which had been undergoing refit at Cammell Laird, Birkenhead.

JONATHAN SWIFT - currently undergoing collision repairs following her altercation with a linkspan at Holyhead and her annual refit at A&P Falmouth is due back in service on January 27, 2009.

ULYSSES departed Cammell Laird following refit on Thursday January 08, 2009.


BEN-MY-CHREE - further changes to the proposed dry docking schedule occurred and she finally arrived at Cammell Laird on the evening of January 09, 2009.

VIKING departed from Alexandra Dock on Thursday January 08, 2008 light for Douglas. On Friday she operated two round trips to Heysham as forecast weather conditions indicated that the planned sailings to Heysham on both Saturday January 10 and Sunday January would not be possible. WEST EXPRESS (right) was chartered to provide freight cover for the BEN-MY-CHREE. (photographs: Jenny Williamson)



HMS INTREPID - a fire broke out on board the warship on Thursday January 08, 2009 in Canada Graving Dock where the vessel is being recycled by Leavesley International. Local press reported eight fire appliances attended the ship to extinguish the blaze. Local press reports indicate that the fire broke out as a result of on board cutting operations and there were no injuries. Photographs of the fire and recent cutting work can be found on The Intrepid Tribune web site. [CLICK HERE]


The Mersey Ferries fleet appears to have acquired a new funnel marking - a stick on Mersey Travel "M" logo. Looks rather cheap and tacky. SNOWDROP's starboard sticker appeared to be peeling off when observed this morning.


NORBAY visited Larne on January 04, 2009 for a hull survey.


It was reported this week that the Carrick Harbourmaster was forced to reject a block booking for lay-up moorings on the River Fal as this traditional ship lay-up location was almost fully booked. Eight ships and a barge are currently laid up with more reported to their way.


Plans have been tabled for the first phase of a multi-million pound project  by ferry operator Stena Line to develop a new port in south west Scotland.

The company wants to move its Irish Sea services out of Stranraer and along the coast to Old House Point. Permission is now being sought to carry out the necessary preparatory work for a new terminal near Cairnryan. The company said creating a new passenger terminal further up Loch Ryan would cut journey times to Belfast.

Stena Line is looking for the go-ahead to carry out a programme of ground works needed as part of the proposed development of the new port. It would involve a range of excavation and infilling operations as well as the widening of the site entrance and regarding of the access road.

The application - which is recommended for approval by council planning officials - will be considered by Dumfries and Galloway Council's Wigtown area committee later this week. It is estimated the total cost of creating a new ferry port would be about £70m.

Stena Line is also required to submit an environmental impact assessment and seek a harbour empowerment order from the Scottish Government in order for the plan to progress.

On completion, the scheme would allow major redevelopment plans for Stranraer waterfront to forge ahead.


January 04

Acknowledgements:  Gary Andrews, Tony Brennan, Edwin Wilmshurst and "others"


A new high-speed passenger ferry service linking Devon and Wales could be operating by spring 2010, according to the man behind the plan.

Chris Marrow, from Mariners Marine Consultants, said he is negotiating to secure the use of a pair of ferries. The crossing between Ilfracombe, in north Devon, and Swansea, in south Wales, would take about 50 minutes.

Mr Marrow said it was being discussed with the Welsh Assembly Government and South West Regional Development Agency. Mr Marrow, who is from Cornwall, said: "Initially this will be a fast passenger service, but there might be a demand for a car ferry as well.

"There's currently no infrastructure for a car ferry in Ilfracombe, but it's under discussion." He denied the passenger service was unnecessary and said he could not think of "anywhere else in the world" which has a body of water like the Bristol Channel without a ferry service.

"South Wales is the prime origin of tourists along the north Devon and Somerset coasts," he added. "People have remarked that you can actually buy Welsh flags in the shops in Ilfracombe and Minehead." Mr Morrow said he met seven local authorities in England and Wales earlier this month to discuss the "trans boundary" plans.



The Irish owned KILMORE (ex CHONG MING DAO, ex GRAIP, ex NORSKY etc) has been detained by the Spanish authorities since 17 November. She was last reported as being chartered to Logitec Lines and operated on Marina di Carrara - Castellon de la Plana.


BEN-MY-CHREE - the dry dock period originally announced as being from Tuesday January 06 until Friday January 09, 2009 has been changed due to an overrun of work on another vessel, the dry-dock is not available until Wednesday January 07. This means that the Ben-my-Chree will carry out her scheduled services on Tuesday January 06 but will not be available until the Sunday January 11 service from Birkenhead at 14.00.


VIKING will re-enter service to provide passenger cover. However, she will not be able to operate the Liverpool services on January 10 & 11 as she cannot use the Twelve Quays Terminal at Birkenhead. The Liverpool landing stage remains unavailable as improvement works are being undertaken by the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company. 


Due to the cancellation of the Liverpool Birkenhead sailing, Viking will operate a service to Heysham on Saturday January 10 and will depart Douglas at 9.00 with an expected arrival time of 11.30. She will return at 16.00 with an expected arrival time of 18.30. She will also carry out a service to Heysham on Sunday January 11 departing at 9.00.


The Marine Accident Investigation Branch has published a preliminary report into an incident involving the former Norse Merchant Ferries DAWN MERCHANT whilst she was operating as PAU CASALS. She is now the AVE LUBECK.Meridian Marine Management is a Liverpool based company.

Flag:United Kingdom
Type:Ro-ro passenger vessel
Length overall:180 metres
Propulsion:Twin CPP
Date & Time:29/10/08  1238 LT
Location of incident:40 22.0N 003 39.0E
Incident Type:Hazardous Incident


While on a return trip to Barcelona from the Balearic Islands, PAU CASALS encountered strong winds and rough seas.  The bow door alarm was activated and more water than normal was observed on the CCTV camera positioned in the bow door space.  Attempts were made to re-secure the door using the normal operating mode, but with no success.

The ship’s heading was altered to put the sea on the stern and on investigation it was found the doors, although still closed, had become uncleated.  The doors were re-secured by manually activating the hydraulic solenoid valves for the cleats in accordance with the emergency instructions.  The ship then continued her passage to Barcelona.

After trials in port, it was found that the initial action of trying to re-secure the doors under normal operation had actually uncleated the doors.  The lower starboard locking pin was believed to have become disengaged in the heavy weather which caused the initial alarm to activate, and the default logic for the hydraulic system was to uncleat the doors before attempting to re-secure the doors.

Actions Taken

Meridian Marine Management Ltd has issued amended instructions to the ships under their management with similar bow door arrangements.  The chief inspector has also written to the managers highlighting the safety issues raised by this accident, regarding crew familiarisation, crew training and bow door operation guidance.


Bill Ogle chairman of the Manxman Steamship Company has stated that a spate of rumours claiming that Peel Holdings are now interested in making provision for Manxman at Birkenhead are unfounded. As part of the winding up process the Manxman Steamship Company has written to ask Peel Holdings if their position has changed. The very clear reply states that "their position is unchanged". i.e. "Manxman is inappropriate".


GOLD ROVER departed from NSL Bidston on Sunday January 04, 2008.


Stena seeks redundancies among Rosslare ferry staff

Stena Line are seeking redundancies among their staff working on the Rosslare to Fishguard service. The company confirmed that it sent a letter to the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers' Union (RMT) informing them that they were seeking a reduction in 'on-board staff '.

There are currently 61 onboard staff operating on the Stena Europe service between Rosslare and Fishguard, working in areas like the ferry's bar and restaurants. This does not include deck officers and ship management.

Stena Line said that it's seeking a 'small reduction' in those numbers. Their communications manager Eamonn Hewitt said they were hoping to avoid compulsory redundancies and instead get the figure down through voluntary redundancies, redeployment and 'natural wastage'.

However, compulsory redundancies are not being ruled out. Mr. Hewitt said the action was a response to a downturn in their business.

A staff member, speaking to the Wexford People, said that the on-board staff had already been reduced to the 'bare bones' following cuts in recent years. He felt that many Co. Wexford residents working on the ferry were now in danger of losing their jobs.


Revised Belfast - Stranraer Timetable

The previously announced 2009 Timetable has been revised:


17 February - 30 June & 8 September - 21 December 2009


Departures from Belfast


03:20 Tues - Sat - STENA CALEDONIA


11:30 Tues - Thurs & Sat STENA CALEDONIA

12:15 Mon, Fri & Sun STENA VOYAGER





22:30 Mon - Fri STENA VOYAGER


Departures from Stranraer




04:40 Tue - Sat STENA VOYAGER



14:40 Mon, Fri & Sun STENA VOYAGER

15:20 Tue - Thur & Sat STENA CALEDONIA




1July - 7 September & 22 December - 5 January 2010


Departures from Belfast


03:20 Tues - Sat STENA CALEDONIA


11:30 Wed & Fred STENA CALEDONIA








22:30 Mon - Fri STENA VOYAGER


Departures from Stranraer




04:40 Tue - Sat STENA VOYAGER




15:20 Wed & Fred STENA CALEDONIA



23:20 Mon - Fred STENA CALEDONIA


STENA SEAFARER is losing her 16:00 ex Larne Sun and 03:00 ex Fleetwood Mon to operate this schedule.

Dry Dockings

STENA LEADER is due to return to Larne from Cammell Laird on  Tuesday January 06, 2009 to take up service on the 03:00 to Fleetwood the following day.


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