NEWS BULLETIN - July 2009
|Acknowledgements: Ian Collard, Geoff Hamer, Tony Brennan and Gary Andrews and "others"|
DART VALLEY RAILWAY plc
A ferry linking residents along the River Dart has been reintroduced after a 100-year absence.
The 12-seat timber-framed Carolina will run four times a week between Stoke Gabriel and Dartmouth.
It follows a successful trial over the summer months which convinced operators of the need to run a permanent service.
Andrew Pooley, general manager at the Dart Valley Railway Company's River Link, said: "We are delighted to announce the trial ferry proved so successful that we have made it a permanent service on the river.
"The timings of the ferry will depend on the tide, but in the schedule we have tried to ensure a sensible amount of time for passengers to spend ashore.
"We recommend those wishing to use the service pre-book, as space on the ferry is limited."
The boat was launched in May for a six-week trial. The idea was to provide a service for people from Stoke Gabriel to visit Dartmouth on market days and spend a few hours shopping.
Mr Pooley said: "It was extremely well supported from the Stoke Gabriel end if using it to go to Dartmouth on market days rather than drag round on cars.
"In fact, it was oversubscribed which is why we have asked people to pre-book.
"It is mainly for residents of the village. We make sure that people from Stoke Gabriel have a minimum three hours in Dartmouth to enjoy themselves.
"However, it depends on the tides when we arrive and how long we stay for."
In the summer the holiday camp visitors swell the population of the village to more than 2,000.
River Link is targeting these people by offering a round-robin service which links the boat to Paignton and Dartmouth using the steam railway.
"People come back here year after year and they are always looking for new things to do on the river. This gives them the chance to do that."
The idea is to run the ferry four days a week until October when services will be reduced to one day for the winter months.
It will run Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday until October and then on market days only.
[THIS IS SOUTH DEVON]
DUBLIN PORT COMPANY
Dublin Port Company this week published its 2008 Annual Results and trading figures for the first half of 2009 which show that Dublin Port Company continues to perform strongly despite the downturn with sustained profitability and increased dividend payment to its shareholder on the back of rigorous management of its cost base.
The company remains committed and well placed to continue its capital investment programme to ensure that Ireland’s premier port is prepared to deal with renewed growth in the economy. Highlights:2008
a.. Throughput - 29.6 million tonnes (30.9 million tonnes in 2007)
b.. Ferry passengers – 1.26 million (1.3 million in 2007)
c.. Turnover - €70.6 million (€70.4 million in 2007)
d.. Operating profit - €26.97 million (€21.66 million in 2007)
e.. Dividend paid - €5.1 million (€4.2 million in 2007)
f.. Capital investment of €26.6 million
g.. Pension fund assets - €188m
January – June 2009
a.. Throughput - 12.9 million tonnes down 15.7%
b.. Turnover - €30.7 million down 13% (€35.3 million in H1 2008)
c.. Operating profit - €12.1 million down 4.5% (€12.6 million in H1 2008)
d.. Trade cars - 15,504 down 78.1%
e.. Capital Investment - €5.9 million
f.. Dividend paid €5.3 million (3.9% increase on previous year)
a.. Tourist cars - 144,853, up 19.7%
b.. Tourist passengers – 634,082 up 7.6%
c.. Cruise liner visits 83 planned for 2009
Despite a more challenging economic environment, trade at Europe’s seventh largest RoRo port, Dublin Port, was less than 5% off its historic throughput high of 30 million tonnes in 2007 and the out turn was in line with guidance given at the half year trading update last year. A key factor in lower trade volumes was a reduction in the unitised trade sectors Roll-on-Roll-off and
Lift-on-Lift-off (RoRo and LoLo) which accounts for 80% of throughput. In 2008, RoRo and LoLo throughput fell by 4% and 9% respectively. Dublin Port continues to be Ireland’s port of choice and has grown market share again driven by its low cost model, choice of eight competing terminals and the benefits of its location at the heart of Ireland’s largest market.
Operating profit increased by 25% in 2007 to €26.7 million despite turnover remaining broadly in line with the previous year. The company continued its rigorous focus on reducing its cost base to ensure that is plays its role in helping to drive national competitiveness. This focus has ensured that vessel and goods dues to the unitised sector (80% of trade) remain 10% lower in nominal terms than twenty years ago. 2008 also saw the seventh consecutive year of payroll reduction with a 5.4% decrease which makes the wage bill 35% lower than it was in 2001. While there was a 1.4% increase in overall operating expenses to €42.5 million. When the 10% increase in City
Rates and bi-annual dredging is excluded, non-pay costs were, in fact, 3% lower.
On the tourism side of the business, ferry passengers declined during the year, however even with the decline passenger numbers are still ahead of 2005 and 2006 levels. The cruise sector continued to grow with 83 cruises visiting in Dublin Port 2008.
As part of its ongoing commitment to ensure Dublin Port increases efficiencies at the port, the company invested €26.6m in infrastructural improvements including the construction of Ireland’s largest service station, which provides refuelling and associated facilities for port customers. The company remains committed to a capital investment programme with half a billion euro earmarked over the next ten years including our Dublin Gateway proposal to provide additional capacity for larger vessels.
This proposal is currently in a planning process with An Bord Pleanala. The company’s pension fund continues to meet the minimum funding standard, following significant investment in the fund since 1997 and the implementation of an appropriate funding strategy, matching assets to the liability profile of a very mature fund.
The first half of this year has seen a 15.7% fall in trade levels on the same period last year with a fall of 13% in turnover. The focus on efficiency continues with the 8th consecutive reduction in the company’s payroll and this together with other cost management measures has ensured that operating profit was less than 5% lower than the same period last year.
However, notwithstanding the downturn Dublin Port is still handling four times the level of trade as it did fifteen years ago. We continued to invest in the port’s infrastructure with the first phase this year’s €20 million capital spend and the company also paid an interim dividend of €5.3 million to its shareholder last month.
The first half of 2009 saw an increase in ferry passenger numbers of 7.6%. This is a welcome boost for the economy as ferry passengers tend to stay longer, spend more and travel further into the country than airline passengers. Our commitment to the cruise sector has again delivered great results in securing Dublin’s first of three "turnaround" cruises this year.
A turnaround cruise is one where a cruise starts in Dublin and generates even greater revenue for the city as passengers finishing on the cruise are likely to stay in Dublin longer than a port of call. Also, those joining the cruise in Dublin will stay in the city and spend in the local shops before embarking on their cruise.
Commenting at the launch of the 2008 Annual Report and 2009 H1 trading update, Mr. Enda Connellan, Chief Executive of Dublin Port Company, said: "I am pleased to report an exceptionally strong performance during the year which provided many challenges, not only for us, but the economy as a whole.
Dublin Port Company’s operating profit grew by 25% on a similar turnover as the previous year. Our dividend to our shareholder increased by 22% and we were in a position to invest almost €27 million in port infrastructure.
Dublin Port Company has done a huge amount of work to help contribute to national competitiveness by introducing competition within the port and addressing our own cost base. Our pension funding position remains strong and continues to exceed the minimum funding standard prescribed by the 1990 Pensions Act. Even with trade volumes falling in 2009 with a resultant fall in revenue, Dublin Port Company remains profitable and will continue to pay a dividend to its shareholder.
As a company it is well placed to see through the current economic challenges and provide the necessary investment that will help drive the real trading economy when growth returns." [DUBLIN PORT COMPANY]
JULIA - it appears that the Finnish courts will decide on the sale of the ship to Fastnet Line in August / September.
ISLE OF MAN GOVERNMENT - DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
There appears to have been some delay in the release of the Douglas Harbour Traffic figures over the past few months. The April, May and June figures were finally published this week:
| ||April||Year to Date|
|Liverpool||Plus 15.6%||22.085||25,526 |
Director of Harbours, Captain Michael Brew comments:
“As expected the Easter factor has resulted in a large increase in passenger traffic during April and more than compensating for the corresponding fall in traffic in March. The year to date figures shows the expected underlying trend with a small increase in passenger traffic with vehicle traffic on a par with last year. Despite the current economic climate the outlook for the year is still fairly positive particularly with the imminent introduction of the new large fast craft Manannan on to the Liverpool route. This vessel will provide both increased passenger capacity and comfort and a large increase in vehicle capacity”
| ||May||Year to Date|
Director of Harbours, Captain Michael Brew comments:
“May 2009 passenger figures are impacted by the dates for the TT races which fell in June this year. Excluding the impact of TT traffic the underlying trend remains positive. Future months should see the benefits of the introduction of the larger fast craft Manannan which offers increased capacity and passenger comfort.”
| ||June||Year to Date|
Director of Harbours, Captain Michael Brew comments:
“June 2009 figures take into account the later TT period. The year to date figure is the best indicator of the overall market and it is pleasing to see some growth given the current economic climate. The introduction of Manannan offering increased capacity speed and comfort seems to have contributed to the level of growth seen on the Liverpool route.”
ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY
BEN-MY-CHREE on July 31 the ship completed her 15,000th Irish Sea sailing with completion of her 08:45 departure from Douglas
Built by Van der Giessen de Noord in Rotterdam, at a cost of £24 million, the BEN-MY-CHREE first sailed into Manx waters on Tynwald Day 1998. Since then she has covered more than 875,000 miles and has an impressive reliability record of over 99%.
The vessel has carried more than 2.5 million passengers and 4.5 million metres of freight since she entered service and has completed more trips than many of the former Isle of Man Steam Packet Company vessels, which were twice as old as the BEN-MY-CHREE is now.
Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: "The BEN-MY-CHREE has been the most intensively used vessel in our history and during this time her record of reliability has been outstanding. She has been a fantastic servant to both the travelling public and the Company and I am delighted to see her complete this impressive number of sailings across the Irish Sea. She is without question one of the most reliable ships ever used by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company in its 179-year history and we look forward to many more years of service from her."
The BEN-MY-CHREE is the sixth ship in the Company's history to bear the name.
SNAEFELL - operated her Douglas > Belfast > Peel > Belfast > Douglas excursion sailings on Saturday September 25. She is seen at Peel in a photograph by Tom Mc Pherson.
MANANNAN completed her second "Round The Island" cruise on Wednesday July 29, 2009. She took the more unusual "north about" route. The majority of RTI cruises experienced by your web master have gone "south about". The well organised trip was only spoilt by the weather which decided to spoil part of the cruise when the heavens opened as she ran down the west coast. Though fortunately the rain cleared again as the ship returned to the east coast. Arrival back at Douglas was at 21:30.
VIKING departed Falmouth for the Azores following repairs to a hole in her bow just before 15:00 on Thursday July 30. The fast craft had put back to Falmouth on Friday July 24 after sustaining damage. She had departed from Liverpool on July 23.
LIVERPOOL CRUISE TERMINAL
The Conservative Party shadow home secretary is reported by the Merseyside press to have called on the Department for Transport to relax rules preventing cruise liners from starting and finishing their journeys at the Pier Head.
The DfT has to give its approval before a "turnaround" facility can be provided at the £20m Cruise Liner Terminal because of a £9m grant from the European Union that helped fund it.
Mr Grayling, who also acts as shadow minister for Merseyside, said it was logical and reasonable that ships could start and finish their journeys at the Pier Head.
"I am happy to lend my support to lobby the Department for Transport and talk to my colleague Theresa Villiers [Shadow Transport Secretary].
"When you look at the location of the terminal and Liverpool’s heritage, it seems to be entirely logical and reasonable." The DfT’s initial response could be known as early as September.
But Mr Grayling’s intervention raises the prospect that, even if officials at the DfT turn down the council’s current bid, an incoming Tory Government could reverse that decision.
[LIVERPOOL DAILY POST]
MARITIME & COASTGUARD AGENCY
SEVEN FOREIGN SHIPS DETAINED IN THE UK DURING JUNE
The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) announced on July 23 that seven foreign flagged ships have been detained in UK ports during June 2009 after failing Port State Control (PSC) inspection.
During June there were five new detentions of foreign flagged vessels and two continued to be detained. The overall rate of detentions, compared with inspections carried out over the last twelve months, was 3.8%. This is slightly up on May's twelve month rate.
During the month of June, 183 Port State Control inspections were carried out in the UK. No deficiencies were found on 59 vessels, 87 had between one and five deficiencies, 33 had between six and 10 deficiencies, four had between eleven and twenty deficiencies and no vessels were inspected that had more than twenty deficiencies.
Of the vessels detained, three were registered with flag states listed on the Paris MOU white list and four were registered with flag states on the black list.
SHIPS DETAINED IN JUNE 2009
Date & Place of detention: 02/06/2009 - Falmouth
Vessel Name: Yeya 1 (General Cargo)
IMO No: 8700022
Company: Yeya Shipping Ltd
Classification Society: Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RMRS)
Recognised Organisation: Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RMRS
Recognised Organisation for ISM: Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RMRS
Summary: 7 deficiencies 1 ground for detention
The vessel was detained in Falmouth because the rescue boat launching procedure was found to be extremely dangerous as the rescue boat davit winch and associated parts were broken, and the hydraulics faulty.
Other deficiencies identified included; distress flares were stored in a locker which had no key available and quick releases needed to be fitted to liferaft lashings. In addition the oil filtering equipment needed to be proved operationally and dirty oil / water was being retained on board instead of being put ashore; one lifejacket had an expired light and the master was advised to check all the other jackets.
This vessel which had been previously detained in September 2008 was still detained at 30 June 2009.
Date & Place of detention: 04/06/2009 - Cardiff
Vessel Name: THEODOROS P (Bulk Carrier)
IMO No: 7918256
Company: General Maritime Enterprises Corp.
Classification Society: Lloyds Register (LR)
Recognised Organisation: Lloyds Register (LR)
Recognised Organisation for ISM: Lloyds Register (LR)
Summary: 11 deficiencies 2 grounds for detention
The vessel was detained in Cardiff for six days because the crew could not carry out satisfactory fire and boat drills, these showed a lack of training and emergency preparedness A major non conformity was identified in respect of the emergency preparedness and maintenance of the ship and equipment which was not according to the safety Management System (SMS.) In addition the lifeboat davit annual servicing was overdue and the oily water separator second stage filter gasket was broken and the water level in the auxiliary boiler gauge glass could not be seen.
This vessel was released from detention on 09/06/2009.
Date & Place of detention: 15/06/2009 - Aberdeen
Vessel Name: ARIES WARRIOR (Cargo)
IMO No: 9434503
Company: Aries Offshore Management AS
Classification Society: Det Norske Veritas (DNVC)
Recognised Organisation: Det Norske Veritas (DNVC)
Recognised Organisation for ISM: Det Norske Veritas (DNVC)
Summary: 5 deficiencies 1 ground for detention
The vessel was detained in Aberdeen for two days because stability information was not available on board and there was no evidence of stability calculations being conducted. Other deficiencies included no visible or audible alarm on operation of the watertight doors, the high voltage HF antenna feeder cable was exposed to touch and there were no electrical insulation mats adjacent to the emergency batteries and switchboards. In addition the starboard boarding ladders were found to have loose chocks, affecting the stability of the steps.
This vessel was released from detention on 16/06/2009.
Date & Place of detention: 18/06/2009 - Tilbury
Vessel Name: PIONEER STAR (Bulk Carrier)
IMO No: 9303601
Company: Dojima Marine
Classification Society: Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (NKK)
Recognised Organisation: Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (NKK)
Recognised Organisation for ISM: Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (NKK)
Summary: 18 deficiencies 3 grounds for detention
The vessel was detained in Tilbury for 6 days because navigational charts were missing or had expired and the passage plan was not as required. In addition the training manual was not ship specific and there was a lack of familiarity with the bridge operation; the records of rest had incorrect entries and a lifebuoy was missing and the reflective tape on the port and starboard lifeboats had degraded.
The vessel was released from detention on 23/06/2009.
Date & Place of detention: 19/06/2009 - Teeside
Vessel Name: LADY MARGAUX (Gas Carrier)
IMO No: 9235270
Company: Bernard Schulte Ship Management (Singapore)
Classification Society: Germanischer Lloyd (GL)
Recognised Organisation: Germanischer Lloyd (GL)
Recognised Organisation for ISM: Lloyds Register of Shipping (LR)
Summary: 3 deficiencies 1 ground for detention
The vessel was detained in Teesside for two days because the emergency generator (second means of starting) was not working. Other deficiencies identified were significant quantities of grease and oil stored in way of the emergency generator; in addition the second officers Certificate of Equivalent Competency (CEC) was only a photo copy.
This vessel was released from detention on 20/06/2009.
DETENTIONS CARRIED OVER FROM PREVIOUS MONTHS
Date & Place of detention: 20/09/2007 - Lowestoft
Vessel Name: ST PIRAN (Other Cargo)
IMO No: 5085407
Flag: Sierra Leone
Company: Charter Shipping Inc
Classification Society: Phoenix Register of Shipping (PRS)
Summary: 18 deficiencies 6 grounds for detention.
The vessel was detained with a significant amount of oil leaking from the silencer drain soaking the exhaust manifold lagging of the main engine, causing an imminent fire hazard. There was no effective fire pump available due to the breakdown of the main engine, and the alternative submersible electric pump was not effective. Also the Aldis signalling lamp was out of order, the VHF radio installation had an incorrect MMSI number and the radio battery charger arrangement and power distribution were incorrect. Other deficiencies included: some inoperative navigation lights as well as improperly maintained emergency batteries and portable fire extinguishers.
The vessel was still detained at 30/06/2009.
Date & Place of Detention: 02/03/2009 (Hull)
Vessel Name: ASPET (General Cargo)
IMO No: 8881682
Company: BAF Shipping & Trading Ltd
Classification Society: Inclamar
Recognised Organisation: Inclamar
Recognised Organisation for ISM: Inclamar
Summary: 57 deficiencies 8 grounds for detention
This vessel was detained in Hull for 177 days because the vessel sailed through sea area A3 when it was only equipped for areas A1 and A2, in addition the oily water separator was defective and the number and nature of the deficiencies indicated that the company safety management system (SMS) was not functioning on board. Other deficiencies identified included; the load lines and ships name were not clearly painted; the port hole starboard side aft glass was cracked and securing dogs seized; the engine room fire door was seized and the wheelhouse top vent cover was corroded and the there was a hole in the funnel door.
The vessel was released from detention on 26/06/2009.
The recent announcement of the £400m development of Port Salford on the Manchester Ship Canal in Greater Manchester appears to have resulted in plans for a £100m post-Panamax on-river Mersey container terminal at the company's Port of Liverpool to be put on hold due to the recession. However, the company claims that the Liverpool Terminal will eventually go ahead at some stage in the future as survey work has already been undertaken.
It was reported this week that plans to replace the Port of Liverpool Radar Tower with a public viewing platform known as the Mersey Observatory is now unlikely to go ahead.
The credit crucnh and end of Mersey Basin campaign has been blamed. Though it has been stated that it might be possible for a third party organisation to take over the project.
PORT OF PENZANCE
Penzance could lose out to Falmouth for the proposed Isles of Scilly Sea Link under proposals discussed by the islands' Transport Strategy committee this week.
The committee was told by council chair Julia Day that the port of Falmouth was now being seriously considered as the Route's mainland end. The news followed a fact-finding mission by the Isles of Scilly Council to Falmouth last Friday "to see what was there".
The Route Partnership withdrew its £23 million plans to build a passenger and freight terminal on Battery Rocks beach in June after pressure from the Friends of Penzance Harbour. On Tuesday, island councillors were told the scheme was "potentially in jeopardy of failure" unless a replacement planning application was submitted by September this year. It is understood the deadline for the Department for Transport's funding could expire at this point.
"Penzance remains, very firmly, our main and preferred option," Cllr Day told the meeting. "But there has been a considerable degree of opposition. We have to have a credible alternative. We have to have the insurance of somewhere else to go. That is why we are looking at Falmouth."
But the Friends, who opposed the plans for the development on Battery Rocks, have branded the proposed move as 'propaganda'.
Chairman John Maggs remains confident the move will never happen due to increasing fuel costs and journey times.
"The cost of fuel and time of travel will make it impossible. Before the economic downturn the cost of oil hit $100 a barrel and it will go back to that level again. They are doing this to put pressure on the people of Penzance. There's no way they would unnecessarily lengthen the sea journey."
Penzance Chamber of Commerce wrote to all Penzance Town councillors this week asking them to support the original application, saying any move away would "kill" Penzance. According to Mike Waters, up to 600 people would lose their jobs.
He said: "We are already losing the heliport, and if that happens the chances are that the main railway line will also go to Falmouth and that would be a disaster."
Managing director of Falmouth Docks Peter Child has confirmed that he had received inquiries from the Isles of Scilly about the opportunity to run a service from Falmouth and was in initial talks at the moment. He added: "We could take a ferry within our existing facilities." Cornwall Council portfolio holder for Highways, Transportation and Planning Graeme Hicks confirmed that Falmouth was a "credible alternative". But he said the partnership was still "very much concentrating" on Penzance as a preferred location as a base to maintain the link to the Isles of Scilly. He added: "We recognise that there is some public concern which could jeopardise the scheme and with a project of this scale and importance to Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly it's obviously necessary to have an insurance policy.
"Falmouth is a working freight port and is clearly a credible alternative with some exciting business opportunities."
QUEEN ELIZABETH 2
Question marks about the suitability of bringing the passenger liner QUEEN ELIZABETH 2 to Cape Town as a floating hotel have begun surfacing as reaction sets in from other interests in the Mother City.
One of the first adverse responses came from Cape Town Tourism, the city’s official tourism authority which raised doubts on the venture saying that Cape Town already has sufficient accommodation for the period of the 2010 Soccer World Cup next year and that any new venture needs to be responsible and sustainable and fair to all the market players – presumably meaning the other hotels and B&B providers.
The tourism organisation says further study on the impact of the ship’s arrival and stopover for 18 months is required. Warning that it might not be in the best interests of the city, Cape Town Tourism says it nevertheless remains open to engagement with those responsible for bringing QE2 to Cape Town. The company contracted by FIFA to assist with the provision of accommodation requirements, Match Events Services says it has a policy that cruise ships will not be used as an accommodation solution for South Africa during the World Cup.
This was after Sepp Blatter, FIFA president said on German television that cruise ships capable of accommodating 2,000 people each could be used as temporary hotel accommodation in South Africa.
So far only one operator of cruise ships to South Africa for the Soccer World Cup has been announced – One Ocean Club which has chartered two Holland America cruise ships, the WESTERDAM and NOORDAM which will operate between Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town from 11 June onwards with 2 to 5 day packages for soccer fans.
Part of Cape Town’s repair quay has been earmarked for use by these ships but in Durban initial approaches were made by Transnet to the Fresh Produce Terminal for the use of the T-Jetty, only for it to be pointed out that June and July is peak season for citrus exports, with the available berths usually heavily booked by reefer ships. It is now thought likely that the cruise ships will instead make use of either the Car Terminal berths on the opposite side of the T-Jetty (M berth) or the Point berths A and B which were originally earmarked for development as a cruise ship terminal area. Transnet has yet to make a decision on allowing the transfer of QE2 to Cape Town later this year. [MARITIME CLIPPINGS]
|Acknowledgements: Ian Collard, Geoff Hamer, Tony Brennan and Gary Andrews and "others"|
ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY
VIKING departed from Liverpool on the afternoon of Thursday July 23 bound for the Azores with an expected ETA late on Saturday July 25.
However, VIKING was revealed by AIS to be heading for Falmouth on the afternoon of Friday July 24 from a south westerly direction at reduced speed which indicated she had turned back towards the UK.
A report in the Portugese newspaper Jornaldiaro indicates VIKING was holed in the bow and repairs at Falmouth would take five days. However, Falmouth port movements list suggests at the time of writing she will depart 23:59 Monday July 27.
MANANNAN is scheduled to operate her second "Round the Island" cruise on Wednesday July 29, departing from Douglas at 19:00.
SNAEFELL operated her Douglas > Belfast > Peel > Belfast > Douglas excursion on Saturday July 25.
LAGAN BOAT COMPANY
Special trips are being advertised for the Tall Ships event on 13-16 August. A cruise to view the Parade of Sail on 16 August in the MONA (ex CORNISH BELLE) is £50. www.laganboatcompany.com/documents/Tall_ships_09.doc
There are also cruises for the Blues Festival on 28-30 August. The fare of £25 includes music, a buffet and "complimentary Guinness".
P&O IRISH SEA
EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY was reported experiencing technical difficulties on Sunday July 26.
MERSEY MARINER - the last Mersey Docks and Harbour Company hopper dredger has been renamed MERSEY M following her sale to Bandeirantes Dragagem LTDA of Brazil.
She has also been reflagged to St. Vincent and Grenadines.
TRIP OUT GUIDE - 2009/10
The latest edition of Geoff Hamer's excellent guide to the passenger vessel services in the British Isles is now available.
This volume includes all the smaller operators of pleasure excursion vessels and ferries that the other publications manage to over look. However, all the larger vessels are included as well including operator details. An invaluable reference tool for those interested in the passenger scene.
For More Details [Click Here]
|Acknowledgements: Jenny Williamson, Gary Andrews and "others"|
DÚN LAOGHAIRE HARBOUR COMPANY
The following has appeared on the Socialist Workers Party web site. Readers should be aware that it may contain a political bias but it nevertheless makes interesting in the context of the future of Carlisle Pier, Dún Laoghaire.
The passenger facilities at the pier have lain unused for over a decade since the introduction of the Stena HSS service which uses St. Michael's Pier.
There have been various proposals for redevelopment of the Carlisle Pier which have, to date, failed to materialise.
The People Before Profit Alliance have condemned plans to pull down Carlisle Pier behind the back of the public and talks between Harbour Company and Stena over possible sale of harbour
In a statement Cllr Richard Boyd Barrett of the People Before Profit Alliance (PBPA) condemned plans by Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company to demolish the buildings on the historic Carlisle Pier starting on September 1st, without any public consultation.
Documents seen by Cllr Boyd Barrett showed that the state owned Harbour Co has detailed plans for the demolition of the buildings on the pier, which are known to be packed full of dangerous Asbestos.
Cllr Boyd Barrett understands that preparatory work for the demolition has already begun with fittings and other items now being stripped out of the interior of the Pier buildings.
The documents seen by Cllr Boyd Barrett also showed that the Harbour Co was currently involved in discussions with the Stena shipping line, where the sale or handover of the whole harbour to the Ferry Company was one of a number of options being discussed for the harbour’s future.
This comes at the same time that Harbour management have told staff that they are seeking redundancies for up to half of the workforce.
The revelation about plans for the pier come on top of a long running battle between local residents and the Harbour Company over attempts by the company to privatise the Carlisle Pier – most recently with plans to build a ten-storey apartment block on the site, a plan which has since been shelved.
Cllr Boyd Barrett called for any plans to pull down the Carlisle Pier buildings to be abandoned until there was a proper public consultation on its future.
He said also said that any agenda to privatise all or part of the harbour was utterly unacceptable and that the harbour was the property of the public and should be developed only in the public interest.
The Save Our Seafront group, which is chaired by Cllr Boyd Barrett, has long campaigned for the redevelopment of the Carlisle Pier as a location for public, maritime and heritage amenities.
Richard Boyd Barrett said:
“These revelations represent an enormous scandal. It’s a disgrace that a state-owned company, which includes a number of County Councillors on its board, and which is under the Department of transport, is involved in a plan to demolish the Carlisle Pier, without any advance notification or consultation with the public. It is clearly no coincidence that moves to demolish the pier have commenced during the holiday period when the Harbour Co knows it will be harder for concerned members of the public to mount opposition.
It is made even more serious given that the Carlisle Pier is packed full of dangerous asbestos that represents a very serious health hazard to any workers involved in the demolition and to members of the public in the vicinity.
If the Council were made aware of these plans and have chosen to do nothing or even quietly give the go ahead, it would be an absolute outrage. It seems difficult to believe that the Harbour Co would try and do something of this magnitude, unless they had prior knowledge that Council managers were not opposed. I will certainly be doing everything to get to the truth of that matter.
It also simply outrageous that the Harbour Co should be involved in any discussions whatsoever about the sale or handover of the harbour to a private shipping company or, as we have also heard rumoured, planning to sell the Carlisle Pier to one of the private yacht clubs as a car-park.
All these revelations come as the Harbour Co has recently indicated to harbour staff that they intend to renege on agreements made with workers at the time the Harbour was transferred from the direct control of the Office of Public Works to it’s current semi-state status. Back in 1996, at the time of the transfer, workers were promised all jobs would be safe but recently the company informed workers that they were looking for in the region of a 50% cut in the workforce
The fact that the former CEO of the Harbour Company, Michael Hanahoe, recently resigned and was replaced by Gerry Dunne further suggests new concerted agenda to carve up a public asset to benefit private commercial interests.
In one way, none of this will come as much of surprise to local people. Locals, traditional harbour users and harbour workers have said for years that there was an agenda of creeping privatisation at work within the Harbour Co, supported by the government and the Council. We now seem to have clear evidence that this is the case, and that the powers that be care nothing at all about public opinion or the fate of harbour workers and users.
Dun Laoghaire Harbour is this county’s most important public amenity; it is the jewel in the crown of our local and maritime heritage, with enormous national historic significance. The Carlisle Pier, as the site that was the exit point for vast numbers of the Irish Diaspora, is a hugely important historic site.
It is totally unacceptable that profit driven interests should seek to interfere with the public’s harbour or any part of it without public agreement or even worse try to privatise it. The public should express their outrage at this disgraceful conniving behind their backs and demand that the harbour remains fully in public ownership and is developed only in the public interest.
The Harbour Co should now be disbanded completely and the harbour should revert back from its current semi-state status to full public ownership. The Harbour made over €10 million surplus last year and is capable of generating further revenue if it’s developed sensitively and sensibly as a working harbour and public amenity. This potential should benefit the public not be handed over to private interests. Direct public ownership could also save on the €140,000 per year salaries received by a number of executives on the board and the €12,000 per year each received by other board members.
ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY
The Liverpool Echo reported on the financial difficulties faced by the company which needs to refinancing debt that falls due next year. There has been recent speculation that services in 2010 may be cut and the ageing SNAEFELL withdrawn.
A probe into the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company’s finances has revealed a £212m debt which must be paid next year.
The Liverpool to Isle of Man ferry operator took on the debt when it was taken over in 2005 by Australian bank Macquarie.
Since then substantial profits have gone to paying the interest on the loan and agreements in various parts of the complicated group structure.
But the capital amount of the loan must be repaid in October 2010.
The company last year made £14.8m profits on a £55m turnover but had to service the main debt, pay £3.2m in management charges to the group holding company and £7.2m to shareholders.
The Isle of Man parliament was investigating whether excessive profits were being made and whether fares and freight rates were too high.
Investigating committee chairman Steven Roden said: “Whether the substantial financial demands on the group, and its ability to meet them, could affect service levels in the future remains an open question.”
The firm declined to comment on its plans to refinance the debt.
But chief executive Mark Woodward said: “We have fully co-operated with the select committee and have provided detailed information to them about our accounts.
“This has made it clear that the company is in no position to be able to reduce its freight charges without prejudicing either the range of passenger services or the ‘very competitive’ passenger fares enjoyed by residents and visitors.” [LIVERPOOL ECHO]
QUEEN ELIZABETH 2
The world's most celebrated passenger liner, the QUEEN ELIZABETH 2, is expected in Cape Town, its new home for 18 months as a floating hotel for the 2010 World Cup.
After weeks of speculation, the vessel's Dubai-based owners said that, after extensive negotiations with South Africa's national Tourism Department, it is confident that the QE2 will steam into Table Bay and berth in Cape Town harbour in the next two months, and will remain here until at least December 2010.
The vessel was built in Clydebank, Scotland, and was launched and named on September 20, 1967, by Queen Elizabeth II, using the same pair of gold scissors her mother and grandmother had used to launch the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary, respectively. By the time the ship was retired in November, after 40 years of service for Cunard, the QE2 had sailed more than six million nautical miles, carried 2.5 million passengers and completed 806 trans-Atlantic crossings.
The vessel's last voyage was from Southhampton, England, on November 11 to Dubai, the home of its new owners. Nakheel Hotels, part of Dubai World, bought the vessel in 2007 for $100-million (R790-million). The state-owned tourism conglomerate planned to gut the vessel and transform it into a seven-star hotel and attraction at its manmade Palm Jumeirah island.
But the refurbishment has not yet begun, reportedly because of the global recession, prompting investigation into other possible uses. Manfred Ursprunger, chief executive officer of QE2 Enterprises, said from Dubai: "Nakheel is delighted to receive the support of the South African Ministry for Environment and Tourism for hosting QE2 in Cape Town, South Africa.
In response to QE2 fans the world over, it has been our intention for some time to provide a short-term opportunity to enjoy QE2 as a stationary hotel in her current condition before refurbishment begins. "After months of feasibility studies, it is clear that Cape Town, with its ready-made berthing facilities, provides the best opportunity for us to open QE2 to visitors as quickly as possible. In addition, the forthcoming 2010 Football World Cup makes a sensible business case for moving her there."
It is not known precisely where the 70 327 ton, 294m-long vessel will be berthed. Part of the reason for its journey to Cape Town is Dubai World's ownership of the V&A Waterfront, but its size will require it to be berthed in Cape Town's main harbour area. Ronel Bester, the national Tour-ism Department's spokeswoman, said Marthinus van Schalkwyk's ministry had given the plan its blessing.
"The Department of Tourism has decided, based on the inputs it received and from a tourism point of view, not to oppose the application for the berthing of the QE2 in Cape Town. "We are aware that the Transnet Board and the National Ports Authority will make a final determination regarding the viability of the berthing of the QE2.
"In the light of (this), we believe the Transnet Board and the National Ports Authority should take a decision based on their respective legal requirements and practical considerations, as well as those of other relevant departments and agencies," Bester said. A ports authority spokesman said a decision had not yet been taken. [MARITIME CLIPPINGS / IOL.co.za]
RATHLIN ISLAND FERRY COMPANY
RATHLIN EXPRESS - the new passenger ferry made made her debut at Rathlin Island on Monday. The passenger catamaran constructed by Arklow Marine Services for the Rathlin Island Ferry Company has an overalllength of 17.72m, a beam of 6.5m carries 98 passengers and with Scania 16L main engines will attain a service speed of 17 knots.
The proprietor, Ciarán O'Driscoll won the ferry contract for the service from Ballycastle to Rathlin Island, ironically as he comes from Cape Clear Island - Ireland's most southerly island - given that Rathlin is the most northerly one.
"The introduction of a new fast passenger service between Rathlin and Ballycastle will enhance the tourism product in both centres," said Mr O'Driscoll.
The operator will be Rathlin Island Ferry Limited as part of the O'Driscoll company which already runs two ferry services to the West Cork Islands of Whiddy Island and Cape Clear Island.
Mr O'Driscoll continued: "Having been born and bred on an island I am very aware of the challenges that islanders face.
"Access is the most important aspect as this is our lifeline for everything. Improved ferry services will improve the life standard of the islanders all year round."
"Employment is another critical consideration for island dwellers and I do not envisage any staff reductions; indeed I would foresee a need for additional recruitment as the business develops," he said. The catamaran will make the crossing between Ballycastle and Rathlin in approximately 20 minutes."
|Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews and "others"|
A&P GROUP / THE BAILEY GROUP
The Bailey Group, based in Cardiff, took control of one of the UK’s leading ship repair and marine services businesses – the A&P Group this week – for an undisclosed sum.
Property developer and entrepreneur Paul Bailey, who took a 50 per cent stake in the Group in September 2006, has purchased the remaining 50 per cent shareholding held by a number of A&P directors and senior managers.
The deal was concluded at the end of last week after six weeks of detailed negotiation. Mr Bailey said the new structure would further strengthen the Group, which had returned good profits over the previous three years, with new investment and dynamic management. "Now that we have secured clear management control we can set about developing the future of a very successful company.
Thanks are due to the Group’s former CEO and its finance director – David Ring and Ken Thompson – who will both be retained as consultants to the Group," he said. A&P was founded in 1971 and has become a major force in ship repair, conversion and marine services. Its clients come from over 70 countries and include government departments and commercial shipping lines.
The company employs 600 staff at four locations across the UK - Hebburn on Tyneside; Middlesbrough in Teesside; Chatham in Kent and Falmouth in Cornwall. The former MD of the Tyneside operation, David Skentelbery, has been appointed group managing director and a new finance director, Ian Carey, joins from the construction industry. Stewart Boak, former commercial director, will take over as MD on the Tyne.
Said David Skentelbery: "The task before us now is to ensure we continue to deliver a top quality service to our customers. "This is an exciting phase in the company’s history. The Group can now look forward to a secure future. It will be my intention to ensure the change in ownership has little effect on our day-to-day operations – without doubt it is business as usual.
DANIEL ADAMSON - PUBLIC OPEN DAY
This September, for the first time, the Daniel Adamson Preservation Society will be opening the steam tug-tender DANIEL ADAMSON to the general public. This will enable the society's efforts to restore the vessel to passenger carrying condition to be inspected by non members. DANIEL ADAMSON built at Tranmere in 1903 has been undergoing restoration work since 2004.
The open day is being held on Saturday September 12, 2009 between 10:30 and 15:00 as part of the 2009 English Heritage "Heritage Open Days" programme being hosted at various venues around the country.
The FREE PUBLIC PLACES are offered on a STRICTLY LIMITED basis on a date which coincides with a Members' Open Day and offers the public opportunity to visit the vessels whilst it is still a "work in progress".
Photographs and information about the vessel will be on display, and artefacts recovered from the tug will be displayed in our own mini "Black Museum" organised by our Archivist. Guided tours will be on offer and Tea, Coffee and light refreshments will be on sale as well as merchandise from the DAPS souvenir shop. There will also be an opportunity for members of the public to join our existing membership which now exceeds 350 world wide.
Cammell Laird Shiprepairers and Shipbuilders Ltd are kindly sponsoring the appearance of the "Adamson Military Band" from Dukinfield, Manchester to provide music for the day's events. This is a voluntary brass band which was established in 1888 and named in honour of Daniel Adamson who had taken such a keen interest in the welfare of the band. The band will be performing twice during the day at 11:30 and 13:30.
If you would like to visit the Daniel Adamson on Saturday September 12 please con contact the visitor co-ordinator, Colin Brogan preferably at: firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively on: 07746199844.
Places are strictly limited and will be on a first come - first served basis.
No Children under eight years of age will be permitted. Children aged 8 to 16 are welcome but they must be accompanied by an adult.
Tickets will not be issued but those who wish to attend will receive confirmation from the Society and their names recorded. The vessel is berthed at Sandon Dock, Liverpool with access via the Wellington Dock Gate which will be manned and clearly signposted on the day. Full access details will be forwarded to successful applicants.
For further information about the Steam Tug-Tender DANIEL ADAMSON and the Daniel Adamson Preservation Society visit www.danieladamson.co.uk
West Cork Tourism is seeking to appoint a chief executive to run the Fastnet Line which will relaunch the Swansea-Cork ferry route next March.
The successful applicant will asked to develop the company's operations during the next seven months and raise an additional €1.5 million for working capital.
A co-operative, formed by West Cork Tourism, has already raised €3m towards the purchase of the MV JULIA, a 1,800-berth vessel capable of carrying 400 cars.
The cooperative has struck a deal with a Finnish bank for a loan to purchase the vessel which previously plied the Baltic Sea.
The agreement has to be ratified by a Finnish court, but the co-operative hopes to have its hands on the vessel before the end of the summer.
"We hope to have a chief executive in place in August and hope to get the ship by the end of August or the start of September," West Cork Tourism chairman Conor Buckley said.
He said he was hopeful the Fastnet Line would be officially launched in October and that a major marketing campaign would then get under way.
The tourist industry in the south-west region is estimated to have lost up to €150m since Swansea-Cork Ferries closed the route in 2006.
It had been a financially viable service, but the company ceased operations when it sold on the MV SUPERFERRY and was unable to purchase a replacement ship.
As a result the crew of 120 lost their jobs, along with 45 shore staff in Ireland and a further 30 in Swansea.
Mr Buckley said the new ferry would have to be fitted out to comply with Irish regulations and it would be later in the year before the Fastnet Line sought a crew for it.
It had been hoped to restart the service last year but it took so long to reach an agreement with the Finnish bank that time slipped away.
Mr Buckley said it was decided it would be wasteful to start operations out of season and instead it was felt it would be better to hold off until next March.
He said that decision would benefit shareholders and tourists' interests in the long term.
The Port of Cork and British Associated Ports, which runs the Port of Swansea, have promised incentives to the operators to restart the service.
Meanwhile, Cork County Council and Fáilte Ireland are expected to provide €500,000 for a marketing campaign.
ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY
A news post to the Atlânticoline website provides an update on the status of the VIKING's fuel tank crack. RINA have now inspected the Steam Packet vessel and stated that she requires the application of a reinforcement of 120 cm. Following this being applied her fuel tank will be tested.
The repair process has already begun and should be concluded soon. Following inspections by all relevant authorities a date for her introduction into service will be confirmed.
Mersey Ferries are now offering an annual season ticket for the circular river cruises costing just £39.
With just one round trip costing £6.30 the season ticket, which can be bought via the web site www.merseyferries.co.uk represents excellent value for money and should prove attractive to shipping enthusiasts who wish to photograph movements on the river from the ferries.
The ticket which is valid after 10:00 also admits the holder to Spaceport, U Boat 534 and The Beatles Exhibition at the Seacombe, Birkenhead and Liverpool Terminals respectively.
Family tickets are also available.
On buys the ticket on line and is then sent a letter confirming payment. This letter is to be presented at one of the terminals and the season ticket is issued.
A vast port for cargo ships will be built in Salford.
Port Salford, which could create more than 2,000 jobs, won planning approval after a five-year fight against red tape.
A huge freight terminal will be built on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal at Barton, Eccles. Peel Holdings, which is behind the scheme, wants it to become one of the busiest ports in Britain.
The old Salford docks were closed in 1982 after a decline in heavy industry. The M.E.N revealed the proposal in 2004 but it stalled after concerns from the Highways Agency.
Peel says it will cut congestion by providing an alternative to road haulage.
Modelled on Duisport, in Germany, the company says Port Salford would bring numerous benefits to the region, handling an estimated five per cent of Britain's container movements.
Peel's property director Mike Butterworth said: "We are thrilled that the plans have been approved. Port Salford will bring rail, road and short-sea shipping together in a unique development alongside the Manchester Ship Canal."
The site will be between Barton Bridge and Irlam.
It will be the only inland water-served distribution park in Britain. Port Salford will offer container ship berths and have the capacity to double the number of container trains that serve the two terminals in Trafford Park. The project would be able to receive 16 freight trains every day.
Peel says re-routing Trafford Park trains away from Manchester Piccadilly would remove most freight traffic through the Oxford Road/Piccadilly corridor, allowing for more passenger trains.
Mr Butterworth added: "The scheme is part of Ocean Gateway, Peel's proposed ?50bn investment strategy for the north west region.
"Peel's vision is to establish the gateway as a key source of new jobs, inward investment and sustainable development together with environmental improvement.
"This scheme ticks all the right boxes, in terms of taking freight off the roads, reducing CO2 emissions, creating jobs, using a brownfield site and making a substantial contribution to the improvement of the highway infrastructure. "
Councillor Derek Antrobus, Salford's planning boss, said: "This development will boost the economy by up to ?83m a year and create around 2,000 jobs. It also makes a significant contribution to improving regional transport and frees up capacity at Manchester's Piccadilly Station."
But opponents say it will make their lives a 'living hell'.
Susan Simpson, head of Barton Residents' Association, said: "Already people are struggling to sell their houses and there's going to be a hell of a lot of negative equity. People are going to struggle to get to the road and it's going to take forever to get out of Barton." [MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS]
HSS DISCOVERY - the former HSS STENA DISCOVERY remains in Belfast. It is now suggested that she may depart for her new owners in Venezuela between July 20 and 24.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 2
The Dubai owner of the QUEEN ELIZABETH 2 is weighing plans to open the British cruise ship as a floating hotel elsewhere in the Middle East or Africa rather than in Dubai. In an e-mail on Sunday, ship owner Nakheel said that other ports have expressed interest in hosting the vessel and that it is evaluating those options before going ahead with a planned refurbishment.
The property developer had originally planned to renovate the ship and turn it into a luxury hotel berthed alongside the company's manmade, tree-shaped Palm Jumeirah island off the Dubai coast. It has been moored at Dubai's downtown Port Rashid since its highly publicised arrival in November. "In addition to alternative locations in Dubai, other ports in the Middle East and Africa have also expressed an interest in hosting this impressive maritime icon," the company said.
Nakheel did not name possible ports for the ship or provide a reason for the move. It said it is seeking "to ensure opportunities to experience QE2 in her current condition are maximised while ensuring her important heritage is at all times protected."
South Africa's Business Day newspaper, citing a spokeswoman for the country's tourism department, reported that Nakheel has applied to anchor the ship in Cape Town. The spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment yesterday. Nakheel late last year announced it was cutting 500 jobs, or about 15 per cent of its staff.
A Nakheel spokeswoman declined to say how many employees have been let go. In an e-mail responding to staffing questions, the company said it is readjusting its business plans to better match supply with demand.
"Nakheel recently merged a number of its business units, which are now undergoing resource restructuring to ensure efficiency and optimisation of skill and talent," the company added. Queen Elizabeth II launched the QE2 in 1967. It has made more than 800 trans-Atlantic crossings and carried 2.5 million passengers till retirement in November last year.
In 2007, former owner Carnival Cunard agreed to sell the ship to Nakheel's parent company for £50 million (then worth Dh367 million). GULF NEWS - MARITIME CLIPPINGS]
|Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, John Williams, Ian Collard, Anne Brook, Dave Worth, Trevor Hollingsbee and "others"|
CAMMELL LAIRD SHIPREPAIRERS & SHIPBUILDERS LTD
The Birkenhead shipyard's web site has been redesigned after being off line for a while. www.cammell-laird.com
GREENWAY FERRY COMPANY
WESTERN LADY III - the former west country ferry has been acquired by the Greenway Ferry Company of Devon. The company recently published the following press release announcing the acquisition:
The elegant and graceful lines of one of Brixham's best-loved ferries is returning to the Bay after being discovered impounded and decaying in Poole Harbour.
The WESTERN LADY III one of the Bay's major maritime landmarks for 60 years, has been saved from being auctioned off at the 11th hour by a local ferry company, which plans to spend tens of thousands of pounds restoring the ship to her former glory.
Along with the WESTERN LADY IV, the WESTERN LADY III was withdrawn from service in Tor Bay in 2006 because of increased maintenance costs and changes in landing stage facilities.
A year later it was sold to a company in Bournemouth, Dorset, for continuing use as a passenger ferry.
Locals bid a fond farewell to the historic ship when she left the Bay for what was presumed to be the very last time in July 2007.
But thanks to a twist in the tale worthy of an Agatha Christie novel, the vessel is now in the hands of the Greenway Ferry Company.
The plan is to return her to service in mid-July following a refit in Cornwall, taking passengers from Torquay and Brixham to Dartmouth and Agatha Christie's former home at Greenway.
The WESTERN LADY III, which the company is planning to re-name, will undergo a full refit programme over five years during the winter months in a bid to fully restore her as a heritage ship.
ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY
VIKING - the ship's departure for her Atlantico Line charter has been delayed. Atlantico Line have issued a notice stating that a 30cm fissure was detected in a fuel tank before the vessel departed Liverpool, where she remains. As a consequence she will not enter service on Monday as originally planned.
There appears to be continued concern over the future of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company's Irish Sailings which the company stated recently are under review. An article and online comments can be found at the IOM Today web site [click here].
MAIB - ABIGAIL-H REPORT
The Marine Accident Investigation Branch have published the report on the sinking of the dredger ABIGAIL H at Heysham Harbour in November 2008. Copies can be downloaded from the MAIB web site [click here]
MARINE SPECIALIST TECHNOLOGIES
HPB-1 - The fast boat photographed in the Mersey on June 27 is one of five 10.5 metre, 45 knot, patrol cabin RIBs being built for the Norwegian Coast Guard by Liverpool based Marine Specialised Technologies (MST).
MST has also received an order for no less than 46 RIBs of various types for the Royal Netherlands Navy.
P&O IRISH SEA
EUROPEAN MARINER arrived at Birkenhead for refit on Sunday July 12, 2009.
MARINE TERMINALS LTD
Siptu members working for Marine Terminals Limited (MTL) are to seek an all-out picket from the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (Ictu) at Dublin Port as the protest enters its second week. The trade union, which represents most of the 70 workers at MTL, placed pickets at the company's premises last Friday. It said the dispute was over attempts by the company to impose compulsory redundancies as well as reductions in pay and conditions for members.
The union said that when the company decided to make 19 staff members redundant earlier this year, it used its own selection criteria. Siptu said five workers were made redundant initially, and that on May 15th a further 14 were told by management that they were to be let go.
“On the same day, all other Siptu employees were written to telling them they must sign new contracts agreeing to pay cuts of between 14 and 18 per cent, or be sacked,” it said.
The union said that the company had placed the workforce on a 20-hour week and deployed new workers from Scotland and Northern Ireland to take up the slack. Siptu’s Oliver McDonagh said the union remains available for talks but that since Peel Ports took over the Marine Terminal operations last year it has shown “a consistent unwillingness to treat with the union or accept agreed procedures for dealing with problems.”
“The only reason we are applying for an all-out picket is the absolute refusal of the company to engage with us,” Mr McDonagh added. However, a spokesman for the company disputed Siptu’s claims saying the union “should stick to the facts”. The spokesman said: “We’ve attended six meetings with them to try and reach agreement and recently won a Labour Court hearing which agreed we were within our rights to make 13 people redundant due to the economic downturn.
“It’s unrealistic to expect crane operators to earn up to €75,000 per year in the current economic crisis. We have offered up to €60,000 per annum, which has been rejected by the union, as has an offer of up to €75,000 redundancy," he said. "It’s unfortunate the union have called for an escalation of industrial actions they would be far better taking a more realistic attitude to discussions.”
Siptu accused the company of “grossly exaggerating” the amounts they were offering in redundancy payments to workers. Mr McDonagh said: “Media reports have been citing the company as offering €75,000 in redundancy payments, but not one worker so far being made redundant has been offered that much.
“Of the 13 workers being made compulsorily redundant under the Peel Ports formula, so far two workers are being offered €70,000. . . . The average payment is €37,000.” On Monday the company secured a renewal to the interim exparte injunction to prevent picketers from obstructing vehicles entering or leaving the cargo terminal. [IRISH TIMES / MARITIME CLIPPINGS]
SEAFRANCE MANET It was announced this week that Stena Line have acquired the SEAFRANCE MANET. The ship will work alongside the HSS STENA VOYAGER and STENA CALEDONIA. The vessel will provide the company with the opportunity to increase frequency of sailings and timetable options for both freight and tourism customers on the route.
The SEAFRANCE MANET will be renamed and will undergo a comprehensive refurbishment - and it is expected to take up service in the autumn.
Between now and then the company will be in regular consultation with key stakeholders to establish the optimum timetable arrangements.
The introduction of the new vessel will result in an overall increase in staff numbers.
"The addition of this vessel to the fleet is an important strategic investment to help secure the long term future of the route," said Paul Grant, Route Manager for Stranraer-Belfast.
In a letter to staff today, the Route Manager explained a review had been carried out in the early part of this year in order to improve financial performance on the route and to minimise exposure to escalating fuel prices - and this had resulted in the purchase of an extra ship.
"The MANET will operate alongside the HSS STENA VOYAGER and the STENA CALEDONIA to create a service schedule which will give us a better frequency of and wider choice of sailings, on our fastcraft and conventional vessels. This increased flexibility will help us to meet the challenges ahead," he said.
The Route Manager explained the optimum schedule for the three vessels has yet to be determined.
"In all possible scenarios we will be assessing the implications and impact on our staff as one of our key priorities. Any timetable changes will inevitably result in a reduction in trippage for the HSS STENA VOYAGER. This will mean fewer core crew on that vessel, but the introduction of the MANET will create new job opportunities," he said.
The Route Manager further revealed that during the next month the management team on the route will be working with all parties to finalise the plans to deliver the optimum sailing schedule.
|Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Ian Collard, John Williams and "others"|
ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY
BEN-MY-CHREE - had to put back to Douglas on Thursday July 02 on her morning sailing to Douglas due to a medical emergency. She turned back at 09:30 and departed again from Douglas at 10:40.
VIKING - work continued at Liverpool to prepare the ship for her charter to Atlantico Line. VIKING moved to Gladstone Dock for completion of the work. [click here].
MANANNAN - operated her sell out maiden "Round the Island" cruise this week on Tuesday June 30. She departed a little late at 19:10 it is understood due to passengers arriving a little late due to a road traffic accident. Her return to Douglas was somewhat later than the scheduled 21:00. She actually arrived back at 22:15. Passengers had extra time on board as she sailed past Douglas again to off Ronaldsway Airport before returning due ot the fact that it was impossible to serve the 535 on board their inclusive buffet in the scheduled 2 hour circumnavigation time! Earlier this week 15% of the tickets for the second MANANNAN RTI on Wednesday July 29 are reported sold.
SNAEFELL - appeared to suffer engine problems on the afternoon of July 01 - her afternoon sailing from Douglas did not arrive at Liverpool until around 19:00 and she spent some time running at 22 knots. However, she appeared to be back up to speed on her return sailing from Dublin on Friday afternoon.
LIVERPOOL VIKING - a search was instigated when a passenger was believed to have gone missing when the ship arrived in Dublin from Liverpool. The missing passenger's belongings were found on board and news reports suggest that CCTV footage did not show the passenger leaving the ship in Dublin
Holyhead and Dublin coastguards, an RAF Valley helicopter and an Irish rescue helicopter all took part in the search. Coastguards said they could not be certain the man did not leave the ferry but he did not appear on the CCTV footage. The search called was off at 12:00 BST.
CLIPPER PENNANT - it was reported this week that the last of the much delayed Seatruck quartet, began transmitting an AIS signal at whilst at Seville earlier this week.
HSS STENA DISCOVERY has been renamed HSS DISCOVERY and reflagged to Nassau prior to her departure from Belfast for Venezuela.
STENA LEADER went technical on her 22:00 Larne - Fleetwood on Sunday June 28 with problems with her port engine. She diverted diverted to Holyhead - where she remained until Thursday. After repairs and headed back to Larne to take up service.
Between Monday and Thursday this week only 10 out of 24 sailings on the Fleetwood - Larne route have actually sailed due to the STENA LEADER's technical problems and STENA PIONEER being out of service for repairs.