NEWS BULLETIN - September 2009
Acknowledgements: Gordon Hislip, Gary Andrews, Ciarán Buckley and "others"
The company due to take over the Cremyll Ferry crossing this week spent £40,000 on its boat and other preparations before the tender was scrapped on legal advice.
Sound Cruising owner Dan Stevens today said he was only told the tender process was being stopped by Plymouth City Council and Cornwall Council last week and still hasn't had a full explanation.
"There are questions I want answering," he said. "I'd like a meeting with the council, face to face. All I want is an explanation."
The licence to operate the ferry service between Admiral's Hard and Cremyll Quay expired last year and was put out to competitive tender by Plymouth City Council and Cornwall Council in February.
Mr Stevens said he was told he had been selected in early September and had been working flat out to have his boat, the Plymouth Belle, ready in time.
That meant having work, which would normally have taken three months, completed in less than four weeks.
He has spent "just over £40,000" so far on refitting the 150-capacity vessel, adding such improvements as TVs, padded seats, an enclosed saloon, complementary tea and coffee and ticket machines.
"I had to employ outside contractors," he said. "Some of these services have caused me considerable expense."
But last week Plymouth City Council said it could not proceed with the tender process after its legal department wasn't satisfied all aspects were "as fully transparent as they should be".
This came after Tamar Cruising and Cremyll Ferry, the firm which has run the crossing for the past 24 years, told The Herald it was planning legal action after losing the tender to Mr Stevens' company.
Tamar Cruising will continue to run the service while Plymouth City Council and Cornwall Council start a fresh procurement.
The decision has left Mr Stevens feeling "let down".
"They gave me no indication there could be a problem," he said. "We have asked for clarification.
"I feel sorry for the public," he added. "The service I was going to provide was going to be a good one."
Jean Knight, a partner at Tamar Cruising, declined to comment on the legal wrangle, but said the firm, which uses the Northern Belle boat, would continue to run the service "for a short period of time".
A city council spokeswoman said the authority had written to the companies that submitted bids to inform them it was unable to proceed with the procurement following advice from its legal department.
"The law relating to procurements by local authorities has recently been developed by the courts and on further examination our legal department is not satisfied that all aspects of this tender process are as fully transparent as they should be," she said. "We therefore have no choice but to stop the procurement at this time.
"We appreciate that all of the companies have invested significant time in putting together their bids but we have to be absolutely sure that our tender processes comply fully with EU and UK law."
[WESTERN MORNING NEWS]
NORMAN VOYAGER is reported to have suffered significant port side damage amidships as a result of making contact with the harbour wall whilst berthing at Rosslare on September 27. She was due to enter #3 dry dock at A&P Falmouth on September 29 to inspect and repair damage.
HSS DISCOVERY - The former HSS STENA DISCOVERY departed from Belfast on the morning of September 30 bound for Holyhead on the first stage of its delivery voyage to new owners Albamar of Venezuela.
Acknowledgements: Ian Collard, Kevin Bennett, Patrick Healey, Gary Andrews and "others"
Families of the victims of the French crew members killed after their trawler was believed to have been dragged down by a nuclear submarine have been told by investigating judges that navies, whose subs were playing wargames off the Lizard at the time, hid behind official secrets red tape and only gave judges documents that suited them.
The judges' accusation came in an apologetic letter of explanation formally addressed to 20 relatives of the crew of the BUGALED BREIZH.
It was signed by one of the judges on a panel which finally ruled that a nuclear attack sub which snagged the trawler's cables was the "most probable" culprit.
The panel of judges has been unable to identify the guilty submarine which could lead to charges of manslaughter and failing to assist persons in danger.
In a five-page document seen by the families as an admission of defeat, the judge explained to the families how the navies of Britain, France, Holland and Germany behaved, revealing that: "In five years of investigations we have only been able to establish the positions of 12 submarines."
Judge Melanie Gehin put the failure of the investigation down to two reasons, telling the grieving families: "Firstly the activities of submarines which are called upon to carry out missions requiring the utmost discretion are hidden by official secrecy rulings which cannot be systematically lifted.
"Secondly, concerning investigations taking place in foreign countries, powers of investigating judges are limited to requesting information from authorities abroad who are free to answer in any way they wish".
The letter does not specifically name the Royal Navy but clearly points an accusing finger at defence ministries of countries whose submarines took part in the Thursday War exercise on January 15, 2004.
Madame Gehin continued: "It seems obvious that the country's submarine which was involved in such an accident would take care not to supply proof of its involvement to the French authorities".
In the same letter the judge repeated the investigators' conviction that only a nuclear-powered submarine would have had sufficient power to drag the BUGALED BREIZH down in less than a minute.
Madame Gehin cited four navies as operating nuclear submarines – the United States with 48, France with five, Britain with four and Russia with 15.
She gave the families formal notice of her court's refusal to request the four navies to reveal positions of their nuclear subs at the time of the accident, citing the navies' policies on official secrets.
Angry relatives of the dead crew called "the navies' lies" despicable last night and again called on them to "come clean and give us some truth about what happened to our men".
In the past they have cited the Royal Navy in particular, accusing it of "hiding the truth" about the BUGALED BREIZH.
Meanwhile, they are waiting a judgment by a higher court in the Breton capital Rennes next month, at which it is widely expected that judges will an announce an inconclusive end to the five year French investigation.
Later this year, or early in 2010, a British inquest into the deaths of the BUGALED BREIZH will be resumed in Cornwall.
[WESTERN MORNING NEWS]
CARNIVAL CORPORATION & PLC
Carnival Corporation & plc reported net income of $1.1 billion, or $1.33 diluted EPS, on revenues of $4.1 billion for its third quarter ended August 31, 2009. Net income for the third quarter of 2008 was $1.3 billion, or $1.65 diluted EPS, on revenues of $4.8 billion.
"Given the global economic environment earning more than $1 billion this quarter was quite an achievement and is a testament to the power of our global brands," commented Micky Arison, Carnival Corporation & plc Chairman and CEO.
"Our net income for the quarter exceeded our previous guidance, as a result of better than expected pricing on closein bookings worldwide during the seasonally strong summer period."
Since June, booking volumes for the remainder of 2009 and the first half of 2010 are running 19 percent ahead of the prior year. Although occupancy levels are catching up with last year they are still slightly behind, with ticket prices for these bookings also at lower levels.
"While the environment for travel remains challenging, we are encouraged by the strength we have had in booking volumes throughout the year," said Mr. Arison, adding that "for consumers, the value proposition has never been greater than it is now, so prospective vacationers looking for the best price should act quickly.
Based primarily on the strength in the third quarter, the company now expects full year net revenue yields, on a constant dollar basis, to decrease 10 percent, at the better end of its previous guidance range of down 10 to 12 percent. The company forecasts a 14 percent decline in net revenue yields on a current dollar basis for the full year 2009 compared to 2008 caused by unfavorable movements in currency exchange rates.
The company continues to expect net cruise costs excluding fuel for the full year 2009 to be in line with the prior year on a constant dollar basis. Based on current spot prices for fuel, forecasted fuel costs for the full year have increased $40 million since the previous guidance, costing $0.05 per share. This has been partially offset by favourable movements in currency exchange rates worth $0.03 per share.
Taking all the above factors into consideration, the company now forecasts full year 2009 earnings per share to be in the range of $2.16 to $2.20, compared to its previous guidance range of $2.00 to $2.10.
Fourth quarter constant dollar net revenue yields are expected to decline in the 11 to 13 percent range (down 9 to 11 percent on a current dollar basis). Net cruise costs excluding fuel, for the fourth quarter are expected to be down slightly compared to the prior year on a constant dollar basis.
Based on current fuel prices and currency exchange rates, the company expects earnings for the fourth quarter of 2009 to be in the range of $0.16 to $0.20 per share, down from $0.47 per share in 2008.
[MARITIME CLIPPINGS / MARINE LOG]
The decision over which firm will take over a ferry route linking Devon to Cornwall has been delayed.
Tamar Cruising was licensed to run the Cremyll Ferry from Plymouth to Mount Edgcumbe for 25 years but the route was put out to tender when it expired.
Sound Cruising was due to take over the route from October 01, 2009 but Plymouth City and Cornwall Council's lawyers want to ensure the tender process was legal.
The councils are still deciding how to maintain the service.
The Cremyll crossing is thought to have originated in Saxon times and was first documented in 1204.
The contract will now be put out to tender again.
A spokeswoman for Plymouth City Council said: "We have written to the companies that submitted bids to run the Cremyll Ferry service from October 01 to inform them that we are unable to proceed with the procurement as planned following advice from our legal department.
"The law relating to procurements by local authorities has recently been developed by the courts and on further examination our legal department is not satisfied that all aspects of this tender process are as fully
transparent as they should be."
"We therefore have no choice but to stop the procurement at this time."
She added that although the companies had invested significant time in putting together their bids "we have to be absolutely sure that our tender processes comply fully with EU and UK law".
Plymouth City and Cornwall Councils will start a fresh procurement in due course," the spokeswoman said.
[THIS IS SOUTH DEVON]
DARTMOUTH & KINGSWEAR FLOATING BRIDGE COMPANY
PHILIP - Dartmouth's old Higher Ferry made its last journey in one piece on Friday September 25, when it was transported to Noss Marina to be broken up.
The 48-year-old ferry made a final trip to the slipway in Dartmouth to pick up a JCB machine, before it headed to the marina opposite Old Mill Creek on the highest spring tide.
A team of four workers from the Sam Gilpin Demolition firm based in Heathfield, Newton Abbot, have started dismantling the old ferry, which will be sold for scrap metal.
The vessel was the last diesel electric paddle vessel to operate in UK waters and the "paddler" to operate on the River Dart. She was replaced earlier this year with a new larger vessel constructed by Ravestein in the Netherlands and completed by Pendennis Shipyard, Falmouth.
JULIA arrived at Horgan's Quay, Cork City on Friday September 25, 2009.
ISLE OF MAN HARBOURS
DOUGLAS HARBOUR TRAFFIC FIGURES - JULY 2009
Year to Date
Director of Harbours, Captain Michael Brew comments: “July was a mixed month. If you exclude the one off impact of cruise liner traffic and day trips which was exceptionally good in 2008, normal scheduled passenger traffic is practically identical to last year with 10 extra passengers this year. However, the fall in vehicle numbers is slightly disappointing particularly with the extra vehicle capacity now available since the introduction of the larger fast craft Manannan. In the present market place these figures should be seen as being a positive outcome
DOUGLAS HARBOUR TRAFFIC FIGURES - AUGUST 2009
Year to Date
Director of Harbours, Captain Michael Brew comments: The August figures were adversely affected by the Manx Grand Prix which occurred later than usual and will in turn boost the September figures. This is shown clearly in the results for Heysham and Belfast both of which routes carry significant Grand Prix traffic. Excluding the impact of Grand Prix the figures are reasonable considering the economic situation in the UK and Ireland as overall passenger traffic is on a par with last year.
ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY
SNAEFELL - Despite rumours circulating recently suggesting that the venerable Incat will be withdrawn at the conclusion of the 2009 season it would appear that she may continue to sail in 2010.
LIVERPOOL CRUISE TERMINAL
The following somewhat "jingoistic" report appeared in the Liverpool Echo this week.
Whilst Merseysider's may feel aggrieved by the reports one should remember that in the short-sighted and dark days of the 1970s it was the then Mersey Docks and Harbour Company and Liverpool who readily gave up the ability to handle large passenger ships on the Liverpool waterfront.
That gift was readily taken up by Southampton.
When one gives a gift away as indeed the facilities to accommodate deep sea passenger ship were, even if it did occur due to economic necessity, it is not surprising that those who benefited now object to returning it or giving a share of it back!
It is well worth visiting the Southern Daily Echo web site to read a number of articles and comments giving the other side of the coin. [CLICK HERE]. Both the Liverpool Daily Post & Echo and Southern Daily Echo appear to have developed jingoistic stances supporting their own corner.
LIVERPOOL ECHO - September 25
Southampton has stepped up its attempt to block Liverpool’s Pier Head from being allowed to become a start and finish base for cruise liners.
The Department for Transport is currently considering whether to relax rules to allow a full "turnaround" facility to be created at Liverpool’s Cruise Liner Terminal.
The DfT has to give its approval because of a £9m grant from the European Union that helped fund the £20m terminal.
But Associated British Ports, which owns Southampton, is objecting saying that would amount to unfair help that would "distort" competition in the port sector.
The firm has now also accused Liverpool of going behind its back to seek the support of arch rival Portsmouth.
And the war of words is escalating with websites in Southampton filled with stereotypical criticism of Liverpool.
The latest protests from ABP about Liverpool’s bid concern emails sent from officials here to other ports including Portsmouth, but not Southampton, which it claims appeared they were in cahoots to "get one over on Southampton".
But the ECHO understands that ABP have not been kept in the dark and actually held a meeting with officials from Liverpool in the last month to discuss the plans.
A Liverpool Council spokesman said: "Everything we have done has been done in agreement with the Department for Transport."
Southampton’s economic development leader, Tory Cllr Royston Smith has also stepped into the row saying what Liverpool was requesting was "an abuse of state aid".
"This is a private port competing with a public subsidy to do something similar. That simply isn’t fair.
"It’s not morally right that one city had been given a public subsidy to compete with another city."
Southampton port director Doug Morrison said: “If you were contacting a cruise port on the south coast, would you go to Portsmouth?
That shows you they are worried about competition.We are concerned that obviously Portsmouth and the likes are in cahoots with Liverpool to try and get one over on Southampton. It is not how we should be doing business. “We have no argument with Liverpool City Council.
We know how important the cruise business is and how it can be used to regenerate a city. But taxpayers’ money distorts the marketplace.”
Critical commentators on websites in Southampton have been quick to slam Liverpool. One wrote: “Cruise ship passengers would get fleeced in Liverpool by taxi drivers or forced to go to the Beatles Museum.”
Cllr Gary Millar, Liverpool’s enterprise and tourism leader, said: ''We believe that the creation of a full turn-around facility at Liverpool will benefit the cruise liner industry in the UK, as the city is uniquely positioned to attract business from outside of Europe.
“The application has been made in response to calls from the industry and passengers.”
Morwellham is an historic river port situated on the Cornwall / Devon border beside the River Tamar. Once it was described as the greatest copper exporting port in Queen Victoria's Empire.
Since 1970 it has operated as an open air Museum, which much restoration / conservation going on the late 70s and early 80s and again during the past few years following the awarding of a Heritage Lottery Fund grant.
However, at the beginning of September Devon County Council withdrew support which led to a financial crisis.
On Friday a notice appeared on the web site stating that facilities would be closed this weekend though the site would be open.
On Saturday September 26 the following short message appeared on the web site:
The Morwellham and Tamar Valley Trust - In Administration David Matthews and Nigel Morrison of Grant Thornton UK LLP were appointed as joint administrators of The Morwellham and Tamar Valley Trust on 25 September 2009.
As yet it remains unclear as to what the implications will be for the historic port.
The new linkspan for Berth no.2 arrived at Rosslare Harbour at 10:00 on September 25, 2009.
SEAFRANCE MANET (STENA NAVIGATOR) arrived at Belfast on Friday September 25, 2009
Britain's VT Group plc says it has signed a legally binding agreement with BAE Systems plc on the disposal of its 45 percent. shareholding in BVT Surface Fleet Limited, the shipbuilding and naval support joint venture between BAE and VT, for cash consideration of £346 million.
VT has also agreed to inject £43 million of capital into BVT on completion of the transaction, so the cash proceeds to be received by VT on the disposal of its shareholding in BVT will be £303 million. In addition, VT will, at completion, settle £4.7m of ordinary course inter company balances with BVT
This marks the final exit from shipbuilding of the company.
[MARITIME CLIPPINGS / MARITIME LOG]
Acknowledgements: Ian Collard, Tony Brennan, Kevin Bennett, Gary Andrews and "others"
CRUISE SHIP NEWS
FRED. OLSEN LINES
BALMORAL - The Titanic 100 Anniversary commemorative cruise scheduled to depart Southampton April 08, 2012 sailing to Titanic's original intinerary is reported to be alread half-full.
LIVERPOOL CRUISE SHIP CALLS 2010 PREVIEW UPDATE
Following the posting of a preview listing of 2010 Cruise Ship Calls at Liverpool further information has come to light which suggests several other ships will visit:
The Preview list first posted on September 20 has been updated accordingly
Originating Cruises – Langton Cruise Terminal
Fred. Olsen Lines
Fred. Olsen Lines
Fred. Olsen Lines
Fred. Olsen Lines
Fred. Olsen Lines
Fred. Olsen Lines
02 days Mini Cruise
Cruise & Maritime Voyages
Cruise & Maritime Voyages
Cruise & Maritime Voyages
03 days Mini Cruise
Fred. Olsen Lines
Fred. Olsen Lines
Fred. Olsen Lines
Cruise Calls – City of Liverpool Cruise Terminal
|AIDAaura||Carnival - Aida||May 23|| |
|Deutschland||Peter Deilmann Reederei||June 02||07.30 arr (dep 05.00 June 03)|
|AIDAaura||Carnival - Aida||June 06|| |
NYK – Crystal Cruises
08.00 - 17.00
Carnival – Princess
08.00 - 17.00
All Leisure Group
04.00 - 20.00
|AIDAaura||Carnival - Aida||July 10|| |
Carnival – Princess
08.00 - 17.00
|AIDAaura||Carnival - Aida||July 24|| |
Carnival - Cunard
08.00 - 17.00
|Astor||Transocean||August 05|| |
|Maasdam||Carnival - HAL||August 08|| |
|The World||Residensea||August 16||departs August 19.|
Carnival - Princess
08.00 - 17.00
Carnival – Princess
08.00 - 17.00
RCCL - Azamara
09.00 - 18.00
THE WORLD - in addition to the Liverpool call listed above (August 16 to 19) the residential cruise ship is expected at the following ports during 2010. Dartmouth - July 27 to 29, Fowey - July 29 to 31, Cardiff - August 01 to 03, Dublin - August 04 to 08, Cóbh - August 09 to 11, Douglas - August 12 to 13, Whitehaven - August 14 to 15, Greenock August - 20 to 23, Oban - 23 to 25.
Details have been revealed of plans for a multi-million pound visitor centre focussing on the maritime history of the Manx seaside town of Douglas.
The Dhoo Glass Experience in South Quay would be based around the hydraulic tower, near the new lifting bridge.
It would include a two-storey development with a funicular railway.
Chris Pycroft, from Douglas Development Partnership, said funding for the £4m scheme still needed to be raised but the idea had been well received.
The new part of the complex would feature displays relating to the capital's maritime history and a restaurant, and would be linked by a glass-sided bridge to the back of the tower, near the top.
"Everybody I talk to is extremely enthusiastic about the prospect of it. The big difficulty is finding the funding for it," Chris Pycroft said. "I think we need about £4m to see the project through and in the current climate maybe that's the difficult thing to find, but the aim of the partnership is to enthuse people about the ideas and the potential of Douglas."
The island's coast had a number of shipwrecks and First Lieutenant Captain John Quilliam, who lived in Castletown, helped to steer HMS Victory during the Battle of Trafalgar.
JULIA - arrived at Swansea on September 23 and successfully undertook berthing trials - photographs can be found on the "Bring Back The Swansea Cork Ferry" web site . She is expected to arrive Cork on Friday September 25.
JONATHAN SWIFT Irish Ferries are to keep the Jonathan Swift on double roundtrips until January at least - last autumn the ship was reduced to one roundtrip per day.- She will offer daily sailings from Dublin at 08:45 and 12:00 and 14:30 and 17:15 ex Holyhead.
HMS ILLUSTRIOUS - the carrier is due to visit the Mersey and berth at the Liverpool Cruise Terminal between Thursday October 22 and Tuesday October 27 as part of the Fly Navy 100 celebrations which commemorate 100 years of Royal Navy aviation.
Around 40 current and historic helicopters, jets (including two Harriers) and prop-driven aircraft are due to take part in a Balbo formation - named after the Italian aviator who flew co-ordinated large groups of aircraft.
The formation, tiered at different heights, will fly along the Mersey from south to north, passing over the carrier at the Cruise Liner Berth, at 2pm on October 23.
The RN Balbo has been a regular sight at airshows over the summer.
Commodore John Madgwick, Royal Navy regional commander Northern England, based in Liverpool, said: 'This is the premier North of England and Scotland event for the centenary of Royal Navy aviation.
'It's a highly appropriate setting as the first purpose-built Navy aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal was built here in 1938 at Cammell Laird shipyard, Birkenhead.'
Commodore Madgwick has been the driving force in bringing the Navy's greatest warships to Liverpool.
'About 18 months ago, this event started simply as a visit by the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious, but we've built it up into something far more sophisticated,' he said.
'The main feature will be the fly-past on Friday at 2pm, with HRH the Duke of York, who is honorary head of the Royal Fleet Air Arm and a rear admiral, taking the salute. With him will be the Commander-in-Chief of the Fleet, Admiral Trevor Soar, who was captain of HMS Illustrious when she visited Liverpool for the Battle of the Atlantic 60th anniversary commemorations.
'I retire on October 26, after coming to this job in Liverpool, in February, 2000. I've had a terrific time in this great city and this event is a fantastic finish to my time.'
Plans are being drawn up for an ambitious £10m scheme to redevelop the neglected Rock Ferry area on the banks of the River Mersey. This could see the reopening of the Rock Ferry Pier to the public. For many years the pier was used as an oil terminal until replaced by facilities at nearby Tranmere. There is even suggestion that a berth could be made available to enable ferries to call again. The plans are being developed by Wirral Council and the Royal Mersey Yacht Club.
SEATRUCK WINS SHIPPING ACCOLADE AS FREIGHT VOLUMES INCREASE
Seatruck Ferries, the freight-only specialists on the Irish Sea, have scooped the 2009 “Irish Sea Shipping Line of the Year” award.
Seatruck beat other finalists to take the accolade at the Export and Freight Transport and Logistics Awards, attended by over 500 industry representatives in Belfast last Friday (September 18).
For the first time the selection of the winner was not undertaken by a judging panel but, instead, by the use of a voting system - with individual transport operators nominating their own preference based on factors such as customer service, quality of operation and reliability.
The advent of Seatruck’s three new vessels has been a key factor in the company’s continued growth and success. They will soon be joined by the final newbuild vessel from Spain, Clipper Pennant, which will be deployed on the Liverpool – Dublin route.
With a service speed of 22 knots and capacity for 120 freight units, these new vessels provide Seatruck customers with new levels of schedule reliability and capacity. The Warrenpoint and Dublin services can now compete directly with short sea routes, enabling customers to significantly reduce road mileage by using ports closer to the origin and destination of their cargo.
Seatruck Ferries have bucked recent volume trends and actually seen an increase in volume so far in 2009, in an overall Irish Sea market which has seen a 13 per cent reduction in traffic (Source: Irish Maritime Development Office).
Seatruck continues to specialise in the unaccompanied sector. With a continued switch to more of these types of shipment - with the significant economic advantages they provide to the haulage community - Seatruck believes the company is well placed for future progress.
Seatruck Ferries Managing Director Alistair Eagles comments: “Being voted by transport operators as ‘Shipping Line of the Year’ means a great deal to everybody in the close knit Seatruck team. We are now well positioned for the future, with excellent new vessels, upgraded terminal facilities, new linkspans and a highly motivated team. Current cargo levels across the Irish Sea are down and this is having an effect on the speed of our development. However, to be in a position where we have now shipped more cargo than at the same time last year is clear evidence that our market strategy is working.
“There is a great deal of interest in our unaccompanied, freight-only model, as there are distinct economic advantages over traditional driver-accompanied movements. Operators also make significant savings by reducing road miles, using our centrally located routes rather than driving to distant ports in Wales and Scotland. We expect our market share to continue growing with the addition of Clipper Pennant on the Dublin service. We have had fantastic support from our customers and I would like to thank them all for their continued support.”
CLIPPER PENNANT ARRIVES
CLIPPER PENNANT arrived on the Mersey on Tuesday September 22. She will enter service on the Liverpool to Dublin service later in the autumn. [click here]
Acknowledgements: Ian Collard, Tony Brennan, Kevin Bennett, Gary Andrews and "others"
ARMORIQUE will be laid up over the winter after operation on November 06 before returning to service on March 14.
BRETAGNE - the popular mini-cruises to Santander from Plymouth are being reintroduced for the winter season with fares from £75. Departures are every Sunday from Plymouth between November 08 and December 20 and from February 14 to March 07, 2010. Details on the Brittany Ferries web site. Direct trips have not been possible since the splitting of the PONT-AVEN's sailings between Plymouth and Portsmouth.
BRETAGNE will be offering Christmas and New Year cruises to Rouen from Portsmouth and PONT-AVEN a Christmas Cruise from Portsmouth and Plymouth to Santander and a New Year Cruise from Portsmouth. [Click Here]
CELTIC LINK / LD LINES
On Saturday September 19 Celtic Link Ferries of Wexford announced an agreement with Louis Dreyfus Lines for the NORMAN VOYAGER.
NORMAN VOYAGER will operate under charter to CELTIC LINK ferries from September 29, 2009. The vessel has a capacity of 800 passengers, 200 cars and up to 120 freight vehicles. On board facilities inclide 110 cabins, bar, restaurant, lounges and shop.
NORMAN VOYAGER has previously operated on LD Lines Portsmouth to Le Havre and on the Le Havre to Rosslare routes since November 2008.
The vessel will be launched on the Cherbourg - Portsmouth route on September 29, 2009 sailing from Cherbourg at 23:30. Weekend sailings to Rosslare commence on Friday October 02, 2009 as per the Celtic Link timetable.
Managing Director, Christophe Santoni of LD Lines described the charter as a "New commercial agreement between the two companies on the Ireland – France link is a significant move by LD Lines in consolidating ship deployment and meeting customer demand, as LD Lines’"
“We are totally committed to developing the new Rosslare – Cherbourg service, but to ensure the Norman Voyager is utilised to maximum efficiency, we are pleased to have reached agreement with Celtic Link Ferries.”
“In continuing, tough trading conditions it is essential that we maximise our business opportunities both in terms of operations and managing costs, whilst providing our customers with high levels of service and frequency. With this new agreement we are very confident that this will succeed.”
The company that has run the Cremyll ferry for the past 24 years is planning legal action after losing the tender to a rival company. Tamar Cruising and Cremyll Ferry said up to eight jobs are at risk and the future of the 80 year old NORTHERN BELLE, which holds 157 passengers, is uncertain after it failed to have its contract renewed by Plymouth City Council and Cornwall Council.
The firm, which also runs boats from the Mayflower Steps and Barbican landing stage, has instructed lawyers to challenge the decision, and supporters have been leafleting in the Stonehouse area. But rival Sound Cruising, which will take over the crossing to Mount Edgcumbe on October 1, said it will introduce an "advanced service", which will be cheaper, with a longer summer season and which will connect with bus timetables.
Its 150-capacity PLYMOUTH BELLE vessel, already familiar on the Plymouth to Calstock route, is being refitted to provide more comfort for passengers.
Plymouth City Council said the licence to operate the ferry service between Admiral's Hard and Cremyll Quay expired last year and was put out to competitive tender by the two councils in February. "Bids were assessed against criteria including proposed fares, quality and service levels and marketing and business planning," a spokeswoman said. "The preferred bidder has been approved by the Mount Edgcumbe Joint Committee." Jean Knight, partner at Tamar Cruising, said everyone at the firm was "very upset" at the decision, and claimed the selection process was "flawed".
"We have gone to a solicitor to get it reviewed," she said. "We are trying to stop this by legal means. We are not happy. "We have been operating here for 24 years with no financial help from the council."
Sound Cruising owner Dan Stevens said he will be offering cheaper fares and a "more flexible service" when the seven-year contract begins next month. "I feel sorry for the company that has lost it," he said. "But we went through the correct procurement process and put in a professional tender." The PLYMOUTH BELLE is part of a Sound Cruising fleet of three cruise boats and two ferries, which run from the Barbican to Mount Batten. Ian Morse, who has been caring for the swans which nest at Admiral's Hard, counted the Tamar Cruising staff as "good friends" and said there was a "lot of concern" in the Stonehouse area about the council's decision.
CRUISE SHIP NEWS
FRED OLSEN LINES
BLACK PRINCE made her final departure from Liverpool on Saturday September 19, 2009. [click here] for photographic feature.
ABP TO OPPOSE LIVERPOOL TERMINAL UPGRADE
ABP is attempting to block Liverpool's Pier Head from being allowed to become a start and finish base for cruise liners.
A Department for Transport consultation on whether to relax rules to allow a full "turnaround" facility to be created at Liverpool's Cruise Liner Terminal ends today.
The DfT has to give its approval because of a £9m grant from the European Union that helped fund the £20m terminal. But Associated British Ports, which owns Southampton, believes it would amount to unfair help that would "distort" competition in the port sector.
It has written to the DfT and shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling, who has lobbied for Liverpool, to protest at the proposal. But Mr Grayling, who is also the Conservative spokesman for Merseyside, said he did not think the two locations were in competition, and he hoped the DfT would find in Liverpool's favour.
Almost 300 cruise liners call at Southampton a year, whereas Liverpool's terminal will only see 16 this year.
The row comes as a council study reveals the terminal will have brought in £13.6m to the local economy in its first two full years of operation, 2008 and 2009.
In total, 55 ships will have visited by the end of the year, 29 cruise vessels and 26 from the Royal Navy.
Passengers and crew's spending accounts for £2m, while the rest of the economic impact comes from money spent by the 370,000 spectators estimated to have turned out to see visiting ships.
A council report reveals the terminal is currently making a £250,000-a-year loss for the city council.
But it adds: "Although it continues to operate at a net loss, this is counterbalanced by the economic and publicity benefits to the city. "
The issue of upgrading Liverpool's Cruise Liner Terminal follows criticism over the current facilities for voyages starting or ending their journeys in Liverpool.
As there are no baggage handling facilities, Customs, or immigration at the Cruise Liner Terminal, voyages starting or ending in the city have to use Langton terminal, in Bootle, which is in a heavily industrialised area.
The new terminal is more visitor-friendly, in the shadow of the historic Three Graces.
Earlier in the summer, the Daily Post reported how the council had made an official bid to the DfT for the Cruise Liner Terminal to be used as a "turnaround facility".
Officials visited the terminal in June to inspect it, and further meetings have also been held.
A spokesman for Associated British Ports (ABP) said: "ABP is opposed in principle to the use of public funds which distorts competition in the ports sector.
"ABP will be responding to the DfT consultation process which is currently under way in relation to this matter." Southampton's Conservative council leader Alec Samuels said: "The city council most strongly supports our port. "If there is anything we can do to support the docks, we will do and will continue to do."
He said each time a liner docks in Southampton it was worth around £1m to the city's economy. Mr Grayling said: "ABP have written to me saying they are not happy. They have clearly got a particular commercial perspective that I understand.
"But there are times when we do things that don't necessarily conform to a conventional commercial model. "I am not persuaded that Southampton and Liverpool are really in competition."
Liverpool Labour leader Cllr Joe Anderson said the city needed "to lobby persuasively." He said: "Liverpool and Southampton are completely different ports and offer different things."
Liverpool's tourism leader, Liberal Democrat Cllr Gary Millar, agreed. "I don't think Liverpool and Southampton can really be compared. "They are so far away and I don't think Liverpool would be taking business away from Southampton," he said.
Chairman of Liverpool's regeneration select committee, Cllr Eddie Clein, said all the council could do was "keep its fingers crossed" that the DfT would make the right decision.
ISLE OF MAN GOVERNMENT - DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM
SEABOURN PRIDE - the Isle of Man Department of Tourism welcomed the final cruise call of the 2009 Season to the Isle of Man on Sunday September 20 when the SEABOURN PRIDE visited the Island. This ‘Boutique ship’, as the vessel is described in the Berlitz Cruise Guide, was making her inaugural call to the Island, although sister ships of this luxury liner have called to the Island in previous years.
With an estimated number of 300 passengers, along with a crew of 100, this will have been one of the smaller cruise vessels visiting the Island this year.
Hon Martyn Quayle MHK, Minister for Tourism and Leisure, said:
‘The passengers cruising on the SEABOURN PRICE will be assured of a typically warm Manx welcome on their arrival and we will ensure they enjoy their visit to the Isle of Man. We look forward to showcasing our Island’s outstanding natural beauty and some of the many attractions to them and hopefully they will leave with happy memories but, more importantly, return with their family and friends.
‘We are looking forward with keen anticipation to our 2010 cruise ship season. As things currently stand we have 14 scheduled calls next year, which is certainly on a par with the highest number of cruise arrivals in any given year.
‘Our cruise initiative appears to be working and this is most heartening and welcoming bearing in mind it is a most positive boost to our overall annual arrival figures.’
Prior to its call to the Isle of Man the SEABOURN PRIDE will have called at Londonderry and, on departure from Douglas, its destination will be Waterford.
DOUGLAS DEVELOPMENT PARTNERSHIP
The Douglas Development Partnership is considering the conversion of the old Swing Bridge tower into a Maritime Visitor centre to relate the stories of the Isle of Man's Maritime History.
West Cork Tourism Co-Operative Society Limited, has confirmed this week the purchase of the cruiseferry, JULIA, for a consideration of €7.8 million. The JULIA, which will operate under the Fastnet Line brand will arrive in Cork in the coming weeks to proclaim the dawn of a new era for the South West region.
West Cork Tourism began their campaign at the beginning of the year to raise €2.6m to get the Swansea Cork route back up and running. Finnish bank, Aktia Bank and its finance company, Atkia Yritysrahoitus Oy, has supported the acquisition through the provision of a mortgage of €6.3 million.
The JULIA, built in 1982, has sailed several routes in the Scandinavian Peninsula. The vessel has 10 decks with maximum capacity for approximately 440 cars and 30 freight vehicles and the total passenger capacity of the vessel is 1,860. The JULIA has a fine array of restaurants and bars, a children's play area, and a cinema as well as over 300 passenger cabins, rendering her particularly suited to the night crossing between Swansea and Cork.
The JULIA will commence service on the Cork-Swansea route in March 2010 and expects to enjoy strong demand from both tourist and freight customers. Fastnet Line believes that it will contribute greatly to the development and promotion of tourism in Cork, Kerry and surrounding areas, creating more than 500 jobs and bringing thousands of tourists directly to the region annually. It will also contribute to the development of Irish tourism into Wales. In addition, Fastnet Line will provide hauliers operating in Ireland and the UK with a viable sea crossing alternative for freight activity between the regions, potentially reducing round trip road journeys by over 600km.
Additional funding of €2.5 million is now required to fund the working capital requirements of the business and to facilitate the development of the infrastructure of the organisation in the period prior to and after launch in March 2010. In that regard, there are now opportunities to invest both in the Co-Op and in Fastnet Line. The Co-Op will be arranging a series of roadshows in the region to brief members and prospective new members on its plans in the coming weeks.
Commenting on the acquisition, Conor Buckley, Chairman of the Co-Op, said "We are delighted to be in the position to officially announce the purchase of The JULIA and the commencement of the Cork to Swansea route in Spring of next year. The coming weeks and months will continue to be crucial to us to gain the working capital to aid the development of the organisation so we are looking forward to meeting with potential investors from all over the South West Region and beyond."
Investors are being offered the opportunity to participate in what the Co-Op believes will be a key business in the Cork and Swansea regions for the long term. A business which will bring rewards to its stakeholders not only in financial terms, but also in terms of bringing business to the regions it serves.
Welcoming the news, Ieuan Wyn Jones, Minister for the Economy and Transport, of the Welsh Assembly Government said, "The resumption of the ferry service will reinstate an important link between Wales and Ireland which has the potential to bring economic benefits to both countries. Its value to Swansea, in particular and to Wales in general, is recognised from a trade and tourism perspective and will also enhance our international links with Ireland.
Also welcoming the news, Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive of Tourism Ireland, the organisation responsible for marketing the island of Ireland overseas, said: "As an island, direct, convenient and competitive access services are critical to achieving tourism growth. We look forward to working with the West Cork Tourism Co-Operative and Fastnet Line through our marketing campaigns, to help stimulate demand for the service in the all-important GB market and grow tourism business to the south west."
Mikko Piirtola of Aktia Yritysrahoitus Oy said, "We are very pleased to begin this new partnership with West Cork Tourism Co-Op and very much appreciate the Co-Op ethos as we ourselves started as a community savings bank 175 years ago. We believe that the intention to create economic benefits both in Ireland and Wales through increased trade and tourism will ultimately mean a successful ferry business in the long term."
Captain Michael McCarthy, Port of Cork Commercial Manager said; `The Port of Cork welcomes the news of the purchase of, MV JULIA. West Cork Tourism Co-Operative have put continued effort into re-establishing the Cork to Swansea route, and I am delighted that it is now paying off. Today is a proud day for Cork and the entire South West region."
Fiona Buckley, speaking on behalf of Failte Ireland said "We are delighted at the reinstatement of this very important service for the South West region and applaud the initiative of West Cork Tourism, local traders and all those involved in making this a reality. We look forward to working closely with all involved to maximise the exposure of the service."
MV JULIA General Characteristics
Year of Build:
4 x Pielstick 8 PC2-5L
2 x MAK 8m 332AK(1200kw) , 2x MAK 6M 332AK (900kw), 1 x Caterpillar V8
Wave Height Restriction:
OSCAR WILDE - Wine growers from the French domaines of Michel Lynch, Chamarre, Laroche, Louis Jadot and Boutinot will attend a wine fair taking place on board the Irish Ferries Ireland - France ferry Oscar Wilde during its final sailing of the year to Roscoff leaving Rosslare on Thursday 24th September next.
On board, they will give advice and offer wine tastings for passengers travelling to France to stock up on wines for Christmas and the Winterperiod.
Irish Ferries confirms that space is still available from only EUR69 for carplus driver one way or for a mini-cruise round trip fare of EUR99 per personreturn. plus EUR69 for a car if 2 or more travel.
More details available at 0818 300 400 (NI +353 818 300 400) or on line at www.irishferries.com
ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY
MANANNAN The 'minor technical issue' which due to the weather conditions in the Mersey which led the master to return to Douglas in the interests of safety was due to the fact that in certain sea and wind conditions the water jets can, and and did, rise out of the water and oversped.
The response came from the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company CEO Mark Woodward following a complaint which appeared on Isle of Man On Line web site. Mr. Woodward explained 'If this happens, the engine control system can automatically shut down an engine as a precautionary and protective measure,' he said. 'This is precisely what happened to one engine on the sailing in question.
'In order to avoid a similar situation with other engines, the master then reduced speed,' added Mr Woodward, who said the remaining three engines did not shut down and the vessel was under the master's control at all times.
VIKING - According to www.optimashipbrokers.com the VIKING has been sold to Hellenic Seaways for a price of US$7.5 million. The Sea Containers vessel had been under charter to the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company who had sub-chartered it to Atlantico Line for Summer 2009.
LAGAN BOAT COMPANY
MONA (ex CORNISH BELLE - Newmans of Tolverne) has commence sightseeing cruises on Belfast Lough this month sailing along the County Down & County Antrim Coast lines. Scheduled sailings for September 2009: Thursdays 19:00 - 21:00. Sundays 16:00 - 18:00 Special introductory fares for September only: Adults £15.00, Concession £12.50, Family (2a + 2c) £45.00 For further information and bookings please contact the company on: 90330844 or 07718910423
LOUGH FOYLE FERRY COMPANY
Hundreds of people are reported to have signed a petition to save the service which has operated across Lough Foyle for almost 10 years. There are fears that the service could end later this month when Donegal and Limavady councils end their support funding.
Politicians from both sides of the border have called on the Irish Government and the Northern Ireland Assembly to agree to throw a £200,000 a year lifeline to keep the service going and save drivers an
extra 49-mile trip by road.
MARITIME & COASTGUARD AGENCY
The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) announced on September 17 that 3 foreign flagged ships were under detention in UK ports during August 2009 after failing Port State Control (PSC) inspection.
Latest monthly figures show that there were 2 new detentions of foreign flagged ships in UK ports during August 2009 and 1 vessel under detention from previous months. The overall rate of detentions compared with inspections carried out over the last twelve months was 3.42% this is slightly down from Julys twelve month rate.
During the month of August, 161 Port State Control inspections were carried out in the UK. A total of 53 vessels had no deficiencies raised against them, 75 had between one and five deficiencies, 25 had between six and ten deficiencies, 7 had between eleven and twenty deficiencies and there was 1 vessel inspected that had more than 20 deficiencies.
Out of the detained vessels, 1 was registered with a flag state listed on the Paris MOU white list, and 2 were registered with flag states on the black list.
Vessels detained in August included:
A 1,675 Gt. container vessel was detained in Southampton as the vessel had been sailing with an open manhole cover on the double bottom sludge tank without the Masters knowledge, also the Chief Engineer, who had not informed the Master, did not know the reason why the tank was open and there were plastic hoses running in to the tank.
None of the ships detained during August were at an Irish or Celtic Sea port.
SHIPS DETAINED IN AUGUST 2009
Date & Place of detention 11/08/2009 (Southampton)
Vessel Name: CRILLON (Container Vessel)
Company: Multibank Marine Management
Classification Society: Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (NKK)
Recognised Organisation: Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (NKK)
Recognised Organisation for ISM: Germanischer Lloyd (GL)
Summary: 17deficiencies 3 grounds for detention
The vessel was detained in Southampton for 3 days because the manhole cover next to the oily water separator was open. The vessel had sailed with an open double bottom sludge tank without the Masters knowledge. The 3rd officer was not familiar with EPIRB testing and the Chief Engineer was not familiar with the safety management manual also he was not aware why the vessel was sailing with the open sludge tank and plastic hoses running into that tank. Other deficiencies identified included: a Panamanian endorsement for the Chief Engineer was unreadable, and the wording of a Panamanian endorsement for the 2nd engineer officer was not in accordance with STCW, in addition a portable fire extinguisher was missing next to the starboard accommodation door; the pressure cylinder for the fog horn had heavily corroded fastenings - three out four almost wasted and the gangway was found overhanging the water without bottom platform stanchions. The vessel was released from detention on 13/08/2009.
Date & Place of detention: 20/08/2009 – Purfleet
Vessel Name: YARA GAS III (Gas Carrier)
IMO No: 7431698
Company: Larvik Shipping.
Classification Society: Det Norske Veritas (DNV)
Recognised Organisation: Det Norske Veritas (DNV)
Recognised Organisation for ISM: Det Norske Veritas (DNV)
Summary: 23 deficiencies 5 grounds for detention
The vessel was detained in Purfleet for 5 days because there were holes in the main fire zone funnel casing; the electronic charts were not up to date and had not been corrected since May 2009 in addition chart 1183 (Thames Estuary) had expired. Other deficiencies identified included: the international code of signals was not up to date; sailing direction 54 was missing and the bridge equipment departures check list was inadequate. A major non conformity was identified in respect of the maintenance of ship and equipment, which was not according to SMS. The vessel was released from detention on 24/08/2009.
DETENTION 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: 19 deficiencies 7 grounds for detention.
The vessel was detained in Lowestoft for 712 days 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 released on 31/08/2009 to go to an agreed repair port.
LIVERPOOL VIKING - was involved in an incident at Dublin Port on the evening of September 09, 2009. A correspondent writes: While the Liverpool Viking was arriving from in Liverpool she was unable to stop at her berth. She continued west approaching the East Link Bridge .
The ship had to drop anchor in the to try and stop the vessel, at this stage. Fortunately the vessel was eventually brought to a halt at the North Wall Extension (P&O Berth) before reaching the East Link Bridge.
They managed to secure two lines to the vessel in Alexandra Basin. I imagine she was aided by the Tugs back to her berth later on as it was possible to get photographs of both LIVERPOOL and DUBLIN VIKING on the two Norfolk berths on Thursday September 10.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 2
Nakheel has moved to allay fears the berthing of the QE2 in Cape Town will drain money out of South Africa, with opposition MPs threatening to scupper a deal that will bring the struggling Dubai-owned developer some much needed cash.
Lawmakers claim berthing the famous cruise liner in Cape Town to use as a hotel during next year’s FIFA World Cup will ship money out of the country and the government should invest in local accommodation.
Nakheel insisted the QE2 will bring “significant tourism, employment and business benefits” to South Africa.
“Profit generated from the ship will remain in South Africa,” the company said in a statement to Maktoob Business. Dubai bought the QE2 for $100 million in 2007 and planned to use as a floating hotel off the Palm Jumeirah manmade island, but the global financial crisis forced a major u-turn in the plans for the ship. Nakheel, part of state-owned conglomerate Dubai World, said in July it planned to berth the cruise liner in Cape Town for the World Cup and was in talks to finalise the move.
The QE2’s new home will likely be Cape Town's V&A Waterfront, also owned by Dubai World. However, since its last announcement there has been no word on the move, raising concerns it might not go ahead.
Preparations to ensure the ship’s “full compliance with international safety standards and corresponding certification are underway and we are confident that (the) QE2 can be berthed safely” in Cape Town’s harbour, Nakheel said.
Nakheel, hit hard by the collapse of Dubai’s real estate market, is keen to tap an influx of fans arriving for the World Cup, while South Africa is looking to solve its hotel room shortage. There may be a shortage of 15,000 hotel rooms during the tournament, which runs from June 11 to July 11, according to FIFA President Sepp Blatter.
South Africa’s Department of Tourism backed the QE2 move, but any deal needs the approval of the country’s National Ports Authority and Transnet, the country’s major ports company. Tourism Ministry spokeswoman Ronel Bester told Maktoob Business that its position has not changed.
Transnet was not immediately available for comment. The 40-year-old QE2 is a legend in the cruise tourism industry, having served 2.5 million passengers and had more than 800 transatlantic sailings. It retired as an ocean-going vessel in last year and was brought to Dubai in November to be converted into a hotel.
[MARITIME CLIPPINGS / MAKTOOB BUSINESS]
QUEEN ELIZABETH 2 (QE2) will not dock in Cape Town before next year's World Cup, says Brett Dungan, chief executive of the Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa (Fedhasa). Speaking during a parliamentary briefing, Dungan shocked MPs when he revealed that the QE2 would no longer berth in Cape Town before the World Cup.
"I don't know exactly why they are not coming, but have been told that it's off and they won't be here," he said. Earlier this month, Cape Town port manager Sanjay Govan said the National Ports Authority had informed the vessel's Dubai-based owners that it was unsafe to berth in any of its terminal, because of space constraints. At the time he said Dubai World was in negotiations with other private terminal owners to find an alternative berth.
Dungan also used the briefing to assure MPs on Parliament's tourism portfolio committee that the country would have enough accommodation next year. This came a day after Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke voiced concern at the country's accommodation and travel plans for fans during the World Cup.
"I am not worried about ticket sales but instead about accommodation," Valcke said during an interview with Germany's Kicker magazine. "It is our concern that every fan in the world who has bought a ticket also gets a flight and a room." But Dungan said there would be enough rooms for the number of visitors. The industry expected between 300 000 and 350 000 international visitors for the 30 days. He slammed weekend re-ports that Match, Fifa's hospitality partner, would rip off local establishments and was bullying establishments to sign up. He said 82 percent of the country's structured hotels and 13 percent of small businesses had already signed contracts with Match.
[MARITIME CLIPPINGS / IOL.CO.ZA]
Polish tug 'AMON' departed Gdynia, Poland, on Tuesday 15/09/09 towing the barge 'CRIST 2' with the new ramp, bound for Rosslare. The tow is expected to take about 10 days depending on the weather conditions. Latest ETA is 10:00hrs local time on 25/09/2009.
CLIPPER PENNANT - is due to enter service on the Liverpool to Dublin service mid October.
STENA LYNX III arrived at Dublin port this week for her winter lay-up.
The STENA NAVIGATOR (ex SEAFRANCE MANET) is currently due to enter service on Belfast - Stranraer on 2 November, but this could change!
The ship is expected to arrive in Belfast on Friday September 25 berthing at the lay-by berth before shifting to the old Stena terminal around 30 September where the onboard refit will take place.
Acknowledgements: Neil Marsden, Jenny Williamson, Ian Collard, Gary Andrews and "others"
BAE SYSTEMS / ROYAL NAVY
The largest, most powerful and stealthiest nuclear attack submarine ever built for the Royal Navy is preparing to leave the BAE Systems shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness for sea trials.
BAE Systems is responsible for the design, build and initial in-service support for the Astute submarine class currently under construction at the company’s shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness. The first of class HMS ASTUTE is undergoing final test and commissioning work before leaving for extensive sea trials prior to entering service with the Royal Navy.
A further three Astute class vessels, AMBUSH, ARTFUL and AUDACIOUS are currently under construction with long lead orders placed for equipment for a fifth submarine. The keel for AUDACIOUS was laid at the shipyard earlier this year.
Design and construction of the Astute class involves over 7,000 design drawings and more than 1 million components.
The construction method for a nuclear submarine means that the first of class presents the challenges of both a prototype and a first production model, with many of the design elements proved and refined during the construction cycle, takes from concept design to a finished nuclear powered submarine.
Powered by a nuclear reactor more complex than those found in power stations, Astute is designed to operate over 25 years without refuelling, patrolling for up to 90 days submerged and undetected.
Safety is a primary consideration as the boat’s 98 crew live and work in close proximity to the reactor while operating in the harshest environment on the planet, the deep ocean. HMS ASTUTE is capable of undertaking a variety of mission roles including anti-ship and anti submarine action, intelligence gathering and support for land forces. She is armed with heavyweight Spearfish torpedoes and Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles capable of delivering pinpoint strikes up to 1000 kilometres from the coast.
HMS ASTUTE is also equipped with the latest stealth technology to avoid detection and the advanced Sonar 2076 system to locate and identify other vessels. [DEFPRO / MARITIME CLIPPINGS]
Families of the five lost crew members of the Breton trawler BUGALED BREIZH believe the Cornish inquest into their deaths will take them a step further towards identifying a rogue nuclear submarine they maintain sank the boat in January 2004.
They pledged to demand the truth about the BUGALED BREIZH mystery from "those whose who have withheld the truth".
Speaking in Brittany at the weekend, they said they would attend the inquest in the company of a fisherman's leader from the Bugaled's home port of Le Guilvinec who has spearheaded an unrelenting campaign for justice.
Rémy Goasguen, brother of one of the crew, said: "In France, judges have ruled that the Bugaled was sunk by a submarine. The official verdict is that the Bugaled's trawl cables were snagged by a nuclear attack submarine.
"She was dragged down and sunk in less than a minute. We are 100 per cent sure that the Royal Navy knows which submarine it was. We want to travel to the UK and give evidence and hear answers to vital questions which have never been properly answered.
"Why, oh why can't they tell us the truth about what happened? Why do they live when innocent lives are lost?"
His wife Nathalie, who has co-ordinated a five-year campaign for justice, told the Western Morning News: "We have to go to England and look these people in the eyes in front of a coroner and ask them for the truth. They say nobody knew anything about the accident.
"There was a Dutch submarine in the immediate area off The Lizard. The skipper said he heard nothing. When the Bugaled went down her bows imploded. The noise would have been enormous. How could he have heard nothing? It's ridiculous. "Just after the collision, a mystery grey helicopter appeared out of nowhere and dropped a liferaft. Then a Royal Navy diver was dropped into the sea and slashed the raft with a knife to sink it.
"Will that diver be called at the inquest to explain why he did that?" She also demanded that the inquest answer questions about a "mysterious breakdown" at Cap Gris Nez coastguard station at the time of the incident which resulted in no conversations being recorded.
Robert Bougueon, president of fishermen at Le Guilvinec and formerly a trawlerman for 17 years, said he would attend the inquest and give evidence with the aid of an interpreter.
"There are many, many unanswered questions. In France, investigations take place behind closed doors. What is positive about the inquest is that it will take place in the open and journalists and interested parties will be able to hear the evidence," he said.
Cdr Gerry Northwood, formerly captain of the destroyer HMS LIVERPOOL, which took part in Nato exercises the day after the tragedy, and now attached to the MoD press office in London, told the WMN: "We have co-operated with the French in the past and we will continue to do so. We would give evidence at the inquest if we were asked to do so.
"If it was a submarine, it was not one of ours. Who know what other subs from various nations were in that area?"
[WESTERN MORNING NEWS]
ISLE OF MAN OFFICE OF FAIR TRADING
The Office of Fair Trading has issued a reminder regarding submissions to its enquiry into Isle of Man Steam Packet Company fares:
As part of the ongoing investigation launched by the Office of Fair Trading into the prices charged by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, the Office is continuing to seek the views from members of the public and businesses. The investigation is considering the price of passenger and vehicle fares including fuel surcharges and freight charges.
The Office would like to remind any person or organisation who wishes to submit information which is relevant to the investigation; that submissions should be received no later than Friday 25 September 2009.
Comments must be made in writing either by post, email, fax or via the Office’s website. Anyone submitting comments should identify any information that they would wish to remain confidential as relevant information received may be appended to the final report.
Quote by Mr Paul Gelling, Acting Chief Officer “We are making good progress with this investigation and have now received a large number of comments from members of the public. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their valued input. It is vitally important that we receive a wide range of views and we are still welcoming submissions. We would be particularly pleased to have the views of businesses and commercial organisations that are affected either directly or indirectly by the prices charged by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company. ”
The investigation is being carried out under Section 19 of the Fair Trading Act 1996 which enables the Office of Fair Trading to conduct an investigation into any price which is of major public concern with a view to providing the Council of Ministers with information.
In 2001 the Fair Trading Act was amended to provide an additional stage of the investigation and where the subsequent report finds that particular prices are excessive and against the public interest the Council of Ministers now have powers to make an Order that can either fix prices or require them to be determined in a particular way.
Contact details for comments:-
Post: Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Investigation, Isle of Man Office of Fair Trading, Government Building, Lord Street, Douglas, Isle of Man, IM1 1LE
Fax: (01624) 686504
Submissions should be received no later than Friday 25 September 2009. Please identify any information which you would wish to remain confidential or anonymous as submissions received may be referred to in or appended to the report.
The new Mersey Ferries Terminal at Liverpool has won the 2009 Carbuncle Cup awarded by the architectural newspaper Building Design.
When an architect has done something truly awful, they deserve to be kicked." Amanda Baillieu, the august editor of the architectural newspaper Building Design, is not known for mincing her words. Faced with a building as eyewateringly dreary as Liverpool's Pier Head Ferry Terminal, though, words fail her: "It's just dross. Look at it. It's ... agh!"
Belfast-based Hamilton Architects, hang your heads in shame, for you have just won 2009's Carbuncle Cup. "We set up the cup four years ago," says Baillieu, "as a kind of anti-Stirling Prize. Architects constantly garland themselves with awards. They're tripping over them. But when you see what's being built all over the country, you have to think, hold on a minute." The cup has become to next month's Stirling Prize what the Razzies, or Golden Raspberries, are to the Oscars, a moment to pr!ck the ego of a profession not known for its shrinking violets. Fellow architects nominate their brethren whose work has not quite come up to the standards of, say, Bob the Builder.
One of this year's judges, Sean Griffiths, from architects FAT, says Liverpool's ferry terminal won not just for its derivative design, though this is bad enough: "Third-rate Zaha Hadid, a crude, jazzy-angled lump of crap, a terrible example of an architecturally illiterate client trying to be groovy and getting it so, so wrong, like a 50-year-old making a fashion faux pas in a disco."
What makes it worse, he says, is where the thing is, slap-bang on Liverpool's waterfront, a Unesco World Heritage Site, beside the city's Three Graces. "It literally is a monstrous carbuncle on the face of an old friend," he says, with a knowing nod to the Prince of Wales's infamous quip. "And it's now the gateway to my home city."
Both the architect and Merseytravel, which commissioned the building, inevitably feel not the slightest hint of shame. "We're proud of it," says a spokesman for Hamilton Architects. Us too, says another from Merseytravel, adding: "We're not desperately interested in the opinions of two journalists and an architect, to be honest."
And therein lies the problem. Because the terminal building represents one of two trends that have come to dominate British architecture. They think they got an icon, says Baillieu. Indeed they do. "With Mersey Travel we've jointly faced up to the challenge of designing an iconic building," says Hamilton Architects, "one that's vibrant and multi-use, and the nucleus of the new Pier Head Plaza, drawing the public to a formerly barren public space. It's in a location that can be viewed from all sides, so it's been conceived as a strong sculptural form."
Baillieu says: "There are too many architects out there doing funny shapes and wonky windows. Truth is, only a handful are skilful enough to do it well." The crap icon is, alas, now an all-too common sight in our cities, designed by an architect who thinks they're the next Frank Gehry, for some client who wants the next headline-grabber. Well Liverpool sure got headlines.
The second trend? The "awful drabness of buildings built under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI)", says Baillieu, like so many of the new schools and hospitals up and down the country - or the two university buildings in Nottingham and Edinburgh that came second and third in the cup.
Indeed, so bad and so numerous has bad British architecture become that it has got its own blog - badbritisharchitecture.blogspot.com - whose mission statement is "I hate the b@stards who make these buildings. So here I am, taking the p!ss out of them."
What unites both the crap icon and PFI drabness are the same underlying causes: a lack of cash and a lack of care. We've just been through a 15-year building boom. The country is awash with new office towers, buy-to-let apartment blocks, health centres and shopping malls that will be with us for generations. Most have been built by clients who may have good intentions - such as regeneration - but who are willing to stump up the money and expertise you need to get real quality. "How do these buildings slip past?" asks Baillieu. Simple.
Planning, like so much local democracy in this country, is knackered. Local council planning departments are so cash-strapped and overworked that they have no time for architectural expertise or proper, proactive consultation with us lot. And the result? Well, see for yourself at bdonline.co.uk. And weep.
ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY
VIKING - (the former Sea Container's SUPERSEACAT TWO) which has been on charter to the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company and is currently sub-chartered to Atlantico Line has been reported by Lloyds List this week as having been sold to Hellenic Seaways.
ISLE OF MAN SHIPPING REGISTER
Vessels must meet the highest of standards after an accident off the Malayian coast, the head of Manx Ship Registry has stressed.
Dick Welsh said their reputation was at stake after one of the island's ships OSTENDE MAX was in collision with a Liberian tanker FORMOSA PRODUCT BRICK on August 18.
Two crew members suffered burns and nine workers on the West African ship were reported missing.
"We must ensure that vessels are built to international standards," he said
MERSEY SAND & GRAVEL SUPPLIES
SAND SWAN - fire crews were summoned to a fire involving a generator in the engine room of the dredger operated by Mersey Sand and Gravel Supplies from Bramley Moore Dock Liverpool in the early hours of September 07. A quantity of lubricating oil and pipe insulation was severely damaged by fire.
STENA LYNX III made her final crossings of the 2009 season between Fishguard and Rosslare on September 12.
STENA NAVIGATOR is to be the new name of SEAFRANCE MANET when she debuts on the Stranraer to Belfast service this autumn.
Acknowledgements: Andrew Blundell, Ian Collard, Michael Clarke, Gary Andrews and "others"
Many visitors to this web site will be familiar with the photographic work of Gordon Hislip which appears in the nautical press, in particular European Ferry Scene & Cruise Ship Review.
Gordon, a career Irish Sea ferryman, has just launched his own web site which you can visit at www.gordonhislip.com.
Well worth adding to your list of shipping websites to visit.
CELTIC LINK FERRIES
Wexford based Celtic Link Ferries (Ireland) Ltd have announced that they are chartering a new vessel and will be opening a new service between Cherbourg and Portsmouth commencing October 2009.
The vessel to be deployed is believed to be Epic Shipping's Visentini new build that will have a capacity of 130 trucks or 500 cars as well as 1000 passengers. It is expected to be UK flagged.
The Vessel will be used on the CHERBOURG to PORTSMOUTH route during the week and will replace Celtic Link's MV DIPLOMAT on the current week-end sailing to ROSSLARE.
The ship will be used from CHERBOURG to ROSSLARE on Fridays and from ROSSLARE to CHERBOURG on Saturdays .
With a service speed of 24 knots, the crossing time between the Irish Port and the French Port will be 16 hours.
The MV DIPLOMAT will maintain the Tuesdays and Thursdays sailings from Rosslare to Cherbourg and the Wednesdays and Sundays sailings from Cherbourg to Rosslare.
The MV DIPLOMAT will be used on the CHERBOURG - PORTSMOUTH route during the week-end while the new Vessel is on the FRANCE to IRELAND route, giving Customers a guarantee of a daily departure from either CHERBOURG or PORTSMOUTH.
Celtic Link claim that for both passenger and freight customers their operation will offer the cheapest rates on the Western Channel and Irish Continental routes.
Dublin Port Company has sought and obtained a High Court injunction against named individuals and associated parties protesting at Marine Terminals. Workers at the Marine Terminals, part of the Peel Ports Group, have been on strike for eight weeks over plans to impose redundancies and cuts in pay and conditions.
"The actions which constituted dangerous illegal secondary picketing attempted to involve Dublin Port Company and other port customers in a dispute which they are not party to. The actions of protestors posed a reckless endangerment to human life. Furthermore, SIPTU's tacit support and encouragement of the dangerous and illegal action was highly irresponsible.
Instead of this appalling breach of its duty, SIPTU should condemn any action which threatens to block vessels from entering or leaving the port and certainly any action which would pose such a high risk to vessels' and people's safety," Dublin Port Co said.
[MARITIME CLIPPINGS / BUSINESS WORLD]
Around 10 people have been interviewed for the post of chief executive of Ireland's planned new ferry company. The Fastnet Line intends to operate between Cork and Wales on the Swansea route.
It is expected the successful candidate will be announced next month. Conor Buckley, head of West Cork Tourism – which formed the cooperative that founded the Fastnet Line – said it was expected a new chief executive would be chosen next month to oversee the resumption of the Cork-Swansea ferry.
"There has been a lot of interest in the job and, as soon as the chief executive is appointed, we expect things to start moving along quite quickly," Mr Buckley said. He said one of the first functions of the chief executive will be to oversee the launch of a major marketing campaign to attract British tourists to the south-west.
The service is scheduled to be up and running from March 1 next. "We would expect the marketing campaign to kick in around September or October," Mr Buckley said. Cork County Council and Fáilte Ireland have already committed around €500,000 to the marketing campaign.
One of the main tasks of the new chief executive will be to raise an additional €1.5 million in working capital which will be used to hire a crew and refit the MV JULIA to comply with Irish maritime standards.
The Port of Cork has told West Cork Tourism that it will bring the vessel back from Finland where it is currently docked. Port of Cork commercial manager, Captain Michael McCarthy, said the MV JULIA would be berthed on the city quays while its refit was being carried out.
The port authorities have worked closely with West Cork Tourism for the last two years in an effort to resume the route which was axed by Swansea-Cork Ferries 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. "The Port of Swansea has also been assisting the resumption of services," Captain McCarthy said. The MV JULIA was purchased earlier this year by a West Cork Tourism cooperative after it raised €3m. The cooperative struck a deal with a Finnish bank which has agreed to provide a loan to cover the full cost of the purchase.
The vessel formerly plied the Baltic Sea. It has 1,800 berths and is capable of carrying up to 400 cars. It had been hoped to restart the service last year but it took much longer to strike a deal with the Finnish bank than initially anticipated. As a result, it was decided not to restart the route late in the season.
It has been estimated the loss of the ferry connection cost the Cork and Kerry region more than €150m in lost tourist
FERRY TRAFFIC TO IRELAND
Ferry traffic between Britain and Ireland has dropped, but more Irish people are travelling by ferry to France.
The total number of passengers travelling by ferry from Ireland to Britain was down by 130,000 in the first part of the year, compared to last year. 'Subdued consumer' demand is the reason given by the Irish Maritime Development Office in its half-yearly passenger traffic report
Dublin Port has benefited from the switching of ferry traffic from Dún Laoghaire, according to the report from the state body for developing marine business published this week.
Dublin Port showed a growth of 1%, which is attributed to the moving of vessel capacity from Dún Laoghaire, but overall ferry business to Britain is down, the sterling-euro exchange rate is another reason blamed in the Maritime Office report.
But, in contrast, ferry passenger traffic to France, where Irish people found better euro value than at home, is up by 4%.
ISLE OF MAN SHIPPING REGISTER
A delegation from the Isle of Man will officially unveil the latest addition to the Island’s successful ship register later this month.
The launch of the £21.7 million bulk carrier ‘CALY MANX’ at the Tsuneishi Zhoushan Shipyard near Shanghai in China will form part of a mission to raise the Island’s profile as a leading international business centre. Chief Minister Tony Brown MHK, supported by Trade and Industry Minister David Cretney MHK and Director of the Isle of Man Ship Registry Dick Welsh, will meet Chinese Government officials and business leaders during the visit. Emphasis will be placed on promoting further awareness of the Island of Man Ship Registry which has gained recognition throughout the maritime world for its high standards and efficient service.
The Chief Minister said: ‘The diversity of the Isle of Man’s economic base is proving to be a great strength, particularly during the current period of global uncertainty. The Ship Registry, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, is a key element of what the Isle of Man has to offer and we will be highlighting its many advantages in China with the aim of generating more business.’
Mr Cretney added: ‘We are most grateful for this opportunity to witness the delivery of the CALY MANX and also to develop the Island’s interests in the international arena. China possesses one of the world’s most powerful economies, so it is important for the Isle of Man to strengthen its links via a series of face-to-face meetings with influential contacts.’
Construction of the 190-metre cargo ship has been commission by Lars Ugland, the Douglas-based chief executive officer of local shipping companies LTU Management Ltd and Seven Mile Shipping. It will set sail under the Isle of Man ensign following the official naming ceremony on September 30 which is to be performed by Manx singer and actress Samantha Barks.
Mr Ugland said: ‘I am a great supporter of the Isle of Man in general and the Ship Registry in particular. It is extremely cost efficient, the standards are world class and the service we receive is second to none. I believe that continuing to promote the Ship Registry in countries such as China will lead to more ship owners registering their vessels in the Isle of Man.’
Mr Ugland added that when he looked for a suitable ‘godmother’ to name the CALY MANX, singer and actress Samantha Barks immediately sprang to mind. He said:
‘Samantha is somebody who has raised the profile of the Isle of Man to the wider public and we feel that she shows to the youth of the Island that with hard work and dedication you can fulfil your dreams.’
The Laxey teenager, who found fame on BBC talent show ‘I’d Do Anything’, will take centre stage during the ceremony, cutting a rope to send a bottle of champagne crashing against the bow of the ship as she names it CALY MANX.
Dick Welsh said: ‘I am delighted with this opportunity to promote the Isle of Man and its ship register and we have Lars to thank for putting together such a distinguished delegation to celebrate the delivery of CALY MANX. Sam Barks is an inspired choice to name the vessel. It is a great honour for any lady to perform this important feature of the ceremony. The choice of “godmother” means a great deal to the owners of the vessel and the crew and Samantha ticks all the right boxes. We are delighted that Lars has chosen the Isle of Man as his home and place of business and the CALY MANX will be a valuable addition to the Manx fleet which is growing in size and influence year on year. This visit will allow us to promote the flag in China and to cement relations with the Japanese Tsuneishi group, owners of the Zhoushan shipyard.’
The CALY MANX will be the first of three new vessels to carry the Manx name, with STAR MANX and GERALDINE MANX scheduled for delivery on November 30 and January 25 respectively. They will fly the Manx flag as they sail to major ports throughout the world, transporting bulk cargoes of iron ore, cement, coal, grain and phosphate.
ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY
MANANNAN returned twice to Douglas this week whilst operating the 07:30 sailing to Liverpool. On Tuesday she put back due to a medical emergency on board.
On Friday the company reported a 'minor technical issue' which due to the weather conditions in the Mersey let the master to return to Douglas in the interests of safety.
The delayed sailing to Liverpool which was operated by SNAEFELL which departed around 11:30. However, due to the volume of returning Manx Grand Prix traffic there was insufficient capacity to accommodate all of it which was switched to the afternoon sailing operated by MANANNAN.
With SNAEFELL sailing to Liverpool, there was a knock on delay to that vessel's return sailing to Dublin. This had been due to depart Douglas at 18:00 but was put back to 19:45 with return sailing timed for 23:15.
HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH / HMS PRINCE OF WALES - The first components, to begin assembly operations for the new UK Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers, arrived at Rosyth shipyards Scotland this week.
This has been the first of a series of about 20 shipments that are going to continue until January 2012. These components have been built by Babcock, member of the Aircraft Carrier Association, in Appledore and the transport has been carried out in cooperation with experts from the Ministry of Defence.
HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH is expected to enter service between 2014 and 2016 and HMS PRINCE OF WALES between 2016 and 2018. They will have a 65,000 tonnes displacement and will be 280-meters long. With 13,000 squared meters of decks they will be able to carry up to 50 aircraft, including the Lockheed Martin F-35B STOVL (Short Take Off Vertical Landing) fighter jets and AEW&C (Airborne Early Warning and Control) systems.
[MARITIME CLIPPINGS / AVION NEWS]
SEATRUCK FERRIES / MAIB
Listing incident followed by the grounding of a ro-ro cargo vessel at Cleveleys Beach, On 31 January 2008, the Bahamas registered ro-ro cargo vessel, RIVERDANCE, grounded and became stranded on the Shell Flats, off Cleveleys Beach, Lancashire.
The prevailing severe weather conditions prevented the vessel from being refloated, and subsequent attempts to salvage her failed. RIVERDANCE was finally cut up in-situ. Fortunately, the crew were all safely recovered and there was no pollution.
The following is a summary of the main causal factors and key events that were identified during the investigation:
The true weights and the disposition of the vessel's cargo were not known.
The stability of RIVERDANCE was not calculated before sailing from Warrenpoint.
Ballast was never adjusted regardless of cargo or expected weather.
The vessel was known to be tender.
Some openings on the weather deck were not closed off in anticipation of the expected poor weather.
The vessel was proceeding in following seas at a speed slightly slower than that of the following wave train. Under these circumstances, a reduction in the vessel's stability can occur and more pronounced rolling can be experienced.
Guidance on this phenomenon is promulgated by the IMO and other sources.
As the vessel approached more shallow waters, the seas became steeper and rolling increased further. This resulted in a small shift of cargo to port.
The vessel sustained a series of large rolls to port which caused additional trailers and their contents to shift.
In an attempt to bring the vessel's head into the wind, the master decided to make a broad alteration to starboard.
This exacerbated the port heel causing the deck edge to immerse, possibly allowing water to enter the vessel through openings on her weather deck. Ingress of water would have further reduced the vessel's residual stability.
The port main engine tripped due to the excessive list and, with only one engine, there was not enough power to bring the ships head into the wind. The vessel lay beam on to the wind and seas, rolling heavily with a large list to port as she drifted towards shallow water. The weather deck on the port side continued to be intermittently immersed.
The vessel took the ground and returned to an almost upright position. An attempt was made to redistribute the ballast to compensate for the expected port list once she refloated on the rising tide.
Because the disposition of the weights on board the vessel was unknown, the amount of ballast transferred was based on the master's estimate. The owner's shore based crisis management team did not have access to accurate stability information. Had this been available, they would have been able to provide better support to the master.
Attempts to use the engines to refloat the vessel were unsuccessful and resulted in RIVERDANCE drifting closer to the shore.
RIVERDANCE grounded again and began to roll progressively more heavily to starboard until she came to rest on her starboard bilge. During this period the vessel lost all power and the crew were evacuated.
The stability of the vessel and security of its cargo should always be verified before sailing.
Safety Management Procedures should ensure that relevant guidance, such as that from the IMO, is monitored and effectively provided to those requiring it.
Terminal operators should have procedures in place to ensure vessels are given accurate cargo information, including the weight and stowage of cargo to be loaded, so that vessels can accurately calculate their stability.
Hauliers and shippers should be provided with guidance on the additional securing of cargo needed on trailers intended for shipping by sea, to withstand the greater forces that may be experienced.
Owners/Managers of vessels should give careful consideration to securing the use of third party services designed to enhance the support and oversight available to the Master in an emergency. The pre-planning and support provided by an Emergency Response Service, such as that delivered by many of the major classification societies, will greatly enhance the ability to analyse the potential risks throughout any incident, and to identify the optimum course of action
This accident was the subject of an MAIB Investigation, which can be found on MAIB's website at: www.maib.gov.uk
SEATRUCK RESPONSE TO MAIB REPORT
Seatruck Ferries has hit back hard at the strong implicit criticism contained in the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) report into the grounding of its freight ferry RIVERDANCE near to Blackpool last year. The ro-ro operator insists that MAIB's findings "conflict" with the results of independent investigations into the loss carried out on its behalf, in what marks probably the first time that a shipping concern has openly rejected a MAIB report.
Crucially, Seatruck believes the vessel was fully compliant with stability rules. The MAIB investigation dismissed the notion that the 1977-built, 6,041 gt RIVERDANCE was hit by a freak wave, and argued that it was travelling too slowly for storm conditions, thereby contributing to its unsteadiness. Crucially, inaccurate cargo information meant that vital pre-sailing stability calculations were not carried out, nor could have been, and that vent flaps on the main deck were left open, allowing water ingress once the vessel began to roll. Ballast was not adjusted to take account of the weather.
But Seatruck came out fighting with a statement: "The MAIB concludes that the RIVERDANCE's initial list arose due to shifting cargo, but an increase in this list resulted from a number of other factors. Seatruck's experts disagree. They conclude that shifting cargo alone produced a list severe enough to set in chain the sequence of events which led to the grounding. The vessel sailed fully compliant with all stability legislation," it said. According to Seatruck, any new rules to ensure vehicular cargo shipped in ro-ro vessels should put the onus for securing of cargo on, or in, trailers on shippers.
HSS DISCOVERY departure for Venezuela is now believed to have been put back to September 12. It is now believed she will carry fuel bowsers on the vehicle deck to increase range.
HSS STENA EXPLORER - the Daily post newspaper reported this week that a syndicate of 25 crew members have shared a £2.2m jackpot on the National Lottery on Wednesday August 26 amounting to almost £75,000 each!