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NEWS BULLETIN - December 2009

December 30

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Chris Allen,  Michael Pryce, and "others"



SUPERFAST V - a press release confirmed that the new vessel will be deployed on the Portsmouth to Santander service. Departures from Portsmouth being 11:15 Friday and Tuesday arriving Santander at 12.15 Saturday and Wednesday

Return sailings from Santander to Portsmouth will be 15:15 on Saturday and Wednesday arriving 14:15 on Sunday and Thursday. [Photo BF Press Release]

PONT-AVEN will depart Plymouth 16:30 on Sunday arriving Santander at 13:00 Monday and depart 16:30 on Monday for Portsmouth arriving 17:00 on Tuesday. Departure from Portsmouth will be 11:00 on Wednesday arriving Santander at 12:00 on Thursday. Departure from Santander will be at 15:00 on Thursday with arrival at Plymouth 09:30 on Friday.

Unfortunately it appears that given the above schedule the once popular ex Plymouth mini-cruise market is not being catered for due during the main season as the PONT-AVEN continues to serve Portsmouth.

It appears from a posting on the Brittany Ferries Enthusiasts Group that SUPERFAST V will named CAP FINISTERE.


Cammell Laird has secured one of its largest commercial ship upgrade orders in the last five years to extend a cable laying ship. Work on the SKAGERRAK operated by Nexans Norway will commence mid January and will involve extending the vessel by 10 metres in preparation for a North Sea cable laying contract.


Another update has been posted to the Duke of Lancaster Appreciation Society web site giving details of the ship's arrival at Llanerch-y-Mor.


As speculation continues as to the future of HSS STENA EXPLORER on the Holyhead to Dún Laoghaire route it appears that a press release posted by the Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company on their web site several weeks ago contains the following statement:

"Next February the HSS Stena Explorer will be replaced by a smaller craft. In April 2011, the current agreement will expire. We are in active discussions with Stena and several other operators with the key objective of maintaining and developing our ferry business." [Click Here to read the full press release]

It had already been referred to in a previous news update that other operators had been approached with a view to using Dún Laoghaire though this is the first time anything has appeared in print suggesting that the HSS STENA EXPLORER will not operate during the 2010 season.

The Stena Line web site states: "Stena Explorer HSS service is suspended due to Annual Refit from 6th Jan 2010 until further notice".

The online booking system on December 30 was only showing travel options from Holyhead by STENA NORDICA and STENA ADVENTURER through until May.



Traffic Figures:



Year to Date





















Route Performance:














Director of Harbours, Captain Michael Brew comments: “Severe adverse weather conditions during November resulted in eight sailings having to be cancelled which impacted adversely on passenger numbers. It is very unusual for any sailings of the BEN-MY-CHREE to be cancelled in fact the vessel has regularly had years without any.  Excluding the impact of the adverse weather cancellations, passenger carryings were reasonable for this time of year.”


The captain of a passenger ferry has been disciplined after his vessel narrowly avoided colliding with a gas tanker in the River Mersey. His ferry, the Royal Daffodil, was on a sight-seeing tour of HMS Illustrious when it strayed too close the gas tanker Ramira in October.

The vessels were 140ft (42m) apart before the ferry took avoiding action. The incident was recorded as a "close quarters situation", a spokesman for the ferry operator, Merseytravel, said.

He added: "The harbour master has correctly described this incident as a 'close quarters situation' - not a near miss - and has established that the vessels were 140ft apart at their closest point. "At no stage were they inches from disaster as has been reported.

"The harbour master has also recommended that Mersey Ferries instigate formal written bridge procedures and we have already acted on this.

He said the captain and mate, who were on the ferry's bridge at the time of the incident, had been disciplined by Mersey Ferries, not demoted, and were carrying out their full duties as normal. "This was a regrettable and isolated lapse in our normal high standards of seamanship. "It is equally upsetting for the skipper who hitherto had a 32-year unblemished record with Mersey Ferries."

The company added that its ferries made more than 18,000 river crossings every year and this was the first such incident "in living memory".


Many visitors to the Irish Sea Shipping web site may well be familiar with the name of Albert (Bert) Novelli.  Sadly Bert Novelli passed away in hospital on December 23 after a short illness.

Bert was a very active member of the World Ship Society, where he was a regular visitor to Manchester and Merseyside Branch Meetings, and also of the Blue Funnel Association. Bert’s professional career in the maritime and aviation industries enabled him to travel extensively and record the world wide maritime scene over several decades. Beyond retirement Bert was able to continue his photography from the decks of various cruise ships.

Many people will have enjoyed Bert's slide, and latterly digital, presentations at World Ship Society meetings extending well beyond the north-west of England and also at Blue Funnel Association gatherings. As well as being a talented ship photographer he was an excellent raconteur and his shows were punctuated with many amusing anecdotes and comments.

Bert will be missed by many, though the memory of his presentations will be long remembered by those who had the pleasure of being present.

December 20

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Ian Collard, Andrew Moore, John Hake and "others"



The popular Ferries of the Irish Sea Calendar 2010 still available via Ferry Publications for anyone who hasn't got yet.

Copies are also available for sale in the Terminal Shop, Larne Harbour and in the Topaz Filling Station in Dublin Port.


SUPERFAST V has been sold to Brittany Ferries by Attica Holdings for 81.5m with delivery scheduled for February 2010. It would appear that she will be based at Portsmouth and operate to Santander and Cherbourg.  It is speculated that 5 UK - Santander sailings will be operated each week. Two by PONT-AVEN, two by SUPERFAST V and one by CONTENTIN. BARFLEUR sailings to Cherbourg from Poole will cease, though NORMANDIE EXPRESS will continue to serve Poole during the season.


DFDS have announced the acquisition of  Norfolkline from A. P. Moller - Maersk for 346 million in a cash and share deal. A.P. Moller - Maersk is to become a major shareholder in DFDS with 31 % of shares.

DFDS’ and A. P. Moller - Maersk have entered into an agreement under which DFDS acquires Norfolkline for a consideration of 346 million. The acquisition creates Northern Europe’s leading sea-based transport network by combining two leading shipping companies. Combined pro forma revenues will be 1.5 billion in 2009 and a combined workforce, of 6,200 employees.

A perfect match
”This is a perfect match,” says DFDS’
CEO Niels Smedegaard. “Norfolkline is a leading ferry and logistics company with a strong route network covering the North Sea, the English Channel and the Irish Sea, combined with a considerable logistics operation. This means, that DFDS’ network in the Baltic Sea and the North Sea is expanded to include two new markets, the Channel and The Irish Sea. We both serve passengers and freight customers and can now provide transport solutions spanning the whole of Northern Europe – from Russia to Ireland.”

Network strategy
The driving force behind the acquisition is DFDS’ network strategy. “Through this acquisition we gain greater scale and come closer to our vision of building a European sea based transport network. The integration of our companies will generate considerable synergies and we expect this transaction to improve our ability to offer our customers more and improved services as well as improve our earnings level once a market recovery sets in. I am really looking forward to working with our future colleagues from Norfolkline to develop our services further towards our customers,” says Niels Smedegaard.

Consideration and ownership
The debt-free purchase price of
346 mill. consists of a cash payment of 170 mill. and shares in DFDS equalling 28.8 % of the share capital. Including an additional purchase of shares, A. P. Moller - Maersk’s ownership will equal approximately 31%.

“We are looking forward to becoming a major shareholder in DFDS and are convinced that the new company will create value for its owners,” says Søren Skou, Partner and member of the Executive Board of A. P. Moller - Maersk.

The transaction is subject to a number of conditions, including satisfactory approvals by relevant competition authorities.

SAGA MOON is believed sold to Ferry TMC of Mexico and due to be renamed SANTA MARCELA


As speculation continues over the future of HSS sailings to Dún Laoghaire continues it appears that the harbour company issued a tender  during November for the former fast craft berth (berth 4) which was used by STENA SEALYNX vessels. The refurbishment was to include the existing linkspan, installation of new fendering.


Cork County Council is to invest €200,000 in the new Cork-Swansea ferry, the  MV Julia, which is set to sail on March 1, 2010.

The Fastnet Line, is currently raising working capital from private companies and venture capitalists. The Fastnet Line is issuing  bonds at €50,000 each, which are repayable over a four-year term.

County manager Martin Riordan won backing from all 48 councillors yesterday for the local authority's investment. The council has also promised additional money to market the new service and councillors want their  counterparts in Kerry and the Government to put their hands in their pockets to aid the venture.

Ger Power, the council's head of finance, said that under the Local Government Act of 2001 it was entitled to take such action if it was considered desirable to promote community interest. Mr Power said the cost  of the bond will be charged to the reserve established from the sale of its interests in the Swansea-Cork ferry company in 1995.

That company ceased trading in 2006 and it is estimated that since then the  lack of sailing has cost the south-west region?150 million in lost tourism  revenue. Mr Riordan said he was particularly impressed with the fundraising  carried out by West Cork Tourism and the fact they had already purchased  their ferry.

"I've never seen such a successful fundraising initiative," the manager  said.

Cllr Noel Harrington (FG) said the council wasn't alone as other corporate entities had purchased bonds. He added that he was anxious to see Fáilte Ireland get involved in marketing the ferry as soon as possible.

Cllr John O'Sullivan (FG) praised the ferry owners and said their business plan proposed that restarting the service would provide a €40m a year boost to the region.

Cllr Alan Coleman (FF) said that Kerry would also benefit and its county council couldn't stand by and not invest.

"The 'Merchant Princes' should also come on board. Corporate Cork also needs to step up to the plate," he said.

Cllr Jim Daly (FG) said several companies had already invested in the bonds, including the Clona Food Group which had spent €300,000.

Mr Coleman suggested that the county manager and county mayor lead a delegation to Minister for Enterprise Mary Coughlan seeking Government investment.

Mr Riordan said he would discuss that issue with West Cork Tourism and if they wanted a delegation he would be happy to go on it.


MANANNAN entered Cammell Laird #5 dry dock on Friday December 18 for refit.

BEN-MY-CHREE - On Tuesday December 15 a technical problem was experienced on the morning sailing to Heysham. The ship developed a fuel transfer pump fault. Due to tidal conditions at Heysham in the interests of safety the master decided to have repairs undertaken before entering the harbour. She arrived Heysham around 16:00. The evening round trip from Douglas was cancelled.


RFA SIR PERCIVALE - finally arrived at Canada Graving Dock, Liverpool on Wednesday December 16, 2009. She had departed Marchwood (Southampton) under tow of tug BRAVEHEART on Sunday December 13. She will be demolished along with RFA GREY ROVER at the ship recycling facility.


In a written reply the junior UK transport minister Paul Clark has turned down a request from Liverpool City Council to allow turnaround cruises from the council-run Liverpool Cruise Terminal which was built using a grant from the European Regional Development Fund and the North West Development Agency.

Mr Clark says that the original grant decision was made on the basis of the benefits to local tourism from port calls, normally lasting a day. It was assessed that there was unlikely to be any significant distortion to competition in the market for port of call cruise services resulting from the provision of grant. It was however judged at the time that changing the use of the terminal to permit turnaround cruises to operate from that location could raise competition issues in relation to other ports operating in this market.

Earlier this year Liverpool City Council asked the Department for Transport if it could change the use of the terminal to allow turnaround. The Department has concluded that the proposed change of use would be likely to have “an unfair and adverse effect on competition between Liverpool and other cruise ports”.

Mr Clark's statement says: “In making the competition assessment, account was taken of information from a number of other ports which provide cruise opportunities on a similar scale to Liverpool and serve overlapping customer markets within Britain.

The evidence demonstrates that it would be unfair to allow one port to benefit from a publicly

funded development when competitors have found, or would have to find, private money to achieve the same objective.”

He adds: “Liverpool City Council has had considerable success in developing its cruise terminal to attract some of the largest cruise ships in the world. I hope this business continues to thrive. The market for supplying turnaround cruises is, however, a different and highly competitive one. It is right that that business within this market should go where customers get best value without distortion of the market by subsidy.

It is for the Port of Liverpool to consider whether there are options to develop the turnaround cruise business at Liverpool on a purely competitive basis.” [MARITIME GLOBAL NET]


The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) have announced that 5 foreign flagged ships were under detention in UK ports during October 2009 after failing Port State Control (PSC) inspection.

Latest monthly figures show that there were 5 new detentions of foreign flagged ships in UK ports during October 2009.The overall rate of detentions compared with inspections carried out over the last twelve months was 3.45% this is slightly up from Septembers twelve month rate.

During the month of October, 150 Port State Control inspections were carried out in the
. A total of 39 vessels had no deficiencies raised against them, 78 had between one and five deficiencies, 24 had between six and ten deficiencies, 6 had between eleven and twenty deficiencies and there were 3 vessels inspected that had more than 20 deficiencies.
Out of the detained vessels, 2 were registered with flag states listed on the Paris MOU white list, 2 were registered with flag states on the black list and 1 was with an unlisted flag state.

A 1,494 Gt. General Cargo was detained in Rochester Kent because the emergency generator and the GMDSS Radio batteries were inoperative. The maintenance of the ship and equipment was not according to SMS. This was the third detention of this vessel since 2007.


Date & Place of detention: 01/10/2009 – Belfast

Vessel Name: LUGANO (Bulk Carrier)
GT: 12,578
IMO No: 9244087
Flag: Switzerland
Company: Massoel Meridian Ltd
Classification Society Bureau Veritas (BV)
Recognised Organisation: Bureau Veritas (BV)
Recognised Organisation for ISM: Bureau Veritas (BV)
Summary: 16 deficiencies 9 grounds for detention

The vessel was detained in Belfast for 4 days because there were major non conformities in the maintenance; documentation; resources & personnel; plans for shipboard operations and emergency preparedness. Deficiencies included the rescue boat was not ready for immediate use, the steering was disconnected and seized, the electric start was disconnected, the aft buoyancy tank was full of water and the righting bag was lashed down. The embarkation ladders – rope at hard eyes was rotten; the vessel familiarisation was poor and the chief officer was unable to identify the davit launch or throw over rafts. Other deficiencies included; 2 lifebuoy lights were not working and the port and starboard rescue boats davit slewing limit switches were seized. The vessel was released on 04/10/2009.

Date & Place of detention 05/10/2009 –- Newport

Vessel Name: B. INDIA (Bulk Carrier)
GT: 25,742
IMO No:8204016
Flag: Panama
Company: Portunato C & Srl
Classification Society: Lloyds Register (LR)
Recognised Organisation: Registro Italiano Navale (RINA)
Recognised Organisation for ISM: Registro Italiano Navale (RINA) Lloyds Register (LR)
Summary: 21 deficiencies 2 grounds for detention

The vessel was detained in Newport because the fire and abandon ship drills carried out showed lack of emergency preparedness by the ships crew and officers. A major non conformity was identified in respect of the maintenance of ship and equipment, which was not according to SMS.

Deficiencies included; no records of rest on board for the master; the emergency generator was not operational under load; the surveyors identity was not requested when they boarded the vessel; the fire main was holed and hydrants leaking. In addition there were cockroaches in the galley; the meat room temperature was not as required and the fish room was not operational, also there was no hot water available in the galley.
The vessel was still detained at 31/10/2009.

Date & Place of detention: 07/10/2009 – (Silvertown)

Vessel Name: CHRISTINE O (Bulk Carrier)
GT: 18,070
IMO No: 9116137
Flag: Antigua & Barbuda
Company: Meridian Marine Management
Classification Society: Germanischer Lloyd (GL)
Recognised Organisation: Germanischer Lloyd (GL)
Recognised Organisation for ISM: Germanischer Lloyd (GL)
Summary: 41 deficiencies 7 grounds for detention

The vessel was detained in Silvertown for 14 days because the starboard lifeboat was inoperative; the ballast, fuel and other tanks had inoperative valves; there were a number of toilets that did not flush and the emergency lighting, batteries and switches were inoperative. Other deficiencies identified included: the engine room and galley fire detectors were masked; the saveall drain hole bolts were missing; the emergency generator was not holding the load; the tank gauge valves were held open in the engine room and steering gear flat. 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 on 20/10/2009.

Date & Place of detention: 14/10/2009 – Rochester
Vessel Name: DANA 1 (General Cargo)
GT: 1,494
IMO No: 7310973
Flag: Georgia
Company: JSG Frim.
Classification Society: Shipping Register Ukraine (SRU)
Recognised Organisation: Shipping Register Ukraine (SRU)
Recognised Organisation for ISM: Shipping Register Ukraine (SRU)
Summary: 37 deficiencies 6 grounds for detention

The vessel was detained in
Rochester for 12 days because the emergency generator and the GMDSS radio batteries were inoperative. Major non conformities were identified in respect of the emergency preparedness; the maintenance of the ship and equipment and the crews lack of familiarity with the ship. Deficiencies identified included: the port lifeboat could not be launched; manlines port and starboard were rotten; the escape ladder was missing from the generator room and the galley fire extinguisher was empty. In addition the galley was dirty; the grease traps missing and the ventilation dirty; the portside main deck was slippery and the hydraulic hatch controls were leaking oil. This vessel, which had been previously detained in 2007 and 2008, was released from the current detention on 25/10/2009.

Date & Place of detention: 19/10/2009 – Southampton
Vessel Name: VINALINES GLORY (Oil Tanker)
GT 30,042
IMO No:9337303
Flag: Vietnam
Company: Thome Ship Management
Classification Society: Det Norse Veritas (DNV)
Recognised Organisation: Det Norse Veritas (DNV)
Vietnamese Register of Shipping (VRS)
Recognised Organisation for ISM: Vietnamese Register of Shipping (VRS)

Summary: 16 deficiencies 5 grounds for detention

The vessel was detained in
Southampton for 5 days because the maintenance of the ship and equipment and the resources and personnel were not according to SMS. A major non conformity was identified in respect of these issues. Deficiencies included: the secondary means of starting of the emergency generator was inoperative; the pressure gauges at the emergency fire pump were inoperative; and the portable fire extinguisher used for stand by during loading operations was discharged. In addition senior officers had not undergone formalised Amos training and were unable to quickly find relevant inspection and maintenance records and instructions for the life - saving and fire fighting equipment. The vessel was released from detention on 23/10/2009.


Many people will remember the magnificent John Brown built steam yacht NAHLIN which spent some years berthed in Liverpool whilst undergoing some preliminary restoration work

NAHLIN is a yacht previously owned by the Romanian Royal Family. NAHLIN is one of the last of three large steam yachts constructed in the UK. She was built for Lady Annie Henrietta Yule, heiress of Sir David Yule, was launched in 1930 and carried a crew of 58.

Lady Yule ordered three small private cruise ships in 1929 from John Brown & Company, Clydebank with NAHLIN being the first built. In 1934 NAHLIN was classified as one of the biggest private cruise yachts ever built in the U.K.

In 1936 NAHLIN was chartered by King Edward VIII and used by him and Mrs. Wallis Simpson during their love affair. The yacht was bought in 1937 by the Romanian Royal Family and renamed LUCEAFARUL and later LIBERTATEA.

She was owned by the Romanian Ministry of Culture under order no. 3041, and in service as a charter yacht, a sailing museum of yacht building and development as well as a floating restaurant on the river Danube.

After the Romanian revolution the yacht was sold to a privatised company and in 1999 NAHLIN returned to British waters and today is registered in her home port of Glasgow.

She spent a considerable amount of time in Liverpool, berthed at Sandon Dock where much early restoration work was undertaken.

On July 27, 2005 NAHLIN departed Liverpool on board the semi submersible barge carrier CONDOCK V and taken to Germany.

Restoration has been underway at Blohm & Voss, Hamburg for some time and she was due to undertake sea trails on Monday December 14.


A stark warning was issued by the Government yesterday that crucial funding for a sea link between Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly may be lost amid deadlock over plans to enhance it.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said the limbo over plans for a new ferry terminal linking the Isles with the mainland could see the money it would provide, which makes up the bulk of the £44 million cost of the scheme, held back.

This could see the go-ahead for the link being postponed until around the time of the General Election, when whichever party wins is expected to make massive cuts in public spending.

"There is a possibility of the scheme losing its priority status and the funding may be deferred," a DfT spokesman told the Western Morning News. The news comes after Cornwall councillors sensationally rejected proposals to build a single passenger and freight handling facility for the ferry in Penzance.

An alternative split site scheme was due to be discussed at a Cornwall Council Cabinet meeting today, but the agenda item was withdrawn at the last minute.

It leaves the £44 million bid, vital for the economy of Penzance and the Scilly Isles, in limbo and with the clock ticking.

The DfT deferring the money would be the worst possible case for the Cornwall Council-led Route Partnership consortium, which is behind the plans.

The department's spokesman said Cornwall Council should act quickly. "In order for this major scheme to proceed, it is now for Cornwall Council to submit an approved business case at the earliest opportunity," she said. "This will require all the relevant statutory procedures, such as listed building consent to have been completed at a local level.

"Any major change to the scheme at this stage would result in Cornwall Council having to submit a new business case for re-appraisal."

West Cornwall MP Andrew George said he would be "calling on the Shipping Minister [Paul Clark] to intervene with me in an attempt to salvage this project."

On Monday, members of Cornwall Council's strategic planning committee threw out a bid for a single passenger and freight handling facility, known as Option A, in Penzance.

The decision prompted jubilation from campaigners who feared it would destroy the town's heritage, as well as warnings from businesses who said it would ruin the local economy.

Cornwall Council's Cabinet was due to discuss the alternative Option C for a "split-site" facility at their meeting today.

However, the agenda item was withdrawn to allow further discussions to take place.

The report which would have been presented made for interesting reading however, detailing spiralling costs for a split-site passenger and freight terminal.

It says overall building costs for Option C were estimated at £200,000 less than Option A. But, a shipping company considering tendering for the route estimated the costs of shuttling freight from an out-of-town depot to be an additional £330,000 annually.

A year long delay before Option C was ready was estimated to cost an extra £5 million, due to inflation in construction charges and exchange rates in paying for the new vessel.

Most worrying is that the report suggests Cornwall council tax payers would be saddled with debt for an extra 18 years, with Option A paid back after 12 years but Option C paid back after 30 years. This is because Option C is more expensive to deliver and the higher operating costs would mean a lower charter fee – the amount the operator pays to Cornwall Council. If Option A went ahead, Cornwall Council would expect to pay off its £10 million debt in a decade, allowing subsequent surplus to fund a new vessel.

The double whammy of higher cost and lower annual income would take 30 years to pay off and fail to provide a replacement ship at the end of the period. The comments were dismissed as "jiggery-pokery" by John Maggs, spokesman for Friends of Penzance Harbour, which is supporting Option C.

Meanwhile news of the rejection was sinking in on the Scilly Isles with many people calling Radio Scilly to express their disgust. At a full meeting of the Council of the Isles of Scilly yesterday, debate on the subject was suspended until discussion could take place with Cornwall Council.



It is seven years since the former SEACAT SCOTLAND departed from the Irish Sea however Andrew Moore was in Hurghada recently and Andrew photographed her. She is now named AL HUDA 1.




SHIELD has been secured on a time charter by Northlink to operate on Nortlink services to Orkney and Shetland replacing the 38 year old HASCOSAY.

Like HASCOSAY the new ship can also accommodate up 12 passengers but the twin berth cabins are now en suite.

NorthLink Chief Executive, Bill Davidson said: "I'm delighted that we have secured this vessel which I feel sure will be welcomed by our many freight and livestock customers.  HASCOSAY and her crew have done a sterling job for us over the last seven years but her age is beginning to tell and to secure reliability going forward as well as the necessary space to meet demand the time was right for us to replace HASCOSAY".


Plans for a new fast ferry link between South Wales and Devon have taken a major step forward.

Operator Severn Link, which last month announced plans to launch first regular fast ferry service across the Bristol Channel, connecting Swansea and Ilfracombe, has taken delivery of the first ferry in its fleet.

The 360-passenger, 34-knot Kvaerner FlyingCat FASTCAT SHANKLIN passenger catamaran has been bought from
Isle of Wight operator WightLink for a seven-figure sum. It is the first delivery in a two-vessel deal due to be completed in the new year as part of the £3m new ferry link which will create an initial 40 jobs.

But it is thought the new route between Swansea and Ilfracombe will create hundreds more jobs by providing a major stimulus for tourism and day visits between Wales and the West Country.

If the Swansea to Ilfracombe route is a success, more links could follow, with Penarth to Minehead possibly among them.

The ferry, which previously operated under Wightlink ownership, has now been lifted from the water at Portchester in Portsmouth and is currently undergoing a full exterior repaint, rebranding and overhaul.

Once the repaint is complete, Severn Link will move the as yet unnamed ferry to its new base in Swansea, where a full interior refit will commence prior to the vessel going into service in March.

The entire refurbishment is expected to cost in the region of £100,000, with all suppliers for the interior refit being sourced wherever possible from Swansea and South Wales.

Geoff Metcalf, managing director of Severn Link, said yesterday: “Completion of the purchase by Severn Link of the FastCat Shanklin from Wightlink Ferries brings closer to fruition the company’s plans to run ferry services in the Bristol Channel commencing in spring 2010.

“This excellent modern vessel will make a crossing from Swansea to Ilfracombe fun, fast and affordable. Severn Link is currently in the process of obtaining the necessary approvals and weather permits from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, which will all be in place prior to the new vessel being transferred from Portsmouth to Swansea.”

The passenger-only ferries will run all year round taking around 50 minutes to complete the crossing.


December 13

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Ian Collard and "others"



As from December 07, 2009 Cammell Laird Gibraltar has been renamed Gibdock, following the sale of the rights in the historic brand to Cammell Laird Shiprepairers and Shipbuilders of Birkenhead in the UK for an undisclosed sum.

[Dredging News / Maritime Clippings]


The Fastnet line web site has been updated and the online booking system is now available. The inaugural sailing will be from Cork to Swansea on Monday March 01, 2010.


Ferry passenger numbers through all Ireland ports increased during the third quarter of 2009 by 2pc compared to the same period in 2008 to 1,860,194 passengers but fell slightly in the first nine months of the year, according to the latest figures from the Irish Maritime Development Office.

The number of cars carried also rose during the same period by 2pc.The rise in third quarter passenger volumes is noteworthy as it is traditionally the busiest period of the year with over 37pc of all passengers being carried between July and September. The cross channel routes to the UK saw an increase in passenger traffic by 2pc with the total number of passengers travelling up by 30,000 compared to the same period in 2008. Services to and from the UK account for 90pc of the total passenger market.

On the Ireland continental routes, ferry passenger traffic to France grew by a further 8pc in the third quarter of 2009. The continental ferry passenger services are operated out of Rosslare (77pc share) and Cork (13pc) to Cherbourg, Roscoff, and Le Havre. Four shipping lines operate mixed freight and passenger services between Ireland and France.

The overall volume of ferry passengers declined by 1pc for the first 9 months of 2009. This compares to an overall backdrop of a 12pc decline in the number of UK tourist to Ireland, which is largely attributed to the continued weakness of Sterling to Euro exchange rate but also weaker consumer demand in both the UK and Ireland.

"We partially attribute the resilient performance of the passenger ferry sector to a combination of increased marketing and pricing strategies by the larger operators coupled with increases in vessel capacity and frequency on the main routes. A reduction in the number of airline services to regional airports in the UK could also have had a positive impact on ferry volumes," IMDO said.



The Isle of Man has welcomed another significant addition to its Ship Registry following the delivery of a new bulk carrier the STAR MANX.

The official naming ceremony took place last week at the Tsuneishi Zhoushan Shipyard near Shanghai in China.

STAR MANX is the second of three new vessels commissioned by Lars Ugland, the Douglas-based chief executive officer of LTU Management Ltd and Seven Mile Shipping, to carry the Manx name.

Sailing under the Isle of Man ensign, it has entered a five-year charter with Norwegian company Grieg Star Shipping and embarked on its maiden voyage to transport a bulk cargo of grain from Seattle to Japan.

The vessel is an identical sister to the CALY MANX which was delivered from the same shipyard at the end of September after a naming ceremony performed by Manx singer and actress Sam Barks and attended by an Isle of Man Government delegation.

The construction and delivery of the STAR MANX has further strengthened the Isle of Man’s relations with the Japanese Tsuneishi group, owners of the Zhoushan shipyard.

Dick Welsh, Director of the Isle of Man Ship Registry, said: ‘This is another important addition to the Manx fleet which continues to grow in size and influence each year.

‘Awareness of the Island as a maritime centre of excellence is increasing, particularly in the Far East, and we intend to capitalise on that interest in order to generate further business opportunities.

‘We are once again grateful to Lars Ugland for his continued support and look forward to the delivery of the “Geraldine Manx” early in the New Year to complete the series.’


RFA SIR PERCIVALE - the much weather delayed dead tow departure of RFA SIR PERCIVALE from Marchwood, Southampton finally took place on Sunday December 13. Once again tug BRAVEHEART is towing the vessel. At around 14:00 on Sunday afternoon the BRAVEHEART was showing a position between Wight and Portland.

Liverpool ETA is currently showing as 02:00 on December 16, 2009. That is probably a Liverpool Bar timing rather than a berthed at Canada Dock time.  WWW.SHIPAIS.COM should be consulted to be check position of BRAVEHEART during the course of the coming week.

Leavesley International has recently taken delivery of two Caterpillar 345D's tracked excavators for use at the Canada Dock Ship Recycling site in Liverpool. Weighing nearly 50 tons a piece they have both been fitted with Caterpillar's S340B shears capable of nearly 7000kn of cutting force.


A live video has appeared on YouTube showing the sequence of events leading up to and during the near miss between ROYAL DAFFODIL and the tanker RAMIRA on October 23, 2009.

The video reveals just how close the two vessels appeared to be and how narrowly a collision was averted. [CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON YOUTUBE]


The anger of protesters fighting a harbour scheme in Penzance, Cornwall, was unleashed at a tempestuous meeting last week, which at one point saw the chairman threatening to walk out.

In a series of extraordinary scenes, Cornwall councillors were left in no doubt about the strength of feeling over the proposed development of the sea link to the Isles of Scilly.

John Moreland of Penzance Civic Society was one of the first on his feet and summed up the views of many of the 170 people present.

"It is probably one of the most attractive areas of Penzance and that is why we are concerned," he said to rapturous applause.

"Most of it is still intact and we are honoured to preserve it."

The summit, held at the Acorn Theatre, was a chance for residents to air their views ahead of a crunch planning meeting on Monday, also to be held in Penzance.

Members of Cornwall Council's strategic planning committee will either approve or reject the contentious "Option A", which will see a combined passenger and freight handling facility built for the Isles of Scilly ferry.

Many at the meeting made their feelings known by holding placards saying "Option A is not an option".

Fearing the development would destroy the historic Battery Rocks area, protesters want the alternative, confusingly known as "Option C", to get the green light.

This would see a passenger facility in the converted Trinity House museum near the existing pier and an out-of-town freight-handling facility.

However, a report on this alternative will not be debated by Cornwall Council's cabinet until two days after the planning meeting.

A Harbour Revision Order granted by the Government in September means that most of the work can take place under permitted development rights.

Councillors will decide on Monday matters such as sea wall alterations, without which the scheme cannot proceed.

Retired lecturer Peter Levin said it was wrong that Cornwall Council should be deciding on an application from the Route Partnership, a consortium led by the same authority.

"The consultation has been a farce. It wasn't a public consultation but a public relations exercise which misfired."

However, there was uproar when chairman Neil Plummer then tried to cut the length of Mr Levin's speech – prompting shouts of "Let him speak" and "Is it too hard for you to hear?"

Coun Plummer repeatedly tried to bring the meeting to order – before threatening to instead bring it to a hasty conclusion. Raising his voice and leaning across the table on the stage, he said: "I'm the reason you're here.

"This meeting could have been in Truro. It was me that provided you with the opportunity to speak.

"I have a list of 30 people who want to speak... now let me chair the meeting. If you carry on, I will go."

As order was restored, more people spoke on the impact to the environment, the nearby Grade ll-listed lido Jubilee Pool and the town's heritage.

Only one man, the owner of a guesthouse in Penzance, piped up in support of the plan.

"My colleagues who run businesses are desperate to see facilities improved. We do not want to see Penzance turned into a maritime museum," he said.



Speculation on the future of the HSS service to Dún Laoghaire continues. On December 02, 2009 Gerry Dunn CEO of Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company made the following comment to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport which confirms that the company has been approaching other ferry operators with a view to using the port.

"The challenge for the company is to ensure that the impact of the downturn in the economy and in tourism activity can be offset through generating sufficient revenue from a broader range of commercial operations. In 2008, the (Dún Laoghaire Harbour) company had a turnover of nearly €11 million, representing a slight increase of 2% over the turnover for 2007. Our main source of revenue is from ferry operations. In 2007, passenger numbers fell by almost 15%. Apart from ferry operations, the main sources of income are berthing charges at the marina, parking charges and rental income. Over recent years, there has been a consistent decline in passenger numbers. It is inevitable that the profile of ferry usage and revenue associated with such usage in the harbour will change.

Stena Line is, has been and, I hope, will continue to be a valued customer. For the past 15 years, it has developed the Dún Laoghaire-Holyhead route, the focus being on the HSS STENA EXPLORER vessel. Due to the unsustainable energy costs of the company and falling tourism numbers, this type of vessel is no longer commercially viable. We are investigating additional revenue streams and also seeking to realign our cost structure to reflect current rather than historic realities. Stena Line, at its peak, was operating five sailings per day and it is now operating one per day. The majority of the restructuring will, I hope, be of a voluntary nature. The consultations and negotiations with our own staff and unions began last June......

Regarding the ferry situation, we are not at all satisfied we should stay still and accept the decisions made by the main ferry operator into Dún Laoghaire for the past 15 years. We intend to renegotiate a post-2011 contract with Stena and rebuild that route with and through Stena over the next three to five years.

Notwithstanding that, we do not want to have all our eggs in one basket. We have spread our net through Captain Coate in talking to several other ferry operators who may see an opportunity to develop business between Dún Laoghaire and Britain or even further afield. As these are ongoing discussions, we will have a good update in six months’ time.

It is fair to say the company has developed an expertise in the marina business. One item on our agenda for the overall public private partnership process is to determine what direction marina development should take. It is early days for the process. It began in October and has a window of five months to complete its work. I hope we can come back to the committee when the PPP feasibility study is finished."

Simon Coate, Dún Laoghaire Harbour master added:

"One of the failures of the HSS was the  high cost of fuel which was passed on to passengers. We believe the route to  Holyhead is very strong. Some of the conventional ships are quite small and  we can take them without doing too much extra work. The cost to the  passenger will then come down. We think it is a very viable route and that  we can do it with a conventional ship. It may be slightly slower but people  do not seem to mind that".

He also added that the harbour was interesting in attracting the smaller cruise  ships which would fit in the harbour from Dublin Port and also, possibly  shared with Dublin Port, large cruise ships serviced by tenders."

December 05

Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews,  Ciarán Buckley, John Grimshaw, Michael Pryce, Ian Collard and "others"



It appears that Wexford based Celtic Link Ferries short-lived Portsmouth - Cherbourg service was suspended on November 21.

A report in Lloyds List on December 03 suggested that the NORMAN VOYAGER was prevented from sailing from Portsmouth two days earlier after the crew failed an emergency procedures test organised by the MCGA. The company was reported to have subsequently been authorised to resume sailings but has not done so.

Lloyds List state that a spokesman for the company in Cherbourg confirmed that the DIPLOMAT would be replaced by the chartered LD Lines NORMAN VOYAGER on the Rosslare service.


Press reports on Merseyside suggest that a propose boat show to be held in the waters around the Albert and Canning Dock area in 2011 will become an annual event following the visit to Merseyside of over 100 boating industry representatives.

The proposed waterfront festival could attract more than 400,000 visitors to the historic Liverpool waterfront it is claimed.


The ex Seatruck Ferries MOONDANCE has recently been renamed as KIBRIS GUNESI, registered at Limassol, owned by Star Line Maritime Co. Ltd, Mersin, Turkey. AIS shows her sailing from Mersin to Magusa Same comapny also operate KIBRIS YILDIZI, built 1971, 4,313 gt


It has been suggested that the long rumoured sale of Norfolk Line to DFDS will be completed during December.


Part three of the Duke of Lancaster story has been published on the Duke of Lancaster Appreciation Society web site. This third update provides information about the preparation of the vessel at Barrow, before she was moved to Llanerch-y-Mor.

When viewing the update it will be noted that there is reference to the ship being repainted from "Sealink Green" livery!

Your web master has raised the issue of  the British Railways Sealink Livery with the operator of the Duke of Lancaster Appreciation Society web site, John Veal, and has received the following reply:

"I fully appreciate your comments but the story is told as John (Rowley) remembers things. He has never documented the ship before now and has been working completely from memory which, given the level of detail he has provided me is quite remarkable.I'm sure the point you raised will be one of only many."


The Isle of Man Ship Registry has launched its new website ( Its internet presence has always been a useful source of information for both existing clients and new clients looking to register their vessels in the Isle of Man. However, the information that is provided in the new website is now even better and more user friendly. It has been completely revamped and all its content re-drafted from the user’s perspective.

The website has been constructed to maximise the Ship Registry’s marketing efforts and includes links to trade journals which have recently featured the Ship Registry as well as informative video links to interviews from around the world.

The new sleeker website will also enable clients to access important information easily and intuitively. The latest Manx Shipping Notices are easily accessed from the front page along with a link directly to the legislation which relates to the subject for visitors to the site wanting to drill-down further. Also introduced are a number of direct email addresses, which will provide direct access to those dealing with endorsements, seamen’s cards and discharge books , thus speeding up the process.

The Minister for Trade and Industry, Hon David Cretney MHK said “The Ship Registry’s new website is a great step forward. It is important for Departments with a global reach to communicate with the world and the new site will show the Isle of Man in a great light. The Ship Registry worked with a local designer to create a new look and feel for their website which is a credit to all involved. I recommend a visit to”

Dick Welsh, Director of the Ship Registry, said “An overhaul of the website has been long overdue. We are very proud of the new website and know it will present the Isle of Man as a modern, efficient place to do business. It provides existing clients with quick and easy access to the information or services they require, and potential clients with simple and instinctive access to the Ship Registry and the Isle of Man for maritime business. We will continually improve this site and would like to ask any of our clients to provide us with high resolution photographs which we can use in the future.



It was reported that a good number of passengers travelled on the Mersey Ferry SNOWDROP on her 10:00 ELLAN VANNING commemorative sailing on Thursday December 03, 2009 - one hundred years to the day since the sinking of the SS ELLAN VANNIN near the Mersey Bar.

Passengers gathered in the MF Terminal and photos of the dignitaries were taken with the wreaths against the background of the Liver Building. An Isle of Man flag was flying on the pole over the front canopy of the Liver Building.

SNOWDROP sported an Isle of Man flag on her jack-staff Hughie Jones of the Spinners who wrote the Ballad of the Ellan Vannin was on board to provide a musical interlude.

A short memorial service conducted by Canon Bob Evans was held on board with wreaths being despatched over the starboard side. The wreath casting being lead by Isle of Man Chief Minister Tony Brown MHK. 


Demolition of the West Huskission Dock sheds in the Port of Liverpool appears to be well underway as recorded by Ian Collard this week.

Much of the concrete walling of the lower  stories have been removed and the upright supports have been drilled. These transit sheds have been out of use for many years.


John Grimshaw advises that the web pages containing information of the Saltney (Deeside) built RH CARR have been moved to a new location. They can be accessed now at: This page should incorporate all the information about the ship including the British Pathe film.


Volunteer crew members from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) have welcomed the arrival of a new inshore lifeboat at Morecambe. The £31,000 D class lifeboat will be called MARGARET MARY TIMPANY, in recognition of the lady whose legacy provided the lifeboat.

Dr Timpany lived in Morecambe and, before her death in January 2008, specified that her money should be used for the benefit of Morecambe RNLI lifeboat station.

Morecambe RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Michael Guy, said the generosity of the RNLI's supporters is never taken for granted: "As a charity which relies on donations and legacies, we are always extremely grateful for all the support we get from people like Dr Timpany. "Without such generosity, the life saving service we provide would not be possible.

"The crew have been training hard to familiarise themselves with the new lifeboat, which at 25 knots is faster than our old vessel and is also better equipped and more agile.

"Everyone at the lifeboat station is looking forward to being able to operate with even greater effectiveness around Morecambe Bay." The MARGARET MARY TIMPANY replaces Morecambe's previous D class, PETER BOND, which has been at the station since 2001.

After 171 launches during which she rescued 80 people and saved 17 lives, she has reached the end of her operational life. The new D class lifeboat is known as an IB1 (Inshore Boat 1) and is 5 knots faster than the previous boat. She also has enhanced manoeuvrability, a built-in navigation system and is ideal for providing rapid response to distress calls close to shore. The boat will operate alongside Morecambe RNLI's rescue hovercraft, THE HURLEY FLYER and will be officially named at a special ceremony next year.



STENA EUROPE - a woman's body is reported to have been recovered after she fell from the vessel on a Rosslare to Fishguard sailing. She fell from the vessel on Monday November 30 and her body was recovered the following day.

The air sea rescue helicopter from Waterford, Rosslare Lifeboat and the Kilmore Quay Lifeboat were all involved in searching for the woman. They were called to the incident just before 22:00

The STENA EUROPE and Irish Ferries ISLE OF INISHMORE were also involved in the search.

The woman's body was found at 00:30 on December 03 and was taken to Rosslare harbour and then by road to Wexford General Hospital.

The Gardai, are now investigating the incident.

STENA LYNX III - the Incat fast craft does not appear in the recently published 2010 - 11 timetable for the Fishguard to Rosslare service which has appeared on the company's web site. This appears to fuel speculation that she may make an appearance on the Holyhead - Dún Laoghaire route as a lower cost alternative to the HSS STENA EXPLORER/


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