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Ferries and Ferry News from Ireland
P&O’s freight-oriented ferry Norbay, which is on charter to ICG, has finally ceased Irish Ferries Pembroke-Rosslare route duties. Taking its place on a temporary basis is Oscar Wilde (Afloat noted this week renamed James Joyce) but will be replaced by the cruise ferry Isle of Innisfree, which is to transfer to the Wales-Ireland route from the company’s UK-France link of Dover-Calais. Afloat also observed last week the Norbay’s return to the Dublin-Holyhead /Cherbourg routes roster.
On Irish Ferries route linking Pembroke and Rosslare, a controversial and passenger-unfriendly ferry that operated this winter has sailed out of the south Wales port for the last time, reports The Pembrokeshire Herald. P&O Ferries ‘economy’ ropax Norbay which had…
Chartered catamaran ferry MV Aflred is to operate additional sailings on CalMac’s Arran route until August
Scotland west coast ferry operator CalMac recently announced that, following a successful trial period, the MV Alfred will operate additional sailings between the mainland and Arran until August. The 430 passenger catamaran, which can also carry vehicles, operates the Firth…
DFDS is to sell its routes linking Norway and Denmark to Swedish operator Gotlandsbolaget in a deal that includes two cruise ships, Crown Seaways (built in 1994) and Pearl Seaways (built in 1989). The routes across Skagerrak and Kattegat involve around 800 employees at sea and on land. AFLOAT adds that DFDS has an Irish operation through the ferry route connecting Rosslare Europort and Dunkirk, France.
Ferry and logistics operator DFDS will sell the mini-cruise route Oslo-Frederikshavn-Copenhagen, linking Norway and Denmark, to the shipping company Gotlandsbolaget. The decision will ensure that the Oslo, Frederikshavn, and Copenhagen (OFC) route to be sold to the Swedish company receives…
In this month of 'Bloomsday', the new name of James Joyce is to be given to the chartered Oscar Wilde (above at Rosslare), while Irish Ferries recently acquired Spirit of Britain, formerly on P&O’s Dover-Calais link, is to take on the same name after the famous Dublin born writer. James Joyce will continue operating out of Dublin to Wales and France, while in its new guise as Oscar Wilde, the ferry will return to the busy Strait of Dover, competing with its previous owner and DFDS.
Irish Ferries chartered cruise-ferry Oscar Wilde, currently operating Rosslare-Pembroke on a temporary basis, is later this month to return to Dublin-based routes to Holyhead and Cherbourg, France, but under a new name. The ferry company has a proud tradition of…
Disruption: Strait of Dover where strike action at Calais has led to all operators, among them Irish Ferries, being affected. In the above file ferry scene, all Dover-Calais ferry operators, Afloat highlights are represented by Spirit of France (P&O), Côte d’Opale (DFDS), and Isle of Innisfree (Irish Ferries). The latter cruise ferry, as previously reported, is this month due to enter the Dublin-based company’s Rosslare-Pembroke route linking Ireland and Wales.
Ferries operating from Calais to Dover, the busy France-UK short-sea link, have been disrupted due to strike action taking place at the northern French port. All three ferry companies serving on the Strait of Dover route, DFDS, Irish Ferries, and…
The Isle of Man Steam Packet said that 2024 would be its busiest TT since 2007, the year the sporting event celebrated its centenary.
This year’s TT Races is set to see the second-highest number of visitors travelling by ferry in the past four decades, according to the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company. Figures reveal an 11% increase on the 2023 figure, which…
D Day veterans were on board a Brittany Ferries sailing from Portsmouth (above) to Ouistreham (Caen) in Normandy, when travelling yesterday on Mont St. Michel. The cruise-ferry was ‘dressed overall’ in advance of marking the 80th anniversary of the Allied forces (on 6 June, 1944) that landed on the beaches of the northern region.
Ferry firm Brittany Ferries carried across the English Channel, the largest group of D Day veterans from Portsmouth to Ouistreham (Caen) in Normandy today aboard their cruise-ferry Mont St. Michel. Accompanying the 31 veterans were their carers, hosted by the…
Harland & Wolff’s new subsidiary, Scilly Ferries with the high-speed-craft Atlantic Wolff in a dry dock in Portsmouth, where it has been delayed due to torrential rain hampering paint work. However, the 42m craft is due to go back into the water tomorrow (5 June), but will remain in the UK south coast port. The new service was initially to start in May but is now likely to take place around mid-June.
A new operator, Harland & Wolff (Scilly Ferries) Ltd., was to introduce a ferry service from Cornwall, England, to the Isles of Scilly, but it has been delayed again because rain has hampered a paint job of their dry-docked fast-craft.…
Row as a Scottish-owned ferry firm, CalMac, to get an extended contract to run west-coast lifeline island ferry services stretching from Stornoway on Lewis & Harris to Brodick, Arran, on the Firth of Clyde.
The Scottish Government-controlled Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) has been given a year-long extension to its contract to run lifeline ferry services along the entire west coast, stretching from the Outer Hebrides to the Firth of Clyde. The contract with CalMac, reports…
A four-star hotel on the Isle of Arran, on the Firth of Clyde, has introduced a new policy amid concerns over Summer disruption of the ferry connecting the mainland. Above: Caledonian Isles at the older ferry terminal in Brodick, Arran, where the hotel is located nearby the town on the scenic island, the seventh largest in Scotland.
In south-west Scotland, a popular island hotel has announced a new policy for visitors affected by ferry disruptions on the Firth of Clyde amid warnings of a "Summer of more chaos". The four-star Auchrannie Resort on the Isle of Arran,…
Among the designs (above: initial concept 3) for Brittany Ferries, which has signed a partnership deal with Wärtsilä and Incat to explore the design and technical requirements for a 137-metre zero-emissions craft for English Channel service.
Ferry operator Brittany Ferries, marine power/technology firm Wärtsilä, and shipbuilder, Incat have signed a partnership deal to explore the design and technical requirements for a 137m zero-emissions craft. The project comes as Brittany Ferries nears completion of the biggest fleet…
Visitors travelling to the TT Races will be able to sail on board the Manxman, the flagship’s first year involved in the annual major sporting event.
Passenger ferry figures for those booked on the Isle of Man Steam Packet sailings for the annual TT are up this year. This will be the first year for visitors traveling for the motorsport fortnight (May 27–June 8) when coming…
Southern Corridor: The news follows an uncertain winter for both services across the St. Georges Channel, operated by Irish Ferris and Stena Line, but will now be enhanced heading into the busier summer.
St. Georges Channel ferry routes between Fishguard and Pembroke Dock, Pembrokeshire, and Rosslare in Co. Wexford look set to sail into calmer waters this summer. Operator Irish Ferries has announced that an existing Dover-Calais cruise ferry, the Isle of Innisfree,…
Fleet movements: One of the Irish Ferries trio of vessels on the Dover-Calais route, the Isle of Innisfree, is to transfer to Rosslare-Pembroke when Spirit of Britain (to be renamed) is introduced on the Dover-Calais route in June. The ‘Spirit’ class cruise ferry is to boost capacity on the busy UK-France short-sea trade link in competition with P&O Ferries and DFDS. In the meantime, as Afloat previously reported, Irish Ferries fast-ferry Dublin Swift resumed its'seasonal’ service on the Dublin-Holyhead route today.
Irish Ferries bareboat charter and acquisition of Spirit of Britain, which served P&O Ferries Dover-Calais service, will lead to the Irish operator’s transfer of Isle of Innisfree from the UK-France link to their Rosslare-Pembroke route, writes Jehan Ashmore. The changes…
North Channel twins Stena Superfast VII (pictured on Loch Ryan) and Stena Superfast VIII will be retrofitted with methanol propulsion, which will see the Belfast-Cairnryan pair after the conversion project transferred to LR class.
Following the successful methanol conversion of the Scandinavian cruise ferry Stena Germanica in 2015, Lloyd’s Register (LR) and Stena Line will work in partnership on a project to retrofit two North Channel fast ro-ro vessels with methanol propulsion. According to…
Big Boost: ICG’s subsidiary, Irish Ferries, has signed a bareboat charter agreement with DP World of the Spirit of Britain, a former P&O Ferries serving ship on the Dover-Calais route, where it is to return to service for the Dublin based company in June. At 47,592 tonnes, Afloat highlights the ‘Spirit’ class ferry will be the largest ferry for Irish Ferries when it joins their fleet on the UK-France link.
Irish Continental Group (ICG) subsidiary Irish Ferries, has entered into a Bareboat Charter agreement including a purchase obligation with DP World France SAS for the Spirit of Britain, writes Jehan Ashmore. The Spirit of Britain until recently had operated for…

Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!