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NEWS BULLETIN

November 2004

November 29
Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Dan Cross, Jamie Andrews and "others"

IRISH FERRIES

Irish Ferries have announced that as a consequence of industrial action by SIPTU which represents ship's officers employed by the company services will be suspended for 24 hours.

There will be no sailings (departures) on the Ireland - UK services between 06.00 hrs on Thursday, December 2nd and 06.00 hrs on Friday, December 3rd next. Services affected are: • Dublin - Holyhead cruise ferry • Dublin - Holyhead Dublin Swift fast ferry • Rosslare - Pembroke cruise ferry.

It is expected that services will return to full operation from 06.00 hrs on Friday, December 3rd.

Passengers already booked on the sailings affected will be contacted by Irish Ferries and arrangements will be made on their behalf on alternative Irish Ferries sailings or, where possible, with other ferry companies. Where this is not possible, a full refund of fares paid will be arranged.

Passengers with enquiries should telephone: Ireland – 0818 – 300400,  UK – 08705 171717

NORSE MERCHANT FERRIES

NUMAST has hit out at the use of `cut-price crews' on ships in the Norse Merchant Ferries fleet operating in the Irish Sea. The union has condemned the company for making British officers redundant and replacing them with seafarers from eastern Europe who are paid around half the rate. 

NUMAST has also raised `grave concern' over the company's decision to sell ships to a German company and then charter them back on the same route – with the low-cost foreign crews onboard. Industrial officer Garry Elliott said some 40 British officer positions were set to be lost as a result of the sale of the MERCHANT BRAVERY, MERCHANT BRILLIANT and RIVER LUNE, as well as the likely disposal of the SAGA MOON. 

NUMAST has met management to discuss its concern and to press for assurances over the future of British seafarers in the fleet. `We question whether it is morally acceptable for the company to sell ships and then charter them back in with lower-cost crews,' Mr Elliott added.

`We have also questioned the company over its failure to employ UK officers on the MERSEY VIKING and LAGAN VIKING, which have been operated with Italian officers and which were recently switched to the UK flag,' he added.

NUMAST has warned the company that it will vehemently oppose any compulsory redundancies if there were to be a situation in which all the seafarers were not treated equally, Mr Elliott stated.

November 28
Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Jamie Andrews, Tommy Dover, Edwin Wilmshurst and "others"

NOTES & NEWS

Apologies for the late posting of this week's update. However, this was due to the compilation of an extensive tribute feature for the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company's Liverpool - Dublin route. Many, many slides and photographs were sifted during the past few days to compile this update. However, despite attempts to keep it down to a reasonable size - one page - it has become a separate section of the web site with many pages accessed via a sub menu!  However, given the significance of this service a considerable tribute was called for.

UPDATES

The next scheduled update will appear on Saturday December 04. However, it is likely that there will be a mid week update. - Probably on Wednesday.

ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY

 L1030342s.JPG (84599 bytes)

Sunday November 28 - six days after the announcement that the Dublin service would not resume - yet the tricolour still flies at the Liverpool Sea Terminal.

NUMAST have called for a financial lifeline to keep the Liverpool - Dublin service operational. The call came the day after the company announced last Monday that the service, would not be reintroduced in 2005.

At present it is not known how many of the 48 staff will be affected by redundancies as some will be offered alternative work within the company.

The service commenced was commenced shortly after the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company was acquired by Sea Containers with services being inaugurated by the LADY OF MANN in summer 1997. The route became a fast ferry operation from spring 1998.

Ronnie Cunningham, NUMAST national secretary, said: "We will be meeting the company as a matter of urgency to discuss the situation. Our object will be to try to convince them to keep the route going. We want to see what kind of financial help could be available from grant-giving institutions. We see the route between Liverpool and Dublin as a major economic corridor between the two cities. It's a very popular route, but the company has advised us that it is losing money because of cheap air travel."

NORSE MERCHANT FERRIES

In response to the recent announcement made by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company that it is to terminate its passenger service between Liverpool and Dublin, NorseMerchant Ferries has announced that that it will be operating a twice-daily passenger service between Liverpool and Dublin with effect from July 2005.

The Steam Packet Company announcement was of particular concern to foot passengers who faced being left with no way, apart from flying, of travelling between Liverpool and Dublin. NorseMerchant Ferries stresses that it will be catering for foot passengers to and from Dublin just as it does already on its Liverpool - Belfast service.

The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company  service only operated between March and October whereas NorseMerchant will be offering a year-round connection.

According to NorseMerchant Ferries' Sales & Marketing Manager Anna Breen, there will be other benefits:

"Although our service will be using conventional passenger ferries with a crossing time of around eight hours, we will be providing both morning and night-time sailings. We know from experience on our Belfast route that the evening sailings are particularly attractive for foot passengers, for example for those wishing to spend a weekend in Liverpool to watch football. They can leave work at the normal time on Friday and still be in Liverpool early Saturday morning."

NorseMerchant Ferries currently operates a daily service for passengers on its Liverpool - Dublin route using the modern ferry Brave Merchant. However, it had already announced that it would be switching its two Belfast vessels MERSEY VIKING  and LAGAN VIKING to the Dublin route in 2005. The first will join BRAVE MERCHANT in July and the second will replace her in December/January.

The transfer of these two vessels is being made possible with the introduction of two brand-new passenger ferries on the Belfast route next year.

IRISH FERRIES

Normandy.jpg (50283 bytes)NORMANDY arrived at Harland & Wolff [right] on Saturday November 27, ahead of her planned refit schedule following the decision to terminate the Ireland - France service earlier. The company taking the decision in advance of industrial action planned by SIPTU on December 02. Apparently there were fears that the ship could be subject to action

However the seamen's unions have accused Irish Ferries of being provocative in its decision to halt all sailings on the Rosslare-Cherbourg route.

They say over 100 passengers were affected yesterday when the company cancelled a return trip from France.

It is understood that the passengers - most of whom were on pre-Christmas wine buying trips to France - had to return through England.

Irish Ferries have cancelled the remaining five sailings on the Rosslare-Cherbourg route this year, and put the MV Normandy into dry dock in Belfast early because of fears it could become strike bound.

The cancellations will affect up to 1,000 passengers.

Unions say notice of industrial action is not due to come into force until 2 December and those sailings on the route would never have been affected.

The dispute has been sparked by plans to replace employees with foreign agency workers.

Meanwhile, the Minister for the Marine, Pat Gallagher, has called for talks to avert proposed industrial action.


The remaining dry docking is schedule is understood to be as follows:

ULYSSES

5th Jan last sailing 02:50 ex Holyhead.  Sails to H&W Belfast. Resumes service Dublin January 12,  21:05

ISLE OF INISHMORE

4th Jan last sailing 14:30.  Picks up Holyhead sailings with 09:05 on January 5th. Dry-docks in H&W on January 12. Resumes service Ex Rosslare January 20, 21:00

JONATHAN SWIFT

4th Jan last sailing 20:15 ex Holyhead. January 5th Dry-docks in H&W. Resumes service January 19 ex Dublin 12:15

PENINSULAR & ORIENTAL STEAM NAVIGATION COMPANY

P&O will offer a slightly different timetable on their Larne fast ferry sailings in summer 2005 using the P&O EXPRESS instead of the SUPERSTAR EXPRESS.

The timetable for the craft 16 March - 18 September is as follows.

Dep Larne 07:15, arrive Troon 09:05.

Dep Troon 10:05, arrive Larne 11:55.

Dep Larne 13:00. arrive Cairnryan 14:00

Dep Cairnryan 15:15, arrive Larne 16:15.

Dep Larne 17:30, arrive Troon 19:20.

Dep Troon 20:20, arrive Larne 22:10.

The 2004 timetable for the SUPERSTAR EXPRESS 8 April - 19 September was as follows:

Dep Larne 07:40, arrive Troon 09:30.

Dep Troon 10:15, arrive Larne 12:05.

Dep Larne 12:45. arrive Cairnryan 13:45

Dep Cairnryan 14:20, arrive Larne 15:20.

Dep Larne 15:55, arrive Cairnryan 16:55.

Dep Cairnryan 17:30, arrive Larne 18:30.

Dep Larne 19:00, arrive Troon 20:50.

Dep Troon 21:25, arrive Larne 23:15.

 

A longer season [3 weeks is to be operated] though one round trip per day to Cairnryan has been dropped.

CORNWALL FERRIES - ST MAWES FERRY COMPANY

People will be able to use ferries between Falmouth and St Mawes each Sunday during the winter after a cash boost from the county council. The ferry had traditionally stopped working on a Sunday between the autumn and spring.

Trials last year proved there was a demand, although the service failed to make any money.

However, thanks to a cash subsidy from the county council the ferry is now able to operate all over the weekend.

Garrick Royle, operations manager for St Mawes Ferry Company, said: "We trialled the Sunday service last winter and it proved to be really popular with those who wanted to go walking or for a pub lunch on the Roseland or shopping in Falmouth.

"The subsidy we have received from Cornwall County Council has enabled us to keep a Sunday service within the standard winter timetable."

Mr Garrick added that he was delighted with the subsidy from the council.

Ferries run from Prince of Wales Pier in Falmouth, straight into St Mawes Harbour on a daily basis - beginning at 08.30 Monday to Friday from Falmouth, and 09.15 on Saturdays and Sundays from Falmouth. The last ferry to leave Falmouth departs at 16:15 throughout the week.

STENA LINE

Stena Line expects to report a strong performance on its Southern Corridor Route between Fishguard and Rosslare at the year-end, despite some operational problems with its STENA LYNX III fast craft in July.

Vic Goodwin, who was appointed Route Director at the beginning of the year, said: "We are very pleased with the development of the route and have worked hard to turn things around. The expected return to a reasonable level of profitability is very pleasing bearing in mind that the route has not been profitable since the abolition of Duty Free in 1998." [Duty Free was actually abolished in at the end of June 1999 - Ed]

Vic added: "We have seen a small growth in our Tourist and Freight volumes in what is a very competitive market but have been successful in reducing our operating costs and consequently will yield a very positive financial development. We have also worked very hard to continuously improve our service standards, acknowledged by the fact that the business achieved the Hospitality Assured Accreditation for service and business excellence following independent audits by representatives from Hotel and Catering International Management Association (MCIMA) conducted on the Route. We are delighted with this recognition. Launched in 1998, the Hospitality Assured standard is only awarded to organisations in the hospitality industry that demonstrate the highest possible standards of service. All these factors are having a positive impact on the route".

Stena Line will carry around 43,000 Freight vehicles, 154,000 Cars/Coaches and 620,000 Passengers on the Fishguard - Rosslare Route this year.

Commenting on 2005, Vic said: "Our Swedish owners have demonstrated their commitment to South Wales when they purchased a fast craft for this route, the STENA LYNX III, which entered service in April 2004. The fast craft, which carries tourist vehicles and guests, operates in conjunction with the Superferry, the STENA EUROPE. We now have an unrivalled combination of conventional ferry and fast craft on

this Southern Corridor, unlike our competitors. The ability to offer our customers a choice of such vessels is important to us and I believe our seasonal fast craft will stimulate trade into South Wales.

"We are also planning some timetable changes to our fast craft services in 2005 which we feel will create new marketing opportunities for us and also be of greater benefit to the South Wales economy. We are confident that we now have the building blocks in place to continue to take this route forward even more".

Other initiatives affecting the Fishguard Harbour include a potential marina development, as Vic explains:

"Whilst we are not directly involved in the development from an investment perspective, we are very supportive of the initiative and will do everything we can to support the development which will be a tremendous boost to the local economy."

Stena Line has confirmed that the company is in discussion with Rosslare Harbour regarding future port charges and will consider a long-term operating agreement for its vessels into the Port of Rosslare. This would be good news bearing in mind the recent announcements by other operators to reduce services into Ireland.

Vic Goodwin is also Route Director for the Central Corridor Services between Holyhead - Dublin and Holyhead - Dun Laoghaire and commented:

"The introduction of the Superferry, the STENA ADVENTURER, on our Holyhead - Dublin Route in July 2003 has proved very successful and together with the HSS STENA EXPLORER, the World's largest fast craft, gives us a potent combination. We will achieve our profit target on this route too. It is very pleasing that the development on all our Wales to Ireland routes is very positive and is a reflection of the long-term commitment made by our Board of Directors and our Chairman, Dan Sten Olsson."

Vic Goodwin recently received the Business Person of the Year Award at a ceremony held in Bangor University, North Wales on the 19 November 2004. The Achievement Wales Awards, recognise excellence in business in companies throughout North and Mid-Wales.

ROYAL FLEET AUXILIARY

The Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker RFA GREY ROVER returns to HM Naval Base Devonport on November 26 following an eight-month deployment that took her all around the Far East, with port visits in China, Russia, the Philippines, Japan, Brunei, South Korea, Malaysia and Singapore.

In true RFA fashion on the day the ship arrives back home she goes straight back to work as support tanker for the Flag Officer Sea Training organisation, based in the Devonport. She will be spending the day working with the warships undergoing sea training in the
Plymouth area. Only when this is completed will GREY ROVER finally come alongside at Devonport, her first UK landfall since she left Southampton in March.

The tanker has been accompanying the destroyer HMS E
XETER on a deployment involving two major international exercises and a programme of diplomatic visits. During this time GREY ROVER provided fuel and operated with Royal Navy ships and warships of other navies. On returning to Plymouth she will have sailed around 32,600 miles on deployment, carried out 32 replenishment-at-sea exercises and provided ships at sea with almost 7,000 cubic metres of fuel.

RFA
GREY ROVER and HMS Exeter took part in the annual Five Power Defence Agreement exercises in May and September. The Five Powers are the UK , Australia , New Zealand , Malaysia and Singapore , with armed forces from all five participating in the exercises, which took place around the coasts of Malaysia and Singapore .

The ship visited three Chinese ports – Hong Kong, Shanghai, involving a 27-mile trip up the crowded River Yangtze and Qindao, home base of the People’s Liberation Army (Navy), and also well-known for the beer that is brewed there. It was also a stepping-off point for many of the ship’s company to visit the capital city Beijing, the Forbidden City and Great Wall. The Russian visit was to
Vladivostok , in the far east of the country, home to Russia ’s Eastern Pacific Fleet, and the terminus of the Trans Siberian Railway, which originates in Moscow , some 6,000 miles to the west.

Longer stays were made in
Singapore and in Yokosuka , Japan , where ship maintenance was carried out. Then, on the homeward leg, GREY ROVER stopped off in Gibraltar for further maintenance. She is due to be working in the Plymouth areas for the remainder of the year.

LIFFEY RIVER TAXI

A river taxi may be running on the Liffey next summer if a plan submitted by the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) is approved by Dublin City Council.

The DDDA is seeking permission to build a landing stage at Bachelors Walk. The stage would consist of a 20 meter long floating pontoon with a sliding gate entrance, access platform and a gangway for passengers off the boardwalk.

A 54-seater vessel is being built in Sweden for delivery next spring. The authority hopes to run trials on the river for several months. It anticipates that the transport service could be up and floating by June,
focusing initially on the tourist market.

The strategy proposed a cross-river ferry between City Quay and the Irish Financial Services Centre (IFSC) II among a series of projects to revive practical use of the waterway,

It is understood that the DA has held discussions with several operators in relation to contracting out operation of the services, and may advertise formally for bidders. Navigation the river's 15 bridges, specifically the upper reaches between the Ha'penny Bridge and Heuston Station, is restricted by tides and the low headroom on fixed structures.

The new Millennium Bridge and the Matt Talbot Bridge are particularly problematic at high tide, and the riverbed rises west of the Ha'penny Bridge, which causes a difficulty at low water. The service could eventually run to Heuston Station. 

Water bus stops may also be located at Tara Street to link with the DART, at the IFSC I and II, Forbes Street, Britain Quay, the Point Theatre and the Alexandra Basin ferry terminal.

November 24

ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY 

The decision announced on Monday to discontinue the seasonal Liverpool - Dublin service [see below] appears to have dismayed many people on Merseyside. On Tuesday evening NUMAST announced it was to meet the company to try and explore ways of keeping the service going Ronnie Cunningham, NUMAST national secretary, said: "We will be meeting the company as a matter of urgency to discuss the situation. Our object will be to try to convince them to keep the route going. We want to see what kind of financial help could be available from grant-giving institutions. We see the route between Liverpool and Dublin as a major economic corridor between the two cities. It's a very popular route, but the company has advised us that it is losing money because of cheap air travel."

PONTUS and the linkspan have been removed from Prince's Landing Stage this week.

WAVERLEY STEAM NAVIGATION COMPANY

On Tuesday November 23 an old postcard depicting the former P.S. LA MARGUERITE of the Liverpool and North Wales Steamship Company appeared in the Daily Post newspaper.

The caption which accompanied the image commented that 2005 would mark the 80th Anniversary of the withdrawal of the vessel.

The caption continued suggesting that P.S. WAVERLEY would visit Merseyside and North Wales in 2005 to mark the occasion.

At the conclusion of last year's Mersey River Festival it was stated that a special ship would visit for this year's event. Is the WAVERLEY the special ship?

NORTH WESTERN SHIP BUILDERS & REPAIRERS

Northwestern Shiprepairers Ltd (NSL) has expanded its operations into Scotland with a new subsidiary company based at the Inchgreen shipyard on the Clyde.

 

The creation of the new company resurrects the Scott Lithgow name and will bring NSL the advantages of the 305 x 47 metre Inchgreen dry dock, which it will lease from Clydeport.

 

"Ships are getting bigger and therefore we need to have bigger docks available for our customers," said NSL managing director John Syvret.

 

Production director John Kennedy and project director Linton Roberts will relocate to the new company, Scott Lithgow Shiprepairers Ltd. NSL, which was founded by a group of former Cammell Laird directors in 2001 and is 50 per cent owned by Mersey Docks and Harbour Company, leases dry docks on the Mersey.

 

"2003/2004 has been another very successful year for us and has seen our turnover continue to increase steadily," said Mr Syvret.

 

"The company has now reached its critical mass within the facilities that it operates on the Mersey and therefore has taken the bold and exciting decision to form a subsidiary company based in the very impressive Inchgreen Shipyard at Port Glasgow."

 

In the recent past NSL has used the Inchgreen dry dock to accommodate major contracts such as the RFA Fort George and RFA Brambleleaf.

 

"Having completed a number of successful projects at the facility operating remotely from Merseyside, the establishment of this company allows us to offer a better service to our existing customer base, and attract new customers in different markets," said Mr Syvret.

 

"Along with a competitive and efficient repair service for all types of ship, it is our intention to make this yard a centre of excellence for offshore mobilisations/conversions, passenger ship refits and large military refits."

 

A&P FALMOUTH

 

About 125 jobs at Falmouth Docks have been guaranteed until the end of March after the A &P Group scooped a multi-million-pound contract to refit the Carnival Corporation's Holland America Line cruise ship NOORDAM.

The interior work will be carried out by companies outside Falmouth Docks, with up to 125 yard workers based at Falmouth Docks involved with exterior refitting tasks such as painting, dry docking and other general refit tasks.

A &P commercial director David Daniel said: "A major part of the interior refit will be carried out by leading UK companies who have expertise in this field.

"Yard work will include painting, dry-docking and general refit tasks. The contract will run concurrently with five ferry refit contracts."

He said the four P &O Portsmouth ferries - PRIDE OF PORTSMOUTH, PRIDE OF LE HAVRE, PRIDE OF CHERBOURG and PRIDE OF BILBAO- would be dry-docked during the four-month refit of NOORDAM along with the Dover-based ferry  PRIDE OF KENT.

The ship, which is currently being chartered by Thomson Cruises, will be renamed THOMPSON CELEBRATION.

November 22

ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY PRESS RELEASE

The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company has announced today (22 November 2004) that it will not operate a Liverpool-Dublin seasonal service in 2005.

The announcement follows a series of Company decisions to expand other Irish Sea ferry services to and from the Isle of Man. Seasonal services from the Isle of Man to Dublin and Belfast will continue commencing in March 2005.

Managing Director, Hamish Ross said, "We regret having to withdraw the Liverpool-Dublin seasonal service, but as a Company we have had to react to market conditions and focus our resources on our core Isle of Man services. The changes include additional capacity and offering even more attractive sailing times."

The withdrawal of the Liverpool-Dublin seasonal service will affect forty eight jobs, mainly sea going staff and two shore based positions in Liverpool. Already, however, twenty-four of the staff affected are currently working on other Company vessels.

November 20
Acknowledgement: Gary Andrews, Jamie Andrews, Michael Bracken, Edwin Wilmshurst, Ian Collard, Chris Jones and "others"

NOTES & NEWS

Thankfully its been a fairly quiet week news and movements wise. This is because it has given time to start entering the cruise ship calls information into the cruise ship call tables. Most of this useful information is forwarded by Edwin Wilmshurst to whom I am very grateful.

The tables are filling out well now and should allow photographers to start planning expeditions to photograph the ships at the various ports of call and from coastal vantage points. 

However, the full picture will not be completely clear until the ports publish their lists in the new year.

Please note that an additional update was posted on November 17. Please check "What's New" for details.

SEA LIVERPOOL 2005

The city has agreed to promote its third Capital of Culture themed year as part of SeaBritain 2005, which will culminate in the bi-centennial celebration of the Battle of Trafalgar on 21-22 October.

Liverpool is being used as a major plank in a bid by the National Maritime Museum, Visit Britain, the Official Nelson Commemorations Committee and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to encourage and inspire greater use of the seas, rivers and inland waterways.

The city is to host one of the first SeaBritain Roadshows outside of London, at the Merseyside Maritime Museum when Liverpool’s plans for 2005 will be outlined.

The roadshow steering group, led by recently retired Chairman of the British Tourist Authority David Quarmby, will call on organisations across the North West to join in Liverpool’s year long celebrations. Liverpool’s Capital of Culture Company is also in discussion with arts organisations to find out what part they wish to play in Liverpool’s

Year of the Sea, to contribute to SeaBritain 2005.

As part of 2005, Liverpool is planning:

• A special 60th anniversary VE celebration - May 7-9
• The annual Mersey River Festival - June 10-13
• The Lyver Trophy Yacht Race  - Fastnet Qualifier - Liverpool to Dublin - July
• To be a staging port for Navies en route to the Trafalgar Review of the Fleet in the Solent – June 28
• The start of the Clipper 2005 Round The World Yacht Race - September 18
• Run Liverpool (International Half Marathon and 10K along the waterfront) - October
• Firework Display on River Mersey - November 5

Sir Bob Scott, Chairman of the Liverpool Culture Company, said: ‘’Year Of The Sea is fundamental to our preparations as European Capital of Culture. The Mersey and its stunning waterfront is a major asset to the city and will host many of the celebrations in 2008.

‘’We want as many people and organisations to join us in celebrating the wonderfully rich legacy of the Mersey. One of the major successes of 2008 should be the repositioning of the river as a central hub for life in Liverpool in the 21st century.’’

David Henshaw, Liverpool City Council Chief Executive, said: ‘’The Mersey is Liverpool’s lifeblood. It has flowed through the course of our 800-year history, shaping the city’s fortunes, its character and the
fate of millions. Now it is helping to generate a new wave of success as we use it as a springboard to become a major tourist destination and premier European city.

‘’By 2005, with potential World Heritage status and developments such as the Cruise Liner Terminal, the 4th Grace and Kings Dock arena, we should have a unique waterfront which the world will want to see.

‘’The city council has been working for more than a decade to build up a festival programme that celebrates the river and compliments a world class waterfront. 2005 will accelerate this. With Year of the Sea as part of SeaBritain it will enable the rest of Britain to see what Liverpool is doing and jump aboard our celebrations in time for 2008.’’

Other proposals for 2005 include the Summer Pops hosting a Sea Britain 2005 Concert. And the city’s major cultural institutions such as the National Museums Liverpool, Tate Liverpool and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra are all researching specially designed maritime themed exhibitions and events.

BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR

The anniversary of the battle of Trafalgar on October 21 will see the prestigious visit of the Tall ship Grand Turk, {HMS INDEFATIGABLE from the TV series Hornblower] to the Albert Dock. The ship will be open to the public all day and will host a spectacular Trafalgar civic dinner in the evening"

IRISH FERRIES

Former ISLE OF INNISFREE currently chartered to P&O as PRIDE OF CHERBOURG, though due for withdrawal,  will be sub-charted to Stena Line to operate Karlskrona - Gdynia whilst the STENA BALTICA is in dock for modifications to increase vehicle capacity

NORSE MERCHANT FERRIES

RIVER LUNE is reported sold to Swedish Orient Lines and chartered back to Norse Merchant Ferries. The vessel is currently operating under charter to Norse Merchant Ferries on the Dublin - Heysham route.

STENA LINE

HSS STENA VOYAGER - Due to technical problems with HSS STENA VOYAGER, Stena Line will be operating a revised timetable until Tuesday 23 November 2004 . Unfortunately, to enable repairs to be completed, the ship will come off service and will not operate sailings between 21:55 on Sunday 21 to 10:00 on Tuesday 23 November inclusive. Crossing times have been revised to 2h 20m.

Departing Belfast

 

Date

Time

Stena HSS

Thursday 18
to
Saturday 20

00:01

Stena HSS

07:30

 

 

Stena HSS

13:00

Stena HSS

18:30

 

 

Stena HSS

Sunday 21

07:30

 

 

Stena HSS

13:00

Stena HSS

18:30

 

 

Repairs

Monday 22

Repairs

Repairs

Repairs

Repairs

Tuesday 23

Repairs

Stena HSS

12:20

Back to normal schedule

 

 

Departing Stranraer

Ship

Date

Time

 

Thursday 18
to
Saturday 20

 

Stena HSS

04:45

Stena HSS

10:15

Stena HSS

15:45

 

 

Stena HSS

21:15

 

Sunday 21

 

Stena HSS

04:45

Stena HSS

10:15

Stena HSS

15:45

 

 

Stena HSS

21:15

Repairs

Monday 22

Repairs

Repairs

Repairs

Repairs

Tuesday 23

Repairs

Stena HSS

14:45

Back to normal schedule

KONINGIN BEATRIX - The court case concerning the passenger who drowned following a fall from the ship continued in the High Court as reported by the Western Mail:

It was" virtually impossible" that a man who went overboard from the deck of a ferry ended up in the water accidentally, the High Court heard yesterday.

The claim came in the midst of a widow's legal battle for compensation after her husband, Michael Davis, 35, died during a Stena Line Rosslare-to-Fishguard crossing in October 2000.

Marion Davis, of Melrose Avenue, Yate, Bristol, is suing the ferry company for £250,000, claiming it was to blame for her husband's death. Lawyers for Stena Line deny all liability.

Mr Simon Kverndal QC, for the widow, told Mr Justice Forbes that Mr Davis had gone overboard about 11.40am on October 29, 2000. A short time later a sea rescue helicopter was scrambled to look for the missing man.

He was spotted about 40 minutes later by crew on a nearby container ship and, when the weather was judged too bad to launch lifeboats from the ferry, the Stena Line vessel was manoeuvred close to him in a bid to lift him from the freezing water.

However, Mr Davis was then submerged as the ferry ventured too close, said Mr Kverndal, eventually reappearing on the other side of the boat, "face down in the water, obviously dead".

Mr Kverndal claimed the method used to attempt Mr Davis's rescue "should never have been attempted".

But Michael Tillett QC, for the ferry company, has told the court that Mr Davis had a "history of depression".

The barrister added that he "must have" gone overboard as a "result of a deliberate or reckless act rather than accidentally".

Mr Tillett concluded, "The height of the rails around all open deck areas on the ferry meant that an accidental fall overboard was virtually impossible".

The hearing, which will run into next week, continues.

BRITISH WATERWAYS

Liverpool's ground-breaking new canal is to include two waterside amphitheatres, revealed this week in plans released by British Waterways.

With construction planned to start as early as next year, the audacious and exciting canal scheme is set to be one of the star attractions for Liverpool's year as Capital of Culture in 2008. The Liverpool Canal Link, as it has been christened, will link the historic Leeds & Liverpool Canal with the city's vibrant docks, crossing the prominent Pier Head area.

The two amphitheatres have been planned to provide a more sheltered environment, increase the all-year round use of the area, and create space for events and public gatherings. The city's great rival, Manchester, already has a canalised amphitheatre in its Castlefield 'water quarter'. Hopes are high that the Liverpool location will repeat the success already seen in Manchester, where thousands have been attracted to open air concerts and public art beside the canal.

Building a new canal is far from cheap - but British Waterways thinks it can come up with the goods. The Government has already selected the scheme as a candidate for European funding. Adrian Sains, manager of the North-West's waterways, explained: "Given the encouraging news received last month on European funding, we're increasingly confident that this visionary project will become a reality."

November 17
Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Edwin Wilmshurst, Ian Collard, Alex Mc. Cormac, Dave Crolley and "others".

NOTES & NEWS

Welcome to this mid week update. This features the first batch of cruise ship call dates forwarded by Edwin Wilmshurst for Ireland and Irish Sea Ports in the UK. These are always great help in  facilitating photo expeditions in those spring and summer months which appear so far off at the present time!

MERSEY DOCKS & HARBOUR COMPANY

Ramblers in Wirral have secured victory over the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company, concerning access to the river wall at Twelve Quays.

Access to this area was restricted prior to the construction of the Twelve Quays ro/ro terminal. However this action was challenged by Wirral Ramblers which resulted in an appeal to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. 

The appeal has now been upheld and Wirral Borough Council has been asked to modify maps defining public rights of way recognising the existence of a footpath along the river wall at Twelve Quays.

Wirral Borough Council is expected to consider the matter at the next meeting of the Licensing, Health and Safety General Purposes Committee on November 22.

However, its is likely that public enquiry may be necessary before the footpath can be opened.

PENINSULAR & ORIENTAL STEAM NAVIGATION COMPANY

INCAT 047 - currently laid up at A&P Birkenhead will sail as THE EXPRESS when she operates on the North Channel during the 2005 season.

MERSEY FERRIES

ROYAL DAFFODIL - a male passenger was reported to have been seen to jumped off the ship at 16:35 whilst she was in service on Tuesday November 16. Despite an extensive search which included the New Brighton and Hoylake lifeboats  the body was believed to have been washed out to see. Personal belongings and an abandoned car were reported to have been found.

STENA LINE

A woman is suing Stena Line for the death of her husband who had been travelling on board the KONINGIN BEATRIX four years ago.

The High Court heard how Michael Davis died when he went over the side whilst on the Rosslare to Fishguard sailing.

His grieving widow, Marion, who lives in Bristol, is suing operators Stena Line for about £250,000, claiming the company was to blame for her husband's death after it launched an abortive rescue attempt.

The court was yesterday told that the attitudes of the company were rooted in the "Dark Ages".

Stena Line has vigorously denied all liability.

Simon Kverndal QC, for Mrs Davis, told Mr Justice Forbes that Mr Davis had gone overboard from the KONINGIN BEATRIX at about 11.40am on October 29, 2000.

He was finally spotted about 40 minutes later by a crew member of container ship CELTIC KING. The KONINGIN BEATRIX was manoeuvred close to Mr. Davis in a bid to "extract" him from the water.

However, with an air-sea rescue helicopter on the way, Mr Davis was submerged as the ferry ventured too close, the barrister said, eventually reappearing on the other side of the boat, "face down in the water, obviously dead".

Mr. Kverndal claimed the method used to rescue Mr Davis' from the water "should never have been attempted and crew members should have been ready to try to pass flotation devices to him".

He added, "The circumstances for Mr Davis' death were foreseeable, and with proper planning his death was avoidable."

The barrister claimed Mr Davis' death was caused by the boat drawing too near to him, and said the stricken man must have been "terrified" as he saw the giant ferry "looming up over him".

"The incident which caused Mr Davis' death was that the ferry came too close to him during the failed rescue attempt, but for this he would have survived and would have been rescued by the helicopter or the crew of the CELTIC KING," he said.

"There should have been a proper evaluation of the options which were available to rescue Mr Davis.

"This evaluation should have commenced as soon as the decision to turn back to look for him was taken - there is no point in looking for a man overboard unless there is a coherent plan for his rescue if he is found alive."

Mr Kverndal also said Stena's failure to carry out risk assessments in advance had contributed to the tragedy, and claimed the company had done nothing to ensure the same thing would not happen again.

He added, "That the lesson has still not been learnt by Stena four years later, and that their group safety adviser is prepared to come to court to defend the Dark Ages attitudes of Stena and their senior mariners, is a matter of very serious public concern.

"It appears that Stena had simply given no thought to this situation at all. Or, if they had given any thought to it, they had failed to formulate or introduce any meaningful procedure to deal with it.

"The attitude of Stena and its employees is alarming."

But Michael Tillett QC, acting for Stena, argued the ferry company was in no way to blame for Mr Davis' death, and that he probably went overboard as a result of his own "deliberate or reckless act".

He said the fact that Mr Davis died as the ferry got nearer to him was "pure coincidence".

The hearing, which is due to last eight more days, continues.

OH NO NOT ANOTHER TITANIC REPLICA!

A proposal appeared in the Liverpool Echo this week suggesting that a static TITANIC replica costing £250m could be built and berthed at Liverpool in time for the 2008 and European Capital of Culture Year. This will be yet another one of those fanciful TITANIC replica plans which will get absolutely nowhere. One presumes the promoter hasn't even considered the problems of berthing the ship! 

November 14
Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Trevor Kidd, Ian Collard, "NWFreight" and "others".

NOTES & NEWS

Welcome to this two part weekend update. Though not scheduled it is likely that a further update will be posted this Wednesday this will include the first of the Cruise Calls updates from Edwin Wilmshurst. 

If you have not visited Irish Sea Shipping since last weekend please note that a mid-week update was posted on Thursday November 11. 

ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY

Captain Corrin represented the company at the Remembrance Day service held at the War Memorial on Douglas Promenade. The LADY OF MANN took part in the act of remembrance sounding her whistle at the beginning and end of the two minutes silence paying tribute to company employees who were killed in action.

IRISH FERRIES

Irish Ferries staff have voted for industrial action following the company's decision to lay off or relocate crew from the Ireland - France service operated from Rosslare. The NORMANDY crew being replaced by eastern European agency crew.

Staff voted two to one in favour of industrial action including a strike

The ballot followed an angry reaction to the news that the company intended to offer voluntary redundancy or transfer to another ship to 125 permanent and 25 temporary staff based at Rosslare. The company indicating that workers had only a month to make their decision.

SIPTU and the Seaman's Union of Ireland want management to extend the time allowing staff to decide which option they want to go for.

The industrial action, which may begin in two weeks' time, could affect all Irish Ferries services on the Irish Sea.

MERSEY DOCKS & HARBOUR COMPANY

The case against the two anglers who entered the dock estate in October has been adjourned until December 09 after a hearing at South Sefton Magistrates's Court, Bootle on Tuesday. 

The anglers have been charged with breaking a 1856 by-law The Mersey Dock and Harbour Consolidation Act which imposes some many unusual restrictions. 

For more information on this matter and to download letters of support for forwarding to the Prime Minister, MPs and MD&HC please .

BRITTANY FERRIES

PONT-AVEN - The Plymouth-based £100 million superferry Pont-Aven has yet again sailed into trouble, leaving passengers facing delays. It emerged this morning that Brittany Ferries' flagship is stranded in Santander for 24 hours while repairs are carried out to one of her turbochargers. Now the ferry is being taken out of service, weeks earlier than planned, for a month for repairs.

To add to the company's woes, the vessel's bow doors have been jammed shut for the past month.

The turbocharger fault is the latest in a string of problems to hit the 41,700-tonne ferry, which only came into service on the Santander route in March.

The bow doors jammed within a couple of weeks of the ship entering service, leading to delays. Pont-Aven then had to be taken out of action during the peak summer holiday season after 1,200 tonnes of seawater flooded the engine-room while she was alongside at Millbay Docks - blocking the city's only ferry berth and leaving the travel plans of thousands of people in chaos.

And after she returned to service, the 100ft-beam luxury ferry - built by Meyer Werft in Papenburg, and the pride of the Brittany Ferries fleet - broke down again with alternator failure caused by the engine room flood.

Brittany Ferries spokesman Stephen Tuckwell told the Herald today: "The ship is delayed in Santander at the moment due to another problem with one of the turbochargers.

"It's impacting on the schedules," he admitted.

"She's going out of service on November 19. The alternators were damaged, new ones have been manufactured and they're going to be installed."

He said the bow door fault meant cars and lorries were being loaded and unloaded via the rear doors only, but insisted this had not led to delays, although he admitted it was 'unfortunate'. [This is Cornwall]

DEPARTMENT OF THE MARINE

A useful listing of all Irish registered passenger ships is available on the Department of The Marine web site. Listing all ships from the ULYSSES down to the Naval Service's small passenger auxiliaries, the site also gives details of certification and plying limits. A useful resource especially for the smaller vessels and worth adding to your "favourites" list.

SEATRUCK FERRIES

MOONDANCE rescued a survivor from the Kilkeel based fishing vessel EMERALD DAWN which foundered on Wednesday evening. The survivor was then taken by helicopter to Noble's Hospital, Douglas. 

R.N.L.I.

Port St.Mary Lifeboat undertook searches for the crew of Emerald Dawn assisted by 30 fishing vessels, rescue helicopters and an RAF Nimrod. The vessel which had been fishing for crabs had been due to return to port around 13:00 on Wednesday

MARITIME & COASTGUARD AGENCY

11 FOREIGN SHIPS UNDER DETENTION IN THE UK DURING SEPTEMBER 2004

The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) announced this week that 11 foreign ships were under detention in UK ports during September 2004 after failing Port State Control safety inspection.

Latest monthly figures show that there were 8 new detentions of foreign flagged ships in UK ports during September 2004, along with 3 other ships still under detention from previous months. This represents a decrease of 3 new detentions in comparison to August. The overall rate of detentions compared with inspections carried out over the last 12 months is 6.1% which is a decrease of 0.3% compared to August’s 12 month rate.

Vessels detained in September include the following:

• A Finish ro/ro cargo ship for 8 days on the Tyne. The vessel entered port with fuel oil leaking down the side of the ship. Subsequent inspection revealed the pollution incident was caused during transfer to the fuel oil settling tank. A total of 32 deficiencies were recorded including the poor standard of cleanliness of the engineroom, steering gear pumps leaking, fire detection system panel faulty. The oil spill incident and number of deficiencies indicate a failure of the shipboard safety management system. The owners are currently under investigation by the MCA Enforcement Branch for the pollution incident.

• A Russian general cargo ship which was involved in a collision off Goole. There was substantial hull damage impairing the seaworthiness. There were 7 recorded deficiencies including operators failing to inform classification society thereby making class certificate invalid. The main radio installation was inoperative. The ship was still under detention at the end of September.

• A Maltese bulk carrier for 10 days at Silvertown with 48 recorded deficiencies including corroded ventilators, severe corrosion in fore peak and wing tanks, wastage of deck plating and structural fire protection not satisfactory. The deficiencies indicate a breakdown of the shipboard safety management system.

WICKLOW & EAST COAST NOTES from Tommy Dover

Wicklow Port   01 - 14 November 2004

Coaster callers included MAREIKE, SCOT RANGER, UNION MARS.

Traffic included COASTAL WAVE, MAREIKE and BOWCLIFFE.

The relief fleet Tyne RNLB OWEN & ANNE AISER arrived from Plymouth to cover while Wicklow lifeboat RNLB ANNIE BLAKER goes off station for a refit.

GRANUAILE anchored in the bay for a short time , she was working on buoy's along the Wicklow coast.

Greystones

A jack up rig is currently working in the harbour , test drilling is underway for a proposed redevelopment of the harbour , incorporating a marina and facilities for the Coastguard inshore lifeboat. The small work vessel TR1 was observed in the harbour during the week.

Arklow Port

GRANUAILE was anchored off the port on Friday night.

SEA CONTAINERS

SEA CONTAINERS ANNOUNCES RESULTS FOR QUARTER AND NINE MONTHS ENDED SEPTEMBER 30, 2004 . 

Net earnings for the quarter were $18.1 million ($0.76 per common share diluted) on revenue of $492 million.  Revenue increased 6% over the prior year period.  Excluding gains on sale of assets and non-recurring charges in 2003, net earnings declined $22.6 million from the prior year period.

For the nine months ended September 30, 2004 net earnings were $8.1 million ($0.35 per common share) on revenue of $1.3 billion.  Revenue increased 6% over the prior year period.  Excluding gains on sale of assets and non-recurring charges, net earnings declined $31.7 million from the year earlier period.

Mr. James B. Sherwood, President, said that the third quarter was the period of highest demand for light fuel needed to operate the company’s fast ferry fleet and the price had soared beyond expectation at the time of the last earnings press release.  The company’s expenditure on fuel for the quarter increased by $3 million over the prior year period.  Light fuel prices have reduced recently by 15% from their peak but the price outlook for 2005 is uncertain.

The company’s Hoverspeed unit got caught in a price war between Eurotunnel and other ferry operators on the Dover/Calais ferry route and was forced to reduce rates to retain market share.  The savings achieved by moving to seasonal operations were lost through this pricing conflict and higher fuel costs.  The main ferry operator on the route, P&O, has announced the withdrawal of two large passenger ferries in 2005 which should help to achieve a better balance between supply and demand.

Hoverspeed had earlier won a lawsuit against H.M. Customs & Excise in the U.K. , reaffirmed on appeal, and has now lodged its claim for damages in the amount of $91.5 million (£50 million).  The original award provided that the damages would be determined by a single judge in the High Court and this is expected to be heard late in 2005.  Shortly after the filing of the damages claim the European Commission separately filed suit against the U.K. on similar grounds, i.e. breach of the European Union treaty concerning the free movement of goods across frontiers between members states, so Hoverspeed believes it has a strong claim.

Silja incurred start-up losses in connection with its introduction of the m.v. Fanjet into the Germany/Estonia/Russia trade.  This introduction coincided with the imposition of visas at large cost for EU visitors to Russia , causing a reduction in expected demand.  Silja has decided to lay-up the vessel during this winter while negotiations progress with the Russian authorities.  Silja also suffered from the higher than expected fuel costs for its fleet, including two SuperSeaCat fast ferries and the Fanjet which burn light fuel.

GNER’s results for the quarter were impacted by a portion of the $15 million settlement made with the Strategic Rail Authority which is being written off over the balance of its current franchise which expires in April, 2005.  Poor weather in the period dampened tourist rail travel.  Better performance by Network Rail reduced delay compensation payments compared with the prior year period.

 

1.  Silja, the Baltic ferry operator.

 

Three months ended Sept 30

Nine months ended Sept 30

 

2004

2003

2004

2003

Silja operations:

 

 

 

 

Revenue

$181,940

$181,813

$481,010

$451,082

Operating and SG&A expenses

150,861

146,090

424,119

394,017

EBITDA

31,079

 35,723

56,891

 57,065

Depreciation

 10,535

  8,363

 30,872

 26,324

Earnings before net finance costs

$ 20,544

$ 27,360

$ 26,019

$ 30,741

Silja’s business plan for 2005 calls for substantial improvement in results of the m.v. Fanjet, increase in freight capacity on routes which are currently constrained and sale or charter of the pure cruise ship m.v. Walrus, currently based in Hong Kong .  Silja’s core routes continue to operate satisfactorily as does its pure cruise vessel m.v. Silja Opera.

2.         GNER, the intercity high speed rail service connecting London with Leeds , Newcastle and Scotland .

 

Three months ended Sept 30

Nine months ended Sept 30

 

2004

2003

2004

2003

Rail operations:

 

 

 

 

Revenue

$224,945

$197,364

$633,411

$526,947

Operating and SG&A expenses

211,115

166,228

588,156

456,178

EBITDA

13,830

31,136

45,255

70,769

Depreciation

  3,242

  2,379

 11,234

  7,550

Earnings before net finance costs

$ 10,588

$ 28,757

$ 34,021

$ 63,219

GNER and other bidders are required to submit their applications for a new 10 year franchise on December 6, 2004 .  An award is expected in February, 2005.  GNER has prepared carefully for its tender and believes it will win the new franchise.

 

3.         Other ferry operations, consisting of Hoverspeed’s 5 ships operating in U.K. waters, SNAV-Hoverspeed’s two ships operating in the Adriatic, two high speed ferries chartered out to other operators and SeaStreak’s 7 passenger-only fast ferries operating commuter services between Manhattan and New Jersey.

 

Three months ended Sept 30 

Nine months ended Sept 30 

 

2004 

2003 

2004 

2003 

Other ferry operations:

 

 

 

 

Revenue

$43,940 

$54,793 

$78,459 

$143,335 

Operating and SG&A expenses

43,179 

50,025 

87,038 

138,058 

EBITDA

   761 

 4,768 

 (8,579)

5,277 

Depreciation

 3,585 

 3,254 

10,229 

 11,876 

Earnings before net finance costs

$(2,824)

$ 1,514 

 $(18,808)

$ (6,599)

 

Extra fuel costs and reduced yield on the Dover/Calais route accounted for the swing from a profit of $1.5 million in the third quarter of 2003 to a loss of $2.8 million in the third quarter of 2004.

Hoverspeed is in negotiation with Transmanche to sell them the Newhaven/Dieppe route including the vessel (sale or charter).  In 2005 two larger ships will be employed on the Dover/Calais route in order to accommodate more peak season volumes.  The third ship employed on the route this year will be moved to the Mediterranean .  Other fast ferry fleet deployment changes are planned and will be announced before Christmas.  When taken as a whole the results from other ferry operations are expected to be significantly improved in 2005.

4.         GE SeaCo, the 50% owned joint venture with GE Capital, engaged in the ownership and leasing out of marine cargo containers.

 

Three months ended Sept 30

Nine months ended Sept 30

 

2004

2003

2004

2003

Container operations:

 

 

 

 

Revenue

$37,513

$25,421

$101,714

$69,772

Operating and SG&A expenses

 5,066

 2,818

 12,711

 8,775

EBITDA

32,447

22,603

 89,003

60,997

Depreciation

10,909

 7,910

 30,238

21,664

Earnings before net finance costs

21,538

14,693

 58,765

39,333

Finance costs

 4,392

 2,804

 11,373

 8,237

Earnings before tax

$17,146

$11,889

$ 47,392

$31,096

Sea Containers’ 50% share

$ 8,573

$ 5,945

$ 23,696

$15,548

Profits were up 44% over the third quarter of 2003, reflecting the continued strong growth of this activity.  GE SeaCo took delivery of $225 million of new containers in the nine months ended Sept 30, 2004 and now expects to invest $270 million for the year.

The GE SeaCo owned fleet had 99% utilization at the end of the third quarter of 2004 while the “pool fleet” consisting of containers owned by Sea Containers and GE Capital and managed by GE SeaCo, had 89% utilization.

Despite some signs of new container prices easing, they have now risen again and no short term relief is in sight.  Lease rates have risen in step with new container prices.  New container purchases are spread throughout the year of purchase but will generate profits for the entire following year, assuring earnings growth in 2005.  There are no signs of slackening of demand.  Shipyards have full order books through 2007 for new containerships, most of which have greater container capacities than existing ships.  More containers will be needed to fill these ships.

Both utilization and lease rates have risen for all container types in the “pool fleet”.  GE SeaCo is finding difficulty to find space on vessels to position units from surplus areas to areas of demand but more capacity should open up after the Christmas shipping season.

“In my 40 years in the marine container leasing business I have never seen such demand and high utilization.  Our lessees are making excellent profits and are accepting container lease rate increases with a minimum of fuss,” Mr. Sherwood said.

5.         Other container operations, including factories, depots and service facilities.

 

Three months ended Sept 30

Nine months ended Sept 30

 

2004

2003

2004

2003

Other container operations:

 

 

 

 

Revenue

$36,104

$25,922

$88,650

$85,024

Operating and SG&A expenses

20,563

11,175

45,368

37,538

EBITDA

15,541

14,747

43,282

47,486

Depreciation

11,166

11,958

33,512

36,338

Earnings before net finance costs

$ 4,375

$ 2,789

$ 9,770

$11,148

  Operating profits from these activities rose 57% in the quarter, to $4.4 million from $2.8 million in the prior year period.  All units showed improvement and for the first time profits from the group of businesses in Australia and New Zealand acquired from the Owens Group contributed to the gains.

  6.         Property, Plantations and Publishing.  This unit includes the company’s port interests (primarily the Corinth Canal in Greece and Newhaven, England), plantations in the Ivory Coast and Brazil and publishing services.

Three months ended Sept 30

Nine months ended Sept 30

 

2004

2003

2004 

2003

Other operations:

 

 

 

 

Revenue

$5,307

$5,126

$16,373

$17,118

Operating and SG&A expenses

5,576

5,002

16,999

15,433

Gain on sale of port assets

5,732

5,000

 5,732

 5,000

EBITDA

5,463

5,124

5,106

6,685

Depreciation

  361

  353

   981

   906

Earnings before net finance costs

$5,102

$4,771

$  4,125

$ 5,779

The improvement in operating profits to $5.1 million from $4.7 million in the year earlier period was largely due to real estate sales and improved Corinth Canal results.  Further sales are expected in the fourth quarter.  Fruit farming is having a poor year due to heavy rain and crop rotation problems, however, the linked leasing of refrigerated containers has increased.  Publishing should achieve a modest profit for the year.

7.         Leisure investment.  Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. in which the company has a 42% shareholding, increased its net income in the third quarter by 40% over the prior year period to $11.5 million from $8.2 million in the year earlier period.

Sea Containers’ share of these earnings was $4.8 million in the quarter, up 26% from $3.8 million in the year earlier period. 

 “The investment in Orient-Express Hotels has a current market value of about $270 million, yet the total current market value of Sea Containers’ equity is only about $360 million.  This valuation does not seem to recognize the value of the company’s 50% shareholding in GE SeaCo, nor the net asset value of ferry assets.  As Orient-Express Hotels’ earnings improve we expect their share price will rise.  While current problems with fuel prices and the competitive environment for ferries have caused a reduction in earnings, investors should not lose sight of the true values in the group.  Furthermore, while we do not exclude going to the public debt markets to replace debt, our plan to reduce total debt from $1.5 billion at the end of 2003 to $1 billion or less by the end of 2006 remains intact,” Mr. Sherwood said.

November 11
Acknowledgements: Ian Collard, Tony Brennan, Michael Pryce and "others"
SEA CONTAINERS

RAPIDE departed Belfast at 16:20 on November 08, having completed her service on the Belfast - Troon route on November 01.

RAPIDE will spend the Winter at the Pallion Yard on the River Wear with SEACAT SCOTLAND and SUPERSEACAT ONE before being used on Dover - Calais next summer.

MERSEY DOCKS & HARBOUR COMPANY

Mersey Docks and Harbour Company have confirmed that a takeover approach worth £1bn has been made by CVC Capital Partners.. The company's share price has been soaring in recent days and is now over £9.00.

The two anglers being prosecuted by the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company for fishing and filming in October have had their case adjourned until December 09 at an appearance at Sefton Magistrates Court on November 11.

STENA LINE 

HSS STENA EXPLORER was reported out of service on Monday November 08 for MES deployment. She returned to service with the 18:30 sailing that evening.

ISLE OF MAN DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT

Passenger figures compiled by the Harbours Division for September 2004 at 57,981 show a 3% decrease on the figure for the same period in 2003 which was 59,791.

The year to date figure at 545,119 passengers shows a 2.9% decrease over the same period in 2003 which was 561,435.

During September, car and motorcycle traffic through Douglas Harbour increased by 19.6% from 14,464 vehicles to 17,298 vehicles.

The year to date figure at 146,034 vehicles shows a 1.3% decrease over the same period in 2003 which was 147,885.

Scheduled Routes show the following changes in passenger numbers for September:-

BelfastMinus 15%From3,220To2,748
DublinMinus11%From1,954To1,743
HeyshamPlus 38%From18,617To25,728
LiverpoolMinus 18%From32,554To26,560

Director of Harbours, Captain Michael Brew comments:

“September figures show a slight fall on last year’s figures in line with the year to date trend. Traffic on the UK routes however show an increase of 2.2%. Irish rates being effected by a number of cancellations due to adverse weather conditions.”
November 06
Acknowledgements: Ian Collard, John Williams and "others"

NOTES & NEWS

This week's update is dominated by two major articles - one a review of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company's 2005 Timetable, the other a commentary on port access in the light of the news that two anglers are to appear in court as a result of fishing and filming in the Port of Liverpool.

UPDATES

Though the next scheduled update is due to be posted on November 13, it is likely that at least one mid week update will be posted. 

Contributors are reminded that most weekend updates will now be posted on Saturdays until the end of February. Please try and forward contributions for weekend updates by 13:00 on Saturdays.

ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY

The UK Edition of the 2005 timetable has been published and is available at the Liverpool Terminal. It is understood that the Isle of Man edition will be available in a few days time.

However, an examination of the UK Edition reveals that the company will be marking its 175 Anniversary year by significant cuts in service on the Liverpool - Douglas route.

Services will be operated by just two ships BEN-MY-CHREE and either LADY OF MANN or SUPERSEACAT TWO depending on the time of year. 

The reduction in service on the Liverpool - Douglas route will particularly effect passengers wishing to travel Liverpool - Douglas and return the same day. For further details and commentary on the new timetable . 

MERSEY DOCKS & HARBOUR COMPANY

The question of access to the dock estate for recreational purposes has been given a higher profile this week following the news that two anglers are to appear before Sefton Magistrates next week. One is accused of fishing and the other accused of filming. Stephen Davies, 35 and David Irvine, 44, were arrested after defying the ban, but claim measures that label them as terrorists are "ridiculous".

The public, including sea anglers and birdwatchers, have been banned from entering Seaforth Docks, near Waterloo , since the International Shipping and Port Security Code was introduced as part of a global crackdown on terrorism in July.

The rocky stretch of shore near the dock is rated one of the best sea-angling spots in the UK , but anglers are permitted to fish there only if they notify the port authority and are in groups of at least ten.

The two men believe this is unfair and were arrested on October 20 after protesting against the measures.

Mr Davies, from Netherton, said the port authority had decided to clamp down on the anglers, not for security reasons, but because it regarded them as a nuisance.

"They have got no right to deny us access. This is an open area that faces right onto the sea.

"There is no security issue. The night we were arrested we drove into the area in a taxi and no-one stopped us. We were fishing for three hours before anyone noticed.

"We protested against the new security measures because we believe the rights of fishermen lie in ancient law, and we believe we have the right to fish at Seaforth docks.

"It's ridiculous to be labelled as terrorists when all we want to do is fish."

Mr Davies, who runs his own fishing tackle shop, said the ban had also affected his business and he promised to fight the case in court.

Eric Leatherbarrow, spokesman for the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company, said: "Both the men have been summoned for fishing in the dock and one for filming without permission. Both offences come under the port's by-laws." [Liverpool Daily Post & Echo].

CANADIAN NAVY

Dutch company is reported to be in talks to take HMCS CHECOUTAMI to Halifax NS piggy-back on a semi-submersible. It appears that the likely causes of the fire are now centred on wire insulation near Captain's quarters & conning tower hatches left open in rough seas.

November 03
Acknowledgements: Gary Andrews, Alex Mc Cormac and "others".

NOTES & NEWS

I am still playing catch-up following my trip last week, and given other commitments this evening's update has not been as long as I would have liked. I will try and get a further update posted tomorrow, Thursday around 21:00. Weekend updates now revert to Saturdays for the winter season until the end of February, unless I notify any changes.

ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY

SUPERSEACAT TWO entered A&P wet basin shortly after 13:00 on November 03. SUPERSEACAT TWO will join the other fast craft - SUPERSTAR EXPRESS, CHERBOURG EXPRESS, and SEACAT ISLE OF MAN which are also currently laid up there.

SEA CONTAINERS

RAPIDE - The last sailings of the season were the 15:45 ex Belfast and 19:30 return ex Troon on Monday November 1.

RNLI NEW BRIGHTON

Following successful trials earlier this year with hovercraft 01 MOLLY RAYNER, New Brighton Lifeboat Station took delivery of hovercraft 05 HURLEY SPIRIT on Thursday October 28, 2004. She made her debut before the press on Friday October 29.

The Hovercraft is brand new but initially it will be carried on a trailer and not on its new carrying rig, which is still being fine tuned and will not be ready for use, until January 2005. The craft will not be fully operational and on call yet,  as the crew have each to complete 40 hours training before they are judged competent. 

NORSE MERCHANT FERRIES

LAGAN VIKING and MERSEY VIKING are to undergo upgrading work at a yet to be announced ship yard before they are switched to the Liverpool - Dublin route in 2005. Two new chartered 26,500 grt vessels will replace them on the Liverpool - Belfast route in July and December 2005. These ships are currently under construction at the Viscentini Ship Yard in Italy for owners Levantina Transport.

KNOTT END FERRY

The Fleetwood to Knott End ferry service may not be saved unless the county council can pledge to pay half the cost. Wyre Council's Cabinet will consider the ferry's future on Monday and will hear that Lancashire has already verbally offered to pay 50 per cent for the first three years. But councillors are being recommended to stick out for help over the full 10-year contract. 

The cabinet will choose between tenders from two companies which want to run the service. They are believed to be Wyre Waste Management, the present operators, and a Lancaster cycle-hire company. But before the council commits totally it will not want to leave itself financially exposed. As well as calling for a guarantee from the county council, they are also likely to sanction a 12-month service in the first year but review winter sailings after that in the light of cost. 

The Countryside Agency has offered £25,000 to aid a winter service but that cash will dry up in later years. A report to councillors will say that a year-round service would cost the council £36,000 in the first year and £49,000 in subsequent years if there was no external help. The service, which had been due to close, is currently being run on a one-year contract after the council did a U-turn. The county council has earmarked £500,000 for the construction of a new ferry boat with disabled access and a builder has been identified after a tender process. [from Lancashire Today].

IRISH FERRIES

Workers at Irish Ferries are to ballot for strike action following the company's decision to use "low-cost crews" on routes to France. Members of the Seaman's Union of Ireland (SUI) and SIPTU met yesterday to consider their position following the announcement by the company that it intends to outsource the crew of the MV Normandy, which operates on the Rosslare-Cherbourg and Rosslare- Roscoff routes.

SIPTU branch secretary Mr Paul Smyth said the marine officers' section committee of SIPTU had already taken a decision to ballot for industrial action in an effort to prevent the ferry company outsourcing employment to low-cost operators.

"Only last June, the unions agreed proposals which we believed guaranteed all the services in Irish Ferries," he said.

The unions last night confirmed that any strike action would not be limited by region and would take effect across all the company's services.

A spokesman for Irish Ferries last night said the company was committed to its plan to maintain the competitiveness of their service to France. "I won't comment on the statement specifically, but I will say that Irish Ferries will close its service as intended at the end of November. In future, our Ireland-France services will be crewed by staff recruited by an agency," he said.

Irish Ferries said it was delighted with the response to the voluntary severance package on offer to the 150 crew, and that the ending of its direct staffing on the routes would result in no forced redundancies.

Workers who do not wish to leave the company will be moved to the Irish Sea services.

The company has seen a 7 per cent decrease in the volume of passengers on its services to France on last year and said such figures could not be sustained in the long term.

In a statement, the unions said they believed that management's proposals should not be implemented as "they will result in the certain demise of Irish seafarers".

Both the SUI and SIPTU have called on the Government "to engage in a proactive way with the unions and management to assist in the creation of a level playing field which would ensure Irish Ferries could compete with Brittany Ferries which is heavily subsidised by the French government".

Both unions have warned they will strike if necessary to retain the conditions of employment on the continental route.

PENINSULAR & ORIENTAL STEAM NAVIGATION COMPANY

The Irish Farmers' Association has called for the Government to urgently intervene to ensure continued ferry access for cattle to continental Europe.

The farmers' concerns follow last week's announcement by the P & O Ferry group that it is withdrawing the EUROPEAN DIPLOMAT on the Rosslare to Cherbourg route from 19 December.

The IFA Livestock Chairman, John Bryan, said today that the that Minister for Agriculture, Mary Coughlan, and the Government should guarantee farmers and live exporters continued roll on/roll off ferry access to export markets.

Mr Bryan said that while Ms Coughlan says she is totally committed live exports, the deadline to deliver on this important issue is rapidly approaching and it is essential the Government takes action at this stage on alternative arrangements.

The live export trade is worth over €150 million annually and involves the export of over 200,000 animals to markets such as Spain, Italy, Holland and France.

Mr Bryan said that he was aware that some parties have expressed an interest in developing a new ferry facility from Ireland to Europe that would carry livestock.

He said they were currently examining the options on the Rosslare - Cherbourg route.

NORSE MERCHANT FERRIES

LAGAN VIKING & MERSEY VIKING  are to undergo upgrading work at a yet to be announced shipyard prior to being switched to the Liverpool - Dublin route in 2005. Both ships are being replaced on the Liverpool-Belfast run by two chartered 26,500 grt vessels currently under.

 

 

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