A Quick March ’19 Irish Sea Vessel Movements Update

Stena Line

As a result of the weather disruption caused Storm Gareth last week a significant backlog developed in freight traffic waiting to cross the Irish Sea. In order to help alleviate this, STENA FORECASTER continued in service over the weekend instead of laying over at Birkenhead as usual. STENA EUROPE arrived in Gibraltar on Sunday 17th leaving later the same day for Canakkale in Turkey after taking on bunkers. Information posted online suggests her ultimate destination is the Gemak shipyard in Tuzla. Notable recent visitors to this yard are IBN BATOUTA(ex ST CHRISTOPHER/STENA ANTRIM and now EUROPEAN STAR) and DFDS’s UN KARADENIZ which was lengthened by some 30m, the first of four such lengthening projects undertaken by the yard for the company. The first of DFDS’s six new 6,700lm Ro-Ro’s GOTHIA SEAWAYS also visited the yard earlier this month for rebranding and renaming to EPHESUS SEAWAYS.

Stena Line’s STENA EUROPE arrives in Rosslare with STENA NORDICA berthed at Berth 2 in the port. The latter is covering STENA EUROPE‘s three-month-long life extending dry docking in Turkey. Copyright © K. Konefal.

Frazer Ferries

FRAZER MARINER seen in Carlingford Lough while on relief duty on the Carlingford Lough Ferry Service, 14.03.19. Frazer Ferries/Scenic Carlingford Lough Ferry.
FRAZER MARINER seen in Carlingford Lough while on relief duty on the Carlingford Lough Ferry Service, 14.03.19. Frazer Ferries/Scenic Carlingford Lough Ferry.

The Carlingford Lough Ferry AISLING GABRIELLE arrived at New Ross boatyard for her annual overhaul on February 27th. During her absence, Scenic Lough Foyle Ferry’s FRAZER MARINER is covering the Greencastle to Greenore route. STRANGFORD 1 appears to still be at Mevagh Boatyard near Downings, Co. Donegal, though her AIS transponder is turned off.

Irish Ferries

Irish Ferries W. B. YEATS arrives in Dublin at around 13:30 on 14 March 2019. This was her final sailing from Holyhead before switching to the Dublin to Cherbourg route for the Spring/Summer season and had been delayed about 2 hours due to adverse weather (Storm Gareth). Copyright © Robbie Cox.
Irish Ferries’ W. B. YEATS arrives in Dublin at around 13:30 on 14 March 2019. This was her final sailing from Holyhead before switching to the Dublin to Cherbourg route for the Spring/Summer season and had been delayed about 2 hours due to adverse weather (Storm Gareth). Copyright © Robbie Cox.

Irish Ferries ISLE OF INISHMORE returned to service at the end of last week after a month in dry dock at Cammell Laird. The Dutch-built Ro-Pax was covered on her Rosslare to Pembroke Dock route by the cruise ferry OSCAR WILDE. The lengthy dry-docking of ‘Inishmore’ follows fleet-mate ULYSSES’ four weeks at the same yard where €4m worth of technical and refurbishment work was undertaken. OSCAR WILDE is currently expected to visit Belfast on Wednesday for dry docking. Some say this will be her last as an Irish Ferries vessel. Speculation continues that she has been sold though it is understood that no deal has yet been totally finalised. As noted elsewhere on NIFS her replacement as the Irish Ferries Ireland to France flagship W.B. YEATS commenced service on the Dublin to Cherbourg link last Thursday. While DUBLIN SWIFT returned to Dublin on the 8th ahead of the spring/summer season, the return to service of the fast-craft on the 14th has been delayed due to weather conditions. The catamaran was also noted making her way to Dublin from Belfast at reduced speed. This followed an apparent previous attempt to sail to Dublin when she turned back at the Copeland Islands a few days earlier. While laying over in Belfast a new mezzanine deck was added in order to expand her car carrying capacity.

P&O Ferries

Update 24.03.19: NORBAY arrived back in Dublin last night, berthing at around 22:30.

P&O Ferries NORBANK and relief vessel MISTRAL seen alongside at Dublin during Storm Gareth. MISTRAL was providing cover for NORBAY which was in dry dock in Poland. Copyright © Gordon Hislip.
P&O Ferries NORBANK and relief vessel MISTRAL seen alongside at Dublin during Storm Gareth. MISTRAL was providing cover for NORBAY which was in dry dock in Poland. Copyright © Gordon Hislip.

P&O Ferries’ NORBAY left Dublin on February 23rd for Gdansk, arriving at Remontowa in the early hours of the 27th. Relief vessel MISTRAL wasn’t in service until March 4th which put additional pressure on the other operators particularly direct competitor on the Dublin to Liverpool route Seatruck, until her arrival. NORBAY is one of six ferries currently at Remontowa. In addition to P&O fleet-mate PRIDE OF BURGUNDY the yard is also currently hosting DFDS’s OPTIMA SEAWAYS, Stena Line’s URD, Brittany Ferries BAIE DE SEINE, and Moby SPL’s PRINCESS ANASTASIA. According to Gdansk traffic NORBAY will leave the Polish port on the morning of March 19th. Sister-ship NORBANK is expected to leave for a similar spell at Remontowa once NORBAY returns to service.

Portal Morski (in Polish) has some photos of the vessels at Remontowa, including freshly repainted NORBAY.
https://www.portalmorski.pl/stocznie-statki/42016-imponujaca-liczba-qpromow-w-gdanskiej-stoczni-remontowa-sa-zdjecia