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FSG 777 | Irish Ferries Proposed New Dublin – Holyhead ferry

Summary: FSG 777 is the yard number of Irish Ferries proposed new ferry to be built in Germany. NIFS takes a look at what is known so-far about this vessel and how she differs from W.B. Yeats.
Rendering of Irish Ferries currently unnamed second FSG new-build ferry. When ordered she was expected to enter service on the Dublin - Holyhead route in mid-2020. Irish Ferries
Rendering of Irish Ferries currently unnamed second FSG new-build ferry. When ordered she was expected to enter service on the Dublin - Holyhead route in mid-2020. Irish Ferries

Introduction

Irish Ferries new-build for the Dublin to Holyhead route, presently known by her yard number FSG 777, is the second of two vessels ordered by Irish Continental Group (ICG) from Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft (FSG) in Germany.  She is the larger of the two vessels, both in terms of physical dimensions and vehicle capacity. The first vessel of the pair was W.B. YEATS which was delivered to ICG at the end of 2018. FSG 777 is still undergoing design work ahead of the start of her construction, and so the items described in this article may change as adjustments are made. The design appears to be an enlarged version of W.B. YEATS, but with the removal of an entire cabin deck and changes to the interior to reflect the shorter crossing time of the Dublin to Holyhead route. Instead of cabins on Deck 8, this space is given over to making Deck 7 a full-height freight deck This, however, means that the newer vessel, unlike W.B. YEATS, has no dedicated car deck.

Deployment

Irish Ferries intend to deploy FSG 777 on the Dublin to Holyhead route. As a result the chartered Ro-Pax EPSILON will be returned to her owners Caronte & Tourist, and W.B. YEATS will move to the Dublin to Cherbourg route full time.

Main Differences with W.B Yeats

FSG 777 was ordered in early-January 2018 specifically for the Dublin to Holyhead route. Unlike the earlier W.B. YEATS (which was ordered with the overnight Ireland to France service in mind) she does not require extensive cabin accommodation.  She does, however, have four full freight decks and a small outside freight deck making her the largest Ro-Pax in the world by freight intake. This means that she could be able to accommodate 5,615 lane metres of freight – around double the amount W.B. YEATS can carry on her three freight decks.

Longer and Heavier

This increase is achieved partially by stowing vehicles higher up on the vessel (a trick borrowed from the design of ULYSSES) and replacing the car deck on ‘Yeats’ with a freight deck. Additionally the length of the vessel is increased to 226m from the 198.4m of W.B. YEATS. Gross tonnage leaps from 51,388 to around 67,000 gt. Likewise the deadweight of the new vessel jumps to about 12,000t from the 7,859 of the earlier vessel. The new ship has the largest dimensions currently possible to be constructed at FSG’s covered slipway.

Irish Ferries W.B. YEATS arrives in Dublin Port for the first time, Thursday 20th December 2018, greeted with a water canon 'salute' from two of the port tugs. Copyright © Irish Ferries.
Irish Ferries W.B. YEATS arrives in Dublin Port for the first time, Thursday 20th December 2018, greeted with a water canon ‘salute’ from two of the port tugs. Copyright © Irish Ferries.

New Linkspan?

In order to achieve the required turnaround times in port while using all vehicle decks, an additional linkspan could need to be built at Dublin. This would allow the uppermost freight deck (Deck 7) to load and unload via its own dedicated linkspan. This linkspan would land a ramp on the foreword starboard quarter of the vessel where the vehicle deck can be accessed via a hinged door on the superstructure. This new linkspan would be used in addition to the existing twin tier linkspan at Dublin Port currently used by ULYSEES and W.B.YEATS. There have been suggestions, however, that this plan has been shelved and that the vessel could use internal ramps instead – a potential issue due to the narrower opening at the bow compared to the stern. At Holyhead, Deck 7 would be accessed using a fixed ramp aft on the starboard side of Deck 5, taking full advantage of the wider access at the stern of the vessel compared to the bow. A small additional freight deck is to be provided aft of the passenger accommodation on Deck 9 for vehicles requiring stowage on an open deck. Again this would be accessed via fixed ramps though in this case there is one on both the port and starboard sides to avoid vehicles having to reverse down a ramp where possible.

No Dedicated Car Deck

Cars will be accommodated on Deck 5 and Deck 6, the latter formed by deploying hoistable panels accessed from Deck 5. With the panels deployed this area can accommodate 100 cars on each level. Cars may also be carried on the other vehicle decks should demand require this. There is no dedicated car deck on the design of FSG 777 apart from the aforementioned mezzanine formed by deploying the plates on Deck 5.

Machinery

Importantly, there is a significant change in the machinery installation from the earlier vessel. The new ship would be significantly longer and heavier than W.B. YEATS, and as a consequence larger main engines have been specified. These are four Wärtsilä 8,400kW medium-speed Diesel engines in lieu of the four Caterpillar MaK units used on W.B. YEATS. In addition, the new ship has three bow thrusters and one stern thruster plus two high-lift flap rudders. W.B. YEATS, on the other hand, was specified with three less powerful bow thrusters, no stern thruster, and rudders with a range of only 45 degrees either way. Wärtsilä has also been selected to supply the exhaust gas scrubber system. On W.B. YEATS the scrubbers were supplied by Alfa Laval.

Similarities with W.B. Yeats

FSG 777 is designed to have a similar passenger capacity to W.B. YEATS at around 1,800 persons. The passenger accommodation layout is understood to be similar, with some adjustments made to take account of the shorter crossing time that the new vessel is designed for. The most obvious change is that the full-height vehicle deck on Deck 7 will occupy the space taken up the cabin deck (Deck 8) on the earlier vessel. The lowest passenger deck therefore is Deck 9, which like on W.B. YEATS will be the ‘Bridge Deck’ and will house cabin accommodation. As mentioned above there will be a small freight deck immediately aft of the accommodation on Deck 9.

Official Irish Ferries image of "Boylan's Brasserie" on W.B. YEATS. Irish Ferries
Official Irish Ferries image of “Boylan’s Brasserie” on W.B. YEATS. Irish Ferries

Public Spaces

The configuration of Deck’s 10 and 11 described in Shippax Designs 18 appears to closely mirror those of W.B. YEATS, with Club Class forward on Deck 10 then a Freight Drivers Restaurant (with lounge above) and and a-la-carte restaurant behind. Moving back, a large restaurant space dominates the deck with Cinemas and a Quiet Lounge behind. The restaurants and Club Class are again served by a single galley which is surrounded by these outlets. Like on W.B. YEATS a bar/lounge space is located forward on Deck 11 with a shop and outside deck access midships. The Interior design is again expected to be led by Camilla Horn of OSK-Shiptech and its subsidiary Steen Friis Design. This continues a relationship between ICG and the Horn family that dates right back to the creation of Irish Continental Line in the early 1970’s. Like with W.B. YEATS the ship is designed with easily closing off public spaces in mind should demand be low.

Layout plan of Deck 10 onboard Irish Ferries' W.B. YEATS. © Irish Ferries.
Layout plan of Deck 10 onboard Irish Ferries’ W.B. YEATS. The layout of the equivalent deck on Irish Ferries new Dublin to Holyhead vessel is said to be very similar. © Irish Ferries.

Hull form

The hull design for FSG 777 is essentially a lengthened version of that used W.B. YEATS with some adjustments made, for example, to incorporate the different machinery package. This design is itself derived from the highly successful series of Ro-Ro vessels built by FSG and is said to be highly efficient. This approach of basing the hull form of multiple vessels on a common design is common practice in the shipbuilding industry and helps keep costs down.

Construction

When the order for FSG 777 was announced, ICG stated that the new vessel would be delivered during May 2020. Subsequently this date has changed to “late” 2020. At the time of writing (August 2019) construction does not appear to have yet started on FSG 777, with neither FSG or Irish Continental Group having made any announcement to that effect. As with W.B. YEATS, Brittany Ferries HONFLEUR, and a long running series of Ro-Ro vessels, it is expected that the superstructure for FSG 777 will be constructed and partially fitted out by Marine Projects and their sub-contractors in Poland. On completion these sections would be towed on barges to Flensburg when they would be united with the FSG-built hull to which they would be welded. This is an arrangement that has worked well in the past but seems to have contributed to the issues with the delivery of W.B. YEATS.

Irish Ferries W.B. Yeats shown under construction at the Flensburger shipyard on 7th February 2018. In this view the heavy-lift crane barges TAKLIFT and MATADOR have lifted the central section of the superstructure into place. Copyright © Frank Jensen
Irish Ferries W.B. YEATS shown under construction at the Flensburger shipyard on 7th February 2018. In this view the heavy-lift crane barges TAKLIFT and MATADOR have lifted the central section of the superstructure into place. Copyright © Frank Jensen

Could the Project be Moved to Another Yard or Cancelled?

Following the significant delays with delivering W.B. YEATS and the subsequent severe financial difficulties and further delivery delays faced at the shipyard (such as that to Brittany Ferries HONFLEUR), there have been unconfirmed reports that ICG have been investigating the possibility of building their next vessel at other shipyards. During 2018, FSG made a net loss of some €111m on revenue of €213m. Only two specific alternative yards have been named so far, CSC Jinling and AVIC Weihai. Neither FSG or ICG have stated that the next new build could be delivered by anywhere other than by FSG, despite the rumours and speculation to the contrary.

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Technical Specification

Artist rendering of the new €165.2 cruise ferry ordered by Irish Continental Group for their Irish Ferries Dublin to Holyhead service. ICG
Artist rendering of the €165.2 cruise ferry ordered by Irish Continental Group for their Irish Ferries Dublin to Holyhead service. ICG

The following technical specification is still subject to change as the vessel is still undergoing design changes prior to its construction

NameTBC
IMO Number9847530
Call SignTBC
OwnerIrish Continental groupIrish Continental Group Plc
OperatorIrish Ferries logoIrish Ferries
ManagerMatrix Ship Management Ltd.
Design / Marine ArchitectFlensburger shipbuildingFlensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft mbH & Co. KG, Flensburg, Germany

Consultant Architect (for ICG)

OSK ShipTech, Denmark
Building Yard
(Hull and Assembly)
Flensburger shipbuildingFlensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft mbH & Co. KG, Flensburg, Germany
Building Yard
(Superstructure)
Marine Projects Ltd Sp. z.o.o., Gdańsk, Poland 
EPCI (Engineering, Procurement, Construction, and Installation of Maritime Technology)TBC
Interior Architect

Steen Friis design logoOSK Shiptech A/S (Denmark) / Steen Friis Design A/S (Denmark)

Interior Design/Styling

Steen Friis design logoOSK Shiptech A/S (Denmark) / Steen Friis Design A/S (Denmark)

Interior Outfitting (Public Spaces)TBC
Yard NumberFSG 777
Classification and notationsDNV GLDNV-GL

Order Announced02.01.18
Contract Price€165.2m (including scrubbers)
Steel CuttingTBC
Keel LayingTBC
Hull LaunchTBC
Sea TrialsTBC
Superstructure sections lifted into place
(at FSG, Flensburg)
TBC
DeliveryExpected “late” 2020
In Service (route)TBC 
(Dublin – Holyhead)
Length Overall226m
Length between PerpendicularsTBC
Beam (moulded)32.2m
Draught (design)6.5m
Draught (scantling)TBC
Deadweight12,200t (approx)
Gross Tonnage67,300gt (approx)
Total number of decks12
Number of Passenger Decks3 (Decks 9, 10, 11)
Machinery
  • Wartsila logo4 x Wärtsilä medium-speed main diesel engines, each producing 8,400kW.  These are geared in pairs to one of two twin-input single output gearboxes with power takeoffs.
  • Wartsila logo
  • Wartsila hybrid scrubber system
  • Three x 3,000kW bow thrusters and one x 3,000kW stern thruster
  • Two high lift flap rudders
Power33,600kW
Design Speed22.8 knots
Passenger Capacity1,800
CrewTBC
Cabins

147 x four-berth cabins

4 x deluxe cabins

2 x disabled cabins

Vehicle Capacity5, 615 lane metres of freight (approx. 300 units), or 1,525 cars, or a combination of both
Vehicle Access

Twin-level drive-through loading configuration with bow and stern doors, and internal ramps. Three level simultaneous bow loading with the use of a dedicated linkspan to Deck 7 forward.

Vehicles are stowed on Deck 1, Deck 3, Deck 5, Deck 7, and a small outside deck aft on Deck 9.  In addition plates can be deployed on Deck 7 to form Deck 8 to stow an additional 100 cars with 100 cars stowed in the same space below.

Passenger Facilities 

A range of passenger cabin accommodation.

Confirmed facilities are listed below but may be subject to change and/or additions:

  • Bar and Lounge (Deck 11)
  • The Shop (Deck 11)
  • Outside Deck (Deck 11)
  • Freight Drivers Restaurant (Deck 10) and lounge (Deck 11)
  • Club Class Lounge (Deck 10)
  • A la Carte restaurant (Deck 10)
  • Cafe & Fast Food Zone (Deck 10)
  • Two Cinema’s and adjacent Lounge Area (Deck 10)
  • Quiet Lounge (Deck 10)
Flag (Home Port)Cyprus FlagCyprus (Limassol)
NotesFurther information, including the capacity of passenger spaces, can be found in the publication Shippax Designs 18.

References and Further Reading

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