P&O Ferries freight-orientated Ro-Pax ferry NORBANK arrived at Mostyn this morning just before 10am for berthing trials. The ferry, which normally sails between Liverpool and Dublin stayed at the port for around an hour before returning to Dublin. While there, her ramp was tested on the linkspan at Mostyn. At least one trailer was driven off and back on the vessel with a tug master. It has been reported that P&O have been looking at alternatives to Liverpool in recent days. The visit is the first time a P&O ferry has visited the Welsh port since 2004.
The trial comes amid a continued impasse between P&O Ferries and Peel Ports. The latter, which owns the Port of Liverpool, prevented NORBANK‘s sister-ship NORBAY from leaving the port last Thursday morning due to a dispute over the payment of port fees. According to P&O Ferries, Peel Ports have demanded payment of almost £600,000. The ferry company dispute that is the figure owed to the port operator. Following the Mostyn visit we asked P&O for an official comment. Their spokesman responded ‘No Comment’. P&O’s sailings between Dublin – Liverpool have been ‘delayed indefinitely’ since last Thursday afternoon.
NORBANK left Dublin last night at 21:00 and was on the berth at Mostyn at around 09:50 coinciding with high water. Just under an hour later at 10:40 the ship was back on her way to Dublin. She was back in the Irish capital for 19:00 this evening. Mostyn is a tidal port and at low water is only a few metres deep. As a consequence, should P&O Ferries decide to start a service there, the timetable will likely be dictated by tidal conditions. This could be the case even with significant additional dredging.
Rivals capitalise on route suspension
NORBAY remains on the usual P&O berth at Gladstone Dock, Liverpool, having not moved since Thursday. There have also been unconfirmed reports online that NORBANK was detained at Dublin for a time though a solution to secure her release was quickly found. In the meantime, Seatruck Ferries added an additional crossing in each direction between Dublin and Liverpool today. SEATRUCK POWER made a rare Sunday daytime crossing in order to clear a backlog of drop freight. SEATRUCK PROGRESS did the same in the opposite direction.