Title image: W.B. YEATS pictured at the Flensburg shipyard (FSG) on the morning of June 8th 2018. Copyright © Frank Jensen.
Ireland based ferry operator Irish Ferries announced earlier today that they have cancelled all sailings to France this year operated by their new ferry W.B. YEATS. Originally expected to be delivered in May, the German built 54,965 gt vessel is now not expected to be in service until September when she is due to operate Dublin to Holyhead sailings in place of the Visentini RoPax EPSILON. Irish Ferries say they have unsuccessfully attempted to charter in a suitable replacement ship. According to the company around 19,000 passengers will be affected by these cancelled sailings (a total of around 6,000 bookings), with passengers offered alternative travel with Irish Ferries or a full refund. A goodwill gesture of a €150 discount on an Irish Ferries sailing to France next year is also being offered to all affected customers. These latest cancellations come after 2,300 bookings for sailings from the 12th of July were also cancelled, and after sailings for and after the original maiden voyage on 6th July were cancelled before that.
Looking at the online booking engine today, it appears that W.B. YEATS has been taken off the schedule entirely, with the only Ireland to France sailings being between Dublin and Cherbourg from October 2nd. These are initially operated by OSCAR WILDE until October 9th when EPSILON takes over, presumably so OSCAR WILDE can lay up for winter as previously planned. The season of fast-craft DUBLIN SWIFT appears to be ending on the 8th October as previously advised as well. Despite appearing not to move across to the Dublin - Cherbourg route until October, EPSILON appears to finish on the weekday Dublin - Holyhead schedule on Tuesday 18th September, appearing to leave just ULYSSES and DUBLIN SWIFT to operate the central-corridor route until the fast-craft finishes her season, then leaving ULYSSES on her own on the route (likely to change). W.B. YEATS doesn't appear on the online booking engine at all on the current schedule which only goes up to the 18th December 2018. These vessel deployments are of course subject to change, and are only reflective of what is indicated on the Irish Ferries website at the time of writing (12/06/18).
According to the shipyard, Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft (FSG), the delays are due to "delays in the delivery of interior components for public areas and on the electrical system installation in the hull and deckhouse".
Rüdiger Fuchs, CEO of FSG, says: “All the key functions of our shipyard and our key suppliers are on the ship, and meet daily to ensure direct and efficient communication. Our team is fully focused on completing this first of two large passenger ferries which ICG has ordered from FSG.”
To overcome delays in the delivery of interior components intended for the public areas of the ferry, FSG has made additional funds available to pay second level suppliers directly.