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Irish Ferries Confirms Purchase of Third Dover – Calais Ferry

Update 30.11.2021: The following render of CIUDAD DE MAHON in Irish Ferries colours has emerged:

An artist’s impression of Irish Ferries new Dover – Calais ship. Image: Irish Ferries.

New Ship to be Introduced During Early 2022

Irish Ferries parent company Irish Continental Group has confirmed the purchase of the Ro-Pax ferry CIUDAD DE MAHÓN from Trasmed GLE.  Her introduction to the Dover – Calais route, during the first quarter of 2022, will allow Irish Ferries to increase sailing frequency. 

The arrival of a third ferry will allow Irish Ferries to potentially offer up to 30 sailings per day on the route.  This will allow a departure around every 90 minutes from both Dover and Calais. 

The "Food Lounge" restaurant onboard CIUDAD DE MAHON. Image: Trasmediterranea.
The “Food Lounge” restaurant onboard CIUDAD DE MAHON. Image: Trasmediterranea.

The company intends to introduce its second ship on the route, ISLE OF INNISFREE (ex CALAIS SEAWAYS), during December.  She is currently undergoing maintenance and rebranding in Dunkerque, having been handed over on 3 November.  The Innisfree will reduce the time between sailings from each port to two and a half hours from the present five hours. 

Outside deck area onboard CIUDAD DE MAHON. Image: Trasmediterranea.
Outside deck area onboard CIUDAD DE MAHON. Image: Trasmediterranea.

Return to Dover

CIUDAD DE MAHÓN was completed for Cenargo Group as NORTHERN MERCHANT by Astilleros Españoles S.A. (AESA) in 2000.  She will have the lowest passenger capacity of Irish Ferries’ three ships on the Calais route, quoted as 589 people. Irish Ferries states her freight capacity as 93 units.

NORTHERN MERCHANT while in service for Norfolk Line between Dover and Dunkirk. Image: Copyright © Fotoflite.
NORTHERN MERCHANT while in service for Norfolk Line between Dover and Dunkirk. Image: Copyright © Fotoflite.

As NORTHERN MERCHANT, CIUDAD DE MAHÓN previously served Norfolk Line’s (now DFDS) Dover – Dunkerque route between 2000 and 2006, after which she was sold to Acciona Trasmediterranea. She served that company’s Balearic Islands routes.  The vessel was originally built as one of four sisters for Merchant Ferries’ Liverpool to Dublin and Belfast operation.  After the Merchant Ferries merger with Norse Irish Ferries, two of the ships were no longer required for a Belfast route and found themselves chartered to Norfolkline for their new Channel service.

Continued Investment in Dover – Calais

Irish Ferries expects to take delivery of CIUDAD DE MAHÓN during late January 2022. While no new name has yet been announced for the ship, it seems possible that Irish Ferries will continue to use its Islands naming scheme for the ship.  One suggestion could be “Isle of Inishturk”, which was last used on the company’s first ISLE OF INISHMORE (ex LEINSTER) when she was renamed to free up the name for the current ship.  

Irish Ferries' ISLE OF INISHMORE at sea, 18.06.2021. Image: Irish Ferries.
Irish Ferries’ ISLE OF INISHMORE at sea, 18.06.2021. Image: Irish Ferries.

The purchase of CIUDAD DE MAHÓN and ISLE OF INNISFREE represents an investment of €35.5m in tonnage for the Dover – Calais route.  This is in addition to the cost of converting and redeploying the company’s current sole ferry on the route ISLE OF INISHMORE. That ship was replaced on her previous Rosslare – Pembroke Dock route by the chartered BLUE STAR 1.

Irish Ferries’ Dover – Calais vessels at a Glance

NameISLE OF INISHMOREISLE OF INNISFREETBN (CIUDAD DE MAHÓN)
IMO Number914260589084469181091
Built1997, Van der Giessen -de Noord, Krimpen aan der IJssel, Holland1992, Boelwerf, Temse, Belgium2000, Astilleros Españoles S.A., Seville, Spain 
Length182.5m163.6m179.93m
Breadth27.8m (moulded)
28.43m (extreme)
27.7m24.303m (moulded)
25m (extreme)
Gross Tonnage34,03128,88322,152
Passenger Capacity*1,1401,140589
Freight Capacity*122 trailers83 units93 units 
Total Lane Metres2,0601,7841,950

*For Irish Ferries.  Lane metre measurements taken from Shippax Pocket Guide ‘19.  All other vessel data taken from Lloyds Register of Shipping and Bureau Veritas.

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