Italian operator Caronte & Tourist have purchased EPSILON from a company related to her builder for €34m according to Ship2Shore (Italian, Paywalled). Until now the vessel had been bareboat chartered to Caronte & Tourist who then sub-chartered her to Irish Ferries since the end of 2013. The change of ownership does not mean that the vessel will leave the Irish Ferries fleet in the short term, however, as the Irish operator currently has a charter agreement until November 2020 with a further option period of one year. The transaction was completed with the financial support of Italy’s third largest retail and corporate bank Banco BPM, and SACE Simest which supports the international development of Italian Companies.
EPSILON alternates between Irish Ferries Dublin to Holyhead and Dublin to Cherbourg routes on a seasonal basis. Following the introduction of W.B. YEATS earlier this year and the expected delivery of a brand new flagship for the Dublin to Holyhead route next year it is likely that EPSILON will be surplus to requirements at Irish Ferries. EPSILON was completed in 2011 by Cantiere Navale Visentini as the 24th in a series of Ro-Pax ferries built at the yard which started with the original LAGAN VIKING and MERSEY VIKING of Norse Irish Ferries. Other members of the series include STENA LAGAN, STENA MERSEY, STENA HORIZON, STENA FLAVIA, and Brittany Ferries ETRETAT and CONNEMARA.
In other Irish Ferries news, OSCAR WILDE appears to be staying in Belfast until at least next Thursday now. Her original departure on Belfast vessel movements has changed from Tuesday just past to April 4th.