Article updated 15/2/22 to correct service entry date of ISLE OF INISHEER and include information on ISLE OF INISHMORE scrubber fitting.
In November, Irish Ferries’ parent company, the Irish Continental Group, announced the purchase of the CIUDAD DE MAHÓN from Spanish operator Trasmed GLE.
Having completed service on routes from Barcelona to Palma de Mallorca and Ibiza, the vessel was handed over to her new Irish owners on 31 January 2022. On the same day CIUDAD DE MAHÓN was renamed ISLE OF INISHEER and her flag changed from Spain to Cyprus.
Grimaldi Trasmed has chartered the GUBAL TRADER to replace the dangerous goods service previously provided by the CIUDAD DE MAHÓN.
During overhaul in Denmark work will be carried out to the ISLE OF INISHEER to make her suitable for the Dover – Calais route. It is understood that this will include alterations to allow twin-level drive through loading. Steelwork will be required at the bow in the form of a “cow-catcher” to allow the ‘Inisheer to fit the Calais berth. Additionally revised stern arrangements will facilitate loading at Dover.
The ship will also be re-painted into the Irish Ferries brand.
It isn’t clear yet what changes will be carried out to her passenger accommodation. Based on the purchase of the ISLE OF INNISFREE (ex-CALAIS SEAWAYS) it is likely work will be centred on basic re-branding.
It is believed that the ship will be at the Danish shipyard for around a month. She is expected in service on the Dover – Calais route during March. The ISLE OF INISHMORE is then due to take a break from service to have scrubbers fitted. This will allow Irish Ferries to provide a three-ship Channel operation from mid-April. The complete line-up will be ISLE OF INISHEER with the ISLE OF INISHMORE and ISLE OF INNISFREE.
Catching up with her history at Denmark
Fayard is also currently hosting other Dover ferries undergoing major refits. The DFDS Dover – Dunkerque ships are currently visiting the yard in turn for major refits.
The ISLE OF INISHEER operated Dover – Dunkerque for Norfolkline as NORTHERN MERCHANT from 2000 to 2006. Interestingly, she will be refitting alongside the ship that replaced her on that route, DELFT SEAWAYS (ex-MAERSK DELFT). The DFDS ship will be arriving in Denmark later in February.
From 2006 until this year, the ISLE OF INISHEER, as CIUDAD DE MAHÓN and ZURBARAN until 2019, had operated on the Balearic routes of Trasmediterránea/Trasmed GLE.