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Irish Ferries Oscar Wilde arrives in Belfast

Summary: Irish Ferries Oscar Wilde has arrived in Belfast for what some believe may be her last dry docking as an Irish Ferries vessel. P&O Ferries Norbay meanwhile is on her way back from Poland.
Irish Ferries OSCAR WILDE passes Victoria Terminal 4 on her way to Belfast Dry Dock, 20.03.19. Copyright © Scott Mackey.
Irish Ferries OSCAR WILDE passes Victoria Terminal 4 on her way to Belfast Dry Dock, 20.03.19. Copyright © Scott Mackey.

Irish Ferries OSCAR WILDE arrived in Belfast this morning.  The 1987-built cruise ferry is currently in Harland & Wolff’s Belfast Dry Dock where she is expected to remain until next Tuesday (according to Belfast Harbour movements).  

OSCAR WILDE appears to now be surplus to requirements at Irish Ferries having covered the dry dock period for the rest of the fleet, including lengthy spells for both ULYSSES and ISLE OF INISHMORE.  Earlier this year Irish Ferries announced that it was “unlikely” that they would operate the Rosslare to Cherbourg/Roscoff route which OSCAR WILDE is normally allocated to this year.  The company has since been replying to queries on social media that the route will definitely not operate in 2019, while the Port of Roscoff has confirmed that Irish Ferries have terminated their agreement with the port.  French media reported last month that La Méridionale had planned to charter the vessel but that the arrangement had fallen through as Irish Ferries had plans to sell her instead. While there have been rumours/speculation online that this could be ‘Oscar’s’ final drydocking as an Irish Ferries vessel, Irish Ferries parent Irish Continental Group have been tight-lipped about their plans for the vessel, simply saying that they are “exploring other opportunities for deployment” in the group’s final results statement earlier this month.

P&O Ferries NORBAY meanwhile left Gdańsk yesterday.  It is likely she will arrive in Dublin over the weekend after which it is expected she will release running mate and sister-ship NORBANK on the Liverpool to Dublin route. This will allow NORBANK to then go for her own dry docking in Poland. The Ro-Ro freighter MISTRAL is acting as relief vessel at Dublin having been transferred from the North Sea.

P&O Ferries NORBANK seen arriving in Dublin at the end of September 2018. Copyright © Robbie Cox.
P&O Ferries NORBANK seen arriving in Dublin at the end of September 2018. Copyright © Robbie Cox.
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