Ferry News

Irish Ferries Prepares to Introduce Its Third Ship to Dover – Calais

Dublin-based Irish Ferries is preparing to introduce its third ship, ISLE OF INISHEER, to its Dover – Calais route. The Spanish-built ferry is currently undergoing work at the Fayard shipyard in Denmark. She is presently expected to join ISLE OF INISHMORE and ISLE OF INNISFREE in the Dover fleet within the next ten days. Current information is that she will leave Denmark on Thursday.

Currently it is expected that ISLE OF INISHEER will leave Denmark on Thursday. The current plan is for her to release ISLE OF INNISFREE and ISLE OF INISHMORE to go for maintenance work. However, with the ongoing P&O Ferries service suspension at Dover all operators are struggling for capacity, and so the company may decide to offer a full three ship service earlier than previously planned. Presently ISLE OF INISHEER is expected to start timetabled sailings towards the end of next week.

ISLE OF INISHEER arrives at Fayard on 13 April 2022 still in the livery of her former owner/operator Trasmediterránea. Image © Peter Therkildsen.
ISLE OF INISHEER arrives at Fayard on 13 April 2022 still in the livery of her former owner/operator Trasmediterránea. Image © Peter Therkildsen.

At present the full three ship service is not appearing on the Irish Ferries passenger booking engine until 25 April.

Irish Ferries' ISLE OF INISHEER seen at Odense on 25 February 2022. Painting into Irish Ferries livery has begun on her starboard funnel. Image: © Peter Therkildsen.
Irish Ferries’ ISLE OF INISHEER seen at Odense on 25 February 2022. Painting into Irish Ferries livery has begun on her starboard funnel. Image: © Peter Therkildsen.

Modifications 

While at Fayard, modifications have been made to ISLE OF INISHEER’s bow and stern access arrangements to allow her to load and unload efficiently at both Dover and Calais.

ISLE OF INISHEER seen at the Fayard Shipyard in Odense, Denmark, on 02 April 2022. Image: © Peter Therkildsen
ISLE OF INISHEER seen at the Fayard Shipyard in Odense, Denmark, on 02 April 2022. In this image we can see that her rear ramp has been removed and a sliding door and additional steel work has taken its place. Image: © Peter Therkildsen.

NIFS understands that while some work has taken place in her passenger spaces, ISLE OF INISHEER’s layout and facilities remain largely unchanged.  Rather areas have been re-purposed with the Deck 7 forward lounge being dedicated for drivers and the area above on Deck 8 becoming a Club Lounge.  It is understood some cabins have also been removed to create shower blocks for drivers.

ISLE OF INISHEER was previously Trasmediterránea’s CIUDAD DE PALMA and is arguably the most basic of Irish Ferries’ Dover vessels in terms of passenger facilities.

ISLE OF INISHEER at Fayard Shipyard on 18 March 2022. Image: © Peter Therkildsen.
ISLE OF INISHEER at Fayard Shipyard on 18 March 2022. Image: © Peter Therkildsen.

The ship is no stranger to Dover, having originally been Norfolk Line’s NORTHERN MERCHANT on their Dover – Dunkirk route. She was replaced in 2006 by MAERSK DELFT (currently DFDS’ DELFT SEAWAYS) and passed to Trasmediterránea for whom she sailed under various names. 

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.

ISLE OF INISHEER is an as-built sister of Interislander’s KAIARAHI, but unlike the latter was never fitted with fin stabilisers. Eckerö Line’s FINBO CARGO and the accommodation ship AQUARIUS BRASIL are also as-built sister-ships. Polferries’ CRAICOVIA was built to a heavily modified version of the same design.

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