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[Updated] Irish Ferries to Charter Greek Ferry ‘Blue Star 1’

Fast Ro-Pax ferry currently being painted in Irish Ferries colours

Update 31.03.2021: BLUE STAR 1 has now left the Greek port of Piraeus for Rosslare.

Update 26.03.2021: Irish Ferries has announced that BLUE STAR 1 will be introduced on the Rosslare – Pembroke route during April.

Dublin-based Irish Ferries is to charter Blue Star Ferries’ BLUE STAR 1, confirming industry rumours. The ship, which is owned by Attica Group, is currently being partially repainted at Piraeus in a livery similar to that previously worn by OSCAR WILDE.

Both Attica Group and Irish Ferries parent Irish Continental Group are publicly listed companies. Consequently, firm information is scarce ahead of a formal announcement. Reports from Greece suggest that the Irish Ferries charter of BLUE STAR 1 could be for up to two years.

BLUE STAR 1 being repainted in Irish Ferries livery. Image: © Voyager ShipSpotting.
BLUE STAR 1 being repainted in Irish Ferries livery. Image: © Voyager ShipSpotting.

The fact that the ship has been partially repainted suggests that the ship will be with Irish Ferries significantly longer than just refit cover as previously seemed a possibility.

Official Blue Star Ferries “Welcome on board” BLUE STAR 1 video presentation

Which Route?

It is also presently unclear what route Irish Ferries will use the ship on. BLUE STAR 1‘s bow door, apparently unused since her time on the Rosyth – Zeebrugge route, has been pictured being tested.

In terms of freight capacity, BLUE STAR 1 will be the smallest member of the Irish Ferries fleet. She does. however, have capacity for 1,890 passengers according to Blue Star Ferries.

BLUE STAR 1 will become the fastest conventional ship in the Irish Ferries fleet, with a design speed of 28 knots. It would appear unlikely that Irish Ferries would need to use this speed on a regular basis, however

BLUE STAR 1's bow door undergoing testing, 17.03.2021. Image: © Voyager ShipSpotting.
BLUE STAR 1‘s bow door undergoing testing, 17.03.2021. Image: © Voyager ShipSpotting.

Irish Ferries currently has another Mediterranean ferry on short-term charter, MEGA EXPRESS FOUR. That ship has been used mainly on the Dublin – Holyhead route as dry-dock relief.

MEGA EXPRESS FOUR is expected to return to the Med before ISLE OF INISHMORE completes her expected three week long dry-docking. She is expected to be required for owner Corsica Ferries services in the coming months.

Irish Continental Group stated in their final results on March 11 that the planned installation of Exhaust Gas Cleaning Scrubbers on ISLE OF INISHMORE was “deferred to avoid project risk delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic”. It is likely that the arrival of BLUE STAR 1 will allow Inishmore’s dry-dock to be covered.

Possible Deployment

At NIFS, we think that one possibility (once Inishmore’s dry-docking is completed) is that BLUE STAR 1 will allow capacity on the Dublin – Cherbourg route to be increased. This could be either directly or through releasing EPSILON from the Dublin – Holyhead route. EPSILON’s charter currently runs until November. Depending on the situation at that time, BLUE STAR 1 could ultimately replace that vessel in the Irish Ferries fleet.

We will post an update once firm details become available.

Update 22.03.2021 @ 18:30: Painting work continued today with the Irish Ferries swooshes added to the port side of the hull. The port side of the funnel has also now been painted in Irish Ferries green.

Painting continues on BLUE STAR 1 with further Irish Ferries branding applied to the ship during Monday March 22. Image: © Voyager Shipspotting.
Painting continues on BLUE STAR 1 with further Irish Ferries branding applied to the ship during Monday March 22. Image: © Voyager Shipspotting.

Steven Tarbox

Steven is a ferry blogger and photographer from Belfast. He founded NI Ferry Site in 2014, and still acts as the editor. Steven also looks after all of the technical aspects of the website.
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