This article is the vessel profile for Irish Ferries W.B. YEATS. For the dedicated build page with archived updates click here.
Overview of W.B Yeats
W.B. YEATS is Irish Ferries new Ireland to France ferry. She replaces OSCAR WILDE as the French services flagship. She was ordered in May 2016 from Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft in Germany, and is the first new-build ferry to enter service for the company since ULYSSES in 2001. W.B. YEATS also the first new ship ordered by the company for their Ireland to France services since SAINT PATRICK (which was ordered by predecessor Irish Continental Line in 1972). Coincidentally SAINT PATRICK (which later became Belfast Car Ferries ST COLUM I) was also built in Germany. When the order was originally announced Irish Ferries stated that the new ferry would be built for both the Dublin to France and Dublin to Holyhead services. This changed however when Irish Ferries announced an order for a second new-build from the same yard in January 2018, in the process exercising an option which was negotiated in the contract for the first vessel. This would be a larger part-sister specifically built for the Dublin to Holyhead service, with the first vessel (now to be named W.B. YEATS following a naming competition) to be dedicated to French services once the second vessel arrived. This will potentially allow the chartered Visentini Ro-Pax EPSILON to be returned to her Italian owners.
When the order was announced the delivery date was stated as May 2018, however, this date slipped a number of times. This meant that W.B. YEATS missed the entirety of her inaugural summer season, leading to much negative publicity due to passengers sailings being cancelled or transferred to other “inferior” Irish Ferries vessels or other operators services. On November 29th 2018 Irish Continental Group announced that they had been given a revised delivery date of “Early” December for W.B. YEATS, with the vessel “undergoing ﬁnal delivery adjustments” at the yard. ICG announced on December 12th 2018 that they had taken delivery of W.B. YEATS in Flensburg and that she would arrive in Dublin the following week. Following crew familiarisation, berthing trials, and all other required processes prior to entering service it is expected that W.B. YEATS will enter service on the Dublin to Holyhead route in early January as second-ship to ULYSSES before moving full-time to the Dublin to Cherbourg route in spring 2019. On Tuesday 18th December 2018 she arrived in Cherbourg for the first time for berthing trials on berths 4 and 6. The following day she arrived in Rosslare at around 11:30 local time, also for berthing trials. After crossing to Holyhead for berthing trials there that evening on T3 and T5, W.B. YEATS made her way to Dublin overnight arriving in the Irish capital for the first time on Thursday 20th December under the command of Captain Peter Ferguson. On Saturday 29th December W.B. YEATS left Dublin for some further sea trials, returning to the port later in the day.
On December 20th it was revealed by the French media that unlike previous Irish Ferries vessels sailing to France, W.B. YEATS would not call at Roscoff. This effectively meant that the route between Rosslare and Roscoff which had operated since 1995 would close. Irish Ferries director in France, Ole Bockman, was quoted as saying this was because it would be considered dangerous to berth a vessel of her size at the port. Jean-Paul Chapalain, president of the port management company at Roscoff also stated that the company had received its contractual 6 months notice terminating the Irish Ferries port agreement in Roscoff, and that despite having a recent face to face meeting with the port management Irish Ferries had not raised any issues with the port with regard to the size of the new vessel. It was also reported that the vessel which previously sailed to Roscoff, OSCAR WILDE, was for sale. Earlier in the same week Irish Ferries announced that it was unlikely that they would offer any sailings between Rosslare and France in 2019.
W.B. YEATS made her first commercial crossing on Tuesday 22nd January having been quietly slotted into EPSILON‘s place on the schedule. EPSILON had been covering for ULYSSES which was in dry dock The latter vessels drydocking had been postponed a number of times in January in anticipation of W.B. YEATS entering service to cover, but in the