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 flagship ferry to France from Ireland, and replaced the now sold OSCAR WILDE as the French services flagship. At present she also operates on the Dublin to Holyhead route during the low season, switching places with EPSILON during Autumn and Winter. She was ordered during 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 is 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.
Irish Ferries originally stated that their new ferry would be built for both the Dublin to France and Dublin to Holyhead services, and so she would be designed in a way that would allow facilities to be closed off when not required. However, 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. The arrival of the next new-build 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.
It was expected at the time that following crew familiarisation, berthing trials, and all other required processes that W.B. YEATS would enter service on the Dublin to Holyhead route in early January as second-ship to ULYSSESbefore 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. This was despite Irish Ferries having announced the previous day that they did not have plans to run any services from Rosslare to France.
After crossing to Holyhead for berthing trials that evening on berths 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, the same day the new ship arrived in Dublin for the first time, 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, with Dublin to Cherbourg being their only ferry to France.
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 end she had to proceed to Cammell-Laird before the new vessel was in service.
The first commercial crossing was not without problems though, with W.B. YEATS‘ scheduled 08:05 departure leaving around an hour late. The new vessel also had some issues berthing at Holyhead, with the stern of the vessel making contact with the lower deck of the linkspan causing minor damage to both linkspan and vessel. EPSILON was then, in turn, able to release OSCAR WILDE as the second ship on the Dublin to Holyhead route, which allowed the latter to return to maintaining the Dublin to Cherbourg route from Thursday 24th.
On January 29th, the online Irish agricultural portal Agriland reported that a new ferry was close to being certified for live exports to France. This was later verified by NIFS as being W.B. YEATS. According to the Agriland report the certification of the new vessel could more than double live export capacity between Ireland and France.
Since entering service on the 22nd January, W.B. YEATS career has been uneventful. During March she switched as planned to the Dublin to Cherbourg service, with EPSILON taking her place on the Holyhead schedule. She also picked up two industry awards, the Shippax Ferry Concept Award 2018 and Ferry Shipping Summit Ferry of the Year 2019. W.B. YEATS is the feature vessel in Shippax Designs 18, an annual ferry and cruise industry design journal.
W.B. Yeats Technical Data
Unless otherwise stated, the below technical information has come from Irish Ferries, Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft, DNV-GL, or directly from the supplier themselves (eg. Konutherm). Information from DNV-GL is denoted with a *.
OSK Shiptech A/S (Denmark) / Steen Friis Design A/S (Denmark)Helen Kilmartin of Minima (Ireland)
Interior Outfitting (Public Spaces)
Bugge & Gjertsen (Norway)
Classification and notations *
DNV-GL 1A Ferry(A) BIS DG(P) E0 NAUT(AW) TMON Ice Class 1A (Except propellers) *
29.10.18 – 7.11.18
Superstructure sections lifted into place (at FSG, Flensburg)
Forward section (including the bridge): 06.02.18
Aft section (including funnel): 08.02.18
12th December 2018 (originally scheduled for May 2018)
In Service (route)
22.01.19 (Dublin – Holyhead)
Length between Perpendiculars
Total number of decks
Number of Passenger Decks
4 x MaK (Caterpillar Marine) 8M 43 C* marine-diesel engines producing 8,400kW each, attached in pairs to one of two Siemens GVL1700 reduction gearboxes, with each reduction gearbox driving one of two CAT MPP 1700* controllable pitch propellers via a shaft. Engines and propellers designed and built by Caterpillar Motoren GmbH & Co. KG, gearboxes designed and built by Siemens AG.
3 x CAT 8M 20 C* auxiliary Diesel engines built by Caterpillar Motoren GmbH & Co. KG
1 x Mitsubishi S12R-M* emergency generator constructed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., Sagamihara Machinery Works, Japan
3 x 1,800kW Brunvoll FU 93* tunnel thrusters (2500mm propellers)
4 x 800kW Konutherm AKV 0,6 / 40 waste gas boilers
The following images are designed to give an impression of W.B. YEATS, but do not cover every area of the vessel. For a more comprehensive look inside W.B. YEATS, see our dedicated feature here.
The design and construction of W.B. Yeats
W. B. YEATS was built using modern modular construction methods and designed in-house by FSG’s dedicated design department with assistance from ICG’s consultant naval architect OSK-Shiptech. While her hull was assembled at FSG from pre-fabricated sections built on-site, her superstructure was the product of three different yards in Poland. FSG contracted the manufacture of the superstructure sections to long-term partner Marine Projects of Gdańsk, who themselves subcontracted the centre section to Holm Construction (also based in Gdańsk). The flat steel sections required to build all of the superstructure sections were supplied by Stocznia Gdańsk S.A. This yard was previously part of the famous former Lenin Shipyard which gave birth to the Solidarity movement in the 1980’s. Her construction was partially paid for by a €75m loan facility from the European Investment Bank (EIB) announced in December 2017.
Norway’s Kongsberg Maritime were awarded the Engineering, Procurement, Construction, and Installation (EPCI) contract for the build. This covered engineering and maritime equipment deliveries for W.B. YEATS. Subsidiary Kongsberg Maritime Engineering (KME) were awarded the contract for all engineering, procurement and project management for the build, while parent company Kongsberg Maritime was awarded the contract for ‘Full Picture’ system delivery. The scope of this included the supply and integration of all electrical, telecom and integrated control systems, interface management and engineering services, as well as all associated cables, installation and installation materials.
In addition, Kongsberg also supplied all; shaft generators, switchboards, automation, propulsion control, navigation systems, and radio/satellite communications systems including a tailor made Electrical, Instrument, and Telecom (EIT) solution for the vessel.
As well as building the physical superstructure sections, Marine Projects and Holm Construction supplied them mostly fitted out with bulkheads, furniture, fixtures, and fittings, cabling, pipework, and even most of the wheelhouse equipment. The sections were also supplied mostly painted with only areas which needed to be welded together or to the hull not already painted for delivery.
Although this method of prefabrication had proven very successful on previous smaller and less complex ferry builds, it would at least in part ultimately contribute to significant delays in the delivery of the vessel with electrical systems causing particular difficulties according to the yard. Despite the superstructure being delivered mostly completed, some 600km of cabling still had to be laid throughout the vessel once all the sections had been united together on the hull.
According to FSG Managing Director Rüdiger Fuchs (external link, in German), W.B. YEATS was also the first vessel the yard had built to comply with the Safe Return To Port (SRTP) requirements, which also contributed to delays due to the technical challenges associated in meeting these standards.
The much delayed sea trials took place from the evening of October 29th until the morning of November 7th 2018, with open-sea trials off the coast of Bornholm where she achieved speeds in excess of 23 knots.
W.B. Yeats’ Passenger Facilities
The passenger facilities of W.B YEATS are spread out over 4 decks, with three of those decks containing cabins and also stretching for most of the length of the vessel. The uppermost passenger deck (Deck 11) only occupies the forward part of the superstructure and boasts views over the bow and almost full-height windows. This is the only passenger deck on the vessel which does not contain any passenger cabins. The ‘Innisfree’ Club Class Lounge is located a deck below on Deck 10, above the bridge, which is situated on Deck 9 which is mainly a cabin deck.
Deck 8, the lowest passenger deck, is also mainly a cabin deck and houses the suites and disabled cabins as well as a variety of standard cabin accommodation. In total there are 17 different cabin options as well as the option of reserving a seat in the reclining seat lounges on Deck 10.
‘Maude Gonne’ Bar and Lounge and ‘Crazy Jane’s’ Games Room (slot machines) (Deck 11)