June (and early July) 2019 news roundup

Summary: A brief roundup of news stories not already covered on NI Ferry Site including local news, news of vessels which have left our waters, plus industry and new building news.
EUROPEAN STAR (ex STENA ANTRIM, etc) seen at Brindisi on June 11th, 2019. Copyright © Michael Livie.
EUROPEAN STAR (ex STENA ANTRIM, etc) seen at Brindisi on June 11th, 2019. Copyright © Michael Livie.

Local News

Work to upgrade the berths at both Belfast Victoria Terminal 2 (VT2) and 12 Quays Birkenhead South ahead of the arrival of the two new ferries for the Belfast to Liverpool (Birkenhead) route has commenced. The work vessel SGT PEPPER has been working at VT2 since the start of June with FORTH DRUMMER working at 12QS. Stena Line’s Heysham service temporarily switched its Belfast terminal to Albert Quay as planned while STENA LAGAN, STENA MERSEY, and STENA FORECASTER are using the VT1 berth previously used by the Heysham ships STENA HIBERNIA and STENA SCOTIA. VT2 and VT1 are joined so passengers and freight still use the normal entrances for the Liverpool service. The Albert Quay facility, which is just across the river from Titanic Belfast, is currently shared between the Stena Line Heysham freight service and the Isle of Man Steam Packet. Once work is complete at VT2 the Belfast Liverpool terminal will move back to the upgraded facility while the Belfast to Heysham service will relocate back to VT1. The contract for the work at VT2 has been awarded to local company Graham.

Advertisement
Stena Scotia leaving on the first sailing to Heysham from her new temporary Belfast home at Albert Quay. Copyright © Scott Mackey.
Stena Scotia leaving on the first sailing to Heysham from her new temporary Belfast home at Albert Quay. Copyright © Scott Mackey.

ROI Ferry News

Stena Line’s STENA EUROPE remains at the Gemak shipyard in Turkey undergoing life extension work. At present she is still expected back at the later than originally planned date of July 23rd according to the Stena Line live timetable. Karlskrona to Gdynia’s STENA NORDICA remains in place as the relief vessel on STENA EUROPE‘s normal Fishguard to Rosslare route.

STENA NORDICA seen bound for Rosslare from Fishguard, 10th June 2019. Copyright © Brian Boyce.
STENA NORDICA seen bound for Rosslare from Fishguard, 10th June 2019. Copyright © Brian Boyce.

In Waters New news

Former Stena Antrim getting ready to return to service

EUROPEAN STAR (the former STENA ANTRIM and ST CHRISTOPHER) is currently being prepared for service between Italy and Albania. The former Sealink and Stena Line ferry, which last seen service way back in 2011, has been undergoing renovation works for a number of years now and is expected to return to service later this month sporting a rather striking yellow hull colour! She has been moored at Brindisi since May 20th.

EUROPEAN STAR (ex STENA ANTRIM, etc) seen at Brindisi on June 11th, 2019. Copyright © Michael Livie.
EUROPEAN STAR (ex STENA ANTRIM, etc) seen at Brindisi on June 11th, 2019. Copyright © Michael Livie.

A new name and a new look for the former Stena Galloway

The former STENA GALLOWAY/GALLOWAY PRINCESS/LE RIF has been renamed MOROCCO SUN for what is believed to be a five-year charter to Africa Morocco Link. She remains at Genoa undergoing prepartations for her re-entry to service during Marahaba as a third vessel for AML, though at present it isn’t clear exactly when she will enter service. Marahaba is the annual return of Moroccan nationals from their normal country of residence to Morocco for summer. Lasting between June 5th and September 15th it can see up to 40,000 people per day moving between Morocco and Spain. It is planned for MOROCCO SUN to be one of 18 ships on the Algeciras to Tangier Med route during Marahaba.

The newly renamed MOROCCO SUN (ex LE RIF / STENA GALLOWAY / GALLOWAY PRINCESS) undergoing work in Genova to prepare her for Africa Morocco Link service on her old route between Tangier Med and Algeciras, 08.06.19. Copyright © Giorgio Parodi.
The newly renamed MOROCCO SUN (ex LE RIF / STENA GALLOWAY / GALLOWAY PRINCESS) undergoing work in Genova to prepare her for Africa Morocco Link service on her old route between Tangier Med and Algeciras, 08.06.19. Copyright © Giorgio Parodi.

With MOROCCO SUN and EUROPEAN STAR both expected to be in service this summer, 2019 should be the first summer since 2011 that all four of the vessels built by Harland & Wolff for Sealink in the early 1980’s will be in service. With three of the quartet having had major work in the past year the future for these much loved vessels looks much brighter than it has for some time.

A video from the Jobson Italia shipyard showing LE RIF (now MOROCCO SUN) after refurbishment. Jobson Italia.

Former Express in service in Greece

Now named SUPER EXPRESS, the former P&O Ferries Catamaran EXPRESS has commenced service for new owner operator Golden Star Ferries. She does a daily trip from Pireaus via Paros, Naxos, Mikonos, Tinos and Andros to Rafina and back. Her new service has not been without problems though, with the craft suffering an engine issue on her first return sailing. This meant all passengers and vehicles were disembarked at Tinos so the craft could return to Rafina.

Arrow back at Portsmouth

The former Seatruck Ro-Ro ferry ARROW has returned to Portsmouth on sub-charter from the Isle of Man Steam Packet to provide extra capacity on Condor’s Channel Islands services over the summer months.

Stena E-Flexer News

All cabin units in place onboard Stena Estrid

The first Stena E-Flexer ferry, STENA ESTRID, has received all of her pre-fabricated cabin units with work now concentrated on the fitting out of the public spaces prior to delivery of the vessel in advance of her entry into service on the Holyhead to Dublin route early next year. 

A pre-fabricated cabin module is hoisted on to an E-Flexer. Avic Weihai
A pre-fabricated cabin module is hoisted on to a Stena E-Flexer. Avic Weihai

Cabin Installation Starts on Stena Edda

Meanwhile, E-Flexer number 2, STENA EDDA, which will be the first of two for the Belfast to Liverpool (Birkenhead) route, is currently having her cabins installed.

A pre-fabricated cabin module is hoisted on to a Stena E-Flexer. Avic Weihai
A pre-fabricated cabin module is hoisted on to a Stena E-Flexer. Avic Weihai

Industry and Shipbuilding News

Reports continue of problems at FSG, prompting shipbuilder to make statement

Reports in the German, French, and Australian press of continuing difficulties at FSG have prompted the shipbuilder to make a statement stressing that no orders have been cancelled. The yard is still struggling to secure funding to start the construction three vessels, believed to be the second vessel for Irish Ferries and the two for TT Line (Australia). FSG was rescued earlier in the year in a €33m deal for 76% of the shares of the company, however the local state appear to be unable to continue providing the loan guarantees needed to finance the building of these vessels having already contributed some €400m in recent years. Work has continued at the yard on Brittany Ferries HONFLEUR, the Ro-Ro LEEVSTEN, and a sister vessel for the latter. HONFLEUR and LEEVSTEN are both already late and some employees of the yard are still on short term work (i.e. sent home unpaid), as they are not currently required. Brittany Ferries have confirmed to actu.fr (in French) meanwhile that they aren’t expecting the delivery of HONFLEUR until Spring 2020. HONFLEUR was originally expected to be delivered last month. According to the annual report of previous majority owner Siem, FSG lost €111m last year with revenue of €213m. The statement from FSG is reproduced in full below:

The launch of the seventh FSG-built Ro-Ro for Siem Group LEEVSTEN. Moby Lines and Tirrenia owner Onorato Armatori are said to be negotiating the charter of her having already chartered the previous two units. FSG Ship.
The launch of the seventh FSG-built Ro-Ro for Siem Group LEEVSTEN. Moby Lines and Tirrenia owner Onorato Armatori are said to be negotiating the charter of her having already chartered the previous two units. FSG Ship.

Correction / statement on media coverage in week 26

Flensburg, 27.06.2019; The Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft mbH & Co. KG hereby comments on the media coverage of the last days :
As both Mr. Lars Windhorst, Shareholder and CEO of Tennor Holding B.V. and Mr. Alex Gregg-Smith, CEO of the shipyard announced at the last works meeting on 20.6.19, FSG is in close contact with the customers of the RoPax ferries to be built in order to discuss the next steps for the construction of these existing orders. These discussions have been very promising so far. 
The contracts have not been terminated by neither the customer nor by FSG.
Furthermore, the construction of next RoRo ship, Hull No. 781 has not stopped – on the contrary, the keel laying ceremony took place on 27.5.19 and is progressing to schedule on the slipway with launching scheduled for 29.10.2019.

The RoPax ferry “Honfleur” is currently in the phase of extensive outfitting and commisisioning alongside the commissioning work of the RoRo “Leevsten” and the work on construction number 781 for SIEM has been partially rescheduled which has resulted in temporary undercapacity in part of the production. For this reason, some colleagues are currently temporarily working short-time labour.

https://www.fsg-ship.de/wordpress/correction-statement-on-media-coverage-in-week-26/

Largest Visentini Ro-Pax To-Date is for Transmediterránea!

It has been confirmed that the largest ever Visentini Ro-Pax is to be delivered to Spanish operator Transmediterránea. The vessel, which is significantly longer than other vessels in the Visentini series such as STENA MERSEY, is still currently under construction. The new vessel, which has strikingly similar dimensions and capacity to Stena’s forthcoming E-Flexers is expected to be delivered in mid-2020 and will have capacity for 1000 passengers and 3,300 lane metres of vehicles.

Side profile drawing of the 3300 lane metre Visentini Ro-Pax under construction for Visentini.
Side profile drawing of the 3300 lane metre Visentini Ro-Pax under construction for Visentini.

Moby Lines confirms Chinese Ro-Pax new build order

An artists rendering of how the Moby Lines new-builds from GSI might look. © Onorato Armatori.
An artists rendering of how the Moby Lines new-builds from GSI might look. © Onorato Armatori.

Onorato Armatori subsidiary Moby Lines, which is perhaps best known for its collection of mostly vintage tonnage and cartoon liveries, has confirmed an order for two state-of-the-art Ro-Pax ferries with China’s GSI (Guangzhou Shipyard International). The 237m long 69,500 GT vessels are earmarked for the 6.5-9hr long Livorno to Olbia crossing, with the first vessel scheduled to be delivered in June 2022. According to designer OSK Shiptech the vessels will be able to accommodate around 2,500 passengers and 3,800 lane metres of vehicles. Although diesel powered the vessels will be built with hybrid scrubbers and will be LNG ready for future conversion to LNG running if required. According to Shippax the new ships are a further evolution of the MOBY WONDER series. Once delivered the two new ships will replace all four ships on the Livorno to Olbia route – MOBY WONDER and half-sister MOBY AKI as well as the freighters GIUSEPPE SA and PIETRO MANUNTA. GSI also have contracts to build two 4,500 lane metre 600 passenger capacity Ro-Pax ferries for DFDS and a dual-fuel Ro-Pax for TT Line (Germany).

An early side profile drawing of the two Ro-Pax ferries ordered by DFDS from Guangzhou Shipyard International (GSI).  DFDS
An early side profile drawing of the two Ro-Pax ferries ordered by DFDS from Guangzhou Shipyard International (GSI). DFDS

For more information (and pictures) about the new vessels, see the dedicated Shippax feature here.

Advertisement

Grimaldi to place Ro-Pax order later this year?

Finnlines EUROPALINK is one of five "star class" Ro-Pax's built by Fincantieri for the Grimaldi Group. Finnlines.
Finnlines EUROPALINK is one of five “star class” Ro-Pax’s built by Fincantieri for the Grimaldi Group. Finnlines.

During a press conference held in Civitavecchia aboard the lengthened and renovated CRUISE ROMA, CEO of Grimaldi Group Emanuele Grimaldi revealed it is likely the group will sign an order for a series of ‘Super Star’ class ferries in September. The ‘Super Star’ class will be an evolution of the previous ’Star’ class and will have around 5,000 lane metres and 300 cabins according to previously released information. No shipyard has yet been named.

Second Balearia Visentini “smart ship” Marie Curie has sea trials

Balearia's HYPATIA DE ALEJANDRIA/. Balearia.
Balearia’s HYPATIA DE ALEJANDRIA. Balearia.

The second of Balearia’s Visentini-built “smart ship’s”, MARIE CURIE, appears to have been undergoing sea trials off the Italian coast. MARIE CURIE is a sister ship to HYPATIA DE ALEJANDRIA which is already in service. The sister-ships are the first Visentini vessels to be built with LNG as the main fuel and also the first to incorporate technology such as digital signage throughout, cabin access via mobile phone rather than key card (using a unique QR code sent to each passengers phone), and ordering touchscreens in the restaurants. HYPATIA DE ALEJANDRIA and MARIE CURIE also make extensive use of power saving technology such as LED lighting.

Restaurant ordering points onboard Balearia's Visentini "smart ship" HYPATIA DE ALEJANDRIA. Balearia.
Restaurant ordering points onboard Balearia’s Visentini “smart ship” HYPATIA DE ALEJANDRIA. Balearia.

Tallink Grupp has signed the loan agreement for the new LNG powered fast ferry

An artists rendering of the new LNG-powered ferry under construction for Tallink by Rauma Marine Constructions (RMC) in Finland. While the new vessel will be based on the design of MEGASTAR she will be far from identical and built to different plans. RMC is better known as the former STX Europe and Aker Finnyards Rauma yard. Rauma Marine Construction.
An artists rendering of the new LNG-powered ferry under construction for Tallink by Rauma Marine Constructions (RMC) in Finland. While the new vessel will be based on the design of MEGASTAR she will be far from identical and built to different plans. RMC is better known as the former STX Europe and Aker Finnyards Rauma yard. Rauma Marine Construction.
(Press Release)
AS Tallink Grupp’s subsidiary Tallink Superfast Ltd. and KfW IPEX-Bank GmbH have signed the loan agreement in the amount of EUR 197,6 million to finance the new EUR 247 million LNG powered fast ferry currently under construction in Rauma Marine Constructions Oy. The loan is arranged and long term financing is provided by KfW IPEX-Bank GmbH. Finnish Export Credit Agency “Finnvera” guarantees 95 per cent of this post-delivery buyer credit.The loan is secured by the mortgage on the new vessel and the corporate guarantee of AS Tallink Grupp. This OECD-term export credit loan will be drawn on the delivery of the vessel, presumably in the beginning of 2022 and has the final maturity of twelve years from the drawdown.
(Ends)

Site News

There have been a few minor changes to the look of the site over the past month. The home page now has six news stories rather than just the three so those who aren’t visiting as often can see more of the news. The seldom used tags at the bottom of every post have had their size reduced slightly in order to tidy things up a little and make the site more readable for our mobile users. The footer has also had its size reduced and the Lightbox and gallery settings have been tweaked to improve mobile usability. Finally, the biggest change has been “under the hood” with images now back to being hosted from a dedicated CDN (currently AWS CloudFront) rather than by Cloudflare which seems to have improved load times.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

error: Alert: Content is protected !!