Latest local ferry news (wk2 April ’17)

Stena Superfast VIII freshly painted in the revised Stena Livery for 2017. Copyright © Steven Tarbox

A quick roundup of local ferry news from the past couple of weeks.

Carlingford Lough Ferry to start later this year.

Scenic Carlingford ferry have announced that they expect the service between Greenore (Co. Louth) and Greencastle (Co. Down), which has caused controversy in some quarters, to begin this coming June.  It is expected that the vessel to be used on the service will be the former (Magilligan to Greencastle (Co. Donegal)) Lough Foyle Ferry FOYLE VENTURE (ex Shannon Willow) which is owned by parent company, Frazer Ferries.

Foyle Venture rests at Bangor enroute to Lough Foyle during March 2008, whilst returning from refit in Dublin. Copyright © Ross McDonald.
Foyle Venture rests at Bangor enroute to Lough Foyle during March 2008, whilst returning from refit in Dublin. Copyright © Ross McDonald.

FOYLE VENTURE is currently laid up at Wicklow EDIT 14/4/17 operating on the Passage East ferry service across the River Suir in place of FDB TINTERN, having undertaken berthing trials at both Passage East ferry (also owned by Frazer Ferries) terminals on the way to Wicklow.  The Carlingford Lough Ferry service had been given the go-ahead as far back as March 2014, but has been delayed by objections and legal action.

Logo for Scenic Carlingford Ferry, the company which will operate the Carlingford Lough vehicle and passenger ferry. Scenic Carlingford Ferry.

The Lough Foyle Ferry will not operate this year after councils on both sides of the border voted not to give it any additional funding.  The service had survived on a shoestring budget for years, propped up by a subsidy of up to €80,000 a year.  Frazer Ferries had won a 3 year tender to run the service from last year after they had purchased FOYLE VENTURE from the previous operator, but after bringing back the service from July to mid-October last year, they announced that they would not be continuing due to the losses made. The service was put out to tender again this year but failed to attract an operator.

Foyle Venture leaves Magilligan in 2007. Copyright © Ross McDonald,
Foyle Venture leaves Magilligan in 2007. Copyright © Ross McDonald,

Kintyre Express begin another season

One of the Kintyre Express fleet of Redbay Stormforce RIB's at Sea. Kintyre Express
One of the Kintyre Express fleet of Redbay Stormforce RIB’s at Sea. Kintyre Express

The Kintyre Express (website) passenger service between Ballycastle and Campbeltown/Port Ellen (Isle of Islay).  During April, May, and September the service will operate on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.  For the peak months of June, July, and August the service operates on a daily basis.  Kintyre Express operate a fleet of County Antrim built Redbay Stormforce RIB’s, each carrying up to 12 passengers.  In addition to operating the passenger ferry, Kintyre Express also offer tours of the Ardbeg distillery on Islay and offer their vessels for private charter.  This year Kintyre Express will operate from 7th April to 25th September.

Reduced freight timetable on Belfast – Birkenhead during dry docking period

(but one extra passenger sailing per week)

Stena Performer in Harland and Wolff's Belfast Dry Dock, 13/4/17. Copyright © Scott Mackey
Stena Performer in Harland and Wolff’s Belfast Dry Dock, 13/4/17. Copyright © Scott Mackey

As reported previously on NIFerrySite, Stena Line are currently in the process of dry docking freight vessels STENA PERFORMER and STENA PRECISION at Harland and Wolff.  As a result there will be no freight only ‘shoulder service’ throughout the approx. 3 week dry dock period.  The Belfast – Heysham service will be operated by STENA HIBERNIA and whichever of STENA PERFORMER and STENA PRECISION is not in dry dock.  In order to provide additional capacity during the dry docking period both STENA LAGAN and STENA MERSEY will operate a sailing in each direction on Mondays, rather than missing the morning sailing to lay over as normal.  Please contact Stena Line directly for further information.

European Seaway confirmed as Larne relief vessel

P&O have confirmed (as NIFerrySite reported last month) that this year refit relief on the Larne to Cairnryan route will be provided by Dover’s EUROPEAN SEAWAY.  As EUROPEAN SEAWAY normally serves as a freight only vessel with a maximum capacity of 200 passengers, P&O are warning people on their website not to expect the normal range of facilities. Families in particular should be aware that there is no children’s play area.  All passengers will share the same facilities though tea, coffee and soft drinks will be complimentary in the food court at the front of the vessel. Hot meals will be available but the menu and pricing will only be available on the ship on the day of travel.  P&O confirm that EUROPEAN SEAWAY has free Wi-Fi onboard.  NIFS understands that modifications are currently underway at Larne to accommodate EUROPEAN SEAWAY which will become the largest ever ferry to operate from the port.  Due to the lower passenger capacity of this vessel compared to the regular vessels EUROPEAN HIGHLANDER and EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY foot passengers unfortunately will not be able to be accommodated on EUROPEAN SEAWAY.

P&O's cross-channel freighter European Seaway. © P&O Ferries.
P&O’s cross-channel freighter European Seaway. © P&O Ferries.

EUROPEAN SEAWAY is the sole remaining vessel of a series of 4 built in Germany for P&O that remains as originally designed.  The 4th sister which became PRIDE OF BURGUNDY was converted to a RoPax passenger and vehicle ferry whilst under construction, whereas the remaining two vessels became PRIDE OF KENT and PRIDE OF CANTERBURY as a result of P&O’s ‘Darwin Project’ following the closure of their Dover to Zeebrugge service.  A profile of EUROPEAN SEAWAY is currently being written for NIFerrySite and will be published in the next couple of weeks.



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