Overview of Norbay
Originally built for what was then North Sea Ferries (now part of P&O Ferries) for their Hull to Rotterdam route, NORBAY (and her sister NORBANK) where two of the first of a new generation of ‘super freighters’ built in the 1990’s. They were ordered to supplement the passenger and vehicle ferries NORSEA and NORSUN on the Hull to Rotterdam route, however when these vessels were replaced by the much larger PRIDE OF HULL and PRIDE OF ROTTERDAM, NORBAY and NORBANK became surplus to requirements and were transferred to the Irish Sea.
Built by the Van der Giessen-de Noord yard at Krimpen aan der IJssel (near Rotterdam) in 1993/94, both sisters regularly operate on the Dublin to Liverpool service. Due to restrictions on length at the P&O North Channel berths, NORBAY has provided refit cover for EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY and EUROPEAN HIGLANDER (despite her low passenger capacity) in previous years. She was one of the few remaining P&O vessels which could fit within the restrictions at Cairnryan. In 2017, Dover based freighter EUROPEAN SEAWAY provided refit relief instead, taking advantage of the fact that the now upgraded berth at Cairnryan could handle larger vessels.
The design of NORBAY and NORBANK is an evolution of the design used for 5 freight ferries built by Finacantieri (in Italy) and Van der Giessen (the Netherlands) for Italy’s Viamare sea motorway project. The first of these was was VIA LIGURE. As they were designed as freighters, NORBAY and her sister do not boast the passenger facilities of vessels on similar passenger routes. Basic facilities are provided for tourist passengers as well as commercial drivers on their present route, however.
On the morning of April 16, 2020, NORBAY was detained by Peel Ports at Liverpool due to a dispute over payment of port charges by P&O Ferries. The detention led to the suspension of the Liverpool to Dublin route until further notice. NORBAY remained on the berth at Gladstone Dock during her detention at the port.
The Isle of Man Steam Packet RoPax BEN-MY-CHREE, Condor Ferries COMMODORE CLIPPER, and Irish Ferries significantly larger ISLE OF INISHMORE (herself adapted from the design of STENA JUTLANDICA) and former ISLE OF INNISFREE (now Kiwi Rail’s KAITAKI) are also evolutions of this basic design. ISLE OF INISHMORE and STENA JUTLANDICA were built on a significantly widened and upgraded hull form, however.
As-built, the design of Stena’s STENA VINGA and Blue Bridge’s STRAITSMAN are based on COMMODORE CLIPPER and BEN-MY-CHREE, despite being constructed at different yards following the collapse of Van der Giessen.
Van Der Giessen-de Noord N.V., Netherlands
|Usual route||Liverpool – Dublin|
|Length overall||166,77 m (inc b.b.)|
|Breadth||23,4 m (extreme)|
|Machinery||4 x Sulzer Diesel Engines (2 × 9 ZA40S + 2 × 8 ZA40S). Built by Zgoda SA, Swietochlowice, Poland. |
2 x controllable pitch propellers and 2 transverse bow thrusters
|Total power||33,300 bhp / 24,480 kW|
|Vehicle capacity||156 x 12.5m trailers, 125 commercial vehicles, or a mix of HGV’s and cars|
|Total lane metres||2,040 lm|
|Sister ships||NORBANK (1993)|
Original article published: 03/04/15
Last updated: 17/04/20 (content), 04/01/19 (converted to Gutenberg Blocks),