A slightly delayed (due to illness) quick roundup of some recent stories featuring industry, and former local vessel news which haven’t warranted their own separate post during November.
Stena sell two more 4-Runner RoRo’s!
According to several industry sources, Stena RoRo have agreed the sale of STENA FORECASTER and STENA FORETELLER. Stena RoRo CEO Per Westling has been quoted as saying both vessels have been sold to foreign (i.e. non-Swedish) buyers. The two Stena 4-Runner MkII class freighters are sister vessels of the current Belfast – Birkenhead freight vessel STENA FORERUNNER. As yet the buyers are unknown, though according to at least one outlet STENA FORETELLER will remain in service between England and Germany with DFDS. This latest sale comes just months after the sale of STENA FREIGHTER and STENA CARRIER (now MEXICO STAR) and will see both vessels leave the Swedish registry. Discussions about redeploying crew members are ongoing. There had been speculation that when STENA FORERUNNER returns to the North Sea early in 2019 that her replacement would be one of her sisters, however their sale rules out one of them coming to the Irish Sea. The remaining Mk1 vessel under Stena ownership MSC BRIDGE (ARK FORWARDER until earlier this year) went on long-term charter to MSC earlier in the year.
Second new Visentini RoPax ‘launched’
Baleària’s MARIE CURIE was floated out at Cantiere Navale Visentini on the 28thNovember. MARIE CURIE is the second of two Visentini built “Smart Ships” being constructed for Baleària. They are the first of the VIsentini RoPax series to be powered by LNG and have been built for a combined cost of €200m. Sister vessel HYPATIA DE ALEJANDRIA was launched back in April and is currently having the finishing touches applied in dry-dock. She is expected to start sea trials shortly using both LNG and diesel fuel. Both vessels will have a maximum speed of 24 knots, capacity for 810 people, 2,100 linear metres of cargo and 150 cars. They have been termed “Smart Ships” due to their use of energy saving digital technology and LED lighting throughout to improve efficiency. The vessels are immediately recognisable as Visentini vessels due to sharing a similar profile to other vessels in the series such as STENA LAGAN, STENA MERSEY, and STENA HORIZON and Irish Ferries EPSILON.
Brittany Ferries launch a new look
French ferry operator Brittany Ferries released images of a new logo and livery during November. The new logo and livery were first seen on PONT AVEN and ARMORIQUE which had them applied whilst dry-docked in Spain and Poland respectively. The new logo will now be rolled out across the Brittany Ferries operation in a process expected to last well into 2019.
P&O Ferries outsource onboard shopping
P&O Ferries have signed a long-term contract with Dufry, who trade under the World Duty Free brand in airports and elsewhere, to operate the onboard shops across the P&O Ferries fleet starting from April 2019. The changes will be phased in during April and May 2019 and will see the closure of P&O Ferries own distribution centre and up to 50 redundancies, though shop staff onboard are expected to transfer to Dufry. Besides operating all shops, World Duty Free will be responsible for the refurbishment of the stores and for implementing “state-of-the-art shop design to provide a tailored assortment proposition for each route”. All 15 passenger carrying vessels are included in the contract, including those which operate between Larne and Cairnryan and Dublin to Liverpool.
FSG to build another two Ro-Ro vessels for parent company SIEM Group
As first revealed on the Ferries! Facebook Group, Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesselschaft have secured a further two Ro-Ro orders from parent company SIEM Group. These latest orders have been allocated the yard numbers 780 and 781 and will be delivered between Brittany Ferries HONFLEUR and the as-yet unnamed second Irish Ferries new-build scheduled for delivery in 2020. It appears although they had not yet been formally announced by the end of November, they have been referenced in a couple of places online including by one of the suppliers. Current information suggests that they will be repeats of Tirrenia’s ALF POLLAK and MARIA GRAZIA ONORATO which were also ordered by Siem, with a charter to Tirrenia agreed whilst they were being constructed.
FSG currently have orders taking them well into 2021 with two large fast RoPax ferries for TT Line of Australia to follow the second Irish Ferries new build. ALF POLLAK will soon be delivered but won’t yet be entering service with Tirrenia as she has been sub-chartered to Cobelfret/CLdN instead due to Tirrenia not yet needing her 4100lm capacity in the Mediterranean. During November Tirrenia had announced that both ALF POLLAK and MARIA GRAZIA ONORATO would be deployed on the Genoa – Livorno – Catania – Malta route, though this will no longer be the case.
Moby Lines announce route closure and vessel sales
Italy’s Moby Lines has announced it is to close its Nice to Bastia route from the 6thof January 2019 to concentrate on its Italian operations. The operator also plan to sell six as-yet unidentified Ro-Pax ferries (two per year) between 2019 and 2021 and charter in modern higher capacity Ro-Pax units to be deployed on routes linking the Italian mainland with Sardinia and Sicily. SUPER-FAST BALEARES and MASSIMO MURA which are on charter to Moby Lines have been sub-chartered to COTUNAV. The ownership of Moby Lines will be restructured during December with the operator being merged into Compagnia Italiana di Navigazione which also owns Tirrenia. As CIN like Moby Lines is owned by the Onorato Family’s Gruppo Onorato Amortori, this is effectively a merger of Moby Lines and Tirrenia.
In Waters New update
Poeta Lopez Anglada out of service
POETA LOPEZ ANGLADA (the former STENA NAVIGATOR) underwent engine repairs in November which led owner/operator Balearia to charter the DUBA BRIDGE to cover her route between Almeria and Nador. The Dover – Calais and North Channel veteran underwent repairs in Almeria since around the 17thNovember until the start of December. When she returned to service it was on her former Algeciras to Tangier Med route in order to boost capacity in the absence of the Visentini RoPax NAPOLES which is currently being converted to run on LNG in Gibraltar.
For the latest updates on POETA LOPEZ ANGLADA (and other vessels in Spain), the Spanish blog ‘Ferry Balear‘ is an excellent source of information.
EXPRESS arrives in Greece
GOLDEN EXPRESS (previously EXPRESS on P&O Ferries Larne – Troon route and for the short-lived Gotlandsbaten) has arrived in Greece at the end of her journey from Gran Canaria. She still carries the livery of previous operator ARMAS, though at her stern her name has hastily been changed. Readers can view some pictures at this Greek site: