Update 06.05.19 @07:50: Eckerö has now confirmed the purchase agreement.
Update 03.05.19 @ 06:40: EUROPEAN ENDEAVOUR left Cammell Laird last night and crossed the River Mersey to Gladstone No. 2 dock, the same dock she moved to prior to going to Cammell Laird. Her replacement on the Dublin to Liverpool route, MISTRAL, was going through the lock ahead of her at the time. EUROPEAN ENDEAVOUR is understood to be still in full P&O ferries livery, but it is not unusual for a new owner to repaint a vessel closer to their own sphere of operations. It is noteworthy given Eckerö have stated that they are “interested” in using EUROPEAN ENDEAVOUR on their existing route that she does not have any ice class, meaning her hull is not designed to withstand operating in the ice conditions found in the Baltic Sea. While it may be possible to upgrade her to an ‘ice class’ vessel, this could be very costly.
Update 02.05.19 PM: When asked directly by local publication Ålands Sjöfar (in Swedish) earlier, Eckerö’s CEO Björn Blomqvist did not confirm the sale was final but confirmed their interest in the ship to act as a “complement” to FINLANDIA on the Helsinki to Tallinn route. His translated comment was “Yes, we are interested in the ship, but I must say that there are different opinions about when a business is finished and you have passed the finish line”.
P&O Ferries have confirmed to Freightlink that they have sold their Dublin to Liverpool Ro-Pax EUROPEAN ENDEAVOUR to Eckerö Line. This follows the revelation on the Ferries! Facebook Group yesterday that a sale to Eckerö’s parent company had been agreed. The sale comes following speculation as reported by NI Ferry Site that the vessel could be moving on after P&O Ferries stopped taking passenger bookings on the sailings normally served by EUROPEAN ENDEAVOUR. The Ro-Ro vessel MISTRAL will continue on the Dublin to Liverpool route in her place having originally officially come to the route as dry-dock cover. As MISTRAL is a 12-driver capacity freight-only vessel P&O Ferries will continue to not carry any non-freight passengers on their 3 am/pm sailings. The other vessels on the route, NORBAY and NORBANK, will continue to take passengers with their cars as before. EUROPEAN ENDEAVOUR is currently in dry dock at Cammell Laird in Birkenhead.
I wanted to write to let you know that we have agreed to sell European Endeavour to Eckero Line.
The Mistral, which has been covering on Liverpool-Dublin during the re-fit season, will remain on the route so there will be no immediate change to the frequency of our sailings or the service we provide to our customers. The Mistral will also give us greater flexibility with the option to run additional sailings should customers require them.
Please let me reassure you we are committed to the Liverpool – Dublin route and there are great opportunities ahead to grow our business, which is vital to the economies of Ireland, Britain and Europe.
Like all modern
businesseswe need to ensure our services meet the changing needs of our customers, by embracing new ways of doing things, becoming more flexible and agile.
On Liverpool – Dublin this means better aligning our operation to the changing freight market, and specifically the growth in unaccompanied freight, prior to the introduction of low sulphur surcharge which will take effect from 1 January 2020. This will help us to become more competitive, better able to invest and better able to grow.
I am looking forward to continuing to work with you all to build on our start to 2019.
Head of Freight Sales Short Sea Routes, P&O Ferries
For more information on EUROPEAN ENDEAVOUR visit her dedicated page here.