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P&O’s ‘Norbank’ covering North Channel dry dockings

P&O Ferries’ NORBANK has released EUROPEAN HIGHLANDER for dry dock today, Friday 2nd April 2021. The ‘Highlander is due at Harland and Wolff’s Belfast Dry Dock during Friday afternoon; she departed Larne after being released by NORBANK for a midday sailing to Cairnryan.

The Highlander’s refit period is expected to last around 3 weeks with the vessel back in service between Larne and Cairnryan on 23rd April, according to the P&O timetable. NORBANK is then expected to proceed for her own refit which is believed to be taking place at the A&P yard on the Tyne.

P&O Ferries' NORBANK. Image: © Scott Mackey.
P&O Ferries’ NORBANK. Image: © Scott Mackey.

On completion of her dry docking period, she will return to Larne to release EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY from 11th May for another 3 week period until 31st May. 

NORBANK has never operated on the North Channel, despite having visited Larne on a number of occasions for in-water surveys. Her sister, NORBAY provided refit cover on the route for the first time in the spring of 2009, followed by 2011, 2013 and 2015.

P&O Ferries' NORBAY departs Larne. Image: © Scott Mackey.
P&O Ferries’ NORBAY departs Larne. Image: © Scott Mackey.

It is, therefore, now 6 years since one of these vessels worked the route, cover being provided in 2017 and 2019 by EUROPEAN SEAWAY which is now laid up on the River Fal.

During NORBANK’s absence from the Dublin to Liverpool route, services will be maintained by NORBAY, along with the chartered CLIPPER PENNANT and STENA FORECASTER.

NORBAY completed a short dry docking at the Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead earlier this week.

Scott Mackey

Scott Mackey is a Transportation and Transport Research graduate from Ulster University at Jordanstown. He has significant experience in the ferry industry, having worked for Stena Line in onboard services, as a customer services agent and sales support administrator in the freight department. He also has significant experience in public and community transport, having worked for Translink and as project officer of a rural community transport partnership. Scott has written numerous features for shipping and transport magazines and books.
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