Return to Service Delayed for Irish Ferries’ Ulysees

By: Steven Tarbox
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Irish Ferries ULYSSES. Image: Irish Ferries.
Irish Ferries' ULYSSES. Image: Irish Ferries.

Irish Ferries Dublin – Holyhead Ro-Pax ferry ULYSSES remains at a shipyard in Poland despite having originally been expected to return to service a week ago. The delay in her return means that W.B. YEATS remains on the Dublin – Holyhead route. The Rosslare – Pembroke Ro-Pax ISLE OF INISHMORE had been expected to be in dry dock by now, with ULYSSES expected to release W.B. YEATS on he return to provide cover. ULYSSES is currently having exhaust gas scrubbers fitted along with some limited refurbishment. This was originally expected to take just over a month with the ship leaving for Poland on January 6.

At present, the Irish Ferries booking engine indicates that ULYSSES will return during the first week of March. This would appear to make the planned installation of scrubbers on ISLE OF INISHMORE doubtful with Easter fast approaching. The installation was also expected to take around a month. With ‘Inishmore’ being an older twin funnel vessel it has been speculated that the work could take longer than on ULYSSES. It is understood that both ships are to have a system of similar overall design installed. 

With W.B YEATS and EPSILON both required on the Holyhead route, the majority of Dublin – Cherbourg sailings in January and February have been operated by the short-term chartered Ro-Ro STENA FORETELLER, with EPSILON sailing at weekends.  Weather conditions have meant, however, that ESPILON didn’t sail to France for a couple of weeks. This meant that there were no passenger sailings at all from Dublin to France in that period.  

Irish Ferries EPSILON seen at Dublin during January 2020. Copyright © Steven Tarbox
Irish Ferries EPSILON seen at Dublin during January 2020. Copyright © Steven Tarbox

Dublin Swift Returns on Amended Schedule

Separately, Irish Ferries’ fast-craft DUBLIN SWIFT is set to return to service during April.  It is understood that the Austal-built catamaran underwent additional maintenance at Holyhead to improve reliability and timekeeping while laid up over autumn and winter. The Irish Continental Group owned fast ferry has had a patchy reliability record since she replaced JONATHAN SWIFT a couple of years ago which Irish Ferries will be keen to put right.  DUBLIN SWIFT will operate on a different schedule to previous years – sailing times on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays are at slightly later times to the rest of the week. 

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