Press Release: P&O Ferries Announces Closure of its Larne-Troon Service

The following is P&O Ferries press release announcing the closure of the Larne to Troon route, reproduced in full P&O Ferries Announces Closure of its Larne-Troon Service After a comprehensive review of its options, P&O Ferries has decided to close its loss-making Larne- Troon route with immediate effect, but the company has also confirmed it will continue to operate its full Larne-Cairnryan route services throughout 2016 and into the future. P&O Ferries has proudly operated this additional seasonal route since 2003, but the stark reality is that the company is continuing to make losses, and sadly the income from ticket sales is not sufficient to cover the annual vessel and port operating costs. In a final attempt to make the route economic the company reduced the service in the off-peak months last year, whilst maintaining the full service in the peak months of July and August. Whilst this measure did significantly … Read more

Official: P&O close Larne to Troon service with immediate effect.

P&O's Express pictured leaving Larne on Easter Monday during her final year in service.

No redundancies amongst permanent staff as the loss making Larne to Troon service is axed. P&O today finally announced that the seasonal Larne to Troon ferry service has been closed with immediate effect.  This follows the decision last year not to renew the charter of the routes vessel, the InCat catamaran HSC Express, which was subsequently sold by her South American owners to Swedish interests for operation to Gotland.  It is also understood that the contract with ABP for the use of the Port of Troon expires this June.  Whilst there will be no redundancies as a result of the closure, NIFS understand however that the majority of the staff were seasonal meaning they no longer have jobs for the next year. In a statement released this morning, the ferry company said: “P&O Ferries has proudly operated this additional seasonal route since 2003, but the stark reality is that the … Read more

Weekly roundup 19/12/15

Buquebus' InCat Express, laid up at Belfast's Albert Quay, following the completion of some 15 years of service for P&O. Copyright © Steven Tarbox 2015.

A quick roundup of some this weeks ferry industry news stories, both local and further afield. Local ferry news. Bye bye Express. The former P&O Larne – Troon vessel Express finally left Belfast on Wednesday following her layover following her final service to Troon in October, and subsequent sale by owners Buquebus to Swedish interests following P&O’s decision not to renew her charter.  She is currently laid over in Helsingborg and is expected to enter service for Gotlandsbåten between Gotland and the Swedish Mainland in March 2016.  Notably an article promoting a £50 discount for fans travelling to France for Euro 2016 via P&O’s Larne and Dover services makes no mention of a Troon service for next year (but does specifically mention Cairnryan), giving further rise to speculation the service may not return next season. UK ferry news DFDS to operate Newhaven route for a further 2 years. SMPAT, the French local government owned organisation, … Read more

Further doubt cast over the future of Larne – Troon ferry service.

Express passing Ballylumford power station, Easter Monday 2015. Copyright © Gary Andrews.

Troon service to be axed totally? Further doubt has been cast over the future of the Larne-Troon ferry service, following the publication of P&O’s Cairnryan sailing schedule up until 2017.  It had been expected by many that one of the current Cairnryan vessels would operate to Troon next year, effectively reducing the sailing frequency of the service from Larne – Cairnryan.  However, the new schedule is unchanged from this years, meaning that both vessels will most likely remain on the Cairnryan service as passenger bookings are already being taken for EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY and EUROPEAN HIGHLANDER. Of course, other options to save the service from the axe remain, including running a freighter to either Troon or Cairnryan.  However, berthing constraints at Larne, Cairnryan and Troon make finding another vessel a difficult task, particularly when factoring in the need for increased vehicle deck height in order to be able to continue to … Read more

P&O’s Express sold for operation in the Baltic

Express passing Ballylumford power station, Easter Monday 2015. Copyright © Gary Andrews.

Larne to Troon vessel leaving for a new career in Scandinavia Respected industry source Shippax information have published the news that the current Larne to Troon vessel HSC Express has been sold to a company called Nordic HSC, based in Sweden.  Current owners Buquebus had been looking for a buyer following P&O’s decision not to renew their long running charter for the craft. It is intended that Express will operate between the island of Gotland and the Swedish mainland.  She will be delivered to the now owners next autumn, when she will undergo a refit and crew familiarisation prior to entering service in summer 2016.  It is intended that she will be registered in Sweden, and will employ Swedish officers. Update:  It appears the new operator of Express will be Gotlandsbåten, who plan to operate her for 9 months of the year between Visby (Gotland) and Västervik (Swedish mainland).  Gotlandsbåten … Read more

Official: P&O to axe Express from Larne-Troon service

Express passing Ballylumford power station, Easter Monday 2015. Copyright © Gary Andrews.

Public conformation that Express WILL be dropped from Larne-Troon at the end of this season. In an interview with the Larne Times, a P&O spokesperson has confirmed that the fast craft HSC Express will NOT have her charter renewed at the end of her current season, and that notice has already been given to the owners of the craft that this is the case.  Express currently operates the seasonal service between Larne and Troon, as well as providing support to the Isle of Man Steam Packet during the TT racing season.  This year marks the 15th year in a row that Express has been chartered by P&O, and her 10th operating on their North Channel services. Last week, NI Ferry Site published the news that staff and crew had been told that Express would not operate next year, however this interview provides public confirmation.  As we stated last week, P&O maintain that they … Read more

Further doubt cast over the future of the Larne-Troon service.

News has reached NIFS that in the past few days, P&O staff have been told by the company that the charter of HSC Express will NOT be renewed at the end of the current season in October, and is currently being offered for sale by her owners. This confirms previous speculation that Express was indeed up for sale. Officially speaking, P&O are searching for an alternative craft to operate the service from next season onwards, however, it is hard to see where such a craft would be available from given the declining numbers of fast craft in North European waters. The P&O Larne – Troon service is, of course, the last remaining fast craft service linking Northern Ireland and Scotland, with the only other fast craft serving Northern Ireland being the IOMSPCo InCat Manannan Picture credit:  HSC Express. Copyright © Scott Mackey.

NORBAY | P&O Ferries

P&O Ferries NORBAY seen arriving at Dublin. Copyright © Robbie Cox.

Profile of P&O Ferries ‘Norbay’ which, usually serves the Dublin to Liverpool route but has also provided cover on the Larne to Cairnryan route.