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

Calais update: Overview of the current situation with DFDS and MyFerryLink.

MyFerryLink ferries Berlioz and Rodin sold to DFDS

Still no DFDS Calais sailings, MyFerryLink ships laid up. The strike by MyFerryLink workers following the sale of the ferries Rodin and Berlioz to DFDS, and the decision by Eurotunnel not to renew their employment contract, entered its third successive week today.  MyFerryLink workers continue to occupy the two vessels, in protest at the sale of the vessels by Eurotunnel to the Danish company.  Both Groupe Eurotunnel and DFDS have rejected talks in Paris about the situation, due to the ships still being occupied.  However, it is believed that the French government are renewing efforts to establish round table talks. There have been conflicting reports that the ships themselves may have been sabotaged by the crews.  What is known for certain however, is that the MES (Marine Evacuation System) has been deployed – it is believed that the crews are being supplied through these chutes.  P&O sailings are operating to Calais … Read more

Calais situtation update: Limited sailings to Calais restored

MyFerryLink ferries Berlioz and Rodin sold to DFDS

The blockade at the Port of Calais by aggrieved MyFerryLink workers has been partially lifted today.  Today sees the 4th consecutive day of strike action, which until today has resulted in the Port of Calais being totally blocked.  P&O have been operating limited freight only services to Boulogne, with no return service due to the lack of immigration controls at the French port, which no-longer has a permanent ferry operation. However, only one ship is permitted in Calais port at a time, meaning P&O are offering a departure from Dover just once every two hours.  DFDS have diverted one of their Calais ferries to Dunkerque, with the other (Malo Seaways, ex Stena Nordica) laid up at Dover.  Rodin and Berlioz, the MyFerryLink ships, transferred to DFDS at midnight last night, however NIFS cannot determine wether they are still occupied by ex MFL employees.  The striking workers are believed to now be in … Read more

Port of Calais closed following militant MyFerryLink action and burning blockades.

MyFerryLink workers strike following the sale of ships to DFDS. Following on from yesterdays announcement that the sale of the MyFerryLink ferries Rodin and Berlioz to DFDS had been completed, striking MyFerryLink workers have forced the port of Calais to close.  Burning blockades of roads approaching the port have been widely reported in the mainstream media.  The action comes on the eve of an expected announcement regarding the future crewing arrangements for the former SeaFrance vessels which until now where crewed by a workers co-operative of former SeaFrance workers (SCOP-SeaFrance).  The port of Dunkerque (Dunkirk) remains open with DFDS diverting one of their Calais vessels, Calais Seaways, to their in order to help clear a large backlog of traffic created as a result of Calais being closed.  Eurotunnel also appears to be operational again following a break in service earlier today. All P&O Dover-Calais services have stopped due to the … Read more

Eurotunnel accept offer for MyFerryLink ferries Rodin and Berlioz, SCOP-SeaFrance to be sold off by administrators

MyFerryLink's BERLIOZ seen on 25 August 2012. Image: Copyright © Ian Boyle.

MyFerryLink set to close within next 9 days. DFDS have announced today that Groupe Eurotunnel (GET) have formally accepted their offer for the MyFerryLink ships Rodin and Berlioz.  This follows the news earlier this month that the parties had entered a binding agreement for the sale of the ships.  DFDS have stated that the agreement is for a longterm bareboat charter commencing July the 2nd this year, but includes a put option which allows Eurotunnel to require DFDS to purchase both ships outright.  However, should DFDS be required to purchase the ships, the purchase price will be discounted by the amount already paid in charter fees. Earlier this month, it was announced that the workers cooperative which operates the MyFerryLink service, SCOP-Seafrance, had been placed into administration.  The current operating agreement between SCOP-Seafrance and Eurotunnel expires on July the 1st this year, and there is currently no agreement for any of … Read more

Official: Eurotunnel to sell MyFerryLink ferries Rodin and Berlioz to DFDS.

MyFerryLink ferries Berlioz and Rodin sold to DFDS

DFDS to operate ex SeaFrance vessels Berlioz and Rodin from July 2nd The brief but controversial history of English Channel operator MyFerryLink appears to be entering its final chapter.  Eurotunnel have confirmed that they have agreed the terms and conditions for the sale of the ships Rodin and Berlioz on a let to buy basis.  The operation of the 3 year old MyFerryLink service has been subject to a long running legal battle in the English courts, following its formation from the ashes of what had been SeaFrance. At present the entire MyFerryLink fleet of 3 ships appears to have been laid up at Calais, whilst in Dover both Calais Seaways (ex Prins Filip, P&OSL Aquitaine, etc) and Malo Seaways (ex Stena Nordica, European Ambassador) also appear to have been taken out of service.  Speculation had suggested that P&O and Stena had expressed interest in acquiring Rodin and Berlioz, however many believed a … Read more

Calais hit by industrial action (again)

3/4/14 In general ferry news, Calais was blockaded overnight as a result of industrial action.  Limited services have been running from mid morning but nonessential travel is being discouraged.  There are reports of long tailbacks of traffic, and DFDS have switched Calais Seaways to Dunkerque.  MyFerryLink appear to be running Berlioz only at present whilst P&O services are facing significant delays. All the big NI services appear to be running as normal today.