Update 30/10/18: W.B YEATS sea trials finally commenced yesterday when she left the FSG yard in Flensburg in the dark. After some manoeuvres in Flensburg Firth she made her way towards the Danish Island of Bornholm for the bulk of her trials. She has been recorded exceeding 23 knots in open sea.
Update 19/10/18: It looks like W.B. YEATS will be going nowhere today unfortunately. Sources tell us that the sea trials have been pushed back to next Wednesday 24th October now. In the meantime here is a (mobile phone) picture of her this morning Kindly contributed by Ralf Kuhn
Delayed vessel MIGHT be delivered in November
According to a post on the Ferries! Facebook group, Irish Ferries much delayed new Ireland to France ferry W.B. YEATS is expected to commence sea-trials next Friday 19th October. NIFS understands however that the vessel is still not ready for service and may still be subject to further delays. French Maritime publisher Le Marin recently posted an article (external link, paywalled) stating that W.B. YEATS may be delivered in November, though there has been no confirmation from either Irish Ferries or the shipyard (Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft). Smoke was seen coming from the funnel of the vessel yesterday so it appears progress has been made in readying the vessel for delivery.
In Dublin for Christmas?
W.B. YEATS was originally due to be delivered to Irish Ferries’ owners Irish Continental Group (ICG) last May. The vessel was subsequently delayed several times, ultimately resulting in her entire summer sailing schedule being cancelled. Delivery in November would mean that the new vessel would be available to Irish Ferries to provide extra passenger capacity on their flagship Dublin – Holyhead route over the busy Christmas holiday period, though at the time of writing W.B. YEATS has not appeared on any schedules. At present there appear to be no plans to use the fast-craft DUBLIN SWIFT during the period as has been the case in previous years. DUBLIN SWIFT is expected to leave Dublin for maintenance and winter layup in the coming days once weather conditions are suitable.
Late 2018 or Early 2019 delivery for W.B YEATS?
Whether sea-trials will actually take place next week remains to be seen, but if they do such progress will be welcomed by both ICG and their passengers alike. Even if the sea-trials are successful it could still be some time before we see the vessel in service however. Some sources have even indicated that the vessel may not be delivered until well into the new year despite ICG stating in their most recent update that the vessel is expected to be delivered in “Late 2018”! At present W.B. YEATS is sandwiched at the FSG outfitting pier between the newly built Tirrenia freighters MARIA GRAZIA ONORATO and ALF POLLAK, though the latter is due to be handed over to her owners soon. The hull of Brittany Ferries HONFLEUR is currently being assembled from blocks in the building hall adjacent to the outfitting pier. As previously reported, HONFLEUR is scheduled to be in service during July 2019.
Visitors affected by the delay to the delivery of W.B.YEATS may be interested in our guide to claiming compensation for cancelled and delayed ferry journeys which can be found here.