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Messages - Steven

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The News Board / Re: Irish Ferries Fleet movements
« on: February 19, 2020, 03:03:41 am »
The new Dublin Swift timings are interesting.  Different departure times on alternate days.  IF said this was in response to passenger feedback when I asked, but it’s surely no coincidence that the days she sails later are when W.B is in port!

The News Board / Re: Stena Edda
« on: February 19, 2020, 03:02:23 am »
In response to the original question, March.  She has appeared on the booking engine BUT I’ve spoken to Stena directly and her maiden voyage is only pencilled in at present.  She’s due at Algeciras then she will head for the U.K.

The News Board / Re: Irish Ferries Fleet movements
« on: February 19, 2020, 03:00:31 am »
Her funnel looks to have escaped any major surgery

It has but that doesn’t mean the decks below haven’t - all that piping has to go somewhere!  She’s also late back which surely puts Inishmore’s installation in doubt given Easter is approaching, unless they drop more France sailings!

The News Board / Re: Irish Ferries HUll 777
« on: February 19, 2020, 02:58:13 am »
Will they do a name competition for Hull 777 like they did with the WB Yeats

They’d need to make sure the ship is being built first surely?  At present that looks dodgy at best - FSG’s financial situation doesn’t appear to have improved much.  They still need a state loan guarantee to build any more ships - a loan guarantee that so far hasn’t been forthcoming as they haven’t been able to convince the state that  the yard is economically viable.  There’s another report due towards the end of the month with a lot hinging on it.  If 777 is delivered this year it would be nothing short of a miracle given how long it is taking to fit out HONFLEUR!

The News Board / Re: Is a New Cork to Spain route about to proceed?
« on: February 19, 2020, 02:54:46 am »
Still no ship, actual ferry operator, or port agreements for anywhere but Vigo AFAIK.  This is a case of a port management company wanting someone to start a route to boost traffic through their port so far as I can tell.  Representatives from Cork have met them and of course they’d be interested in supporting such a route IF it gets off the ground (Especially after losing the majority of the Bf sailings), but a meeting between two ports is nothing unusual.  I notice Cork Beo regurgitated their older article as well (still referencing Grimaldi who have ruled themselves out), which itself was based on rather optimistic reporting from Spain. 

Interestingly Rosslare are also apparently in talks with an operator about another European route.

The News Board / Re: Stena Estrid for Dublin
« on: January 02, 2020, 11:26:24 pm »
Dublin Port booking shows Estrid returning to Dublin on January 8th

The News Board / Re: Irish Ferries Fleet movements
« on: January 02, 2020, 11:25:23 pm »
Stena Foreteller which is anchored off Dun Laoghaire in Dublin bay since the 27th is expected to begin berthing trials on 49 and 51A from Friday prior to providing cover for the dry-docking of Ulysses. She will take over Epsilon's schedule weekdays and provide additional freight capacity to Holyhead at the weekends while Epsilon does the weekend France service.

Worth adding for completeness that from Feb 16 until March 23, Yeats will replace Inishmore on the Pembroke run.  She next pops up back on the Dublin - France schedule from March 28.  Ulysses currently from the timetable absent between this coming Monday until February 15.

Iirc Foreteller goes back to Stena RoRo in early April.

Discussion Board / Re: W B Yeats Disappointment
« on: January 02, 2020, 11:16:56 pm »
WB Yeats is work in still progress. The walls look bland , nothing a few paintings wouldnt solve,

They used the freight drivers restaurant during the summer for street food.

Dont be surprised if they change the lighting in the bar to make it more homely.

They have a stage in the bar, why not have live entertainment.

Entertainment costs money.  They provided some for the press launch I believe though!

Discussion Board / Re: Christmas break vessel positions
« on: January 02, 2020, 11:14:36 pm »
As posted to as part of a look at recent and forthcoming fleet movements:

Northern Ireland’s ferry fleet spent Christmas Day at the following locations:


Stena Superfast VII – VT4
Stena Mersey – VT1
Stena Forecaster – D1
Seatruck Performance – Belfast Dry Dock
Stena Hibernia AQ


European Causeway – MacKean Quay
Arrow – Continental Quay


Seatruck Precision – Warrenpoint

Carlingford Lough Ferry

Aisling Gabrielle – Greencastle (Co Down)
Frazer Mariner (last seen at New Ross boatyard, Nov 19th)

Strangford Ferry

Portaferry 2 and Strangford 2 tied together at the layover berth at Strangford

Rathlin Island

Spirit of Rathlin – Church Bay
Rathlin Express – Church Bay Harbour


Stena Superfast VIII – Loch Ryan Port
European Highlander – Cairnryan 1


Stena Lagan – Birkenhead 12 Quays North


Seatruck Panorama – Heysham roro 3
Stena Scotia – Heysham roro 3

The News Board / Re: Stena Estrid for Dublin
« on: December 31, 2019, 10:28:24 pm »
Agree that Estrid is a bit Ikeaish.  Certainly no better than Superfast x, and the deck space looks much worse for those wanting to go outside.  I ask again where's the revolution, indeed, where's the evolution?
Outside deck space much worse? 

To be honest its hard to judge a ship just on renderings and a virtual walkabout.  To my eye she looks better in the actual photos I've seen of her accommodation, but ultimately without physically being there and seeing her in use its not really possible to judge.

"Firstly the P&O ships reflagged since the referendum were flagged to Cyprus, not the Bahamas.
Secondly, have you been on the Yeats? The Estrid to me looks rather more comfortable we know for sure had a larger budget for interior design, fixtures and fittings."

I said the Dover vessels were reflagged to Cypriot registry.  I never claimed they were on the Bahamas flag.

The fact is senior management at P&O were itching for years to get the remaining vessels on Flags of Convenience (FOC).  With Brexit P&O came up with a handy excuse to get the Dover fleet on a FOC.  To P&O's credit they did keep existing UK seafarers on, but I have heard reports of agency crews being introduced onto the recently reflagged ships - on a drip by drip basis. 

As for the operational claim, I read a statement from a director at P&O who stated it gave them more flexibility with regard to inspections etc being on a Cypriot flag.  I imagine this also goes for crew working conditions etc. This is the real reason P&O chose to reflag. It has been on the cards for years!  And Stena are clearly following P&O's lead.

If you have any doubt as for P&O's motives, why is the Pride of York which sails from Hull (UK) to Zeebrugge (Belgium / EU) flagged in the Bahamas?  If flying a non-EU flag is so challenging, shouldn't the Pride of York be flying an EU flag?

Both Stena and P&O have every right to fly FOC's going forward, but operating Bahamas registered vessels (NON EU!) has never given P&O any operational difficulties, and the company continues to do so (see Pride of York & Pride of Hull). 

Condor Ferries also has all vessels on the Bahamas registry, and sails between France and the UK.  Again, causes no operational problems.

As for W.B. Yeats, I have sailed on her, and despite her leaving the berth nearly 30 minutes behind schedule, I found her very pleasant. Certainly a very comfortable space, and choice of subtle colours suited the ambiance. As for the Club Class, certainly the interior was very nice, and the Lady Gregory's design was first class. 

Like a previous comment stated, I see very little difference between Superfast X and Estrid in terms of interior design, and their seems to be lots of hard seats and very few benches. The design language seems very utilitarian and low maintenance.

You may be surprised to learn that some consider the UK flag a flag of convenience!  After all, you can fly the red duster and not have a single member of British crew onboard!  Each flag has its benefits and pitfalls - one of the UK's benefits was being an EU registry (which I imagine probably brought further benefits itself) which it is now losing. 

In Stena Line's case, the move appears at least initially to be related to fleet flexibility as much as anything.  There could also be finance and insurance reasons - who knows what is in the small print of those contracts?!?  I am told this was a decision taken in Gothenburg in any case, rather than by the local organisation.  P&O Dover moves are related to tonnage tax, and there could be an element of that in Stena's case as well of course.  I believe there may also be something in the financing for the Spirits which stipulates an EU flag, and they are still being paid for.  It will be interesting to see if Stena leave the UK flag entirely as they have quite a few vessels across the sphere flying the Red Ensign.  They were very open over 3 years ago in saying that if the UK voted to leave the EU they would have to consider their position with using the UK flag - at least they didn't switch straight after the referendum result and waited for some clarity I suppose.

As an EU company I'd argue they are justified in wanting their vessels to stay on an EU register.  Theres a lot of uncertainty with how things will work when the UK leaves the EU, so by staying on an EU register Stena could at least be minimising that uncertainty.  For example, on a personal level my car insurance policy will require me to contact my insurer in advance if I plan to drive less than 100 miles down the road so they can issue me with a time limited green card - many policies only cover you for a total of 30 days driving in the EU remember.  I will be required to give them the dates I enter and leave the EU and my "green card" will be limited to that period - no more driving over the border on a whim and not having to worry about insurance!  Thats a big change to something that has been taken for granted for years - I'm sure there are many possible changes in shipping (EU port inspections was another reason listed by P&O - with UK flagged vessels being flagged outside the EU will they be treated differently, especially when sailing from the UK rather than between EU countries?  Will UK inspections and certificates be considered equivalent to their EU counterparts?  Who knows, there are literally decades worth of legislation and negotiations to be hopefully carried over!)

With regard to Nassau as a port of registry, the Polish state use it in preference to Poland for state-owned ferries which are manned by Polish crew.  I think the key here is not so much even the nationality of the crew (which remains the same in the case of Stena anyway), but the terms of employment.  Theres been no sign of Stena dumping the wages of the crew onboard Estrid or her fleet mates!

As for P&O using agency crew on the channel, they have for some time!!!  Not all agency crew are "foreign" either.

Thanks for the explanation.  There is sone sense to it then, maybe, although why not flag in Sweden and why is the Adventurer still British registered, and also the Europe?

A convenient excuse to change the registry before she reaches Holyhead and starts service so nobody will complain?  Foreign flagging is never a good sign.
For a start Swedish flagged ships have to carry a certain complement of Swedish crew.  Not such an issue on routes to and from Sweden as it would be on routes from the UK&IE.   The other Stena UK vessels may well follow in due course though I suspect with Estrid and her sisters being new the issue is more urgent due to the aforementioned finance or insurance reasons.  The Cypriot flag means that Stena can continue with their current crewing policy if they wish, rather than requiring them to employ a mandatory compliment of nationals from that flag state as they would need to do elsewhere.

Discussion Board / Re: W B Yeats Disappointment
« on: November 29, 2019, 08:29:35 am »
Norrona was built by Flender Werft in Luebeck if I'm not mistaken!

Designed by FSG and built with extensive engineering support from them.  She was originally to be built at FSG but a combination of yard availability, cost (Smyril couldn’t fund her in time for the original slot apparently), and politics (Flender needed the work) meant she wasn’t.

I am sure if expertise was required FSG would not be found wanting in contracting it in to complete the design.
Which would cost.  Don’t forget they are trying to get costs down, not increase them. 

Also more than a little embarrassing for a business actively advertising its design expertise!

The News Board / Re: Irish Ferries Fleet movements
« on: November 29, 2019, 08:26:13 am »
Looks like Irish Ferries are to charter STENA FORETELLER as the dry dock relief vessel. This would appear to mean that weekday sailings to France are being dropped.  EPSILON doing a single weekend roundtrip and on the Holyhead route for the rest of the week. As posted elsewhere here, Yeats relieving both ULYSSES and Inishmore.

The News Board / Re: Irish Ferries HUll 777
« on: November 29, 2019, 08:22:16 am »
They also said WB Yeats would not fit Pembroke Dock.

We might find out more tomorrow morning.

They must have found a way as she’s timetabled to cover Inishmore.

The News Board / Re: Stena Estrid completes sea trials
« on: November 22, 2019, 09:48:40 am »
Left at about 08:20 (our time).  Sailing via Singapore and Suez.

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