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TC

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I wouldn't be too surprised if Epsilon received some sort of conversion. Not particularly dramatic one, but something simple, that will allow her to take more passengers. What will replace Oscar, well there's lots of options, but I'd say she'll keep sailing on for another few years, not a solid decade, but about four or five years.

As for Ulysees, she'll keep sailing till she hits the beach most likely. A lot of operators are following this option. P&O and Stena included. One reason for this is, unlike 20 years ago when the Greeks and Italians were eager to buy European operators elderly vessels, today the operators who can (Blue Star most recently) are going for purpose built vessels from South Korea.

Lots of ships that went to sunny climates back 10 - 30 years ago come to mind eg Earl Harold, Horsa, Heignest, Norwind, Norwave, Norland, Norstar.... even old Dover to Calais vessels e.g. Pride of Kent (Spirit of Free Enterprise), that weren't very well cut out for Greek island hopping.
Last Edit: August 16, 2015, 12:08:27 PM by TC

giftgrub

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Collision-course

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She is looking well , believe it or not I find IOI to be externally a very unattractive vessel , I dont care for her lines at all , but I would be the first to say that internally she is a very attractive vessel and a solid workhorse , what she lacks in external beauty she more than makes up for in comfort , capacity and seaworthiness.

Steven

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I'm not sure an extension to Epsilon's accommodation block would be that straight forward to achieve.  The problem with upping her passenger capacity is of course that that module is smaller than on her part sisters to start with.  Adequate space would need to retained at the top of the fixed ramp for vehicles to manoeuvre for a start - the recess could be filled in but would it be enough?  Particularly with operators choosing to operate visentinis with a reduced passenger certificate already.  More facilities on deck 8 (by converting cabins) is more or less ruled out by the lack of lift access on the visentinis to the upper decks as well.  She could certainly be made much more comfortable as a long term solution for the French route, IF only need to look at Stena's Birkenhead operation to see so, but if anything that would further reduce her passenger capacity.  She'd also be a lot more economical to run year round than Oscar, but I wouldn't be surprised to see her returned at some stage, with perhaps one of her larger (passenger facilities wise) part-sisters acquired instead for the French run.  It would certainly be cheaper than heavily modifying Epsilon to what would effectively be a similar specification.  Epsilon is compatible with Pembroke dock, but I understand she is far from ideal berthing there.  Something to do with manoeuvring and navigating to the berth from memory - she is quite long after all, but perhaps this could be rectified. 

A new build, particularly at a European yard, is going to both cost a fortune and also be delayed for several years - they are all very busy building cruise ships these days.  DSME were a very real option examined by P&O for the spirits.  The Asian yards have come a long way over recent years building passenger ships, so I wouldn't rule them out totally for any potential new building, particularly given the lack of yard space in Europe for larger ships.  Mind you, as I said over on the BF forum, Brodosplit is one European yard which may be available which also has fairly recent ferry building experience - though I understand they take on a lot of subcontracted work from Fincantieri, due to how busy they are.  There's also the possibility of building and fitting out being split between 2 yards as well I suppose. 

Whether a new build would be copy of Ulysees with different engines, I'm not so sure.  Certainly she could form the basis of the design, but I'm sure there are many tweaks which could be implemented using the knowledge of years of operating her. There have also been advances in hull design since she was built, so a straight copy with a different power plant could be a missed opportunity.

I agree with IFPete that we will perhaps find out more in the interim results (or if nothing else, confirmation of Epsilon's charter extension).  What I would say is, any extension would effectively rule out modifying her for that period, unless major changes have been negotiated to the charter agreement (which I doubt).
Steve in Belfast (suburbia)

NI Ferry Site

Flickr: www.flickr.com/tarbyonline

Davy Jones

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The success of the Italian yard over recent years must show European bases can be competitive, if not for price then at least for quality. However, can we write off a British or Irish concern being invited to tender?

Steven

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The success of the Italian yard over recent years must show European bases can be competitive, if not for price then at least for quality. However, can we write off a British or Irish concern being invited to tender?
Almost certainly.  Much of the capability and skills (not to mention expertise) in building large passenger ships has now gone, or is outdated.  In fact, much of the expertise in building any sort of large ship has gone.  BAE Systems hangs on in the UK, thanks to government contracts.  There is a handful of yards that would even have the facilities (such as a building dock of adequate size), and it would cost as small fortune just to get them up to being capable of such a project, which would of course put up the price of the finished ship hugely.  I can't see any commercial operator being prepared to put up the cash, especially given that such a yard would have no track record either.
 
The European yards which are left are for the most part, part of large groups.  Fincantieri is a huge (state owned) concern and 4th largest ship builder in the world.  Meyer have 3 of their own yards, plus the facilities they took over from STX.  What is left of STX Europe, is of course part of the global STX group.  Hollands Damen group own around 30 yards worldwide.  All of these concerns have huge economies of scale and shared expertise which no UK or Ireland yard can even hope to have in the near future unfortunately.
Steve in Belfast (suburbia)

NI Ferry Site

Flickr: www.flickr.com/tarbyonline

Collision-course

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LOL Steven beat me to it , while I would love to see a new Irish Ferries vessel built in Ireland or the UK , sadly there are neither skilled ship-builders nor equipped yards to build such a ship locally , which is not only a pity but a damming indictment of government policy on both islands that as island nations we have little or no ship building capabilities.

IFPete

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Irish Ferries Half Year Results are out on Thursday 27 th August.

Hopefully the following questions will be answered.

1) New Build for Dublin - Holyhead route for Summer 2017.
2) The extension of the lease or purchase of Epsilon for continued route development.
3) The two year lease or purchase of a vessel from Med / Baltic for Ireland - UK and France ferry operations.
Last Edit: August 22, 2015, 02:05:05 PM by IFPete

TC

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Should be interesting. It'll be interesting, I'm sure Irish Ferries wont let the grass grow so to speak. They'll be needing something to match Stena Superfast X. Maybe the Isle of Inishmore will join Ulysees. Personally I think it would be a good match. What would replace Isle of Inishmore on the Pembroke run though?

IFPete

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I could be wrong but i could see the following operation from November to April 2016,

Dublin - Holyhead - Ulysses , Isle of Inishmore, Jonathan Swift

Rosslare - Pembroke Dock - Oscar Wilde,

Rosslare - Dublin - Cherbourg - Epsilon,

Lease Ferry for Rosslare Pembroke for Summer 2016,

with Oscar Wilde and Epsilon operating ireland france routes.

 
Last Edit: August 23, 2015, 02:34:06 PM by IFPete

IFPete

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Nothing new to report in half year results operationally except improved numbers and steady as she goes,

They are extreamly happy with the Epsilon and appear to be concentrating on dept reduction within the group at this time.

I guess when they are ready to take things to the next stage they will make an announcement.

PaddyL

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Nothing new to report in half year results operationally except improved numbers and steady as she goes,

They are extreamly happy with the Epsilon and appear to be concentrating on dept reduction within the group at this time.

I guess when they are ready to take things to the next stage they will make an announcement.

I wasn't really expecting anything else.  Companies only time investment news with financial reports if dates happen to align besides from a share point of view it's almost a waste of a positive trading report to tie it with anything else.

IFPete

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They certainly have a possitive spin on everything which is great with economic growth and and declining fuel prices.

 

Fast Ferry Fan

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Any indications as to how much extra traffic the Swift had picked up in the absence of Explorer?

IFPete

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Difficult to say,

Passenger and car loads have gone up with both Stena and Irish Ferries.

Swift Morning Sailings are generally full at this time of year.