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Irish Ferries Fleet movements

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Steven

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It's great to see that Irish Ferries is growing year on year.

With regards to Epsilon, why did IF buy such a small vessel? I understand they needed to 'test out' the service and see if any additional freight units would use the service, but now that they know they will in big numbers, isn't it time to get rid of Epsilon and invest in a bigger and more suitable ship, one that could carry freight and passengers?

IF are alienating their foot passenger market by not allowing them to use Epsilon. As a foot passenger who regularly travels to Ireland using IF, the early morning departure times of Epsilon at 01:55 from Dublin and at 8am from Holyhead do better suit me when travelling and I think it's a bit unfair that we cannot choose to sail on her.

Epsilon is only on charter.  By many measures she is quite a large ship.  In many ways IF where probably limited by what was available on the market, but given they where testing the water with the extra ship, the Visentini type is known to have low operating costs whilst having the all important good freight capacity.  As mentioned in the speculation thread, I doubt she will be on the link long term, particularly if Stena do as we expect and replace Nordica.
Steve in Belfast (suburbia)

NI Ferry Site

Flickr: www.flickr.com/tarbyonline

LiverpoolIrishLiam

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With regards to my previous post about IF not allowing foot-passengers on Epsilon, I contacted IF and this is the response they gave me:

''The Mv Epsilon is the newest cruise ferry addition to our fleet. The design of this ship is very different from all of our other vessels. The passenger areas on the Mv Epsilon (restaurants & accommodation) are situated on upper decks 5 & 6 which are at the forward of the ship. The ship was not designed to carry foot-passengers as there is no foot-passenger gangway from the shore side to the passenger areas.

The ship is stern loading and foot-passengers (if allowed) would have to load with the cars and walk along the car decks (a very long walk). As some of the car decks are exposed to the elements it is deemed unsafe under health and safety concerns. For this reason our reservations booking system has been set up to only accept motorist bookings on the MV Epsilon. There are no plans to change this.

I trust this explanation will give you some insight into the reasons why we do not accept foot-passenger bookings on the Mv Epsilon.

Yours sincerely,
Sheila Gleeson
Customer Support Manager''

Collision-course

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Hehehehe I think someone needs to explain the difference between a cruise ferry and a ropax to Irish Ferries PR department LOL

giftgrub

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To be fair, the general public would not know the difference, any members on this forum are obviously "into" ferries and know things are slightly different.

How the could be expected to carry foot passengers on a ferry with capacity for 500 people is beyond me, its a secondary service and if they had a lot of foot passengers booked they would have to turn away car traffic which is far more lucrative, freight is normally unaccompanied.

Steven

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Via Ferries of Northern Europe Yahoo Group.  Don't think I have seen this bit (about passing on bunkering costs) posted here yet:

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Ferry Operator Says Bunker Costs Will "Substantially Increase" in 2015

Monday March 10, 2014
Ferry Operator Says Bunker Costs Will "Substantially Increase" in 2015
The improving Irish economy has helped the company grow
Ferry company Irish Continental Group says it is preparing for new limits on sulfur emissions in 2015 that will "substantially increase" bunker fuel costs and require bunker surcharges, and it needs to educate its customers about the issue.

"This increased cost will have to be borne by the end customers," the company said.

"This action will be necessary in order to maintain a viable freight network for the benefit of Ireland's exporters and importers."

The ferry operator's revenues grew 3.4 percent in 2013 to 264.7 million ($367.0 million), and profit from continuing operations was up 14 percent to 23.3 million ($32.3 million).

The company's overall profit was down due to the sale of subsidiary Feederlink, which boosted its 2012 results.


This increased cost will have to be borne by the end customers
Irish Continental Group
''2013 was a successful year for the Group with a solid financial and operational performance in a competitive passenger and freight market place," said Chairman John B McGuckian.

"The improving economic outlook in Ireland has encouraged us in our recently announced investment in the charter of an additional vessel, the Epsilon, which has been trading since mid December.

"RoRo freight volumes are up 18% year on year, to date, despite adverse weather conditions which have led to cancelled sailings."

German carrier Hapag-Lloyd said in January that it was warning shippers of increased costs that the new rules in 2015 will necessitate but that few other carriers seemed to be doing the same.

http://shipandbunker.com/news/world/483163-ferry-operator-says-bunker-costs-will-substantially-increase-in-2015
Steve in Belfast (suburbia)

NI Ferry Site

Flickr: www.flickr.com/tarbyonline

Collision-course

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From that statement it seems that ICG are not going to modify any of their ships and are simply going to buy the more expensive low sulfur fuel and simply pass on the cost to the consumer.
That to me seems like a bit of a daft strategy as the majority of operators are going to modify their ships , either with sulfur emission reduction technology or by changing the fuel source for their engines , this will leave Irish Ferries in a very bad place if an operator who has modified their ships decide they want a share of Irish Sea traffic as the modified ships will have a significant advantage with a lower cost per unit transported price over Irish Ferries.
While the article is correct in that the Irish economy is improving , the next economic upswing is going to look VERY different to the last one , the age of austerity has re-educated the consumer who is now very price sensitive and will react badly to what could be seen as un-warranted price increases , and its not just household consumers who have learned the recession lessons well , commercial and industrial consumers of goods and services have also been through the learning curve , and ICG should be aware of this as they are the recognised masters of internal cost controls and should be all too aware of the effect that a price increase through what looks like careless fuel policy will have on its customer base , in particular its commercial customers , most of whom are in the transport business themselves and would be thinking about fuel and its costs on a daily basis.

bfm003

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Ok so Irish Ferries may not be going to modify their ships and will buy the more expensive fuel and may pass the cost onto their customers.
Other companies are going to modify their ships and pay tens or hundred's of thousand of pounds to carry out the modifications. Who in the long run do you think is going to pay for these modifications........the customer of course.
Two different ways of tackling a problem with one result.

Collision-course

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Not quite , vessel modifications can be written off against commercial tax , and fuel cost savings kick in from day 1.
By not modifying their ships Irish Ferries is also reducing their resale value's on the secondhand market.
A good case in point is the Ireland - France services , at this point in time the Oscar Wilde has the highest operating costs of all 5 vessels operating between Ireland and France , the 3 Visentini's I imagine will all have near enough the same costs and Pont Aven would be sitting in the middle in terms of operating cost , now in 2015 Pont Aven is going to be rebuilt for LNG fuel and the cost of that rebuild will be written off against tax liabilities , when Pont Aven returns to the Cork - Roscoff service her operating costs will be 35% lower than current , if after that point a price war breaks out between the 4 operators on those routes , Oscar Wilde will be the first casualty given that it will be the most expensive ship to operate and have a cost base nearly twice that of the competing ships , in that scenario Irish Ferries Rosslare - France service wont last long and will run up huge losses for the company.
At the moment there is a waiting list for yard space to do fuel and emission modifications , this is because just about every operator in the EU is scrambling to complete the modifications before the due date as they fear the competitive fall out from not reducing their fuel bills , ICG should look at this again I think.
Last Edit: March 19, 2014, 02:41:54 PM by Collision-course

Steven

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Looking at the age of the IF fleet though (excluding Ulysses), is it going to be worth ICG's while to carry out modifications if they are going to be replacing soon anyway?  Oscar is nearing the end of her useful life, IoI will be 20 in a few years time (with her best years behind her), and Epsilon is chartered (so its out of ICG's hands really).  Given the waiting list for modifications, which I understand is partially due to operators expecting an extension to be granted which never materialised, it perhaps makes more sense for ICG to wait before commiting investment - particularly with all the development going on with hybrids and LNG for example.  Perhaps they feel there is a risk in investing in technology that could quickly be superseded?  Does anyone know if there is a penalty in fuel consumption associated with the various emissions reducing measures (like there was with diesels in trucks and buses)? 

The likes of Brittany Ferries are only going in with two feet due to the grants they are getting to offset the costs.  Its hardly a coincidence that all the work is to be carried out in France either!  DFDS have already said they may close up to 7 routes as a result of the increased costs (though I think much of their fleet has either been or is scheduled to be converted)
Steve in Belfast (suburbia)

NI Ferry Site

Flickr: www.flickr.com/tarbyonline

bfm003

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Irish Ferries only OWN one ship that is going to be affected by the new rules coming in in 2015, the Oscar Wilde. The Epsilon although also affected is only on charter so that's another issue.
The 2015 regulations only affect ships trading in Emission Control Areas (ECA's), at this present time the Irish Sea is not an ECA so Ulysses & IOI are not affected by the new legislation.

I know Irish Ferries looked at fitting scrubbing towers to the OW but they must have concluded that it would be cheaper to buy the more expensive fuel than to fit the towers to a ship that now has a possibly limited life left in the fleet.

As far as the Irish Sea goes, the new regulations as I understand them, is that new limits should come into force in 2020 however this will be reviewed in 2018 to investigate the availability of the new required fuel and if there appears to be issues with the supply of the fuel, implementation dates could be pushed back to 2025.

Therefore with a possible implementation date of 2025, over ten years away, and the age the fleet will be in ten years, I suspect Irish Ferries would be looking at fleet renewals rather than upgrades.

Brittany Ferries will be pushing ahead with their plans for new builds and conversions as their fleet predominately operate in the channel which is an ECA.

Steven

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Lifted from the Ferries of Northern Europe Yahoo group (courtesy of Fw7oaks)

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Irish Continental Group plc ("the Company") is pleased to announce that it has today received 17.0 million in full settlement of all amounts due under the terms of the Bareboat Hire Purchase Agreement ("the Agreement") relating to the sale of the vessel SPL Princess Anastasia (formerly Pride of Bilbao) concluded in 2010. Under the Agreement, this amount was receivable in instalments from the Russian company, St. Peter Line, over the period to September 2016


http://otp.investis.com/clients/uk/icg/rns/regulatory-story.aspx?cid=500&newsid=402319
Steve in Belfast (suburbia)

NI Ferry Site

Flickr: www.flickr.com/tarbyonline

IFPete

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The Berth at Pembroke may
 need to be modified to safely accomadate Epscilon

IFPete

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Possible senario winter 2014/2015

OW Rosslare - Pembroke
IOI Dublin - Holyhead
Eps Rosslare - Cherbourg

FerryMan

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Possible senario winter 2014/2015

OW Rosslare - Pembroke
IOI Dublin - Holyhead
Eps Rosslare - Cherbourg

I don't think Oscar Wilde is suitable for the Rosslare - Pembroke route. She was way to much cabins for the run, with only deck 3 & deck 2 (via a lift) for high traffic & no open deck space for outside deck hazardous cargo or running fridges. I would think would not make suitable for the run.

Epsilon only has a passenger cert of 500 & with the limited number of cabins 68 x 4 berth + 2 x 2 berth ( disabled ). Would not make her suitable for a busy summer season to France. I can't Irish Ferries doing any changes to her as she is only chartered.

My possible scenario for 2015

Epsilon: Rosslare - Pembroke
Ulysses: Dublin - Holyhead
Jonathan Swift: Dublin - Holyhead
Isle of Inishmore: Dublin - Holyhead (main dry dock cover vessel) & Dublin - Cherbourg ( if there is a demand for it from freight customers)
Oscar Wilde: Rosslare - France (all year round service with Epsilon covering dry docking when passenger numbers are low)
Ferry Master

FerryMan

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Possible senario winter 2014/2015

OW Rosslare - Pembroke
IOI Dublin - Holyhead
Eps Rosslare - Cherbourg

I don't think Oscar Wilde is suitable for the Rosslare - Pembroke route. She has way to much cabins for the run, with only deck 3 & deck 2 (via a lift) for high traffic & no open deck space for outside deck hazardous cargo or running fridges. I'm thinking would not make her suitable for the run.

Epsilon only has a passenger cert of 500 & with the limited number of cabins 68 x 4 berth + 2 x 2 berth ( disabled ). Would not make her suitable for a busy summer season to France. I can't see Irish Ferries doing any changes to her as she is only a chartered vessel.

My possible scenario for 2015

Epsilon: Rosslare - Pembroke
Ulysses: Dublin - Holyhead
Jonathan Swift: Dublin - Holyhead
Isle of Inishmore: Dublin - Holyhead (main dry dock cover vessel) & Dublin - Cherbourg ( if there is a demand for it from freight customers)
Oscar Wilde: Rosslare - France (all year round service with Epsilon covering dry docking when passenger numbers are low)
Last Edit: April 20, 2014, 12:03:40 PM by FerryMan
Ferry Master