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Steven

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The problem with Superfast X is she has roughly the same freight capacity as Nordica (in fact Ferries 2014 lists Nordica as having higher capacity than Stena's Belfast Superfasts).  It's easy to forget that despite her small size Nordica does swallow quite a bit of freight.  There isn't much out there with larger capacity than 2000lm and significant passenger accommodation, never mind out there and available.  The only way Stena could boost capacity in the short term from what I could see is either bring in a 3rd ship (as they have at Birkenhead) and somehow work her into the timetable, or deploy a Visentini themselves.  The scarcity of tonnage at present means that prices are going to be at a premium.  We could also see tonnage displaced from the Baltic with MARPOL making some operations unviable.  Much of the tonnage there is of 80's vintage and probably not worth upgrading.  With instability in the Middle East continuing it's not inconceivable oil prices will continue to rise as well.

Regarding tonnage under construction nothing springs to mind.  The European yards which spring to mind (STX France and FSG, Meyer, Fincantieri, etc) appear to have pretty full order books as well, thanks in no small part to the cruise industry.  STX Rauma was probably the most likely European yard but it has closed down.  The Rodin/Berlioz/Star design could have been a good staring point for a new Dublin ship IMHO, with less lead time being an off the shelf design.  I wonder how easy it would be to add significant passenger accommodation to both Epsilon and Stena Nordica btw.  With nothing official yet on Superfast X it's still possible given the current scarcity of tonnage Stena RoRo could get an offer they can't refuse - Blue Puttees and Highlanders are an example of this, originally I believe earmarked for Belfast.

As for Contentin, I think it is likely that once her charter is up she will be swapped for Stena owned Etretat.  It would make sense for both companies - Baltica is an odd ship in the Stena fleet whereas she has a lot in common with her BF fleet mates (particularly Amorique) whereas Etretat is an odd fit at BF while the majority of her half sisters are owned by Stena.  The charters also expire around the same time from memory.

The problem with Barfleur is she probably won't be available any time soon, Bretagne looks to be the ship most likely to be displaced if everything goes to plan with PEGASIS. I am not familiar with IF's figures for Pembroke, but on the Stena side it would appear they have excess freight capacity - though this is an area they are actively trying to improve following the adding of Celtic link to their empire.  Perhaps a smaller vessel could work for Pembroke, I would have said Calais Seaways where she to become available might have been a decent option for Pembroke following an extensive refit.  However I think she will end up back at Portsmouth if DFDS continue with the operation there.

Steve in Belfast (suburbia)

NI Ferry Site

Flickr: www.flickr.com/tarbyonline

Stena explorer

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I think Stena might move the dieppe seaways to roslare,she has a very similar car and passanger max as the Europe , .I think she would give the roslare  route a big publicity boost  ,and roslare deserves a newer ship.Meanwhile the holyhead route is ticking along fine , nordica   Which has a bigger freight than the super fasts , can plod on ,she is a fantastic work horse ,the adventurer the same , and the explorer seasonal, ,.I think this summer this layout has worked very well for stena.the old saying ,why try to fix something which ain't broken, springs to mind. .but hey what do I know. :)

Steven

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I think Stena might move the dieppe seaways to roslare,she has a very similar car and passanger max as the Europe , .I think she would give the roslare  route a big publicity boost  ,and roslare deserves a newer ship.Meanwhile the holyhead route is ticking along fine , nordica   Which has a bigger freight than the super fasts , can plod on ,she is a fantastic work horse ,the adventurer the same , and the explorer seasonal, ,.I think this summer this layout has worked very well for stena.the old saying ,why try to fix something which ain't broken, springs to mind. .but hey what do I know. :)
I doubt SF X will be anywhere near Fishguard tbh, I don't even think she would fit Fishguard OR Rosslare!  Its OK saying Rosslare "deserves" a newer ship, the numbers just don't add up down there to justify the capital investment.  Added to the fact that the  Superfast VII class have significantly more capacity than Europe (over 100 more cars for a start and an additional 6-700 lm), a ship Stena can't fill as it is and its a non-runner IMO.

As for Nordica being big enough, from what I am told this is no longer the case.  She is lacking the passenger capacity Stena need - afterall she has the lowest passenger certificate of all the Holyhead ferries (404)!
Steve in Belfast (suburbia)

NI Ferry Site

Flickr: www.flickr.com/tarbyonline

SEA

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I wanted to post a comment yesterday however I could not log on for some reason.
Regarding accommodation on the Epsilon being basic, there is no reason why Irish Ferries cannot get an extra accommodation module pre-built and fitted in dry dock. there is ample space at back of the existing accommodation and it would look well...It would be probably be the cheapest and quickest way to improve her accommodation. it would mean going to dry dock for a week or two but i would imagine its feasible .
Last Edit: August 22, 2014, 11:03:02 AM by SEA

IFPete

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Here are the specifications of the ferries operating out of Rosslare and on Dublin - Holyhead Route

Stena Europe 2074 Pass    456 Cars         60 Trucks
Stena Horizon 1000 Pass   200 Cars       120 Trucks
Isle of Inishmore 2200 Pass 802 Cars     152 Trucks
Oscar Wilde     1458 Pass    730 Cars       90 Trucks

Norman Atlantic 1000 Pass  170 Cars      120 Trucks
Norman Albatross 825 Pass 185 Cars      120 Trucks

Stena Adventurer 1500 Pass                  210 Trucks
Stena Nordica        405 Pass  375 Cars   122 Trucks
Stena Explorer    1500 Pass   375 Cars     50 Trucks

Jan 2015
Dieppe Seaways    1200 Pass 480 Cars   110 Trucks

Ulysses                 1875 Pass 1342 Cars 300 Trucks
Epsilon                   500 Pass                 150 Trucks
Jonathan Swift        800 Pass 200 Cars

Possible Future 2017 on

Kaitaki (Isle of Innisfree ) 1640 Pass 600 Cars 130 Trucks

As you can see the current set up is actually close to optimum and is going to be very hard to improve upon.

Please bear in mind that except in rough weather Jonathan Swift carries a large portion of passenger and car  traffic and some buses daytime on irish Sea with Epsilon carrying freight.

As you can see the Oscar Wilde has more freight capacity (90 Trucks) than most night ferrys out there with the Exception of Stena Vision and Stena Spirit (120 Trucks ) and Stena Britannia and Stena Holand (300 Trucks)

Even Stena will actually will be going backwards on the freight side to increase the passenger numbers to offset the loss of the Stena Explorer should she retire.

One wonders if Dieppe Seaways will also be a stopgap.


Last Edit: August 22, 2014, 11:23:21 PM by IFPete

Steven

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Here are the specifications of the ferries operating out of Rosslare and on Dublin - Holyhead Route

Stena Europe 2074 Pass 456 Cars 60 Trucks
Stena Horizon 1000 Pass 200 Cars 120 Trucks
Isle of Inishmore 2200 Pass 802 Cars 152 Trucks
Oscar Wilde     1458 Pass 730 Cars 90 Trucks

Norman Atlantic 1000 Pass 170 Cars 120 Trucks
Norman Albetros 825 Pass 185 Cars 120 Trucks

Stena Adventurer 1500 Pass     210 Trucks
Stena Nordica        405 Pass  375 Cars 122 Trucks
Stena Explorer    1500 Pass   375 Cars   50 Trucks

Jan 2015
Dieppe Seaways    1200 Pass 480 Cars 110 Trucks

Ulysses                 1875 Pass 1342 Cars 300 Trucks
Epsilon                   500 Pass                 150 Trucks
Jonathan Swift        800 Pass 200 Cars

Possible Future 2017 on

Kaitaki (Isle of Innisfree ) 1640 Pass 600 Cars 130 Trucks

As you can see the current set up is actually close to optimum and is going to be very hard to improve upon.

Please bear in mind that except in rough weather Jonathan Swift carries a large portion of passenger and car  traffic and some buses daytime on irish Sea with Epsilon carrying freight.

As you can see the Ocsar Wilde has more freight capacity that most night ferrys out there with the Exception of Stena Vision and Stena Spirit and Stena Britannia and Stena Holand

Even Stena will actually will be going backwards on the freight side to increase the passenger numbers to offset the loss of the Stena Explorer should she retire.

One wonders if Dieppe Seaways will also be a stopgap.

Dieppe Seaways may not be the only change we see.

Theres a slight problem with your numbers IFPete, they fail to distinguish between trailers (13.5m) and lorries (15m - trailer and cab).  For example Ulysses can take 300 TRAILERS whereas Adventurer can take 210 LORRIES.  Adventurer has 3517lm whereas Ulysses has 4101 which is much less of a difference than would appear from the other numbers.  Stena Nordica meanwhile has 1949lm vs the Superfast's 1891 so there is less than 60lm difference but 800 additional passengers.  However, the Superfast's have a car hold underneath the freight decks allowing all of the freight space to be used (albeit leaving all the car pax more than a little pissed off on arrival).  Stena Europe has a tiny by modern standards 1120lm which is ample from what I hear, hence the questioning why Stena would want a larger ship on the run.  As for the Visentini's, i'll come back on that one.  There are believe it or not 14 differing variations on the basic design but I am led to believe Epsilon has some 2886lm of freight space vs Horizon's 2245lm due to her shrunken passenger module and being the final of the series (and so of more evolved design).  Irish Ferries themselves state her passenger capacity as being just 500 (and give a very rough lm figure) http://www.irishferries.com/uk-en/news/news131107/.  Obviously Swift can take a lot of the excess passengers and a number of cars, but Stena do not have this year round option apart from the very expensive to operate and maintain HSS.  Even if the HSS runs next year, the route will be more balanced with 2 large passenger ferries.  I expect Stena will run a lot of offers aimed at the sailings which are quieter for freight in order to win business from IF.  They certainly are up here with the superfasts!  For example, it is possible to take a return crossing with Stena from Belfast including coach transfers to Glasgow for 10.  Thats less than it costs for me to travel from Belfast to Bangor and back!
Last Edit: August 22, 2014, 11:50:57 PM by Steven
Steve in Belfast (suburbia)

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FerryMan

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I wanted to post a comment yesterday however I could not log on for some reason.
Regarding accommodation on the Epsilon being basic, there is no reason why Irish Ferries cannot get an extra accommodation module pre-built and fitted in dry dock. there is ample space at back of the existing accommodation and it would look well...It would be probably be the cheapest and quickest way to improve her accommodation. it would mean going to dry dock for a week or two but i would imagine its feasible .

Epsilon is a chartered vessel & not owned by Irish Ferries. As far as I know the vessel has to be returned back to it owners in the condition it was chartered out in. So when adding anything to the vessel you have to take into account the cost of taking it back out & reinstating it to the way it was when you got the vessel. From what I hear an extra accommodation module was looked at, but the overall cost was prohibitive.
Ferry Master

IFPete

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I was wondering it was possible to plug in a temporary passenger module in to add addition seating for a cinema and club class lounge. The module could occupy one third or half of the covered upper dect capopy.
A form of portoabin that is locked in place. Something similar to what Lufthansa have on their A340 Aircraft where they load a palet which is a self contained crew rest area.

Steven

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I was wondering it was possible to plug in a temporary passenger module in to add addition seating for a cinema and club class lounge. The module could occupy one third or half of the covered upper dect capopy.
A form of portoabin that is locked in place. Something similar to what Lufthansa have on their A340 Aircraft where they load a palet which is a self contained crew rest area.
While theoretically possible to bolt on a a passenger module I would imagine the full consent for such a "conversion" would need to be obtained from the owners, even with IF promising to return her as she is.  Not only that but the ship would probably need to be re-certified as obviously her weights would be modified.  There also could be an issue with the fact that Epsilon is a stern loader and vehicles on the top deck need space to manoeuvre.  Surely any additional module would not only encroach on her capacity but also this space. Perhaps someone more familiar with this particular ship may correct me, but I have a feeling the fixed internal ramp emerges quite close to the existing accommodation area?  IIRC she is only on a 3 year charter so the cost vs benefit of such a conversion may weigh on the side of continuing the way things are anyway.  Perhaps something could be possible by covering the open deck and extending the cabin deck astern and in the process totally reconfiguring her internal layout, but this would cost a small fortune I would imagine again for not much benefit.
Steve in Belfast (suburbia)

NI Ferry Site

Flickr: www.flickr.com/tarbyonline

SEA

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The Epsilon is far more fuel efficient than the Ulysses Oscar Wilde or Inishmore, She averages 23 Knots on two engines whereas The Ulysses averages 19 knots on four engines (she is capable of 21 knots). Because she is newer the Engines on the Epsilon would be far more economical than the other ships in the fleet and as we know Fuel has rocketed in price since Ulysses and IOI were launched. Therefore it is far cheaper to move units on Epsilon than Ulysses for example.  Irish ferries would be very aware of and as an option I could see them buying the Epsilon from its owners  and increase the Accommodation... they will have to have an alternative when the charter is up in two years and I can see this as a very viable option as it would be much cheaper than building from scratch.

bfm003

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The Epsilon is far more fuel efficient than the Ulysses Oscar Wilde or Inishmore, She averages 23 Knots on two engines whereas The Ulysses averages 19 knots on four engines (she is capable of 21 knots). Because she is newer the Engines on the Epsilon would be far more economical than the other ships in the fleet and as we know Fuel has rocketed in price since Ulysses and IOI were launched. Therefore it is far cheaper to move units on Epsilon than Ulysses for example.  Irish ferries would be very aware of and as an option I could see them buying the Epsilon from its owners  and increase the Accommodation... they will have to have an alternative when the charter is up in two years and I can see this as a very viable option as it would be much cheaper than building from scratch.

Fuel efficiency is not measured on speed versus number of engines. I was on a container ship that only had one engine but could do 30 knots and burnt 300 Tonnes of fuel a day at that speed!!

But you are correct the Epsilon is more fuel efficient than the other ships in the fleet. However the Ulysses may well have an average speed of 19 knots but that is due to the speed required for the voyage. She can do up to 23 knots depending on conditions. She regularly only uses three engines for the crossing to save fuel.
Last Edit: August 27, 2014, 08:18:19 AM by MAKman

Steven

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Much of the Visentini fuel efficiency comes from the hull form rather than being related to engines.
Steve in Belfast (suburbia)

NI Ferry Site

Flickr: www.flickr.com/tarbyonline

Steven

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Some new pics from Scott Mackey, taken on a return trip for the final HSS sailing of the summer

Epsilon
https://www.flickr.com/photos/scottmackey/sets/72157640356812394/
 
Ulysses
https://www.flickr.com/photos/scottmackey/sets/72157624023002901/
 
Steve in Belfast (suburbia)

NI Ferry Site

Flickr: www.flickr.com/tarbyonline

Normandy

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Just wondering with Epsilon on Rosslare - Pembroke in January 2015, I see it not taking foot passengers, any one know why as even with her limited capacity would not have thought it would be a problem at this time of the year and if I remember foot passengers embark and disembark in both Rosslare and Pembroke by bus so does anyone know any other why? Seems strange to be turning down business small an all as it is as the staff would be there to drive the bus any way.   

Steven

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Just wondering with Epsilon on Rosslare - Pembroke in January 2015, I see it not taking foot passengers, any one know why as even with her limited capacity would not have thought it would be a problem at this time of the year and if I remember foot passengers embark and disembark in both Rosslare and Pembroke by bus so does anyone know any other why? Seems strange to be turning down business small an all as it is as the staff would be there to drive the bus any way.
She doesn't take footies on her normal runs from Dublin either.
Steve in Belfast (suburbia)

NI Ferry Site

Flickr: www.flickr.com/tarbyonline