FSG777 isn't expected until "late" 2020 now according to the most recent report from ICG. As for replacing Inishmore, the company already appear to be financed to the hilt paying for the existing two new builds. Not saying it won't happen but they have their finances to look after (and the share price isn't looking too good at the moment either). 20 years is by no means old these days anyway. Would a "smaller, more efficient ship" be able to cope with the peaks in the route as Inishmore does? It would possibly make sense to wait at least 5 years before making another major new build investment. Rumours of new ships usually do emerge when a company builds for another route.
Assuming the shipyard does not go bust Keel Laying could as early as Friday 1st November 2019.
As Hull 777 is strategically important to Irish Ferries, I see there being a deal done to keep it at FSG.
Given the learning experience on WB Yeats a 12 month lead time should be achievable , if FSG has the cash to pay suppliers on time.
Hull 777 is more RO-Ro with less cabins , the remaining interior should be similar to WB Yeats. This should lesson the fittout time.
There are rumours circulating in Pembroke that as soon as Hull 777 is delivered an order will be placed to replace Isle of Inishmore.
Last I heard they allegedly didn't have enough engineers to finish the design of FSG777. If the design isn't ready then the likes of Marine Project can't be having the steel cut to produce their sections either. With suppliers having walked off site and moved on to other projects they may be at the back of the queue as well which will be slowing things down.
Don't underestimate the technical challenge of having that much freight that high up the superstructure either! Cabins weigh a lot less that articulated lorries and cars! It's a lot more complex than simply replacing the cabin deck with a vehicle deck. If they don't get it right the ship will have serious stability and deadweight issues. 12 months might be pushing it for a repeat of Yeats given the yards troubles - they haven't delivered a passenger vessel on time for some time now either. LEEVSTEN is 7th in a series of identical ships and it seems they are struggling a bit there.