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RO-RO SERVICE: Suardiaz to develop Biscay crossing
Thursday, 20 November 2014 15:26

L’Audace departing Santander. MATT DAVIESL’Audace departing Santander. MATT DAVIES

Spanish company Suardiaz has secured €3 million of Motorway of the Seas money from the European Union’s Marco Polo II programme to fund expansion of its ro-ro service between St Nazaire’s Montoir de Bretagne ro-ro terminal and Vigo. Although the 460 nautical mile/27-hour crossing primarily exists to service a PSA Citroën GEFCO contract carrying 45,000 new cars and 9,000 GEFCO trailers with automotive parts, it also carries ro-ro freight.

Operated by Suardiaz’s multipurpose ro-ro Suar Vigo, the service is to expand from two to three sailings each week through the addition of another ship, L’Audace, sister to Suar Vigo. Originally scheduled to start in October, the additional sailings have now been put back until early 2015 due to French budgetary constraints. The 15,300gt 12-driver capacity vessels have a dedicated upper car deck and three full height freight decks, and can carry 110 trailers plus 250 cars. MD


HEAVYLIFT BARGE: Panama lock gates delivered
Thursday, 20 November 2014 15:24

In October Crowley Maritime Corp’s heavylift barge 455 4 delivered the first in a series of new gates for the Panama Canal expansion project. Crowley is scheduled to help transport all eight of the gates needed for the Pacific side lock expansion of the Canal, a project that, when coupled with the Atlantic side expansion, will double the waterway’s capacity.

The 455 4 was contracted by Sarens, a Belgium-based heavy-lift company, to transport the gates from Cristóbal, a port on the Atlantic side of the Canal, to Grupo Unidos por el Canal, SA’s (GUPC SA) construction dock, which was built to receive the gates on the canal’s Pacific side. The 105ft wide barge, currently the largest capable of transiting the Canal, was towed by Panama Canal Authority (ACP) tugs and made the transit in only one day.

Uniquely suited for the job, 455 4 is one in a series of eight high-deck-strength barges in Crowley’s fleet able to handle uniform loads up to 4,200 pounds per square foot. Three more lock gates are due to be moved during November and December. The Canal expansion project involves widening the channel and adding a third set of locks, which will consist of 16 gates and, when complete, will allow larger, post- Panamax ships to transit the canal.

Ferry latest: Another Red Funnel upgrade
Tuesday, 04 November 2014 00:00

The new upper deck passenger areas can be seen on Red Falcon. N. LeachThe new upper deck passenger areas can be seen on Red Falcon. N. LeachRed Funnel is to invest £2.2 million on a major interior refurbishment for a second of the three Raptor class ferries maintaining passenger/vehicle services from Southampton to East Cowes. Red Falcon returned earlier this year after having passenger areas transformed, and now Red Osprey will start a conversion early in 2015, with completion due before Easter.  

As with Red Falcon, the project will be handled in Southampton by marine interior specialist Trimline with support from local suppliers. The work increases the number of inside seats by 55 per cent, with two new lounges and new food and beverage menus; air-conditioning will be fitted throughout.

Red Falcon’s new areas have been well received, with Red Funnel reporting a 15 per cent increase in passenger numbers through 2014’s main summer season. Built on the Clyde by Ferguson in the early 1990s, the trio went to Remontowa, Poland, between 2003 and 2005 for the superstructure to be raised to create an enlarged upper vehicle deck. RP

BALTIC FERRIES: Eckerö celebrates 20 years
Tuesday, 28 October 2014 00:00

The 2001-built ferry Finlandia was completed by Daewoo Yard in South Korea as Moby Freedom and is now a mainstay of the Eckerö fleet. John PagniThe 2001-built ferry Finlandia was completed by Daewoo Yard in South Korea as Moby Freedom and is now a mainstay of the Eckerö fleet. John PagniWhen Finlandia left Helsinki’s West Harbour on 2 August on the first of two daily return crossings to Tallinn, it marked 20 years since her predecessor, Eestin Linjat, opened the route with Alandia on 26 August 1994. Then, as now, the Helsinki-Tallinn route was booming, with many companies vying for the market. Eckerö bought out its joint venture partner Birka and the group now consists of Birka Cruises, Eckerö Shipping (ex-Birka Cargo) and the original Eckerö Linjen.

For ten years until 2012, Eckerö Line operated two vessels: in addition to Nordlandia (ex-Olau Hollandia), bought in 1998, there was the ro-ro Translandia. When Finlandia (ex-Moby Freedom) was bought in 2012, entering service on New Year’s Eve that year, she did not raise passenger capacity much, but her engine output of 50MW and 27-knot speed plus ice class 1A meant that she could make the voyage an hour faster year-round and not get stuck in ice, as her predecessor famously did on 29 January 2010, when the crossing to Tallinn took ten hours. Translandia became surplus and was sold, while Nordlandia continued in a roro role.

New Lifeboat: New Suffolk life-saver
Tuesday, 28 October 2014 00:00

Speeding past well-wishers and RNLI supporters, the new Lowestoft lifeboat Patsy Knight makes her debut at her new Suffolk home. Nicholas LeachSpeeding past well-wishers and RNLI supporters, the new Lowestoft lifeboat Patsy Knight makes her debut at her new Suffolk home. Nicholas LeachThe new Lowestoft lifeboat showed her style in front of hundreds of supporters and well-wishers who came to welcome her to her new home on 20 September. The new 13m Shannon lifeboat Patsy Knight was escorted in by 47ft Tyne lifeboat Spirit of Lowestoft and Gorleston lifeboat Samarbeta.

Coxswain John Fox and a volunteer crew from Lowestoft lifeboat station brought the brand new state-of-the-art rescue craft to its new home after a week of intensive training and operational drills on the new vessel.

During the passage from the RNLI College in Poole, the new lifeboat called at the Isle of Wight, Berthon Boat Co at Lymington, where the Shannon lifeboats are being built, Newhaven and France, before heading up the east coast to Lowestoft. The new lifeboat, the third Shannon to go on station, cost £2 million and is named Patsy Knight in tribute to Mrs Knight, who died in May 2005, aged 63, and left a legacy to the RNLI.

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