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HEBRIDEAN ROUTES: Western Isles milestone for car ferries
Tuesday, 05 August 2014 00:00

Columba is now the luxury cruise ship Hebridean Princess.Columba is now the luxury cruise ship Hebridean Princess.This year brings the 50th anniversary of the introduction of drive-on/drive-off car ferries in the Western Isles. David MacBrayne put the side-loading Hebrides into operation when he opened the Uig-Lochmaddy-Tarbert triangle of routes on 15 April 1964, with sisters Clansman and Columba, built by Hall, Russell & Co of Aberdeen, serving Mull and Skye from later in the same year.

In 1964 Hebrides carried 11,000 vehicles, while last year 78,000 were handled by the present route vessel, also named Hebrides (2001/5,506gt). The vessels were able to use existing piers, with vehicles driving onto a platform lift which then lowered them to drive onto the actual car decks.

GUERNSEY DEBUT: Granville starts service
Wednesday, 23 July 2014 14:10

Granville approaching St Peter Port for berthing trials on 23 June. Tony RiveGranville approaching St Peter Port for berthing trials on 23 June. Tony RiveFrench ferry company Manche Iles Express wasted no time getting their newly acquired 40m craft Granville into service with a first visit to St Peter Port, Guernsey for berthing trials on 23 June. Previously Danish-owned as Bornholm Express and seating 245 passengers, the 325gt Granville was built in 2006 by the Damen Shipyard at Gorinchem, Holland (yard no.109).
Granville operates between Dielette, Alderney, Guernsey, Jersey and Sark, commencing commercial sailings on 24 June with a 0935 arrival in St Peter Port from Dielette before heading to Sark. Powered by three Caterpillar diesel engines, each driving a propeller through reduction gearboxes, Granville has a service speed of 25 knots and has taken the place of the already sold Marin Marie in the Manche Iles line-up, which also includes Victor Hugo.

SHETLAND ISLES: Engine fault brings disruption
Tuesday, 08 July 2014 00:00

Shetland’s inter-island ferry service to Yell and Whalsay suffered a week of disruption after the largest Whalsay vessel, Linga (2002/658gt, pictured), was side-lined by a fault with one of its three MFI diesel generators, the problems also coinciding with the planned introduction of a new electronic booking system to Yell Sound services. Over 1,200 bookings had been taken on Whalsay during the previous two weeks, before the introduction was postponed due to vessel changes during Linga’s absence, which meant that crews had to individually manage deck space on each sailing to ensure as many vehicles as possible could be carried.

A Danish specialist was flown in to resolve the Poland-built Linga’s problem, the vessel to returning to service in the evening of 22 May. Whalsay’s second ferry, Hendra (1982/248gt), had taken over Linga’s schedule, with Fivla (1985/230gt) brought from Yell Sound, where she had been standing in during the annual overhaul of Dagalien (2004/1,861gt). There, stand-by ferry Thora (1975/147gt) came in from Sella Ness to cover for Fivla. Aboard Linga, the problem was traced to a fault in an electronic governor, which was restricting the amount of fuel getting to one of the generators.

ALIAGA BREAKING: End of the road for 40-year-old veteran
Thursday, 26 June 2014 14:58

Dana Regina in DFDS Scandinavian Seaways livery in the 1980s.Dana Regina in DFDS Scandinavian Seaways livery in the 1980s.As the 29 September closure of the DFDS service linking Esbjerg with Harwich approaches, there is news of the sale for scrap of one of the route’s most popular vessels from the mid-1970s into the 1980s. Latterly owned by Albania Ferries as Adriatica Queen, the 1974-built former Dana Regina is heading to Turkish breakers at Aliaga after a career spanning 40 years.

Completed at Aalborg, Denmark, the 10,002gt/861-bed Dana Regina passed through Tower Bridge to show the flag in Central London before a service debut in April 1974, and made over 1,250 North Sea crossings before switching for a seven-year stint on the DFDS Copenhagen-Oslo route in 1983.

NORTH SEA: Harwich-Esbjerg route closing
Tuesday, 10 June 2014 00:00

Current Harwich-Esbjerg vessel, in her previous guise as Dana Sirena, will be redeployed by DFDS when the route closes. Nicholas LeachCurrent Harwich-Esbjerg vessel, in her previous guise as Dana Sirena, will be redeployed by DFDS when the route closes. Nicholas Leach

DFDS Seaways is closing its longest established North Sea passenger/vehicle service with a final departure from Harwich to Esbjerg by ro-pax ferry Sirena Seaways (2002/22,382gt) on 29 September. The route has a long history with sailings, principally carrying cattle on the hoof, started between Esbjerg and Thameshaven in 1875 with DFDS moving to Harwich in 1880.

Refrigerated cargo facilities from the 1890s brought an end to livestock transportation and, during the 1920s, DFDS were early pioneers of diesel propulsion with Parkeston, introduced in 1925, and near sister England (1932) having a long association with the route.

Harwich-Esbjerg saw its first car ferries in the 1960s with England (1964) joined by Winston Churchill three years later. Through to the 1990s there were daily sailings in each direction, but single-ship operation started when Sirena Seaways, then Dana Sirena, came on stream in 2003. For DFDS a final nail in the Harwich coffin is the introduction of new sulphur emissions rules next year which would add £2 million to route costs.

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