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Union slams emissions alarm
Tuesday, 03 February 2015 00:00

Armorique outbound from Portsmouth in January 2012 to Caen while covering the refit of Mont St Michel. Darren Holdaway Armorique outbound from Portsmouth in January 2012 to Caen while covering the refit of Mont St Michel. Darren Holdaway

Shipping union RMT has criticised what it describes as ‘blatantly alarmist’ noises coming from the industry over the EU’s new sulphur emissions rules, claiming it threatens to destabilise the sector and pose a renewed threat to seafarers’ jobs and training.

The controls were brought in from 1 January for the Baltic, North Sea and English Channel, RMT General Secretary Mick Cash commenting: ‘The country cannot afford UK seafarers and the maritime skills base to be shut out of the opportunities this presents, and the UK Government needs to restart the stalled Shipping Strategy to find effective ways of protecting and increasing seafarer numbers, which have fallen by 3,290 since 2011, rather than shipping company profits.’

Meanwhile, more operators are talking of steps to meet the emissions controls. Brittany Ferries are expected to receive €4 million from France’s Breton region towards fitting scrubbers on Pont Aven and Armorique, work costing more than €31 million in total.
Stena Line is also converting Gothenburg-Kiel route ship Stena Germanica to methanol propulsion in a project involving engine manufacturer Wärtsilä, the ports of Gothenburg and Kiel and methanol producer/supplier the Methanex Corporation.

 

 
Lymington ship moving
Wednesday, 14 January 2015 14:01

St Helen is being retired.St Helen is being retired.

Wightlink is retiring St Helen, the oldest ferry in its Portsmouth-Fishbourne fleet and bringing in a currently under-used replacement from the Lymington-Yarmouth passenger and vehicle service, where traffic has decreased by 15 per cent over the past four years.

Although Wightlink has used Croatia-built ‘W Class’ trio Wight Light, Wight Sky and Wight Sun on the Western Solent route in recent years, one of the ferries has operated only three round trips a day for half the year, providing just eight per cent of route capacity.  Wightlink Chief Operating Officer John Burrows said: ‘To secure the future of the service, we have a responsibility to match capacity with customer demand and adapt our timetable to ensure punctuality and continued reliability.’

 

 
HEBRIDES: Late February start for Loch Seaforth
Tuesday, 30 December 2014 00:00

Loch Seaforth arriving in Stornoway for the first time, 6 December 2014, for crew familiarisation. She undertook a series of manoeuvres from Goat Island to Arnish in preparation for her entry into service. MARK NICOLSONLoch Seaforth arriving in Stornoway for the first time, 6 December 2014, for crew familiarisation. She undertook a series of manoeuvres from Goat Island to Arnish in preparation for her entry into service. MARK NICOLSON

Caledonian MacBrayne’s £41.8 million flagship Loch Seaforth reached Scottish waters on 7 November 2014, but the 700-passenger/143-car vessel seems unlikely to enter service between Ullapool and Stornoway until 22 February – and then only carrying passengers.

The car ferry service will not resume until 7 April after installation by R. J. MacLeod of a new Ullapool linkspan designed and constructed by MacGregor (Cargotec). While the 8,478gt Loch Seaforth makes two passenger return trips a day, previous route vessels Isle of Lewis (1995/6,753gt) and chartered ro-ro ferry Clipper Ranger (1998/7,606gt) will provide a car/passenger and freight service from Stornoway to Uig, Isle of Skye, with three-hour journey times.

CalMac managing director Martin Dorchester explained: ‘It has proved to be a significant logistical challenge, especially matching the different vessels to different tides and finding a way of continuing to provide a service from Stornoway, but we believe we have found a good solution.’

 
ENGLISH CHANNEL: Dieppe-Newhaven route continues with DFDS
Friday, 19 December 2014 09:04

Côte d’Albâtre arriving at Newhaven. Maritime PhotographicCôte d’Albâtre arriving at Newhaven. Maritime Photographic

Cross-channel sailings from Dieppe to Newhaven will continue throughout 2015 with additional high season departures as a result of an agreement between operator DFDS Seaways and Syndicat Mixte de Promotion de L’Activité Transmanche (SMPAT) from French regional authority Conseil Generale Seine Maritime.

The agreement is understood to include the use of both vessels owned by SMPAT. These are Côte d’Albâtre, maintaining a single-ship Dieppe service, and Seven Sisters from the Portsmouth-Le Havre route, which is expected to close soon, with Newhaven departures rising to three return sailings a day during peak periods.

There are also plans to convert the 18,564gt vessels, which were delivered from Vigo, Spain, by J. Barreras in 2006, to meet the requirements of the MARPOL IV directive by using cleaner fuels. They carry up to 600 passengers, with 190 cabin berths and vehicle deck space for 224 cars.

 

 
BRITTANY FERRIES: LNG upgrade plans suspended
Tuesday, 25 November 2014 00:00

The 1992-built Normandie, arriving in Portsmouth after a crossing from Ouistreham in May, recently went to Santander for exhaust scrubbers to be fitted. Dan HallThe 1992-built Normandie, arriving in Portsmouth after a crossing from Ouistreham in May, recently went to Santander for exhaust scrubbers to be fitted. Dan Hall

Brittany Ferries have been forced to suspend plans to upgrade much of its fleet to operate on Liquefied Natural Gas and also put on hold its construction of an LNG-powered ‘Pegasis Project’ cruise ferry for service from Portsmouth and Plymouth to Santander in Spain.

Plans to comply with new emissions rules from 2015 included the installation of scrubbers on three ships and the conversion to allow three newer vessels to operate on LNG. But Brittany Ferries chairman Jean Marc Roué commented: ‘It is impossible to commit to an ecological transition plan which requires such a high level of investment when, due to the absence of a temporary exemption, we will also incur hefty additional annual costs amounting to tens of millions of euros due to being obliged to use diesel instead of heavy fuel oil until our ships have been converted. We have worked tirelessly for a temporary exemption, but these efforts have been in vain. Without it, the economic viability of our LNG programme is in jeopardy.’

 
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