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About tarbyonline

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  • Birthday 19/05/82
  1. St Nazaire to Gijon

    Suardiaz carry freight as well as cars and the GEFCO trailers. This was part of the reasoning for introducing the second ship, and getting the increased MoS subsidy (at LD lines expense). As for romantic weekend and a fast sailing, the LNG Visentini's have the same sailing speed as the current generation - 24kts. If we take the LD crossing time of 14 hours and very optimistically say a new service did it in 10 thats still 10 hours on a Visentini (each way)! 10 hours with a restaurant and a bar and not much else. I wouldn't care how rapid the train is, i'll fly from where I am to where I want to go in a few hours (and thats before considering the need to get to Montoir in the first place and wait to board) and save the romance for the hotel rather than pitching and rolling in a Visentini cabin!
  2. St Nazaire to Gijon

    This is all very bizarre. As I said above, Suardiaz are already getting a subsidy for a service which will compete with this. From memory they got EUR12m from the Spanish and the same from the French, all over 7 years from 2015 plus €3m MoS subsidy. Has there been some hitch in the Suardiaz arrangement? It does seem strange that two competing services would be subsidised with public cash, particularly as one is being subsidised to the tune of €27m already. There does appear to be an element of wishful thinking (desperation?) here - are Spanish (and European) tax payers expected to subsidise two private operators to operate ferry services at a loss because Gijon decided to build a new port? Theres only so much traffic to go around after all! If Suardiaz need a subsidy to guarantee their service then how can subsidising a competitor be justified? Or is it a case of the EU subsidy moving to another operator making an existing operation less viable (as it did in the case of LD)? Surely that goes against the whole purpose of the Marco Polo project? As Hawser says, what happens after the 2 years? Balearia are in the business of making money, thats how they can afford to order Visentini ferries at €100m a pop on top of the vessel from LaNaval. Very few new routes pay their way within 2 years, never mind ones which need a subsidy to get off the ground. You are spot on about LD and the other routes HT so far as my knowledge goes. By operating the other routes the vessel was better utilised and could also feed traffic into the subsidised route, in a way making Montoir a sort of hub. By the sounds of things if this comes off Balearia won't have that luxury, unless they have plans for more services to link in.
  3. Baie de Seine/Etretat

    Im no expert here, but from memory Cotentin needs a crew of around 50 compared to a vessel like MN Pelican with around 20. Pelican has half as many engines too, and just 8 passenger berths compared to over 200 (while they may not be occupied thats a lot of superstructure to lug around). While Cotentin/Stena Baltica was designed as a freighter, she is more a RoPax than a RoRo freighter. Great for accompanied traffic but expensive to operate just to move drops!
  4. St Nazaire to Gijon

    Balearia don't necessarily want these 2 vessels to take on the Montoir route though, or necessarily even operate any new route (though I suspect their arrival will result in additions to the route network). Remember the Visentini's they have at present are on charter, including Sicilia and Napoles from Stena, and Balearia are in the process of a fleet-modernisation program - one of the goals of which seems to be to convert the fleet to LNG (something they can't do to chartered tonnage unless the owner agrees). While I don't doubt that there is some substance in these rumours, the fact remains that Suardiaz are still operating their service on a subsidy (from the top of my head until 2022) with much lower overheads than operating a passenger vessel, so it is hard to see how Balearia can make an additional service which also carries passengers pay without significant subsidy, particularly given the ticket pricing considerations I outlined above. As for reviving a series of ships everyone thought was finished, not everyone thought Visentini had finished! The Visentini family group of companies have complex relationship, and remember that most of the previous RoPax vessels were ordered by companies owned or controlled by members of the Visentini family who then chartered them out. Much of the new tonnage in recent years has been roro units (FSG and China getting the lions share of that business), and the unfortunate events involving NORMAN ATLANTIC and SORRENTO probably haven't helped either. The yard hasn't been totally idle in any case, building a couple of cargo vessels for Nordana that have more than a passing resemblance to the RoPax series. It is perhaps also worth bearing in mind that Balearia publicly stated a few months ago that they plan a big expansion on Moroccan routes (involving Spain and Italy) over the next number of years, and the majority of the EUR450m in investment in tonnage and ports over the next 5 years they announced is already spoken for. Of course there is always the charter market, but options there aren't exactly plentiful and the situation isn't showing many signs of getting any better in the next few years. Theres no doubt there were mistakes with the management of LD lines, however my point is that their demise wasn't entirely their own doing and as I mentioned before loads were good to very good on the Gijon sector despite all the issues. Even with good loads they couldn't make the service pay without subsidy, and that was before Suardiaz got their larger subsidy to add a second vessel (thus swallowing up the steady income of the car export contracts). Have things really changed enough to ensure another service can pay its way over the long term with one vessel never mind two without subsidy? The port of Gijon wouldn't be the first to spend a fortune on a new facility for it to go unused unfortunately (looking at you, Boulogne). They can want a service with all the will in the world, it doesn't mean anyone will take it on. As you say, its a case of wait and see.
  5. Baie de Seine/Etretat

    It is of course possible, but would they want to go to all that expense on a vessel that is already a decade old (so between a third and at best a quarter of the way through her life) and which is earning a nice steady income from Stena? AMORIQUE isn't perfect either, for example there are weight issues to be overcome in order to retain full height vehicle decks for instance. Such a conversion would not only take time, but won't come cheap either. Unless she is going to be a carbon copy of Amorique (and even then theres a lot of work to do) there will be a lot of design work to do before they can even get a quote - the beauty of designing from scratch is you aren't constrained by the existing hull form for example. One such conversion which springs to mind is that of P&O's super European class freighters to PRIDE OF KENT and PRIDE OF CANTERBURY. What looked to the layman to be a simple task of bolting a superstructure on to a hull was actually an extremely complex project, and one which didn't really give P&O the vessels they would have ordered if building new due compromises which had to be made because of the existing hulls. The same could perhaps be said of the conversions of the former Fantasia and Fiesta to passenger ships, though in that case Sealink had the luxury of actually reducing freight (height and weight) capacity. Due to political considerations such a conversion would also probably need to be undertaken within Europe, raising costs even further. To convert STENA BALTICA to an AMORIQUE type ferry would almost certainly mean losing the upper freight deck which would largely defeat the object - part of the beauty of services like Economie is being able to shift large volumes of freight but without the costs of also running extensive passenger facilities above. By taking on an E-flexer BF benefit from the fact that Stena have already done the major design work for them and are looking after all the contractual business and sourcing of suppliers, etc. It will also be Stena staff based at the yard on the other side of the world (using their extensive ship building experience), and of course BF are getting a vessel built at Far-East prices without much of the political fallout - it probably goes without saying that the cost of an E-flexer is probably going to be considerably less than an equivalent specification vessel built in Northern Europe. Meanwhile Brittany Ferries are able to customise the end product to their requirements and are getting a vessel which will incorporate much of the latest technology and being one of the most efficient in the world, rather than making do with a bolt-on conversion to a ship which has technology that is largely 10 years old. Of course they are also benefiting from the price Stena will have negotiated for a 4+4 order - as mentioned elsewhere Stena are known for being extremely tough negotiators. Perhaps if BF wanted to expand Economie further another E-Flexer wouldn't be a bad idea, assuming Stena take up their options?
  6. Etretat

    I believe the people responsible are a company called NAOS design ;). The different versions of the Visentini vessels do indeed have different dimensions in this respect. I guess it depends on what the original purchaser specified/gave more priority to.
  7. Baie de Seine/Etretat

    Forgot to say, she of course could just be returned to BF in due course. A lot may depend on the contents of the charter agreement - can Stena continue to charter her at an agreed rate at the end or can BF recall her at the end of the current term (as it seems was the case with DFDS and BAIE DE SEINE)? I suppose it gives us all something to speculate about
  8. Baie de Seine/Etretat

    Cotentin is still owned by BF. I believe Stena did enquire about purchase but the price asked for was too high versus continuing to charter, so it could be the case that Stena will buy her eventually (or continue to charter her). With regard to Pelican, I wonder how much the greater vehicle capacity of the E-Flexer and HONFLEUR will factor into the need for an additional freight only vessel in the fleet though.
  9. Are Stena taking a huge risk a Chinese yard?

    In the case of MHI, they have plenty of experience building passenger vessels and in particular ferries, including EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY, STENA NORDICA, and EUROPEAN HIGHLANDER. A cruise ship is a very different proposition to a ferry, particularly a 124,500gt one. It is perhaps notable though that Carnival have ordered two even larger cruise ships at a Chinese yard. I think we need to look at who is managing the E-flexer project and just how big the Stena "sphere" is (these guys are truly global with their own oil drilling, property, finance, ship management, and even bunkering companies) - Stena RoRo/Teknik and Deltamarin. Deltamarin also happen to be under the same ownership as the builder btw, and have well documented experience in the industry (including Cotentin/Amorique, Mont St Michel, and Port Aven). Stena themselves have an enviable reputation in building all sorts of vessels, both for Stena themselves and others. Stena have been present in China for years, and the suppliers that have been announced so far have not been from the Far-East. CAT engines (MaK) gearboxes and propulsion, Novenco HVAC systems throughout, WE Tech shaft-generators and power takeoff, etc. They also seem to have made an allowance in build time - steel cutting began yesterday for a vessel not expected until the end of 2019. Compare that to HONFLEUR which is due in June '19, or Irish Ferries new vessel where the first steel was cut in April with delivery scheduled in May/June next year for example. Chinese yards have been building ferries for years though its only recently they are getting good at it. As HHV mentioned earlier, Stena have been building ferries in the Far-East since the 70's. Theres even a design for a ship they intended to sell to Townsend Thoresen for the Western Channel in the mid-80's to be built in China, so they've been exploring the possibility of building ferries there for a long time. Knud E Hansen and Gotlandsbolaget have proven a Chinese yard can build a ferry for Northern European service already in any case. Of course things can go wrong, but that is the case with any ship building project or any project in any industry. In this case though I suspect the build will be tightly-managed, and there are big stakes for the government owned yard as well - breaking into the lucrative Northern European ferry market and with one of the biggest names in world shipping! With Stena Roro and Deltamarin present in China, its not a case that all this is being managed down a phone or keyboard from Europe. This won't be the first ferry built at the yard by the way. While not a passenger ferry, one of the Visentini companies has a 2500lm Roro under construction there (with an option for another).
  10. St Nazaire to Gijon

    Slight correction to what was said above. Im sure it has been said before, but LD pulled out of the cross-Biscay Montoir service as they couldn't get an extension to their MoS funding, which was making that part of the the operation viable despite good loads. This was the only part of their ferry service receiving a subsidy. At the time the service was competing with low road transport costs for the same journey and so couldn't charge the ticket prices to break even without subsidy, as it would have been more expensive than the alternative of driving. Around the same time though Suardiaz received a MoS grant to add a second vessel to their competing service, and in late 2015 (after LD had called it a day) were even awarded a total of some €27m in additional funding from the governments and the EU (€3m of the amount was another MoS grant) to ensure their service continued. Add into that continual technical problems and very poor weather LD experienced (causing cancellations and a loss of reputation with customers), increased competition from new services, and Suardiaz being able to swallow up the export vehicle traffic that LD had, it isn't hard to see why LD lost heart in the operation. Im sure they have much easier ways of making money, but it does seem they had the right idea after all. Personally I feel if Balearia DO resurrect the service it will be with one of the Visentini units displaced by the new-builds and any resulting shuffle rather than a brand-new ship.
  11. Baie de Seine to leave BF Fleet/ Stena Eflexer to replace

    You could be right, but i get the feeling STENA LAGAN and STENA MERSEY will be used to replace other tonnage in the Stena Line fleet, for example STENA HORIZON or SCOTTISH VIKING which are both chartered. URD and STENA GOTHICA aren't getting any younger either. But at the end of the day, Stena RoRo aren't averse to chartering out tonnage that may be of use to Stena Line, especially if the price is right. Horizon would seem to be an obvious ship to "upgrade" though, even though Stena have made improvements to her despite being chartered.
  12. Baie de Seine to leave BF Fleet/ Stena Eflexer to replace

    I'm trying to get back into the forums Gareth - I haven't been on DFE in a good while now actually. I've been very busy with NI Ferry Site behind the scenes and have 2 pretty active Facebook groups as well. The discussion certainly tends to be a little more considered - I suppose Facebook's strength in being easily accessible is also a weakness, particularly without strong moderation. We are very lucky with the "Ferries!" and "NI Ferry (and shipping) Enthusiasts" groups though in that we have a great bunch of people who largely self moderate (and even call each other out on stuff) which helps the 3 of us who officially moderate considerably. The FE7 thing has gone very quiet - I must see if I can make contact with a couple of people actually. Its a shame a ship I (and a lot of others up here) were so fond of came to her end the way she did, even more so after what happened to her sister. Anyway, I'm going way off topic (sorry everyone)! I agree about it being unlikely BF will invest heavily in ETRETAT, but it may be an option. My guess is they'll just juggle things around a bit and perhaps take something in on charter as a stop-gap. Not much available for charter (or purchase for that matter) at present though, and what there is tends to be pricey due to supply and demand. Things might be freed up a little with Balearia and others expecting a few deliveries in the next year or so (IIRC the LNG Visentini's are due mid 2018), though whether that actually releases any vessels remains to be seen of course!
  13. HONFLEUR - Arriving June 2019

    Possibly, possibly not. Depends if there is a knock-on effect I suppose and if it can be compensated for or not. FSG do have a very good reputation for delivering on-time though and the ICG new build is due over a year sooner.
  14. HONFLEUR - Arriving June 2019

    You've got me interested! Anyway, regarding the quick "build" time. FSG (like others) normally subcontract out a lot of the work then assemble it all together in the build hall. The days of shipyards building a vessel from the stocks up are long gone. For instance, Gdansk Shipyard Group in Poland are prefabricating the sections for the superstructure of Irish Ferries new build: Once that lot turns up at the build hall its a matter of putting it all together, a bit like lego with a welder. There are plenty of pictures around the web of preassembled superstructure modules arriving on barges at yards like FSG ready to be lifted into place Regarding prefabricated cabins and especially bathrooms, this is pretty commonplace even in hotels now, as well as onboard ships. Simply a case of dropping it in place and plugging in the pipework and wiring. As Jonno has pointed out above, it won't be long before things become even more automated (and sophisticated). Of course the problem with all this automation is that one small error has the potential to cause a LOT of damage! The ICG new build has apparently slipped behind schedule BTW, The latest delivery to DFDS from FSG was about a month late as well.
  15. Baie de Seine to leave BF Fleet/ Stena Eflexer to replace

    Still plenty of time to go before HONFLEUR or the E-Flexer turn up, and plenty of time for market conditions to change as well (as well as timetables and vessel rosters to change)! It will be interesting to see just how different the Brittany Ferries example of the E-Flexer is compared to the examples Stena chose to retain and operate themselves. At present it looks most likely that 1 & 2 will replace the Visentini's on the Belfast to Birkenhead route which are running at capacity despite a 3rd ship taking unaccompanied traffic. Growth on the diagonal and central corridor Irish Sea routes is continuing as well, with Seatruck reporting record carryings this year from Warrenpoint for example (in addition to Stena breaking their own records from Belfast). Brittany Ferries have got themselves a vessel with a lot of vehicle capacity (3100lm and it looks as though there is an additional car deck), plus over 900 passengers. The Stena examples have been said to have 175 cabins, so if BF have specified more its fair to say they intend to carry a lot of passenger traffic. Being able to shift that volume of freight along with the passengers could be very handy indeed for BF. BF have already publicly said they will move NORMANDIE to the Le Havre service, but with no mention of putting her on to Spain. With regard to ETRETAT, Stena themselves have already shown what can be done with a Visentini in the right hands with STENA LAGAN and STENA MERSEY, which although they are no cruise ferries, are a lot more pleasant than they were in standard Visentini spec. If Stena RoRo allow it, theres no reason ETRETAT couldn't be made more suitable. At the end of the day BAIE DE SEINE is just a series built RoPax as well. There is going to need to be some sort of fleet reshuffling in any case. Shippax were a bit premature in saying construction of the E-Flexer's had started by the way, the first steel was only cut yesterday 26.08.17!