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Everything posted by tarbyonline

  1. Thats one way they could raise finance. I believe it's popular viewing in certain parts of Ireland and Australia at the moment . I hope so! Or they could have turned it off because people keep writing articles and posting to social media and forums that there is still nothing happening 😜. I know some of the OZ press tried to contact them about the lack of progress because they also contacted me to see if I knew anything (which I don't of course)!
  2. There have been suggestions that the reason for the radio silence at FSG and Irish Ferries, etc, is that things have gotten legal. FSG777 should be delivered before the end of this year (having already been pushed back from the middle of the year) and they haven't even started steel cutting! For a bit of context, HONFLEUR's hull has been in the water over a year now and she isn't finished! As for those companies having not pulled the plug, what are the terms of the build contracts signed? Without knowing at least (is there a financial penalty for instance) then surely it cant be taken for granted that these companies are happy as they haven't walked away. It may not be as simple as walking away in any case (there's likely significant money already been handed over for HONFLEUR for example which could take years of legal wrangling to get back). I imagine ICG in particular will want a replacement contract with another yard on hand for when any announcement is made so their share price doesn't take a dive. Else they are going to have ULYSSES and EPSILON (or whatever else they can grab on the charter/used market) potentially up against two brand spanking new 3,600lm E-Flexers in 2021 on their most lucrative route. There have been reports ICG have been making enquiries at other yards, but nothing concrete (as you'd expect). FSG's investor doesn't seem to be keen on putting his own money in and the yard seem to have been struggling to raise the finance to start further builds. If the late penalties for 777 are anywhere near what they were for Yeats it could sink the yard. A lot of key personnel have been lost from FSG as well. The Tasmanian Government perhaps can't say anything because they don't KNOW anything (plus there are potential legal issues of course - I'm sure FSG have been briefed to not say anything that could trigger any action). Despite the yard being behind they also sent more people home relatively recently - surely they need those people not involved in HONFLEUR to start on 777? In an ideal world they'd probably skip 777 and move on to the Tasmanian builds, but this isn't an ideal world and they have a contract with ICG. From the Tasmanian side there are a lot of politics at play and the government will not want to make it look like they made a bad decision - this appears to be a big issue in Tasmania. I'm not surprised they are keeping quiet - the real issue is that people were told by the government that they were getting new ferries in 2021 and now it looks as thought they may not! There is a price of around €438m quoted on the FSG press release for the contact signing and IIRC TT Line Pty also quoted a price. AFAIK the delivery of the first vessel was expected in March 2021 with the second to be delivered before the end of the same year - someone from TT was quoted as saying something along those lines somewhere along the line. Originally replacement of the current ships was planned to be 2023 but was brought forward with the FSG contract, so there is a bit of time to go elsewhere (although there is a lot of politics at play here and it would surely be a last resort). Resale value of the current vessels was something figured into the replacement plan AFAIK. Again I imagine they'd want another contract in hand if they cancel to minimise the fallout. I'm sure E-Flexer could be modified to be suitable as suggested above if that was an option they were willing to explore. Slot availability at Weihai may not be as big an issue as it would have been now the yard is part of the larger China Merchants Industry group, so 2023 might be doable.
  3. It was always a bit of a strange route IMO. Traffic going to Calais was still going to get caught up in any backlog on the way to the port, and I imagine quite a bit of the target traffic would be passing close to Zeebrugge anyway with a not dissimilar crossing time to Tilbury from there. That it barely lasted 3 months and that P&O feel CAROLINE RUSS is better put to use (loses less money?) laid up at Tilbury probably says a lot!
  4. She's certainly more spacious than I expected and a significant improvement on the ship she replaces (the taste restaurant alone has capacity for over 300 which I believe is more than the met and truckers on SSFX combined!). Edda and Embla will also be a big upgrade on Lagan and Mersey, which are already the best of the Visentini's from a passenger perspective. One concern many I have been talking to who have been on her have is the lack of high backed seating onboard - even in Plus there are only a handful. Unfortunately I couldn't get as many pictures as I would like due to there being quite a few people onboard. Premium passengers were loaded onto Deck 5 (the freight deck), presumably because deck 7 is accessed via a tilting ramp towards the stern of the vessel and so there would be a delay in cars on that deck being disembarked. Of course, that won't be an issue for the Brittany Ferries examples. Speaking of which, you'll be glad to hear she was very quiet, vibration and rattle free. Even aft. She also coped with the storm conditions exceptionally well IMO which bodes well for the BF examples and Biscay! The stores and galley are located on deck 7 forward of the green lift (which is also used as a stores lift with side doors for the purpose) and behind the restaurant. The crew areas are midships and forward on deck 9. Apart from that the design would appear to be pretty much a large blank canvas with stairwells and lifts located along the middle of the vessel. I suspect that if they really wanted they could get more passengers in (and there's space for an extra lifeboat on each side as well remember). AFAIK there's well over a hundred additional seats in excess of her passenger capacity already, and that's not even factoring in the 175 passenger cabins. It will be interesting to see what Brittany Ferries (and indeed DFDS) do with the space. She's not perfect though (the lack of windows in Hygge seems odd for instance and perhaps points to it being a late addition), but my overall impression was that she is light, spacious, and well thought out. No real game changing areas (though I like the idea of the movie lounge concept and EVERY ferry should have an atrium IMO) but a solid Ro-Pax that will certainly give Irish Ferries something to think about - even if FSG 777 ever arrives (and she looks to be very much a repeat of Yeats in terms of accomodation design with lorries in place of cabins). One of my favourite things was that the Wi-Fi actually works and is useable to the extent I was able to keep in contact through Facebook messenger! There were people using video chat as well, even well outside of port!!! There is no significant step from the vehicle deck on deck 7 to the stairwell and lift area - its raised a couple of cm above the vehicle deck level but not high enough to cause an issue for an electric wheelchair or buggy. There is a portable ramp on hand but I'm not sure it would ever be needed. Of course deck 7 its totally level with the passenger accommodation and a simple walk or wheel straight into Guest Services/Barista. She's not perfect of course, but what ship ever is when it first enters service? STENA EDDA was delivered five days early and two months to the day from Estrid's delivery. All being well she should be in service for late-Spring and in advance of the summer peak. The yard have been focusing on improving their processes and encouragingly appear to have learned from the build of Estrid and put those learnings to use. I'm getting excited to see what BF have in store for us with GALICIA now. I'm not expecting PONT AVEN, but have significantly raised my expectations from what they were! Fit out seems to be to a very high standard, but that's what you'd expect from R&M.
  5. Stena replaced all the mattresses onboard with "Dux" branded mattresses a few years back. It really does make a difference. The Visentini pair have been fantastic servants on the Birkenhead route over the years. They will be missed, but having travelled on Estrid I think Edda and Embla will be a big upgrade. Coincidentally, Stena announced that they have taken delivery of Edda earlier today.
  6. We had to do a circuit of Dublin Bay first - Dublin Port wouldn't let us in!!!!
  7. A lot more here now though ;). I was lucky enough to be invited along to the maiden voyage. Also got a bridge visit despite sailing in a storm!! She's a good sea boat, that's for sure. https://www.niferry.co.uk/stena-estrid-first-look/
  8. Should say "hadn't paid all the instalments" of course
  9. They already did a fair few years ago! She's currently owned by Visemar AFAIK. Watling Street was a subsidiary of EPIC shipping who had severe financial difficulties resulting in the Ro-Pax's being sold off. My memory is a bit blurry as this all happened the best part of 10 years ago, but IIRC Visentini (Visemar) took EPIC to court over Scottish Viking as they defaulted on an agreement to purchase her outright. It turned out the reason was because they were broke and eventually their ships were sold off. Stena Flavia, Stena Lagan/Mersey, Etretat are all ex EPIC Shipping controlled vessels. As they paid all the instalments for Scottish Viking she returned to Visentini.
  10. Seems they have to behave now. While the court in Milan threw out the bankruptcy proceedings it has been reported that unless things improve the directors will be held personally responsible for transactions "carried out in conflict of interests". I assume that refers to the recent flogging of anything of value in the fleet! At least they are talking to their creditors now in an attempt to restructure their debt. How long can their collection of vintage old ladies keep going without pulling down margins further?
  11. Sounds a bit like Holyhead. Nothing of note has happened there either. Dublin has customs inspection points and a holding area for them (which has ate in to the marshalling space from what I can gather).
  12. I'm inclined to agree. At the end of the day it will come down to whoever presents the best business case, but I can still see the lengthened E-Flexer's going there too. As I said in another thread, perhaps they'll go to Gdynia while they await the new ships then move on to Ventspils or Liepaja (if they fit). The lengthened Visentini pair could mean the loss of the party/cruise trade of course, but how profitable is that really these days?🤔
  13. We'll see. A lot will depend on what Stena want to do fleet wise over the next few years. "Baltica" could be quite useful elsewhere, perhaps even slotting into a Nordica-like relief ship role? It wouldn't be the first time Stena sold a ship prior to replacement tonnage arriving and had to use something as a stop-gap! Both lengthened Visentini's should be available for 2021 in any case. Some still think the lengthened E-Flexer's will end up at Dublin (which is being redeveloped) but my money is still on Gdynia with the lengthened Visentini's filling in until their arrival. Following that, Urd and Stena Gothica aren't getting any younger and the Ventspils route (currently using two Visentini's) could do with larger tonnage too I believe. That would free up Stena Flavia and allow Scottish Viking to be handed back to whichever Visentini associated company owns her (can't recall of the top of my head), or alternatively, the replacement of Urd and Gothica. All speculation of course and assuming that Stena RoRo don't get an offer from elsewhere that is too good to turn down!
  14. We shall see. I suspect that Brittany Ferries and DFDS will both play things less "safe" than Stena so far as ID is concerned, but there's only so much can be done within a given amount of space at the end of the day. Certainly the Stena pictures so far haven't looked very revolutionary. One of the most interesting aspects of this series will be seeing the differences (and similarities) of course.
  15. I haven't read through the entire topic (apologies), but modifying for passenger service could be as little as reconfiguring the existing accommodation or even adding a small extension. Its not necessarily a full scale rebuild. I don't see Armorique II happening personally (if nothing else they'll want to preserve freight capacity surely?), though perhaps somewhere in between? I guess it depends on where they see the future for the route in a couple of years time. You assume she CAN be recalled prior to the end of her contract (which I assume must end in 2021?).
  16. Looking at Irish Ferries passenger figures via Shippax though they have held up very well, especially considering there has been no huge jump elsewhere (that's before even considering Irish Ferries sold two ships worth of bookings last year which they had to try and squeeze on to one)! How things will be next year though remains to be seen, but Dublin IS very convenient for a lot of people. Some "improvements" have already been made on board based on passenger (and crew) feedback. W.B YEATS was never going to be another OSCAR WILDE. That was a very deliberate choice on the part of Irish Continental. Someone said somewhere above that Irish Ferries might realise they have got it wrong. They would perhaps disagree with that considering Yeats was about securing the France connection by bringing in a more modern and efficient vessel which can be mostly closed down during quiet crossings. She was a very deliberate choice, and her freight capacity compared to her predecessor says it all - its freight that will secure the year round viability of the route. The next vessel for them is expected to be very similar but with a lot more freight capacity instead of so many cabins. Perhaps we should think of Yeats as less of a downgrade from Oscar and more of an upgrade from EPSILON? 🤔
  17. It's more a painted out Adria Ferries livery with the Brittany Ferries logo added than a full livery. Same as was done with Connemara which still has red at her waterline. For a short charter its not worth doing any more since it will be Brittany Ferries (and not Stena RoRo) paying for a full repaint. With regard to the "Economie livery". Will there ever be such a thing and would it be worth the expense? Etretat looks like she is in LD Lines livery with the red band removed and a Brittany Ferries logo slapped on. BDS looks like she's had some of her DFDS blue hull painted over to look a bit like Etretat (the swooshy wave thing isn't even in the same place). As above, Connemara and Kerry retain their previous colours with a Brittany Ferries logo added! All are chartered and likely on borrowed time As for the E-Flexers, while they may be an upgrade on your regular Visentini they are unlikely to be the height of luxury either. They are still very much a Ro-Pax design and no matter how much interior design you do there's only so much can be done within the existing constraints. If BF had wanted "cruise ferries" (I hate that term) then they'd have ordered them. One of the alternatives considered was apparently an order with Visentini after all (mind you Balearia's latests look very nice)! Still, it may be unfair to brand the E-Flexer's as economie, especially given how the whole Northern European ferry market seems to be moving in the same direction.
  18. Quoting you here Jonno but this is only partially a reply to that quote as such "Ferry" trade at Cork doesn't appear to be big business. The port is busy with plenty of other trade though (including trade cars, of course). It doesn't make sense for them to invest money in something they aren't making a lot out of at the expense of things they are. Compared to Rosslare and Dublin, which have multiple passenger and freight sailings daily, they are a bit of an also ran I suppose. A big change from their historical position! If your Ireland to France sailing is cancelled, it is relatively simple to do a landbridge from Rosslare or Dublin. A bit of a pain, but not as much as having to drive to a different port to do the same as is the case with Cork. Freight likes reliability and the Cork-Spain service needs to prove it can deliver. Dublin is by far the biggest population centre in Ireland (and by extension destination and origin of goods), and especially with road improvements Rosslare is just as close as Cork but already has the infrastructure in place (and the ferry trade is big business for that port compared to Cork). Some predicted by moving to Dublin from Rosslare Irish Ferries would lose trade, but from the figures I've seen that's anything but the case. Everything I hear about the enlarged Visentini's seems to point to them going to The Baltic. For Stena to start a service to Spain it would need to make commercial sense versus using the tonnage elsewhere. Operators aren't exactly clamouring to set up new services from Ireland to Spain (or France for that matter). I'd suggest there is already over capacity given much of what trade does go to Spain passes through France - BF are having to build up direct Ireland to Spain trade from scratch after all, and from a haulage perspective the direct route removes all possibility of picking up or dropping additional loads en route as well. Thats before you even consider one cancellation puts you back half a week or having to take a lengthy detour! Margins don't appear to be huge either (remember LD Lines who carried good loads but couldn't survive without subsidy, though obviously the routing was different and they did have a lot of bad luck with regards weather and reliability). It's worth remembering that much of what moves between Ireland and France (including via the land bridge) isn't going to or originating from France but the countries further east. On a related note, the proposed competing Cork to Spain service from Vigo seems to be just that - a proposal. Reading the interviews with the company concerned (the port management company...) it seems to be mostly about poaching Uk-Spain trade from Santander. In any case, the company supposedly providing the tonnage (Grimaldi) say they have never heard of this proposal!!! Nor does it seem they have even approached the Port of Cork . Theres also been some talk of a Rosslare to Le Havre service, but that seems to be more of an idea to perhaps extract EU subsidy and increase votes in local elections than something that is going to happen any time soon. Who knows what the future holds mind, but I can't see Stena or anyone else starting an Ireland to Spain only service unless Brittany Ferries are consistently achieving high load factors. EDIT: Apologies for continuing the off-topic discussion. Admin please move if there is somewhere more appropriate.
  19. Also remember that Cork - Spain is still a trial, albeit extended by 6 months with the arrival of Kerry. Hard for me to see why they'd want to put a larger ship on when the future of the route isn't guaranteed (and why say they are extending the trial for 6 months when the one thing freight, which lets face it is the bread and butter of the year round service, likes is certainty and security). Uptake appears to have been less than enthusiastic in terms of freight, and Kerry is hardly an upgrade in terms of passenger facilities. Of course it is still a "new" route and freight doesn't switch overnight - though how much year round freight demand is there for Ireland to Spain really? In terms of value Spain is well down the top countries for imports and exports to and from Ireland. My impression has been that Cap Finistere could be for the chop (lets face it, she's not the most economical vessel in the world and will be over 20 - not a bad age to move her on before her resale value plummets?). The fact that she has scrubbers already might make her an attractive proposition for some post 2020, especially if they are scrubbers proven to actually work. An E-Flexer should be able to attain 18 knots on 1 propeller with the second propeller feathered. I doubt Cap Finistere with her hull optimised for speed can get anywhere close to that fuel consumption! 24kts on just over 20,000kW fully laden with over 3km of vehicles onboard? The third Brittany Ferries E-Flexer is the best part of 4 years away in any case. Plenty of time for things to change!
  20. There was an increase last year I believe. To be honest its hard to blame the operator. Its been common practice for some people to make a number of speculative bookings while they decide when to go only to cancel those they don't need when they do. All it does is force up prices for everyone else due to reduced availability and makes forecasting passenger levels for the operator a lot more difficult!
  21. Problem is the price has been agreed and ICG aren’t known for being generous (they were prepared to put the yard under over Yeats at the end of the day)! The suppliers have already been selected and the contracts in place as well so far as I am aware. How much are companies such as Wärtsilä going to move on price to save a single order? Edit: also worth remembering Tasmania have said they are looking at other yards.
  22. HONFLEUR and the final Siem RoRo appear to be “safe” (Siem bankrolled the final RoRo afaik). The question is what happens after. FSG777 is supposed to be delivered in little over a year, having already been pushed back from her original delivery date in summer 2020. It would be a shame to lose yet another European ferry builder, especially given FSG have a healthy order book. Some have suggested mind that the project where they will start to make money is that for TT Line Australia.
  23. This is not made any easier by drivers going to great effort not to be detected! As above, Stena treat vans as freight. It’s common practice. With regard to berth occupancy, shared cabins are the norm and the price paid reflects that. Hauliers purchase a berth, not a cabin. The option to purchase a “cabin” can exist, but most employers won’t do so as it costs more as you are paying for all the berths! Perhaps the person making the booking on behalf of the employer is where the “blame” lays?
  24. Just to clarify, FSG has had financial issues for some time. SIEM actually saved the yard and took it over for a symbolic €1. They were always going to order Ro-Ro’s from the yard in order to give it work, however, with Ro-Ro’s they were competing with the Far East. Siem May or may not have purchased these vessels at cost, but again they also have a business to run - why should they pay over market value for vessels to prop up a separate company? Unfortunately the yards unprofitability continued and increased to the stage that Siem could no longer justify bankrolling the yard and the state could no longer justify loan guarantees for newbuilds. The margins on projects like W.B. YEATS were tight so they could win the work, but unfortunately they were so tight there was no room for error. It has been speculated elsewhere that she was always going to be built at a loss, just not that big a loss! Moving into Ro-Pax was meant to increase profitability but did the opposite - by their own admission FSG hugely underestimated the challenges. FSG’s problems have been made worse by senior staff leaving and taking their experience with them. One group have even set up a rival firm in Flensburg specialising in ferry design! They’ve already won work, for example they are designing the new Islay ferries. Part of the new strategy at FSG is to diversify such as by winning design work for vessels to be built at other yards, rather than just at FSG itself. Their majority owner has a bit of a patchy record - time will tell what happens. I’m sure if steel cutting had been announced for FSG777 it would make people a bit less unsettled about the future of the yard!
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