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Everything posted by hhvferry

  1. Ship financing is complicated and BF's unique structure makes it more complicated than most. Here are diagrams from the bid files which show some of the funding arrangements the UK government came up with to enable Govan to bid for and, they hoped, build the ship which eventually became the Bretagne, for which they were eventually gazumped. They had to sort favourable tax treatment, pay at least lip service to state aid rules whilst massively subsidising it so Govan would be competitive and also set up a structure which enabled the ship to have the French flag despite the UK government investment. The accounting for this would have been a nightmare.
  2. You can buy the Europa as a one way ferry and disembark normally on arrival (although she's obviously slower than the two main ships). But if you overnight on her, at some point in the evening they withdraw/close the gangway and don't put it back out again until the morning - she stays on the berth though.
  3. Turku's quite nice once you get to the town centre. And a morning or afternoon spent exploring the Bore is well worth it - although I'd still not want to do the sailing arriving at 7am if I could avoid it!
  4. You can no longer do what? But yes the Galaxy and Baltic Princess are probably nicer overall ships than the Europa which is, frankly, a bit too vast without the wow factor of the Serenade/Symphony.
  5. The best way to do the Turku route is either the picnic cruise, out on one ship to Mariehamn then change to the inbound one there (this is a popular product so there is no chance of missed connections) or do the full 23 hours round trip on one ship - you don't get off in Turku, in fact many people just sleep through that bit if they've had a late night before.
  6. There are two things here: Brexit and the pension deficit. The audit report makes no reference at all to the pension liabilities and in no way suggests that this issue could affect the company's ability to continue trading - this is at best just rubbish reporting, at worst an attempt to be deliberately misleading; assuming the former whoever wrote this either doesn't understand financial statements or was too lazy to actually check the audit report. The £27.9m adjustment is not a "bill" as I've seen in some reporting; it's an accounting adjustment based on projected future liabilities. If you look at page 11 of the P&O Ferries Limited accounts they recognised a similarly large (£28m) gain on actuarial revaluations last year. I hate company defined benefit pension accounting for just this reason - the huge swings make parts of a company's Balance Sheet almost meaningless. This is not to say it isn't recognising a real issue but it does mean there are swings and roundabouts as the investments in the scheme come and go and the pensioners live longer or, sadly, die off. The specific reference in the audit report is about Brexit - it is what in the old days might have been a fundamental uncertainty paragraph. It's just setting out the facts really which is that Brexit is so fundamental to the company that it's hard to say what might happen and KPMG are unhelpfully washing their hands of anyone relying on the accounts (such as suppliers or credit insurers). This is something I imagine caused a lot of arguments between auditors and client but the silver lining is that it is a global macropolitical rather than a company-specific issue.
  7. If I were in charge in the islands, the minimum requirements for any new ferry contract would be overnight sailings from both the islands and the mainland each night (or six nights a week). I can't understand why this hasn't been done before.
  8. Railway companies have forever been eager to squeeze in more berths to sleeping coaches. Perhaps the most extreme I've seen were SNCF's 'Cabine 8's which were 8 berth compartments with four berths on either side arranged in a non-flat but theoretically comfortable position, and the arrangement of berths was alternated, so each was "face to backside" as it were. There was no supplement to use these and reservation fees were waived for inter-railers so one night in the summer of 1994 when we couldn't afford a hostel or hotel in Paris we took a round trip using them on the Paris-Strasbourg sleeper, getting off at Bar-le-Duc where we jumped on the inbound train on the opposite itinerary (the timetable suggests we had 0304 to 0324 to effect our change of train; I'm sure our messing about with rucksacks and squeezing in and out of these berths in shared compartments made us popular with recumbent fellow travellers). This image from trains-en-voyage.com gives an indication of what they were like; it should come as no surprise that they weren't really very popular. http://www.trains-en-voyage.com/dossiers/materiel_roulant/voitures/voitures_vu_couchettes_et_vu_cabines_8-bc10ux_ac9ux_acbcux_b12u.htm
  9. The March edition of CFI is the current freebie on the Shippax website and has some more detailed background to the ship concept (they draw heavily on Visentini in how to efficiently build ro-paxes) and the placing of the orders. https://www.shippax.com/en/publications/latest-shippax-cfi-online.aspx
  10. All the rumours suggested they were going to Le Havre and the Olaus becoming available was a fortunate back up plan. The Olaus were, and are, great and even though probably not ideal by the end were still significantly better for freight than Athena and Kalypso would have been. But from a passenger perspective the Viking Line ships would have just been a different league. Whether Athena and Kalypso would have been the right ships I don't know and don't really care - in reality it was probably a dodged bullet - but it would have just been amazing to experience them sailing from the UK, largely untouched.
  11. I think the big Silja sisters are still the ships to go to if you want a bit of "wow" - the Fantasy and Magic are great but the Silja pair did it first and arguably better (I find the Color ships very slightly dated now; although it means they are original the Siljas on the other hand have been constantly spruced up). On the other hand Mariella is probably my overall favourite out of Stockholm; if you have time the Princess Anastasia has some nostalgic charm. Of the modern ones I very much like the Baltic Queen/Princess/Galaxy series, they are really great ships and I prefer them to the Viking Grace (which is very neatly done but I find just slightly underwhelming in some areas) and definitely to the Amorella which, like her sisters, was just a cheap, slightly modified facsimilie of the Mariella. You may as well go on the original. The DFDS pair are intriguing - Pearl Seaways and her sister are my favourites from that series of Viking Line ships of the 80s/90s; there's not much left of that now but she's still smart and well maintained, as is the Crown albeit from the lesser series of ships. Europa is Athena and Kalypso on steroids and interesting just for that although a bit too vast perhaps; and yes there is Stena Saga but I find her just a bit sad to sail on given how thoroughly they have destroyed the really lovely luxury ferry she once was. But Stena play down to the market on that route unfortunately.
  12. "A Hansen ship is a handsome ship" so the saying went.
  13. Moby are close to screwed without this deal so there could be a fire sale in the end. They've got 45 ships or so excluding the tugs but the Nuraghes and Sharden are the group's most valuable assets alongside the Aki and Wonder. If they could shift a couple from the above or, next tier of value down, the Tommy, Bithia, Janas or Athara, V/Florio or R/Rubattino I imagine that would work best operationally and financially.
  14. That's not really the case TBH, the Moby ships give over almost their entire top deck to passengers, more than half of it protected behind glass screening. The current ships have plenty too, but there's a lot of up and down walking to be done. I think it's a shame this swap won't be happening, it was a win/win for both parties and I fear the eventual replacements, which will come, may not match either the incumbents or the Moby ships.
  15. She was ordered as a passenger ship, the option just held a place in the yard's orderbook. https://www.motorship.com/news101/industry-news/aker-and-brittany-ferries-sign-loi-for-ferry
  16. The Armorique utilised the option for "a similar ship" that had been placed at the same time Cotentin was ordered. The order for Armorique (fully formed as a pax ship) was placed just 6 months after that for Cotentin so they will have known what they aimed to do when the option was placed.
  17. Everything is up for grabs. They thought they'd shifted the Bithia to La Meridionale earlier this year but it fell through. If you've got cash and want to buy a ship or a tug or anything which isn't nailed down they're interested.
  18. What a Google result says and what she actually has are different things.
  19. She's a modern, Stena-owned ship built in 2001 with a mostly still intact standard Visentini fitout; which means the overnight accomodation comprises 4 berth cabins (there may be a couple of 2 berths but very few) and some reclining seats.
  20. There's not that many twin level loading driver/freight ferries out there, which is what is optimal for the role she does on Karlskrona-Gdynia. Stena's Visentinis wouldn't work for the route as they'd be too slow to turn around without making/before them drive through. It's, coincidentally, also why the Barfleur ended up on Dover-Calais when DFDS couldn't find anything else which fit the bill and might be a very useful attribute for the Barfleur when she comes to be sold.
  21. It appears the King Seaways and Princess Seaways will wear Tirrenia rather than Moby colours next summer as the group shuffles ships between its various brands. Which notionally means DC comics livery rather than Looney Tunes although that distinction has been blurred recently. They are slated to operate on the Genoa-Porto Torres and Genoa-Olbia routes in peak season. No names have yet been announced, they appear in the Moby booking engine simply as KSE and PSE.
  22. Reported in Mike Louagie's newsletter that plans are afoot to sink her as an underwater reef. Local reporting here: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/apollo-scuba-diving-1.5285627 It might be true of her final role but the comment that she has been an unlucky ship doesn't ring true for the rest of her almost 50 year career.
  23. I think they just mean the shared bathroom isn't inside the cabin (which it isn't but then again not many bathrooms are); but they aren't implying it's down the corridor as a classic cabin without facilities would be. Another thought on future use for Barfleur: she'd be ideal as a replacement for Corsica Marina Seconda or, less likely, the Moby Vincent on the Livorno- Bastia route.
  24. What's ramps does she have between the vehicle decks? The ability to retrofit those if they don't exist would be an important factor for most potential buyers.
  25. No on Stena Baltica they are still shared. It's a bit disconcerting to find/hear someone else using your loo. Although then again on the Primrose once we had a private cabin and still someone else managed to get in, make their mark, and exit whilst we were out on deck. Barfleur should be a good buy on the second hand market. One very careful owner, from a very good shipbuilder, not that old, relatively lightly used for a chunk of her life and, most importantly, quite a handy size for some operators. If Stena hadn't just ploughed loads into the Europe she might have been a nice buy for Fishguard. She'd also do well for someone on the middle distance Moroccan routes or even an Aegean inter island operator. I'm sure, unless she has underlying mechanical issues, she has plenty of life yet.
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