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HONFLEUR - New Build for Ouistreham Route

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Ed,

Aren’t you being just a little simplistic there? Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft ( the shipyard) have an impressive history of building generally one-off designs whether ferries, naval or off-shore vessels, to budget and on time - that’s probably what appealed to ICG and BF when the main European players like STX - St Nazaire and Visentini were trumpeting full order books until 2020/5.

The spanner in the works revolved around Siem Industries buying the yard in late 2014 with what looks to me as being the sole intention to build roro vessels at cost for Siem. Leevsten is the vessel currently moored alongside Honfleur and number 7 in the list of exclusive Siem constructions, number 8 is in the hall having made good progress recently. Building at cost means no profit although it guarantees employment. The WB Yeats fiasco where the upper sections built in Poland didn’t quite match up with the hull, generated her well documented delay and penalty payments, putting the financially fragile company into difficulty and I don’t blame BF at all. 

I note that Tennor holdings have now taken full ownership of FSG following the successful acquisition of all Siem shares and if managed properly there’s no reason why they can’t return to building ships competitively. I personally thought that once WB Yeats finally left the yard in December work on Honfleur would continue at pace - how wrong I was!

As Jonno says, what’s the rush now? She isn’t needed until late spring next year, visually she appears to be progressing well, I’ve met a few people who have been onboard her recently and the impression is extremely good. I don’t see her as being further delayed, just BF and FSG managing the situation to suit everyone and I for one can’t wait to travel on her.

A 5000 word translation project must be a daunting experience but you manage it yourself. Building a new ferry at different locations in different countries  has to be a project fraught with potentially very deep potholes.

Chris

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1 hour ago, Fine Whine said:

Ed,Aren’t you being just a little simplistic there? Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft ( the shipyard) have an impressive history of building generally one-off designs whether ferries, naval or off-shore vessels, to budget and on time

I agree, they were a very successful shipyard and had shown themselves well able to deliver on time.

They did however specialise in one basic generic design which they are still churning out later generations of - the Flensburger ro-ro standard which became an industry staple, seen in the DFDS Flower class, the UN ro/ro fleet and Flensburg even licensed the design out so that eight of them (the Humber Viking series) were built in Odense. So even though they'd had success with more complex designs such as the BC orders there was always some question as to whether they'd easily move away from what they were really, really good at.

Edited by hhvferry
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8 hours ago, Fine Whine said:

Ed,

Aren’t you being just a little simplistic there? Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft ( the shipyard) have an impressive history of building generally one-off designs whether ferries, naval or off-shore vessels, to budget and on time - that’s probably what appealed to ICG and BF when the main European players like STX - St Nazaire and Visentini were trumpeting full order books until 2020/5.

The spanner in the works revolved around Siem Industries buying the yard in late 2014 with what looks to me as being the sole intention to build roro vessels at cost for Siem. Leevsten is the vessel currently moored alongside Honfleur and number 7 in the list of exclusive Siem constructions, number 8 is in the hall having made good progress recently. Building at cost means no profit although it guarantees employment. The WB Yeats fiasco where the upper sections built in Poland didn’t quite match up with the hull, generated her well documented delay and penalty payments, putting the financially fragile company into difficulty and I don’t blame BF at all. 

I note that Tennor holdings have now taken full ownership of FSG following the successful acquisition of all Siem shares and if managed properly there’s no reason why they can’t return to building ships competitively. I personally thought that once WB Yeats finally left the yard in December work on Honfleur would continue at pace - how wrong I was!

As Jonno says, what’s the rush now? She isn’t needed until late spring next year, visually she appears to be progressing well, I’ve met a few people who have been onboard her recently and the impression is extremely good. I don’t see her as being further delayed, just BF and FSG managing the situation to suit everyone and I for one can’t wait to travel on her.

A 5000 word translation project must be a daunting experience but you manage it yourself. Building a new ferry at different locations in different countries  has to be a project fraught with potentially very deep potholes.

Chris

Chris, I think you might have misunderstood where I was coming from with my comments. My criticism was not of the shipyard directly as their contract is with BF and need to sort that out with them. My only demand from FSG is that they build a ship which floats, goes forwards and backwards when asked and turns corners. 

My point was about how BF have managed their customers' expectations. I fail to see why they would build it up to such an extent in the full knowledge that delays often occur and they may have to engage in some damage limitation down the line (they must have heard rumours about the IF problems at an early stage and wondered). As I said yesterday, they should have trumpeted the power source, it's green credentials, the spacious interior, the fine food and panoramic views etc but been more generous with the arrival date. People won't delay their holidays to a later date if they don't know exactly when she's due to arrive but will still book in the hope of an unexpected upgrade. That way nobody is inconvenienced, a few are slightly disappointed but 'that's life' and some may be very pleased indeed. 

Maybe the translation example is over-simplistic but it was about customer perception. If instead you imagine you are building a new patio and barbecue area and even though 'Bob le Bricoleur' promises you it'll be ready in 6 weeks you probably won't actually organise your inaugural summer party until at least 8 weeks down the line. This is just in case work overruns on digging the foundations (discovery of bones which might be a dog but could be something else entirely), putting in the electrics for your mood-lighting and actually laying the decking because somebody in Poland (just as a random example) didn't measure the boards correctly. Things can go wrong and you'd look a bit silly having your party in a deep muddy hole surrounded by skeletons and bare wires. Your friends might complain that this is the third or fourth time in the last twenty years that you've trumpeted a new venue for the party and each time it's been called off. But no problem, we can instead all go and have the party in Dan From Denmark's Shed which while a bit out of date and clearly less spectacular does actually exist. And crucially, because this is about perception, next time you organise a party we might think twice about accepting an invitation. Ed. 

 

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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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6 minutes ago, tarbyonline said:

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!

I would have thought that the future of the yard should be clearer within a few weeks, from the previous announcements it is clear that only firm orders that are profitable will lead to the state loan guarantees needed to start expensive projects. I would assume that the yard is financed sufficiently to complete the Honfleur and the new Siem ship as that did not require new state guarantees.

 

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3 minutes ago, David Williams said:

I would have thought that the future of the yard should be clearer within a few weeks, from the previous announcements it is clear that only firm orders that are profitable will lead to the state loan guarantees needed to start expensive projects. I would assume that the yard is financed sufficiently to complete the Honfleur and the new Siem ship as that did not require new state guarantees.

 

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.

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4 minutes ago, tarbyonline said:

 Some have suggested mind that the project where they will start to make money is that for TT Line Australia.

Yes, it may be simpler just to start with them and forget the complicated stuff

ps - however they do need to make money on the new Irish ferry as well by reducing costs or increasing the price or they won't get financing for it !

Edited by David Williams

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9 minutes ago, David Williams said:

Yes, it may be simpler just to start with them and forget the complicated stuff

ps - however they do need to make money on the new Irish ferry as well by reducing costs or increasing the price or they won't get financing for it !

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.  

Edited by tarbyonline

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I have not heard much coming out regarding progress recently. 

Do we expect her to be sailing for the 2020 Summer Season?

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35 minutes ago, hf_uk said:

I have not heard much coming out regarding progress recently. 

Do we expect her to be sailing for the 2020 Summer Season?

We should find out next week when they publish the timetable

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37 minutes ago, hf_uk said:

I have not heard much coming out regarding progress recently. 

Do we expect her to be sailing for the 2020 Summer Season?

Zero progress, no chance of being ready (or possibly even started) for the 2020 summer season. The IF timetable is online David, it's WB Yeats from 28th March until end of September.

Chris

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1 hour ago, Fine Whine said:

Zero progress, no chance of being ready (or possibly even started) for the 2020 summer season. The IF timetable is online David, it's WB Yeats from 28th March until end of September.

Chris

I thought the question was about the Honfleur, however I could be wrong as the thread talks about a number of ships !

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2 hours ago, hf_uk said:

I have not heard much coming out regarding progress recently. 

Do we expect her to be sailing for the 2020 Summer Season?

Ok for clarity do you mean Honfleur or the next Irish Ferries vessel hf_uk?

I thought you knew all about these things ....9_9

Chris

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1 hour ago, Fine Whine said:

Ok for clarity do you mean Honfleur or the next Irish Ferries vessel hf_uk?

I thought you knew all about these things ....9_9

Chris

Yes - cheers Chris. I do indeed mean the new Cruise Vessel for Ouistreham - Honfleur yes :)

I only hear bits of titter tatter when the wind is in the right direction Chris. You know how it is :P 

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12 minutes ago, hf_uk said:

 

12 minutes ago, hf_uk said:

new Cruise Vessel for Ouistreham

As it's a cruise vessel, perhaps they have decided to equip it with a full medical centre and morgue and that's what is causing the delay. Ed. 

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4 hours ago, hf_uk said:

I have not heard much coming out regarding progress recently. 

Do we expect her to be sailing for the 2020 Summer Season?

It's still the same as it says on the Honfleur site, sea trials in November, Delivery in December, in service March 2020.

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1 hour ago, Cabin-boy said:

As it's a cruise vessel, perhaps they have decided to equip it with a full medical centre and morgue and that's what is causing the delay. Ed. 

Most people seem to prefer Pont Aven for that kind of thing 😮 

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There was a workers meeting on thursday and it was announced that the new ICG ferry and the tasmanian Twins will be built in Flensburg. Agreements with the clients have been reached and financing is also secured. Apparently, 100 employees have to go on short work until next year. There was no word on Honfleur but obviously work is progressing and she will be ready sometime by the end of the year. The next RoRo is ready to be launched and it will be interesting to see if they start work on the next ICG boat Right away, although I have not heard of any steel cutting ceremonies.

https://www.ndr.de/nachrichten/schleswig-holstein/Kurzarbeit-bei-der-FSG-Betriebsrat-erleichtert,fsg284.html

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4 hours ago, Raik said:

There was a workers meeting on thursday and it was announced that the new ICG ferry and the tasmanian Twins will be built in Flensburg. Agreements with the clients have been reached and financing is also secured. Apparently, 100 employees have to go on short work until next year. There was no word on Honfleur but obviously work is progressing and she will be ready sometime by the end of the year. The next RoRo is ready to be launched and it will be interesting to see if they start work on the next ICG boat Right away, although I have not heard of any steel cutting ceremonies.

https://www.ndr.de/nachrichten/schleswig-holstein/Kurzarbeit-bei-der-FSG-Betriebsrat-erleichtert,fsg284.html

"Sometime by the end of 2020"

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Indeed - we've actually had contact from BF who have effectively said they are expecting/hoping for Honfleur to be delivered earlier but are exercising caution with the timetable.

 

We are going on sale for 2020 in the UK today. We have introduced a new ticket pricing structure that brings more choice and flexibility to the market.  However, we are also taking a prudent approach to booking journeys on Honfleur. Of course, we very much hope our new LNG ship will arrive in time to serve the 2020 summer season. And we expect that to be the case. But until we are clear on the exact date of entry-into-service, we are taking the precautionary step of listing an on-sale date only from September 2020.

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13 hours ago, Solo said:

So will Galicia arrive before Honfleur?

I suspect we might have to start a sweepstake...

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