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jonno

Stena at Belfast

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Below is a copy of the Shippax article highlighting the investment being made in order to allow Their E-Flexer to sail.

Belfast Harbour to invest GBP 15 million on new terminal facilities for Stena’s new E-Flexers

PORTBelfast Harbour is to invest GBP 15 million in the redevelopment of Victoria Terminal 2 (VT2) in the port to meet the requirements of Stena Line’s two new E-Flexer ro-pax ferries which will enter service on the company’s Belfast-Birkenhead (Liverpool) route in 2020 and 2021.

The contract for the re-development has been awarded to County Down-based contractor GRAHAM and includes the design and construction of a new double-deck linkspan to accommodate STENA EDDA and its sister ship, believed to be named STENA EMBLA. Work will begin in June this year and is expected to be completed in early 2020.

The project is part of Belfast Harbour's long-term investment strategy in port infrastructure. It follows a recent GBP 1.5 million investment that increased VT2's landside capacity and improved its entrance and accessibility in preparation for the arrival of the first of the two new E-Flexers.

Belfast Harbour's VT2 currently handles more than 200,000 freight units annually on the Belfast-Birkenhead route alone. With a freight capacity of 3,100 lanemetres, as well as being able to carry 120 cars and 1,000 passengers and crew, the two new E-Flexers designated for the Belfast-Birkenhead service are considerable larger than the two vessels they will replace – the Visentini Class STENA LAGAN and STENA MERSEY which each have a capacity of 2,238 lanemetres of freight, as well as 170 cars and 970 passengers.

© Shippax / MH / PR

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My dad recently used this route for work. On his return sailing to Birkenhead last Saturday night, having retired for the night, was rudely awoken by an Irish lorry driver suddenly bursting in. His work colleague had no such interruptions. I'm told that at no point was he forewarned that he would be sharing his cabin, not even when collecting his cabin key from reception. I should point out this was one of the Vissentini vessels.

He's been travelling to Ireland for a few years now, normally with P&O from Liverpool, and has never experienced anything like it before. He drives a transit-sized van and I'm told his booking was made as 'freight' - is this normal?

He intends to complain to Stena Line since the experience not only annoyed him but also disturbed his sleep and as such he was very tired when driving home the following morning.

Edited by Ryan_H
Missing info

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2 hours ago, Ryan_H said:

My dad recently used this route for work. On his return sailing to Birkenhead last Saturday night, having retired for the night, was rudely awoken by an Irish lorry driver suddenly bursting in. His work colleague had no such interruptions. I'm told that at no point was he forewarned that he would be sharing his cabin, not even when collecting his cabin key from reception. I should point out this was one of the Vissentini vessels.

He's been travelling to Ireland for a few years now, normally with P&O from Liverpool, and has never experienced anything like it before. He drives a transit-sized van and I'm told his booking was made as 'freight' - is this normal?

He intends to complain to Stena Line since the experience not only annoyed him but also disturbed his sleep and as such he was very tired when driving home the following morning.

Would he have been more comfortable if a Scottish or English lorry driver had  burst in .

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4 minutes ago, Chef said:

Would he have been more comfortable if a Scottish or English lorry driver had  burst in .

I wasn't inferring anything regarding the driver's nationality, they just happened to be Irish and I was recalling the story as it had been told to me. It wouldn't have mattered who they were or where they were from, it just seems more than a little wrong that he wasn't made aware beforehand.

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I was thinking along the lines of an old fashioned , Irish Man , English Man , Scottish Man walked into a bar type of story .

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Sharing cabins is common for freight drivers so probably they are just used to it on freight bookings. Not sure whether they are told in advance but probably not except maybe when allocated cabins at check in/on board. On some of the more vintage 12 driver freighters this might take the form of a black/whiteboard with cabin numbers and names written on.

The best modern freight driver oriented ships like the Stena Transit and Transporter have almost entirely twin cabins to at least reduce the amount of sharing. However on most Visentinis the standard cabin is a four berther; given their berth capacity vs cabin numbers vs freight capacity drivers will find themselves sharing a fair amount of the time.

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Even if it's just a small Transit.; it's freight if it's for hire or reward. So if he is being paid to do the crossing, it's commercial so freight. Not sure if this is the situation.

 

This is how it is for BF, I'd assume Stena operate a similar policy.

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I can't understand why ferry companies do this.

Their reliable profit comes from freight, surely these drivers should get their own cabins.

And I'm sure that these drivers have ways of gaming the system in some way or another in deciding what ferry company to use.

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A lot of drivers stay in their cabs on the longer Irish crossings. You can normally get up have your meal in the drivers restaurant and get back down again before the doors are locked. Not legal I know but it’s what happens.

On the short crossing most use the cabin for a shower and sit in the drivers lounge.

 

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5 hours ago, zuludelta said:

I can't understand why ferry companies do this.

Their reliable profit comes from freight, surely these drivers should get their own cabins.

And I'm sure that these drivers have ways of gaming the system in some way or another in deciding what ferry company to use.

The companies normally have the option of paying for a private cabin if available. But they choose to pay for a berth.

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2 hours ago, disco3 said:

A lot of drivers stay in their cabs on the longer Irish crossings. You can normally get up have your meal in the drivers restaurant and get back down again before the doors are locked. Not legal I know but it’s what happens

I would have thought that the authorities would have cracked down on that after last year's incident but apparently not. 

Ed

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1 hour ago, Cabin-boy said:

I would have thought that the authorities would have cracked down on that after last year's incident but apparently not. 

 

You would have thought that about a lot of things, but here we are. Ultimately it's down to the companies to enforce. I think most try their best. Easy if you only have 8 artics. But with 40 say, I can see how you'd lose track.

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On 29/09/2019 at 19:44, scarlton said:

You would have thought that about a lot of things, but here we are. Ultimately it's down to the companies to enforce. I think most try their best. Easy if you only have 8 artics. But with 40 say, I can see how you'd lose track.

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?

Edited by tarbyonline

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1 hour ago, tarbyonline said:

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?

Yes, I think the whole thing was a big misunderstanding. He's travelled with P&O many times over the years, both overnight and by day and never encountered this before; perhaps that was just good fortune. The main issue for him was that no-one had explained the situation, neither Stena Line when collecting his cabin key, or his employer. So, it was quite a shock when someone just came bounding in to the cabin at midnight. He was travelling with a colleague (who had a cabin to himself) so couldn't understand why they weren't asked to share. Anyway I understand Stena have been in touch with him directly and hopefully it's all been smoothed-over now.

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