(PS: as Neil always suggests, you should check out the above-noted website, to get a feel for it's bias or mission, in order to get a better understanding of this article) ====================
Irish Ferries: Exploiting workers and insulting Wilde by Gregor Kerr Tuesday, Feb 5 2008, 12:42am
When Irish Ferries launched their new €50million vessel in Dublin Port on Tuesday 29th January, 400 guests from the tourism, freight and shipping sectors attended the naming ceremony. How many of them, I wonder, took a moment as they quaffed their champagne and nibbled on their canapés to ponder on the news revealed by International Transport Workers Federation inspector, Ken Fleming, that the workers who would be manning the ferry will be paid as little as €4 per hour?
Workers on the ship are virtual slaves. Just like the workers on the Irish Ferries ships which ply the Ireland – Britain route, the workers on this vessel are not allowed to leave the ships when not on shift, are not allowed to join a trade union and are paid a wage which is less than half the minimum wage in Ireland. Workers on the Ireland – Britain route are known to work 12-hour shifts seven days a week.
The company can get away with this because the ships are registered abroad and staff are supplied by an agency believed to be located in Cyprus. In 2006 Irish Ferries sacked its entire Irish workforce of 500 and replaced them with non-union super-exploited immigrant labour. 20 years of social partnership came home to roost as the trade union movement rolled over and allowed it to happen.
In what must rate as one of the sickest ironies ever, Irish Ferries have named their new ship after poet and playwright Oscar Wilde. As someone who throughout his life railed against the injustices of poverty, Wilde must be spinning furiously in his Paris grave. Wilde came from a radical pedigree and his plays satirised and parodied London upper class society. He believed that socialism was the only solution for the endemic poverty which surrounded him (there were 2 million people living in poverty in London at the time).
In 1896 he, along with George Bernard Shaw, signed a petition in support of the Haymarket martyrs (Chicago anarchist trade unionists executed for their role in the 8- hour day movement). Wilde indeed described himself as “rather more than a Socialist. I am something of an Anarchist, I believe..." In 1891 he wrote ‘The Soul of Man Under Socialism’ – a brilliant argument for socialism, writing “The proper aim is to try and reconstruct society on such a basis that poverty will be impossible”.
Irish Ferries may be intent on exploiting their workforce and insulting the memory of Oscar Wilde but we could all do worse than take on board Wilde’s call to not alone oppose such exploitation but to do something about it. “Disobedience,” he wrote, “in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man’s original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and rebellion.”
And on the role of ‘agitators’, he wrote, “Agitators are a set of interfering, meddling people who come down to a perfectly contented class of the community and sow the seeds of discontent amongst them. That is why agitators are so absolutely necessary.”
30 die after Bangladesh ferry capsizes By JULHAS ALAM, Associated Press Writer Thu Feb 28, 10:00 AM ET
A ferry carrying more than 100 people collided with a cargo vessel and capsized in a river near the Bangladeshi capital Thursday, killing at least 30 people, authorities said.
The death toll could rise because many passengers were feared trapped inside the sunken craft, according to Sufia Begum, a Fire Brigade official in the capital, Dhaka.
Rescuers recovered 30 bodies after the wooden ferry MV Saurav sank in Buriganga River, Begum said, adding that most of the victims found so far were located inside the craft's hull.
She said 13 women and six children were among the dead in the accident at the town of Pagla, two miles south of Dhaka.
The ferry had been traveling from Dhaka to the nearby town of Taltala, Begum said.
The accident occurred after the ferry collided with a small cargo vessel, said Pagla police officer A.S.M Maniruzzaman. The ferry capsized in the calm river near shore and many people on board were able to swim to safety.
The police officer also said more people might be trapped in the sunken ferry, believed to be under about 45 feet of water.
Rina Aktar and her 10-month-old son survived, but her mother-in-law died.
"I huddled my baby and ran to the upper deck when the boat wobbled and started going down," said 25-year-old Aktar, nursing her baby at a nearby medical center. "The boy took in lot of water, but I'm glad he is still alive."
Area residents joined police and fire department divers to search for those missing.
Hundreds of anxious people searched the nearby shore for their loved ones.
Such accidents are common in Bangladesh, which has more than 250 rivers. The mishaps are often blamed on lax rules and unsafe practices.
CHRONOLOGY-Bangladesh ferry disasters
28 Feb 2008 14:56:37 GMT Source: Reuters
DHAKA, Feb 28 (Reuters) - At least 31 people died when a ferry was hit by a cargo vessel loaded with sand on Thursday and capsized in a river near the Bangladesh capital, police and witnesses said.
Here is a chronology of some of the major ferry accidents that have killed thousands of people in Bangladesh since 1986.
April 20 - At least 200 people killed when the ferry Atlas Star sinks during a storm on the Sitalakya river.
May 25 - 600 people killed when the ferry Samia overturns in the Meghna river during a storm.
Dec. 27 - At least 200 die when ferry Haisal sinks on the river Dhaleswari after being rammed by a cargo vessel.
Jan. 28 - Between 100 and 150 people presumed drowned after a ferry carrying 200 people collides with vessel in thick fog.
Aug. 20 - More than 200 people die after an overcrowded ferry sinks in a whirlpool in the Meghna river.
Jan. 1 - Up to 50 people are feared drowned when a small ferry capsizes in the Meghna after being struck by an oil tanker.
June 14 - At least 50 people are believed drowned after a ferry carrying 250 passengers capsizes in the Dhanu river northeast of Dhaka.
June 23 - Nearly 50 people are feared drowned after a ferry carrying about 200 passengers sinks in the Jamuna river.
June 28 - Scores drown after a ferry with at least 150 people on board capsizes near Sandwip island in the Bay of Bengal during a storm.
March 14 - Twenty people are killed and at least 30 others missing after two ferries sink during a storm.
May 8 - The M.V. Dwipkanya sinks in a whirlpool during a storm near Lakhsmipur. Between 100 and 300 are believed drowned. The real toll was never determined because officials and survivors gave different numbers for those on board.
Aug. 5 - At least 20 people are feared drowned after a boat sinks in the Sitalakya river near Dhaka after a collision.
Dec. 11 - 63 people are killed and scores missing after a ferry with about 200 passengers sinks in Meghna river.
Dec. 17 - At least 15 people drown and scores are missing after a ferry carrying about 250 passengers capsizes on the river Buriganga near Dhaka.
May 1 - At least 96 people drown and about 100 missing after two ferries capsize in a storm in the Meghna river.
Dec. 29 - At least 158 people killed and many left missing after a ferry carrying 400 passengers sinks in the Meghna.
Nov. 29 - Nearly 100 people are feared drowned after a ferry carrying 130 passengers sinks in the Tentulia river.
May 3 - At least 450 people drown when the M.V. Salahuddin-2 ferry with about 500 on board sinks in the Meghna river.
May 23 - More than 60 people are feared drowned after the M.L. Suraha sinks in a storm in southern Bangladesh.
April 4 - At least 62 people killed and many left missing after ferry sinks in the Surma river in northeastern Bangladesh.
April 21 - Nearly 200 people die when two ferries sink in Buriganga and Meghna rivers during a storm.
July 9 - Up to 400 people feared drowned after a triple-deck ferry sinks in the river Meghna near Chandpur.
May 23 - At least 200 die when two ferries sink in the Meghna near Chandpur.
Feb. 21 - A total of 118 people die and more than 80 missing when a ferry sinks near Dhaka.
May 15 - At least 60 people killed and more than 30 missing after twin-deck ferry M.V. Prince of Patuakhali sinks on the Tentulia river at Galachipa during a storm.
May 23 (Reuters) - Bangladesh abandoned efforts late on Sunday to salvage a river ferry that sank with about 200 people on board during a storm five days ago. Only about 50 people survived the disaster.
One is obviously that the ferries themselves or the way they are loaded are obviously unsafe. Of course, these people are working with a third world budget, and the other option would be not getting from one side of the river to the other at all.
Second is the fact that this happens repeatedly. Even if we understand that these people have little infrastructure to work with, it is still "the way it is done" to overcrowd the boats. Of course, they do the same thing on trains, too. It just seems like someone there should be trying to do something to at least mitigate the possible dangers here.
Third is the fact that thousands of people are dying in this manner, and we will generally will only give it a passing thought. If 37 or 200 people died in a WSF or BCFS accident, there would be mourners in the streets. Since it happens in another country, it is a passing curiosity. I suppose that is the nature of life, though. Besides, it wasn't a pretty ship like the Queen of the North. Truly, we had never heard of this ferry before today, much less had an attachment toward it. Still.....
Let's just say that I can't see one of "our" ferries looking like those in these pictures (BBC File Photos):
See the gerbils walk on the ferry in Edmonds! Bree's daily photo blog is at cascadiadaily.com/
Third is the fact that thousands of people are dying in this manner, and we will generally will only give it a passing thought. If 37 or 200 people died in a WSF or BCFS accident, there would be mourners in the streets. Since it happens in another country, it is a passing curiosity. I suppose that is the nature of life, though. Besides, it wasn't a pretty ship like the Queen of the North. Truly, we had never heard of this ferry before today, much less had an attachment toward it. Still.....
To illustrate your point: One of the papers that carried several pages of coverage on the Queen of Victoria/Sergei Yesenin accident where three died, had a small story on one of the same pages about a third world ferry disaster with over a hundred killed. A very small story.
Many will disagree, but I think it's a form of racism, although we don't recognize it as such. White, western lives are worth much more than brown, Asian lives. It's not a matter of distance, because a ferry sinking in Australia would garner far more attention than one in Bangladesh. There's a racial aspect.
===================== Ferries an alternative to freeways
By Hua Jian ‰ØŒ’
Sunday, Mar 09, 2008, Page 8 With the presidential election approaching, the controversial Suhua Freeway project on Tuesday received a conditional go-ahead from the Environmental Protection Administration (ŠÂ•Û). The Taiwan Area National Expressway Engineering Bureau (‘äàs™½š “¹VŒšH’ö‹Ç) has said that the project, which could top NT$100 billion (US$3.25 billion), will commence this year. But there is still no clear indication that this would put an end to seven years of conflict or whether the project could proceed and be completed smoothly.
A government report last year stated that construction of the Suhua Freeway could have grave consequences, including increased pollution and carbon emissions, destruction of ecologically sensitive areas along the road corridor and interchanges, and groundwater inundation of tunnels that could lead to groundwater depletion.
These are worthy considerations. However, for the past six months, the existing road between Suao and Hualien has been closed every time it rained, with water accumulating along some sections of the railway's Northern Line, cutting off all access from the east coast to the rest of the country. Claims that the Suhua Freeway is not feasible have therefore been met by residents in Hualien and eastern Taiwan with the question: "What about us?"
Political bickering and election maneuvering have all but snuffed out rational discussion about the vision for sustainable development of eastern Taiwan. For years, the administration has touted catch phrases such as creating an "ocean state," "sustainable environment," "love and care for our native land" and "blue highways." Yet a close look at the administration's "Second-Term Plan for National Development in the New Century" would show that the plan overlooks two vital facts: first, there is the Central Mountain Range running from north to south that makes transportation between the eastern and western parts of the island difficult; and second, Taiwan has a marine transportation infrastructure in place, including shipping lines and harbors, that could complement its inland transportation system.
Without doubt, a sound transportation system is key to balancing development throughout the country. Although inland and air transportation has long been saturated, sea transport in Taiwan -- a maritime state by virtue of its geographical location -- is either never mentioned or only in association with meaningless phrases such as "the blue highway." As the authorities rarely promote sea transportation, the public has overlooked the fact that there is a maritime highway waiting to be put to good use.
From a global perspective, when transportation systems in coastal development areas reach the point of saturation, ferries are naturally considered a new means of transportation. This is a pragmatic solution when highways, bridges and tunnels are frequently congested and inland transportation needs to be expanded but faces financial, social and political restrictions -- as is the case with the Suhua Freeway.
Unlike building highways, it would be quite easy to achieve results by establishing ferry services in areas like eastern and northern Taiwan and to expand these services as demand increases. Ferry systems are much more flexible than fixed transportation systems on land as operators can gradually increase or adjust routes according to demand. This eliminates the need to expand land-based infrastructure such as bridges and tunnels.
Ships can also be custom built to meet capacity and function demands. Even transferring only a small portion of the freight or passenger transport to the waterways would lead to immediate benefits. Aside from decreasing land traffic volume, it would also reduce road wear and tear.
Sea transportation would not only directly benefit the public, but traffic authorities at the local and national government level could also save on resources and put them to more flexible use. Moreover, sea transportation of bulk materials for short distances is more energy and cost-efficient, making it a good alternative when natural disasters cause roads to break down.
The biggest difference between waterways, railways and freeways is sea transportation doesn't require any hefty investment in road infrastructure. For example, the European Commission has been pushing for the integration of marine highways for the past two decades, and it recently invested several hundred million euros in a multi-stage project devoted to providing incentives to bring freight transport from crowded roads to the sea.
In addition, ferries widely used for short-distance transportation -- 500km and below -- and passenger ships used for fast-growing tourist cruises would be very suitable for coastal transportation in Taiwan. High-speed ferries, which have been used in Europe for years, could greatly decrease travel time and provide comfortable transportation.
Ferries traveling between eastern and western Taiwan could transport large numbers of passengers and could even become a new mass transport system. Just like many other mass transportation systems, most ferry lines overseas -- both publicly and privately owned -- receive government subsidies. The main challenge for this type of transportation is providing quality services, while at the same time offering the features of mass transit systems: convenience, safety, low fares and sufficient traffic.
Rather than arguing endlessly about the Suhua Freeway, the government should draw up new plans for other routes that can be used along the east coast. Using accompanying measures such as fuel subsidies for fishermen and the Offshore Islands Development Law (—£“‡ŒšÝžŠ—á) to encourage investment in sea transportation could be one way to offer east coast residents an acceptable number of benefits.
Hua Jian is an associate professor in the Department of Marine Engineering at Taiwan Ocean University. ===============================
New Zealand has long been touted by neo-cons as a shining example of how to privatize virtually everything, and dismantle the 'socialist' state. Now, a bit of a re-think. Is there a lesson here for us?
Government bids to buy back trains, ferries 5:00AM Friday March 07, 2008 By Paula Oliver The New Zealand Herald
The Government admits that the rail and ferry assets are unlikely to make any money. Photo / Sarah Ivey The Government has confirmed it is in talks to spend hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to buy back the rail and Cook Strait ferry assets of Toll New Zealand - which the Beehive admits are unlikely to ever make any money.
After months of speculation about a potential purchase, Finance Minister Michael Cullen yesterday confirmed that there had been a Government bid for the assets but it was rejected by Toll's Australian owners.
"The Government made an offer, Toll said that was absolutely no good, we upped the offer, and our offer is actually above quite a lot of the valuations that we have for the business," Dr Cullen said.
He said Toll responded with a counter-offer that was significantly higher than $700 million, but it appears the Government recoiled at that amount and negotiations virtually broke down.
However, Dr Cullen revealed yesterday that he had decided to continue the discussions and hoped for rapid progress and an "amicable" conclusion.
"I've made it clear that Toll has got to come back with a significantly better offer than that if we are to be able to close the gap between us," Dr Cullen said.
The Government has been trying to negotiate an agreed fee with Toll since 2003 for the Australian-owned train company to have access to the Government-owned rail tracks.
But the talks have floundered and a frustrated Dr Cullen has been considering buying the Toll assets and having the Government operate them as a solution. As discussions now restart, it remains possible the pair could come to an agreement on an access fee that would mean the outright purchase by the Government is not needed.
New Zealand's rail network was privatised in 1993, but what played out in latter years is now viewed in many quarters as disastrous.
The company was constantly accused of neglecting track maintenance and generally running down the business, and its fortunes declined.
The Government came under pressure to step in and buy the assets back but in 2003 it instead agreed to buy just the tracks while Toll took over the rest of the business.
In a full circle move, the Government is now again talking about possibly owning and operating trains and ferries.
Dr Cullen explained his thinking by saying the Government was exposed to continued renegotiation, and continued demands for further relief on the access agreement with Toll if things stayed the way they were.
"We believe that with Crown ownership, we'd be capable of creating a more strongly integrated rail system, not just in terms of goods movement but also in terms of the urban passenger systems where there are interrelationships there," Dr Cullen said.
"This is not a business which is ever going to make money, overall, and therefore we either end up subsidising the private sector or we end up subsidising ourselves on behalf of the people of New Zealand."
National's finance spokesman Bill English said the Government should not be thinking about a purchase.
"However difficult the negotiations might be, the rail system needs an operator that knows what it's doing," he said.
Mr English said the idea was a recipe for ferry strikes in school holidays and "feather-bedding" throughout the whole system.
However, the Greens and New Zealand First welcomed Dr Cullen's confirmation that a purchase could potentially be made. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Travel by ferry is seeing a revival in the face of competition by airlines due to chaos at airports, new figures show.
Nearly 43 million passenger ferry journeys were taken between British ports and the continent, Ireland and British islands last year – a rise of 419,000 over 2006.
UK to Ireland routes performed strongly with numbers up from 5.3 million to 5.5 million – a 4.3% increase. Traffic to the continent increased by 1% from 20 million to nearly 20.2 million passenger ferry journeys. UK domestic figures were stable at 16.9 million.
Figures released by the Passenger Shipping Association’s www.sailanddrive.com campaign showed a 3.8% increase in the number of cars on passenger ferries.
Between 2006 and 2007 total journeys with cars increased by 3.8% from 9 to 9.3 million.
Journeys with cars between the UK and Ireland saw a 7.4% increase, up from 1.27 million to 1.36 million, while continental crossings with a car increased by 3.7% from 4.1 to 4.3 million.
Car journeys also increased by 2.7% for domestic crossings to destinations such as the Scottish Islands, Isle of Man, Isle of Wight and Channel Islands. They grew from 3.6 million to 3.7 million crossings.
PSA director Bill Gibbons said: “I believe we’re seeing increasing numbers of people turning away from the misery of airports.
“The ongoing chaos at airports, continued strike threats, missing luggage and increasingly miserly charges made by airlines is just howlingly frustating.
“Travellers who vote with their feet and switch to ferry travel are finding a radically different experience. They can take their own car, as much luggage as they like, enjoy shorter check-in times and can stroll around ferry ships which have seen multi-million pound investments that are equal to modern cruise ships. This is a very exciting time for ferry travel, particularly in the year of the PSA’s 50th Anniversary.”
Post by Northern Exploration on Mar 4, 2008 14:56:38 GMT -8
Heathrow is a nightmare. There are only two runways and the volume is so massive. Many airlines are now building hubs elsewhere. For exampl Jet Airways, a premium Indian airline flies into Brussels from Toronto. You can stay on the same plane and continue to Madras/Chenai or change planes and fly to Delhi etc. Air Canada is finding their flights to Heathrow soft and flights to other areas are good. All it takes is a back up at Heathrow and all sorts of chaos results. If you are going to continent or even elsewhere people are taking the chunnel or ferries and going on from there.
Post by D'Elete BC in NJ on Apr 17, 2008 5:33:04 GMT -8
A follow up to the Cal-Mac story: www.shippingtimes.co.uk/itm188_macbrayne.htm MacBrayne 'welcomes' EU probe into ferry services Calmac and Northlink operators issue statement after EU decides to investigate allegations...
David MacBrayne Ltd today (Wednesday, April 16) welcomed the confirmation that the European Commission has decided to open a formal investigation into issues surrounding subsidy support received from the Scottish Government. The David MacBrayne Group includes NorthLink Ferries Ltd and CalMac Ferries Ltd, and provides Clyde & Hebrides, Gourock - Dunoon and Northern Isles ferry services.
David MacBrayne Group Chairman Peter Timms said: “We will be happy to cooperate fully with this investigation and will help the Scottish Government to provide the Commission with all the information required to meet the aims of the investigation.”
“We fully understand the issues involved and that the Commission requires more information to check that the mechanisms used in recent years do not fall foul of funding rules. We also welcome the confirmation that the EU investigators are aware of the importance of lifeline ferry routes to the many isolated communities in Scotland that our group companies serve.
"It has always been our first priority to maintain and develop the services to the communities we serve, and hopefully this investigation will clarify any outstanding issues which remain about the way these services are funded and how we operate.”
The statement follows the EU announcement that after complaints received alleging unfair competition the EU Commission would probe into whether or not the Scottish Government's subsidies breach EU laws.
Critics of Calmac have long held the view that private operators are at a disadvantage due to the state-owned firm being subsidised and accuse the company of distorting the market for ferry services in Scotland.
VIKING XPRS - Photo: Aker Yards New 2500 passenger ferry delivered from Helsinki shipyard VIKING XPRS is a new concept in Baltic ferry scene says Aker Yards...
On Monday 21 April 2008 Aker Yards delivered from its Helsinki shipyard a fast passenger-car ferry called VIKING XPRS for Viking Line.
The vessel, worth EUR 130 million, gave 700 man years of work for the yard.
Described as "an environmentally friendly fast ferry" it is designed to carry passengers and cars between Helsinki in Finland and Tallinn in Estonia and is intended for year-around service regardless of weather conditions.
The new ferry represents an entirely new concept in Baltic Sea ferry service, say Aker Yards, bringing together the best qualities of conventional car ferries and catamarans. The emphasis is on customer comfort, e.g. modern innovative restaurants and a high class conference centre.
The 185 m long and 27.7 m wide vessel takes 2,500 passengers, and is driven by 40 MW engines giving the vessel a speed of 25 knots.
Calmac lose out as contract goes to rival bidder From June Rathlin ferry service will be run by new operator...
Northern Ireland's Regional Development Minister, Conor Murphy yesterday announced that the new contract for the Rathlin Ferry has been awarded to Mr Ciarán O’Driscoll, whose companies currently provide ferry services to islands off the coast of County Cork.
The Minister said: “I am pleased to announce that we have been able to secure a faster, more comfortable vessel to supplement the services already provided by the MV Canna on this route.
“This new contract will offer improved summer and winter timetables using a combination of the current roll-on/roll-off ferry and a new purpose built high speed catamaran capable of carrying 100 seated passengers. The new vessel will provide a comfortable, accessible, year round, service to the island with a reduced crossing time from 45 minutes to 20 minutes. The enhanced timetable will no doubt assist journeys made by the Islanders but will also help in promoting tourism.
“This is a significant step forward in the development of Rathlin Island. The number of visitors using the ferry service has been steadily increasing and a new fast ferry can only help to stimulate this even further.
”The Department has secured the continuing use of the roll-on/roll-off ferry, the mv CANNA, to provide vehicle and freight services."
The service was run previously by Rathlin Ferries Limited, a subsidiary Of Caledonian MacBrayne who will lease the CANNA to the new operator.
The new catamaran, to be commissioned by Mr O’Driscoll, will be available for service in summer 2009. Until then, the enhanced timetable will be provided by the CANNA and a smaller mono-hulled vessel, which can carry up to 38 passengers on the 20 minute crossing.
The Rathlin Development Community Association was consulted during the tender specification stage. Their Sustainable Tourism Strategy called for more comfortable passenger services on the route to attract more tourist visitors to Rathlin.
The Department is working towards a date for handover of the contract of 1 June 2008.
The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE) will apply to the staff currently employed on the route. No job losses are envisaged.
CalMac Managing Director Lawrie Sinclair said: "Caledonian MacBrayne believes that through the service offered in recent years, which has seen significant growth, we have established a track record as a safe, reliable, and dependable ferry operator and we are grateful to the island community on Rathlin for their cooperation and assistance over the years.
"We also believe we submitted a robust bid which would offer significant improvements for the island and its community.
"We wish the island well in the future and will now address any outstanding issues which have to be managed whilst preparing for the hand-over. We would also like to thank the staff in Ballycastle and the crew for their continued good work during their time with us and we wish them well for the future. We will be visiting them soon to complete all the arrangements we have to make and are pleased that no job losses are anticipated."
Keel laid for super cruise ferry at Aker Rauma New jumbo ferry for Tallink worth 180m Euros...
The keel of a large cruise ferry was laid in Aker Yards, Rauma, today 22 April, 2008.
The vessel, built under the working name "Cruise 5"will be delivered to Tallink in spring 2009.
The vessel worth approx. 180 million euro means 1,700 man years of work for the yard.
The vessel will be a new development of the Galaxy-type cruise ferry built by Aker Yards.
MS Galaxy has already been operating since spring 2006, and the second one in the series, "Baltic Princess" is under construction at the yard in Helsinki.
The 212 metres long and 29 m wide vessel will be one of the biggest and fastest cruise ferries in the Baltic Sea, having capacity for 2,800 passengers and with a speed of 24.5 knots. The guiding principle in designing the vessel has been paying attention to the comfort and luxury of present-day passengers say Aker and with "maximal use of high-tech solutions onboard."
Over 900 cabins, several restaurants and places to entertain in varieties of style and class as well as a remarkable conference centre with over 450 seats make the new ship a multi functional sea-based hotel with "excellent ambience".
Former Irish Sea ferry evacuated following blaze Fire aboard LE RIF, formerly GALLOWAY PRINCESS...
The Moroccan ferry LE RIF, owned by IMTC, was evacuated in the early hours of this morning following a fire in her hold last night, various sources of the Spanish media are reporting.
The reports say that crew and 14 passengers, mostly lorry drivers, were taken off the ferry at the port of Algeciras and there were no injuries.
The ferry was originally Sealink's GALLOWAY PRINCESS, built by Harland & Wolff, Belfast in 1980 and became the STENA GALLOWAY in 1991 with Stena Line. She was sold to IMTC in 2002 and took up the daily schedule on the Algeciras-Tanger route.
The level of damage and cause of the fire is unknown. Equasis reports the vessel as having 10 deficiencies when inspected at Algeciras on the 27th April. Amongst these was a failure in Fire Safety measures.
Some media reports say those on board had to be evacuated with the aid of ladders as the stern doors could not be used due to the location of the fire, which was extinguished by firefighters and the tug SIROCO.
April 26, 2008 C'EST VRAI: We must have had ferries here
We're talking again about the possibility of a toll road around Lafayette, which may or may not happen, but way back when, ferrymen were the ones who collected the fees and - with all of the bayous and streams in South Louisiana - some travelers needed a purse full of coins to get from here to there.
At first, ferrymen charged whatever they thought they could get from their passengers. If a man looked prosperous, he might be charged a bit more than a fellow who looked like he might be down on his luck.
But by the early 1900s, there were enough travelers making enough noise that local governments began to regulate what ferrymen could charge.
In 1905, for example, Lake Arthur set up its fee schedule.
The fee was 50 cents for a team and wagon to cross one way, 40 cents for a team and buggy, and 25 cents for foot passengers. Horses or cattle were charged at 25 cents a head. A horse and rider was charged 30 cents. A steam thresher engine (whatever that was) was charged $2.50 for the one-way trip.
A separate schedule of commercial rates allowed 75 cents for a team and wagon, 40 cents for a team and buggy and 25 cents for a foot passenger.
I presume that there were ferries on the Vermilion River as well, but I've not found any reference to them, nor even old place names (such as Bradshaw's Ferry) that would indicate that there had once been ferries there.
The road from New Orleans into Vermilionville (early Lafayette) crossed the Vermilion about where Pinhook Road does today and there are references to early bridges there.
There must have been a ferry before the bridges, because I don't think the river is shallow enough to ford at that point or any other place until you get well upstream.
Anybody know about Vermilion River or other early ferries?
P & O Ferries are to sue Chris De Burgh having determined that a recent downturn in their business has been as a direct result of the resurgence in airplay of his 1982 hit "Don't pay the ferryman".
Head of their business unit, Captain Ann Tenille said:
"We felt that the wording of his song 'Don't pay the ferryman' has seen an increasing number of passengers who not only 'Don't pay the ferryman', but also 'don't even fix a price' and many insist on 'waiting until he gets you to the other side'.
"We simply cannot afford to transport passengers under these terms and conditions, especially as we are fast approaching that 'peak season' time of year when all transport operators are expected to charge higher fares for a consistently inferior service to one passengers could use have used off-peak.
"We are especially annoyed that members of the public only know one other song by Mr Burgh anyway, that whining and irritating "Lady in Red.
"When I phoned Mr Burgh, the first thing he said to me was 'I've never seen you looking so lovely as you did tonight, I've never seen you shine so bright I've never seen so many men ask you if you wanted to dance', which I found quite patronising, as he couldn't see me, and certainly could not ascertain my level of luminosity from one simply phone call.
"Next thing people will be suggesting that I 'take my daughter to the slaughter'."
Calmac representatives meet EU Commissioner Ferry company's reps meet to 'engage' in formal investigation...
Calmac press release:
Representatives of companies within the David MacBrayne Ltd Group of ferry companies met European Commissioner Jacques Barrot [yesterday] (Thursday, May 1, 2008) in Edinburgh to engage about the formal investigation the Commission has launched into ferry subsidies.
Speaking after the meeting, Group Chairman Peter Timms said: “We were delighted to meet the Commissioner and took the opportunity to reaffirm our position with regard to the formal investigation into ferry subsidies. There are a number of key issues involved and we will cooperate fully with the Commission in their endeavours. We took the opportunity to remind the Commissioner of the importance of lifeline ferries to the communities we serve and also to underline the strategic importance and additional efficiency value of the network we operate. Peripherality and dependence on lifeline services are issues the Commissioner has acknowledged previously and we are grateful to him for his consideration.”
The full text of the submission prepared by David MacBrayne Ltd and presented to the Commissioner was as follows.
David MacBrayne Ltd (DML) welcomes the confirmation that the European Commission has decided to open a formal investigation into the issues surrounding subsidy support received from the Scottish Government.
The David MacBrayne Group includes CalMac Ferries Ltd (CFL) and NorthLink Ferries Ltd (NFL) which together provide lifeline ferry services to the Clyde and Hebrides (CHFS) and to the Northern Isles of Orkney and Shetland, and Cowal Ferries which provides the service between Gourock and Dunoon.
Caledonian MacBrayne, CalMac and NorthLink are the trading names of the Group. Caledonian MacBrayne services operate to some of the most remote and sparsely populated areas of the West Coast of Scotland and NorthLink provides key links between the Scottish mainland and Orkney/Shetland. Their peripherality is acknowledged in many ways, but the provision of ferry links is the only way by which lifeline supplies are transported to the islands and peninsular communities CFL serves. Few of these areas have any other public transport links with the mainland, and only some have air services. Historically, the absence of any other ferry operators is clearly attributable to the non-viability of services as an economic provision, and is the reason that government grants are essential to avoid rapid depopulation and economic decline.
We are happy to cooperate with this investigation and will help the Scottish Government to provide the Commission with all the information necessary to meet the aims of the investigation. The Group also welcomes the reassurance from the Commission that this investigation “does not question the need for a regular and affordable lifeline ferry service for local communities, nor does it threaten the continued provision of such essential services in the future”.
We understand the issues involved and that the Commission requires more information to check that the mechanisms used in recent years do not fall counter to EC funding rules. We also welcome confirmation that the Commissioner is aware of the importance of lifeline ferry routes to most of the isolated communities that our group serves.
It has always been our principal priority to maintain and to develop where possible the services we provide: hopefully this investigation will clarify any outstanding issues which remain about the way these services are funded and how we operate.
The year 2007 saw the culmination of six years hard work: during this period, the Directors have completely restructured the companies while simultaneously introducing fundamental changes to their day to day management and operations. The benefit of these changes was first demonstrated in 2006 when the company was awarded the Northern Isles Ferry Services contract subsidy, successfully competing against a private sector company, and culminated in the award of the CHFS Contract last year.
We believe these changes, together with over 150 years experience of operating in the CHFS network area, have resulted in value for money contracts which meet the requirements of both the Service Specifications in all respects.
CFL’s Mission Statement details our determination to providing a safe, reliable, affordable and high quality service, focusing on customers’ needs and comfort, providing value for money to its customers, a stimulating workplace for all its employees and protecting the environment. CFL is committed to the very highest management standards and aims to be acknowledged as the leading UK ferry operating company.
CFL believes that maintaining the existing “bundle” of 24 routes in the format of the current network, which may be further developed with the addition of new routes, best serves the island communities of the west coast of Scotland and the nations’ taxpayers. The integrity of this network leads to efficiency gains in terms of the flexibility and interchangeability of the fleet, crew mobility (including succession and career development), economies of scale, shared costs and uniformity of pricing, marketing and policy decisions, which provide additional value to the substantial sums of public subsidy involved. This also makes best use of the vessels specifically designed to operate on these routes, which face some of the most extreme winter weather in Western Europe.
The creation of Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL) ensures that the CHFS fleet remains in public ownership and available to operators in this and subsequent contracts. However, this has an impact on the Gourock to Dunoon service as the only CMAL vessels available to Cowal Ferries were built in 1974, are expensive to operate, and have only a very short residual service life.
The Commissioner should also be aware of the strength of feeling within the local community about the Gourock to Dunoon service. Although there has been much public debate about the possibility of more frequent and cheaper services, it is clear that there is demand for the town centre to town centre service, integrated with rail services at Gourock, to be maintained by Cowal Ferries with both vehicle and passenger provision.
The risk posed by “cherry pickers”, where new competition might be introduced on a route, even for part of a year, would have a major impact on CalMac’s interests and would inevitably lead to the need for additional subsidy if the existing level of service provision is to be maintained. It is accepted by most interested parties, for example local authorities, that the targeting of the high value (usually high volume) parts of routes by potential competitors would pose a substantial threat to the viability of the subsidised lifeline services of the Scottish ferry network.
We have no issue with calls for increased efficiency; nor do we, having successfully challenged private operators, fear competition on a level playing field where our expertise and experience single it out. However, a very real concern relating to the potential cherry picking of routes is the likelihood that the subsidised service would just be left to retrieve the “leftover”, non-viable, but nonetheless essential services on routes at an increased cost and, therefore, subsidy. Up until now, it is worth noting that the political environment in Brussels, Westminster and in Scotland has generally taken the view that cherry picking is undesirable and an inefficient form of market entry.
The next five years will represent a period of relative stability for the company allowing it to focus on strengthening the CHFS Network. This continuity and sense of strategic development, as opposed to the uncertainty of the pre-tender years, is welcomed by many of the communities CFL serves. The communities continue to support the benefits and advantages of retaining the network approach to the provision of services, and recognise the potential threats of erosion to the basis on which the network gains its strength and stability.
CFL's ship management embodies a culture where, as a lifeline ferry operator, the company and its staff onshore and at sea, have an absolute commitment to caring for the marine environment, to ensuring the safety and security of customers, crews and vessels, and to exceeding the standards set by regulatory bodies in providing lifeline services to the islands.
NorthLink operates 5 vessels on 3 routes, whilst CFL operates some 30 vessels on 24 routes. The waters, distances covered, services provided and customer needs are significantly different from those of CFL, therefore the solutions required for the separate operations arte quite distinct.
NorthLink’s smallest vessel is some 10%+ longer than CFL’s largest vessel: CFL’s longest route has a passage time of 5 hours while NorthLink’s main route has a passage time of 12+ hours.
Most islands in the Northern Isles archipelago import much more freight than they export, but Shetland is the exception. The volume exports of fresh fish (farmed and wild) from the islands results in a major freight component of the lifeline ferry services, equivalent to some 23,000 standard 40 tonne articulated trailers per year, mostly destined for export with timing crucial to meeting end customer demands and delivering fresh produce to other EC countries.
In financial terms, although NorthLink-1 (2002-06) had well documented financial difficulties beyond its control, it did also have significant achievements, particularly in substantially growing revenues, minimising costs and in consequence needing less subsidy than forecast. In particular, while the contract for services was re-tendered, NorthLink-1 sought to minimise the use of subsidy and over a 20-month period used £9m less subsidy than forecast.
Heineken Cup Final brings flood of ferry bookings Irish Ferries advice to Munster fans heading for Cardiff...
Munster’s success in making it through to the final of the Heineken Cup to be played at Millennium Stadium Cardiff on Saturday 24th May has brought about a flood of bookings to ferry companies.
According to figures currently to hand, Irish Ferries expects to carry some 10,000 supporters in the days leading up to the match.
At present, sailings on their Rosslare - Pembroke route are already fully booked on the two Friday departures prior to the game. However, considerable capacity still exists on Thursday sailings to Pembroke and on all Dublin/Holyhead sailings.
In addition, with the game not scheduled to commence until 17.00hrs on the Saturday, some fans are opting to travel on the Saturday morning sailing to Pembroke on which space is still available.
Leaving Rosslare at 08.45 hours and arriving Pembroke at 12.30hrs, fans should have ample time to complete the two hours 160kms drive to Cardiff. Fares being offered by Irish Ferries are from EUR115 per person return for a car and four adults.
Sadly this is true, as the timeline of ferry disasters in Bangladesh posted above in this thread lists numerous major ferry disasters that have occurred over the past 20 years in this country, with several resulting in death tolls of over 500 people at one time.
The new 90,000-tonne Cunard liner Queen Victoria struck a quay with her stern while berthing in Valletta Harbour in Malta on her maiden call on May 14. The ship was being turned when the stern struck. The Malta Maritime Authority (MMA) was conducting an investigation. The incident happened when the ship developed mechanical failure. The 90,000 tonne vessel suffered damage to its stern and caused limited damage to the fender system. No one was injured. The ship, which has 1,000 mostly British holiday makers on board, will stay overnight for repairs and leave for Gibraltar on May 15. The Queen Victoria is the second biggest ship in the Cunard line and joined the fleet in December
The cruising season on the Clyde will be augmented and enhanced yet again this year as Clyde Marine of Greenock operate their National Park Ferry Service.
New for this year are four landing calls to Lochgoilhead on:
Thursday 3rd July and Friday 18th July
Monday 11th August and Friday 29th August
The KENILWORTH is a vessel with a long and varied career, stretching back to her days as the HOTSPUR II when she started life as the Southampton-Hythe ferry. She was built in 1936 by Rowhedge Ironworks Company, Colchester. She was taken to the Clyde by her operators Clyde Marine of Greenock in 1979 and began operating on the service she was to perform until April 2007, 28 years later almost exactly to the day.
The central pier of call is the lovely Blairmore, a charming village whose pier re-opened only in recent times. All of the destinations provide a chance to experience the beauty of the Clyde's upper Firth and her stunning lochs at prices that are still attractive, despite increases due to escalating fuel costs.
Passengers on Clyde Marine's vessel may also catch sight of the Clyde's famous paddle steamer WAVERLEY, as she begins her cruising season in June, following refurbishment at the Garvel shipyard in Greenock.
Details of the National Park Ferry Service are given below:
(We have tried to reproduce details as faithfully as possible, please contact Clyde Marine cruises on 01475 721281 to make certain of availablity)
Timetable A Greenock – Helensburgh – Blairmore & 1.5 Hour Cruise (or visit Benmore Botanic Gardens) Operates: June 20, 23 July 21, 22 Aug 4, 5, 19, 21
The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company has announced it has agreed to purchase a large fast craft vessel.
The ship, currently known as Incat 050, will replace the existing fast craft Viking and serve primarily the seasonal Liverpool – Douglas route. The 96 metre wave piercing catamaran will be the largest vessel of its type in the Irish Sea and will significantly enhance the service the Company can offer due to its faster cruising speed, greater vehicle and passenger capacity, freight backup capacity and increased levels of passenger comfort.
Chief Executive, Mark Woodward said: “The purchase is a real step forward for the Company and represents a significant investment, with a total project cost approaching £20 million. Over the past few years, we have looked at a number of possible vessels and we believe we have found the craft that most ideally meets our requirements for a versatile, high capacity vessel which is capable of serving our passengers expectations for increased comfort and reliability.”
A higher operational wave limit will provide improved sea-keeping capability and its capacity to carry larger vehicles such as lorries and coaches will give the vessel far greater flexibility to meet the needs of the Isle of Man as well as providing additional cover for our Ropax vessel Ben-my-Chree.
Mark said: “The new ship will increase our capacity substantially. As well as comfortably exceeding the Company’s investment obligations under the User Agreement with the Isle of Man Government, it also reinforces the Company’s commitment to provide the highest quality service to the Manx community.”
In line with the company’s strategy of improving customer service, the new vessel will have more space dedicated to passengers, and a wider range of facilities. The Company plans an extensive refit of the vessel and will extend the passenger accommodation before re-branding and giving it a new Manx name. It will be incorporated into the Company’s existing fleet for the beginning of the summer 2009 season.
Incat 050 was built in Tasmania in 1998 and after a short period of commercial service in Australia & New Zealand, was chartered to the US Military for evaluation purposes in 2001. Because of its most recent use, it has significantly less hours of service than a vessel of comparable age, and is ideally suited for the substantial refit proposed to provide passengers with the best quality and up to date facilities which will equal or better anything found on similar vessels operating around the British Isles.
Isle of Man Steam Packet has signed up an additional freighter as cover for this year’s TT, which means that they have additional passenger capacity now available for the end of Practice Week.
The freighter Merchant Brilliant will be on charter in Practice Week from Tuesday, 27th May until Saturday, 31st May, and also on Monday, 9th June to assist with returning fairground traffic.
Chief Executive Mark Woodward explained: “Although the additional freighter will be surplus to requirements in terms of capacity, it will provide additional resilience and improved service for our freight customers during this busy time. She will also free up additional vehicle deck space on Ben-my-Chree for any late bookings passengers that want to travel.”
Merchant Brilliant was built in 1979 and has capacity for 1,200 lane metres of freight. She is chartered from Norfolk Line, but has recently been operating with P&O and is expected to recommence the Belfast/Heysham service after the TT.
The addition of Merchant Brilliant follows the signing of Stena Caledonia, which will provide extra sailings over the two peak weekends of the festival, and P&O Express, which will provide several sailings from Larne.
Built in 1981, Stena Caledonia usually operates between Stranraer and Belfast. This is her second time in the Island, having served the company during last year’s TT.
She will operate from May 31st till June 2nd and from June 7th till June 9th, providing extra capacity, primarily between Heysham and the Isle of Man, but there will also be an extra Isle of Man-Belfast service.
P&O Express, a 91-metre Incat fast craft, was built in1998 and can carry up to 800 passengers and 200 vehicles. She normally operates from Larne to Cairnryan/Troon and this will be her third successive charter for the TT.
With its regular fleet of Ben-my-Chree, Viking and Snaefell all in service, the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company now has six vessels in operation during TT 2008, with around 300 sailings scheduled.
Mr Woodward added: “With Stena Caledonia, P&O Express and now Merchant Brilliant signed up, we have significant extra capacity for passengers. Clearly, it’s unrealistic to make any direct comparison with the record traffic levels carried for last year’s Centenary TT.
“However, to date, bookings for 2008 are up 3% on forward bookings at this stage in 2006. If we continue to have the same number of bookings coming through as we experienced two years ago, we will remain 3% ahead and anticipate carrying approximately 32,000 passengers and 10,000 motorbikes.”
As a side note, these races are great. One of my high school teachers used to run when he was just a young man.