Ports of Ostend and Ramsgate welcome new cross Channel freight ferry operator

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Seaborne Freight will start to operate an Ostend – Ramsgate ro-ro freight service as from March, using three ships. There will be six departures a day.
Target group is accompanied freight, which means the line goes in competition with Dunkerque, Calais and the Channel Tunnel, but not with nearby port of Zeebrugge.
Four years ago Ostend and Ramsgate lost their ferry links when TransEuropa Ferries went bankrupt. Especially for Ostend, which has a long history of cross-Channel ferry services, this is excellent news.
What do we know so far?

  • The people behind Seaborne Freight have many years of Channel ferry experience (Sealink, SeaFrance, MyFerryLink).
  • One of the ships is the former ro-pax trainferry SEAFRANCE NORD PAS-DE-CALAIS. She has been operating as FRS-owned AL ANDALUS EXPRESS between Motril and Tanger-Med, and is now at anchor near Cadiz.
  • The two other ships have not been revealed yet.
  • In Ostend the service will operate from the former TransEuropa Ferries terminal.


Fred Olsen orders two car-carrying trimarans

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Austal is to design and build two 117m high-speed vehicle passenger trimaran ferries for Fred Olsen S.A. The contract is worth €126m.
The aluminium high-speed ferries, designed by Austal Australia, will be the second and third trimarans to be delivered to Fred Olsen S.A. who already operate the world’s first and largest trimaran, the BENCHIJIGUA EXPRESS (Austal, 2005).
The new trimarans will be capable of transporting over 1,100 passengers and up to 276 cars at speeds of up to 38 knots, with both commencing construction in 2018.

Photo © Austal

Bachmann express interest in the provision of an inter-island ferry service for the Channel Islands

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BachmannHR Group has expressed its interest to the States of Guernsey and Jersey in the provision of an inter island ferry service between the two islands and Alderney.
“Only last year we were contacted by the States of Guernsey to provide assistance and solutions when CONDOR LIBERATION was restricted from operating due to regulatory issues. Today our services are supplied to a number of ferry operators which include a major cross channel ferry company and one of the largest freight ferry operators in Europe.” said Nick Saul, CEO.
Bachmann is a maritime-centred international business that is based in Guernsey.

Brødrene Aa wins contract for three high-speed catamarans

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Brødrene Aa, Norway has a new contract for 3 high-speed carbon fiber catamaran ferries for the Chinese market. The customer, Zhongshan-Hong Kong Passenger Shipping Co-op Co., Ltd, will be operating the ferries between Hong Kong and Guangzhou.
Two of the vessels will be 42m long with a capacity for 300 passengers and operating speed of 40 knots. The third vessel will also be 42m long but with capacity of 230 passengers and operating speed of 37 knots.
All 3 will be delivered in Hong Kong by June 2019.
“This contract represents an important milestone in our efforts to penetrate the Chinese market”, said CEO Tor Øyvin Aa.
In 2015, Chinese Chu Kong Shipping made an equity investment in Brødrene Aa. In this partnership one objective was to establish a joint composite manufacturing facility in China as well as providing market opportunities for completed vessel from Brødrene Aa’s yard in Norway

Photo © Brødrene Aa

Stena Line announces a new ferry route on the Baltic Sea

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Stena is investing in a new route from Poland to Sweden: Gdynia-Nynäshamn.
The new line will commence operations on October 16, with three round trips a week.
The 18-hour crossing will be operated by 1,625 lane meter ro-ro ELISABETH RUSS.
Stena Line’s CEO Niclas Mårtensson said that the demand for freight capacity in the Baltic Sea has been growing steadily over the last number of years.
Stena Line has already been operating a route from Gdynia to Sweden for over 20 years, with Karlskrona as Swedish port.

Photo © Stena Line

Hellenic Seaways reshuffles ships

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  • Hellenic Seaways’ ARIADNE is starting a two-month charter with GNV. She arrived in Genoa on October 10. In Greek waters her place will be taken by NISSOS SAMOS. ARIADNE will operate a couple of trips on Genoa – Tunis before switching to Palermo – Civitavecchia.
  • NISSOS RODOS is on a two-month charter to Caronte & Tourist / TTT Lines on Salerno – Messina. In Greece she is replaced by the NISSOS MYKONOS.
  • Finally, NISSOS CHIOS has arrived back in Greece after her long charter to Baleària.

Africa Morocco Link to open a new route to Nador

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Africa Morocco Link (AML) is about to start a new passenger ferry line from Almeria to Nador, presumably in mid October.
To make this possible, the company will move ro-pax DIAGORAS from its actual route Algeciras -Tanger Med, leaving MORROCO STAR as the sole vessel on the ‘short’ route, until a third vessel can be found.
AML began operations in 2016, and was founded by Attica Group and BMCE Bank (51% by the businessman Othman Benjelloun and Attica Group 49%).
The new line on the ‘long’ route is in direct competition with Trasmediterranea.

Photo © AML

Irish Ferries chooses W.B. YEATS as the name of its new ferry

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Irish Ferries’s new €144 million ferry will be christened W.B. YEATS, after Ireland’s most-loved poet.
The name was chosen after it had drawn ‘strong support’ from the public in a competition that attracted nearly 100,000 entries.
William Butler Yeats was born in Dublin and won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923. The choice continues the tradition adopted by the company of selecting names drawn from the world of Irish literature.

Photo © Irish Ferries

Who owns the name ‘Hurtigruten’?

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As from 2021, three companies instead of the actual one company –Hurtigruten–could share the coastal route between Bergen and Kirkeness. According to the Norwegian Ministry of Transport and Communications, between five and ten shipping companies have reported their interest in applying for the tender, or for parts of it.
The possible changes create a lot of buzz in the local media. One of the arising questions is about the ownership of the name Hurtigruten. It is very understandable that the actual company Hurtigruten does not want to see other operators working under the same banner. But legal experts say Hurtigruten cannot claim any trademark protection.

Source: NRK – Photo © Mike Louagie

Four ferries not enough for the Estonian Islands

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Since TS (Tallinna Sadam = Port of Tallin) took over the ferry services to
the Estonian islands of Saaremma and Hiiumaa, the passenger traffic has been growing by 6%.
Under the name Praamid , the company operates four new ferries, two built in Turkey, two in Poland. Now it seems that four ferries is not enough, and an extra €4 million has been added to the 2018 budget for the summer charter of a (still to be decided) fifth vessel.
Chartering is a short-term solution. In cooperation with the minister of transport, TS is looking at the possibility to order a fifth new vessel.
In the meanwhile, ferry HIIUMAA left Estonia, bound for Kiel, where she arrived on October 7. German company Conmar Shipping GmbH has acquired her.
During winter HIIUMAA will be prepared for a new charter in the Baltic Sea.
Sistership MUHUMAA is laid up in Bremerhaven, and SAAREMAA is operating the Elbe ferry route Cuxhaven-Brunsbüttel. Elb-Link, the ferry company behind this route had asked the Governments of Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony to help rescue the ferry line.

Photo: one of the four new ferries © Praamid