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The Greek Minister Of Mercantile Marine Announces Five Support Measures For The Island Of Samothrace

A ruined port, a problematic ferry operator with a dark past and bad weather conditions have revealed problems of decades in the Samothrace connection service, which have intensified in recent years.

And despite the fact that the issue of Samothrace’s precarious ferry connection has been known since 2017, an early elected government is now called to deal with both the short-term problem as well as the long-term solution of the remote Greek island services and the country’s poor port infrastructure.

It is noted that during the recent government meeting which was held in Athens it was decided:

  1. The assurance of the regular scheduled ferry connection of the island with Alexandroupolis until 31 October 2019, when the current convention with Saos Ferries expires.
  2. The framework and the contracts designed for ferry services to remote Greek islands (known as ‘Agones Grammes’), will be improved and ensure that routes will be carried out with better ships and that replacement vessels will be available.
  3. The Ministry of Mercantile Marine will allocate funds for the immediate maintenance and cleaning of the ports of Kamariotissa and Thermi, as well as for their modernization and upgrading. Maintenance and cleaning works at the bottom of the Kamariotissa port have not taken place since 1995.
  4. The government will also release funds to the tune of 4,5 million euros for flood protection infrastructure and road maintenance works on the island.
  5. The aim to boost the island’s image and attract more tourists to the island, the government will launch –for that purpose- a new ferry service between Samothrace, Alexandroupolis and Lemnos. In addition, considering that one third of Samothrace’s visitors are from Romania, the Tourism Ministry and the Greek National Tourism Organization office in Bucharest will soon launch actions to attract more visitors from the Romanian market.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Mercantile Marine has requested explanations from Saos Ferries regarding the exact causes of the disruption that left tourists stranded on the island for nine days.

For now, the Alexandroupolis – Samothrace run is temporarily being carried out by the HSC ANDROS JET of Seajets and ZEFYROS of Saos Ferries. But still the Hellenic Ministry expects to see the progress tests results on the SAOS II performance, which will allow her to return back in service. Otherwise, Seajets will be called upon to continue to serve the line.

In any case, in two and a half months, when the public service contract with SAOS Ferries expires, a more reliable connection will be sought –by the Ministry- in order to solve the ferry problem of Samothrace for good.

Source and photo: KATHIMERINI newspaper

Hurtigruten Coastal Vessels To Become Hybrid Expedition Cruise Ships

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Through important makeovers, three Hurtigruten coastal vessels will be transformed to hybrid powered expedition cruise ships.

Equipped with battery packs and other green technology, the three ships will operate year-round expedition cruises along the Norwegian coast from 2021 on yet to be disclosed itineraries.

Hurtigruten will no longer be the only company to operate the coastal ferry service, once Kystlink steps in with its four new ships in January 2021. Hurtigruten has always seen this as an opportunity, especially now that the interest in expedition-style cruising is so big.

As they are transformed into expedition cruise ships, the current TROLLFJORD, FINNMARKEN and MIDNATSOL, will be renamed MAUD, OTTO SVERDRUP and EIRIK RAUDE.

OTTO SVERDRUP will have battery packs installed during a 2020 yard stay, with a letter of intent for the same battery installation on MAUD and EIRIK RAUDE in 2021. The battery packs will support the ships engines, and drastically cut emissions.

The three ships will also be equipped for shore power and will get substantially upgraded low-emission engines, complying with all known and upcoming regulations (Tier3).

Ferries In Italy: Commitment To The Environment Still A Mirage According To The NGO ‘Citizens For Air’

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The Italian NGO ‘Citizens for Air’ (Cittadini Per L’Aria) has analyzed the environmental commitment of 32 shipping companies operating in Italy, stating that too little is being done.

Only 4 out of 174 ships taken into consideration have already adopted systems to reduce polluting emissions, while only four less polluting ferries are under construction.

Slightly more than 2% of the total fleet navigating has implemented measures to protect the people’s health and the environment.

Citizens for air asked the ship-owners operating maritime passenger transport and ro-pax in Italy, what actions are taking or planned to improve the environmental performance of their fleets. The resulting analysis is included in a report (in Italian) highlighting criticalities and possible solutions.

“The vast majority of the 32 companies surveyed, some of which also reach or come from ports in other Mediterranean countries, are taking no measures at all to make their ships less polluting, while ship-owners who started investing to make their ferries more sustainable can be counted on one hand” is written in the report. “A paradoxical situation given that a group of these ship-owners receives over 250 million euros each year of public subsidies to carry out the passenger transport service”.

Citizens for Air underlined also that only Grimaldi Group is already operating two ferries that can have zero their emissions at berth using onboard batteries, and reduce the emissions during navigation thanks to scrubbers, the same exhaust gas abatement system adopted by the VIZZAVONA of Corsica Linea. While Caronte & Tourist is operating an LNG-ready ferry. As for the future, two new LNG-ready ferries are now being built in China for Tirrenia.


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Fjord1 Q2/H1: Lower Volumes And High Investments In A Transition Year

Q2, 2019

Fjord1 reports revenue of NOK 689 million, EBITDA of NOK 225 million and net profit after tax of NOK 104 million in the second quarter.

Financial result impacted by temporary revenue decline mainly explained by transitional changes in the ferry portfolio

Overall stable operations in a period with high overall activity due to preparations of new contracts starting up in 2020 and seasonal variations

High investments in newbuilds, rebuilds, quays and infrastructure to allow for zero- and low emission fuel and strengthen competitiveness in future tenders

Temporary increase in net interest bearing debt (NIBD) to 3.7 billion – remaining in compliance with loan covenants

Current year is a transitional year for Fjord1 with significant investments in vessels and infrastructure combined with preparations for start-up of new contracts next year. This led to a decline in revenue and EBITDA and an increase in the NIBD level in Q2 compared to last year.

In addition, the loss of the high traffic route Halhjem-Sandvikvåg in Bjørnefjorden, with effect from 1 January 2019, explains lower volumes and revenues in Q2.

“Despite that we are in a transitional year with lower volumes and large investments, we have positive results in all four segments and EBITDA-margin of 33% which is at the same level as second quarter last year.”, says Dagfinn Neteland, CEO

“We are satisfied with the operational progress in the second quarter. Following quarter end, we are pleased to have signed the contract for the Halsa-Kanestraum connection for the period 2021-2030. The signing on 16 August, marks our position as a leading player in the Norwegian ferry market”, says Neteland

H1, 2019

Revenue of NOK 1.329 million, EBITDA of NOK 383 million and net profit after tax of NOK 118 million

The revenue was down by 12% compared to first half 2018, mainly explained by the ongoing transitional changes in the ferry portfolio and loss of high traffic route Halhjem-Sandvikvåg. The revenue is temporarily down in 2019 but set to grow with new contracts starting up 1 January 2020.

Viking Line H1: Improved Results In Squeezed Market

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H1, 2019 Main Figures:

  • Sales EUR 227.0 million (225.7)
  • Operating income EUR -8.8 million (-13.5)
  • Income before taxes EUR -11.0 million (-15.2)
  • Income after taxes EUR -8.7 million (-11.8)

Future prospects unchanged: Operating income for 2019 will remain on a par with operating income for 2018 or improve.

Comments from President and CEO Jan Hanses:

  • The first two quarters of the financial year were better than last year, despite slightly

lower passenger volume.

  • Q2 showed a significant improvement in earnings, which were positively affected by the Easter holiday falling entirely in April. Furthermore, no vessels were in dry-docking during the period.
  • The positive trend for sales and contribution margin per passenger continued.


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The regional ship agents’ association in Sardinia calls for a relocation of the ferry and ro-ro traffic in Cagliari, from the old harbour in the city center to the so called ‘Porto Canale’ where the local container terminal managed by Contship Italia is set to be shut down soon.

The Cagliari International Container Terminal had a yard area of 400,000 m2 and 1,520 metres of linear quays.

According to the local ship agents’ association, “a broader reorganization of the port spaces is needed. Our idea would be to move from the old port all the activities related to ro-ro and ro-pax traffics thus leaving Rinascita and Sabaudo quays to the cruise traffic and yachts”.

As of today, the only ferry company calling at the port of Cagliari is Tirrenia, while Grendi Trasporti Marittimi offers a maritime ro-ro link to and from Marina di Carrara, and Grimaldi Group to and from Civitavecchia.

All Time High In Port Of Ystad

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FSN had contact with Björn Boström, CEO Port of Ystad, who was very happy with this year’s results so far.

For the first seven months this year, the passenger ferry traffic to Poland and Bornholm had an all time high.

With a total number of almost 1.4 million ferry passengers, it was an increase of 8,5%. Also, the freight traffic showed a small increase, although the freight capacity was a little less than last year on the Polish services.

The big investment, to enlarge the port with a new ro-pax terminal is ongoing and ahead of Schedule. The objective is to be finished by the end of 2020.

Piraeus Port: Wins First Place In The Mediterranean In Container Traffic

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It’s been ten years since the formal takeover of Pier II by the Chinese Cosco and by the end of the year, the port of Piraeus will be winning -for the first time- the first place in the Mediterranean Sea in container traffic volumes.

It is reported that at the end of July it has left behind the Spanish port of Valencia which is also “running” at fast pace. It is worth mentioning that in the first half of 2019 the port of Valencia had an increase of 8.72% in container traffic (2.739.198 TEU) while at the same period the port of Piraeus reached 2,57 million TEU showing a rise of over 23%!

The sharp increase of more than 700% since 2009 has reportedly led Piraeus Port Authority (PPA) management to request the creation of a fourth container pier in the master plan, which will be submitted to the Planning and Development Committee for approval in the forthcoming days. According to the same information, the addition of the fourth pier is considered necessary as the existing volume management capacity has already become limited.

At the same time, the Master Plan includes, among other things, the creation of shopping malls, recreational areas, hotels, new logistic warehouses, a car terminal as well as a shipyard.

The new government has shown a positive view of PPA’s new master plan, while a decision by the Council of State has appealed positively for the construction of a shipyard.


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ACO Marine Retrofitted Three Jadrolinija’s Ferries With Wastewater Treatment Units

ACO Marine announced to have successfully completed the commissioning of wastewater treatment units aboard the ro-pax sisters SVETI KRŠEVAN, SUPETAR and CRES operated by Jadrolinija.

The three 87.6m vessels were each retrofitted with a Clarimar MF-2 biological-type sewage treatment plant at the Dalmont shipyard in Kraljevica, Croatia.

Italy’s La Fornitrice, ACO Marine’s engineering partner in the region, completed the commissioning of the system aboard CRES, the final ship in the series.

Prior to the installation and commissioning of the Clarimar units, the 600-passenger capacity ferries did not treat wastewater streams but instead collected the effluent in holding tanks. In the busy summer months, this meant that the tanks needed emptying on a daily basis.