The Start of a Hot Summer on the Channel (but where are the passengers?)

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PRIDE OF BURGUNDY – P&O Ferries fifth ship on its Dover-Calais route – arrived on 28 June at the Port of Dover, returning to service after being laid up (and even for sale).

The P&O ship arrived the day before the start of Irish Ferries on Dover-Calais, with presently one ship: ISLE OF INISHMORE. Irish Ferries operates up to 10 sailings a day.

PRIDE OF BURGUNDY’s return follows P&O Ferries’ freight space sharing agreement with DFDS on the Dover-Calais route.

Passenger travel is still limited due to Covid-related restrictions. Belgium, France and Spain are “amber list” zones, which requires travellers to go in quarantine when arriving in the UK.

France allows vaccinated travellers from the UK, with a PCR-test.

If not vaccinated you can only travel to France if you have pressing grounds for travel, including tests and quarantine. [France Diplomacy]

Brittany Ferries is suffering from the lack of passengers. In 2 years, the company will have transported only 25% of passengers compared to the usual traffic – and this even though passenger transport represents 80% of its activity. CEO Christophe Mathieu told politicians that “the 2021 season is going to be as catastrophic as that of 2020.” [Source France Bleu]

Tallink Grupp Charters Vessels VICTORIA I and ROMANTIKA to Morocco until October

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Tallink Grupp and Tanger MED Port Authority, a Moroccan company with State participation, have signed short-term time-charter agreements for ropax ferries VICTORIA I and ROMANTIKA.

The vessels will operate between Morocco and France, and between Morocco and Italy in July-September 2021.

Both ferries have been chartered for 100 days. The vessels will be operated by Tallink Grupp’s technical crew.

Morocco launched the annual summer transit plan for its citizens living in Europe, with a scheme excluding all sea links via Spain. The reason is a major diplomatic crisis between Spain and Morocco.

This means only longer crossings to France, Italy and Portugal are possible.

The Moroccan Ministry of Transport expects a total of 650,000 passengers and 180,000 vehicles between June 15 and September 15.

The Government has decided to subsidise the ferry tickets of MRE (Moroccan citizens living abroad): 1,000 to maximum 3,000 MAD (95 to 284 EUR). [official government source in Arab]

Pentland Ferries Have Decided not to Time Charter their Vessel PENTALINA to Calmac

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CalMac has been searching for solutions to enhance capacity and resilience within its network. One possible vessel was PENTALINA from Pentland Ferries.

Robbie Drummond CEO CalMac: “Berthing trials had shown she could successfully operate services to Arran and Mull and we were looking forward to her deployment. Unfortunately, Pentland Ferries have decided not to enter into a charter agreement for the use of PENTALINA on our network. We are surprised and disappointed by this unexpected news.”

CalMac had first inquired about chartering PENTALINA end of March. Later an engine failure of CalMac’s biggest vessel, LOCH SEAFORTH, caused weeks of chaos across the ferry network.

Managing director of Pentland Ferries, Andrew Banks: “I would like to stress that the talks with CalMac Ferries were positive and constructive. However, our priority has to be to the continued viability of Pentland Ferries, and to our employees and passengers. We cannot commit to a scenario whereby external factors have the potential to cause severe risk and reputational damage to the business that we have worked so hard to build, and unfortunately we have therefore let CalMac know of our decision.” [Source: Hebrides News]

Alfa Laval and Wallenius to Develop an Innovative Vessel Type that Can Contribute to the Decarbonization Targets

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Alfa Laval and Wallenius will form a 50/50 joint venture – AlfaWall Oceanbird – that will supply innovative wind propulsion solutions for cargo vessels and other ship types. The agreement was signed on June 28, 2021. The plan is to have the first Oceanbird system onboard a vessel within five years.

Rigel II Enters Service on July 6

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Ventouris Ferries’ RIGEL II will soon return into service, on the Bari-Durres line. The ship was at the port of Aigio and out of service since September 2020.

According to the information the ship departed for Albania on June 29 and she will be introduced on the above line on July 6, 2021 replacing her fleet mate RIGEL VII.