This shipping review focuses on Ferries. The hull of the new WB Yeats was launched in January 2018 with the final two superstructure units arriving from Poland in February. Irish Ferries also disposed of the Kaitaki, ex Irish Isle of Innisfree, to Toll Shipping of New Zealand, earning a profit of €25.5 million.
Also that month, Irish Ferries announced that they would sell the high speed Jonathan Swift to Spain for service between Barcelona and the Balearic Islands. She was replaced on the Dublin-Wales route by the Dublin Swift (formerly Westpac Express), already owned by Irish Ferries since 2016 when she was bought for €13.25 million while on charter to the US Marine Corps. The new ferry, which has a capacity for 1,800 passengers in 440 cabins with space for 165 freight units and 300 cars, was completed at a cost of €144 million. She has the Lady Gregory Restaurant, Maud Gonne Bar and the Ashley and Peacock cinemas aboard.
The replacement Dublin Swift entered service on 17 April 2019 between Dublin and Holyhead after a four-month upgrade in Harland & Wolff in Belfast. She has a capacity for 820 passengers and 220 cars. The company had announced in mid-December the Rosslare-Roscoff-Cherbourg route might not operate in 2019, as the vessel is too large for the berth at Roscoff, with the company focusing on a Dublin-Cherbourg service.
Also in January, Brittany Ferries announced a new CorkSantander service to start in April 2018 with two return sailings per week. This has been the first time that there has been a ferry connection between Spain and Ireland. The €150 million, 54,985 gross tonnage ship was to arrive in July 2018. However, this did not happen as the vessel was delayed until December of that year because of late delivery by subcontractors.
Dublin Dry Dock Closes
The large 200 metre dry dock at Alexandra Basin was opened in 1860 and closed in April 2016. The largest in the Republic, it was operated under lease from Dublin Port. The dock will now be filled in as part of the €277 million development plan, the largest in the Port’s history. The plan is to allow larger cargo vessels and cruise ships up to 225,000 gross register vessels to berth. The last ship in this dry dock was the 90 metres Arklow Fame 2,998 gross tonnage.