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Distress Signals from Ferries

Jul 18, 2014

Lloyd’s List
Michael Grey

I sometimes wonder whether there is some malign force deep in the mechanisms of the European Union that hates ferries, and gets up in the morning wondering what else can be done to harm them. It would be easy to explain if they were chiefly British ferries, or those serving these islands which were being harmed. That would be less than subtle punishment for the UK’s semi-detached and currently hostile Europeanism. But all ferries, from the Baltic to the Aegean, seem to bring out the worst in the European regulator.

It has been going on for years. It manifested itself in the phasing out of duty free allowances, which, at a stroke, removed about one third of the ferry operators’ earning capacity. One doesn’t wish to revisit historic battlefields, but it still seems to be a move that was both unnecessary and intentionally harmful.

New BIMCO Ro/Pax Charter Contract Taking Shape

Jul 16, 2014


As reported last year in an Interferry News item, BIMCO is working on the development of a new standard time charter party for roll on/roll off passenger ferries. The sub-committee working on the project includes Interferry members Stena RoRo and Macholl & Specht, a German shipbroker.

Two areas of particular concern are currently being addressed. Charterers frequently employ their own personnel to work in housekeeping and in the shops and restaurants on board. Obligations and liabilities in respect of loading, securing and lashing cargo on the vessel are often areas of dispute in Ro/Pax trades.

The sub-committee will meet again in September to tackle issues relating to shops, restaurants and passengers. “We hope that the new contract will be ready for publication in May 2015. However, before we put it forward for adoption by BIMCO’s Documentary Committee, an industry consultation will be conducted to give interested parties an opportunity to comment on the draft,” says Mrs Anna Wollin Ellevsen, Legal and Contractual Affairs Officer at BIMCO.

More Changes in the Greek Ferry Sector

Jul 4, 2014

ShipPax Information

Hellenic Seaways, Greece’s largest ferry operator, is planning to part with a number of vessels in its mixed fleet of ferries, ro-paxes, high-speed catamarans and hydrofoils, after failing to convince share holders to participate in a capital increase. Grimaldi controls just over 33% of Hellenic through rival Minoan Lines, of which the Italian owner controls a stake approaching 95%. Analysts say that in a meeting between the Grimaldi Group and Hellenic’s other major stakeholder, Greece’s Piraeus Bank, (around 38%) it was decided to keep up to 10 ferries / ro-paxes and three high-speed catamarans the sell the remaining 10 or so vessels, a mix of passenger cats and hydrofoils. Selling off its fleet will not be easy for Hellenic - are any buyers available and at what prices?

Polish Yard Gets BC Ferries Order

Jul 3, 2014

BC Ferries

BC Ferries has awarded Remontowa Shipbuilding of Gdansk, Poland contracts totaling $165 million to build three new intermediate class vessels. The vessels will be the first in BC Ferries’ fleet to operate as dual-fuel capable using Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) or diesel fuel for propulsion and power generation. The 105 metre vessels will accommodate 145 vehicles and 600 passengers. Delivery is scheduled for
August 2016, October 2016 and February 2017.

“These are design-build, fixed-price contracts that provide BC Ferries with substantial guarantees related to delivery dates, performance criteria, cost certainty and quality construction,” said Mark Wilson, BC Ferries’ Vice President of Engineering.

Other highlights of the contracts include:
• Remontowa assumes all design, construction and delivery risk
• Guarantees are in place for vessel completion dates
• Favourable payment terms with 80 per cent payment upon vessel completion
• Vessel performance guarantees related to speed, carrying capacity, maneuverability and fuel consumption
• Warranties above industry standard
• Penalties for late delivery
• Refund guarantee

Eurotunnel Ordered to Stop Ferry Service

Jun 28, 2014

Maritime Executive

Britain's competition regulator has told Groupe Eurotunnel, the operator of the undersea rail link between Britain and France, it will have to stop operating its separate cross-channel ferry service in the next six months and find a buyer for the ships, confirming a decision it made in May. The regulator repeated its previous reasoning that with two of the operators on the ferry route running at a loss the current level of competition was not sustainable and could lead to the exit of a competitor.

Groupe Eurotunnel started to operate services on the Dover-Calais crossing in 2012 under the MyFerryLink brand when it acquired three ferries from the now-defunct SeaFrance service owned by French railways operator SNCF. As well as Eurotunnel, which operates its vessels under the MyFerryLink brand, Danish ferry operator DFDS and Britain's P&O Ferries also runs services on the Dover-Calais crossing, competing against the rail link for freight and passengers.

More Time Requested to Meet Sulphur Rules

Jun 20, 2014

ShipPax Information

Yesterday the French Ship Owners Association (Armateurs de France) organized a press conference about the Sulphur Directive, its economic impact and the technical solutions. Brittany Ferries was represented by chairman Jean-Marc Roué and director Christophe Mathieu. The company has ordered an LNG-powered ferry and has a plan for scrubbers on the older ferries in the fleet, proving the will to be compliant. However, French ship owners have again urged a realistic calendar and state aid to achieve the environmental goals.

The French Ship Owners Association and the UK Chamber of Shipping have together elaborated a transition plan under the name “Route to Compliance” which asks the European Commission for more time because 1 January 2015 is economically not realistic.

Plan to Resurrect Finnish Shipbuilding

Jun 18, 2014

Rauma Marine Construction Oy

Private investors in the Rauma region have founded Rauma Marine Constructions Oy (RMC) with the intent of restarting shipbuilding and ship repair at Rauma Seaside Industry Park, the site of the former STX Finland shipyard. The plan involves a business model based on a network of companies ensuring global competitiveness. The company will rent the necessary land, facilities and equipment from the property management company owned by the city of Rauma. The activities of Rauma Marine Constructions (RMC) will be primarily based on utilising the highly skilled labour in the region.

For further information please contact:
Rauma Marine Construction Oy
Håkan Enlund, Managing Director
Phone +358 40 036 5532
Ari Salmi, investor
Phone +358 50 560 7939

Flensburger Wins Contract for LNG RoRo Ferry

Jun 11, 2014

Marine Log

A 181 m x 26.6 m LNG-fueled RoRo ferry ordered at German shipbuilder Flensburger Schiffbau Gesellschaft (FSG) will be fueled by taking mobile LNG tanks on board during regular ship loading and unloading. Once on board, the tanks are secured and become fixed ship's fuel tanks without the need for any transshipment, thanks to a special locking system developed by FSG.

The vessel is being built for Australian operator SeaRoad to provide future regular liner service between Melbourne on the Australian mainland and Devonport in Tasmania. It will offer a particularly flexible cargo carrying capability and will be to transport containers, including reefer units, trailers, cars and hazardous cargo as well as live animals. According to FSG, it will be the first RoRo ferry in the world able to transport reefer containers and hazardous cargo side by side. The ship marks FSG's first contract from an Australian owner.

Danish Sniffer Drones to Detect Sulphur Violations

Jun 4, 2014

Lloyd’s List

Denmark has taken up the challenge of co-ordinating a stronger enforcement regime for next year’s sulphur-emission regulation changes.  The country’s maritime authority plans to invest in aerial drones, sniffer technology on bridges and stronger sanctions and fines in co-operation with other port state authorities to ensure rule enforcement.

From January 1, vessels sailing in emission-control areas must switch to a more expensive low-sulphur fuel, or use abatement technology to remove sulphur oxides from the exhausts of ships using high-sulphur fuels.  Given the cost implications, there is a strong financial incentive for some operators to turn a blind eye to the regulations and to use high-sulphur fuel oils when they should not, in breach of the regulations.

What does the General Public Think about Passenger Ship Safety?

May 26, 2014

Lloyd’s List
Michael Grey

We in the shipping industry might express our concern about this in various public forums, but do we really care two hoots about the matter? When 300 South Korean children die horribly in a ferry casualty or yet another boatload of Bangladeshis comes to grief do we resolve to do better in future? Or do we say quietly to ourselves: “Thank God it was only a domestic ship and Solas didn’t apply — nothing to do with us!”

My wife, who has been associated with the shipping industry for as long as she has known me, has a habit of asking unanswerable questions after some maritime disaster has hit the headlines. She tends to be dissatisfied with any assurance I might offer about causation, or how some tweaking of a convention will prevent such an event recurring. In short, she behaves like a member of the public who really cannot understand why more than 2,000 passengers have died in ferry casualties in the past few years, in the technological 21st century.