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FährNews Aktuell – Issue March 2024

Hello and welcome to the March issue of FährNews Aktuell in 2024. Today’s hot topics include:

  • EUROPALINK leaves the Baltic Sea again – Where the ferry is heading now
  • URD sold – a real veteran ends its service on the Baltic Sea
  • And Tirrenia is finally dissolved – What happens to the Italian ferry company now

You can find out all this and much more in this issue of FährNews Aktuell. So make sure you stay tuned until the end so you don’t miss anything!

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And here is the entire March issue of FährNews Aktuell for you to read again:

1 ATLANIC VISION ends charter

[1] On March 15, 2024, the ATLANTIC VISION embarked on her last voyage for Marine Atlantic and left Port Aux Basques for the last time at 11:45 a.m.

Since 2008, the former SUPERFAST IX, which belongs to Baltic SF IX Limited, a subsidiary of AS Tallink Grupp, has been on charter for Marine Atlantic and served the North Sidney – Argentia and North Sidney – Port Aux Basques routes in north-eastern Canada.

[2] Marine Atlantic will take delivery of the ALA’SUINU (Ah-laa-sue-in-ou) this year, the tenth vessel of the E-Flexer class to be chartered by Stena RoRo to Marine Atlantic on a long-term basis with the option to purchase.

There is currently no information about the future of ATLANTIC VISION.

2 Gotlandsbolaget continues to operate ferry services to Gotland

[3] The Oslo-based company Nordic Ferry Infrastructure, which also owns Molslinjen, will no longer be bidding for the ferry services to the Swedish island of Gotland. The CEO of Molslinjen, Kristian Durhuus, told the news service Helagotland, explaining that the profit ceiling was too low to justify the necessary investments.

Molslinjen would have provided three new ships for the service, which would have required an investment of almost SEK 6 billion. However, these investments cannot be justified with a profit cap of 22%. Molslinjen is therefore no longer participating in the retendering of the Gotland service. This means that Gotlandsbolaget will most likely continue Gotland transport for another 10 years from 2027.

[4] Last week, however, it became known that Molslinjen had sent a letter to the Swedish Minister for Infrastructure and the Swedish Transport Administration calling for a new tender for the ferry service to the island of Gotland. The current tender requirements are bad for the environment and would cost the Swedish state 5 billion Swedish kronor in unnecessary expenditure.

So it remains to be seen who will operate the ferry service to Gotland in the future.

3 Stena Line sells URD

[5] Stena Rederi A/S has completed the sale of URD to Sea Lines. Sea Lines operates ferry routes in the Black Sea.

[6] The URD, which was built in 1980 at the Nouvi Cantieri Aquania shipyard in Marina di Carrara, Italy, as the EASY RIDER, can already look back on a long history of transporting cargo and passengers. After entering service, she initially sailed in the Mediterranean for a short time before traveling around Great Britain in the North Sea until the end of the 1980s. Since the beginning of the 1990s and after a conversion in Gdynia to a combined car and passenger ferry, she has been operating on various routes in the Baltic Sea region for numerous different shipping companies. Most recently, it was in service on the Stena Line route between Nynäshamn in Sweden and Hanko in Finland. After this route was discontinued in October 2023, the ship was chartered by TT-Line to replace the Marco Polo, which had run aground, as we reported in the October issue of FährNews Aktuell last year.

[5] Sea Lines will take over the URD in May 2024. The exact financial details of the deal were not disclosed. Stena Rederi A/S has announced that it will find the best solution for the affected employees by redeploying as many employees as possible within the Stena Line Group to other routes.

This sale marks the end of a chapter in the history of the URD, but it is also the beginning of a new adventure in the Black Sea region for the old lady.

4 P&O LIBERTÉ put into service

[7] On March 19, 2024, the second and last new double-ended ferry from P&O Ferries was put into service on the route between Dover and Calais. The P&O LIBERTÉ joins its sister P&O PIONEER, which has been in service since June last year.

The two new Fusion-class battery hybrid ships were designed by the Danish company OSK Design and built by the Chinese shipyard Guangzhou International Shipyard. They are 230 m long and each offer space for 1500 passengers and up to 182 cars on 2592 loading meters. The two sister ships are the largest and fastest double-ended ferries in the world with a service speed of 20.8 knots.

If you want to find out more about the two newbuilds from P&O Ferries, then take a look at the June issue of FährNews Aktuell from 2023. There we went into detail about the amenities and special features of the new buildings.

[7] The Chinese newbuilds will now operate alongside P&O Ferries’ two Spirit-class ro-pax ferries, the SPIRIT OF BRITAIN and the SPIRIT OF FRANCE, which were built in 2011 and 2012 respectively and are already operating on the route.

The commissioning of the P&O LIBERTÉ marks the end of P&O Ferries’ 250 million pound newbuilding program. The CEO of P&O Ferries, Peter Hebblethwaite, also explained to SHIPPAX that P&O Ferries currently has no plans to build further Fusion class ships. However, this could change in the future.

5 Fred. Olsen strengthens fleet

[8] Fred. Olsen will add two new RoRo ships to its fleet. The first of the two ships is to be delivered to Fred. Olsen and will be put into operation between Gran Canaria and the eastern Canary Islands from the beginning of May. The second ship is scheduled to go into operation at the end of this year, if possible, with the possibility of also serving other routes outside the Canary Islands.

The two unnamed ships equipped with scrubbers are presumably the FINNHAWK and the FINNKRAFT, which were purchased by the Grimaldi Group.

The two new RoRo ships will be used in particular to supply the Canary Islands with goods, as the size, weight and quantity of goods mean that maintaining stocks is only possible by sea, as Andrés Marín, CEO of Fred. Olsen explains.

Currently Fred. Olsen handles almost 1.3 million loading meters of freight annually, which corresponds to around 100,000 freight vehicles. These figures are expected to increase significantly with the commissioning of the two new RoRo ships.

6 Naviera Armas leaves Huelva

[9] Naviera Armas will no longer call at the port of Huelva from April 19, 2024. The ferry connection between Arrecife on Lanzarote and Huelva in southern Spain will be discontinued and the port of Cádiz, 100 kilometers south of Huelva, will be called at instead of Huelva. In future, the ferries Ciudad de Valencia, Volcán de Tinamar and Villa de Tazacorte will depart from here and connect Cadiz with Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Tenerife and La Palma.

7 IGOUMENITSA becomes CIUDAD DE SÓLLER

[10] The former FINNCLIPPER is transferred from Grimaldi Lines to the subsidiary Grimaldi Trasmed and renamed CIUDAD DE SÓLLER. The IGOUMENITSA, which most recently operated on the Brindisi-Igoumenitsa route, will now serve the route between Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca operated by Grimaldi Trasmed as CIUDAD DE SÓLLER under the Spanish flag from the beginning of April.

8 Public funding for Italian fleet renewal partially canceled

[11] Fleet renewal in Italian maritime transport is becoming more difficult than planned. The promotion of the construction of new ships or the upgrading of existing ships in Italian maritime transport suffered a setback.

Originally, 161 million euros were planned for fleet renewal, and some new ferries were also among the projects that were approved. So far, only around 50 million euros have actually been used. The political decision-makers in Rome have therefore decided to transfer the funding to other projects, such as new port infrastructure.

The Italian Shipowners’ Association had initially made two demands regarding this support, which would have made it possible to multiply the use of the subsidies. On the one hand, this included the desire to be able to place orders with all Mediterranean shipyards for newbuildings and upgrades, so that construction in Turkey would also be possible. In addition, the restriction that fleet renewal only supports projects in which ships call at Italian ports should be dropped. However, these demands were out of the question for the Fincantieri shipyard, and EU legislation also ruled against them.

The Italian fleet renewal scheme approved by the European Commission was aimed at encouraging shipping companies to replace existing ships with increased environmental impact and to reduce the use of fossil fuels in maritime transport. Funding was provided for projects to improve the environmental compatibility and energy efficiency of ships used in long, medium and short sea shipping for passengers, freight and combined transport, as well as other ships operating in Italian ports.

9 Tirrenia to merge definitively with Moby

Further information on the restructuring within the Moby Group is also available this month.

[12] Compagnia Italiana di Navigazione, which owns the Tirrenia brand and its assets, is now to be finally integrated into the Moby Group. The former stately ferry company was taken over by the Onorato family back in 2012. Due to a difficult economic situation within the Moby Group, the takeover was to be reversed a few years ago as part of a restructuring plan. In the recent past, Compagnia Italiana di Navigazione had also filed an application for restructuring with the Milan court in parallel with Moby. However, as the economic situation of both companies has recently improved considerably and both are back in the black, the final merger of Compagnia Italiana di Navigazione with the Moby Group is now to take place. As a result, Compagnia Italiana di Navigazione and Tirrenia will cease to exist in the future and will be transferred to Moby Lines. Moby Lines is 51% controlled by the Onorato family and 49% by Gianluigi Apontes MSC.

10 Fleet growth at Grandi Navi Veloci

We already reported on the sale of the SHARDEN and the MOBY VINCI to Grandi Navi Veloci in the last issue of FährNews Aktuell.

[13] The two former Moby ferries have now been renamed GNV SIRIO and GNV AURIGA. Following the necessary maintenance, conversion and painting work, the GNV SIRIO will be deployed on the route between Genoa in northern Italy and Palermo in Sicily from March 20, 2024, while the GNV AURIGA will operate on the route between Genoa and Porto Torres in Sardinia from March 28, 2024.
As a member of the MSC Group, GNV now operates 31 lines in seven countries with 28 ships.

[14] The sale of the two former Moby ships, which is said to be worth EUR 109 million, marks the completion of the comprehensive restructuring plan for Moby. This restructuring was recently completed with a EUR 352 million loan provided by Gianluigi Aponte, the founder of MSC.

11 EUROPALINK to Grimaldi Lines

[15] The EUROPALINK [16], which was last deployed on Finnlines’ Travemünde-Malmö route, has been operating for Grimaldi Lines again since February 29, 2024. Together with the KYDON PALACE, it serves the connection between Brindisi and Igoumenitsa twice a day. The EUROPALINK offers space for 930 passengers and up to 220 trucks on 3900 loading meters. The EUROPALINK replaces the aforementioned IGOUMENITSA on this route.

But that’s it for the March issue of FährNews Aktuell in 2024. Did you like the issue? Then leave with pleasure a Like there. If you have any other comments or requests, feel free to write us a comment. We look forward to your feedback!

If you haven’t had enough of FerryNews, we can recommend the latest issue of FerryNews News. Among other things, it dealt with the sale of the JAN SNIADECKI, more departures for Fjord Line and Tallink and the purchase of the OSLOFJORD by Jadrolinja. Have fun and see you soon!

Sources

  • [1] sandra, “IMAGE CARDS week 11-2024”, Ferry Shipping News. Accessed March 22, 2024. [Online]. Available at: https://ferryshippingnews.com/image-cards-week-11-2024/
  • [2] “Stena RoRo takes over tenth E-Flexer – Fähren-Aktuell”. Accessed March 22, 2024. [Online]. Available at: https://www.faehren-aktuell.de/stena-roro-uebernimmt-zehnten-e-flexer/
  • [3] “Nordic Ferry Infrastructure pulls out of Gotland traffic bidding”, Shippax. Accessed March 22, 2024. [Online]. Available at: https://www.shippax.com/en/news/nordic-ferry-infrastructure-pulls-out-of-gotland-traffic-bidding.aspx
  • [4] P. H. Text, “EQT-bolagets krav: Gör om hela upphandlingen”, Dagens industri. Accessed March 27, 2024. [Online]. Available at: https://www.di.se/nyheter/eqt-bolagets-krav-gor-om-hela-upphandlingen/
  • [5] “Stena Rederi A/S closes deal to sell the vessel URD to Sea Lines”, Shippax. Accessed March 27, 2024. [Online]. Available at: https://www.shippax.com/en/news/stena-rederi-as-closes-deal-to-sell-the-vessel-urd-to-sea-lines.aspx
  • [6] “M/S EASY RIDER (1981)”. Accessed March 27, 2024. [Online]. Available at: https://www.faktaomfartyg.se/easy_rider_1981.htm
  • [7] “P&O Ferries second battery-hybrid double-ender giant P&O LIBERTÉ enters service”, Shippax. Accessed March 22, 2024. [Online]. Available at: https://www.shippax.com/en/news/po-ferries-second-battery-hybrid-double-ender-giant-po-liberte-enters-service.aspx
  • [8] “Fred. Olsen strengthens its fleet with two new ro-ro ships, Fred. Olsen strengthens its fleet with two new ro-ro ships”, Shippax. Accessed March 20, 2024. [Online]. Available at: https://www.shippax.com/en/news/fred-olsen-strengthens-its-fleet-with-two-new-ro-ro-ships-.aspx
  • [9] “Huelva Route closed”. Accessed March 20, 2024. [Online]. Available at: https://gazettelife.com/news/huelva-route-closed/, https://gazettelife.com/news/huelva-route-closed/
  • [10] “M/S FINNCLIPPER (1999)”. Accessed March 21, 2024. [Online]. Available at: https://www.faktaomfartyg.se/finnclipper_1999.htm
  • [11] sandra, “Public funds for Italian fleet renewal to be partially canceled”, Ferry Shipping News. Accessed March 21, 2024. [Online]. Available at: https://ferryshippingnews.com/public-funds-for-italian-fleet-renewal-to-be-partially-cancelled/
  • [12] sandra, “Compagnia Italiana di navigazione (Tirrenia) to be finally merged in Moby”, Ferry Shipping News. Accessed March 22, 2024. [Online]. Available at: https://ferryshippingnews.com/compagnia-italiana-di-navigazione-tirrenia-to-be-finally-merged-in-moby/
  • [13] “GNV adds the former SHARDEN and MOBY VINCI to its fleet”, Shippax. Accessed March 22, 2024. [Online]. Available at: https://www.shippax.com/en/news/gnv-adds-the-former-sharden-and-moby-vinci-to-its-fleet.aspx
  • [14] sandra, “Moby Vinci and Sharden transferred to Grandi Navi Veloci”, Ferry Shipping News. Accessed March 22, 2024. [Online]. Available at: https://ferryshippingnews.com/moby-vinci-and-sharden-transferred-to-grandi-navi-veloci-and-renamed-gnv-sirio-and-gnv-auriga/
  • [15] “M/S EUROPALINK (2007)”. Accessed March 27, 2024. [Online]. Available at: https://www.faktaomfartyg.se/europalink_2007.htm
  • [16] sandra, “Grimaldi strengthens its Brindisi-Igoumenitsa link”, Ferry Shipping News. Accessed March 21, 2024. [Online]. Available at: https://ferryshippingnews.com/grimaldi-strengthens-its-brindisi-igoumenitsa-link/

You can find this and other episodes of FährNews Aktuell to
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