JANUARY 3, 2018 — Irish Continental Group plc — the parent of Irish Ferries — has placed an order worth €165.2 million (about $198 million) with German shipbuilder Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesselschaft & Co. KG (FSG), for what will be the world’s largest cruise ferry in terms of vehicle capacity.
The ship will accommodate 1,800 passengers and crew, with capacity for 5,610 freight lane meters, which provides the capability to carry 330 freight units per sailing. Overall, it will effectively provide a 50% increase in peak freight capacity compared to Irish Ferries’ MV Ulysses, currently the largest RoPax ferry operating on the Irish Sea,
The agreement between ICG and FSG provides that the new cruise ferry be scheduled for delivery before mid-2020. Twenty percent of the contract price will be paid in installments during the construction period. The balance of 80% will be paid on delivery. ICG intend to utilize credit facilities to finance the vessel. The pre-delivery installment payments to FSG will be protected by means of bank guarantees.
The vessel will be designed and built to the highest standards of cruise shipping, and equipped with efficiency, comfort and capacity in mind.
Emissions scrubber technology (included in the contract price) and ballast water systems will meet current and known future environmental regulations and will deliver optimal fuel consumption while minimising related costs. The cruise ferry will be powered by four main engines delivering 33,600 kW of power which will ensure a high degree of service reliability equal to the MV Ulysses, currently the most reliable ship to ever operate on the Irish Sea.
The cruise ferry is being built specifically for Irish Ferries Dublin – Holyhead services and will replace the schedule of the MV Ulysses, which in turn will replace the currently chartered vessel MV Epsilon. This will allow for the deployment of the newbuilding W.B. Yeats (arriving mid 2018 from FSG) full-time on the direct Ireland – France route alongside the MV Oscar Wilde.
The newbuild ferry will meet Ice Class specifications, allowing for a wide geographic area of operation.
Freight capacity will be provided over five decks.
Uniquely, the vessel has been designed for three tier freight bow loading to allow for efficient loading/unloading and quick turnaround times.
Passenger facilities will be spread over three decks. In addition to a choice of bars and restaurants , special provision has been made for premium Club Class passengers, with a dedicated lounge featuring private access direct from the vehicle decks.
Eamonn Rothwell, Chief Executive Officer, Irish Continental Group plc, said: “This investment underpins the confidence the group has in the markets in which we operate. Alongside the recent investment in the MV W.B. Yeats, it brings our total investment to €315 million for these two vessels designed for our operations on the Irish Sea. The construction of a cruise ferry of this size will offer both additional capacity and an enhanced experience for both our tourism and freight customers. This infrastructural investment enhances ‘the bridge’ to the U.K. and Continental Europe that is a vital part of the continued success of Ireland’s open economy.”