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The truths they don't want you to read....

Monday, September 27, 2010

Third world ferry services.....

Thanks to my anonymous marine advisor for this wonderful comparison with my previous blog posting....

New Philippines ro-pax catamarans

Dennise Trajano, Chairman of Archipelago Philippine Ferry Corporation, announced that the finance has been approved for the ordering of 10 medium speed ro-pax catamarans of the Australian Sea Transport Solutions (STS) design, heralding the arrival of the countries very first brand new ro-pax ferries, and a new safety standard in local ferries. 'This is the first time an international classed ro-ro catamaran to operate in domestic waters ' according to Mr. Trajano.

The new designs will be 50 x 17m x 1.8m draft, quadruple screw 16 knot ropax catamarans for trucks, buses, cars and up to 500 passengers. The catamarans will comply to the latest standards of damaged stability criteria , life saving and firefighting equipment. Most importantly the fuel efficiency of these vessels is well ahead of the existing old ferries, as the country faces up to its emissions obligations.

All of the new fleet will have standard machinery, electronics and equipment so that the vessels and crew will be totally interchangeable on each of the routes.

This has never been possible with any operator in the country previously as the ferries came from different places with vastly different machinery.

The routes planned for the new fleet will fully service the eastern and western hi-way, in conjunction with bus and cargo routes.

This proposal is aimed at improving tourism around the Philippines said Mr Trajano, as well as addressing the overdue action on ferry safety by the Philippines Government and ferry industry. This project will impact a more effecient transportation system that will translate to reduction of price of agricultural and commercial products.

The Jam Group , a bus company partner of the ferries has recently acquired brand new 100 x 50 seater airconditioned units for use in all connecting ports of the new ferries

The vessels are expected to commence construction shortly and the first will be in service by the middle of 2011 with the following vessels arriving at two monthly intervals behind the first.
You just couldn't make it up


Anonymous said...

I am all in favor of new technology however if the replacement ship on the Stornoway to Ullapool run is not a success (in all weathers) then it will be a complete disaster that we will more than likely be stuck with for 20 years.

The catamaran may suit some waters, has this ever been proved on the minch with a Northerly? It may be a fantastic solution but if we don't know for sure (or somehow get a similar design tested / trialed for a week or two so in winter) then I don't think it is worth considering.

Can one of these be charted for a fortnight when it comes out of the shipyard?

Anonymous said...

Captain Pugwash said:
Macneil and Manford were boasting in Summer that they were going to get a catamaran to do a trial service, still no sign of it. Ach well whats another broken promise?

Anonymous said...

I think the point here is that a '3rd world country' is able to manage to have a fully integrated state-of-the-art ferry system, and we are left with the crap.

Anonymous said...

4:15pm I wonder if the IoL was tested before we got it.
As regards the suitability of ia cat., the ferry at Gills Bay uses one & it copes well with most weathers. The ferry running the Bay of Maine service will easily operate in seas in excess of 5m. I would like to know at what wave-height the IoL ceases to run.

The important thing is to ensure it is correctly designed (unlike the gangway in SY harbour which cannot cope with very high tides.

Anonymous said...

In all of these consultations they are simply ignoring the real solution which is a tunnel between Harris and Skye. The technology has been proven all over the world for many years and it would be significantly more cost effective than the replacement costs of ferries over the years. It could also be built as part of the subsea power route which would probably give some costs savings across both projects. Why is the Scottish Government not being thorough in its consultation on the best transport provision? There seems to be fixed view that ferry's are the only way of dealing with transport to the isles. A tunnel would solve so many of the difficulties in relation to bad weather and it would also help to regenerate the Harris economy with the increase in traffic. At the moment if you need to get to the mainland at the drop of a hat, unless you can catch the next scheduled ferry, then you usually have to pay the full whack fare with flybe which is a real pain in the butt, but especially the wallet. If there was a tunnel, you could drive away with your car and get to wherever you were going within a few hours instead of a day later. The reverse would also be true and it could help reverse the population decline. People should have a longer term vision and look beyond the life expectancy of a ferry.

ferrylouper said...

A railway tunnel

Anonymous said...


But it's not just the cost of the Tunnel though is it? All roads up to the tunnel would have to be improved to take the traffic. As anyone who has taken the Tarbet - Uig Ferry to go south will know the easy bit is getting to Uig after that it's bloody awful if want to get south quickly. The road from Ullapool is not to bad and is only 60 or so miles, the A9 from Inverness might not be the best/safest road in the world but this route is infinitely better than going across country from Skye.

Anonymous said...

Fair point about having to improve the Skye roads, but, this could be done over time and would allow for a new reduced size of ferry serving Stornoway. There should always be a Stornoway ferry but a smaller and faster one would do if there was also a tunnel available. You would save on the cost of the Uig ferry.

Anonymous said...

To summarise....

We want a tunnel
We may want a train running through it.
We want a better road through Skye
We want to keep a Stornoway ferry

Demanding lot us Hebrideans.

lets get a couple of decent ferries then we can discuss everything else.

PS Anyone who thinks the A9 is 'infinitely' better than anything needs their head seen to. Inverness to Perth must be the boring 113 miles of tarmac anywhere!

Traveller said...

Horses for courses, 5.03pm.
As a way of getting from A to B (or I to P) the A9 is undeniably excellent. Boring? Well, yes, only slightly less boring than a motorway. If you don't like boring go down through Skye, through Glencoe and down Loch Lomond side. Definitely not boring but it will take you ages. And probably a few (more) grey hairs.

You can't have it both ways. Roads are either "interesting" and slow or "boring" and direct.

Anonymous said...

The Channel Tunnel cost nearly £10 billion to build. It has passenger volumes of around 16 million and high teens of tonnes of freight. The interconnector is estimated to have a cost from half a billion to a billion.

Anonymous said...

The Channel Tunnel costs were one of the greatest scams in modern building history. So many staff - at senior through to junior levels - were on six figure salaries, it's no surprise in the end.

And, as per usual, *delays* - some natural but some suspicious - greatly extended the amount of work, time and therefore costs required.

The Nordic countries do tunneling rather cheaper. Partially because they have the experience, and partially because of greater transparency with costs.

As a benchmark, the latest tunnel in Iceland cost around 13 million pounds per mile in total.

Anonymous said...

9.26 you may well be right but excuse me while I pick myself up off the floor from laughing at the thought that tunnelling off the islands could be an exemplar of efficiency and transparent auditing.

Anonymous said...

2:33 LOL, well said.

It would be totally suicidal for any Government to even suggest the sums of money required to even design a tunnel when the A96 is in it's current form and the A( has not been dualled. Scotland has many transport issues, lets at least aim for something we can achieve. Two ferries!

Anonymous said...

6:23PM New ferries are a backwards step. Ferries don't work - literally, as the residents of Barra found out this summer at the worst possible time. When they actually work and it's busy (summer), they don't have the capacity. And when it's quieter (winter) they increasingly can't run in the weather.

Sticking with ferries is part of the slow socio-economic suicide for the islands. May have been fine in the past when people had low expectations, put up with nibbling on whatever bread and cheese they had left when they were cut off. Not now. Enforced isolation and lack of mobility and communications are a key driving force in people leaving for better places. Which, with ferry situation this year, is just about anywhere else.

Have a once-and-for-all tunnel, wiping away all the issues of capacity and weather and making getting between the islands and the mainland not a (considerable) issue. It'll make the islands an attractive place to live in. And not to move away from...

Anonymous said...

There's a tunnel in Switzerland which is far longer and bigger than what's needed to connect these dying islands with the mainland:

So it can be done. The money and the willpower - of both politicians, self-interested people (not everyone wants to see the Western Isles survive as a place people live in, believe me), and residents are what's lacking.