Irish Continental Group plc (ICG) announced that its ferry division Irish Ferries has entered into an agreement for RoRo cruise ferry Kronprins Harald from its current owners and operators , Color Line
of Norway, for an investment , including modification and delivery costs. The vessel is being purchased for use on Irish Ferries route between Rosslare in Ireland and Cherbourg and Roscoff in France.
With its current vessel Normandy Irish Ferries carries approximately 50,000 cars ,170,000 passengers and 2500 Freight Units on approximately 270 annual sailings on this route. The Kronprins Harald, which was built in in Finland in 1987, has a gross tonnage of 31914 tons, and can carry a total of 1458 passengers in 468 cabins as well as 580 cars or 1220 lane metres of freight. It will offer additional passenger and freight capacity and substantially higher levels of comfort compared with the current vessel on the route.
Under the terms of the purchase agreement title to the vessel will pass to ICG in early February 2007 and the purchase consideration will be paid in cash on completion. The vessel will then be chartered back to Color Line for service on the Oslo to Kiel route until the autumn of 2007. The vessel will then enter Irish Ferries service at which time the current vessel ( Normandy ) will be sold or chartered.