Shipbuilding; Irish Ferries to Build Two Vessels

January 24, 2019

Irish Continental Group Ferry Project II. Image: European Investment Bank
Irish Continental Group Ferry Project II. Image: European Investment Bank

The European Investment Bank is providing EUR 155 million to finance two new passenger and vehicle ships for the Irish Continental Group (ICG) subsidiary Irish Ferries.

The two ferries will increase passenger and cargo capacity on routes to Ireland, replace older and smaller vessels and significantly reduce emissions from the Irish Ferries fleet.

The new ferries are expected to be used on both the Dublin-Holyhead and Dublin-Cherbourg routes to reflect demand for a greater choice of services from Ireland to Britain and direct to continental Europe.

The announcement was made as the W.B. Yeats cruise ferry made its maiden commercial voyage from Dublin to Holyhead this morning.

The largest ever EIB support for Irish shipping was announced during a visit this morning by Andrew McDowell, European Investment Bank Vice President and Eamonn Rothwell, CEO of Irish Continental Group.

The latest addition to the Irish Ferries fleet, the new W.B.Yeats, was partly financed using EUR 75 million from the EIB. The W.B. Yeats can transport 1,800 passengers, 300 cars and 165 trucks and following delivery in December, commenced sailings today on the Dublin-Holyhead Route.  

The second ship, expected to be completed in 2020 and unnamed as yet, will likely transport 1,800 passengers and crew and 1,526 cars or 300 trucks.

Eamonn Rothwell, CEO, ICG, said “Significant new investment is essential to expand the Irish Ferries fleet and better serve our customers increased demand for passenger and freight transport.  After operating on the Irish Sea, the W.B. Yeats will move to service the busy Dublin Cherbourg route in the coming months.”

The long-term loan to Irish Continental Group represents the first support approved by the EIB under a new Green Shipping financing initiative that supports investment in new and existing ships to reduce emissions and improve fuel efficiency.

The W.B.Yeats ship incorporates emissions scrubber technology to reduce sulphur oxide pollution and ballast water systems which meet current and known future environmental regulations and will deliver optimal fuel consumption and efficiencies.

The EIB is providing EUR 80 million to finance construction of a second new vessel for Irish Continental Group’s Irish Ferries operations. Due for delivery during 2020, once operational this vessel will be the largest cruise ferry in the world in terms of vehicle capacity and provide Irish Ferries with an effective 50% increase in peak freight capacity.

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