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30 Aug 2018

BY James Chapple

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Irish Ferries profits hit by further delays to new build and flagship dry dock

Irish Ferries has apologised for further delays to its new ferry W.B. Yeats and technical issues that have blighted its flagship ferry, Ulysses.

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Irish Ferries profits hit by further delays to new build and flagship dry dock

Profits at parent firm Irish Continental Group (ICG) halved to just shy of €30 million for the six months to June 30, ICG revealed on Thursday (August 30).


Chairman John McGuckan said the results were hit by cancellations caused by delays in delivery of its new ferry, W.B. Yeats.


Ulysses, meanwhile, required an unscheduled dry dock to address a problem with its starboard pitch propeller, reducing the Irish Ferries fleet during the summer peak season.


The two issues, said McGuckan, had conspired to limit summer sailings, down 102 to 2,428 on last year, hitting trade.


Car carrying fell 2.1% to 170,900 while passengers numbers dropped 2.9% to 679,700.


As a result, H1 pre-tax profit slid 46% to €29.7 million from €47.5 million against last year.


Citing “industry sources”, the Irish Times last Friday (August 24) reported W.B. Yeats would now not be delivered until October.


In June, Irish Ferries said 6,000 bookings would be affected by further delays to W.B. Yeats, which had been due to commence sailings between Ireland and France on July 30.


All planned sailings to France aboard W.B. Yeats this summer were cancelled with around six weeks notice. Irish Ferries said the ship would likely enter service from Dublin and Holyhead in September.


The Irish Travel Agents Association criticised the move, branding it “extremely disappointing” while lamenting the “major disruption” to Irish holidaymakers.


“6,000 bookings - that is 6,000 family holidays affected by this announcement, said president John Spollen.


Irish Ferries said the delay to W.B. Yeats were due to “extraordinary circumstances beyond its control” affecting German shipbuilder Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft.

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