Irish Continental Group plc invests €144 million to build a new cruise ferry
Irish Continental Group plc (“ICG”), parent company to Irish Ferries, has entered into an agreement with the German company Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft mbH & Co. KG (“FSG”), whereby FSG has agreed to build a cruise ferry for ICG at a contract price of €144 million.
According to an ICG press release, the cruise ferry will accommodate 1,885 passengers and crew, with 435 cabins and with capacity for 2,800 lane metres of freight (165 freight vehicles) plus an additional dedicated car deck with capacity for 300 passenger cars.
The agreement between ICG and FSG provides that the cruise ferry is scheduled for delivery in May 2018. 20% of the contract price will be paid in instalments during the construction period. The balance of 80% will be paid on delivery. ICG intend to utilise a combination of existing cash resources and loan facilities to finance the cruise ferry. The pre-delivery instalment payments to FSG will be protected by means of bank guarantees.
This ferry will be designed and built to the highest standards of cruise shipping, and equipped with efficiency and comfort in mind. Emissions scrubber technology (not included in the above 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 33,600KW of power which will ensure a high degree of service reliability similar to that already achieved by the existing owned fleet of modern cruise ferries.
Passenger facilities will be spread over 4 decks and will offer a choice of 435 cabins to include suites with their own private external balconies, along with deluxe and standard class accommodation. In addition to what the ICG Group say will be a superb choice of bars and restaurants (to include both à-la-carte and self-service options), special provision has been made for premium Club Class passengers, with a dedicated lounge featuring private access direct from the vehicle decks. Passengers can also enjoy a choice of state-of-the-art entertainment options and cinemas, dedicated facilities for freight drivers, as well as retail outlets and on-board facilities for pets, Ireland’s leading ferry company said.
As for where it is likely to be deployed, it looks like the new ship will be replacing the chartered ferry MV Epsilon, currently operating on year-round services from Dublin to Holyhead midweek, and Ireland to France on weekends.
All in all, it’s a strong investment from the group. It will be a welcome addition to what looks like a growing series of fleet renewals happening at the moment: Brittany Ferries‘ new French-built gas-powered ship Pegasis is due to come into service next Spring (2017) at a budget of some €270,000,000.