This is the first of a series in which ships which are regular visitors to Cork Harbour will be highlighted to give the reader an idea of the trade which is taking place in our port.
The first to be highlighted is the Grimaldi Line which has several ships which regularly ply their way between Cork Harbour and the European mainland carrying cars, vans and trucks.
The Grimaldi Line is a large shipping company based in Naples, Italy and operates various types of shipping services including freight and passengers. They have been in the roll-on roll-off (RoRo) business for more than fifty years. The ships which visit Cork and dock at the Ringaskiddy RoRo terminal are of the Grande Ellade class which include the Grande Europa, Grande Ellade, Grande Mediterraneo, Grande Scandinavia and Grande Bretagna (photo shows the Grande Scandinavia berthed at Ringaskiddy). They are each 180 meters long and can carry up to 2,500 cars. Top speed is 20 knots and they have a gross metric tonnage of 51,174. Their Cork agents are Ocean & General Ltd. Grimaldi have had their direct link with Cork since 1998. As I write the Grande Mediterrraneo is on her way to Cork having left the Portuguese port of Setubal before which she came through the Mediterranean from Pireaus in Greece.
Grimaldi Ferries operates throughout the Meditteranean and Adriatic serving Italy, Greece, Malta, Spain and Tunisia.
Hardy visitors to the Old Blog Cabin may be forgiven for thinking I'd given up on the blog given it's two whole months since my last post was uploaded and there have been precious few updates of the site in the last five or six months. Well the blog has been on the rocks but not quite sunk and I've finally managed to put aside a few minutes to post an item here.
As always there's been a fair lot of activity around Cork Harbour in the interim, not least being the arrival finally of the ferry Julia which will go into service on the Cork-Swansea route next Spring, after it gets a refit. This is all thanks to the dedicated work put in by a group of people who just wouldn't take no for an answer after the scrapping of the route over 2 years ago by the previous operator Swansea Cork Ferries Ltd. Now we have the Fastnet Line and the Julia which is a fine ship which has been admired by thousands of people as she remains berthed at Horgan's Quay in Cork city. You can get more information about the Julia and the ferry, including booking and prices at the new Fastnet Line website at www.fastnetline.com
There will be another welcome visitor to Cobh cruise liner terminal next Wednesday (21/10/09) in the form of the Queen Mary 2 which is due to arrive in Cobh around 10.15am. Unfortunately this will only be a short visit but I'm sure that despite the time of day on midweek there will be large crowds in Cobh to view what is arguably the world's most prestigious cruise ship.
I'm glad to report that AIS coverage for Cork Harbour is now available online free of charge in real time on the site www.marinetraffic.com. AIS (Automatic Information Service) is now compulsory on all ships. It uses a radio signal to constantly transmit information about a ship's location, speed and direction as a safety measure. In most cases it also carries data on a ship's port of destination, tracking and on the dimensions of the ship itself. While this is a safety requirement to help avoid collisions, it is also a great tool for shorewatchers who can now find out about ship movements in their own area and indeed worldwide from their computer desktop. It can also be embedded into your blog or website and I will be doing this shortly on the Old Blog Cabin. You can now check on ship movements whether that ship is in Cork or Copenahen, Youghal or Yokohama (as long as the ship is in range of an AIS receiver attached to the Marine Traffic website.