Belfast Telegraph

Ferry firm to close two routes

Almost 200 jobs are under threat after a ferry firm announced it was closing two loss-making routes, union leaders have warned.

DFDS said it was closing its routes from Dublin to Birkenhead and Heysham, Lancashire.

TYhe company said it suffered "huge losses" caused by "considerable overcapacity" in the market.

A statement said: "It has not been possible to develop a business plan which could bring about significant improvements in the foreseeable future. We have also been unable to find a buyer for the routes.

"We are exploring a range of options for our three ships deployed on the routes and their crews, including a sale, charter or alternative deployment on DFDS' route network."

The company said 50 jobs in Dublin would be affected by the decision but the Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) union warned that almost 200 posts were under threat because 140 seafarers now faced an uncertain future.

National officer Steve Todd said: "This announcement is yet another savage blow to the ferry industry in UK and Irish waters, and RMT is in no doubt that it is directly related to the financial crisis unleashed by the reckless activities of the banks in both the UK and Ireland.

"RMT is now in negotiations with DFDS and we will do everything that is within our power to protect the livelihoods of our members who have been caught in the middle of the axing of these routes by the company."

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