Belfast Telegraph

Jobs in jeopardy as ferry operator cuts high-speed service

By Brian Hutton

A major ferry operator is pulling its fast service between Ireland and Britain next month.

Stena Line said its HSS craft will be suspended on the Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead route from September 13 until later next year.

Michael McGrath, area director for Stena Line's Irish Sea services, blamed the cutbacks on the high cost of operating the two-hour sailing.

"The fast craft service operating between Dun Laoghaire and Holyhead has traded at a financial loss for several years."

"The high operating costs of the HSS Stena Explorer, particularly in terms of fuel costs and gas turbine maintenance, has been a major factor in this and, despite all our attempts to reduce operating costs over the last few years, it has not been possible to return the route to profitability."

Stena said the high-speed HSS craft will now operate as a seasonal service only. The operator will still run two traditional ferries year-round between Dublin Port and Holyhead.

Stena said 88 staff working on the high-speed route will be affected. A spokesman said staff will be offered voluntary redundancy or redeployment but declined to say how many lay-offs were expected.