Losses see ferry left high and dry

FERRY services between Ireland and Britain will be cut from next month due to high costs.

Stena Line's HSS Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead route will be suspended over the winter season.

Michael McGrath, area director for Stena Line's Irish Sea services, said that the fast craft service operating between Dun Laoghaire and Holyhead has traded at a financial loss for several years.

He blamed the high cost of fuel for the problems.

"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," he said.

The service will be shut down from September 13 until next year and Stena said 88 staff working on the high-speed route will be affected.

Meanwhile ferry operator Irish Continental Group recorded a slump in pre-tax profit by 25pc to €6.2m in the first half of this year.

The ferry operator reported a 3.4pc rise year on year in revenues to €126.6m in the six months to the end of June.

However, operating profits declined by 26.1pc to €6.5m, due to rising fuel costs and weak consumer demand.