Irish Ferries now planning biggest ferry in world as WB Yeats makes maiden passenger voyage

  • WB Yeats funded to tune of €75m through European Investment Bank loan
  • EIB, the European Union’s non-profit long-term lending institution, is to provide €80m loan for a larger Irish Ferries vessel, due in 2020
  • The announcement was made as WB Yeats made its maiden voyage from Dublin to Holyhead 

The European Investment Bank – the EU’s non-profit lending body – is providing €155m to finance the WB Yeats and a larger new passenger vessel, which will be the world’s biggest, for Irish Ferries.

Both parties said that the two ferries will increase passenger and cargo capacity on routes to Ireland, replace older and smaller vessels and significantly reduce greenhouse emissions.

The new ferries are expected to be used on both the Dublin-Holyhead and Dublin-Cherbourg routes to reflect demand for a greater choice of services from Ireland to Britain and direct to continental Europe as concerns of a hard Brexit grow.

Andrew McDowell, European Investment Bank Vice President, and Eamonn Rothwell, CEO of Irish Continental Group.

The announcement was made as the WB Yeats ferry made its maiden voyage from Dublin to Holyhead.

The largest ever EIB support for Irish shipping was announced during a visit by Irishman Andrew McDowell, European Investment Bank Vice President, and Eamonn Rothwell, CEO of Irish Continental Group, the parent company of Irish Ferries.

WB Yeats was partly financed using €75m from the EIB. It can hold 1,800 passengers, 300 cars and 165 trucks.  The second ship, expected to be completed in 2020 and unnamed as yet, will likely transport 1,800 passengers and crew and 1,526 cars or 300 trucks.

Due for delivery during 2020, the second ship will be the largest cruise ferry in the world in terms of vehicle capacity and provide Irish Ferries with an effective 50pc increase in peak freight capacity.

Eamonn Rothwell, CEO, ICG, said: “Significant new investment is essential to expand the Irish Ferries fleet and better serve our customers’ increased demand for passenger and freight transport. We were delighted to take delivery of the superb W.B Yeats in December.  The ship is the next level in terms of the experience it offers our customers. After operating on the Irish Sea, the WB Yeats will move to service the busy Dublin Cherbourg route in the coming months.”

Andrew McDowell, European Investment Bank Vice President, said: “Shipping connections are crucial for Ireland. The €155m long-term EIB loans will support €309m of new investment in best in class vessels that will serve Irish routes for years to come. The new WB Yeats, on its maiden voyage from Dublin today, together with the second vessel will transform freight capacity and passenger travel from Ireland to the UK and continental Europe.”


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