herald

Sunday 17 December 2017

They've survived world wars and vikings, but city's beloved 'ducks' to sail into sunset

The Viking Splash tour
Viking splash tour

IT'LL be the end of an era for one of Dublin's best-known tour companies as it begins to phase out its World War II landing craft vehicles.

The Viking Splash Tour, which is known for its unique boisterous spin around the city and the Liffey, will be getting rid of all six of its vehicles and replacing them with custom-built modern vessels.

Decades before they were painted yellow and used for touring purposes in Dublin's docklands, the large 'DUKW' vehicles - affectionately known as 'ducks' - saw action at the World War Two D-Day landings.

However, if the company wishes to expand, EU regulations say that it must build new vehicles which do not break exhaust emissions regulations.

Viking Splash co-owner Des Rogers said that while the old aquatic vehicles are exempt from those rules, the company has decided to shelve them in favour of six new ones at an estimated cost of €1.8m.

"The old vehicles come under the grandfather clause and therefore don't follow the EU regulation," Mr Rogers told the Herald. "But if we want to buy new vehicles they must follow the regulations."

Mr Rogers said that he would begin replacing the older models with new ones towards the end of this year.

He said the new vehicles are valued "at a similar rate to a mini-bus, around €300,000 each."

The company has begun constructing the new vehicles with Salamander Amphibious Vehicles in a design and build centre in Belfast.

Mr Rogers said that he didn't think anyone would miss the old models, saying that "most people don't know the history" behind them.

"I don't think the drivers will be upset to see them go. They would like power steering and the rest," he said.

hnews@herald.ie

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