Incredible Journey: Condor 102 sets sail from the Philippines

Last updated 18:00GMT, Saturday 6 December.

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TODAY: busy earlier into Dover, long freight queues, now free-flowing. The A20 access road into Eurotunnel UK is closed; use M20 junction 11a instead. Continuing quite heavy snow Massif Central, France, on A75 south from around St Flour (see webcam here). ‘Hazardous’ driving in Finland today. Still snow H2/H19 Gotthard south central Switzerland + H13 Locarno-Brissano still restricted by landslides at Lugano. Also, more evacuations yesterday and road closures in Hohe Wand, Lower Austria and Burgenland, all eastern Austria, due to worsening ‘ice storm’.

See below for Weekend Traffic and Weather forecasts, this week so far and a look ahead.

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CHANNEL DELAYS: reduced service DFDS Dover-Calais until 4 January.

WEATHER ALERT: amber alert high winds Norway, storm Italy/Sardinia, coastal event north east Spain.

WEATHER: rain North, showery Mediterranean. See weekend outlook below.

GOTTHARD TUNNEL: now no queues.

MONT BLANC TUNNEL: ‘traffic is fluent’.

MAJOR TRAFFIC DELAYS: A8 westbound Salzburg-Munich, accident closed at Traunstein, delay 45mins+.

Earliernow no delay A1 southbound from Amsterdam.

See Travel/Traffic/Weather for more.

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In the nick of time, Condor’s trick new ship has started the long journey to the UK. On Thursday morning it left the manufacturer’s base in Cebu, Philippines, as eastern parts of the country braced ahead of Typhoon Hagupit. The as-yet-to-be-finally-named ‘102’ is currently crossing the Indian Ocean heading for the Suez Canal and Mediterranean. Actually the journey started before that, from Henderson near Perth in Western Australia where it was built by Austal. This final leg, crewed by Condor staff, will take four weeks and cover 10,500 nautical miles. After the ship’s finishing touches are applied by Trimline in Southampton, and more sea trials, 102 will sail between Poole and the Channel Islands from March. It has already broken booking records: more than 100 bookings per hour were taken on Friday 28 November according to the company. Photo courtesy of Austal.com.

In the nick of time, Condor’s trick new ship has started the long journey to the UK. On Thursday morning it left the manufacturer’s base in Cebu, Philippines, as eastern parts of the country braced ahead of Typhoon Hagupit. The as-yet-to-be-finally-named ‘102’ is currently crossing the Indian Ocean heading for the Suez Canal and Mediterranean (see map below). Actually the journey started before that, from Henderson near Perth in Western Australia where it was built by Austal. This final leg, crewed by Condor staff, will take four weeks and cover 10,500 nautical miles. After the ship’s finishing touches are applied by Trimline in Southampton, and more sea trials, 102 will sail between Poole and the Channel Islands from March. It has already broken booking records: more than 100 bookings per hour were taken on Friday 28 November according to the company. Photo courtesy of Austal.com.

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WEEKEND TRAFFIC: city centres will be busy with Christmas markets but in general there are no traffic warnings this weekend, except: six autobahn closures in Germany: Friday night-Sunday night, A5 at Heidelberg and A24 at Reinbeck (Hamburg); from early Saturday to early Monday, A8 at Mulhausen (direction Munich); Saturday night-Sunday night A40 at Venlo, and early Saturday to Monday afternoon A46 at Dusseldorf. Also, the B182 Brenner Pass in Austria is closed both ways Saturday 15:00-23:00, Matrei-Schoenberg, for an Advent event.

WEEKEND WEATHER: the outlook according to BBC Weather is mixed: continuing severe storms for the central Mediterranean/Italy/Adriatic, sub-zero East, sunny South West plus snow on high elevations UK and Scandinavia. Due to likely icy conditions, M+S marked winter tyres will be needed in Germany and Austria.

THIS WEEK: heavy overnight around Huesca, Pyrenees on Thursday (+ poor/great weekend weather Spain). Fatal floods south of Rome Thursday + floods Thessaloniki region Greece; Kapitan-Andreevo border crossing Bulgaria-Turkey closed (now re-opened but severe flooding nearby). Severe ice warnings Central>East Europe, especially arounSaarbrucken/Eifel Mountains and east Germany. Czech Republic badly affected by snow/ice this week.

LOOKING AHEAD: a heads-up on Belgium’s next general strike on Monday; TISPOL pan-Europe anti-drink drive enforcement campaign next week; on Monday the Montenegro parliament votes on the Bar-Boljare motorway project – the country’s first – part of an eventual link between Belgrade and the Adriatic.

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