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CHANNEL ISLANDS: Condor purchase trimaran
Thursday, 18 September 2014 00:00

Condor Express departing Jersey in August. Chris NewtonCondor Express departing Jersey in August. Chris NewtonCondor Ferries finally completed the purchase of Austal 102 in late August, with the trimaran due to enter service between Poole and the Channel Islands during spring 2015. Built speculatively at Austal’s Henderson base in Western Australia, the craft has been lying awaiting sale since completion in 2010. She  can carry around 1,000 passengers with space for 245 cars, or a mix of 145 cars and 190 lane metres of freight.

Powered by three MTU diesel engines with a top speed of 39 knots, Austal 102 was moved earlier in the year to an Austal facility in the Philippines and will remain there for work prior to the handover to Condor. She is expected to replace at least one of the fleet’s existing 86m Incats.

Currently the 1996-built Condor Express sails with Condor Vitesse, completed in 1997, and Condor Rapide, also delivered in 1997 but built initially for Royal Australian Navy service as HMAS Jervis Bay and acquired by Condor in 2010 after commercial operations in the Mediterranean.

CHANNEL ISLANDS: Commodore Clipper out of service
Thursday, 21 August 2014 00:00

Diver’s examining possible damage to the hull of Commodore Clipper in St Peter Port, 15 July.  Tony RiveDiver’s examining possible damage to the hull of Commodore Clipper in St Peter Port, 15 July. Tony RiveCondor Ferries’ freight and passenger services from Portsmouth to the Channel Islands suffered disruption after ro-pax vessel Commodore Clipper (1999/13,460gt) had to go to dry dock at Falmouth for hull repairs after making contact with the sea bottom in the Little Russel while sailing towards Guernsey on 14 July.

Initially, Commodore Clipper sailings from Portsmouth to St Peter Port and St Helier were cancelled until 26 July, but it then became clear that a longer stay at the A&P yard would be needed. With the vessel not expected back until 26 August, Condor switched all freight to ro-ro Commodore Goodwill (1996/11,166gt) and provided additional fast craft sailings. Condor then brought in French-owned ro-ro vessel MN Toucan (1995/9,140gt) to operate to and from Guernsey, with a first call to collect empty trailers on 29 July, leaving Commodore Goodwill to concentrate on Jersey sailings.

HEBRIDEAN ROUTES: Western Isles milestone for car ferries
Tuesday, 05 August 2014 00:00

Columba is now the luxury cruise ship Hebridean Princess.Columba is now the luxury cruise ship Hebridean Princess.This year brings the 50th anniversary of the introduction of drive-on/drive-off car ferries in the Western Isles. David MacBrayne put the side-loading Hebrides into operation when he opened the Uig-Lochmaddy-Tarbert triangle of routes on 15 April 1964, with sisters Clansman and Columba, built by Hall, Russell & Co of Aberdeen, serving Mull and Skye from later in the same year.

In 1964 Hebrides carried 11,000 vehicles, while last year 78,000 were handled by the present route vessel, also named Hebrides (2001/5,506gt). The vessels were able to use existing piers, with vehicles driving onto a platform lift which then lowered them to drive onto the actual car decks.

GUERNSEY DEBUT: Granville starts service
Wednesday, 23 July 2014 14:10

Granville approaching St Peter Port for berthing trials on 23 June. Tony RiveGranville approaching St Peter Port for berthing trials on 23 June. Tony RiveFrench ferry company Manche Iles Express wasted no time getting their newly acquired 40m craft Granville into service with a first visit to St Peter Port, Guernsey for berthing trials on 23 June. Previously Danish-owned as Bornholm Express and seating 245 passengers, the 325gt Granville was built in 2006 by the Damen Shipyard at Gorinchem, Holland (yard no.109).
Granville operates between Dielette, Alderney, Guernsey, Jersey and Sark, commencing commercial sailings on 24 June with a 0935 arrival in St Peter Port from Dielette before heading to Sark. Powered by three Caterpillar diesel engines, each driving a propeller through reduction gearboxes, Granville has a service speed of 25 knots and has taken the place of the already sold Marin Marie in the Manche Iles line-up, which also includes Victor Hugo.

SHETLAND ISLES: Engine fault brings disruption
Tuesday, 08 July 2014 00:00

Shetland’s inter-island ferry service to Yell and Whalsay suffered a week of disruption after the largest Whalsay vessel, Linga (2002/658gt, pictured), was side-lined by a fault with one of its three MFI diesel generators, the problems also coinciding with the planned introduction of a new electronic booking system to Yell Sound services. Over 1,200 bookings had been taken on Whalsay during the previous two weeks, before the introduction was postponed due to vessel changes during Linga’s absence, which meant that crews had to individually manage deck space on each sailing to ensure as many vehicles as possible could be carried.

A Danish specialist was flown in to resolve the Poland-built Linga’s problem, the vessel to returning to service in the evening of 22 May. Whalsay’s second ferry, Hendra (1982/248gt), had taken over Linga’s schedule, with Fivla (1985/230gt) brought from Yell Sound, where she had been standing in during the annual overhaul of Dagalien (2004/1,861gt). There, stand-by ferry Thora (1975/147gt) came in from Sella Ness to cover for Fivla. Aboard Linga, the problem was traced to a fault in an electronic governor, which was restricting the amount of fuel getting to one of the generators.

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