Condor Ferries 'knows it has to improve the situation'

Guernsey's External Transport Group has met with Condor Ferries executives. The Group says it's confident the Condor Liberation is safe, but improvements need to be made.

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Condor Liberation: 'scaremongering' comments 'damaging tourism' in Jersey

Condor Liberation

The "suitability" and "seaworthiness" of the new Condor Liberation were debated in the States of Jersey today.

Deputy Russell Labey of St Helier asked the following question of Senator Lyndon Farnham, Minister for Economic Development:

Would the Minister advise members what advice the Economic Development Department received in relation to the suitability of the Condor Liberation for cross-Channel ferry operations and, in particular, detail what advice was received on the vessel's seaworthiness and unique design and indicate who provided that advice?"

– Deputy Russell Labey

Senator Lyndon Farnham replied by saying he is confident Condor Ferries took all due diligence to ensure the Liberation is suitable, before it began operating in the Channel Islands.

He said there have been disappointing delays for passengers on the Liberation, and that a suitability review is to be carried out.

But he said "ill-informed", "inaccurate" and "scaremongering" comments about the boat are causing "untold damage to the company, and tourism in Jersey".

Suitability review for Condor Liberation

The Condor Liberation. Credit: ITV News

Condor Ferries has announced a review into the "suitability" and "performance" of the Condor Liberation.

It's been commissioned by the company and the States of Guernsey and States of Jersey.

I hope that this report will help us to draw a line under ill-informed speculation about the ship which is not only damaging Condor Ferries’ business, but could potentially impact our Islands’ reputation.

Condor Ferries provides an important service for our Islands and, despite the difficult start experienced by Condor Liberation, continues to support the islands through its freight and passenger services.”

– Senator Farnham

Whilst we know that our punctuality and reliability performance needs to improve, we also want to give our customers every necessary reassurance regarding the suitability of our ship, and so are pleased to be working with the States of Guernsey and Jersey in commissioning this independent report.”

– Russell Kew, Condor Ferries

The reviewers will be announced in early June.

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Condor harbour crash caused by high winds

Condor Liberation's crash into Guernsey's Harbour in March was down to being buffeted by strong winds, a new report has found.

On only its second day of service in the islands, the £50million new ferry crashed into the No. 1 berth in St Peter Port and was out of action for more than a week.

Released this morning, the report from Condor's internal investigation described how on arrival at St Peter Port, the crew tried to land against berth 2, but had to reassess due to the weather.

They then tried to dock on berth 1, using an automatic setting but when the wind picked up, the ship landed heavily on the steel piling on the dock.

The report says that although all the staff on-board were adequately trained and the weather conditions were expected, instead of using the 'auto' setting to manoeuvre the ship, the crew might have been better doing it manually.

“We are pleased to have completed this detailed investigation with the Guernsey Harbour Master. The joint findings confirm that the crew on board were highly experienced; they have been with the ship since her acquisition last year. An appropriate assessment of the expected conditions was completed by the Masters and Operations team before the ship sailed - Condor Liberation was at all times operating within safe limits."

– Captain Fran Collins, Executive Director - Operations at Condor Ferries

The report also stated that the fendering on some of the berths in the Channel Island, French and UK Ports aren't suitable for high speed craft like the Liberation.

Some are constructed of steel piles, supported by limited rubber mounts. The surface area presented for the ship to land on is minimal on many of these piles, and the degree of load absorption offered is often very low.

"We will work with the ports to improve fendering and the continual assessment of the ship’s manoeuvering system to identify and implement fine tuning to optimise manoeuverability.”

– Captain Fran Collins, Executive Director - Operations at Condor Ferries
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