Rival ferry between Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly pledges to cut journey times and fares

  • Watch Graham Lewis' report

Shipbuilders Harland and Wolff say they will go into direct competition with current operators and run multiple ferry services every day between Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly next summer.

The company says it will slash journey times from the current two hours and 45 minutes to around an hour with prices also reduced by 20%.

At the moment there’s only one ferry a day and tickets cost around £80 for the trip from Penzance to St Mary’s.

Representatives from Harland and Wolff have been in Penzance and are due to visit the Isles of Scilly on a fact finding mission.

Speaking to ITV News West Country, the Chief Executive Officer of Harland and Wolff, John Wood said: “We’ve already started the licensing application process and regulatory approval, is to try and get a fast ferry onto the route for next summer.

"The point of that is to get 600 people on and off the island a day to improve that capacity and give passengers an option. We will look at the price and plan to charge between 20% and 25% less.

"We've had some horror stories already of people not being able to leave the island, family members not being able to visit just because they simply can't afford to.”

Representatives from Harland and Wolff visiting Penzance Credit: ITV West Country

The Isles of Scilly Steamship Company has been running a service from Cornwall to St Mary’s for more than 100 years.

The current ferry, The Scillonian, has been in service for 46 years and carries more than 110,000 passengers a year.

In a statement the company said: “The Isles of Scilly Steamship Group was pleased to announce earlier this year that we had secured a private finance solution for the replacement of passenger and freight vessels on the lifeline route to the islands which we have operated since 1920.

“We have recently announced our preferred shipbuilder and have a clear strategy and timeline in place which will see our new Scillonian IV passenger ferry and cargo vessel delivered and in service ahead of the 2026 season.

“The Group has a proud history, long-term commitment and more than 100 years of experience operating the unique and challenging sea and air routes to the islands.”

Councillor Robert Francis, Chair of The Isles of Scilly Council said: “There's no future for these islands if we cannot have good connectivity.

"We have to have good sea and air links to provide a good service for our community. Everything stems from that.

"We've got a housing crisis, and we absolutely have to be able to afford to build houses for our community and at the moment, the cost of that is just prohibitive.

"Our integrated health and social care project, everything stands from the connectivity that we're able to achieve and the affordability of that service.”