Sea links won’t improve until fleet ‘reconfigured’ – deputy

SEA travel links will not improve in the long term ‘without a reconfiguration of Condor’s fleet’, a member of Economic Development has said, with the committee continuing to negotiate with the operator.

merrettferries
Deputy Jennifer Merrett, a member of Economic Development, said that 2016 had ended on a positive note for sea travel links but ‘there is still quite a long way to go’ to get back to the peak numbers of 2014. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 17341430)

The number of people travelling to Guernsey by sea improved by 18.2% in the final quarter of last year compared with the same period in 2015.

However, sea travel fell by 16.3% (17,700 passengers) for 2016 as a whole and Deputy Jennifer Merrett said the 2014 passenger figures set a better benchmark to aspire to.

‘2016 ended on a really positive note and it seems like confidence is coming back, but 2015 was a bad year and, compared to 2014, when sea travel peaked, there is still quite a long way to go,’ she said. ‘Compared to the end of 2014 we have had around 30,000 less people travelling by sea and we are keen to address that. Realistically, that cannot happen without a re-configuration of the [Condor’s] fleet.’

Last August, Economic Development vice-president Jan Kuttelwascher said the committee wanted to see a third ferry on the northern route, serving Weymouth, Poole and Portsmouth.

Deputy Merrett said talks were ongoing with Condor but the committee should be able to report back to the States by the end of March.

‘At the moment we are negotiating with Condor and also with Senator Farnham in Jersey,’ she said. ‘We have made really clear our expectations and that we would like to see more resilience and reliability on the northern route.’

Day visitors to the island have halved since 2011 and Deputy Merrett said the value of this ‘core market’ should not be underestimated.

Comments for: "Sea links won’t improve until fleet ‘reconfigured’ – deputy"

LeftoutGuern

Confidence is not coming back we are just bloody stuck with what we got and have to use the useless boat.

How about selling that heap and getting two reliable boats that can actually berth in both ports in any tide, and that will bring back proper day trips away.

Mr Bee

Well said: SEA travel links will not improve in the long term ‘without a reconfiguration of Condor’s fleet’, SEA travel links will not improve in the long term ‘without a reconfiguration of Condor’s fleet’, SEA travel links will not improve in the long term ‘without a reconfiguration of Condor’s fleet’, SEA travel links will not improve in the long term ‘without a reconfiguration of Condor’s fleet’, say no more....

Dogwatch

Not forgetting that it's also high time that Jersey deepened its pathetic harbour too.

LeftoutGuern

Why would they, they have a fully functioning airport with multiple flights and destinations, with a choice of airline.

guern abroad

Jersey is also heading for double our population size to support that.

Biscay

And who on earth would buy the liberation with its wonderful history

LeftoutGuern

There must be another bunch of gullible Islands somewhere in the world.

bertw2016

Lets find a permanent mooring for it and turn it into a floating restaurant or conference centre.

LeftoutGuern

That sir is a fantastic idea.

CommonSenseIsDead

Lovely idea, but unfortunately has a track record of bashing itself to pieces even when moored ;-)

Portlandgrey

Tomorrows sailing from Guernsey to poole has just been brought forward six hours as liberation will not be able to berth due to a breeze.

It will then set sail to jersey & then on to poole, giving a journey time of six hours.

A total joke & completely unsuited to Guernsey /Channel island waters.

Borissa

Looking forward to the report at the end of March Deputy Merret, date now in my diary .

Muzeek

This has been all said many many time, but nothing is done. Oh and have just remembered when is the Liberation going to do it's sea trials.

This is just a never ending story.

guern abroad

The news did not get covered here but we heard that sea trails could see the Liberation approved to sale in wait for it................................................... yep I think it was half a metre more in the TV news a couple days ago. Where is the promised 5 metres from this boat! Whilst we are at it why has this not been covered and why can I not find the interview on either news site.

guern abroad

The Clipper is a great work horse I saw it was reported to be sailing through these last few rough days.

Insider

It is.. But doesn't the Jersey contract stipulate a Fast Ferry on the Northern route?

Donkey Boiler

Guern abroad

If they do get an extra 0.5m on Liberation's wave height limit it will not make much difference, because they ALREADY cancel well inside the present 3.5m limit as this tub manoeuvres so badly even in only moderate winds. Often when Condor cancel, blaming the weather, the sea conditions are well within legal limits and the previous vessels would have had no problem in either making the crossing or berthing.

constant

leftoutguern - love your comments totally agree, keep them coming. (Especially the one about 2 boats).

Loveridge

Condor's CEO and PR monkeys are probably babbling a BS response. It's not just the vessel that's unfit for purpose.

Just how much damage to the island's economy are the likes of Deputy Merrett and the others that comprise Economic Development going to accept, before Condor are told the game's up?

LeftoutGuern

Agreed, they will keep banging that drum of how sea worthy it is, it might well be, but it is not suited for the channel islands, when we are restricted to tidal movement that the Liberdoomed is not able dock on certain tides, unlike its predecessors.

The clipper is a work horse and nobody will ever say different, if it wasn't for that boat we would all be screwed, but that raises more questions like the classic all our eggs in one basket, and our beloved SOG seem to think this is acceptable.

Nothing will change unless we (Channel Islanders) don't stop pestering our politicians to get this looked at.

Travel to and from this island is killing not only the tourism industry but the sporting community as well, have you tried to organise a day trip to jersey for a couple of squads, you can but it is such a rigmarole, you can leave on the early boat (Liberdoomed) but will have to come back on the Clipper arriving back home at sometime past 22:00, and it's not cheap either.

Dogwatch

We have many things which make our existing sea connections unacceptable and the causation of our failing tourism industry (not to mention the adverse affects on local residents and businesses)-

1. The Liberation is not fit for purpose - we all know this!

2. The passenger-unfriendly schedules, of the Liberation and Clipper, particularly for Guernsey.

3. High costs of travel.

4. Passengers being obliged to pay extra for the privilege of sitting down on night crossings to

Portsmouth, even if they want to crash out on the floor.

5. Lack of availability of cabins/berths on Clipper.

6. The excessively high cost of cabins/berths.

7. The long crossing times and inconvenient route to Poole and Portsmouth - bring back

Weymouth. Even the old Sealink vessels were as fast, more reliable and comfortable. Who

remembers the Caledonian Princess?

Enough is Enough! Time for change Condor to admit its mistakes, be honest with us all and stop the "spin" and hot air!

Election Issues

Condor's problems all hinge around the Liberation.

The Rapide has now finished annual refit in Cherbourg and is heading back to St Malo. Condor have talked about buying a replacement vessel for the Rapide.

Would it be viable to put the Liberation on the more sheltered St Malo route and buy a new vessel especially for the rougher northern route?

That could be a re- configuration of Condor's fleet?

But Is the Liberation too big for the French route? I thought I had read somewhere that St Malo is not too keen to have Liberation on that route?

Devil's Advocate

The Rapide isn't big enough to do the Northern route on its own in summer when it's busy. That was almost certainly the logic behind buying the Liberation - replace 2 boats with one to massively reduce maintenance and crew costs.

Weymouth Boy

We have been to Guernsey many times – the first in 1983. We have sailed on Sealink, Channel Island Ferries, British Channel Island Ferries and Condor. Without question, Condor has been the worst by far.

We have suffered many rough crossings but nothing has come close to our return trip on Liberation in 2015. Although we absolutely love Guernsey (having been 20 or so times), we won’t be coming back again until the ferry operator (preferably not Condor) has a vessel that does not frighten its passengers to (near) death and meets its schedules reliably. I feel sure that all those on that particular crossing with us would feel the same.

I am aware of the possibility of crossing on Clipper but who wants to pay £100 for a cabin - not me !!

By the way, my moniker of “Weymouth Boy” comes from the fact that I was born there – although I haven’t lived there for many years

Ferry Man

So again I ask with all these calls for Condor to be replaced. So who does everyone think is going to replace them, as clearly both Jersey and Guernsey do not wish to run the services themselves! What happens if we tell them to go and they decide to take Clipper with them?

Insider

Exactly.. Not much of a queue forming to invest many millions into replacing Condor.

Weymouth Boy

I for one have no strong wish to see Condor replaced - just sort out the current mess. As a previous regular visitor, I just wish to see a ferry operator than can be relied upon to get me to and from Guernsey at the scheduled times and - most important of all - not give me cause to fear for my life. It is absolutely no exaggeration to say that I (and I am quite sure that all the other passengers on our last crossing) did fear for my life after the vessel took a massive roll to starboard.

If Guernsey does not wish to see its tourism decline any further then, in my view, something has to be done about this dreadful vessel.

We will not be coming back again unless something is done.

How many others feel the same?

LOCALGUERN1066

I think cost has a great deal to do with declining numbers. Two adults going to Lake District 06 July for the week by ferry with car costs £278 return plus a 340 mile drive each way with additional petrol costs and hassle.

Same dates, two adults with Aurigny to Manchester return £239 and car hire for the week £83 (annual independent excess insurance policy cost £35 per year so no need to pay car hire insurance excess) giving a total of £322 and an 80 mile drive. The petrol savings alone save the extra cost as well as the hassle.

In Manchester within 1.5 hours of Guernsey and a couple of hours drive as compared to 11 -12 hours from Guernsey. No wear or tear on my own car either and a much more reliable service by air.

Dogwatch

I see that yet another of the smaller hotels which has given up the fight is not opening this year and has just gone on the market. I wonder if it will become flats, a residential home or a four-penny coffin? At least the residents will not need to rely on the ferry service!

Prospero

Morning Dogwatch

A great shame - Which hotel was that ?