Guernsey to Alderney ferry service scuppered by regulation

PLANS to operate a ferry service between Guernsey and Alderney have been put on hold because drastic changes are needed for it to comply with international regulations.

Sark Venture heading for St Peter Port from Sark 06-08-12 Pic by

Isle of Sark Shipping had planned to start sailing to Alderney, using the Sark Venture, in August.

The plans were delayed as the company worked with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the harbour master to try to determine the correct classification for carrying more than 12 fares. But the company has continued to encounter problems.

Alderney Estates and Services Committee chairman Louis Jean said there were difficulties with international regulations. He said that because Alderney has such strong currents and tides, a different set of regulations applied to passenger ferries going to the island.

It meant that any service would not be able to carry over 12 passengers unless changes were made.

‘I didn’t know about all of this before we started looking at this service.'

Comments for: "Guernsey to Alderney ferry service scuppered by regulation"


Already there is a ferry service - Bumblebee, 12 seater catamaran, available all year round, weather permitting,m subject to demand.

Smashing service, sometimes there are one or two spare seats. Lovely ride -just about one hour and twenty minutes!


I think you will find that Bumblebee no longer operates in the winter as after one year it was found to be uneconomic.


who is running sark shipping some one trained and has knowledge of shipping or just some one that knows nothing about shipping and the ships they look after it appears to be the later with out the correct person in charge it will all wrong one day lives will be lost


I agree with Rachel on this. We had a similar situation with our air link to Jersey. Aurigny operated it with a regular service and then Blue Islands wanted to muscle in on the route. Aurigny warned the States of Alderney that there was not the demand for two operators on the service and told the States that if they were to issue Blue Islands a Licence to operate on the Jersey route then Aurigny may have to pull out completely due to the drop in passenger numbers from the competition. Months later Aurigny did pull out leaving us with just Blue Islands running the Alderney - Jersey route. Then not long after that Blue Islands pulled out saying they were not making enough money and we were left with nothing.

Therefore we should be very grateful to what we already have as i am certain that if Sark Shipping were permitted to run a Ferry from Alderney to Guernsey then a similar thing would happen and we would be left with nothing at all once again.


Well then why didn't Aurigny restart the Alderney to Jersey route when BI left? Sound likes there's not enough traffic to support even one operator on that route.


Instead of wasting money(Sark taxpayers' money) on a service that has already got an operator, why not introduce a "Summer Sark Special" and drop the prices for visitors during peak months? That way, Sark shipping would make some money AND the island would have extra tourists! It would be nice to go back to the glory days of having over 500 people a day again during the summer, busy shops and cafés, full guest houses... Failing that, SS could just hike up the prices again and offer trips to the moon.


It must be somebody, who knows nothing about everything!


Bring back the Commodore Queen.


What, from the seabed?


As I recall when Bumblebee ferry service set up it was to provide both a seasonal ferry service and a lifeline service. The latter disappeared in the first year. IOSS proposed to provide a once a week all season ferry service. The only other off island link is Aurigny (Which No 1).

All islands have a problem with commercial companyies transportation out of season. I hoped IOSS, an Sark owned service would be successful in operating such a service for Alderney - but clearly there are problems with over 12 passenger regulations.

Not convinced

Quote from Louis Jean ‘I didn’t know about all of this before we started looking at this service.’

Well Louis, you, or someone in the civil service who advises you (You did take advice......didn't you?)should have been aware that the Sark Venture needed special dispensation from those regulations when it was used to take a large party out of Alderney to pay respects at the Affray wreck site.

Even if you weren't aware of this, your side-kick and fellow trumpeter of the proposed IOSS service, Paul Arditti, definitely was because he was on the States and a member of General services committee at the time.

Island boy

Is it true that Sark shipping is trying to borrow a further £200000 from the sark tax payer ?


A temporary loan repaid with interest in June - check out CP Agenda and report for details.

Alderney settler

I think yet another example of Alderney representatives to the states of Guernsey going off half cocked rather than referring to the relevant committee on the states of Alderney its high time that Alderney introduces a code of practice so that our representatives to the states of Guernsey act within their remit rather than going off on cowboy expeditions, what Alderney needs now in these uncertain times is UNITY and joined up thinking, not selfish political expeditions.


Does this apply to Alderney States reps in Alderney not going off on their own cowboy expeditions as well. £205,000 just expended on "consultants" that they had not asked Guernsey States about. And when it was refused to then say that Guernsey States were lying and they had it authorised by them.


Get your facts right Seabird.

The £205,00 wasn't for consultants. I quote the GEP article from last week:

"The States of Alderney had applied for £205,000 from the Strategic Development Fund to modernise functions such as the States Works Department and its planning processes."

A legitimate request to use part of the AGCC licensing profits for something that is long overdue and should actually save money in the long run. Hardly a cowboy expedition.


Modernise the States Works Dept. Thats even worse. The underworked overpriced Dept. Whatever it was for however, it was not cleared by Guernsey States and that is that.

sergei simples

Alderney Settler is absolutely right on this point !

This is very disturbing and disruptive to any initiative that is being made to improve Alderneys outlook.

When Arditti was effectively dismissed from office he should have resigned automatically from each post he held..

He now rides on the back of Louis Jean just like a Mucus cough, as in the Benylin adverts!

He also is trying to act as an unofficial scrutineer !

This behaviour is dragging Louis Jean, a sound local Politian into oblivion.

This saga will sadly drag on and on.


The idea of the using the Sark Ferry was nothing to do with Mr Arditti Sergei Simples and as you are not resident here who are you to comment on whether the present States are capable of actually doing the best for the island????


Wrong again, Seabird!

I think you'll find that Sergei is in fact an Alderney resident and regularly, often amusingly, comments on Alderney stories.

I cannot say for certain that you are wrong on your other point but I seem to remember both Jean and Arditti claiming to have been instigators of discussions with IOSS.


Well I know where he lives and resides and it is not Alderney. So you have obviously got the wrong person.

Jim B

The CI's fixation with the sea is understandable (it's everywhere), but someone needs to step back and reappraise the entire ethos of travel and tourism in these islands. Meantime, more empty ferries does not seem like a great plan.

Do we even know what we are selling these days? One event that has shown the way is the Sark Folk Festival - a “boutique” festival and an instant sell out. Smell the coffee, everyone!

But all the hints seem to indicate that there is just not enough tourist demand for the present "product offering". Over the past 30 years, the CI have become focused on easy money from financial services, and lived the good life as a result. In those 30 years, internet search and booking has made the world a very accessible place for tourists, and most destinations have been required to devise smarter marketing and attractions.

One of the trends has been away from an annual 2 weeks holiday booked in January - to a series mini breaks and long weekends, often taken opportunistically to catch weather. A leisurely trip was often regarded as an integral part of the 2 week holiday experience – but in these impatient days it's just a big nuisance to be minimized.

Time consumed in “break” travel is crucial if it not demonstrably (and marketably) a fun experience in its own right - and now all Europe has been opened up, any European traveller has a vast choice of (very) direct low cost flight destinations. Yet air travel has become an increasingly tedious experience from places like Gatwick - where travellers are nickel and dimed relentlessly, and are forced to turn up at least 2 hours early so they get bored and go shopping.

The high speed Condor ferries offer a more civilised experience, but they could still be made more traveller-friendly with things like wifi and charging points; almost everyone has a smart phone and tablet for personal amusement these days.

Overall, sinking this idea seems like a blessing in disguise. If Sark wants more ferry trade, then everyone needs to apply joined up thinking to marketing what you already have to sell.


just read CP yes more money is need to pay the directors I bet and how much has this follie cost them trying to run to Alderney

Sark informed decision

It is all very well for Sark Shipping asking for a loan of 200K. Surely, to enable CP to make an informed decision they should have the latest company accounts and a cash flow projection setting out how the money will be repaid.


I agree with your comments Bob and S.I.D

I presume that they feel that they do not need to supply copies of accounts like any other operating company! Thy should be made available to all! I also think that at the time of crisis, which obviously this is, maybe the directors should offer to cut their enormous salaries

untillsuch time as they make the company viable and stop going cap in hand to islanders for more of their hard earned money.

It seems to pay back these monies they want to borrow they will be handing back the monies out of the summer profits. So what happens when the winter comes along. Same procedure? Keep on borrowing every winter from this seasons profits.


Bumblebee can't fill enough seats to operate every day and certainly not year-round, though it always available for charter and puts on trips when the fog comes down. Isle of Sark Shipping should concentrate on getting people to Sark. There is not a problem with the regulations, the problem is with the boat. Anyone in the industry knew this wasn't going to work - perhaps someone should have told Mr Arditti.


I believe the reason that Bumblebee cannot operate year round is because of the height of the waves in the winter, not because it cant fill seats. Whenever I have been on it and that wasnt when it was foggy - it has always been very full.


Methinks "Cliftonian" is the marketing director of Bumblebee Cruises. Anyone in the industry could have worked that one out. Nonetheless, what he's written is absolutely spot-on.


This was always a naive and ill-conceived voyage doomed to sink without a life-raft in sight. Sark's lifeline ferry service company should concentrate on shipping valuable punters into Sark from France and Jersey. Combine this by employing decent Sark marketing & events and watch the Sark tourism figures fly.


Stick to sark to guernsey leave the rest to a real shipping company with people that know thats why there is no link jersey or france it will not pay

Guernsey Lad

I think that Alderney would benifit from a regular ferry service, however i dont beilve that the Sark Venture is the correct type of vessel for the job. Maybe Sark Shipping AND Alderney can work together and purchase a vessel which is suitable for the Island's needs.