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Closed borders cause problem for Sark boats

News | Published:

SARK VENTURE is currently waiting for the borders to reopen before it can operate again.

(Picture by Sophie Rabey, 28442739)

It had been out of service while a new engine was fitted, which has been done, but there is a problem with bringing a Maritime & Coastguard Agency surveyor to the island from the UK to sign off the work.

Isle of Sark Shipping managing director Yan Milner said lockdown had impacted on a lot of the processes needed in order to get the Venture back into service.

‘The Venture is currently in St Sampson’s Harbour having had a new engine fitted and now we’re currently just slowly ticking off other bits of work on it while we wait for a surveyor,’ he said.

‘We need to conduct a test on the vessel designed by a marine surveyor here to check its stability calculations and changing weight distribution now that the work has been done and then we need an MCA surveyor to come from the UK before we can turn the key.

‘We can’t afford to bring someone over and keep them here in self-isolation for 14 days to do it, so it’s just a case of waiting.’

In the meantime, Sark Shipping has done some work on the panelling in the cabin, reupholstered seats and carried out some electrical work on the radar system.

In a similar fashion, the company’s newly-purchased passenger vessel, the Corsaire des Iles, which should have come into operation in May, is still stuck in France, also waiting for a UK MCA surveyor.

‘We need a surveyor to check its tonnage, that it’s built to class and issue a certificate to sign it off,’ said Mr Milner.

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‘It may be easier to get a French surveyor to conduct it, so perhaps that will be possible, but we need to wait and see if UK and Guernsey officials would consider it.

‘Waiting for a surveyor in both cases is a matter of safety, so these things can’t be rushed.’

Mr Milner said since their services have been able to run again from 1 June, they have been going well, with the company’s third passenger vessel, the Sark Belle, covering for the Venture and the Sark Viking continuing to operate as its cargo vessel.

The company’s longest-serving passenger vessel, the Bon Marin de Serk, was decommissioned last year after ferrying passengers between Guernsey and Sark for 37 years.

Danielle Kenneally

By Danielle Kenneally
News reporter

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