Guernsey Press

Leopardess not back in service until next year

SEA fisheries vessel the Leopardess is heading to the Netherlands later this year.

The Leopardess is currently at Marine & General’s boat yard. (Picture by Erin Vaudin, 33353009)

It is currently at Marine & General’s boat yard and is now not expected to patrol local waters until next year.

‘Preparations are under way to commence refurbishment of the Leopardess, which will be carried out at a Dutch shipyard,’ said Dave Le Ray, States’ director of operations, justice and regulation.

‘Some preparatory work on the vessel will also be undertaken locally prior to this.

‘It is anticipated that the vessel will be delivered to the shipyard for work to commence in September, with the vessel being fully operational for the new year.’

The Leopardess was granted grace to operate for years despite not having a code compliance certificate.

A final temporary certificate was issued by harbour master David Barker on 15 August last year, to last until 31 December, and it has not been allowed to operate since then.

When the vessel was confined to port, the Economic Development Committee was responsible for it.

The Home Affairs Committee has since taken it over and arranged for it to be refurbished. Originally, Home Affairs hoped it would return to operations later this year.

It has estimated that £560,000 will need to be spent on the vessel to get it back into a state fit to patrol the waters.

While the Leopardess is out of the water, contingency plans are in place which include chartering suitable vessels when required for essential maritime enforcement functions.

The Leopardess is jointly used by sea fisheries officials and law enforcement agencies. It sometimes supports other States services.

In 2015, when the then Commerce & Employment Department was putting forward a case to replace the vessel, it was reported to have been used on 150 days in 2014.

Home Affairs president Deputy Rob Prow has said the States wants to ‘maximise the value’ of the vessel.