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After a spring and summer which seem to have been dogged by operating problems and customer complaints, Channel Islands ferry operator Condor Ferries has decided to publish its winter service and breakdown contingency plans, giving both passengers and freight customers more insight into the depth of planning required to operate regular ferry services.
Condor ferries are the sole operator of ferries between the UK and the Channel Islands. Their passenger ferry service is operated by high speed ferry Condor Rapide, built in 1997 by Australian big cat specialist Incat, and the 2010 Austal built stablised monohull high speed ferry Condor Liberation. liberation has been the source of most of 2015's heavy crop of customer complaints and service problems, with engine trouble, berthing difficulties and passenger experience aboard in poor weather being the main causes.
Customer complaints have mostly focused on Condor Liberation's behaviour at sea, with rolling characteristics which passengers find difficult to cope with. The company commissioned a report from maritime engineers Houlder Ltd who concluded that the vessel was safe to operate, with good seakeeping capability within its normal operating envelope. The report also concluded that Liberation was able to operate to timetable, although its timekeeping abaility might be improved by making changes to the channel island port's berths, allowing the ferry to berth more easily.
The operator runs two conventional ferries, Commodore Goodwill and Commodore Clipper, and both were originally planned to have exhaust scrubbers installed as part of their regular drydockings this autumn. However, problems with suppliers have led to additional out-of-service periods for both vessels, and Condor have chartered in Seatruck stern loading ferry Arrow to provide freight cover.
Condor Ferries communications with customers and communities have been criticised by media, and Channel Islands authorities have also discussed fining the operator or cancelling their operating contract. States of Jersey Economic Development Minister Lyndon Farnham said that he did not want to impose financial penalties on the company for its ‘unacceptable’ performance, as it had already suffered substantial losses, but added that the government could cancel the operating contract as a ‘last resort’.
You can find condor's vessel service and contingency plans documentation online - go to the their latest news page, and the contingency plan documentation is downloadable as a pdf at the bottom of the page.http://www.condorferries.co.uk/documents/CF Public Contingency Plan Issue1.pdf
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