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Condor Launch Liberation Fast-Ferry Trimaran On Channel Islands Service

28th March 2015
Condor Launch Liberation Fast-Ferry Trimaran On Channel Islands Service

#LiberationLaunch – The countdown is finally over as Condor Ferries launched state-of-the-art fast ferry, Condor Liberation with the first official sailing yesterday from Poole to the Channel Islands.

The 880 passenger car-carrying trimaran had called to Guernsey (St.Peter Port) and Jersey (St. Helier). In addition the maiden voyage was an opportunity to reveal the company's new branding of a livery scheme sporting new colours as she headed out of Poole Harbour, Dorset.

Amid much fanfare the 102m fast-ferry set sail on her inaugural sailing, where local schoolchildren and ferry enthusiasts joined the Mayor of Poole, Councillor Peter Adams at Baiter Park to watch the newcomer depart across Poole Harbour, past Brownsea Island and Sandbanks Peninsula.

Representing £50 million investment, Condor Liberation is the first of her kind in Northern Europe, and marks a new era in sea travel. The Austal 2010 built craft trimaran (three hull) design offers greater stability and better sea-keeping abilities, providing a smoother ride for passengers.

Commenting on the maiden voyage, Alicia Andrews, Executive Director – Commercial at Condor Ferries, said: "Today marked a very important milestone in the history of Condor Ferries. We are very excited to welcome Condor Liberation into service and delighted to see the huge crowd gathered at Baiter Park to help us celebrate this momentous occasion".

Since her 10,500 nautical mile delivery voyage into Poole on Boxing Day as previously reported on Afloat.ie, Condor Liberation has undergone an extensive customisation programme. This has involved installing a new Duty Free shop, children's play area, a range of eating and drinking outlets plus a choice of three new seating lounges, to include two upgrade areas.

For a video of Condor Liberation on berthing trials, click here to see the trimaran approaching Jersey's St. Helier Harbour.

The Channel Islands operator now in their 51st year also have another fast-ferry, the InCat 86m built, Condor Rapide that serves the Guernsey to France route, using the Breton port of St. Malo.

In addition to running Commodore Clipper, a conventional car, passenger and freight carrying vessel that offers an all-weather, year round Portsmouth to Guernsey and Jersey service.

Afloat.ie adds that the 500 passenger / 100 car/ 92-trailer ferry is fresh from refit. She had completed a 10-day call at A&P Falmouth from where she returned to service only last weekend.

In addition to all the publicity centred on the Condor Liberation, Afloat will later also be focusing on the role of Commodore Clipper.

Since the introduction of Commodore Clipper in 1999, the ferry has brought countless holiday makers to the Channel Islands. Plus the ferry serves as an integral lifeline for residents on the Channel Islands and the link to mainland UK.

Published in Ferry
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!

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