#ferrycharter - Condor Ferries only conventional tonnage ferry on UK-Channel Islands service, Commodore Clipper recently resumed service before the English half-term break having spent over a month in dry dock in Cornwall, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Whilst Commodore Clipper was away on planned maintenance at A&P Falmouth, passenger services were maintained by fastcraft Condor Liberation. As for freight commitments they were covered by the chartered Manx registered Arrow, a ro-ro freight-only ferry.
The stern-loading Douglas registered Arrow is itself on charter from Seatruck Ferries, that acts as a relief ferry and backup support vessel for the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company. Their Ben-My-Chree (see Belfast and related Larne berthing trials stories) is a smaller version of Commodore Clipper.
The biennial dry-docking of Commodore Clipper included a £2.7m refit which was completed last week with resumption of scheduled overnight sailings from Guernsey (St. Peter Port) and Jersey (St. Helier) to Portsmouth with a daytime return.
The Arrow however currently remains serving the Channel Islands as Condor's freight-only ferry Commodore Goodwill entered dry dock last week for routine and remedial repair work.
As for the extensive work undertaken of the Commodore Clipper, this involved a major servicing of the ferry's port main engine and gearbox, ride control system, alternator and overhaul of the ship’s shaft seals. In addition life-saving equipment, monitoring and alarms systems were also repaired and upgraded.
Paul Luxon, Condor’s CEO, confirmed that the refit on 'Clipper' was part of a fleet-wide investment by the company to maintain lifeline services for the Islands.‘All of our ships require regular repairs and servicing for us to provide year-round freight and passenger operations and this is the order of £7.5 million annually. The work alone on Clipper, which is undertaken every other year, costs around £2.7 million. ‘
Mr Luxon added that passengers will also notice some improvements on board. ‘We have refurbished the lounge and restaurant and parts of the vessel will also be repainted. I am delighted that our recently launched Wi-Fi service will also be available on Clipper following installation of the necessary satellite equipment.’
Annually, Condor Ferries which asides UK routes also operates services to France, carries more than 1 million passengers and 200,000 passenger vehicles. The fleet carries 100,000 freight vehicles into the Channel Islands each year as well as exporting tonnes of local produce. As previously reported on Afloat, among such produce the 'Jersey' royal potatoes, see story.
Condor's second high-speed craft Condor Rapide in addition to the aforementioned freightferry Commodore Goodwill operates on the French service out of St. Malo, Brittany.