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Channel Islands Operator Condor Ferries Achieve International Accreditation for Covid-19 Measures

25th July 2020
Condor Ferries achieve international accredition for Covid-19 measures. Above AFLOAT's photo of the operator's main UK-Channel Islands serving ship ropax Commodore Clipper (stern view) arriving at St. Peter Port, Guernsey. On the aft weather deck crew prepare for berthing with parked refridgerated truck-trailers. Also can be seen is the harbour's pierhead 'castlellated' lighthouse. Condor Ferries achieve international accredition for Covid-19 measures. Above AFLOAT's photo of the operator's main UK-Channel Islands serving ship ropax Commodore Clipper (stern view) arriving at St. Peter Port, Guernsey. On the aft weather deck crew prepare for berthing with parked refridgerated truck-trailers. Also can be seen is the harbour's pierhead 'castlellated' lighthouse. Photo: Jehan Ashmore

English Channal operator, Condor Ferries (which Brittany Ferries acquired as part of a consortium) has become the first international ferry company to be recognised for steps taken to safeguard passengers, employees and crew against Coronavirus.

The accreditation has been awarded by DNV GL, the world’s leading classification society, which has audited Condor’s safety management systems, communications material and other measures introduced since March of this year. The assessment recognises the efforts of the company in safeguarding crews and essential passengers carried on its freight ships. (among them above ropax Commodore Clipper. See related cargo: 'Jersey Royal' potatoes).

Elwyn Dop, Condor’s Operations Director, said: “This is a very positive and important endorsement of our unrelenting effort to ensure the right safety protocols are in place to ensure the delivery of lifeline services to the Islands. I would like to thank the team for their meticulous planning and attention to detail which has led us to being recognised in this way.”

“Ensuring the health and safety of their crews and passengers is a priority for ferry operators. The DNV GL’s COVID-19 Statement of Compliance was developed to help these companies demonstrate that they have adopted effective COVID-19 measures, as their services are now running again after the lockdown. We are pleased to award Condor with this international accreditation and to ensure that their ferries continue to operate in the safest conditions,” says Torgeir Sterri, West Europe Regional Manager, DNV GL – Maritime.

Condor, which sails from Poole and Portsmouth to the Channel Islands and St Malo, France, has welcomed more than 5,600 passengers onboard its ferries since services resumed earlier this month, with customers reassured by the new safety measures put in place. The company has received many compliments and positive feedback.

The ferry firm introduced a range of measures due to Covid-19 including an enhanced hygiene procedure which increases the frequency of cleaning in line with up-to-date international guidance and all staff issued with additional Personal Protection Equipment.

Other protocols comprised of mandatory face coverings for all passengers aged over 11, self-service for food and beverage, floor-distancing markers and protection screens installed plus contactless payments for shopping onboard. At all ports, passengers are notified to check in earlier than usual to ensure safe embarkation.

These measures have been successfully used on Condor’s conventional and high-speed passenger services from the UK and France.

Among the high-speed craft Afloat adds is the Austal-built Condor Liberation which entered service in 2015. 

In addition for ferry enthusiasts Afloat reflected on Condor Freight's predecessor Commodore whose 70th anniversary freight operations included a ro-ro ferry that previously was chartered to Irish Sea operator B+I Line in 1981.

Published in Ferry
Jehan Ashmore

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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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