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MP’s alienation of Islanders almost complete!

posted Mar 16, 2011, 4:55 AM by Richard Cliffe   [ updated Mar 16, 2011, 5:16 AM ]

The Cornishman online (www.thisiscornwall.co.uk) 16 March 2011 reported Cornwall Councils proposed £5 million increased contribution to the IOS Ferry Link Proejct prior to the deadline for the decision on 31 March 2011. 

 The item went on to record Andrew George MP’s support for Penzance Business Network’s Option Pz+ which is Option Pz plus the IOSSC fall back option of IOSSC privately financing 2 second hand replacement vessels. 

The MP is quoted as saying "I think their submission has tremendous merit and it's a very fine proposal. I would prefer it."

Click here for link to article.


 The MP’s comments are likely to be seen as the final sell out by the MP because the proposed fall-back option falls well short of the what the Scillonian III has provided in the past and offers no hope at all of a winter ferry service in the future – a service the Islander’s had for 70 years from 1920 to 1990.  With the BIH helicopter service on its last legs it is a service they desperately need. It may look good in the harbour but is it really a lifeline vessel - expert opinion is that it is not.  

 The IOSCC proposal involves buying two second hand vessels.  Key point about the ferry are:

·         Aesthetically pleasing vessel based on super yacht – will look good in harbour (see here).

·         Much smaller with expected worse ride and approx 320 pax limit after modifications.

·         Slower with an expected 3 hour crossing (service speed 12.5  max 14 knots).

·         Requires major modifications to take the sea bed, carry luggage and provide missing facilities.

·         Designed for short 20 minute crossings between Demark & Sweden in relatively sheltered waters.

·         Raises difficult licencing issues for the Maritime & Coastguard Agency.

·         No prospect of a winter ferry service (due to cost and unsuitability of vessel for heavier sea.

The proposal (both vessels + modifications) requires the IOSSC shareholders to bet the entire value of the company to finance the cost estimated at £12  -  £14 million).  Will the IOSSC need a Government bailout to sustain this solution?  The RP vessel charter proposal is relatively low risk to the IOSSC.  Furthermore, shareholders who live on the Islands are taking this risk for a solution which gives them less than they have today.