Scillonian III To Remain In Service Until 2018

The Steamship Company intends to keep the Scillonian III in service until at least 2018.

Chairman Andrew May announced the directors’ decision on board the vessel on Saturday, during the boat’s 35th birthday celebration.

Andrew said the decision to maintain and update the current boat rather than buy a new one now, follows an “arduous twelve-month vessel option review” which sought “expert independent opinion.”

Andrew says the board is committed to the route and he says he’s proud of the company’s 100-year history and role as one of the biggest employers on the islands.

When asked whether there would need to be significant work on the Scillonian III to keep her in service until 2018, Andrew said they would pull forward their planned maintenance programme and add to that to improve the customer experience.

He says it’ll be more than a lick and a polish.

Chairman Andrew May (left) and CEO, Jeff Marston, on board the Scillonian III

From Radio Scilly

Chairman, Andrew May talks to Radio Scilly’s Keri Jones

The boat had a £2m refit in 1999 and four years ago, consultant Hart Fenton’s survey of the boat stated that the vessel would be fit for continued service until 2018, if maintained.

The decision to extend the working life of the vessel will give the company more time to investigate options for the future, which Andrew says they’re ‘very excited’ about.

The company is looking at vessels around the world operating on similar routes to see if they’re fit for purpose and they’ve made progress on identifying a ship, says Andrew.

They still haven’t decided on a one or two-ship solution but remain ‘open-minded’ and they’re also not ruling out a new-build. The failed Route Partnership costed a purpose built vessel at £26m.

Andrew says they’ve operated a two-vessel solution for many years, which has served the islands well, but they have to take into account the changing market in freight and passengers and refine their plans accordingly.

Andrew says the company’s finances are getting stronger each year and that widens their options.

He said they could invest in a freight vessel now, but would rather wait until they’ve decided on the correct strategy for the future.

Their commercial activities will be organised by a new Group Commercial Manager, Nick Sander, who took up his position last week.