FRIST Tell Minister There’s No Second-Hand Scillonian Replacement

The Friends of Isles of Scilly Transport group say there is no second hand vessel available, anywhere in the world, to replace the Scillonian III.

And they allege this was contrary to what the Steamship Company told the transport minister, Norman Baker, before he turned down funding for a new £26m vessel as part of the Route Partnership scheme.

FRIST have used the allegation as part of a campaign for a year-round lifeline service. They argue private operators can afford new vessels if there’s a government commitment to their use, in the same way that new passenger rail rolling stock is procured by leasing companies.

FRIST has offered the minister evidence from a major shipping broker, Clarksons, which supports their claim that there’s no suitable second hand boat to replace the 35-year-old Scillonian III.

But the Steamship Company disagrees with FRIST’s comments. Chief Executive Jeff Marston told Radio Scilly news that the company board will keep open their vessels’ options review to identify a replacement for their boats when appropriate. Both one and two ship options will be considered, he said.

They’ll also include the possibility of procuring a second hand vessels or commissioning a new build.

FRIST say in their statement that Minister Norman Baker reassured them, and the two delegates from the Council, that he would study shipping expert Clarksons’ views on replacement ships carefully and that he “would need to see the impact on Scilly’s economy of the loss of the helicopter service, but promised to keep the door open for further discussions.”

However, The Department for Transport told us last night that they wanted to make it clear that Mr Baker would discuss general Scilly transport issues and has wasn’t agreeing to further discussions on just the vessel.


3 Responses to FRIST Tell Minister There’s No Second-Hand Scillonian Replacement

  1. Adam Morton,St.Martins November 8, 2012 at 10:27 am

    I suppose it depends on “suitable” for what? Sitting out the recession with as cheaply as possible or trying to reverse scillies economic trend with the tourists?From what i can gather there are three options:To have a new large freight /passenger ship,This makes dubiouse sence as to gain any speed will require masive horspower ,making it a “gas guzzler”and therby more expensive fares & freight.The shallow draught would also make the ship hardly any more comfortable than scillonian III and still provide no cover during annual maintainence.
    Second option,to have a cheap 2nd hand freighter and a fast ,passenger only ferry probably a multihull constructed out of aluminium symilar to those common in USA & Australia,the journey could be cut to just over an hour but would probably be hamperd by bad weather more than scillonian III is. Carrying freight would not be an option as weight burns fuel =more expensive.
    Third option ,to construct two medium speed catamaran ferries with shallow draught & good fuel economy,They only need have 300 passenger capacity and could run twice a day on apposing trips in summer ,once in winter.They would only need a small freight capacity due to the regularity of the service.there would be cover over maintainence periods and extra capacity when its needed.Due to the smaller size they need cost little more than the multi purpose vessle to build but have conciderably lower running costs and should cope with most weather that scillonian III can and offer a much more stable ride ,slightly quicker,and using the same ammount of fuel.This would mean a large outlay in capital but should be fairly economic to run.From reading variouse reports and studies on ferries to the scottish islands it would seem to be possibly the most apropriate way forward.I dont think there is any point in changing anything unless it improves; Economy & fares, timing & regularity of service,passenger comfort and or journy time.and we can all wish for freight reduction ha ha.

    • Nobby Nobbs November 8, 2012 at 7:12 pm

      I can’t disagree with any of that and a fast 1 hr journey twice a day in the summer would be brilliant, however you’re over looking one thing; The Steamship co has a monopoly so they have no need to buy a new new boat, in fact they have no need to do anything, they can just carry on as normal.

      • Adam Morton,St.Martins November 9, 2012 at 10:41 am

        I have not overlooked it,merly not mentioned it.Probably 80% of scilly have either shares in the co or members of the family working in it ,Any suggestions of change or responsibility will be veiwed as an attack on the co and consiquently not supported widley enough ,(very symilar to all matters council).Personally I think FRIST could better spend their time ascertaining if a joint venture with the IOSSco would be feasable and if not saying so!However I suspect that they too know this would be a dead end as a popular front as to gain any government backing would require universal support and some sort of undertaking to provide some levle of public service in return for the capital!
        But yes I agree they dont need to do anything.