Complaint Over Lack Of Penzance Quay Waiting Facilities
A St Mary’s guesthouse owner says he’s disgusted that elderly people and children had to wait for over one hour in driving rain on Penzance Quay to board the Scillonian III.
Santa Maria owner Andy Chesterman has complained to the Steamship Company and the Islands’ Partnership after his experience on the afternoon of Friday 21st August. That’s the day when flights were grounded by fog and a double boat sailing was arranged.
But the Steamship Company say they are not in charge of quay infrastructure and all they can do is push for future upgrades.
Andy was stuck at Newquay Airport when he was transferred by the company to Penzance to catch the second boat sailing, along with air passengers from Exeter and Land’s End.
Andy says people were checked through to the end of the quay, but had to wait an hour in the pouring rain for the boat to berth and the arriving passengers to disembark.
He says they were soaked to the skin and should not have been left on the dockside without shelter.
Andy felt that the air passengers at least could have been transferred an hour later to avoid the problems and he’s concerned that this experience might dissuade people from returning to the islands.
In a statement to Radio Scilly, the Steamship Company say that they do take complaints very seriously and will take on-board “any relevant learning points” for future operations.
But they point out that they also received compliments about how the double sailing was handled. And they say they went to great lengths to accommodate passengers who were unable to fly because of the weather.
Arranging a double sailing was part of dealing with that problem.
Steamship Company staff worked until midnight repatriating 377 passengers travelling on the second sailing from St Mary’s to Penzance.
A modern quayside waiting area was proposed as part of the failed Route Partnership scheme. That £64m project, which would have also funded a bespoke boat, was rejected following squabbling within the community in Penzance.
The company say they will continue to press the case for suitable improvements and hope that this may be addressed by any future regeneration scheme for the harbour area.