New Scilly ferry delayed because there has been too much rain

The new fast ferry Atlantic Wolff from Harland & Wolff in dry dock in Portsmouth. It is expected to enter into operations late in June
-Credit: (Image: Scilly Ferries / Facebook)


A new ferry service from mainland Cornwall to the Isles of Scilly is delayed again because rain has hampered its paint job. Atlantic Wolff is the new passenger ferry aiming to take on the Scillonian III, the historic service provider that operates between Penzance and St Mary's on the Isles of Scilly.

Announced by Belfast shipbuilder Harland & Wolff last year, the new ferry has been under construction for the last few months. The ship, which will be operated by H&W's new company Scilly Ferries, had been due to enter into service in May with H&W claiming its service will be faster than the existing service from Isles of Scilly Steamship Group.

However it was hit by a few setbacks and the launch date was postponed until June. Now Harland & Wolff's boss John Wood has revealed that the early June launch will likely be delayed too, because the rain we have had over the past few months has delayed the paint job.

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In a message on Scilly Ferries' Facebook page, he said that Atlantic Wolff is reaching the end of her drydocking period in Portsmouth and is sporting her new colours inside and out.

He added: "Unfortunately, the torrential downpours we have been experiencing over the past few weeks have been very unkind to us with the majority of our efforts being hampered by rain. With the specialist paint coatings we have been applying, it is critical that the correct level of humidity exists, and unfortunately over the past few weeks, the conditions have been a struggle.

"This has had the unfortunate knock-on effect of pushing the next stage of our in-water approval process to obtain our Passenger Certificate which means that we will not be in a position to commence sailings as early in June as we had envisaged."

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Mr Wood said that the work should be completed this week and the vessel should be back on the water on Wednesday June 5 when H&W will undertake test deployment of the emergency evacuation system.

He added: "While things have been slower coming together than we had hoped, we are truly excited by what our new ferry has to offer and feel she will become part of the local community in no time as her bright yellow hull becomes a regular sight on the skyline, making travel between the mainland and islands so much more accessible for day trippers, holidaymakers, and residents alike.

"We fully understand that this delay and disruption is not ideal, and we are working round the clock to make this happen. As we have done with the existing bookings to-date, we will look after our customers and honour the price secured for those having made a reservation as alternative arrangements are made. Our team will be in touch shortly in relation to this."

The Atlantic Wolff fast ferry service is now expected to start its operation later in June.