News

27 May 2015 08:00 - Press Release

Media Statement

Following the berthing incident on 28 March 2015 with Condor Liberation in St Peter Port Harbour, a thorough investigation by Condor Ferries and the Guernsey Harbour Master has now been completed.


The key findings from the detailed report concluded the following:

  • The crew onboard Condor Liberation were suitably trained and highly experienced, and the ship had been fully assessed by all relevant authorities in order to enter service
  • A different choice of settings within the enhanced manoeuvring system may have been more effective in completing the berthing manoeuvre
  • The fendering on some of the berths in the Channel Islands, UK and French ports served by Condor Ferries is inappropriate for high speed craft


Condor Liberation was fully manned as per the Permit to Operate and the Bridge Team was highly experienced, consisting of a Senior Master, Additional Master plus two Chief Officers, and a long serving Chief Engineer, all of whom had been with the ship since her acquisition.


Following the incident, repairs to the protective belting on the ship were completed and approved to the requirements of the ship’s classification body DNV-GL. An interim limit of 25 knots was agreed with the Guernsey Harbour Master for berthing in St Peter Port. Following initial investigations, the Guernsey Harbour Master and Condor Ferries have agreed incremental adjustments to these limits.


Condor Ferries will now work with ports to improve berth fendering, in addition, the company will provide a continual assessment of the ship’s manoeuvring system to identify and implement fine tuning to optimise manoeuvrability.


Captain Fran Collins, Executive Director - Operations at Condor Ferries, said:


“We are pleased to have completed this detailed investigation with the Guernsey Harbour Master. The joint findings confirm that the crew on board were highly experienced; they have been with the ship since her acquisition last year. An appropriate assessment of the expected conditions was completed by the Masters and Operations team before the ship sailed – Condor Liberation was at all times operating within safe limits.

“We have already completed a number of actions, following the incident, including the approved repairs to the ship, agreeing interim berthing limits with the Guernsey Harbour Master and the systematic sharing of information between Masters on the ship with respect to manoeuvring in different conditions.


“In addition, we will work with the ports to improve fendering and the continual assessment of the ship’s manoeuvring system to identify and implement fine tuning to optimise manoeuvrability.”

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27 May 2015 07:41 - Press Release

Berthing incident - summary report

INTRODUCTION

On Saturday 28 March 2015, Condor Liberation suffered minor damage to the port amah, having landed hard against No. 1 berth in St Peter Port, Guernsey. There were no injuries. This report summarises the investigation carried out by Condor Ferries. The investigation was conducted jointly as a company internal investigation and for the external report required by the Guernsey Harbour Master.


BACKGROUND

The incident and resultant damage were of such low severity that third party investigation (other than that conducted by Guernsey Harbours) was not required.


The investigation was carried out by Condor’s Marine Manager, and verified by the Executive Director -Operations and the Safety Director (DPA). The full internal investigation report has been reviewed by the Board of Directors of Condor Ferries Ltd and the Guernsey Harbour Master, and this report is verified as an accurate summary of its findings.


In conducting the investigation, all applicable material and evidence was obtained and reviewed including (but not limited to) Voyage Data Downloads, ECDIS records, maintenance and technical logs, CCTV, crew training logs, vessel familiarisation programme, records of prevailing conditions and witness statements.


DESCRIPTION OF INCIDENT

Condor Liberation sailed from Poole on 28th March, bound for St Peter Port and St Helier. The bridge team consisted of a Senior Master, Additional Master, two Chief Officers and a Chief Engineer.
At 1252, following completion of the ship’s arrival checklist, the vessel was positioned for berthing onto Guernsey Harbour Berth 2. The Additional Master engaged ‘auto’ mode within the manoeuvring system and turned the vessel to port about the turning dolphin. Once parallel to the berth, he gained sternway, and as the ship set away from the berth, he demanded maximum sideways thrust. The vessel maintained heading but continued to set down against the wind, and, at 1255 the attempt was aborted and the vessel positioned in safe water between the Pier Heads.


The Bridge Team reviewed the manoeuvre in light of prevailing conditions and agreed that to berth on No2 berth would, under the circumstances, be an alternative option. Permission was gained from St Peter Port control, and manoeuvring control was transferred to the port bridge wing in ‘auto’ mode by the Senior Master.
The Senior Master’s planned manoeuvre was to back round the turning dolphin at the southern end of No 1 linkspan gaining as much distance upwind as possible. Given the protective steel plate fendering on this dolphin (contact with which is a significant risk to any High Speed Craft) the maximum possible distance was maintained from the dolphin.


As the ship came astern, the wind increased to 28 Kts (gusting 32knts), and the maximum starboard turn was demanded. The vessel began to set heavily towards the berth once the bow had cleared the dolphin. The Master, aware of the limits of the fendering, took evasive action to land the vessel parallel   on the berth and across multiple fenders. This was very nearly achieved but the ship landed heavily on a cylindrical single steel vertical piling.

The point load nature of the impact caused damage to the protective belting on the ship (which is designed to protect the hull of the ship in case of impact), but also caused deformity to some internal frames and minor hull penetration in to a void space. The damage was above the water line.


The vessel subsequently completed the berthing manoeuvre without further issues. Inspection of the damage after arrival resulted in the cancellation of the subsequent legs of the planned voyage, discharging all passengers and being withdrawn from service for repairs. There were no injuries and the vessel remained in a safe condition at all times.


CONCLUSIONS

The investigation concluded the following:

  • When the incident occurred, Condor Liberation and her crew were suitably trained and experienced and had been fully assessed by all relevant authorities in order to enter service.
  • Condor Liberation was fully manned as per the Permit to Operate and the Bridge Team was highly experienced, consisting of a Senior Master (with Condor Liberation since her acquisition), an Additional Master (undergoing vessel specific familiarisation but with many years of experience on High Speed Craft) plus two Chief Officers, and a long serving Chief Engineer, all of whom had been with the ship since her acquisition.
  • Appropriate assessment of the expected conditions was made by Masters and Operations team before confirming that the voyage should proceed.
  • Analysis of voyage data showed positive bridge team procedures and clarity of intended actions throughout.
  • Due to benign conditions during trials, all pre-service port trials conducted in Guernsey and Jersey had only been conducted in moderate conditions.
  • Different use of the settings (i.e. using ‘manual’ rather than ‘auto1’) within the enhanced manoeuvring system may have been more effective in completing the berthing manoeuvre.
  • An enhanced manoeuvring system had been installed to upgrade the original system and to permit manoeuvring of the vessel from the bridge wings in the confined ports in the Channel Islands. This could be operated in either ‘auto’ mode or ‘manual’ mode.
  • The Master’s decision to utilise ‘auto’ mode was reasonable given his previous experiences with the ship but with the additional information gained during the investigation, it is concluded that ‘manual’ mode is more suitable for some operating conditions.
  • The decision to attempt to berth on No 1 was reasonable as there was no evidence to suggest that a further attempt to berth on No 2 would have been successful.
  • The fendering on some of the berths in the Channel Islands, UK and French ports served by Condor is inappropriate for high speed craft.
  • The fendering on some of the berths in the Channel Islands, UK and French ports served by Condor is constructed of steel piles, supported by limited rubber mounts. The surface area presented for the ship to land on is minimal on many of these piles, and the degree of load absorption offered is often very low.

ACTION

Actions to date

  • Repairs completed and approved to the requirements of ship’s classification body DNV-GL
  • Internal investigation carried out and all required external reporting requirements observed
  • Meetings held with manufacturers to determine causal factors and examine options
  • Interim limits (25Kts) for berthing in St Peter Port agreed with Guernsey Harbour Master. Post initial investigations, Guernsey Harbour Master and Condor agreed incremental adjustments to these limits.
  • Systematic sharing of information between Masters on Liberation with respect to manoeuvring in different conditions
  • Manoeuvring system reconfigured to provide an increase in available power and jet angle during berthing
  • Further actions
  • Work with ports to improve berth fendering.
  • Continual assessment of the manoeuvring system to identify and implement fine tuning to optimise manoeuvrability.
  • Lessons learned from this incident will be incorporated into implementation plans for the introduction of other vessels.

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20 May 2015 15:46 - Press Release

Media Response

 Captain Fran Collins, Executive Director – Operations at Condor Ferries, said:


“Since entering service, Condor Liberation has operated more than 90% of her permitted* scheduled rotations, of which approximately 50% operated normally and to schedule whilst about half have been subject to delays. Although many of these delays have been relatively minor, others have been over an hour or more.


“We know we need to improve punctuality and are working hard on doing just that. Our analysis has identified three main factors:


1. Some of the delays have been caused by technical problems, which are expected as a new ship enters service. As we indicated before Condor Liberation entered service, many of her components offer easier access to our engineers than the previous high-speed catamarans, so most of these problems have been resolved overnight or whilst Liberation is sailing, which avoids the need to cancel services.


2. As Islanders will know, the weather can cause unexpected travel disruption and some delays have been caused by poor weather or strong seas.


3. There have also been delays caused by a variety of factors in port and we expect to see improvements once port works are completed in St Peter Port. Our crews are also working to become more adept at managing the complex ‘jigsaw’ of loading the ship which is sometimes taking longer than scheduled.


“Where there have been more complex individual problems, such as with the faulty bow thruster, our crews and engineers have shown tremendous skill and commitment in resolving these problems rapidly and with the minimum disruption to the schedule.


“In times of more severe disruption, we have shown our dedication to the Islands by investing significantly in our contingency measures, which have included chartering MV Arrow and redeploying Condor Express.


“Our route network has also shown its resilience. When weather has disrupted the northern route, we have been able to maintain inter-island sailings by adjusting Condor Rapide’s schedule to ensure that islanders are able to travel between the islands. This included offering services to support inter-Island sporting events.


“It is also important to note that throughout periods of disruption, we have maintained freight supplies which continue to operate smoothly.


“We understand the frustration that sailing disruption causes to islanders but Condor Liberation’s service is improving as we work through these early problems.”

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19 May 2015 14:36 - General Press Release

Rough Crossing 18th May '15

Media response                                                                                                     19 May 2015

 

Captain Fran Collins, Executive Director – Operations, said:

“Condor Liberation sailed from Jersey to Poole on 18 May after the forecast showed that wave heights would be within acceptable limits.  Although conditions remained within permissible limits, the sailing encountered some rough seas, which our professional weather forecasting service had not predicted.

“Although there was considerable discomfort for passengers, the ferry operated safely throughout the crossing.

“Condor Liberation is a monohull vessel with two stabilising structures either side of the hull. These stabilisers do have a much lower draft than the hull and are designed to leave the water in certain conditions.

“When our vessels do experience rough seas, it is normal practice to ask passengers to remain in their seats and for the crew to close the retail outlets, very much in the same way that air passengers are asked to do the same when experiencing turbulence whilst flying. 

“I can assure all Islanders that Condor Ferries places the highest priority on safety, hence our decision to cancel Tuesday’s sailings because of predicted poor weather.  Unpredictable seas are an unfortunate factor of living on and operating ferry services to an Island, but we will always do our best to keep our Islands connected and supplied and to look after our customers as well as possible.”

07 May 2015 12:30 - General Press Release

Celebrate the Liberation of the Channel Islands with Condor Ferries

This weekend the Channel Islands will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Islands’ liberation at the end of the war in Europe. With a full weekend of events and activities across both Guernsey and Jersey, visitors will be able join in the celebrations and find out more about the wartime experiences of the Islands which were the only places in the British Isles to be occupied by Nazi Germany during World War II.


The Channel Islands were occupied for almost five years up until 9th May 1945 (the day after VE Day) when the German forces in both islands finally surrendered to a Task Force sent to liberate them. The Channel Islands’ liberation is an important part of their heritage and visitors not lucky enough to join in the celebrations on Saturday can still explore the Islands’ rich history whenever they visit.


From the War Tunnels and Occupation Museum in Jersey, St Peter Port’s Castle Cornet in Guernsey, as well as a number of heritage walk trails, visitors can learn all about the Islands’ rich heritage and history throughout the year. Located just three hours from the UK, the Channel Islands are the ideal destination for a weekend break or day trip getaway – and with Condor Ferries fast ferry sailings running throughout the year from Poole, visitors can be soaking up the Islands rich history in no time.


Earlier this year, Condor Ferries introduced its new £50 million state-of-the-art new ferry, Condor Liberation into service which was named by Channel Islanders in honour of the 70th anniversary of their Liberation.
Alicia Andrews, Executive Director - Commercial at Condor Ferries, commented:


“Condor Ferries was founded in the Channel Islands more than 50 years ago; we are proud to have kept our Islands connected and supplied for so many years and to have deep roots with both the Guernsey and Jersey. The legacy of the occupation is still very evident throughout the Islands today with numerous historic installations in both Islands that you can visit.


“We’re proud that we have been able to mark this important anniversary in a small way with the name of our brand new ship, Condor Liberation, and we hope to welcome many passengers onboard this summer who want to find out more about these fascinating Islands.”


Watch Condor Ferries Liberation Day video shot on 9th May 2014 which gives a flavour of the celebrations planned to mark the 70th anniversary of the Channel Islands’ liberation here.


All journeys to the Channel Islands from Poole are onboard on Condor Liberation, offering improved reliability, increased capacity, and a much greater level of comfort with smoother journeys. The new ship represents £50m of investment in the Channel Islands, securing the future of high speed ferry travel to the Islands.

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