24 March 2016 12:24 - Ferry News

Rapide Update

Condor Rapide is back in service today having completed her annual essential maintenance and refit. Condor Liberation, Commodore Clipper and Commodore Goodwill are operating as normal today.

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21 March 2016 18:06 - Press Release

Media Statement

Our published contingency plan says that, in the event of a high speed ferry being out of service for more than 1-2 weeks, we will explore chartering a suitable replacement.  Condor Liberation successfully completed her scheduled rotations this weekend and Condor Rapide returns to service on Thursday to cover busy Easter sailings on the route between the Islands and France. 

However, we are aware that public confidence is at a very low point and so the Island Authorities asked us to look at the option of chartering a stand-by HSC over the Easter period in recognition of the current situatio 

As a result, we have been in dialogue over recent days with Brittany Ferries, jointly investigating the practicality of a short charter of the Normandie Express before she goes back into service at the end of April on the routes from Portsmouth to Normandy.

Chartering a ship is not as simple as it might first seem. There are a number of critical steps that must be taken before the ship can enter service:

  • It’s more complicated to charter a high speed ferry than a conventional ship.
  • The ship (and company) must add the route to the Permit to Operate, which takes several days to arrange
  • There must be suitably trained crews available to cover the planned schedule
  • Those crews must be certified and trained, not only in the detailed operation of the ship, but for each of the ports/routes on which they will sail
  • Berthing and ramp trials must be carried out in each port and detailed route risk assessments must be completed, as well as the risk assessments for all operations in the ports
  • Pilotage requirements must be considered if the charter ship doesn’t offer Masters with the necessary pilotage exemptions for Channel Island waters.
  • French flagged ships,  like Normandie Express,  may only be operated by French nationals, or by those holding a French Certificate of Equivalence, which takes time to achieve and officers are also required to undertake a French law exam (in French). 

Despite thorough investigation, Brittany Ferries and Condor Ferries have concluded that given the regulatory and operational matters outlined above and the lack of crew availability, it is not possible to overcome these matters in time for a charter over the Easter period.

Condor would like to thank Brittany Ferries, the Island Authorities and their advisors for their close cooperation and support in recent daysWe will continue to actively consider practical alternative charter options for our passenger services in line with our published contingency plan. 

With Liberation back in service since Saturday and Rapide already refloated after her dock, we remain completely focused on delivering a reliable service with our existing fleet. 

We know how important the Easter getaway will be for all our customers and are totally focussed on improving the operational services at the same time as delivering improvements to our customer services - as both are vital to rebuilding confidence in our company.  

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19 March 2016 11:18 - Press Release

Contingency planning

During times of disruption we always take a prudent approach to planning our contingencies. As per our published contingency plan, this includes exploring charter options.

This week we have already demonstrated our commitment to keeping the Islands connected and supplied by chartering freight ship MV Arrow.

Condor Liberation is back in service and we are running the revised schedule as published on Thursday, with the normal schedule expected to resume on Monday, and Condor Rapide due back into service in time for the busy Easter period.

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18 March 2016 20:20 - Press Release

Media Statement - 20:20 Update

 Media Statement.

Following a re-inspection this afternoon from the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA), Condor Liberation will return to service tomorrow (Saturday 19 March).

All of the matters identified by the MCA inspection were rectified ahead of yesterday’s inspection by our Flag State and Classification Body. Today’s re-inspection by the MCA confirms that Condor Liberation is achieving the highest standards of safety.

The contingency plans that were put in place this week will have maintained the lifeline passenger links for the Channel Islands, with around 70% of passengers offered travel on their booked day and all passengers travelling within 24 hours of their booking. By chartering MV Arrow, we have ensured that freight services were unaffected throughout. Nevertheless, we would like to apologise to our customers who have experienced disruption and delays over the last few days or will have disrupted travel this weekend.

We want to reassure our customers that we only ever sail any of our ships when we and our regulators are satisfied that they are safe. Inspections are part of ensuring that safety and we welcome them.

Next week, Condor Rapide will return to service as scheduled on Wednesday (23 March), following her planned maintenance in dry dock, ahead of the busy Easter holiday period.

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18 March 2016 07:00 - Press Release

Media Statement - March 18th

 Media Statement 18 March 2016

Over the past two days, we have been as open as possible regarding the recent MCA inspection of Condor Liberation. We outlined that issues relating to ongoing repairs on the propulsion and steering systems led to the Detention Notice and that the inspection had highlighted a number of other issues. We have been clear that the MCA inspection process is ongoing and that Saturday’s return to service for Condor Liberation is dependent on the successful conclusion of that process. We have not commented in detail or shared the MCA’s report. That is because the report is not ours to share, and because it is not appropriate to comment on the detail whilst the inspection process is ongoing. However, we are aware that information from the MCA’s report has been published in some media outlets and on social media, and so are issuing this further statement.

We understand why, particularly without the detail which lies behind the terminology used, customers may be concerned to read some of the information which has been published. Until the inspection process has concluded it would be inappropriate for us to provide or comment on that detail.

However, we want to reassure our customers that we only ever sail any of our ships when we and our regulators are satisfied that they are safe. Inspections are part of ensuring that safety and we welcome them.

As is normal, the MCA made a number of observations during its inspection regarding ship equipment and procedures. As always, these will help the company achieve the highest standards of safety. For example, fire drills are regularly carried out as part of normal operations and regular inspections, and the MCA made some helpful observations – which did not form part of the Detention Notice – regarding the routine fire drills carried out during their inspection.

All of the matters identified by the MCA were rectified yesterday ahead of inspection by our Flag State and Classification Body, and we now await the MCA’s re-inspection. Once Liberation is back in service, we will be happy to discuss the MCA’s report in more detail and explain why their inspections are a welcome and helpful part of ensuring that we achieve the highest standards of safety.

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17 March 2016 14:30 - Press Release

Media Statement - 17th March

All of the matters highlighted in Tuesday’s MCA inspection have now been rectified and Condor Liberation is currently undergoing re-inspection by the Flag State and Classification Society (DNV-GL). The MCA will re-inspect the ship tomorrow. Subject to that re-inspection being completed satisfactorily, Condor Liberation will return to service on Saturday.

We have put in place the contingency plan as published yesterday. Our charter freight ship, MV Arrow is on her way to the Channel Islands, so that Commodore Clipper can concentrate on passenger services.

We have developed the following plan for Friday and Saturday which will mean freight services are unaffected and which will allow around 70% of our passengers to travel on their expected day (albeit many of them on a different ship and/or at a different time) and all within 24 hours of original booking. Sunday’s services are expected to operate as normal:

Friday passengers' update

  • Freight services will be unaffected. Charter ship MV Arrow will take over Clipper’s schedule from Friday afternoon.
  • Passengers who were booked to travel southbound from Jersey to St Malo on Friday will be offered travel on a later sailing which will be operated by Commodore Clipper.
  • Passengers who were booked to travel northbound from France to the Channel Islands on Friday night, will be offered a full refund or travel on the next available sailing (which will be Saturday morning)
  • Passengers travelling southbound from the UK to the Channel Islands on Friday, will travel via Commodore Clipper
  • Passengers booked to travel northbound from the Channel Islands to the UK on Friday will be contacted and offered the choice of a full refund or travel on the next available sailing (which will be on Saturday night via Commodore Clipper)

Saturday passengers' update

  • Passengers who were booked to travel between the Channel Islands and France on Saturday will be offered travel on one of the new sailings as outlined below
  • All passengers travelling southbound from the UK to the Channel Islands on Saturday will travel via Condor Liberation (subject to her planned return to service) – this includes passengers who were booked to travel on Commodore Clipper
  • Passengers booked to travel northbound from the Channel Islands to the UK on Saturday night will be unaffected

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16 March 2016 14:30 - Press Release

Media Update - 1400

Condor Ferries, said:

Yesterday’s routine annual inspection of Condor Liberation by the MCA and Affaires Maritimes coincided with planned repair and maintenance to the propulsion and steering systems on a non-sailing day. Consequently, the MCA found that until these systems were back in working order, the ship would be subject to a Detention Order. As is usual, a number of other matters were identified during the inspection, all of which will also be rectified before the ship returns to service.

Once the repairs are complete, as a result of the Order, the ship will undergo re-inspection by the MCA (and all our port states), our classification body (DNV-GL) and our flag state (the Bahamas). Regrettably, the need for re-inspection following the successful completion of the repairs and maintenance means that our operating schedule will be disrupted for at least part of this weekend. Liberation is expected to return to service in a matter of days; the exact return to service date is expected to be confirmed tomorrow (Thursday 17 March).

We have enacted the contingency as published on our website which says that, when one high speed ferry is in dry dock and the other is unexpectedly out of service, we will:

- Reschedule our conventional ferries to provide alternative sailings

- Bring in a charter ship to support freight services

- Reschedule additional sailings of Liberation once she is back in service

We are today cancelling Liberation’s sailing from Jersey to St Malo for Thursday 17 March.This is the only service she was scheduled to operate tomorrow.

We will provide a further update for weekend travel no later than 12 noon on Thursday 17 March.

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16 March 2016 11:20 - Press Release

Media Statement

Condor Ferries, said:

Condor’s engineers have been working on non-sailing days to rectify the faults on Condor Liberation which have affected recent sailings. This includes work on the propulsion and steering systems. The MCA and Affairs Maritimes conducted a joint, routine inspection on Tuesday 15 March whilst this repair work was underway and as a result issued a Detention Order. Until the issues identified are resolved and the repairs are complete, the ship is unable to sail. A further update will be issued at 1400.

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01 March 2016 17:34 - Press Release

Condor invests in new ferry booking and operations system.

Condor Invests in New Booking System Condor Ferries has invested £1 million in CarRes, a modern and robust booking and ferry operations system developed by a global, specialist technology firm and used by 30 ferry companies worldwide.

CarRes brings several improvements for customers including the ability to print their boarding card at home up to 24 hours before their sailing, removing the need to visit the check in desk at the port.

Condor Ferries’ customers will be able to use an updated online booking interface that has been optimised following extensive customer research with Jersey-based company 4insight, and customers will be able to make online amendments to bookings. In fact, all amendments made online and more than seven days in advance of departure, will be free following the introduction of CarRes.

Noel Harrison, Executive Director – Chief Financial Officer at Condor Ferries says: “We’ve been working on the implementation of CarRes for over 12 months and testing the system for several months. Of course, as with all technology projects, there may be glitches so we will appreciate our customers’ patience should they encounter any issues.”

With the introduction of CarRes, Condor is taking the opportunity to simplify its fare structure to make it easier for passengers to understand the pricing they are quoted. The changes will be revenue neutral and customers will still find the best prices when they book early and online.

NB: Customers travelling to France have to comply with EU security regulations that require them to register their advance passenger information (API) online before they arrive at their departure port. This includes entering their full name, date of birth and nationality into CarRes via an easy-to-use interface.

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