Friday 9 November 2018

Construction of a new ferry to serve the Isles of Scilly could save Appledore shipyard!

FRIST has issued the following press release:

Immediate release Friday 9 November 2018

The Friends of Isles of Scilly Transport (FRIST) has called on the Members of Parliament concerned (Derek Thomas MP, St Ives and Penzance) and Geoffrey Cox QC MP (Torridge and West Devon including Appledore) to seek support from Nusrat Ghani MP, Minister for Shipping, to come up with a solution to provide a new ferry for the Isles of Scilly and preserve jobs in Appledore. 

Scilly needs a new ship to replace the aging 41 year old Scillonian III which was built at Appledore Shipyard, with the help of a Government interest free loan, and launched in 1977.  Appledore Shipyard is now threatened with closure with the loss of hundreds of skilled engineering jobs. What better way to preserve highly skilled jobs and retain the shipbuilding tradition than to have a new ferry built in the same yard? 

FRIST co-ordinator, Marian Berkeley, said ‘It is particularly striking that Appledore Shipyard, a significant icon in the maritime history of the South West and key local employer, is being allowed to fall silent with little protest when there is an urgent need for a purpose designed replacement ferry able to maintain the lifeline link between Penzance and the Isles of Scilly.’

Fully approved plans for a new ferry to provide an all year around service were prepared only a few years ago for the Route Partnership – a collaborative project between Cornwall Council, the Council of the Isles of Scilly and other stakeholders. Copy of General Arrangement of the ship proposed by the Route Partnership is attached. The estimated cost of this ferry was in the order of £20m, very similar to the estimated redundancy payments due to the Appledore workforce. Why not invest the money on something that will benefit Islanders and North Devon in the long term?

Further information Marian Berkeley FRIST Co-ordinator, 07770 341302,

Notes to the Editor

The Scillonian III cost £1.7 million to build in 1977 and the Government provided an interest free loan of £1 million to the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company repayable over 12 years. The loan was fully repaid.

The current ferry service operates from Easter until the end of October. There is a separate freight vessel that operates all year around. Islanders rely on air travel during the winter months which is expensive and unreliable due to susceptibility to bad weather.

The Isles of Scilly Steamship Company has sought to replace both the Scillonian III and the Gry Maritha freight vessel. The Mali Rose, procured over a year ago as the intended replacement for the Gry Maritha has been dogged with engineering and operational issues.

Attachment – General Arrangement of new ferry for the Route Partnership - here.

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