A Condor ferry which struck the seabed off Guernsey last week is expected to be out of service until August 26, the company confirmed yesterday.
“Complex” repairs in dry dock in Falmouth are required to the Commodore Clipper following the incident on July 14.
Condor is to transfer Clipper passengers onto its high-speed ferries and hopes to charter a replacement vessel to carry freight from the UK mainland to the Channel Islands.
An interim schedule being operated by freight-only vessel Goodwill continues to keep the Channel Islands supplied with essential goods.
Condor will operate three extra sailings over the period from Weymouth to provide extra capacity for passengers in addition to 14 weekly sailings which operate during the summer holidays.
“As a result, there is sufficient capacity to accommodate all guests who were booked to travel on Commodore Clipper, and all affected guests are being contacted and offered alternative sailings on the high-speed ferries,” the company said.
Chief executive James Fulford said: “We are completely committed to keeping our islands connected and supplied via the lifeline service which we provide.
“Our staff are working around the clock both to minimise disruption for our customers and to put in place the most robust contingency arrangements as our top priority.
“Our fleet management team is working around the clock to secure the very best freight charter solution as early as we can. I hope to announce this imminently.”
He added: “Operating ships from the Channel Islands presents particular challenges in terms of the sea conditions and the characteristics of the historic ports.
“Combined with the decline in shipping and small ships worldwide, this means there are very few ships which are compatible with our islands’ needs. As a result it has not been possible to secure a direct replacement for Clipper which combines passengers and freight.
“I would like to thank our customers for their patience and understanding as we work our way through the rebooking process, prioritising those travelling soonest.
“I’d also like to pay tribute to the dry dock team in Falmouth who are working 24 hours a day to repair Clipper to the highest possible standard and to our teams helping freight customers and our guests rearrange their travel plans.”
The incident remains the subject of an investigation by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch.
“Whilst the quasi-judicial process is underway, Condor will not be commenting or speculating on the cause of the incident,” the firm said.
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