Thursday, 10 June 2010

Landing facilities delay Severn Link service between Ilfracombe and Swansea

Due to the delay in establishing landing facilities and an overnight lay-over berth in Swansea, original plans to commence services for the Severn Link Ferry in the spring of 2010 have now been postponed. Geoff Metcalf, Managing Director of Severn Link said, “This is bitterly disappointing but, unfortunately out of our control. Although both ferries are up and running and have undertaken sea-trials without appropriate landing facilities we clearly cannot operate or be granted a full licence by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) Services are set to run between Ilfracombe and Swansea and, following the unprecedented level of interest, planning for further services between Cardiff / Penarth, Ilfracombe and Minehead is well underway. But no services can run until appropriate, MCA approved landing facilities and an overnight lay-over berth, which acts as the company’s official operating point, have been completed at Swansea. Geoff Metcalf said, “The council are working closely with Severn Link to ensure some landing facilities will be available to launch the service, although not exclusively to Severn Link, but as part of their overall development plans. Severn Link would like to thank Swansea City Council for their ongoing support. We have been offered a temporary berth from August, but this is so late in the season, that by the time the MCA have had chance to do their final checks and we’ve run our trials from this point, we will be well into the autumn. So, while it is possible that we may be able to run some limited trial services it is with huge regret that we will have to postpone the full launch until next year.Assuming that permanent facilities will be made available by early next year, it is therefore likely that both the Swansea-Ilfracombe and other routes will launch at the same time. Geoff continued, “We’ve had a remarkable response from the public and from businesses on both sides of the channel. We would like to thank everyone for their enormous support and enthusiasm and assure you that we are all working as hard as we can to bring even a limited or restricted service to fruition as soon as possible. In the meantime, we’re continuing to work with investors, local authorities and the Welsh Assembly Government to put into place the necessary inshore infrastructure at Swansea and on the other projected routes so we can run a fully comprehensive service in 2011.”