Poor Condor Ferries cannot get a break despite investing £50m in a new ship.
Also, Europe is probably over-represented in the world’s most congested cities. Avoid Monday and Tuesday rush hours in the Netherlands. Buyers line up for MyFerryLink, and Austria’s major Arlberg Tunnel shuts for the summer.
TERRIBLE START FOR CONDOR LIBERATION
A succession of unfortunate incidents spoil debut of Condor’s new ferry.
The €50m Liberation was supposed to mark a new beginning for Condor Ferries.
But self-inflicted delays on the maiden voyage, immediate weather cancellations, ridicule in the national newspapers – and a crash – must have left the Channel Islands operator wondering why it had bothered.
Captain Fran Collins, executive director operations, said, ‘No-one is more disappointed than we are that the combination of the very unfortunate incident at the weekend and some really severe weather has caused this disruption in Condor Liberation’s first week in service.’
The first sailing last Friday suffered a delayed departure of sixty minutes and eventually reached Poole two and a half hours behind schedule.
BBC South Transport Correspondent @PaulCliftonBBC, on board, said, ‘Staff seem confused how to load it in Guernsey.’
Even before then services on the Sunday had been cancelled owing to bad weather.
(In theory, Liberation is able to sail in much worse weather than its predecessors but has been restricted initially pending further sea trials later in the year.)
On Saturday’s return voyage the ship ‘landed hard’ on the berth in high winds and damaged a section of protective belting according to a statement.
Liberation had been expected to return to service ‘within a few days’ but, thanks to continued poor weather, the company is yet to announce when it will resume services.
In the meantime, predecessor fast ferry Express has been pressed back into service and another conventional ship has been chartered. Passengers have been refunded the cost of any upgrades and offered free food and drink during crossings.
Finally, attempts to ridicule Condor’s wacky new safety video, above, may have back fired.
However, reader reactions to both articles was much more positive.
Broadly typical was TJ in the Daily Mail who said, ‘It may be corny but it made me chuckle’.
Update Saturday 4 April: Condor said today that repairs have been completed and that Liberation would return to service tomorrow (Sunday 5 April).
roundup: NETHERLANDS. The worst jams are during Monday and Tuesday’s morning rush hours according to a new survey reported by DutchNews.nl. Congestion jumped by 56% in 2014 after years of falls thanks to a recovering economy but traffic levels are yet to return to pre-recession levels. CROSSING THE CHANNEL. Four buyers have expressed ‘serious’ interest in buying MyFerryLink reports Dover Express. Eurotunnel has until 9 July to sell the firm to comply with a succession of competition authority judgements, finally confirmed earlier this year. MyFerryLink itself took the matter to the Court of Appeal last month. The verdict is expected within the next few weeks. AUSTRIA. The 14km Arlberg Tunnel on the S16 in the west of the country – between Innsbruck and Bregenz – shuts for refurbishment in both directions from 21 April to 14 November says roads manager ASFINAG. The detour is via the B197 Arlberg Pass, except for cars with trailer 750kg+ at weekends and public holidays, and trucks. They should detour via the B179 Fernpass and A7>A96 to Bregenz, or via Innsbruck and Munich. With the work set to complete in 2017 the same will happen again next April.