Condor Ferries secures second ‘ropax’ vessel

The Straitsman currently in New Zealand before coming to the Channel Isles
Condor’s new ropax ferry, the MV Straitsman, which will enter service with the company later this year on its UK, French and inter-Island services

CONDOR has made a major investment in Channel Islands’ freight and passenger services through the introduction of a second, conventional roll on, roll off ferry.

The acquisition follows a year-long search for a vessel which meets the Islands’ criteria and will provide resilience, add capacity and improve connectivity on the company’s key routes between Guernsey, Jersey, the UK and France. Currently operating in New Zealand as the MV Straitsman, the 125m long ‘ropax’ vessel, is similar in design to Commodore Clipper and is initially planned to enter service this Autumn. 

John Napton, Condor’s CEO, confirmed this showed the company’s determination to develop its freight and passenger services.

‘Condor has always maintained that its primary focus is to support the three strands of the Islands’ economies – lifeline freight, connectivity for Islanders and inbound tourism – which is clearly demonstrated through this additional vessel.

‘We have been interested in purchasing another vessel for a while and would have already done so had it not been for the challenges caused by Covid and the limited availability of these size of vessels. This is a fundamentally important step in showing our commitment to the Islands and demonstrates we have listened to the needs of our clients and key stakeholders.’

The Straitsman was built in 2005 at the Dutch shipyard, Merwede BV and has operated under different names in both Europe and New Zealand. The ferry will be renamed and undertake berthing trials in Guernsey and Jersey later this year prior to her entry into regular service.

Mr Napton added: The new ship is similar to Clipper in size, speed and capability so we plan to use her on the important freight supply route from Portsmouth, offering an overnight service in both directions and creating an overall more weather resilient service. She will also enable the larger fleet to assist with inter-Island frequency and continue to develop freight services from France, which are showing real growth and potential.

‘There is considerable amount of work to be done before she enters service but this is very positive news for the Islands.’

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