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Hopes high delayed ferry will launch soon

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

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THE Scenic Carlingford Ferry remains docked but its owners are hopeful that it will set sail in June as planned.

The ferry has been delayed due to outstanding delivery of essential navigational aids. However, Scenic Carlingford Ferry chief executive, Mourne woman Pamela Houston says launch day is imminent.

Giving an update, Mrs Houston said: "We are still hoping to set sail officially in June but it is looking like it could be another couple of weeks.

"We are quite simply at the mercy of bespoke navigational aids and once they are delivered and installed, we can get under way.

"We are, as you would expect, following due process in terms of the official sequence for final approvals before opening the service for passengers. All the captains are hugely experienced and already carry the official certificate of competency to operate a range of vessels, hence they can be seen putting the ferry through its paces.

"Unfortunately not until the navigational aids are in place, can the captains then be tested and certified for the very specific class that is the car ferry, and specifically for operation on Carlingford Lough.

"The delay in equipment cannot be avoided but it is giving the captains and crew additional hours operating the ferry without passengers and getting to better know the tides, currents and perfecting its passage and approaches.

"They can repeat drills and have even more hours on the Lough than the Marine Survey Office (MSO) and Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) require for final certification." Mrs Houston added: "We are also using the unavoidable delay to fine tune civil works at both sites.

"In the meantime the ferry has moored in a number of positions over the last few weeks, not to interfere with the other vessels.

"We are extremely grateful to Greenore Port for their assistance while we await the delivery and equally grateful for our customers who have been patient. We will keep everyone updated and as soon as the navigation aids arrive and are installed, we can plot the dates for final certification and maiden voyage." The Scenic Carlingford Ferry represents a private investment by Frazer Ferries Group of €9.75 million/8.5 million.

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