The Condor Liberation returned to Poole from A&P Falmouth on 11th February after her prolonged refit. Four days later Condor announced the withdrawal of the summer season double rotation schedules where the Condor Liberation was due to undertake two full return crossings in a 24hr period.
The company said that, following complaints from customers about the early departure time needed to fulfil the double crossings, and the knock on delays caused if one of the crossings is late, the 17 such rotations were axed with immediate effect. So, there are now no fast ferry day trips available to the Islands from the UK except the opportunity to spend a maximum of 3 hours on Guernsey whilst the fast craft goes to Jersey and back.
On 19th February, just 8 days after refit, a bow thruster failure delayed the Condor Liberation’s arrival into St. Peter Port by over an hour. The following day’s sailing was cancelled and 7 days later on 26th February the Austal 102 was left stranded outside St. Peter Port after a technical problem that prevented her from berthing having sailed from Poole at half speed, with the fault requiring the shut-down of one of the main engines. Sailings were subsequently cancelled for 27th/29th February. Passengers were transferred to the Commodore Clipper where space permitted whilst the Condor Rapide once again performed the interisland schedules.
At this time a worst case scenario unfolded as a heavily laden Commodore Clipper arrived at Portsmouth at 07.00 on the morning of 27th February complete with many passengers transferred from the fast ferry. Once the main deck was unloaded it became apparent that the hoistable ramp to the upper deck had failed. This then trapped all affected traffic on the ship for over 12 hours. A crane was hired in to lift off the cars parked on the failed ramp (which is routinely used as vehicle space) and the ramp was finally lowered at around 2000 that evening. So, that day’s sailing of the Commodore Clipper was also lost as well as that of the fast craft.
The conventional ferry resumed service on 29th February following repairs. The Condor Rapide went to A&P Falmouth for refit on 1st March before proceeding to Portland until 23rd March. Weymouth would not allow the Incat craft to berth there for the completion of her refit, leaving the besieged Condor Liberation in sole charge of the St. Malo and Poole schedules.
Then, as we are going to press it has emerged that the Condor Liberation has been detained by the MCA in Poole on 15th March after a crack was found in her bow. This leaves Condor without a fast craft.