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Condor Ferries is an operator of ferry services between mainland Englandmarker and the Channel Islands, between England and Francemarker, and between France and the Channel Islands.

Recent history

Condor Ferries established the first high speed car ferry service to the Channel Islands from Weymouthmarker in 1993 using the 74m Incat catamaran Condor 10. In the winter of 1993/1994 Condor's parent company, Commodore Shipping took over British Channel Island Ferries (BCIF) which operated conventional ferry services to the Channel Islands from Poolemarker. Upon taking over BCIF Condor moved all passenger services to Weymouthmarker and the BCIF freight service was transferred to Commodore Shipping. The BCIF vessel Havelet ran a conventional ferry service from Weymouth from 1994 alongside the Condor 10.

The 1994 season was the Condor 10's last on the Weymouthmarker-Channel Island route, as she was replaced in March 1995 by the larger 78m Incat Condor 11 but her introduction was delayed when the vessel grounded during the sea trials off Tasmania. Condor 11 was travelling at 36 knots and under the command of Incat managing Director Robert Clifford when she struck Black Jack Reef some 12 miles off Hobartmarker on 9 October 1994. Between March and May 1995 the Weymouth service was operated by the chartered Seacat Isle of Man. The Condor 11 finally entered service on the 18 May 1995, she was used for one season on the route before being redeployed to Cat-Link in Denmarkmarker.

Condor's next vessel was the Condor 12 a 81m Incat which ran between Weymouthmarker and the Channel Islands for the 1996 season. Condor 12 was redeployed to Holymans new Ramsgatemarker-Ostendmarker service and renamed Holyman Rapide.

1996 was the last year that the Havelet remained in regular service with the company. In 1997 Condor 12 and Havelet places on the Channel Island run was taken by another Incat this time a 86m design which was named Condor Express.

In March 1997 Condor moved its UKmarker port to Poolemarker. The Condor Express suffered technical problems that led to late-running services. As a result the Channel Island governments put the licence to operate ferry services to the UK out to tender. P&O European Ferries and Hoverspeed placed bids to run the service but ultimately Condor retained the licence but were forced to purchase the Havelet to act as all weather backup until the delivery of a new conventional vessel in 1999. They also purchased the Condor Vitesse for a new service to St Malomarker via Guernseymarker and made Weymouth their primary UK port but retained summer sailings from Poolemarker. Commodore Shipping became sole owners of the company around this time.

In 1999 the Commodore Clipper was delivered to Commodore Ferries and replaced a freight ferry Island Commodore. The new Commodore Clipper was able to replace the Havelet as all weather backup for the fast craft as she had space for 500 passengers.


Condor 10 returned to the fleet in March 2002 to replace the Condor 9 on the St Malo - Channel Island service and fully compete with the existing fast car ferry service of Emeraude Lines. Later that year the Commodore Group, which included Condor Ferries, Commodore Ferries and Commodore Express, was sold to a management buy-out team for a reported £150 million. The deal was backed by ABN AMRO. Shortly after the Condor Ferries logo was redesigned for the start of the 2003 season using the same font as the logo Brittany Ferries had adopted in 2002. In 2004 the group was rebranded with Commodore Ferries coming under the Condor Ferries name and Commodore Express becoming Condor Logistics. The group was sold once again in 2004 to the Royal Bank of Scotland's venture capital arm for £240 million.

On 10 December 2007 Bad weather caused the Commodore Goodwill to strike the entrance to La Collette yacht basin in St Helier harbour . One of the vessels propellers was damaged and the ship was sent to Falmouthmarker for the damaged part to be removed to return the ship to service as soon as possible in the run up to Christmas . On 13 December 2007 the Brittany Ferries freight vessel Coutances was chartered to temporarily take the Commodore Goodwills place.

In 2008 the Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund II acquired Admiral Holdings Ltd, which owns the Condor Group (subject to approval by the Jersey Competition Regulatory Authority.

Operations

Condor Ferries operate the following routes:



Fleet

The fleet is as follows.

Fast craft



Freight ferries

  • Commodore Goodwill (built 1996)


Ro-Pax ferries

  • Commodore Clipper (built 1999)


Past Fleet

  • Condors 1 to 8
Fast passenger only vessels. Mostly Hydrofoils with the exception of Condor 6 and Condor 8 which were passenger only catamarans.

  • Condor 9 (1990-2002)
Fast passenger-only catamaran. Built in 1990 in Farehammarker by Aluminium Shipsbuilders to an Incat design. Was build for the Weymouthmarker-Channel Islands route but was replaced by Condor 10. Condor 9 saw work on the inter-island routes and between the Channel Islands and St Malomarker. For the 1995 and 1996 season, Condor 9 operated from Torquaymarker to the Islands. In 1997 she operated between Poolemarker and St Malo via the Channel Islands. In her last years with Condor she was used between St Malo and Jerseymarker until she was again replaced by Condor 10.

  • Havelet (1994-2000)
Formerly Cornouailles of Brittany Ferries was transferred to British Channel Island Ferries in 1989 and renamed Havelet. Condor purchased BCIF in 1994 and Havelet was used to operate a conventional service from Weymouthmarker until 1996 when she was laid up as it was thought Condor Express would be able to handle the winter weather. Condor were forced to reactivate and purchase the Havelet in 1998 prior to the arrivial of Commodore Clipper to act as back up for the fastcraft. Havelet was sold in 2000 and is now the Sveti Stefan of Montenegromarker Lines.

  • Condor 11 (1995)
Incat 78m catamaran was used for less than one season on the Weymouthmarker-Channel Island route. She was sent to Cat-Link and replaced by Condor 12.

  • Condor 12 (1996-1997)
Incat 81m catamaran which operated for one season between Weymouthmarker and the Channel Island. She was sent to Holyman Sally Ferries in 1997 as the Holyman Rapide. She briefly returned to Condor as the Rapide to cover for the refit of the Condor Express in early 1998.

Brittany Ferries partnership

Since 2001 Condor have operated a Poolemarker-Cherbourgmarker fastcraft service of behalf of Brittany Ferries using the Condor Vitesse which sports a joint livery. The service which runs between mid-May and late October leaves Poole at 07:30 and arrives back from Cherbourg at 12:45. Condor Vitesse then operates the Condor service to St Malo arriving back in Poole by midnight.

In August 2005 Condor Express briefly ran on the Poole-Cherbourg service. The Condor Express had been experiencing technical problems and so the Condor Vitesse was transferred to the more taxing Channel Islands service. Condor Express also operated one Poole-Cherbourg round trip in May 2008.

Incidents with HD Ferries

HD1 had collided with the Commodore Goodwill in Jersey Harbour. A more serious incident occurred on 28 July 2007 when HD1 while manoeuvring in Jersey Harbour collided with Condor Express which was berthed at the time. HD1 was holed above the waterline while Condor Express only suffered minor damage to its paintwork.

Condor issued a press release on 3 August 2007 condemning the company which HD responded to with their own press release . HD1 later had its wave height limit reduced from 2.5 metres to 2m (Condor being able to operate its larger fastcraft in seas up to 3.5 metres) and on the 19 August 2007 the company had its ramp permit for Jersey and Guernsey withdrawn preventing the company from operating. HD Ferries recommenced operations on 25 August 2007.

In a press release issued on 2 October 2007 HD Ferries stated that it was preparing to take legal action against Condor concerning the statement published by the company on 3 August 2007. Despite HD Ferries threat this did not occur.

Following HD Ferries decision to withdraw its service early in September 2008 and not operate a winter service The States of Jersey have indicated that HD Ferries is unlikely to be allowed a ramp licence again .

External links



References

  1. 1384.6 - Statistics - Tasmania, 2006
  2. BBC News - Cargo ship collision in harbour - 10 December 2007
  3. BBC News - Freight ferry repairs under way - 11 December 2007
  4. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/guernsey/7540696.stm
  5. - Faktaomfartyg - HSC Condor Express
  6. BBC News - Ferry collision master suspended - 14 May 2007
  7. The Guernsey Press and Star - Condor boss slams HD as it gets permit back 6 August 2007
  8. Press Statement – Condor Ferries 3 August 2007
  9. Condor Ferries Statement - HD CEO Responds - 6 August 2007
  10. HD Ferries is here to stay - 21 August 2007
  11. HD Ferries prepares for legal action against Condor Ferries 2 October 2007
  12. BBC News - Ferry move disappoints minister - 7 September 2008



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