Live: Breaking news, traffic, travel and weather for Saturday, September 23, 2017

Update on Torpoint Ferry

The Torpoint Ferry was running with only one vessel earlier, due to a technical problem.

The operators have just issued this update:

Thank you all for your patience this morning when we were reduced to single ferry service.

Without going into complex mechanical details there was a safety issue with one of the large wheels that drive the chain. This was picked up during standard daily checks. Continuing to run would have risked huge damage to the chain system; this is why we do multiple daily checks in this and related areas.

The fix whilst relatively simple does require multiple trained staff working in a dangerous area so cannot be rushed and needs rescue teams on standby. This fix has now been completed and the ferry has been brought back into service.

There have been some justifiable questions as to why we didn’t simply start up the third ferry and use that instead. We could have done that but we don’t have spare ferry crews sat around in case of emergencies (costs would be hugely prohibitive with likely major impact on tolls). So we would have needed to shut down the faulty ferry, transfer crew to shore and then to the third ferry via the boats, start up the third ferry and bring it into service. This takes time (those of you that have worked on or with large vessels will know that starting a vessel like this is not simply a case of turning a key). Once that was done we would still have a faulty ferry with no crew on it to fix it.

Instead we worked on the fix as soon as we could utilising the crew on board and some specialist staff that we called in. The time taken to do this was not a lot longer than the swapping of ferries would have taken but the result was three working ferries.

There was some slight extra short term delays (maybe one or two trips) for which we apologise but that is far less than the long term delays we would have had if we had concentrated on swapping ferries rather than carrying out the fix.

Apologies for any inconvenience caused and we are currently running the scheduled three ferry service.