Press Release concerning Channel Islands Ferry Services

The Bachmann Group advises the States of Guernsey regarding fast ferry coverage over the Easter period.

The Bachmann Group were recently approached for advice following the detention of the high- speed ferry ‘Condor Liberation.’ The company’s CEO, Nick Saul has previous senior management experience with Stena Line and NorthLink Ferries, and due to this extensive knowledge Bachmann was consulted as to what alternative options might be available.

The brief advised that the detention could be for a significant period, and that this represented a potential risk to tourism traffic over the Easter period.  It was clear that due to the restricted size and tidal depths of St Peter Port and St Helier harbours, there was a finite choice of vessels that could be used as a back up, and so options were limited.

Within 24 hours of first being approached Bachmann had identified Brittany Ferries high-speed craft Normandie Express as being available, and that she was laid-up in Le Havre.

The vessel was then suggested to the States of Guernsey, and Bachmann were subsequently requested to contact Brittany Ferries in order to ensure that the vessel could be used, and at what cost.  Bachmann then spoke to Brittany at the highest level and discussed the following:

The vessel being French flagged would be supplied with French officers but not a catering crew.  It was anticipated that either Condor could supply these from the ‘Rapide’, (a very similar vessel), or Bachmann through its supply of over 20,000 ships crew could have found them.  As a last resort it was considered possible that an exemption could be obtained from the French Authorities to allow service without a French crew over this short period.

The requirements for berthing trials were duly considered, and very little problem was anticipated, as the Normandie Express already used Poole in her service schedule for Brittany Ferries, therefore berthing trials would only have been needed for the islands ports.  It was also judged that Normandie Express being an InCat vessel, (all built to the same width dimensions and only variable in length) would have had little problem, because ‘Rapide’ was actually her smaller sister.

Whilst the required permit to operate was not discussed, it was anticipated that as Condor and Brittany operated similar craft from Poole to France, (one of them via the Channel Islands), the permit to operate would not be too difficult to obtain.

Finally the Pilotage situation was studied.  Bachmann’s brief was that the Normandie Express was to be a back up in case the Liberation failed to operate.  Thus it was anticipated that the pilots would be available as a result of the Liberation crew not sailing, or with Pilotage organised by the Harbour Authorities, as per present operational arrangements when visiting Cruise Liners call at the port.

Bachmann Group having presented this information to the States of Guernsey were then asked to put Condor in touch with Brittany Ferries which they did.

On the 19th March Mr. Kevin Stewart, who is the Minister of Commerce in the States of Guernsey Parliament used his Twitter account to express his gratitude to Bachmann with the following Tweet. “Huge thanks to Nick Saul at Bachmann's for a great job working with #govgg over ferry and vessel options.”

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