Yarmouth to Lymington Ferry Route Back On Course
Threats to the future of the West Wight ferry route look to be over and the new larger ferries will be introduced to the crossing in the new year thanks to an agreement between Wightlink and Lymington Harbour Commission (LHC).
The two parties reached agreement at a meeting last week following weeks of debate over the introduction of the Wight Light class of bigger ferries - a debate which reached parliament. Media statements were sent out on behalf of both parties on Wednesday, explaining the next stage for introduction of the ferries.
The new vessels, Wight Light and Wight Sky, are currently involved in a comprehensive risk assessment that is nearing completion, and all the safety recommendations arising to date have been accepted by Wightlink. Outstanding trials will be completed as soon as possible and Wightlink has clarified its intention the new vessels should enter service in January, prior to the withdrawal of the passenger safety certificates on the existing 35-year-old ferries.
Pending completion of the risk assessment and consultation with stakeholders, the new ferries will operate under an Interim Safe Operating Profile, the terms of which have been accepted by Wightlink.Wightlink stated that, following extensive studies, it was satisfied the new vessels would have no material impact on the environment and in respect of emissions will represent a considerable improvement over the old vessels.
Island MP Andrew Turner, who had supported the route as a lifeline service for Islanders that must be retained, said this week: "I am very glad with goodwill and compromise on both sides there seems to be progress in the right direction. It is very welcome news."