Friday, 30 November 2018

Saving Appledore - GMB Union and FRIST seek support lobbying Shipping Minister

FRIST has continued to consult with the GMB and other stakeholders over the possibility of building the much needed next Scillonian vessel at Appledore to save 200 jobs. A design for a new vessel was completed for the 2011 Route Partnership project; it can be adapted and modernised but an early contract could be placed to build the basic hull.

FRIST urges all parties, including the Isles of Scilly Transport Board and Council, the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group and Cornwall Council along with Derek Thomas MP for Scilly, to support the initiative of the GMB and Unite trades unions and meet with Nusrat Ghani MP, Shipping Minister and Richard Harrington MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Minister for Business and Industry, to develop a solution to keep the Appledore Yard working and provide a new ship to replace the 41 year old Scillonian III.' 

Further information from Marian Berkeley, FRIST Co-ordinator, 07770 341302,’


GMB press release 29 Nov 18 here 

BBC news 29 Nov 18 (14.29) "Govt urged to take action" here
Forces Network 29 Nov 18 (keep fighting urges former First-Sea-Lord) here
DevonLive 21 Nov 18 here
Previous FRIST post on Appledore/Scillonian replacement here

Friday, 9 November 2018

Construction of a new ferry to serve the Isles of Scilly could save Appledore shipyard!

FRIST has issued the following press release:

Immediate release Friday 9 November 2018

The Friends of Isles of Scilly Transport (FRIST) has called on the Members of Parliament concerned (Derek Thomas MP, St Ives and Penzance) and Geoffrey Cox QC MP (Torridge and West Devon including Appledore) to seek support from Nusrat Ghani MP, Minister for Shipping, to come up with a solution to provide a new ferry for the Isles of Scilly and preserve jobs in Appledore. 

Scilly needs a new ship to replace the aging 41 year old Scillonian III which was built at Appledore Shipyard, with the help of a Government interest free loan, and launched in 1977.  Appledore Shipyard is now threatened with closure with the loss of hundreds of skilled engineering jobs. What better way to preserve highly skilled jobs and retain the shipbuilding tradition than to have a new ferry built in the same yard? 

FRIST co-ordinator, Marian Berkeley, said ‘It is particularly striking that Appledore Shipyard, a significant icon in the maritime history of the South West and key local employer, is being allowed to fall silent with little protest when there is an urgent need for a purpose designed replacement ferry able to maintain the lifeline link between Penzance and the Isles of Scilly.’

Fully approved plans for a new ferry to provide an all year around service were prepared only a few years ago for the Route Partnership – a collaborative project between Cornwall Council, the Council of the Isles of Scilly and other stakeholders. Copy of General Arrangement of the ship proposed by the Route Partnership is attached. The estimated cost of this ferry was in the order of £20m, very similar to the estimated redundancy payments due to the Appledore workforce. Why not invest the money on something that will benefit Islanders and North Devon in the long term?

Further information Marian Berkeley FRIST Co-ordinator, 07770 341302,

Notes to the Editor

The Scillonian III cost £1.7 million to build in 1977 and the Government provided an interest free loan of £1 million to the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company repayable over 12 years. The loan was fully repaid.

The current ferry service operates from Easter until the end of October. There is a separate freight vessel that operates all year around. Islanders rely on air travel during the winter months which is expensive and unreliable due to susceptibility to bad weather.

The Isles of Scilly Steamship Company has sought to replace both the Scillonian III and the Gry Maritha freight vessel. The Mali Rose, procured over a year ago as the intended replacement for the Gry Maritha has been dogged with engineering and operational issues.

Attachment – General Arrangement of new ferry for the Route Partnership - here.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Ian Howard appointed as IOSSCo Chairman Designate

Ian Howard is the Chairman designate for the IOSSCo. He is expected to take over from Andrew May in the Spring of 2019. Ian was brought up in Minehead, studied law at Oxford and has served Siemens plc in a variety of senior leadership positions. Ian is also President of the British Triathlon Association. Ian is a shareholder in the IOSSCo.. 

Ian Howard’s profile as President of the Triathlon Association is published here . 

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Islands Helicopters service suspended for the winter.

The Isles of Scilly Steamship Group has announced that its island helicopters will be taking a break over the winter. The Steamship Group said in its first six months it had not taken enough advanced bookings to justify running the winter service this year so it will complete its first operating season on Saturday, November 3, and will resume on Saturday, April 6, 2019. Read the full Cornwall Live article and listen to the IOSSCo Chairman interview here

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Big Changes Announced within the Steamship Company

The IOSSGp has announced its results for the year ending 31 Mar 2018 and it is not a reassuring story despite a ~3% increase in total passenger numbers to 215,624 (2017 = 209,853) and a record turnover of £17.46 (previously £17.46m). Profits before exceptional items were, after tax, £514,736. Exceptional items included an ‘impairment’ following a revaluation of the Mali Rose of £633,447 in the Group’s annual accounts. This gave a final operating loss of £0.17m compared to a profit of £1.52m in the previous year.

The IOSSGp press release has announced the appointment of two new directors, Scillonian Stephen Hicks, who was brought up on the islands and had a career in the Merchant Navy before returning to Scilly in 1989 and Henk Wiekens, joint managing director of Pendennis Shipyard in Falmouth since a management buy-out in 1993. See Company announcement for more details of the new directors.

Not announced in the Company press release but recorded at Companies House is the appointment of Gary Robert Clark, Chartered Accountant, as a director from 30 Aug 18.

It is rumoured, but not formally announced in public, that Andrew May and Diccon Rogers are standing down as directors.


The changes to the Company Board, both the appointments formally announced and the resignations rumoured, will be welcome news to shareholders, islanders and regular visitors to the islands. 

Significant damage has been done to the Company’s balance sheet by the Mali Rose debacle.  The impact of the Island Helicopters initiative on the Company's 'bottom line' will not be known publicly until next year. Even more serious damage has been done to the Company’s reputation amongst islanders and other customers by the highly personal and no-holds-barred campaign against the Penzance Heliport proposal to protect the transport monopoly the Company inherited in 2012 when the BIH service from Penzance was withdrawn. This campaign was seen has highly injurious to the island community and its visitor dependent economy.