Tuesday, 21 May 2019

FRIST Newsletter - Spring 2019

FRIST produces periodic newsletters to keep individuals and organizations interested in IOS transport issues ‘up to speed’ with developments.  The Spring 2019 newsletter has just gone out to 770 ‘friends’ signed up on our mailing list for email updates.  The email (with links to the newsletter) can viewed here.

If you want to be on the FRIST mailing list for updates please subscribe at  http://eepurl.com/ntKDL .  You will not be bombarded by emails (we usually send out 2-3 emails a year) and you can be reassured your personal information will not be shared.  You can unsubscribe at any time (there is an 'unsubscribe' link at the bottom of every email we send out). 

Topics in the Spring newsletter include:

•             Scillonian/Skybus fare increases for 2019. 

•             Transport reliability and resilience  - continuing concerns.

•             Passenger capacity issues in 2018.

•             Appledore Shipyard – discussions continue.

•             IOS Transport Board.

•             New leadership of the IOSSCO Board

•             Mali Rose up for sale (a mistake acknowledged)!

•             Penzance Heliport.

•             IOS/Mainland pax statistics 1990 – 2018 (they tell a story)

Sunday, 23 December 2018

IOSSCO Accounts (31 Mar 18) – In public Domain

Company accounts downloadable at this link

The Steamship Company accounts (and Skybus) have recently been posted at Companies House. Turnover for the Group was up 2.1% at £17.457 million (2017 £17.094 million) but gross profit was down substantially at £0.373 million (2017 £ 1.405 million) with staff costs up by £679,000 (to £6.629 million) reflecting an increase in staff numbers (extra 14) and increases costs due to regulatory changes (introduction of living wage and pension changes). Increased vessel maintenance costs of £273,000 also contributed to the reduction in gross profit. The final profit/loss for the year was a loss of £119,000 due to an exceptional item (Mali Rose impairment of £633,447).

Ferry passengers were up substantially 7.8% at 122,381 (2017 113,497) but Skybus numbers were down 2.5% at 93,243 (2017 96,338). Skybus reported a net loss of £42,479 after tax (gross loss £90,479).

The Groups Net Current Assets/Liabilities stood at negative £883,819, a deterioration from 2017 (negative £160,460) due to continued spending on new fixed assets. Cash at bank stood at £4.951 million.

Note 25 to the accounts (page 49) refers to IOS Skybus Ltd entering into a three year contract for helicopters services from May 18 with a maximum commitment of £4.561 million.

The issue of governance and managing changes in governance feature large in the Directors’ Strategic Report (pages 7 – 11).


The Mali Rose has cast a pall over the Company’s finances to which has now been added the £4.5 million 3 year contract (after year end) for helicopter services from Lands End Airport which must, in part, be expected to cannibalise Skybus’ customer base and increase its losses significantly.

The Company accounts explain that the Mali Rose has been valued using the ‘value in use’ valuation which is based upon the future discounted profit stream from the vessel in use rather than the vessel’s resale value. This valuation resulted in declaration of an impairment in the asset value of the vessel of £633,447. One can speculate that a traditional resale value valuation would have resulted in declaration of a larger impairment. The Mali Rose is due to enter a period of operational trials for 3 months shortly. 

The attention to the issue of governance in the Directors' Strategic Report has to be welcomed.

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Appledore Shipyard - Time to grasp the opportunity for a new Ship' to Scilly.

FRIST press release.

FRIST, the representative body for transport users in the Isles of Scilly (FRIENDS of ISLES OF SCILLY TRANSPORT) urges all speakers in the House of Lords Debate on  Thursday 20 December 2018 to support the proposal to keep Appledore Shipyard open by building a new ferry for the Isles of Scilly.  

An order for this ferry could help save 200 jobs at the iconic shipyard at Appledore which otherwise is set to close in March 2019, and get a new ship for Scilly in service at the earliest opportunity.

The ship design was completed and approved by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency before the Route Partnership scheme was cancelled in 2012, partly because the sole provider of transport services, the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group (IOSSG), argued that it could find a suitable second hand ferry.

The Route Partnership project was widely supported including by Cornwall Council and the Council of  Isles of Scilly as well as the Duchy of Cornwall and transport users and customers,  and other agencies.   The project not only provided the design for a passenger and freight vessel that would operate all year round, but also harbour improvements, notably at St Mary’s where the quay extension was completed.    The ship was designed to offer better sea-keeping conditions and greater comfort to passengers on the route.  

Six years on, there is no sign of  the Company producing a suitable vessel to replace the 41 year old Scillonian III and the freight ship the Gri Maritha, and still refuses to offer any service improvement for the winter or capacity improvement in the peak summer months, causing severe dissatisfaction and business loss to passenger and freight customers. 

FRIST asks that all members of the Isles of Scilly Transport Board put the community and customers first,  and support the proposal for a new ship to be built at Appledore to the general design that had widespread acceptance from the community.

This must link in with a new shipyard operator at Appledore to replace Babcock who leave at the end of March 2019.  FRIST, along with many others, is supporting the owner Langham Industries in this search, and is happy to report at least one expression of strong interest.

FRIST urges ministers to support the continuing ship building operation at Appledore by providing some financial support for the construction of a new dedicated passenger and freight ferry for Scilly to ensure that it meets the needs of islanders and operates all year round.   

Notes to Editors

House of Lords Debate Thursday 20 December 2018:

Lord Berkeley to ask HMG what progress has been made on the tendering process for building five new Type 31e frigates and what impact this process will have on the future of the Appledore shipyard.

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, berkeleymarian@gmail.com’


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, berkeleymarian@gmail.com.

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.