PLYM II has now been taken out of service to prepare for being towed to Falmouth for her refit at the A&P dry dock facilities.
Work will start on removing the chains from the ferry, with the vessel expected to leave Torpoint on Friday, 5 May, subject to the weather conditions, to travel to Falmouth.
The ferry is currently due to return to service in mid-June. However, if weather conditions are good and there are no other issues, the ferry could return to service a little earlier than this date.
The Torpoint Ferry is the world’s biggest and busiest chain ferry service and the UK’s busiest inland waterway ferry crossing – providing crossings for up to 8,000 vehicles and 1,500 pedestrians each day.
Tamar Crossings operate the ferries 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, in all weathers. Achieving this requires a significant planned maintenance programme. While the majority of maintenance is carried out while the vessels are afloat or during off peak periods while an individual vessel is not on scheduled service, some maintenance activities have to be carried out during refits in dry dock conditions.
PLYM’s refit will include a number of key elements, including:
• A mandatory dry docking to allow a survey of the underwater hull to ensure the material state is sufficient to safely last a further five years. This is a statutory requirement and satisfactory completion is required to allow the issue of a Chain Ferry Certificate by the regulatory authority, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
• Replacing systems and equipment that are becoming obsolete or have reached end of life, including chainwheel drive couplings and bearings, together with propulsion motor electronic drive components.
• Repainting the vessel both above and below the waterline.
During the refit period the service will be provide by the two remaining ferries, one leaving each side of the river every 15 minutes (on the hour and 15, 30 and 45 minutes past the hour), and the normal single ferry, half hourly, night service from 2200 to 0630.
The reduced capacity means that there will inevitably be greater pressure on the service with the potential for longer waits, so ferry users are advised to allow more time for their journeys and to monitor the Tamar Crossings website and social media channels for any updates.
We recognise that the reduction in service during refit periods is not desirable, however these refits are essential to maximise the life of the ferries and ensure that we continue to provide a safe and reliable service. We are also working hard to find innovative solutions to improve the overall life of the ferries and reduce the need for extensive periods of maintenance.