Sunday, 6 September 2009

Gipsy Rose Lee and the Rathlin Ferry

A recent Department for Regional Development weekly business review was given the following briefing on July 17, 2009:

6.1 Public Transport
Doreen Brown confirmed that the new catamaran was now being used between Ballycastle and Rathlin Island.

Rathlin Island Ferry Ltd website tells a different and contradictory story:

The new boat "Rathlin Express" began on July 18th with a full compliment on her first trip! 97 pax + 3 crew!

The catamaran promised for July 1 went into service almost three weeks late and has been out of action on at least three four occasions since then, sometimes for several days at a time.

I received a 'catamaran broken down' text message on Monday, July 27, and the St Sorney was also acting as relief vessel on the following day. According to the Grapevine, the catamaran overheated and had to return to Rathlin. Did the driver forget to go through the proper procedures and fail to turn on the water supply to the engines?

The catamaran is timetabled to do the journey in twenty minutes but seemed at times to be taking over thirty minutes. Ship ais website shows that the catamaran travelled to Moville on Tuesday, August 4, and returned to Rathlin on Friday, August 7. A Moyle council official said new propellers were fitted, presumably to enhance the craft's speed.

The catamaran returned to Moville on Monday, August 17, and then travelled to Coleraine harbour the following day where it was hoisted onto the quayside. A Maritime and Coastguard Agency spokesman said that this was done so that repairs could be made to the skegs. Did the catamaran ground or was there another reason for the damage?

I'm told that there is to be a special ceremony this Wednesday at 10am in Ballycastle to herald the arrival of the new vessel followed by lunch on Rathlin Island.

Perhaps the organisers will be consulting with Gipsy Rose Lee to find out whether or not the catamaran will be available for the special crossing.

Adds September 7

Rathlin island boat delayed by an hour grrr mechanical failure

11:20 AM Sep 5th from TweetDeck

It was the express which was out of service

[about 10pm Sep 6th from TweetDeck]