Isles of Scilly Steamship Company


Isles of Scilly Steamship Company

The Isles of Scilly Steamship Company operates a seasonal passenger service from Penzance, in the English county of Cornwall, to the offshore Isles of Scilly, together with a year round cargo service. The name of the company's principal ferry, the "Scillonian III", is perhaps better known than that of the company itself.

The company is based in Penzance, and also owns Isles of Scilly Skybus Ltd, an operator of fixed-wing aircraft services to the Isles of Scilly, and Westward Airways, an operator of sight seeing flights.cite web | url = http://www.buy-cornish.co.uk/directory.php?page=3&az=I%20&p=15 | title = Buy Cornish | publisher = Enterprise Edge | accessdate = January 19 | accessyear = 2007]

History

From 1870 the Penzance to Scilly ferry service was operated by the West Cornwall Steam Ship Company. This was wound up in 1920 and the present company took over.

The original "Scillonian" was built for the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company in 1925 by Ailsa Shipbuilding Co Ltd of Troon, Scotland to carry 400 passengers and cargo. The first regular trip of this vessel took place on Thursday 2nd February 1926 from St. Mary's to Penzance. Following this ship "Scillonian II" entered into service in 1956, built by Thornicroft of Southampton, she was later sold and ran a service between the mainland and Lundy. A second ship operated for a while named "Queen of the Isles". At approx 500 tons she was smaller than "Scillonian II" and was used to augment the larger ship at busy times. She was also used to run charter services to the Islands from other ports. On her sale she went to operate an inter-island service in the Pacific.

The present "Scillonian III" was purpose built for the Steamship Company in May 1977. "Scillonian III" is the third passenger ship of this name and currently in service for passengers and cargo 8 months of the year. Due to the number of tidal currents which meet off Lands End, and the need for a shallow draught to allow access to the Islands, the sea journey to Scilly can be rough. For this reason Scillonian III was fitted with a "Flume" stabilizer system.

Fleet

The Isles of Scilly Steamship Company fleet consists of the following ships (at December 2005):

* "Scillonian III" — Passenger and cargo vessel. Built by Appledore Shipbuilders Ltd, Devon. Purpose built in 1977.
* "Gry Maritha" — Cargo vessel. Built in Norway. Acquired in 1989.
* "Lyonesse Lady" — Inter-island launch. Built by Lochabar Marine Ltd. Purpose built in 1991.
* "Swift Lady" — Inter-island RIB. Built by Redbay Boats, Northern Ireland. Purpose built in 2004.

Services

"Scillonian III" operates a return service from March/April to November (Monday to Saturday, and Sundays during August 2006). She departs Penzance at 9.15am and returns from St. Mary's at 16.30pm, although these times may differ on certain dates due to tidal conditions, school holidays, and other events. The sailing time is approximately 2 hours 40 minutes.

During the winter, when "Scillonian III" is out of service, a cargo only service is provided by "Gry Maritha".cite news | first = Russell | last = Plummer | title = Ferry news | work = Ships Monthly | publisher = IPC Country & Leisure Media | pages = 6 | date = February 2007]

Future

In early 2007, press reports indicated that Cornwall County Council was expected to approved plans for the construction of a new ro-ro replacement ferry at a cost of £17.5 million. This vessel would be leased to the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company and would replace both "Scillonian III" and "Gry Maritha".cite news | first = Russell | last = Plummer | title = Ferry news | work = Ships Monthly | publisher = IPC Country & Leisure Media | pages = 6 | date = February 2007]

References

External links

* [http://www.islesofscilly-travel.co.uk Isles of Scilly Travel]
* [http://www.islesofscilly-travel.co.uk/sea.htm Scillonian III]


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