Plans to operate only one fast ferry from the U.K to the Channel Islands have raised concerns regarding potential service disruption at times of mechanical problems etc. The company has service agreements to honour and has assured the islands that adequate contingency plans are in place in the event of problems.
The announced sale of both the 5,005gt/1996 built Condor Express and 5,007gt/1997 built Condor Vitesse (initiated weeks earlier but missed by the local press) made people realise that the new craft actually signalled a reduction in the Condor fleet size. The Condor Express returned to Weymouth from refit at A&P Falmouth on 30th January. Now in plain white, the vessel continued with Condor Ferries from 9th February until late March devoid of her Condor Ferries identity. This is in readiness for her move to Seajets in Greek waters once her Channel Island career is over.
The Condor Vitesse went to A&P Falmouth after her final day in service on 6th February and bid farewell to Weymouth at 0535 on 9th February to be made ready for her move to Greece. The ex-Condor vessels will assume the names Champion Jet 1 and Champion Jet 2 under Seajets ownership and are expected to serve the Cyclades. Problems with the 5,007gt/1997 built Condor Rapide in late January saw her sent back to A&P Falmouth in February for a quick remedy.
On 27th January Condor Ferries announced the official name of the 102m long trimaran as Condor Liberation. The name, recognising the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Channel Islands, was chosen by a judging panel following a naming competition held in the Channel Islands, which received 7,146 entries. Clive Davies from Guernsey was the ultimate winner and will receive a year’s free travel with Condor Ferries and will have the opportunity to visit Condor Liberation to see the name he chose being painted onto the ship in Poole.
The £50m vessel is currently in Poole being fitted out prior to her service debut from Poole on 27th March. The last sailing from Weymouth, something that still seems quite unthinkable, departs on 23rd March. Condor’s new branding was unveiled on 30th January involving three new colours at the core of the new identity, dark blue, pink and gold, representing more of a leisure and holiday outlook. The new brand will also embody Condor Ferries’ new outlook and concept of Good Times, signifying the Good Times ahead for the company, its customers and the Channel Islands.