The Medway Queen and tug Christine sailed from Bristol Docks to Avonmouth on 3rd November to await a weather window for the voyage to Kent. The journey continued on 15th November when the vessels set off on their long journey. Four days later the historic vessel arrived home at Gillingham Pier. Sadly celebrations surrounding the vessel’s homecoming were short-lived.
On 30th November it was announced that the team working to restore the Medway Queen were looking for alternative sources of funding after job losses at the project. Up to 12 of the 14 strong workforce will lose their jobs at the end of 2013 after funds from the Heritage Lottery Fund ran out. The vessel still has to be fitted out and, as widely anticipated, the MCA is refusing to recognise the construction methods used on the vessel’s hull. The riveting process used is not deemed acceptable to permit the Medway Queen to carry passengers.
An estimated £2 million is still required to complete the vessel with the project expected to take a further 7 years.