Rare Isles of Scilly Fan Tour Passenger/Cargo Ferry The Scillonian III

On a rare occasion, the public had the chance to take a tour of the Isles of Scilly passenger/cargo vessel ferry as part of Maritime UK Week events organized to promote a career in the shipping industry, writes Jehan Ashmore

Afloat has already reported during the “open day” which took place a week ago on board the Scillonian III which operates the Penzance-Hugh Town on the St. Mary’s route and which has a crossing time of 2 hours 45 minutes. This is the longest domestic ferry route operating off the south coast of England.

Fans of the Scillonian III, had traveled from beyond the southwest of England, to take a special behind-the-scenes tour of the 486-passenger ship, which notably loads vehicles by crane on deck or lowered into the hold.

Those who made it to the Port of Penzance for the non-sailing day tour came from as far away as Bristol, Shropshire, Taunton and Plymouth. Among those visiting the Port of Cornwall was Linda Himsworth, from Shropshire, who said: ‘There was no way we were going to miss it. It meant so much to us.

As well as admirers of the ship, the operator of the Isles of Scilly Steamship has also hosted secondary school students from the West Country, including Mounts Bay Academy, and locally Penzance Sea Cadets.

Besides the main passenger decks with lounges and a café, the unique guided tour allowed visitors to discover some of the usually unseen areas of Scillonian III. This included access to the wheelhouse, cabin/crew quarters, cargo hold and aft deck. Added to this is the engine room which generates a maximum of just over 15 knots.

Some visitors during their tour were emotional and some had even bought gifts for the crew which numbers 18 in total. While others spent time reminiscing about their favorite seats and trips aboard the veteran ship serving tourists as well as communities living on the archipelago some 50 nautical miles off Cornwall.

The 1,255 gross registered ton ferry was custom built in 1977 in neighboring (north) Devon at Appledore Shipbuilders near Bideford. The 68m vessel features an elegant cruiser stern complemented by a traditional superstructure reflecting an older era in ship design.

In 2017 the veteran ship celebrated its 40th birthday and the ship is therefore the longest running passenger ferry on the route. Two years later, the ferry marked a new maritime milestone by welcoming its 4.5 millionth passenger on board.

The Isles of Scilly Steamship Group celebrated 100 years of service in 2020, providing essential transport links for islanders, tourist passengers and freight between the Isles of Scilly and the UK mainland.

At this point in the year, seasonal service is winding down, with the remaining crossings operating until early next month, although the company continues to offer year-round air service.

As for freight, it also continues throughout the year with a freighter, the Gry Maritha, which since 1990 has also served the islanders faithfully.

About Marco C. Nichols

Check Also

Will Coleman on developing young event horses

06 November 2022 Training for Success: Will Coleman on Developing Young Competition Horses It’s no …