The Sandbanks chain ferry is on track to be back in service by the end of October, pending inspection.
The ferry had to be taken out of service on 12 July 2019 after the drive shaft broke and was sent to a repair facility in Southampton. The shaft failure was completely unprecedented after the vessel had passed all recent maintenance and safety inspections.
An additional £46,000 was spent to reduce the lead time of the hydraulic couplings that were ordered from Sweden that were necessary for the fix. Before Bramble Bush Bay is towed back to Dorset it needs to be inspected by the Marine and Coastguard agency. The inspection is due to happen later this week.
Mike Kean, Managing Director of the Sandbanks Ferry Company, said: “We have used this outage time to carry out many non-essential maintenance and replacement tasks, well ahead of their required schedule.
“We are truly thankful for the patience and support of our customers during this exceptional outage period. We are looking forward to returning the ‘Bramble Bush Bay’ to its rightful place as a vital transport link.”
Due to the closure of the transport it has caused a diversion of up to 25 miles. Although alternative car services were discussed by the company with the council it was decided that there was no viable solution. Sandbanks Ferry company stated that they will reimburse any customers who request a refund for unused tickets that were bought before the incident in 2019.
Robert Syms, Member of Parliament for Poole, said: “I am satisfied that the ferry company has investigated all potential avenues and that at present, due to sea conditions and landing infrastructure, there are no viable alternatives which enable the company to operate a safe replacement vessel in the short term.”
The exact date of service commencement is to be announced nearer the time, depending on the result of the inspection. For more updates visit here.