Saturday 19 October, 2019
FERRY SERVICE CURRENTLY SUSPENDED  Please see NEWS page for full details

PRESS RELEASE 18 October 2019
Sandbanks Ferry on track for end of October return as final parts are fitted

The Sandbanks Chain Ferry is on course for its planned return to service at the end of October, as the final elements of the repair are completed, now that the hydraulic couplings have arrived from Sweden.

The ferry, which is currently in a repair facility in Southampton, is undergoing extensive checks and testing ahead of a Marine and Coastguard Agency (MCA) inspection next week, prior to being towed back to Dorset for several days of intensive testing on chains ahead of opening for service.

Mike Kean, Managing Director of the Sandbanks Ferry Company, said: “We fully understand how frustrating and inconvenient the ferry service suspension has been to residents and businesses. That’s why, in addition to carrying out the required repairs, we have used this outage time to carry out many non-essential maintenance and replacement tasks, well ahead of their required schedule.

“We hope that this extensive programme of preventative works will offer our customers an additional layer of confidence that we have done everything possible to ensure that the ferry will offer a regular and reliable service in the years to come.”

Updates on the final aspects of the repairs, including information on the scheduled tow back from Southampton, will be posted each weekday on the Sandbanks Ferry Company’s Facebook, Twitter and website until the ferry is back in service. The planned date of service return is expected to be at the end of October, with exact information on the date of the service recommencement will be announced to the media and via the Company’s social channels in due course.

Mike Kean added, “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 for the people of Studland, Swanage and Poole, and to restoring the trusted and reliable service which local residents have rightfully come to expect over many years.”

Visit the Sandbanks Ferry Company at www.sandbanksferry.co.uk , on Twitter at @sandbanksferry and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sandbanksferry .



FAQs ON THE FERRY SERVICE SUSPENSION

When will the chain ferry be back in service?
The Sandbanks chain ferry (‘Bramble Bush Bay’) is anticipated to be back in service by the end of October 2019. Should this change for any reason, we will ensure the public and media are informed as soon as possible. As we get closer to the actual date further announcements will be made to keep everyone informed.

What caused the ferry to go out of service?
This was due to a drive shaft failure - an unprecedented issue which to our knowledge, has never occurred on any other ferry of this kind. This component is designed to last the lifetime of the ferry, however the part that joins the shaft to the drive wheel (a hydraulic coupling) was not reusable and had to be ordered in from Sweden, it was not amongst the many replacement parts we have in stock as no one ever expected we’d have to replace it. The ferry passed all its recent maintenance & safety inspections and therefore this breakdown could not have been foreseen or prevented.

Will my tickets still be valid when the ferry is back in service?
Yes, any unused tickets purchased before the service was suspended are still valid and can be used when the ferry is back in service. More generally, these pre-purchased book tickets don’t have an expiry date – they remain valid on the ferry indefinitely.

Can I obtain a refund for my unused tickets?
Yes, we will reimburse all customers who would like a refund for unused advance tickets they purchased in 2019 before the current outage. If you would like to claim a refund, please contact us via customercare@sandbanksferry.co.uk with your name, ticket serial numbers and the type of tickets you purchased, i.e. foot passenger/car/bike/HGV. We aim to respond to reimbursement requests within 48 hours and process refunds within 28 days.

What steps are the Sandbanks Ferry Co taking to return the service as soon as possible?
We are doing everything in our power to return the ferry to normal service as soon as we can. The replacement component needed was ordered as quickly as possible from the approved manufacturer in Sweden, where we paid an additional £46,000 to reduce the stated 24-week lead time by more than half.

Once we have received delivery of the hydraulic coupling, we will be working around the clock to carry out the repairs. Following this, the ferry will be tested in the Southampton ship repair facility and then towed back to Dorset as soon as possible depending on sea conditions for final testing and checks to ensure it is fully operational prior to returning to service.

Is the Sandbanks Ferry Co providing a replacement ferry while Bramble Bush Bay is out of service?
We have carried out extensive research to source a replacement chain ferry while Bramble Bush Bay is under repair. Unfortunately there are no suitable ferries available which are in a state of good repair or could be brought up to a safe and serviceable level.

As part of our research, we have explored the possibility of using a replacement vehicle ferry from Germany. Unfortunately, it was not feasible to progress these plans as while the craft met German safety standards, it did not comply with UK regulations.

Can the Sandbanks Ferry Co provide an alternative service while the chain ferry is under repair?
Since the ferry went out of service, we have been exploring several options for an interim foot passenger service. We have also spoken to many local businesses, local residents’ groups, councillors and MPs in an effort to find a viable alternative option to maintain a level of service while the ferry is under repair.

Although we haven’t yet found a viable solution which meets all the regulatory and safety requirements we are bound to, we are continuing to investigate all potential options as a priority.

Why can’t the Sandbanks Ferry Co provide a foot passenger service during this outage?
We have been investigating several options for an interim foot passenger ferry. All options require research and approvals across several different issues to ensure viability and passenger safety which is a lengthy process. Due to tidal conditions and the necessary landing infrastructure currently not being in place, e.g. a temporary jetty, it has not been possible to offer a safe foot passenger service in the short term. We are continuing to investigate options, but passenger safety will always be our top priority when considering any alternatives.

Is the company still paying dividends to its owners while the ferry is out of service?
No, dividends have not been paid by the company for over two years and are unlikely to be authorised for some while. Our policy is that dividends will not be paid in any given year before the required amount of funds have been transferred into the Motor Ferry Replacement Reserve (a ring-fenced reserve fund to finance a new ferry when Bramble Bush Bay comes to the end of its life in service) to ensure that we hit the target required to replace the existing vessel in the future.

What is the Sandbanks Ferry Company doing to prevent future breakdowns lasting as long?
The ferry has, and will continue to be, subject to regular detailed safety and mechanical inspections in order to ensure that it is fully maintained and meets stringent operational and safety criteria. The summer 2019 breakdown was an unprecedented and unforeseen failure of a part that was engineered to last the lifetime of the ferry without being replaced. We have taken the opportunity of this outage to again check as many moving & working parts of the vessel as possible following last year’s refit which will mean the next maintenance overhaul will not be until November 2020 and should only last a couple of weeks. We have also placed an order for spare hydraulic couplings in the unlikely event that they might be needed in the future.

Where can I find the latest information about the Sandbanks Ferry resuming normal service?
For the latest news and updates, please visit the Sandbanks Ferry website or Facebook and Twitter pages. You can also email customercare@sandbanksferry.co.uk.


PRESS RELEASE 13 SEPTEMBER 2019
Sandbanks Ferry Company says passenger safety must be a priority for any interim ferry plans

The Sandbanks Ferry Company has stated that passenger safety remains its primary consideration as the company continues to assess options for an interim service for whenever the chain ferry is out of action for sustained periods of time.

The Ferry Company has explored a variety of potential alternatives to maintain a level of service while the ferry is under repair. These have included investigating the temporary use of a replacement vehicle ferry from Germany. The Company was unable to progress these plans as while the vehicle ferry met German safety standards, it did not comply with UK regulations.

Other potential interim options have been presented by members of the local community, including the suggestion to partner with the Brownsea Island Ferry Company to run a service from a new temporary modular floating pontoon at Shell Bay in Studland to the existing Brownsea Island Ferry jetty in Sandbanks.

Mike Kean, Managing Director of the Sandbanks Ferry Company, said: “We are very sorry for the impact this ferry suspension is currently having upon the local community, particularly in Studland and Swanage. We have been working tirelessly to investigate all potentially viable options until the chain ferry returns to service, including options put forward by the Studland community. We are looking carefully at the suggested plans to install a temporary pontoon at Shell Bay and are consulting with several external agencies to assess its viability.

“We are currently awaiting the outcome of an application to the Marine Management Organisation, which is needed to progress the plan. Our investigations so far have raised considerable concerns, including that the proposed pontoon may be unsafe in certain tidal conditions and in poor weather. Additionally, a temporary ferry service may be suspended at short notice should conditions change suddenly, running the risk of leaving passengers stranded.

“We cannot, and will not, compromise on passenger safety, which continues to be our number one priority as we progress these plans.”

The Sandbanks Ferry Company has met with members of the public from both Sandbanks and Studland to update concerned residents on the Company’s continuing efforts to identify a viable interim solution.

Mike Kean added: “I am very grateful for the continuing understanding of the public, especially those who have taken the time to suggest potential interim options. I would like to reassure local residents that we will continue to assess all potentially viable alternatives as a priority.”

The Sandbanks Ferry Company is in receipt of regular updates from the manufacturers of the chain ferry replacement parts, the last of which are scheduled to arrive at its ship repair facility in Southampton by mid-October. Reassembly works will commence immediately on a 24 hours a day basis, with the objective, weather permitting, to return the ferry to Poole by the end of October



PRESS RELEASE DATE: 21 AUGUST 2019

Sandbanks Ferry Company meets with local MPs to discuss plans to return chain ferry to service

In light of local concerns over the suspension of the chain ferry service which links Sandbanks to Shell Bay in Studland, the operators of the Sandbanks Ferry recently met with local MPs to discuss the efforts being undertaken to bring the service back into operation as quickly as possible.

Richard Drax, Member of Parliament for South Dorset, and Robert Syms, Member of Parliament for Poole, visited the Sandbanks Ferry Company senior management team in the ferry office at Shell Bay, Studland. During the meeting, the MPs were presented with a detailed briefing of the current repair situation and the measures the ferry company has undertaken to investigate alternative options for customers while the ferry is out of service.

Richard Drax MP commented: “There is little doubt in my mind that this breakdown could not have been foreseen or prevented. I understand from the company that the driveshaft, made with specialist steel, is designed to last the lifetime of the ferry. I fully appreciate that both the ferry operator and local people and businesses are suffering at what is the busiest time of the year. Following my meeting, I am reassured that the company is doing all it reasonably can to get the ferry back in service, which is expected in October.”

Robert Syms MP added: “During the meeting with the Sandbanks Ferry Company, we discussed potential measures to offer an alternative car or foot passenger service while the ferry is under repair. 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.”

Mike Kean, managing director of the Sandbanks Ferry Company, said: “We are very grateful that Richard Drax and Robert Syms were able to meet with us. We were pleased to provide both Members of Parliament with assurances that we are doing everything in our power to return the ferry service as soon as possible.

“We wholly appreciate the frustrations and difficulties the ferry service suspension is causing to the local community, and so we are very grateful for the understanding and patience of our customers while we work through this issue. We will continue to work in close harmony with local businesses, residents and organisations as we focus on bringing the ferry service back into operation at the earliest possible opportunity.”




PRESS RELEASE 13 AUGUST 2019

SANDBANKS FERRY COMPANY: UPDATE ON SUSPENSION OF SERVICES

REFUNDS OFFERED FOR ALL 2019 UNUSED PREPAID BOOK TICKETS

PREMIUM PAID BY FERRY Co. TO REDUCE LEAD TIME FOR REPLACEMENT PARTS BY HALF

The Sandbanks Ferry Company has set out its plans to return the chain ferry to service during October 2019, including measures to reimburse customers who have paid for tickets in advance.

Mike Kean, Managing Director of the Sandbanks Ferry Company, said: “I speak on behalf of the entire team at the Sandbanks Ferry Company when I express my regret that the chain ferry service has been unavoidably suspended from service.

“The failing of the drive shaft is an entirely unprecedented issue and one which, to my knowledge, has never occurred on any other ferry of this type. The ferry has passed all regulatory and insurance inspections with no such issues highlighted. As the drive shaft assembly is built to last the lifetime of the vessel, it was not amongst the hundreds of replacement parts which we routinely keep in stock.”

“The replacement components were sourced and ordered as soon as possible from an approved manufacturer in Sweden. To return the ferry to service as soon as possible, we paid an additional £46,000 to reduce the stated 24-week lead time by more than half. Once the parts arrive in the UK, our dedicated team will be working around the clock to repair and test the ferry with the objective of returning it to full service as soon as possible.”

Mike Kean added: “I would like to thank all of our customers for their continued patience while we work hard on returning the ferry to service. I understand the frustrations and inconvenience the service suspension has caused, which is why we are doing everything in our power to return the ferry to normal service as soon as we can. We are all absolutely committed to serving the needs of the local community and will be providing regular updates on the progress of the repairs in order to help ferry users plan ahead for the next few weeks.”

In response to enquiries as to why a stand-in ferry has not been sourced, Mike Kean commented: “Chain ferries are built to order on a two-year lead time, staying in service until the end of their serviceable life. We have carried out an exhaustive search in the hope of finding a similar vessel to provide a stand-in service, but regrettably there are no suitable ferries on the market in a state of good repair, or which could be quickly brought up to a serviceable level. “ Questions have been raised in the media regarding the provision of an alternative type of vessel, such as a foot passenger service. On this subject, Mike commented: “As foot passenger vessels require a jetty for passengers to embark and alight safely, unfortunately this isn’t a viable option in the short term while we work on returning the chain ferry to service. The landing slipways which are used by the chain ferry aren’t suitable to use as landing points for the vast majority of vessels.”

In response to comments in the media regarding the security of a fund to pay for the future replacement ferry, Mike Kean commented: “The Sandbanks Ferry Company’s latest accounts as at 31st March 2019, submitted to the Secretary of State for Transport, show that the Motor Ferry Replacement Reserve (MFRR) is now ring fenced for the sole purpose of replacing the current vessel when it comes to the end of its time in service. Additionally, dividends have not been taken from the company for over two years and the Company made an overall loss for the year.

“Our policy is, and will continue to be, that dividends will not be paid in any given year before sufficient funds have been transferred into the MFRR to ensure that we hit the target required to replace the existing vessel in the future.”

Customers who have purchased books of ferry tickets through the Sandbanks Ferry Company during 2019 can apply for a refund to the value of unused tickets. All applications should be made by emailing customercare@sandbanksferry.co.uk



Press release 30 July 2019

The Sandbanks Ferry was withdrawn from service on Friday 12th July following an unexpected fracture of one of the main drive shafts and is currently at a repair facility in Southampton. We are working very closely with the MCA (Marine & Coastguard Agency) and Lloyds Register of Shipping (our Class Surveyors for Insurers) to ensure all repairs are conducted to Class standards and specification.

The broken shaft and drive wheel have been removed. The shaft and drive wheel are joined by a hydraulic coupling. As the coupling is a specialist part, we are waiting for the removal kit, which is being flown from Sweden in order to try and separate the coupling. As a precaution we have had the other drive shaft tested and, although no cracks have been detected, the condition is such that we have taken the decision to replace it as well and work has commenced to do this.

As already mentioned, the coupling is a specialist component, which is manufactured to order and, unfortunately, this is on a very long lead time. We are in constant communication with the manufacturers to speed this process up, as well as researching alternatives. The lead time on the coupling means that we do not anticipate being able to resume service until sometime in October. We hope to have a much clearer picture of the return to service date next week.

We sincerely apologise to all our valued customers for this inconvenience and would like to thank all our Contractors, Surveyors (from both Lloyds and MCA) and our Naval Architects BCTQ, who are all working incredibly hard to return us to service as quickly as possible. We also wish to thank the public for the positive words of support received, which certainly helps our hard-working staff who have been demoralised by other uninformed, and in some cases libellous, comments


Postcodes for Sat Nav users

The postcodes necessary for Sat Nav users are BH13 7QN for the Poole/Bournemouth side of the ferry, and BH19 3BA for the Studland/Swanage side of the ferry.

CREDIT AND DEBIT CARD PAYMENTS

We are pleased to announce that we can now take payments for credit and debit cards at the toll boxes on the Studland side of the crossing and at the Northaven box (the blue hut on the Poole side).

Facebook and Twitter

Follow us on Twitter @Sandbanksferry, and on Facebook www.facebook.com/SandbanksFerry for the most up to date information as it happens. Both will be updated if we have any breaks in service.

 


Pictures of Sanbanks ferry

Pictures of Sanbanks ferry

Pictures of Sanbanks ferry
Ferry Office, Shell Bay, Studland, Swanage, Dorset, BH19 3BA.
Telephone: (01929)450203
 


©THE BOURNEMOUTH-SWANAGE MOTOR ROAD AND FERRY COMPANY 2005-2018