Further details released on new Scilly passenger ferry


Further details have been released regarding a new passenger ferry and two freight vessels that will service the Isles of Scilly as part of a £42-million project.

The new 72-m Scillonian IV passenger ferry will carry 600 passengers: an increase of 115 passengers on the existing Scillonian III, which is 46 years old. A 45-m cargo vessel is expected to include more space for chilled and frozen goods. A second cargo vessel will have 50% more capacity than the existing inter-island ferry and allow for faster journeys between St Mary's and the other islands.

The Scillonian IV passenger ferry will carry 600 passengers over three decks (BMT).

Stuart Reid, chief executive of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group, said: "The group has a long and proud history of providing a lifeline route to the islands for more than a century and a dedicated team of experienced staff who understand the unique nature of the islands and the needs of its residents and businesses. We are delighted to be announcing this major investment for the islands which will see vessels coming into service by March 2026."

The group said some £33.6m of private funding would be used and vessels should be in service in 2026. It had hoped to secure government funding but said "no tangible progress" had been made since an initial offer. When initially announced in 2021, it had been hoped that the new vessels would be running by 2024.

Derek Thomas, Conservative MP for St Ives, which covers the Isles of Scilly, said he understood why the company decided not to rely on government funding due to the delays.

"It was years ago now that we met with No 10 and the Department for Transport to try and secure public investment," he said. "We've had so much work but also disappointment in the progress and in the meantime prices are going up and the existing vessels are getting increasingly close to their shelf life."