Island residents have been asking for an update about the Steamship Group’s freight vessel the Mali Rose, which was purchased as a replacement for the Gry Maritha.

The Steamship Company (ISSG) intends for the Mali Rose to enter a period of familiarisation starting late January 2019 for a period of three months.

During November and December, ISSG will be planning for the familiarisation period both internally and with the wider community. During this time, they will be working alongside the harbour authorities, regulators, the community and their sea and shore staff teams to ensure the vessel can reliably maintain the level of service we all expect.

The Gry Maritha completed her annual survey this year and will be retained during the Mali’s familiarisation period and to fill in to allow the Mali Rose to have the remainder of any works carried out, following the familiarisation period.

The Mali is currently being fitted with new bridge to engine room propulsion controls. Her windlass is undergoing repairs and we are carrying out several other minor upgrades.

There has been criticism of the Mali Rose and questions about her suitability, but we should not lose sight of the fact that provided we can prove her on the route, she will offer more than double the crane capacity of the Gry Maritha and carry significantly more chilled and frozen cargo.

The Mali has been one of the main topics of discussion at the Steamship Group’s Advisory Board. The Advisory Board meets quarterly and is comprised mainly of islanders. Its role is to provide a forum to feed back on the company’s services, performance and major projects.

Another topic has been connectivity with other transport services on the mainland including trains from Penzance and connecting flights at Newquay and Exeter Airports. In recent weeks we have met with both airports and rail providers and will keep you informed about any developments.