Jersey's main ferry provider has purchased a new passenger and freight vessel, which is due to enter service on its UK, French and inter-island routes this autumn.
Condor said the acquisition of the 125m long 'MV Straitsman' - currently operating in New Zealand - follows a year-long search for a vessel that would help "provide resilience, add capacity and improve connectivity" on key routes.
CEO John Napton commented: "Condor has always maintained that its primary focus is to support the three strands of the Islands' economies – lifeline freight, connectivity for Islanders and inbound tourism – which is clearly demonstrated through this additional vessel.
"We have been interested in purchasing another vessel for a while and would have already done so had it not been for the challenges caused by Covid and the limited availability of these size of vessels. This is a fundamentally important step in showing our commitment to the Islands and demonstrates we have listened to the needs of our clients and key stakeholders."
He added: "The new ship is similar to Clipper in size, speed and capability so we plan to use her on the important freight supply route from Portsmouth, offering an overnight service in both directions and creating an overall more weather resilient service. She will also enable the larger fleet to assist with inter-Island frequency and continue to develop freight services from France, which are showing real growth and potential.
"There is considerable amount of work to be done before she enters service but this is very positive news for the islands."
The Straitsman was built in 2005 at the Dutch shipyard, Merwede BV, and has operated under different names in both Europe and New Zealand.
The ferry will be renamed and undertake berthing trials in Guernsey and Jersey later this year prior to her entry into regular service.
Name: MV Straitsman(to be re-named)
Built: 2005 at Hardinxveld, Holland
Capacity: 400 passengers
Top speed: 18.5 knots StraitNZ
Condor's existing fleet: Commodore Clipper – freight and passengers, Commodore Goodwill – freight only, Condor Liberation – high-speed passenger ferry, Condor Voyager – high-speed passenger ferry
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I am a little bit biased as a former member of the "frequent traveller club" on Condor who had to give up their home and holidays in France as the cost of getting there with a car became so excessive by Condor throughout the year, not just summer.