Isle of Wight Council to deliberate on Floating Bridge ferry

Photo: Isle of Wight Council official Facebook page

The Isle of Wight Council said earlier this week that it will be reviewing the results of an independent review carried out in November 2021 to assess the condition of an existing Cowes Floating Bridge vehicle ferry, and also considering the latest news on the legal dispute between the council, the naval architects, and the shipbuilder involved in the building of the vessel.

All parties involved in the legal case are required to consider a mediated settlement before going to court.

A further delay in setting a mediation date was due to the discovery of significant additional defects on the vessel, which were found during the recent repair works. The date for mediation is now set for the week commencing February 28.

At the request of the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership, a government-approved independent review (a Gateway Five Review) has examined the “significant existing issues” with the Ro-Ro chain ferry Floating Bridge No 6 and given a series of recommendations.

Councilor Phil Jordan said one of the recommendations is to undertake a financial analysis showing whether or not it is actually cost effective to keep the current vessel in operation as part of the consideration of any alternative crossing provision.

The next steps in the legal process may depend on the responses and commitments of the other parties in the dispute, Mr Jordan added.

The council said the expert review team found that the problems with the ferry are now receiving effective management attention. The review team was also satisfied that there are clear plans in place to improve the situation.

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