The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has suspended the new Cowes floating bridge service on the Isle of Wight due to "training issues"
First there was controversy over the naming, then it broke down just a day after going into service and now the floating bridge service from East Cowes to Cowes on the Isle of Wight has been suspended.
The suspension of the chain link ferry by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is due to “training issues”.
The Isle of Wight Council said it was consulting with the MCA to resolve the issues with the floating bridge as soon as possible.
The new floating bridge began operating on Saturday (13 May), replacing the older chain link ferry.
On Sunday, an electrical fault caused the vessel to breakdown. Passengers and their vehicles were left stranded for several hours.
Operations began briefly again on Monday before the service was suspended by the MCA.
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A surveyor from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: “We have inspected the ferry this morning (15 May) and have subsequently suspended the passenger service until the company have addressed some training issues we’ve identified.”
“We will be re-inspecting the vessel in due course, subject to these issues being rectified. We are confident that the company is working hard to bring the vessel into full service shortly,” added the surveyor.
In a statement, the Isle of Wight Council confirmed the suspension of the floating bridge.
“Following an approach from the Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA) this morning, regarding the teething issues encountered by the floating bridge during the weekend, the service is currently suspended.”
“The council is consulting with the MCA to confirm that all issues have been resolved necessary for the service to resume. The electrical fault that caused issues on Sunday has since been identified and fixed.”
“It was anticipated that during the first couple of weeks, that there would be a few minor issues to be ironed out, some of which could not be identified until the vessel was back in service and in full use,” stated the council.
“During the preceding week, the new vessel underwent testing, including trips across the river Medina, embarkation and disembarkation with vehicles.”
“It had always been anticipated that, as with any new vehicle, there would be a period of time for staff and users to become used to its operation. We would encourage all vehicle users to drive slowly onto and off of the floating bridge.”
“We would like thank those involved in the issues encountered over the weekend for their patience and understanding, and to our staff for helping to enable passengers to disembark while the vessel was inoperable,” concluded the council.
Back in March, the Isle of Wight Council was forced to rescinded on its decision to veto Floaty McFloatface as the name of the new floating bridge.
The decision came following outcry on social media after a spokesman said the name would not be considered.
A petition was even launched by regular bridge user Martin Linnenbruger to call it Floaty McFloatface, attracted more than 2,000 signatures.