Wightlink is reaching the end of its £5million annual programme of maintenance and refit for its fleet of eight ships and catamarans, ready for the expected lifting of lockdown restrictions later in the year.
The last ship to be dry-docked is Wight Sun at the A&P Shipyard in Falmouth which will return to her home port of Lymington on Tuesday 30 March.
Wightlink’s engineers and superintendents have been busy over the winter making sure the fleet is in the best possible condition to welcome Islanders and mainlanders who will be travelling for pleasure again after a year of restrictions.
Tasks have included overhauling engines, hydraulics and air conditioning, painting and deep cleaning. All the work has been carried out in Covid-secure conditions in shipyards in Cornwall, Dorset and Portsmouth.
This was the second dry-docking for Wightlink’s flagship Victoria of Wight, which joined the fleet in 2018.
“It has been a challenging year with many of our vessels laid-up and far fewer customers than usual on board our services,” explains Wightlink Chief Executive Keith Greenfield. “We are ready for summer 2021 and hope the Government will be able to relax restrictions according to the roadmap so things can start to get back to normal.
“We have been working with the Isle of Wight Council, VisitWight and our fellow cross-Solent operators to provide a lifeline service during the pandemic and will be reintroducing sailings when the time is right, in line with increasing demand.”