Update: Ferry is now in Southampton awaiting repairs, but it now looks like it will not return to service until October (see statement below).
The Sandbanks Ferry was withdrawn from service on Friday 12th July following an unexpected fracture of one of the main drive shafts and is currently at a repair facility in Southampton. We are working very closely with the MCA (Marine & Coastguard Agency) and Lloyds Register of Shipping (our Class Surveyors for Insurers) to ensure all repairs are conducted to Class standards and specification. The broken shaft and drive wheel have been removed. The shaft and drive wheel are joined by a hydraulic coupling. As the coupling is a specialist part, we are waiting for the removal kit, which is being flown from Sweden in order to try and separate the coupling. As a precaution we have had the other drive shaft tested and, although no cracks have been detected, the condition is such that we have taken the decision to replace it as well and work has commenced to do this.
As already mentioned, the coupling is a specialist component, which is manufactured to order and, unfortunately, this is on a very long lead time. We are in constant communication with the manufacturers to speed this process up, as well as researching alternatives. The lead time on the coupling means that we do not anticipate being able to resume service until sometime in October.
We hope to have a much clearer picture of the return to service date next week. We sincerely apologise to all our valued customers for this inconvenience and would like to thank all our Contractors, Surveyors (from both Lloyds and MCA) and our Naval Architects BCTQ, who are all working incredibly hard to return us to service as quickly as possible.
We also wish to thank the public for the positive words of support received, which certainly helps our hard-working staff who have been demoralised by other uninformed, and in some cases libellous, comments
Mechanical problems means Sandbanks Ferry will to be towed to Southampton for repairs – earliest estimate for return to service is the 12th August.
In a statement from Bournemouth-Swanage Motor Road & Ferry Co.:
“The Sandbanks Ferry was withdrawn from service on Friday 12th July following a fracture of one of the main drive shafts.
The Ferry has two independent drive systems which consists of diesel engines driving a hydraulic pump. This provides the hydraulic pressure to turn a hydraulic motor which is connected to the drive wheel via a drive shaft. It is one of these drive shafts which has broken.
in order to remove the drive wheel to change the broken shaft requires specialist repairers. In order to speed up the whole repair process we have taken the costly decision to have the ferry towed to a suitably equipped repair facility in Southampton top have the work undertaken.
It is difficult to put a timescale on how long this work will take, considering the shaft must be specially made, but we estimate that we will be out of service until at least 12th August.
We sincerely apologise to all our valued customers for this inconvenience, but can only assure you that we are working as hard as we can to return the ferry to full service as soon as possible.”