FoF Chair's Letter - November 2015

Dear Member

Once again our Autumn weather has provided temperatures better than some endured in mid-summer, so I hope everyone has managed at least one recent trip on the Ferries before we have to don our winter woollies. Already, however, we’ve had some typical November fogs which Health and Safety has decreed are too thick for our modern navigation systems to cope with!  There have also been one or two engineering hiccups, according to the Echo, for which there was no substitute vessel.  Meanwhile, we learn that  upgrades of the hydraulics for the rescue craft on the two service ferries improve launch capabilities.

Gary Evans, Merseytravel’s Head of Customer Delivery, and the senior officer operating the Ferries, has invited us in December to meet him and Cllr.Liam Robinson (Chair of Merseytravel) to discuss Consultant’s recommendations on the future of the Mersey Ferries.  This in-depth report is due to emerge shortly, and we appreciate the opportunity to discuss some of the issues with Merseytravel.  We anticipate that fundamental matters relating to the condition of the stages, as well as future service provision, will be addressed, and hope that some new initiatives will be brought forward for the Royal Daffodil.

Friends of the Ferries web-site is temporarily in hibernation, but steps are being undertaken currently to re-awaken it, hopefully using the same address.  However, Googling the name Friends of the Ferries will  usually be sufficient to get you to the site as any future title change will be minor.   

An important date for Friends to note is that we have arranged our next Dock and River Cruise for Saturday 25th June 2015.  This year’s event was a great success, with fine weather, and plenty of ships to observe on the river and in the docks.  Our two commentators Stuart Wood and Andy Ball really enjoyed their day, as did our passengers.  We are very grateful for their time, and look forward to meeting them again next June.

Do listen to Stuart Wood each Saturday on Radio Merseyside’s River Watch between 7.50 and 8.00am.

Cammell Lairds, McTays, and the new riverside container berth at Seaforth, all featured in our Cruise itinerary, and a number of interesting reports have emerged recently about them.  Lairds are now the preferred bidder for a new £200 million British Polar exploration vessel.  McTays shipyard, enroute to Eastham, went into liquidation earlier this year, but has been bought by the family tug firm Carmet Marine who have resumed repair work with 17 jobs, and hope to build a new tug soon.  At Seaforth, work schedules have slipped, but the first batch of container cranes has arrived from China by sea, and awaits discharge. The vessel and its cargo present a spectacular appearance, since the cranes have been loaded erect and tower above the ship.  The Zhen Hua 23 is a converted tanker built in 1986, and presumably uses water ballast to maintain stability.

Please find enclosed our Newsletter by Geoff Holmes, and tickets for our ever-popular Christmas Draw run by Gordon Ditchfield.  Membership receipts or reminders are also enclosed.  Joan Roberts continues to attend local events and fairs with her sales stall - see some items below for Christmas presents!

Very best wishes to you all for Christmas and the New Year!

Yours sincerely,                                                                         


Andrew Hodgson, Hon.Chairman.