Island Echo is told that the troubled Floating Bridge No.6 could be out of action for a further 8 weeks whilst the hydraulic system is overhauled. The hydraulic oil has been described as a ‘silver sludge’.
The East Cowes to Cowes service was temporarily halted for regular maintenance on 14th July, but whilst undergoing tests prior to returning to service, a major fault with the hydraulic system was identified. The shipbuilders and their approved contractors investigated this and advised the council that the vessel could not return as originally planned.
Arrangements have been made to remove some of the main components of the hydraulic system including the main drive and auxiliary pumps and motors, so they can be fully examined and inspected, cleaned and repaired in the workshops. This work will commence on Monday, although the Council say this work may identify more faults.
The Isle of Wight Council has issued a statement this afternoon (Saturday). They say:
“A programme has been developed with our shipbuilders to carry out this work and by the end of August we will know the cause, extent of the issue, date for completion of the works and return to service.
“Progress on the repairs, and the expected return to service will be closely monitored, and any changes will be communicated to the media and key stakeholders and posted on social media”.
Today’s statement does not confirm a date for the return of the floating bridge, but does clearly state that it won’t be back in service this month.
The launch service for foot passengers will continue to operate from 05:00 – 23:00 (06:30-23:00 on Sundays) at expense of the tax payer.
The Isle of Wight Council apologises for any inconvenience caused by this ongoing disruption to the service.