Wightlink pledged to resolve the engine issues

Wight Sky

Wightlink has pledged to resolve the engine issues on its Lymington-Yarmouth fleet that have caused frequent delays and disruption to customers over the last 16 months.

A major engine failure and suspected fire on board Wight Sky on Friday morning (14 December) resulted in the ferry being taken out of service pending investigations by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) and Wightlink’s engineers. It was the third failure of an engine resulting in a fire on Wight Sky over the last 16 months. The fire was extinguished instantly by the ship’s fire suppression system and no-one was hurt.

This Volvo Penta engine was brand new and had been installed by the manufacturer’s agent at the ship’s 2018 autumn refit. It had only been operational for 390 hours when it failed.

Volvo Penta will carry out technical investigations this week on Wight Sky.

The Lymington-Yarmouth service resumed on Sunday afternoon.

Wightlink Chief Executive Keith Greenfield says: “I apologise that Islanders have yet again had to put up with major disruption on our Lymington to Yarmouth route this weekend. We are working incredibly hard to restore full service and working with MAIB and Volvo Penta engineers to find the root cause and a permanent solution to this series of engine failures.

“Most of the recent disruption on this route has in some way been linked to poor engine reliability and associated wind restrictions. The last two major failures have involved engines still under warranty. We do not experience any significant engine issues on our other routes and our customers should not have to put up with this on the Lymington-Yarmouth service.

“Every effort is being made to find a root cause and permanent solution so that we can provide our customers with the reliable service they deserve and that Wightlink colleagues work so hard to deliver. There will be a solution and it will be found.”

As a result of the latest engine failure, a revised set of operating procedures have been approved by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and are now in place on the Lymington-Yarmouth route.

Engine speeds have been reduced and ships will not sail if winds are higher than 20 knots constant or gusting at 25 knots. Wightlink apologies as this will result in more cancellations and disruption for customers during high winds but safety must take priority.