The Isles of Scilly Steamship Group’s new freight ship, the Mali Rose, has made its first voyage to the Isles of Scilly as a replacement for the current freight ship.
On her latest operational trial, the Mali Rose replaced the Gry Maritha’s scheduled sailing for the first time on Friday (August 4).
The Gry has delivered supplies to the islands for the last 27 years. Friday’s sea trial saw the Mali Rose carrying around 70 tonnes of cargo including chilled and frozen goods, aggregate, vehicles and items classed as ‘dangerous goods’ to test the ship’s systems and procedures.
It was the ship’s second visit to Scilly and it will now make a number of trial runs on the 28-mile journey from the mainland to ensure that all operating systems and procedures are fully tested.
Steamship Group chief executive, Rob Goldsmith, said: “This was the first time we’ve tested the Mali Rose as a replacement for the Gry and we’re really pleased with how it went. The new ship gives us much more capacity and we look forward to her entering full-time service.”
The Norwegian-built Mali Rose was acquired by the Steamship Group last year. Because the vessel is 12.6 metres longer and a metre wider than the Gry Maritha, the group has also had to manage a period of training and testing alongside an extensive refit, to ensure crews were familiarised with the handling and manoeuvring of a larger vessel.
Once she enters full-time service, the Mali Rose will provide increased freight carrying capacity and capabilities for the benefit of island residents. The Mali Rose has larger and more flexible chilled and freezer storage, ensuring that larger volumes of perishable cargo can be transported to and from Scilly. A new heavy lift crane that can lift up to 15 tonnes – more than twice the six-tonne limit of the Gry Maritha’s crane – will allow the transport of larger, specialised freight such as large vehicles, plant and equipment.
The purchase of the Mali Rose is one of the number of investments totalling £15 million made by the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group over the last seven years to upgrade transport links to and from the islands.
The company has built a new terminal and hard runways at Land’s End Airport, purchased an eighth aircraft for its Skybus airline service, and invested in new landing technology to improve operating resilience in poor weather
A farewell for the Gry will take place on St Mary’s later in August before her last sailing, and islanders will be invited to say goodbye to the ship when she is berthed alongside the quay. A date for a farewell event will be announced soon.