The Isles of Scilly Steamship Group has confirmed it is in the process of purchasing a larger freight ship to replace Gry Maritha.

The purchase of the Mali Rose is the first step in a strategy to renew its vessels as Steamship Company bosses have also revealed that detailed evaluation work is underway on replacing its Scillonian III passenger ship.


The Mali Rose arrived in Penzance from Norway this week and, subject to final legal agreement, the Steamship Company expects to take ownership in the next few days.


Rob Goldsmith, Chief Executive of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group, said: “Buying the Mali Rose will be a huge milestone for the company and will mark the start of our vessel replacement strategy.


“The Gry Maritha has been a faithful workhorse and is part of the fabric of island life but it’s time to upgrade to a bigger, younger ship that is better able to manage peaks in demand and special projects. The Company intends to talk to island residents and customers about the new vessel and how we can make further major investments to adapt it to best meet their specific needs."


Chairman Andrew May said: “We have invested over £10 million during the last five years upgrading the transport link to and from the Islands and this is a further major commitment by the Company to replace and improve its assets, and so improve the service we are able to offer the community.


“Like the Gry Maritha, the Mali Rose is Norwegian in origin but having been built in 1992 is considerably younger, and much larger. At 12.6 metres longer and almost a metre wider, her gross tonnage of 842 tonnes is 65% greater, giving her the appearance of the Gry’s younger but more grown up sister.”


James Struthers, Head of Marine Services at the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group, said the new ship would be able to offer far more flexibility for special projects, plant and vehicle transport, as well as better protection of freight. The recent widening and lengthening the quay at Hugh Town on St Mary’s would also provide added flexibility.


The new ship is expected to be licensed to have the ability initially to carry up to six passengers, subject to the Master’s discretion. The vessel will therefore maintain the same winter capability for passengers as the Gry Maritha in the event of an emergency requirement.


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