South West Wales

Swansea to Ilfracombe ferry launch delayed to 2011

Severn Link 'fast cat' ferry
Image caption Crossings between Swansea and Devon would take about 50 minutes

The launch of a passenger ferry service connecting south Wales and Devon has been put off until 2011.

Severn Link said delays in creating landing facilities in Swansea had held up its plans to start sailings this year.

The company said it had conducted successful sea trials of the catamarans that will cross the Severn Estuary.

As well as a Swansea-Ilfracombe service, it hopes for one between Cardiff, Ilfracombe and Minehead.

Initially Severn Link had said it hoped to start sailings at Easter.

Announcing the launch in said the passenger-only ferries would run all-year round boosting the economies both sides of the Bristol Channel.

Managing director Geoff Metcalf said: "This is bitterly disappointing but, unfortunately out of our control.

"Although both ferries are up and running and have undertaken sea trials without appropriate landing facilities we clearly cannot operate or be granted a full licence by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

"So, while it is possible that we may be able to run some limited trial services it is with huge regret that we will have to postpone the full launch until next year."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites