Balmoral to miss sailing season in 2019 as owners seek £3million
PUBLISHED: 16:00 05 October 2018
An historic cruiser will not sail in 2019 as its owners fight to secure upgrades worth millions.
Coastal excursion ship MV Balmoral has been a regular feature of the North Somerset coastal scene since 2015.
But the ship was unable to sail in 2018 following a series of technical failures and cancelled trips due to poor weather – leading to the loss of around six months’ earnings.
Now, despite fundraising efforts, it has been confirmed she will remain docked next year in need of safety work.
MV Balmoral Fund spokesman, Dick Clague, said: “Instead of carrying passengers on trips in the Bristol Channel, off the North Wales coast and further afield too, she remains tied up in Bristol until funds are raised to undertake major upgrade work on the hull, deck and crew accommodation, as well as other work now required to meet tightening standards being applied across the shipping industry.
“This is likely to cost around £3million when capital expenditure for future operation is taken into account – an amount well beyond the funds available to the charity.
“The charity needs not only substantial new funding but also a massive strengthening at all levels of our management and support.”
An application for Heritage Lottery Fund help has been submitted but to be successful the charity needs to develop its educational and community work.
Organisers are hoping to secure an agreement with Bristol Harbour for year-round berthing, as well as recruiting volunteers with ship or engineering project management skills, a fundraising team and people to develop community links.
Mr Clague added: “While the objective is to get MV Balmoral sailing again, this can only happen with a massive injection of new blood, new skills, new thinking and of course, money.
“The response over the next few months will determine whether it is realistic to aim for an operational future for this historic and unique vessel, so she can once again play an active part in providing pleasure to thousands of passengers around the British coastline.”