Update 20.03.23: Condor Ferries has announced that STRAITSMAN will be renamed CONDOR ISLANDER before she enters service with the company during Autumn 2023.
Condor Ferries has confirmed that it has won the race to acquire STRAITSMAN from New Zealand’s Bluebridge. The Channel Islands operator has reportedly beaten off competition from Canada-based CTMA and Scotlands’ CMAL (on behalf of Northlink) to secure the 2005-built vessel.
STRAITSMAN became surplus to Bluebridge’s requirements after the arrival of CONNEMARA which Bluebridge purchased from Stena RoRo last October. The purchase has been at least partially financed by the state-backed Guernsey Investment Fund.
Condor provides year round sailings, linking Portsmouth and Poole, the Channel Islands and the French ports of St Malo and Cherbourg. The company has a mixed fleet of high speed and conventional ships. STRAITSMAN will be primarily based on the Portsmouth to Jersey and Guernsey service on which she will sail opposite COMMODORE CLIPPER.
The arrival of STRAITSMAN, which Condor says will be upgraded and renamed, will mean that Condor Ferries can offer an overnight passenger and freight service in both directions between the UK and the Channel Islands.
A further benefit of the new ship will be increased passenger capacity in the event of fast craft being cancelled due to poor weather. The company is also understood to be hoping that the new arrival will help grow freight volumes from France and improve connectivity between Jersey and Guernsey.
STRAITSMAN (ex DUEODDE) was an as-built sister-ship to Stena Line’s STENA VINGA (ex HAMMERODDE). STENA VINGA was significantly altered with the addition of an extra freight deck in 2010. Condor had previously been linked with a possible purchase or charter of STENA VINGA, though nothing came of this.
The STRAITSMAN is based on the Van der Giessen -de Noord design used for COMMODORE CLIPPER, BEN-MY-CHREE, and others. She was originally delivered in 2005 by Bodewes Scheepswerf “Volharding”, though her construction was subcontracted from sister-company IHC Merwede.