SEALINK RESPONDS TO CR MARK EDWARDS REGARDING BARGE AVAILABILITY COMPLAINTS (By Cr Mark Edwards) Marine transport is vital to our community regardless if using the passenger ferry or the barge. The effectiveness of this transport system determines the quality of life on our islands. I believe that the passenger ferry is an excellent service and I appreciate the investment in the new additional passenger ferry. However, what I do receive is a lot of recent complaints over the barge service and those complaints mainly fall into the lack of availability of spaces. Sealink is a private company and is not accountable to Council which means that I cannot make any directions into their operations. However, I recently reached out to Sealink to have an understanding of what the constraint issues are and where they plan to be servicing our islands in the near future. I would like to share with you their response. “Effective from Monday 27th February we have been operating a new timetable for our Bay Island vehicle ferry services. “This has come about due to the delays in the two new vehicle ferries coming into operation, and we now anticipate that they will be in service at the end of this year. “The delays by the boat builder has been due to a number of reasons including shortage or labour, floods and Covid. “Whilst we understand that the new timetable changes may not be ideal, we have increased capacity and will be using additional vehicle ferries to accommodate the demand. “In order to provide additional capacity, we will be operating the Quandamooka out of Cleveland four (4) days a week servicing the SMB Islands. “This vessel can hold up to 50 cars and has a licensed café on board. “We appreciate that this has caused disruptions to the normal services from Redland Bay but hope that the additional Cleveland services will help to meet the travel patterns of our customers,” the statement from Sealink concluded. Sealink, in my opinion, is doing the best they can and when the new barges come on board the availability should no longer be an issue. I use the barges regularly and I find that if you book a few days ahead then you should be able to find availability. But it is something that I am continually asked and I thought it would be best to share with you.
• A full Sealink barge at Macleay Island