Condor Liberation's first Guernsey to Poole service

Condor Liberation passing Herm on its way to St Peter Port Harbour, Guernsey, from Poole on its maiden voyage
Image caption The company hopes trials later this year will allow the ship to operate in rougher seas

A £50m ferry serving the Channel Islands and UK has completed its maiden voyage from Poole to Guernsey.

The Condor Liberation is now the only ferry operating between Guernsey, Jersey and the UK.

Captain Fran Collins, executive director of operations, said: "It's a milestone in Condor's history.

"It's the first time a vessel of this type has been used in northern Europe so it's pretty exciting to see her going to sea with a full complement."

The 102m (335ft) long vessel was built by Austal shipbuilders in Australia and can carry up to 880 passengers and 245 vehicles.

Image caption The ferry was 42 minutes late on its maiden voyage and will sail on to Jersey before returning to Poole
Image copyright Condor Ferries
Image caption Children from Courthill Infant School were among those who gathered to wave the vessel off from Poole
Image copyright Condor Ferries
Image caption Previously the company offered services to and from Weymouth, but the new ferry is too big for the port

Following its purchase the firm sold the smaller Vitesse and Express ferries to Greek company Seajets, with Vitesse already delivered and Express due to follow once Condor Ferries is happy with the new ferry in service.

The Liberation is supposed to be able to operate in bigger waves than the smaller ferries, but is not yet licensed to do so.

Captain Collins said: "At the moment she has a limit of three and a half metres [of wave height], which is the same as the previous vessels.

"The Maritime and Coastguard Agency impose that limit on any high speed craft operating in these waters until she's been proven otherwise.

"Through the summer we'll take a series of assessments in heavy weather... and we hope to get that increased come the autumn."

The bigger ferry cannot operate to Weymouth so sailings to the UK port ended on Monday.

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