Sandbanks Ferry service return 'delayed by jetty damage'

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Sandbanks FerryImage source, Ian Capper
Image caption,
Sandbanks Ferry was withdrawn from service on 21 April because of the government's lockdown

A ferry has been "significantly damaged" by a falling piece of concrete, delaying its return to service, its operator has said.

Sandbanks Ferry has been moored in Poole Harbour since 21 April because of the government's lockdown.

The concrete detached from the jetty and damaged part of the hull, Sandbanks Ferry Company said.

Poole Harbour Commissioners, the body which operates the jetty, has been approached for comment.

'Incredibly frustrating'

The concrete, which was not directly attached to the ferry, fell onto the vessel in the early hours of 8 May, the ferry firm said.

At least one of the main prow hinge fixings was cracked as a result, the firm added.

It said the chain ferry's return to service has been delayed until at least the beginning of June.

Managing director Mike Kean said: "The damage sustained by the jetty malfunction is incredibly frustrating, when we were expecting to return to service as soon as traffic volumes were back at a sustainable level."

He said biennial maintenance work, originally scheduled for November, had been brought forward to May to avoid further disruption.

Sandbanks Ferry provides a connection between Poole and Studland, avoiding a 25-mile (40km) detour by road.

Mechanical failures caused it to be removed from service for 16 weeks between July and October last year and to operate for only two days over a three-month period the previous winter.

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