PRESS RELEASE: Wagenborg Passagiersdiensten is making improvements to the adjusted ferry schedule to Ameland: fewer delays and more departures during the day
Based on new gauge reading in the immediate vicinity of the channel, which were not previously available, the Department of Public Works and Wagenborg Passagiersdiensten have searched for locations along the route where vessels can pass each other safely, to enable the deployment of a second ferry. Wagenborg Passagiersdiensten is pleased that these sections have been found, which will make it possible to implement improvements to the adjusted timetable from 1 August.
Wagenborg Passagiersdiensten has had to adjust the regular timetable since 27 June 2023 for safety reasons, based on the condition of the channel, a report from the MARIN and an incident with the Fast Ferry service. On 23 June 2023, the State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management indicated that they would allow Wagenborg Passagiersdiensten to invoke force majeure and adjust the timetable for a period of six weeks, until 8 August 2023. In the meantime, the MARIN has been conducting follow-up research into the circumstances under which it is safe for vessels to pass each other in the channel.
Second ship at certain water levels
The new gauge readings in the immediate vicinity of the channel show that there are sections where, at certain water levels, the channel is wide and deep enough to allow two ferries to pass each other safely. As a result, a second vessel can be deployed 2 to 3 times a day, if the water level allows. This will mainly be during the day, allowing passengers to travel at more convenient times. For the time being, we assume that the ferries can pass each other at a water level of 1 meter below NAP.
This will improve accessibility of the island during the day. Passengers are able to travel to and from Ameland at more convenient times.
1 1/4-hour timetable to reduce delays
To give the ferries sufficient time to wait for each other and to pass safely, Wagenborg Passagiersdiensten will also operate a 1 1/4-hour service from 1 August.
The Fast Ferry service will also use the passing sections; the adjustments mean it will be able to sail as scheduled. Here, the delays due to the adjusted timetable introduced on 27 June will decrease. This makes it easier for commuters, students and islanders to travel.
Buoys and weekly soundings
In order to safely deploy a second ferry, the Department of Public Works will provide the passing sections with buoys. The Department of Public Works will also carry out soundings outside the channel in the coming 6 weeks, in order to closely monitor developments. Based on the readings, Wagenborg considers it safe and responsible to adjust the timetable earlier, i.e. before publication of the MARIN report.
The final MARIN report is expected around 11 August. The timetable for the rest of 2023 will be determined on the basis of this report, in consultation with consumer organisations, local authorities and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. The improved adjusted timetable will apply for the month of August.
*** End of press release ***
UPDATE: 2 August 2023 - 12.00 h
The adjusted timetable will run from 1 August to 7 September 2023