Isles of Scilly Steamship Group chairman Andrew May has conceded that the Mali Rose "hasn't worked out exactly as planned" but insisted that she still has the potential to be a "great ship".
Speaking to This is Scilly at the ISSG's recent Listening Event on St Mary's, he addressed rumours that the new freight vessel has cost more to refurbish than was spent on buying her.
He said: "We had a significant budget as we knew when we bought the Mali Rose that she needed work. She’d been used to take fishmeal around Norwegian inshore waters. We had a plan of work and we spent on her what we budgeted to spend as a purchase price and we have spent more than we budgeted in works. And it’s no surprise, that figure exceeds the purchase price, we’re quite open about that and that isn’t an issue.
"Our view is that potentially she could still be a value for money ship in terms of the service that she provides. But it has taken longer, it didn’t work to plan. The board and the company and management are still committed to doing our best to make the ship fulfil its potential.
"She’s on sea trials again now after she came out of the dry dock so although the Gry will be on the route at Christmas we hope that the Mali Rose will be supporting her."
On the Mali Rose's strengths, Andrew said: "In terms of what she can do, she’s got a very impressive crane, fantastic space on the main deck and lower deck, and chilled and frozen capacity brand new that exceeds what the good old Gry’s got. And she's much bigger. There are a number of issues that we’ve still got to resolve but if we can do that, she’s got the potential to be a great ship.
"Can I say she’s going to be a great ship and she’ll be here as long as the Gry? I can’t say that at the moment as it might not work out but our plan is for that to happen."