Hovercraft services suspended in Portsmouth

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HOVERCRAFT services between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight have been suspended after a problem with one of the craft’s propeller.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has suspended two craft – Freedom 90 and Island Express – because of safety concerns this evening.

It comes after an investigation on a third craft highlighted inconsistencies in its safety management systems, in particular with vessel maintenance.

Richard Pellew, operations manager for the MCA South East, said: ‘We’re working closely with Hovertravel and the propeller manufacturers to investigate the circumstances around the propeller failure.

‘Hovertravel’s management team has responded positively to our concerns and we will be working with them over the weekend to resolve the issues so these hovercraft can return to service as soon as possible.’

The hovercraft services run from Southsea seafront to Ryde, in the Isle of Wight, seven days a week.

A message on Hovertravel’s website reads: ‘Due to unforeseen operational difficulties, services are suspended.

‘Apologies for the inconvenience caused.’