THE latest repairs to the ill-fated Floating Bridge have uncovered another problem apart from the hydraulics issues.

  • Scroll down for comments from Isle of Wight Council's transport lead Cllr Ian Ward and East Cowes Councillor Karl Love

The chain ferry has been out of action since Saturday with a failed hydraulic bow ram, which the Isle of Wight Council says has been repaired.

However, during the inspection, engineers discovered one of the inner piston ends was sheared off and a fatigue crack was evident.

Following over three months of repairs in the summer, the vessel came back into service mid-October but in the space of two weeks, Floating Bridge 6 has broken down twice.

Here is how the Floating Bridge looked yesterday (Tuesday).

Speaking at a meeting of the Isle of Wight Council's corporate scrutiny committee, leader of the council Cllr Dave Stewart said a fatigue crack was something they were not expecting to find but his priority would be to put the service first, with money issues second.

He said: "All four ends are being checked to ensure they do not have similar problems. This work is thought to be completed shortly and the vessel will then return to service.

It is very disappointing that the service was taken out in the first two weeks it was back as we carried 4,000 passengers, a similar number of vehicles and generated income over £10,000 so when the vessel is in play it is used and its income generation to cover costs is there — but at this moment in time we have a problem."

Cllr Ian Ward, the council's head of infrastructure and transport said it had been recognised from the very beginning that the ramp structure could be 'beefed up'.

  • Scroll down for comment from East Cowes Councillor Karl Love

Cllr Ian Ward said: "It is a project to be looked at but we are still surprised that it has failed in this way. We would not have expected that to happen."

The latest problems, however, renewed calls from councillors asking when enough would be enough, with local members for Cowes and East Cowes, finding out about the piston end problems during the meeting.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Cllr Love at the Floating Bridge during its summer repairs

Cllr Karl Love said it was, what he called, institutional blindness — the belief that the problems can be fixed no matter what.

He said: "My residents just want this fixed like everybody else and fixed sooner rather than later."

The council's legal discussions regarding the floating bridge are ongoing and will now include the latest problems.

Cllr Stewart asked for a list of questions raised by committee members, including whether modelling was undertaken and whether the effects of the breakwater were taken into account.