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From Tragedy to Renewed Purpose

The Dorset Belle's Journey

Dorset Belle Finds New Life as Dolphin Princess After Heartbreaking Chapter

In the wake of a tragic incident that shook Bournemouth, a boat previously impounded by the police is charting a new course. The vessel, known as the Dorset Belle, was involved in an investigation following the drownings of two children near Bournemouth Pier. It has now been purchased by Devon-based company WeFerry and repurposed for wildlife-spotting trips.

Dorset Belle Cleared of Involvement in Tragedy

The unfortunate incident which occurred on May 31st claimed the lives of Joe Abbess, 17, and Sunnah Khan, 12. A recent inquest revealed that the pair, along with a group of individuals, were swept up in a riptide near the pier. Investigators have confirmed that the Dorset Belle was not implicated in the incident.

Mounting Financial Strain Leads to Sale of Vessel

Island Cruises, the previous owners of the Dorset Belle, cited the financial burden resulting from the boat’s impoundment as a crucial factor in their decision to sell. Unable to operate, the company faced a growing pile of bills which ultimately compelled them to part ways with the vessel. The decision was described as “heart-breaking” in a statement posted on the Dorset Belle’s Facebook page.

A New Chapter Begins for the Dorset Belle

The recently sold vessel is set to embark on a new journey under the ownership of WeFerry, a company that also operates as Funfish. Renamed the Dolphin Princess, the vessel will serve as a flagship addition to the Funfish fleet, operating out of Brixham. Expressing empathy for those affected by the recent tragedy, WeFerry owner John Ford noted, “We feel for everyone involved in what has happened; it has ruined so many lives. WeFerry are extremely proud to bring this beautiful flagship addition to the Funfish fleet.”

The Dorset Belle’s Storied History

Built by J. Bolson in Poole in 1974, the Dorset Belle, a passenger boat with a capacity of 178, was part of the Croson fleet’s modernisation efforts in the mid-1970s. After the closure of Swanage pier in 1983, the Dorset Belle was sold, only to be reacquired in 1997. As the Dolphin Princess, it continues its maritime journey, carrying not just passengers but also the weight of its storied past and the hopes for a brighter future.

Despite its challenging past, the vessel’s resilience mirrors the spirit of the community it serves, ready to navigate the waters of tomorrow.

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