The troubled Cowes Floating Bridge is only allowed to operate under the escort of safety boats tonight (Friday).

It comes at the request of Cowes Harbour Commission, as part of the “special arrangements” brought in to ensure the chain ferry operates its usual Cowes Week Firework timetable.

As reported by Isle of Wight Radio yesterday (Thursday), the Cowes – East Cowes link will not be carrying vehicles at any point today.

A passenger launch will be in place until 6pm this evening. That will then be replaced by a pedestrian only service on-board the Floating Bridge until 3am.

The chain ferry has been plagued with problems this week. Yesterday the service came to a halt due a mechanical issue with the prow, while on Wednesday (8) cars were forced to reverse off the vessel as it ran aground in East Cowes.

The on-going issues prompted East Cowes’ Mayor Peter Lloyd to dub the service “an absolute shambles”, and call on the Isle of Wight Council to accept its failures.