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Captain and Mate Suspended


This week the Isle of Wight ferry master and mate were suspended after the car ferry ran aground and struck yachts. On Sunday morning after another Red Funnel vessel tore yachts from their mooring only weeks before, the Red Falcon ran aground in the East Cowes fog. After the captain and the mate were suspended the Red Funnel said it is the standard practice in the industry and that it was planning to change its procedure in operating when visibility is restricted.

Ferry Firm Did Contact Owner of the Yacht

The owner of the yacht that sank told BBC that he was contacted by the Red Funnel firm. The CEO, Fran Collins called Nigel Minchin on Sunday evening, it was a huge embarrassment for the company, Minchin told BBC News. Minchin also shared that his yacht named Greylag was moored in Cowes for many years and it is expected that it would be recovered later. The investigation has already started by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch into the circumstances of the vehicle ferry that left Southampton at 07:00 BST for East Cowes, then ran aground about an hour later and while returning to the harbour in very low visibility came to a standstill 165ft off the esplanade.

Passengers Stuck on Board for Three Hours

Until the vessel was reflated about three hours later, forty passengers were stuck on board, and luckily no one was injured. It all happened after a channel marker, and catamaran post got struck by the Red Eagle, which is the sister ship of the Red Funnel, and later on, two yachts were found drifting on the 27th of September, two separate ship masters were involved in the two incidents.

Red Funnel to Change Procedures Immediately

Red Funnel’s CEO, Fran Collins told news reporters she was concerned about both the incidents, although it is still too early to speculate regarding the similarities of the two. If any similarities do exist, both the incidents happened in extreme visibility restricted conditions, and for this reason, Red Funnel is making immediate changes to their procedures to prevent any such incidents in future. The Red Falcon ship has already returned to service after the inspection carried out on Sunday in Southampton confirmed that there was no damage to the hull. Red Funnel handed over the chart plots of both the ferry’s movements recorded by the MAID electronically.

Passenger Give Full Credit to Staff & Crew

Ed Anderson was waiting in his car when the visibility changed drastically, he says the staff and crew of the Red Funnel deserve full credit for their excellent services, they made sure all passengers were informed at all times and ensured that the whole episode was without stress. The Red Falcon came in contact with several boats according to Red Funnel due to the thick fog that had set in as the vessel was on its way to Cowes.