Ferry captain found not guilty over collision with yacht
On Dec 11, 2019, the then captain of the 'Red Falcon' has been acquitted of two maritime offences after his ship carrying 202 people was in collision with the motor yacht 'Phoenix' on Sep 29, 2018. Captain Ian Drummond was accused at Southampton Magistrates’ Court of failing to keep a proper lookout ahead of the accident involving the Red Funnel ferry as it headed to East Cowes on the Isle of Wight. The ferry was in collision with the 32ft motor-cruiser 'Phoenix', in the Thorn Channel, off Southampton, as both vessels were heading across the Solent. The ferry was carrying 20 crew and 182 passengers and the motor cruiser was being sailed by owner Peter Jackson, 57, and wife Julie with two others on board, but there were no injuries suffered in the accident. Mr Drummond, 63, was sitting in the lookout’s chair at the time of the collision and expert witness Captain John Simpson, a master mariner, told the trial that standing up would have helped eliminate the ferry’s blindspot. But District Judge Anthony Callaway ruled that Mr Drummond had used his experience to remain seated to maintain an overall best view round his ship including the use of CCTV monitors. He remained in the seat because he perceived it gave him the best view available. In the judgment, to move is likely to have hampered certain aspects of the lookout. Drummond was considered by his employer to be an experienced and safety-conscious captain who had made 6,000 crossings to the Isle of Wight without incident. The skipper of the 'Phoenix' has accepted a caution for his part in the incident. Jackson had almost no knowledge of Colregs (International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea. No proper lookout was in evidence which endangered himself, his crew and the 'Phoenix', and to a lesser extent, the ferry. He simply did not see the oncoming ferry, irrespective of the Colregs. As a matter of common sense, this was another huge failing on the part of this skipper. Mr Drummond, of Sandringham Road, Southampton, was acquitted of failing to keep a lookout and misconduct of master likely to endanger ships, structures or individuals under the Merchant Shipping Act. He had been dismissed from his job following the incident but was seeking for this to be reversed at an employment tribunal to be held in 2020.
Hearing: Master allegedly remained static ahead of accident
The 'Red Falcon' ploughed into a small pleasure boat with four people on board on Sep 29, 2018, because its captain failed to keep a proper lookout, a court has heard on Nov 18. Captain Ian Drummond allegedly sat static in his chair as the ferry smashed into the 10-metre motor cruiser almost forcing it to capsize. Drummond, 62, remained completely unaware the Isle of Wight-bound 'Red Falcon'had crashed into the cruiser during its journey across the Solent from Southampton, Hants, the city’s magistrates heard. One of the four people on board the cruiser, Julie Jackson, said she was thrown across the vessel by the impact. Along with her husband Peter and two other passengers, she scrambled to put on a life jacket while water began to engulf the vessel. Jackson said: “As I stepped out on the deck, I was made aware of a number of things happening all at once. I heard a loud bang, glass smashing, and saw a wall of red on my right-hand side. At the same time, I was thrown towards the seating area. We started to put on our life jackets.” Another passenger, Deborah Baxter said: “I heard a loud crashing noise and glass smashing behind me and I could feel a shower of glass pieces hitting me on my back and shoulder area. I could see a wall of red. I could not believe it. The ferry had carried on without stopping.” Prosecutors alleged Drummond would have spotted the yacht in front of the ferry if he had ordered a simple lookout. He also failed to view CCTV immediately in front of him, the court was told. Drummond denied misconduct of master likely to endanger ships, structures or individuals, and being the master responsible for conduct of a vessel contravening the merchant shipping regulations.
Sailings cancelled due to blocked toilets
Red Funnel have been forced to cancel at least two sailings on their ferry service across the Solent due to technical problems with the toilets aboard the "Red Falcon" in the evening of Aug 28, 2019. The sailings 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. from Southampton to East Cowes and the 8:30 p.m. and 11.30 p.m. sailing from East Cowes to Southampton were affected. Passengers on the midnight sailing were advised that engineers were to work through the night to resolve the toilet issue. On Aug 29 the morning sailings were cancelled too due to the blocked toilets on board of the ferry. The sailings Southampton to East Cowes at 10 a.m. and 11.30 a.m. East Cowes to Southampton were cancelled. It was unknown if any further sailings will be cancelled today.Upload News