New Ferries Stakeholders Update – No. 10

Posted on 23 Feb 2010

Whilst the Harbour Commissioners have consistently supported the need for a proper evaluation and control of any potential environmental effects of the new ferries on the river and adjacent protected areas, we must take issue with the misinformation contained in the front page article of the Lymington Times on 20th February.

The article refers to “the rise in safety incidents since the ferries arrived”. This statement is incorrect. There has not been an increase in ferry related safety incidents. In fact the opposite is true.

All reported incidents are investigated by harbour staff which can be informed by statements taken from those involved, witnesses, and through viewing CCTV camera footage, including for ferry incidents, recordings from the ferry system. A record is kept of all findings and a summary report published on the LHC website and in our Annual Report (page 4).

The report classifies the findings under 17 categories. Those relevant to ferries are:
Collision with Ferry 2008           3 2009           0 Difference   -3

Impede Ferry/Other craft 2008           23 2009           19 Difference   -4

Near miss with Ferry 2008           8 2009           7 Difference   -1

Wash Ferry 2008           5 2009           9 Difference   +4
Total 1st Jan to 31 Dec 2008         39 2009         35 Difference  -4
This is clear evidence of a reduction in incidents. In addition, a more detailed report  has been presented to the annual meeting of the River Safety Group made up from representatives of the leisure users and Wightlink. This forum ensures that there can be a full debate of any issues arising and gives an opportunity for agreement on ways that safety may be further enhanced.

This process continues from year to year and is complimentary to the extensive risk assessment trials conducted by BMT Isis to ensure the safe introduction of the new ferries.

The above should make it clear to all concerned that the safety of all river users is a very high priority for the Commissioners and that we are working hard to maintain and increase the safety of navigation.

P.T. Griffiths

Chairman – LHC