Isle Of Wight Ferry Returns After Deck Collapse

25 July 2014, 11:24

An Isle of Wight ferry is back in service, a week after four people were hurt when a car deck collapsed.

Four people were treated in hospital after the upper deck of a car ferry collapsed at a port on the Isle of Wight last Friday (18 July). Paramedics along with police, fire crews and the coastguard were called to the Fishbourne terminal shortly before 10.30pm.

As passengers disembarked the forward mezzanine deck on the starboard side of the ferry, which had nine cars on it, collapsed on to the deck beneath it as it was being lowered. Vehicles on the lower deck had already left the ferry.

The incident occurred on the Wightlink Ferries St Helen car ferry, which sailed at 9.30pm from Portsmouth to the Isle of Wight with 181 passengers and 11 crew on board. A spokesperson for the company said the deck "dropped a few feet and made contact with the lower deck''.

Wightlink is today (Friday 25 July) bringing St Helen back into limited service.

The company says it has been co-operating with the Marine Accident Investigation Branch and Maritime Coastguard Agency investigations since the incident involving St Helen on the evening of Friday 18 July. Wightlink is also conducting its own investigation.

Following consultation and with full approval of the authorities, St Helen will be used to support the revised timetable which Wightlink is running on its Portsmouth to Fishbourne route from today. The mezzanine deck will not be used.

Chief Operating Officer John Burrows said:

“The safety of our customers is always our priority at Wightlink. 

"Bringing the St Helen back into limited service, with her mezzanine deck safely secured out of use, will help us to get as many people to and from the Isle of Wight as possible. 

"All of our ships undergo regular, planned maintenance and, even though St Helen’s mezzanine deck is of a different design to our other vessels, we have taken the precaution of having all our mezzanine decks independently inspected and we will continue to check them daily”.