The MAIB has consulted Cowes Harbour Commission (CHC) during the 15 months of their investigation into the October 2018 incident in fog when the Red Falcon car ferry lost situational awareness of its position and departed from the main navigational fairway into the harbour yacht mooring area, colliding and sinking a 32 foot yacht before running aground in shallow water.
Cowes Harbour Commission and Red Funnel carried out their own independent investigations into the incident and produced detailed incident investigation reports with recommendations to reduce the risks of future similar incidents. Both these reports were completed within six weeks of the incident to ensure any learning lessons and additional controls could be quickly actioned. CHC has, as a result, implemented the additional safety control measures within our control (listed below) and continues to communicate with Red Funnel in respect to their responsibility to operate and manage their ferries.
Cowes Harbour Commission’s overriding responsibility and number one priority is the safe management of Cowes Harbour. CHC is also aware of the importance to the Island’s economic and social prosperity that we have a safe, efficient and reliable ferry operation. The Commissioners are therefore committed to work with all parties and stakeholders to achieve these two key objectives.
CHC will consider in detail the MAIB’s published report and recommendations, and will carry out a further risk assessment and review of safety controls to see if any further measures or actions are appropriate. As part of CHC’s review of the MAIB report, we will discuss the recommendations with Red Funnel, Cowes Yacht Haven and other local mooring providers. CHC will also consult more widely with other harbour authorities, yachting and marina organisations as there could be implications for leisure ports and marinas around the UK.
CHC Additional Safety Control Measures:
• Two Temporary General Directions on Restricted Visibility in force since October 2018 and now recommended by the CHC Board to be permanent General Directions. To be reviewed in 12 months.
• Extra safety control measures on rafting at Shepards Marina with two agreed control conditions:
1. Normal operating rafting/mooring conditions.
2. Event rafting/mooring conditions when additional safety control measures are implemented, including lighting on outer rafting rows, notification to ferry companies, and additional limitations for winds in excess of 20 knots.
• The UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) has, at CHC’s request, put a western Inner Fairway boundary line on Chart 2793; this also shows on chart plotters. Yachts rafting/mooring at Cowes Yacht Haven and Shepards Marina in both normal and event mooring modes are moored outside of the Inner Fairway western limit.
• New Cowes Weather Stations have been installed, which monitor and record visibility, wind speed and direction, tidal rate and direction, and tidal height. Data from the Cowes Weather Stations will soon be available to view on the Cowes Harbour Commission website.
• Link to MAIB investigation report 6-2020: Red Falcon and Greylag