The Red Funnel ferry MV Red Osprey, with 103 passengers and 19 crew onboard, suffered a technical problem when entering Cowes Harbour at approximately 1500 yesterday (Wednesday, 13th April). The Red Osprey, whilst navigating in the Inner Fairway on the approach to the Red Funnel terminal in East Cowes, departed the fairway and came into contact with No. 4A beacon and a moored yacht.
The incident was witnessed from Cowes Harbour Office at Town Quay. The Harbour Master liaised with the vessel and Red Funnel, whilst the HM1 patrol RIB was deployed to the scene to ensure the safety of any passing traffic and keep other vessels on the River clear of the ferry.
The ferry’s crew quickly brought the situation under control, and no casualties were reported. Equally, there were no injuries or damage to the ferry, which berthed successfully in East Cowes at 1515. The vessel loaded normally and departed East Cowes at 1610 for Southampton where it was taken out of service.
Cowes Harbour Commission issued a Local Notice to Mariners to alert harbour users to the fact that No. 4A navigation beacon and tide gauge were missing from station as a result of the ferry incident.
Local divers were sent down to check the damage to the 4A pile beacon, which had been knocked down. A blue and yellow wreck-marking buoy is now in place over the submerged beacon. In addition, one moored keelboat was dismasted, and three rows of small craft moorings will need to be lifted, inspected and re-laid as a result of the ferry incident.
Following investigation, Red Funnel has identified that the Red Osprey had a fault with one of its propulsion control units. This has subsequently been changed, tested, and MCA approval received for the vessel to safely re-enter service.
Cowes Harbour and the River Medina see over 30,000 safe movements of commercial vessels each year, with in excess of 12,000 of these being Red Funnel vehicle ferry entrances and departures, as well as a constant flow of leisure traffic on passage to and from marinas and river moorings. However, Red Funnel and Cowes Harbour Commission are taking yesterday’s Red Osprey ferry incident seriously and have launched investigations to ensure that any lessons learnt are implemented to further improve navigational safety in the harbour.