Fer­ries feel the draught as new laws come in

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - THE HERALD -

FUR­THER safety rec­om­men­da­tions also came into force just a few months af­ter the Her­ald cap­sized. Al­though it did not con­trib­ute to the ferry cap­siz­ing, the court heard that the Her­ald was of­ten over­loaded with pas­sen­gers. Crew mem­bers only knew the iden­tity of car and lorry driv­ers as no pas­sen­ger list was drawn up for ev­ery pas­sen­ger. Again, it was in 1988 that this is­sue was ad­dressed. The Mer­chant Ship­ping (Pas­sen­ger Board­ing Cards) Reg­u­la­tions 1988, plus three sep­a­rate Mer­chant Ship­ping Reg­u­la­tions re­gard­ing the weigh­ing of goods ve­hi­cles, came into force. The weight a ship was car­ry­ing would be recorded. In the 1990s a Euro­pean di­rec­tive re­quired fer­ries on voy­ages of more than 20 nau­ti­cal miles to have a pas­sen­ger list. When the Her­ald cap­sized, she had been “trimmed by the draught,” mean­ing she had been low­ered in the wa­ter, by us­ing bal­last, so traf­fic load­ing ramps at Zee­brugge would fit. This was not found to have con­trib­uted to the cap­size, but the Her­ald was lower in the wa­ter than she was nor­mally. Now, sta­bil­ity rules re­quire that any read­just­ment of a ship’s trim to op­er­a­tional lim­its be­fore it leaves the berth and UK reg­u­la­tions mean a Mas­ter shall record ac­cu­rate draught read­ings and record them in a log book.

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