Ferries feel the draught as new laws come in
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.