Quay un­safe for new fer­ries

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - THE SAUCE - JACK MORPHET

CIR­CU­LAR Quay is not safe for to­day’s fast fer­ries, ac­cord­ing to an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into a 2016 ferry crash that in­jured 20 peo­ple.

A long-awaited trans­port safety in­ves­ti­ga­tion has con­cluded wooden bol­lards at the end of the berths that are de­signed to crum­ple on im­pact and slow down fer­ries don’t work for the mod­ern fleet of fast and light ves­sels.

Mod­ern high-speed alu­minium cata­ma­rans bounce straight back off the bol­lards, which fail to ab­sorb the im­pact.

The “re­coil” con­trib­uted to the hos­pi­tal­i­sa­tion of five pas­sen­gers when the Su­perCat 4 ferry from Wat­sons Bay lost con­trol and crashed into Wharf 5 on Oc­to­ber 11, 2016.

Both engines and an warn­ing alarm all failed when the cap­tain of the ferry, car­ry­ing 130 pas­sen­gers, tried to put the engines into re­verse two boat lengths from the wharf.

The cap­tain was break­ing the speed limit, which ex­ac­er­bated the im­pact but was not the cause of the ac­ci­dent.

The mod­ern fer­ries have all been fit­ted with new alarms to in­di­cate en­gine fail­ure and crew have new com­mu­ni­ca­tion pro­ce­dures, but the bol­lards have not been changed to “mit­i­gate the risk of pas­sen­ger in­jury” as rec­om­mended.

“Roads and Mar­itime Ser­vices reg­u­larly checks and main­tains the safety and se­cu­rity of the ferry back­boards at Cir­cu­lar Quay,” an RMS spokes­woman said.

“While the (Of­fice of Trans­port Safety In­ves­ti­ga­tion) re­port sug­gests that the back­boards should be re­viewed as mod­ern fer­ries are lighter, the Cir­cu­lar Quay wharves are still used by a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent types and sizes of ves­sels.”

The crash af­ter­math.

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