Sea Containers fined over fast ferries

Contributed by editor on Jan 20, 2005 - 05:10 PM


At a hearing in Folkestone(18 January), the owners of two fast ferries were prosecuted after operating them for two weeks without any certification.

Sea Containers Ltd, owners of the Rapide and Diamant, pleaded guilty to a total of sixteen charges brought under the Merchant Shipping (High-Speed Craft) Regulations 1996, the Merchant Shipping (Safe Manning, Hours of Work and Watchkeeping) Regulations 1997 and the Merchant Shipping (ISM Code) (Ro-Ro Passenger Ferries) Regulations 1997. 
These charges covered the period  25th August to 8th September 2003 when the Rapide and Diamant sailed from UK ports on about 130 occasions without valid certification. 

Sea Containers operating company Hoverspeed ferry, Diamant

Folkestone Magistrates fined Sea Containers Ltd a total of £7,000 plus £6,985 in costs were awarded.

The Chairman of the bench during his summing up said: “The public has to have full confidence in operators and there was a need to set an example to other companies for future reference.�

Mr Paul Coley, Head of the Survey Branch at the Maritime & Coastguard Agency, said: “The MCA is satisfied that during the two week period that the Rapide and Diamant were safe to operate and that no one was put at risk. This case arose from a problem with the vessels paperwork and lack of management oversight.

"The MCA is very concerned that the company would allow these two vessels to operate without the necessary certification. It is fortunate that in this case the problem was only with the vessels lack of valid certificates. This case highlights the important attention which must be given by those persons responsible. They must ensure that proper management systems are in place, to be kept informed and monitor matters affecting safety and pollution prevention.�