This reports the MAIB’s investigation into a collision between a class V passenger vessel, Millennium Time, and the motor tug Redoubt and its tow on 17 July 2014 on the Kings Reach area of the River Thames. There were no serious injuries or significant pollution but both vessels suffered moderate damage and were out of service for a number of weeks.
The key safety issues identified were:
Problems associated with Millennium Time’s steering system reduced its effectiveness in meeting the navigational challenges on the River Thames.
Millennium Time’s bridge was not fitted with rudder indicators and the vessel was difficult to keep on a steady course.
Millennium Time met the construction standards required for a vessel of its age but it did not have to comply with the latest standards introduced in 2010.
The risk of hydrodynamic interaction between vessels was increased off the Coin Street moorings.
The master was providing a sightseeing commentary to the passengers and did not effectively supervise the mate on the helm.
At the time of the accident, the correct passenger numbers on board Millennium Time was unknown.
The report contains a recommendation to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency which seeks to expedite legislation which will restrict the use of grandfather rights for existing domestic passenger vessels (2015/132). The Port of London Authority has been recommended to assess the impact on safe navigation of the Coin Street moorings (2015/134) and City Cruises has been recommended to take action designed to improve the safe navigation of its vessels (2015/135).
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the Passenger Boat Association have been jointly recommended to explore the use of technology to improve the accuracy of the passenger counts on passenger vessels operating on the River Thames (M2015/133).