At 0626 on 16 July 2014, the RoPax ferry Barfleur made contact with one of the chains of the chain ferry Bramble Bush Bay, causing the chain to part. The chain and its corresponding hydraulic drive motor on board Bramble Bush Bay had to be replaced following the accident, while Barfleur received only minor damage to its rudders, starboard propeller and skeg.
The investigation found that Barfleur’s high speed and close proximity to Bramble Bush Bay, which was moored in its normal ‘out-of-service’ position on the south side of the entrance to Poole Harbour, caused the vessels to interact. The resultant lateral movement of the chain ferry resulted in its chains being lifted. Barfleur’s track south of the fixed white leading light line, coupled with the low height of tide and the resulting squat effect on Barfleur’s draught, led to Barfleur making contact with the chain ferry’s ‘out harbour’ chain.
MAIB has made recommendations 2015/126 and 2015/127 to Barfleur’s owner, Brittany Ferries, aimed at improving bridge team procedures when entering port to ensure the passage is planned and monitored effectively and to ensure that VDR data is saved and verified following an accident or marine incident.
Recommendation 2015/128 has been made to Poole Harbour Commissioners to specify in the port passage plan that the harbour speed limit refers to speed through the water.