Contact made by ro-ro passenger ferry St Faith with linkspan fendering

Location: Attempting to berth at Camber Basin, Portsmouth, England.

Completed PE Summary: St Faith

A short summary of the accident and action taken:

Vessel name:   St Faith
Registered owner:   Wightlink Limited
Manager:   Wightlink Limited
Port of Registry:   London
Flag:   United Kingdom
Type:   Passenger ro-ro vessel
Built:   1990
Classification society:   Maritime and Coastguard Agency
Construction:   Steel
Length overall   76.094m
Gross tonnage:   3009
Date & time:   28 March 2010, 1412 BST
Location of incident:   Camber Basin, Portsmouth
Incident Type:   Contact
Persons on board:   13 crew and 364 passengers
Injuries:   2 minor injuries
Damage:   Vessel’s stern ramp and fendering protecting the linkspan


At 1412 BST on 28 March 2010, the ro-ro passenger ferry, St Faith, landed heavily against fendering while attempting to berth at the Camber Basin linkspan in Portsmouth. Two persons suffered minor injuries and the vessel’s stern ramp was damaged.

On arrival in Portsmouth Harbour, St Faith’s intended berth was occupied by another ferry. As soon as the berth became available, the master manoeuvred St Faith stern-first into Camber Basin, reaching a maximum speed of 8.4 knots. This was faster than normal and increased the ferry’s radius of turn as she approached the berth. Consequently, the ferry was further south than intended, and a significant amount of lateral thrust was applied using the vessel’s Voith Schneider propulsion units to align the stern ramp with the linkspan. The use of lateral force resulted in insufficient ahead power being available to prevent the ferry’s stern ramp from hitting the linkspan fendering at a speed of about 4.5 knots. Although the master had been on duty for the previous 9 hours, it was not considered likely that fatigue was contributory to this accident.

Action taken

The Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents has written to Wightlink Limited strongly advising that, in addition to the action the company has already taken, all available means are used to monitor its vessels’ speed of approach when berthing.

Published: June 2010

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