On 10 July 2016, the passenger vessel Royal Iris of the Mersey grounded on the remains of a mooring dolphin while manoeuvring toward Eastham lock at the entrance to the Manchester Ship Canal. The vessel’s 66 passengers were evacuated without incident and there were no injuries or pollution. The port propeller and rudder were damaged requiring the vessel to be removed from service and drydocked.
The MAIB investigation identified that:
The ferry’s experienced crew were focussed on a vessel departing the lock
The bridge team were navigating solely by eye and did not appreciate that the ferry was close to a submerged derelict mooring dolphin
The post-accident actions of the ferry’s crew were immediate and effective
Navigation by eye is not always accurate. More accurate means of monitoring are sometimes required
The vessel was not equipped with an electronic chart display and the paper charts used were not referred to
In view of the actions taken by the ferry’s owner and the harbour authority, no recommendations have been made.