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colin

Irish Ferries: Bad weather, bad decisions? Epsilon - Vissentini?

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I know we like a translation, but here is a summary of the Ouest France article linked below. "Went on the Irish Ferries service from Cherbourg, when all the other ferries seemed to be taking shelter east of the Cotentin. They were right and Irish Ferries wrong. Hell of a trip, though we would die. Anchored off Bideford. Chaos. Fear. No communication on board. At arrival, we refused to disembark until we saw our vehicles. IF tried to whisk us ashore. Angry. Standoff. http://www.ouest-france.fr/meteo/tempete/tempete-nuit-de-chaos-sur-le-ferry-cherbourgeois-4028202

 

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Given that the salient parts of this "incident" happened in UK waters, I wonder if the MAIB has any jurisdiction to investigate this? Certainly investigation of "near misses" is part of their remit, I've seen several reports of that kind in the past. I think they should look into this if they are able to.....the thinking that went into the decisions to (a) sail from Cherbourg and (b) round Land's End need examining. If it turns out that these were a response to pressure from Head Office against captain's better judgment then heads should roll.

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Wonder what reception the skipper got from his bosses and what would the insurers say, when every other ship ran for shelter. Could the insurers be funny about it and say they shouldn't have sailed and either not pay out or jump the premiums up?

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I am sure the ship was never in danger of sinking or capsize, but it was clearly not a wise, seamanlike decision to depart, the passengers were understandably scared, particularly with poor dissemination of information, and the damage shows just how poor the Captain's decision was.

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Indeed. The only thing that might possibly have put the ship herself in danger would have been a cargo shift resulting in all the cars and lorries over one side of the ship. But looking at the pictures, and how much movement there must have been on the vehicle decks, you'd have to say that was a possibility. Anyone seen any pictures of the state she was in when she arrived at Dublin? Would be interesting to know whether there was any kind of list. You're right Colin, it was a really poor decision, especially to proceed past Lands End, but it is important that the reasoning behind that decision is discovered. If it was a decision made by the captain alone, then yes very poor seamanship and raises questions about the captain. But if it was the captain responding to pressure from Head Office then that raises even bigger questions over the attitude of Irish Ferries to safety. Either way, this needs investigating.

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An intersting interview with A captain of Epsilon (I am in no way saying this is the Captain of the vessel for the above mentioned crossing). He talks about delays due to weather and sometimes having to wait for storms to pass. Reading this, I don't think it was him!

 

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The absence of any kind of statement from IF on this is staggering. If this was a decision of the captain alone you'd think IF would be falling over themselves to make it known that the captain had been suspended pending investigation, we take safety really seriously etc etc. But the silence from IF press department kind of infers to me that the captain was acting under orders.

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The absence of any kind of statement from IF on this is staggering. If this was a decision of the captain alone you'd think IF would be falling over themselves to make it known that the captain had been suspended pending investigation, we take safety really seriously etc etc. But the silence from IF press department kind of infers to me that the captain was acting under orders.

 

 

Could possibly be at the insistence of their insurance company.....admission of guilt/responsibility etc. BF always say that the decision to sail rests with the Captain, I did not seed the original message on the IF site .....was anything mentioned about the decision to sail/run for cover?

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The absence of any kind of statement from IF on this is staggering. If this was a decision of the captain alone you'd think IF would be falling over themselves to make it known that the captain had been suspended pending investigation, we take safety really seriously etc etc. But the silence from IF press department kind of infers to me that the captain was acting under orders.

IF getting very bad press over this. There were apparently 58 cars & 30 trucks damaged & several of the 138 passengers on board needed hospital treatment for broken bones. One regular customer lost a truck,trailer & his freight & has been informed by IF that it is " not liable " for the damage.

Stena left Cherbourg an hour before Epsilon and told its passengers that its arrival would be delayed until Tuesday as it would take a route that gave it the option of shelter if it encountered the storm. The Epsilon however rounded Lands End & went straight into storm force 11 conditions giving little or no information to the 138 passengers on board.

One would still wonder if it was a company decision rather than the Captains as freight is still being delayed on Epsilon's sailing during the week from the UK to Ireland suggesting heavy demand

for this route

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One regular customer lost a truck,trailer & his freight & has been informed by IF that it is " not liable " for the damage.

 

So who is ? God ? or your own Insurance Company ? The Legal Profession love these situations.

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An appalling attitude. I'd like to see that attempt to wash their hands of responsibility stand up in court when the victims of that cretinous decision to sail launch their joint lawsuit against Irish Ferries. (Which they should).

Edited by Gareth

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I completely agree, but, this does not help the poor Trucker Driver who needs to replace his written off truck now so he can carry on working.

 

You will have French, Irish and probably other Nationalities involved, the damage was done in French, British & Irish waters. It has to be cheaper to pay up now than go through the Courts.

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Presumably he and a whole load of others will take their business elsewhere in future.

 

The Irish Road Haulage Association is on the case so Stena will probably benefit & it has 3 sailings a week Ireland France at this time of the year where IF has only one.

Dublin is probably more convenient than Rosslare for some customers

The link below gives an idea of the scale of damage

 

 

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/mangled-cars-and-overturned-trucks-incredible-pictures-reveal-damage-caused-to-cargo-on-storm-imogenhit-irish-ferries-boat-34444022.htm

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Personally I would just claim against my own motor insurance and let the insurance company's lawyers consider the liability of the ferry company and whether they wish to claim from them.

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This had to be way above marginal decision as to say a ship can make a crossing without being lost is one thing, but to sail with cars and passengers, comfort of ride paid for and the mental condition it will ;leave people in is another entirely and this was 100% wrong. Not even close.

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So who is ? God ? or your own Insurance Company ? The Legal Profession love these situations.

 

Don't think "act of God" would cover this as the ship sailed with the act of God in progress and so not mitigation.

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Irish Ferries deserves to lose customers in droves over this. The decision to sail or not sail is one thing (and there appears to be a pretty unanimous view on here about that, although for me the worst decision was not so much the one to sail from Cherbourg, which Stena also did, as the one to round Lands End rather than take refuge off Falmouth), but the attitude shown to their customers has been quite another. Ok, every ferry company will get caught out by the weather from time to time, and you'd have to be pretty charitable to concede that IF was "caught out" by these conditions (which were entirely as forecast), but the stories that have come out about how IF has treated its customers in this situation completely beggar belief.

Edited by Gareth

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