Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Hythe ferry pier crash caused by mechanical failure

The crashed ferry
Image caption Coastguards sent rescue teams from Southampton and Lymington to the crash in May 2016

A report into how a ferry crashed into a pier has pointed to a mechanical fault.

Uriah Heep ran into Hythe Pier while it was berthing with 15 passengers and three crew onboard in May 2016.

The trimaran became wedged under the pier, collapsing the wheelhouse and trapping the skipper, who was pulled free by a colleague.

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) found the crash resulted from a loss of propulsion control.

Investigators found the skipper lost control of the water jet propelled vessel on 13 May as it arrived at the pier at 21:10 BST.

Image copyright @Livpearce24
Image caption The vessel's wheelhouse was badly damaged in the crash

According to the report, the loss of control was caused "almost certainly from a mechanical failure within the hydraulic circuit that powered the thrust deflector".

It also found "the ferry's berth at Hythe afforded little space within which to abort an an approach in the event of a mechanical malfunction".

The investigation found the ferry had been involved in three previous incidents:

  • In 1999 the ferry made heavy contact with a 'V' berth on the Thames following the loss of propulsion control
  • On 27 May 2015 it made heavy contact with Town Quay, Southampton when it's skipper was unable to slow the ferry down and put it in reverse
  • On 10 May 2016 soon after leaving Hythe its skipper noticed that the propulsion system was not responding - a hydraulic oil leak was later discovered
Image copyright MaIB
Image caption Uriah Heep was taken out of service and later sold by White Horse Ferries Ltd

Following the crash passengers and crew were rescued from the ferry and taken on to another vessel.

Some passengers received minor neck and back injuries, the skipper suffered minor cuts and abrasions.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency withdrew Uriah Heep's passenger safety certificate following the accident.

Uriah Heep was later sold by its operator, White Horse Ferries Ltd.

Hythe Ferry now runs a shuttle service using one vessel, Great Expectations, between Hythe and Southampton.

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