Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight ferry failures blamed on 'assembly errors'

CCTV image of engine engulfed in flames Image copyright MAIB Publications
Image caption An engine room fire in August 2018 was so far unexplained, the MAIB said

Two engine failures during Solent ferry sailings were caused by "assembly errors", an investigation has found.

The breakdowns happened on Wightlink ferries operating between Lymington and Yarmouth in 2018.

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) said errors were made by Swedish engine manufacturer Volvo Penta and a UK Volvo dealer.

Wightlink said it has made sure none of its other Volvo Penta engines are faulty.

Image copyright Lewis Clarke
Image caption The vessel Wight Sky suffered two "catastrophic failures" in 2018

The two incidents are part of an ongoing MAIB inquiry into four Wightlink breakdowns last year.

The Wight Sky suffered "catastrophic failures" in August and December, investigators said in an interim report.

In the first incident, an engine was "engulfed in flames" as the ship, carrying 117 passengers, was preparing to enter the Lymington River.

The fire, which is so far unexplained, was extinguished by the ship's water-mist system.

In December, a newly-built engine on the ferry failed due to a factory error, the MAIB said.

Investigators said there was no fire, although Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service previously said a blaze had been extinguished by eight crews.

Image copyright MAIB
Image caption A Wightlink engineer was seriously injured in a fire in 2017

Another ship, Wight Light, suffered less serious engine failures in February and August.

One was caused by "an assembly error during overhaul conducted by the local Volvo Penta dealer", the MAIB said.

The dealer, RK Marine, was named in an MAIB investigation into a previous fire on Wight Sky in 2017, in which a crew member was hurt.

The "unusually high incidence of failures" might involve "several underlying factors", including the way the vessels were driven, the MAIB added.

In a statement, Wightlink said it was "working hard to eliminate the problems".

Chief executive Keith Greenfield said: "We have been able to ensure that the manufacturing and rebuild assembly errors are not present on any of our other Volvo Penta engines."

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