Ferry back in service after passing checks

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THE Hayling Ferry will resume service on January 4 after passing its third safety inspection.

The Pride of Hayling, which travels between Eastney and Hayling Island, was inspected yesterday by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).

The vessel was stopped from carrying passengers last month after failing its annual safety checks.

A second inspection earlier this month was also failed.

Maggie Hill, from the MCA, said: 'The MCA has reinstated the Hayling Ferry's passenger vessel certificate and the skipper's Boat Master's licence.

'The vessel can now resume its service between Hayling Island and Eastney.

'The vessel's owner and skipper worked hard to resolve the issues with the vessel's safety management system and we're now satisfied with all aspects of the vessel's operation.'

In November, the MCA said the skipper of the vessel did not demonstrate 'adequate competency in emergency protocol'.

This included the steps to be taken in an emergency, how to use the vessel's fire pump, abandon ship procedures and basic fire-fighting.

Life-jackets were found to be defective and staff members were not able to cope with a set of emergency scenarios put to them.

Ferry owners have now bought 20 new life-jackets.

The Pride of Hayling's operations manager, Ian Gall, said: 'The inspectors were happy. They wanted these things addressed and we have addressed them.

'We just want to get on and start running again.

'We feel bad for the regulars but these issues have to be sorted.

'We had to put up lots of stickers and safety awareness notices, and have a different position for the fire extinguisher.'

Mr Gall says normal service will resume on January 4.

The ferry's owner, Frida Edwards, who is a councillor at Havant Borough Council, refused to speak to The News.

The ferry has been running for more than 200 years, linking Hayling Island to Portsmouth.

It is used by schoolchildren to get to school each day and can travel up to 30 times a day during the week.

The only alternative to the three-minute ferry ride is a 32-mile round trip by road.