Fires lead to service restrictions on Wightlink ferries

A SPATE of fires has led to Wightlink taking action to restrict their services.

Tuesday, 18th December 2018, 3:43 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 10:07 am
Wightlink Ferries are to have speed restrictions put in place

After three fires in the last 16 months, the cross-Solent ferry operator has introduced speed reductions and cut crossings in high winds.

The firm operates between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight.

The latest incident occurred on December 14 after a fire broke out in an engine room on the company's Wight Sky vessel.

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The incident took place out on the Lymington to Yarmouth ferry when it was berthed in Lymington port.

It was extinguished and all passengers and crew were safely taken off the ferry.

Wightlink said the ship's Volvo Penta engine was brand new and had only been operational for 390 hours when it failed.

After discussions with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Wightlink have taken steps to prevent any future fires.

A spokeswoman for the company said: '˜We have agreed revised operating procedures with the MCA.

'˜Engine speeds have been reduced and ships will not sail if winds are higher than 20 knots constant or gusting at 25 knots.

'˜Wightlink apologises in advance as this will result in more cancellations and disruption for customers during high winds but safety must take priority.'

The latest incident follows on from previous fires in August 2018 and September 2017.

In August, 117 people were evacuated from the Wight Sky when a fire broke out and the main engine failed shortly after the vessel set sail from Yarmouth towards Lymington. 

In September 2017 a fire resulted in an engineer, who had been in the engine room at the time, being admitted to hospital to receive treatment for burns to his hands and face. He was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.