UK holds off ferry action

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 August, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 04 August, 1995, 12:00am

THE British Government says it will take no action over a parliamentary report on ferry safety until the International Maritime Organisation makes recommendations in November, according to a news report.

The report called for safety standards on Cross-Channel ferries to be improved, to reduce the risk of capsizing, the Financial Times said.

After the Estonia ferry capsized and sank off the coast of Sweden last September, killing 900 people, the government said it would call on shipowners to prevent such tragedies by building transverse bulkheads across ferries' vehicle decks.

The Independent on Sunday , using details from the report, said last week about 70 per cent of British ferries did not meet international safety standards.

Since then, British MPs have called for a star system for rating passenger ferries, showing how well each could survive water ingress, as one of a series of new safety measures, according to the shipping daily Lloyds List .

Every ferry using a British port would be graded, with a system for the public to check whether a ferry was not graded as safe or not, it said.

This could be done, it said, by having stars displayed prominently on the vessels.

A five-star ship would be one which could withstand flooding of the car deck long enough to evacuate all its passengers safely, using the approved evacuation system.

At the moment, however, no ferry using a British port would qualify for more that one star, the paper said.