Ferry captain on trial for collision with yacht on Solent

Red Falcon in 2017 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Djm-leighpark)

A court in Southampton has begun legal proceedings against the captain of a passenger vessel that had collided with and damaged a small pleasure craft on the Solent on September 29, 2018.

Mr Ian Drummond, the 62-year-old captain of the 107-metre Red Funnel car ferry Red Falcon, had reportedly been completely unaware that his vessel had smashed into a 10-metre motor cruiser with four people on board while both were sailing from Southampton to the Isle of Wight on the day of the incident.

Julie Jackson, one of the yacht’s occupants, was thrown overboard when the two vessels collided. Meanwhile, her husband Peter and two other people on the yacht immediately donned life vests as their boat gradually became engulfed by water following the collision.

One of the yacht’s passengers recounted that the ferry had continued to sail ahead without stopping.

Two individuals suffered injuries from the incident.

Prosecutors said the collision would have been avoided if Mr Drummond had a proper lookout at the time that the two vessels started sailing close to each other.

The captain had allegedly remained “static” on Red Falcon‘s bridge instead of moving around and looking out the windows at the time of impact. On a vessel with numerous blind spots, a lookout who is mobile would have had better chances of identifying the first signs of imminent danger, the prosecutors added.

Mr Drummond continues to deny allegations of misconduct and of contravening merchant shipping regulations in relation to the incident.

The September 29 collision with the 10-metre yacht was the first of two highly publicised incidents involving Red Falcon in 2018.

The second incident occurred on October 21 when the ferry collided with two yachts and then ran aground in heavy fog at the entrance of Cowes Harbour on the Isle of Wight.

Baird Maritime

The best maritime site on the web. The sea's our scene!