One of my nautical but nice chums has sent me a, er, ferry interesting report concerning one of TransEuropa's vessels. The 34 year old Larkspur, which plies the Ramsgate/Oostende (Ostend in old money) route was apparently detained for two days in the Belgian port last week for an 'expanded inspection'.
Only last month the UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch reported the watertight doors on TransEuropa's Eurovoyager 'were regularly left open while it was at sea'. The Bahamas-registered Larkspur was found last week to have '19 deficiencies', six of which were grounds for detention. These included:
- Company responsibility and authority
- Emergency preparedness
- Maintenance of ship and equipment
- Lifeboats and lifebuoys
- Oil filtering equipment
- Alarm arrangements
- Oil and oily mixtures, lack of familiarity
- Auxiliary engine
- Cleanliness of engine room
- Gauges and thermometers
- Other machinery
- Closing devices/watertight doors malfunctioning
- Emergency lighting, batteries and switches
Phew! Of course, Slovenian-owned TEF's fleet is getting a bit long in the tooth, so you have to expect some dilapidation. But it does make you wonder whether their operational and maintenance procedures are up to snuff. Still, I don't expect the Porsche driving Diaz brothers who own TEF take an awful lot of interest. They mainly earn earn their lolly from being barristers.
You also have to wonder why this ad hoc inspection happened in Belgium and not here in Blighty (Eurovoyager was only inspected by our mob following an accident). Could it be because the authorities here don't give much of a proverbial about what's floating in and out of our lovely port? I think we should be told!