Hovertravel Service Suspended Due To MCA ‘Safety Concerns’

Hovertravel suspended their service indefinitely tonight. See the releases from both The Maritime and Coastguard Agency and Hovertravel for the reasons why.

As we mentioned earlier tonight on Twitter, and as was pointed our by VB reader Nigel Walsh on our Facebook wall, Hovertravel had to suspend their service. An official statement from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and Hovertravel follow, in each of their own words. More to follow. Ed

Solent ExpressThe Maritime and Coastguard Agency Release: Issued 6.37pm
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has suspended Hovertravel’s ISM Document of Compliance which allows them to operate.

The effect of this is that the hovercraft ‘Freedom 90′ and ‘Island Express’ cannot operate.

Investigation into a propeller failure
We have taken this action because of safety concerns following an investigation into a propeller failure that occurred on a third craft which highlighted inconsistencies in their safety management systems, particularly with vessel maintenance.

Richard Pellew, Maritime and Coastguard Agency Area Operations Manager for the South East said, “We are working closely with Hovertravel and the propeller manufacturers to investigate the circumstances around the propeller failure.

Hovertravel responded positively
“Hovertravel’s management team has responded positively to our concerns and we will be working with them over the weekend to resolve the issues so these hovercraft can return to service as soon as possible”.

Hovertravel release: issued 8.51 pm
Hovertravel can confirm that they have suspended hovercraft services with effect from 18:00 today Friday 18th November.

Safety checks being undertaken
Following an issue with a propeller on the Solent Express Hovercraft on 30th October, further safety checks are to be undertaken to ensure the continued safety of Hovertravel’s fleet.

Hovertravel is working with the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA), the regulatory authority, and hopes to restore a full service as soon as possible.

Working with the MCA
It is important to stress that the current fleet of hovercraft are different models to the one in service on 30th October. As a mandatory measure we are required to ensure the integrity of all our operating systems in conjunction with the MCA.

The entire matter revolves around ensuring the safety of our operation. The safety of customers, crew & hovercraft are of paramount importance and Hovertravel are working with the MCA continually throughout this evening and the weekend to ensure the capability of the craft before they are returned to service.

Hovertravel satisfied craft are safe
This will involve working through a number of further checks now being implemented to ensure that not only the MCA, but Hovertravel are fully satisfied that our craft are safe to operate. We are confident that with the support of the entire Hovertravel team, and the MCA we will complete this process as quickly as we can.

We are currently working with Wightlink to accommodate our passengers who are already booked, to ensure they are able to cross the Solent this evening.

Deeply sorry for inconvenience
We are deeply sorry for any inconvenience this matter has caused our passengers, and are grateful for their understanding.

We will update our website www.hovertravel.com, and our terminal staff will be on duty as normal throughout the weekend to assist and update this situation.

It must be stressed we will only commence operations when Hovertravel and the MCA are entirely satisfied.

Wightfibre sponsors the Isle of Wight News by OnTheWight

Saturday, 19th November, 2011 12:09am

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Filed under: Ferry, Isle of Wight News, Overseas, Ryde

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3 Comments

  1. Steve The YAK's comment is rated +2 Vote +1 Vote -1

    19.Nov.2011 10:27am

    Although the suspension of the hovercraft is very inconvenient, it’s reassuring to know that safety is the prime concern of the MCA.

    Reply
    • Syd's comment is rated +5 Vote +1 Vote -1

      19.Nov.2011 12:35pm

      I think the key phrase here is “…highlighted inconsistencies in their safety management systems, particularly with vessel maintenance”

      It suggests when the MCA investigated the prop shaft failure they checked maintenance records and found that maintenance procedures/schedules hadn’t been complied with. This’d have very serious implications with regards safety which’ll be why the MCA suspended the service.

      Questions need to be asked! What exactly did Hovertravel do? What were the risks to public safety? What has been put in place to prevent the same ocurring in the future.

      Reply
  2. Commuter Ted's comment is rated +3 Vote +1 Vote -1

    19.Nov.2011 2:52pm

    The quality of service and customer relationship has fallen dramatically in recent years so presumably has the maintenance administration. This was a punctual, good value way to travel but No more. If you paid out for. a season ticket, annually around £1400 you could cash it in if your job changed after 6 months, not now….NO REFUND! Thanks Hovertravel, we shouldn’t be surprised bits are falling off, approximately 65% of craft are late and I travel daily and see it The other day there were seven staff stood at the stairs in a line with a full compliment of passengers. Not one had the brains to set up another set of stairs and thus ensure the craft actually left on time……..

    Reply

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