Red Funnel suspend Captain and Mate following collision with yachts (updated)

The Isle of Wight ferry company confirm they have suspended the Captain and his Mate following the second collision in East Cowes with yachts in the last few weeks.

Red Falcon grounded

Red Funnel have confirmed to OnTheWight that the Captain and his Mate who were in charge of the Red Falcon ferry when it collided with several yachts and ran aground on Sunday morning have been suspended.

The incident took place just before 8am on Sunday morning when the ferry travelling from Southampton to East Cowes collided with several small yachts moored in Cowes Harbour, sinking one of them, before running aground.

Suspension is “standard practice”
Confirming the suspension, a spokesperson for Red Funnel told OnTheWight,

“This is standard practice in any maritime incident of this nature and you shouldn’t read too much into it as part of our duty of care for them.”

Red Funnel unable to confirm same officers
OnTheWight asked whether these were the same officers involved with the previous incident on 27th September when Red Eagle ploughed through moorings in Cowes, tearing several yachts from their moorings.

A spokesperson for Red Funnel told OnTheWight,

“Unfortunately I’m unable to comment as the investigation is ongoing.”

CEO: A “proactive safety management culture”
Fran Collins, Red Funnel CEO said

“Our Southampton-East Cowes service is operating as scheduled today following yesterday’s incident involving Red Falcon. An underwater survey and detailed inspection found that there was no damage to the ship which is back in service and operating normally.

“Red Funnel has a proactive safety management culture and a detailed internal investigation into this incident has been initiated to identify the root cause.

“Whilst the investigation is underway, the navigational team involved in the incident will not be rostered on board which is in accordance with best practice. As normal, the investigation will also consider any other similar incidents that have occurred, both internally and industry-wide, and will seek to identify any common factors.

“Prior to completion of the report, however, and as a precautionary measure, some amendments to our bridge operating procedures in reduced visibility have been made although these changes are not expected to impact on the reliability of the service or the frequency of weather-related cancellations.”

Article edit
13.40: Comment from Red Funnel CEO added

Image: © Rakina Wadey

Monday, 22nd October, 2018 1:11pm



Filed under: Cowes, East Cowes, Ferry, Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Top story

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5 Comments on "Red Funnel suspend Captain and Mate following collision with yachts (updated)"

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long in the tooth

I travelled on the 7.15 RF ferry from East Cowes yesterday morning. Visibility was awful on the Solent. The guys “driving” these ships do a great job.

I have to agree with “Oldgirl”. Its a fine line between providing a service and observing absolute safety rules. You can’t always get it right. Imagine the comments on this sight should the ferries cease to run every time there was a little fog. They are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. The fixed link loonies would have a field day. I think the… Read more »

I would not wish to attach blame to the crews. The operators should not be running ferries in such conditions. I was on Ryde seafront at 9.00am and the fog was extremely dense. Other ferries, cats and hover did not seem to be operating. Well done (sarcastically) Red Funnel for subjecting your staff to this indignity.


Judging by the downvotes, I presume some of you DO blame the crews and NOT the operators. Perhaps you should apply for their jobs, or use some common sense.


Ultimately the crew are responsible for running the ferry, the captain could have refused to run!
I’m still struggling to work out with all the technology available how this boat ended up so far off course!
Common sense would say that if they have no faith in their instrumentation they wouldn’t run!