The Maritime and Coastguard Agency have said they are satisfied that Wightlink took the appropriate action in withdrawing St Clare from service following last week’s certification blunder, but say they are investigating other concerns that have been raised about the company.
It has been confirmed that although the certificate of class and the air pollution certificate for Wightlink’s St Clare car ferry had expired, as exclusively revealed by Island Echo on Monday, the Passenger Safety certificate for the vessel was and is still valid.
St Clare was surveyed by Lloyd’s Register last Saturday and re-entered service that afternoon. Today’s confirmation that she has a valid passenger safety certificate, as well as now having the required class and air pollution certification, means she is running a legal and safe operation.
Yesterday (Thursday), the 16:00 departure from Lymington was delayed by 45 minutes as extra checks were being carried out by the Captain and his crew on board ‘Wight Sun’ to ensure everything was in date. It goes to show how serious the certification expiry last Friday is being taken by the company – or more to the point how serious the situation is overall.
Wightlink have still not commented on when exactly St Clare’s certification expired.
But it’s not all good news… the MCA have told Island Echo that it is aware that other concerns have been raised about the Wightlink ferry service and that they are currently looking into those issues.
A spokesperson for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency has said:
“The MCA is aware that Wightlink stopped the operation of the ST CLARE ferry on Friday afternoon 12 October due to expiry of her certificate of class and her air pollution certificate. These certificates for the St Clare ferry are issued by Lloyd’s Register and are separate from the vessel’s passenger safety certificate issued by the MCA. The passenger safety certificate for St Clare is still valid.
“On Saturday 13 October, we understand that a Lloyd’s Register surveyor inspected the vessel – after which she returned to service. The MCA is satisfied that Wightlink took the appropriate action in withdrawing St Clare immediately from passenger service to rectify the certification issue when it arose.
“The MCA is aware that other concerns have been raised about the Wightlink ferry service, and is currently looking into those issues”.