Passengers ‘safely discharged’ after ferry runs aground off Isle of Wight
The ferry has now been re-floated and will undergo further testing.
A ferry company whose ship ran aground after it collided with several boats has confirmed passengers who were on-board have been safely discharged.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) received reports shortly after 8am on Sunday that the Red Falcon ferry had collided with “at least two yachts” in Cowes Harbour.
The ferry, operated by the Red Funnel Ferry company, had arrived in to East Cowes from Southampton during heavy fog.
A spokesman for HM Coastguard said around the same time they had received a 999 call from a member of the public reporting they had heard cries for help within the harbour.
The coastguard has since confirmed that nobody was in the water or missing.
They said they have made contact with the person, reported to be safe and well, who was on-board his own vessel and was “crying out to try and alert the master of the ferry of the situation”.
The Red Falcon was re-floated with the assistance of tugs shortly before 11am and is safely alongside in East Cowes.
Surveyors from the MCA have completed an initial assessment of the vessel and it has been cleared to be relocated to Southampton to undergo further inspections.
Fran Collins, chief executive of Red Funnel, said the boats involved in the collision were “unmanned, moored yachts” and that there were no reported injuries due to the incident.
A coastguard search and rescue helicopter was initially deployed to the area but had to turn back due to low visibility caused by heavy fog.
The UK Coastguard said that the Cowes RNLI lifeboat, Calshot RNLI lifeboats and coastguard rescue teams from Bembridge, Needles and Ventnor were involved in the “extensive search”.
INCIDENT UPDATE MCA surveyors complete initial assessment of #RedFalcon and clear its relocation to Southampton, without passengers, to undergo further inspection. Once the in water survey has been successfully completed the vessel will be cleared to return to passenger service.— Maritime&Coastguard (@MCA_media) October 21, 2018
Ms Collins said: “On behalf of Red Funnel, I would like to sincerely apologise to all those affected by this incident.
“Our staff are contacting passengers to offer them alternative sailings and service details are also available on our website.”
She said Red Funnel places the safety of passengers and crew as their “highest priority” and have commenced a full investigation into the incident.