Representatives of the Hayley Ferry Ltd pleaded guilty to a number of charges at Portsmouth Magistrates Court this week

A Hampshire ferry company has been fined

more than £12,000 after it carried too many passengers.

Three representatives from Hayling Ferry

Ltd, the master, operator and owner, were each charged with four counts of

sailing without a valid passenger certificate and two charges of sailing with

insufficient liferafts onboard. 

The group pleaded guilty to all charges at

Portsmouth Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

The master of Tina Marie, Geoffrey Oliver, aged 58, was fined £900, plus costs of

£400. Frida Edwards, the vessel’s owner, aged 54, was fined £600, plus costs of

£300.

While the operator, Hayling Ferry Ltd, was

fined £6,000, plus £4,000 in costs.

The 11m long vessel was used as a ferry

between Hayling Island and Eastney, across the entrance to Langstone Harbour.

The vessel is certified to carry 12

passengers and two crew, however on four occasions in January and February this

year, the boat landed between 16 and 27 passengers.

In most cases, the majority of passengers

were children returning home from schools in Portsmouth.

On all the occasions listed in court, the

vessel had inadequate lifesaving equipment for all the adults and children on

board.

In a statement on the company’s Facebook

page, Frida and Tina Edwards said: “We would like to assure

you that at no time did we, the owners, encourage this practice and we were not

aware that it had happened until the MCA

contacted us with notice of the prosecution.

“We have no

doubt that Mr Oliver thought he was doing the right thing. He was in a

difficult position, as he did not want to leave children unattended on the

pontoon. That said, proceeding with the journeys with too many passengers was

not the right decision and we fully supported the MCA’s actions against us.” 

Menawhile, the MCA’s captain

Amir Esmiley, said: “There was a clear lack of concern for the safety of

passengers which was made worse as the majority of people on the four crossings

were children.

“The limits on the number of passengers that

can be on a vessel are there to ensure that everyone has a proper lifejacket

and a place in a liferaft.”

Image credit: Facebook/Hayling Ferry Ltd