The Marine Accident Investigation Branch has released its report into the collision between the Thames M2 type passenger vessel Millennium Time and tug boat Redoubt in July last year that left several passengers injured
The collision left the Millennium Time badly damaged and also caused significant damage to the Redoubt and two of the three barges it was towing.
MAIB’s investigation found that there were several factors that contributed to the collision in the Kings Reach area of the Thames between Waterloo and Blackfriars bridges, including sub-standard steering systems on the City Cruises-operated Millennium Time.
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In addition the report found that the boat’s master was given a sightseeing commentary at the time, which was contrary to company operating procedures after three City Cruises vessels hit bridges in 2012.
The report said that the master “did not effectively supervise the mate at the helm”, who did not hold a BML, contrary to company instructions.
The key safety issues identified by MAIB were:
- Problems associated with Millennium Time’s steering system reduced its effectiveness in meeting the navigational challenges on the River Thames.
- Millennium Time’s bridge was not fitted with rudder indicators and the vessel was difficult to keep on a steady course.
- The mate did not hold a boatmaster’s licence and his employment as the helmsman was contrary to the operator’s instructions.
- Millennium Time met the construction standards required for a vessel of its age but it did not have to comply with the latest standards introduced in 2010.
- The risk of hydrodynamic interaction between vessels was increased off the Coin Street moorings.
- The master was providing a sightseeing commentary to the passengers and did not effectively supervise the mate on the helm.
- At the time of the accident, the correct passenger numbers on board Millennium Time was unknown.
Since the accident, MAIB recommended that the Millennium Time be fitted with a new hydraulic steering system and rudder indicators. It also said that “City Cruises demonstrate that suitable and sufficient control measures are in place to ensure the safe navigation of the M2 river liners.”