Nautilus International has welcomed the UK government’s decision to abandon controversial proposals to scrap ferry safety rules requiring ro-ro passenger ships to be fitted with lockers containing emergency equipment.
Following an eight-week consultation and talks between the Union and shipping minister John Hayes, the government said ‘persuasive’ arguments had been made in favour of retaining the regulations, which were introduced following the Herald of Free Enterprise disaster in 1987.
The regulations were developed in response to the findings of the formal investigation into the loss of the ferry and require ro-ro passengerships to be fitted with on-deck emergency equipment lockers, containing such items as axes, crowbars, lifting gear and ladders.
‘We made a robust case for these regulations to remain in place and we are pleased the minister has made the sensible decision to maintain them,’ said Nautilus senior national secretary Allan Graveson.
‘While this is a specific UK requirement, we believe there is a strong case for the UK to take this forward internationally and regionally for all ro-ro passengerships, passengerships and other high-sided vessels such as car carriers and livestock carriers,’ he added.
‘We now look to the Maritime & Coastguard Agency to take this further, especially in the light of incidents such as the Costa Concordia, where passengers had to scramble down a single ladder on the side of the ship, and the capsize of the South Korean ferry Sewol where passengers were trapped inside,’ he said.