Statement from Pearlwild Limited, operators of The Yellow Duckmarine,
We have today passed photographs to the Marine Accident Investigation Branch which show a near shredded tyre wrapped around the propeller of the Quacker 1 vessel which sank on Saturday afternoon.
We strongly believe that this rogue tyre and the resulting severe damage to the hull caused the vessel to sink and led to the successful rescue operation which ensued.
We have spent tens of thousands of pounds enhancing the safety of our fleet during recent months to meet with the requirements of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, but the extent of the damage was such that the vessel was unable to cope with the sheer volume of water.
We will continue to work closely with the MAIB in their investigation and fully expect that debris in the dock will form an important part of their enquiries.
It is the first time in more than 35,000 Yellow Duckmarine tours that debris has been a problem in the dock. During the past 12 years, approximately two million people have been passengers on our highly popular tours.
Our company employs 35 people and since 2001 has played an important part in the success of the Liverpool tourism economy. We hope that the photographs we have passed to MAIB today will bring an end to some of the wild and irresponsible comments we have heard since the incident occurred on Saturday afternoon.
We would also like to reiterate our sincere thanks to our own crew and say how proud we are of them for the brave and selfless way in which they acted, as well as the emergency services and the barge owners who helped ensure that all passengers on board were brought to safety in a calm, speedy and professional manner
– Pearlwild Limited, operators of The Yellow Duckmarine