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Red Funnel captain suspended as investigations take place

An investigation into the incident involving the Red Falcon Photo: RNLI

The master and mate of a Red Funnel ferry, which ran aground and struck yachts in fog on the Isle of Wight, have been suspended.

It comes as the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) makes enquiries into how the incident, involving the Red Falcon, happened as it travelled into East Cowes on Sunday.

Major disruption to sailings between Southampton and the Island occurred throughout the day.

Red Funnel were updating passengers on the ongoing problems via Twitter.

Around forty passengers were stuck on board until the vessel was refloated three hours later. Red Funnel said no damage was sustained to the vessel and no passengers were injured.

The boat was accompanied by two tug escorts as a precautionary measure and a Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA) surveyor was onboard for the short duration of the journey.

One of the boat which was involved in Sunday's Red Funnel incident Credit: RNLI/George Chastney

Red Funnel said the suspensions were "standard industry practise" and it was changing its procedures in regards to operating in restricted visibility.

A normal timetable has since resumed.

“Our Southampton-East Cowes service is operating as scheduled today following the yesterday’s incident involving Red Falcon. An underwater survey and detailed inspection found that there was no damage to the ship which is back in service and operating normally.

“Red Funnel has a proactive safety management culture and a detailed internal investigation into this incident has been initiated to identify the root cause. Whilst the investigation is underway, the navigational team involved in the incident will not be rostered on board which is in accordance with best practice.

"As normal, the investigation will also consider any other similar incidents that have occurred, both internally and industry-wide, and will seek to identify any common factors.

"Prior to completion of the report, however, and as a precautionary measure, some amendments to our bridge operating procedures in reduced visibility have been made although these changes are not expected to impact on the reliability of the service or the frequency of weather-related cancellations.”

– Fran Collins, Red Funnel CEO