Coastguard approval questioned after Duck Tours sinking

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch has claimed that the Coastguard did not properly approve the DUKW vessels involved in last year’s Duck Tours sinking

The Coastguard has been urged to create more rigorous standards for amphibious vessels to prevent a repeat of last year’s Duck Tours sinking on the Thames.

This recommendation comes as part of a report from the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) that looks at two separate incidents from last year

The second of which involved an amphibious vehicle sinking in Liverpool dock in June 2013.

Duck Tours provides amphibious tours of London, but operations were suspended after the incident on the Thames in September 2013, which involved a fire on board.

The second vessel was operated by Merseyside company The Yellow Duckmarine, which has since gone out of business.

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Both stricken DUKW-class amphibious vehicles were coded to carry passengers by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) in 2000.

The MAIB report concluded: “Over the years, the MCA’s regulatory supervision was insufficient to ensure the DUKWs were being operated safely.”

Key issues included additional buoyancy foam being tightly packed around machinery, which resulted in the fire on the Thames.

A spokesperson for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said: “Safety is our top priority and our surveyors and inspectors work closely with operators to assure the safety of their vessels.

“However, we do accept that because of the unusual nature of these amphibious passenger vehicles, we should have provided our surveyors with enhanced instructions and training. This has now happened.”

The MCA added that the process of developing more appropriate standards for amphibious vessels is now underway.

London Duck Tours resumed its trips on the Thames in July, following a number of amendments to its vessels.


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