Condor ferry hits fishing boat; fisherman killed

The accident happened in thick fog between St Malo and St Helier in Jersey at 0745 this morning

A Condor fast ferry travelling between St Malo and St Helier collided with a fishing vessel in thick fog this morning, resulting in the death of a French fisherman.

Three men were on board the fishing boat at the time of the collision. Two were picked up by the ferry and a third was transferred by lifeboat to hospital in Jersey, where he later died.

Simon Edsall, MD of Condor Ferries, said: “Our thoughts and sympathies are with the family, friends and colleagues of the fisherman at this difficult time.

“We will continue to work in close co-operation with all authorities to ascertain the causes of this unfortunate incident. Our master and crew acted quickly to provide assistance to the fisherman following the incident.”

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The ferry, Condor Vitesse, was travelling in thick fog and was near the Minquiers when the accident happened at 0745 this morning.

The ferry suffered some damage to its starboard bow during the collision, but was able to make to St Helier under its own power.

Julian Buesnel, MD of Blue Water Supplies, was on board the ferry.

“There was a couple of loud thuds and judders. It was thick fog – you couldn’t see more than 30 or 40 metres – but the ferry had stopped sounding its fog horn when we left St Malo, and was travelling quickly,” he told MBY.

“At first they told us we might have hit a log and turned around. But then a passenger saw something in the fog – it turned out to be two men standing on the remains of a boat.

“At that point we had been looking for some time – around 15 or 20 minutes; it’s hard to be precise – but they hadn’t even taken the cover off the rescue boat.

“They eventually got the boat in the water, but didn’t think to prepare a second boat. They brought the two survivors on board and went off looking for the third man, who was picked up by another fishing boat.

“We hung around the scene for a long time before being given permission to leave, this time blowing the fog horn all the time.”

Edsall from Condor Ferries said no one on board the ship was hurt in the incident, and that all passengers and their vehicles had now disembarked in Jersey.

The company is co-operating with the relevant authorities, he said.

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