Poor onshore coordination to blame for passengers left on burning ferry

A report into a fire on board the Commodore Clipper, in which passengers had to wait 20 hours before disembarking, has blamed a lack of onshore organisation

Ineffective onshore coordination led to passengers being stuck on board a burning ferry for 20 hours, according to a report by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB).

The Commodore Clipper was travelling to Portsmouth from Jersey when it caught fire in June 2010.

The fire started in a refrigerated container, but due to the density of the cargo, the crew was only able to contain the fire, not extinguish it.

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The officer of the watch and duty engineer initially thought the alarm that had sounded was due to a fault with the fire detection system, and the vehicle deck

water system was not started until 20 minutes later.

The report by the MAIB said, “The high density of cargo and constraints in the design of the vessel limited access to both fight the fire and to disembark the passengers.

“Freight trailers had to be towed off the vessel before the fire could be extinguished.”

The report found that no single person or organisation was responsible for the whole incident.