Thames safety moves accepted

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The Department of Transport has accepted most of the 12 recommendations made by the Marchioness inquest jury to improve safety on the River Thames.

A total of 51 people lost their lives when the small party boat Marchioness was struck by the gravel barge Bowbelle in the early hours of 20 August 1989.

The second inquest into the deaths returned a verdict of unlawful killing last April, and the jury recommended 12 safety improvements, ranging from the increased provision of lifeboats to an alcohol limit for seamen on duty.

Responding to a Parliamentary question yesterday, shipping minister Lord Goschen said that the DoT had accepted the majority of the recommendations.

But the Department rejected the jury's call for all passenger launch crew - including bar staff - to wear inflatable life-jackets at all times while the craft was waterborne, saying it would not be practicable to do so.