UK fights to tighten car ferry safety

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Radical proposals to increase the safety of the world's roll-on roll-off ferries to avert disasters like the Estonia and the Herald of Free Enterprise are being resisted by France and several other European nations.

The plans will be put today to a committee of the UN's International Maritime Organisation in London and a final decision is expected next week. These would involve either the introduction of transverse bulkheads, dividing car decks or fitting outside buoyancy tanks.

If the plans fall transport ministers have said Britain will go ahead to enforce the changes to ferries using UK ports.