Ferry halts voyage for bow door to be welded

A DANISH ferry will dock in Newcastle this morning with its bow door welded up after warnings from Danish marine authorities that its rubber seal was partly worn away.

The Winston Churchill, a roll-on roll-off ferry operated by DFDS Scandinavian Seaways, was held up for almost a day with 500 passengers on board at Esbjerg, Denmark, while the work was carried out.

The ship, built in 1967, operates two return trips between Esbjerg and Newcastle weekly from April to October and was due to be put in dry dock for maintenance.

Ebbe Pedersen, the managing director of DFDS, said: 'We thought it better to weld up the doors rather than wait for a replacement seal.' He said that there would be some delay to passengers getting off the ferry as they would use the stern ramp but it would not delay the schedule which allows for several hours in each port.

An Oostende Lines cross-Channel ferry, the Prins Albert, broke down with rudder failure as it left Ramsgate on the 5.30am sailing to Ostend yesterday. A spokeswoman for the company said: 'An oil leak caused rudder failure just as the boat was pulling away. It used its boosters to reach the open sea where repairs were carried out within half an hour.'

Stena Sealink yesterday had to cancel a sailing between Dieppe and Newhaven and the return journey after it was delayed by two sets of inspectors called in by the French authorities and the shipping line's classification society, Bureau Veritas. A spokesman said: 'It just happened that two sets of inspectors arrived at the same time and we thought it best to cancel the two trips.'

In Finland yesterday coastguards reported that the searchers had still not located the bow door of the Estonia, raising questions about when the door was broken off from the ship. A coastguard spokesman said: 'We have carried out a search over around 200 hectares, with the aid of sonars, near the ship and on the route it was presumed to have taken before it went down.'

He said they were 90 per cent sure that the bow door was not in the zone where the ferry sank. It capsized last Wednesday on its way to Stockholm from the Estonian capital Tallinn with the loss of 912 of the 1,049 people aboard.

As the search goes on, the pressure for major changes to the ferry industry appears to be growing in Scandinavia. 'This industry must ask for help - we're in a bad way,' said Robert Akerlund, in charge of ship operations at Sweden's Stena Marine, operator of the world's largest ferry fleet.

'We have made a big mistake and we need to speed up (improvements to safety),' he told a conference on marine safety in Stockholm yesterday.

It is expected that the Swedes will be pressing the International Maritime Organisaton for major changes in ferry regulations, just as the British did after the Herald of Free Enterprise disaster in 1987.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions