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?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
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

Recruitment Genius: Application Support Engineer - Software

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A small rapidly expanding IT So...

The Grange Retirement Home: Full Time Care Team Manager

£22,400: The Grange Retirement Home: This is a key role which requires a sound...

Guru Careers: Pricing Analyst

£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pricing Analyst to join a leading e-...

Guru Careers: Membership Administrator

£23K: Guru Careers: We're seeking an experienced Membership Administrator, to ...

Day In a Page

Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada