Jury issues safety recommendations

THE MARCHIONESS INQUEST

The jury made the following 12 recommendations:

1 All passenger launches should be equipped immediately with appropriate emergency exits and lighting.

2 Port of London and International Regulations should be enforced more strictly on the river by the Port of London Authority with the help of the river police. A system of spot fines could be considered.

3 Owners of commercial and passenger vessels should be required by law to ensure all crew members, including bar staff, complete a course of first aid and river rescue.

4 All crew on passenger launches should be required to wear some form of inflatable life-jackets to enable them to save themselves and assist others in the event of an accident.

5 Improvements to bankside life-saving facilities should be made urgently. If necessary, local authorities must be required by law to install ladders, chains and lifebuoys.

6 Urgent consideration should be given to increasing the Thames River Police rescue capability. This might include redesign of some of the police launches, purchase of specialised equipment or additional boats which are more suitable to rescue.

7 Owners of vessels over 40 metres should give serious consideration to installing at least one motorised lifeboat as part of their safety equipment.

8 Vessels over 40 metres on the Thames should post a lookout on the foc's'le who is either an officer or another suitably qualified person.

9 All medical examinations for crews and masters must be carried out by an independent doctor. In addition, those over 60 who are wishing to skipper a commercial or passenger vessel on the Thames should complete an independent practical test of competency designed to assess their understanding of current by-laws and international regulations.

10 The role of all crews on all vessels should be clearly defined by their employers. The mate's function should be primarily to assist the skipper with navigation.

11 Legislation should be introduced to set maximum blood alcohol levels for seamen on duty. In the event of an accident, all crews should be breathalysed and tested for drugs as a matter of urgency.

12 Senior crew members should be conversant with the correct international radio procedures - for example, mayday signals - and these procedures should be posted beside the appropriate radios.

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