Letter: Ferry disaster: ways to avert further tragedies

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Sir: After each ferry disaster we are told that the free surface effect of water no more than one or two inches in depth is enough to capsize a ferry ('Roll-on roll-off design in question again', 29 September). It is then pointed out that the cost of operating a ship with many longitudinal bulkheads would be prohibitive because of the difficulty of manoeuvring vehicles between these divisions.

So, lay numerous fore and aft divisions no more than a foot high and perhaps only 18ins apart over the entire car deck and lay another pierced car deck on top. One foot of height and a noticeable weight would need to be paid for, but considerable amounts of water might then enter the ship, fall through the pierced deck and be pumped clear without 'swilling'. By these means, severe leaks could be overcome, although nothing could save a ferry with doors actually open or opened.

Yours faithfully,


Birling Gap, East Sussex

29 September