Magnetic Island North Queensland
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November 21st 2007
Sunferries respond to collision report

The damaged pylon with the sister Maggie Cat approaching this morning Following contact with Sunferries this morning Magnetic Times has been provided with the following statement from the company over the incident last night in which the Sun Cat ferry collided with a Nelly Bay Harbour channel marker pylon.

The statement reads: "Sunferries encountered a minor incident last night when 'Sun Cat' struck a channel marker inside Nelly Bay Harbor on the 8.45pm service. At this time it appears that the accident was caused due to unforeseeable mechanical failure, combined with the rough sea conditions we have been encountering over the past week.

"At the time of the incident there were less than 30 passengers onboard the 'Sun Cat', none of which were injured. Sunferries is very proud of its impeccable safety record, having never incurred a major incident in the company's 10 year history.

"The crew handled the situation exceptionally well and followed all emergency procedures in line with the company operating manuals to ensure the safety of our passengers and reported the incident to the relevant authorities. Sunferries will be working with Marine Safety Queensland (MSQ) to undertake a full investigation of this unfortunate accident."

Magnetic Times also sought comment from the company about the safety of the vessel as it was the same vessel used to return passengers back to town after the accident.

Sunferries respond to collision report
stuart Kininmonth
November 20th 2007
As a passanger on that night, it was like a movie watching the pole approaching the boat through the windows. There was a slight bump and the 4 knot sign dissapeared. I can only commend the crew who acted calmly but with haste as they tried to rectify the situation. I can only imagine the damage if the ferry had ploughed into the rocks and clearly the poorly designed harbour is to blame partly.
Mandy Richards
November 20th 2007
As I was not on the ferry when the 'minor incident' occured I can't comment on what happened. I was however travelling on the ferry on Tuesday evening when the cabin lights went out. This occured when coming into Nelly Bay harbour. The skipper managed to manouver the ferry onto the pontoon without incident. The weather conditions seemed to me to be similar to what they were last night. I have a couple of concerns and perhaps someone can set me straight......
1. If there has been an ongoing mechanical problem why hasn't it been addressed and fixed by Sunferries?
2. Surely on these new wizz bang boats there must be an override steering facility if the power fails. If that is the case I question the ability of the skipper who was in charge of the ferry last night.
November 21st 2007
Mandy, an overriding steering facility would still need an engine to drive it. What happened on this occasion was completely beyond the control of the very experienced and hitherto incident-free skipper.
November 21st 2007
How can you criticize Sunferries' new boats and well trained Skippers, Do you work for Sunferries??? Are you a fully Qualified Skipper??? You said yourself that they manouverd the Ferry SAFLEY!!! Think before you speak/type!
November 21st 2007
i agree, everyone likes to, blame, blame, blame.

thankgoodness this isn't a report about a major accident that has a possibility of occuring because there wouldn't be enough fingers to point.

nothing happened, so let's all be grateful and I'm sure sunferries have learn't alot from this experience.
Mandy Richards
November 22nd 2007
Dear Anonymous (how interesting you won't post your real name)
No I don't work for sunferries, i'm not a qualified skipper and I have no association with the company other than being a concerned travelling passenger. I refer again to my two posted questions. What occured the other night was either human error or mechanical failure - perhaps a combination of both. Yes - the skippers manouvered the ferries on two previous occasions on Tuesday & Wednesday nights when the lights went out in the cabin. Once again I refer back to my original questions if there is an ongoing mechanical problem why hasn't sunferries rectified it? I value my safety - don't you???
Why didn't the skipper manouver the boat with the main engines - there must be back up battery power on these boats..... Surely there is some back up system to the steering mechanism. Was this put into place???? My concern is for my safety and for the safety of fellow island residents. Thank goodness no-one was injured on Monday night but sunferries need to address this issue big time.
November 22nd 2007
Congradulations Mandy,your the only one speaking sense.Bye the way Sue what do you class as a major incident.When some one gets killed perhaps?? Oh yes Anonymus I am a fully qualified Master.
Mandy was right, there is a back up system.Two high horse power motors that where still running,why didnt the skipper use these to manouver the vessel.??Was he breath tested as is the norm in this situation?I doubt it.Tell me how a full inspection of the vessel can be carried out in the dark with no divers or dinghy.It seems to me that the skipper kept up his incompitence by taking passengers onboard for the return trip.Another vessel should have been used,this is only common sense.Lives should never be but at risk no matter what the cost.You cant blame the harbour as always it was human error combined with a minor mechanical fault with the auxillary which powers lighting ect.
November 22nd 2007
I have no gripes with the crew, but engine or no engine, I don't feel safe on the new ferries when the weather is rough!
November 22nd 2007
I am having trouble understanding what Mandy is suggesting when she writes about "an ongoing mechanical problem". The MagneticTimes story did not mention such a matter and I don't feel comfortable about the imputation that the collision incident could somehow be connected to it.
If you think about it, the suggestion is similar to that question, "are you still beating your wife"? How can you answer it if you didn't know you were beating your wife. There has been no mention anywhere that the vessel had "an ongoing mechanical problem".

What do you think? Send us your comments.

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