HC Deb 28 October 1987 vol 121 cc282-3W
Mr. Home Robertson

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the occasions on which officials of his Department inspected the Herald of Free Enterprise ferry vessel and/or issued certificates covering its use as a passenger ferry during the last five years; and if any recommendations were made, or requirements imposed, concerning equipment or procedures associated with the bow doors.

Mr. David Mitchell

The Herald of Free Enterprise was surveyed and certificated by officials from my Department as follows:

Date Place Passenger and safety certificate
February 1982 Amsterdam Renewed
February 1983 Bremerhaven Renewed
January 1984 Dover Extended
March 1984 Newcastle Renewed
February 1985 Newcastle Renewed
February 1986 Newcastle Renewed
February 1987 Dover Extended

Several visits to the ship were made in connection with each renewal of the passenger and safety certificate to survey the ship and her equipment. Each renewal survey included examination and testing of the bow doors and their operation. Normal maintenance work, such as renewal of the sealing, was required, after which the doors were again tested. As to procedures, the approved stability booklet contained a specific statement that the bow doors should be closed before the vessel proceded to sea.

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