New ferry detained in Pompey

19th May 2006, 08:07
Acciona cancels first UK crossing after MCA detains ship over safety problems
ACCIONA Trasmediterranea was yesterday forced to cancel its inaugural crossing from Portsmouth to Bilbao, after the vessel was detained by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.


19th May 2006, 16:50
The ferry is the Fortuny Rushie, owned by Acciona Transmediteranea. I will give full details below. Firstly, she caused myself and SN member John Feltham to wait in the heavy wind having met on the round tower expecting to see her leave at 1200. It was so windy, we could not hold the camera steady so decided to find a more sheltered spot. But it then came onto rain and at 1300 John had to go, but still no ship. Others were waiting for her as well. I was at a meeting later, so hung around all afternoon. I went over to Gosport and bumped into a pilot who told me she had been delayed. So below is the full story.

She arrived yesterday morning at 0730 with 300 travel professionals, VIPs and visitors which signalled the start of a new service between Bilbao and Portsmouth. She underwent berthing trials before unloading her passengers an hour later.

But the MCA (Maritme and Coastguard Agency, who were not informed about her arrival until last Friday, paid a visit and found the crew were not prepared for a fire drill, couldn't lower the lifeboats, and found some of the emergency fire-fighting equipment was still in its packaging and not ready for use. A search and rescue plan had not been lodged and it had failed to provide proof in English that it met various stability tests.

A statement released by the Spanish firm accused the MCA of over-reaction and claimed it was unusual for a team of inspectors to descend on a ferry as soon as it arrived in a British port.

The stranded passengers waited hours before being told the ferry would not be sailing. The firm tried to book hotel rooms but most were full for the Volvo Ocean race ending tomorrow in Portsmouth. So the passengers were flown home on a chartered flight from Gatwick. The empty ferry left at 2030. She will not be able to take passengers from Portsmouth until she meets MCA standards.

I stayed over in Portsmouth for the night being far too tired to go home, but I am sure the passengers were even more tired that me, and more fed up than us for waiting for a ship that never arrived in gale force winds and rain. I had the same long wait for the Calypso, but at least she turned up eventually!. David

19th May 2006, 19:11
Cheers Pompeyfan,

Once more you deserve a personal bravery award for taking on the elements and lack of food, liquid and sleep in getting news and photos for SN..!! Absolutely appalling for a new ship and service to be totally unprepared.

I read some reports on the MCA website about detentions. One ship was detained with a problem with the lifeboat and didn't have any on board.! Who the hell in their right mind would go to sea on a vessel in that state.?

Keep up the good work our "roving reporter"...we'll have a whip round for a camel hair coat and a thermos flask for you..!!

Rushie (Applause)

19th May 2006, 19:34
Pompeyfan...for info from MCA website -

Press release -


The 2001 built, Spanish flagged, passenger ferry `Fortuny Sorolla managed and owned by Acciona Trasmediterranea (AT Ferries) was prevented from leaving port today after an inspection by four MCA Surveyors.

The service on board the 26,916 GT vessel was due to run twice a week off-peak and three times a week during the high season to Bilbao from the UK.

It is an EC requirement that before any RoRo passenger ferry enters service for the first time from any EC port that it be inspected by the host state and issued with the appropriate clearance. The ferry company is responsible to arrange this inspection with the host state, in this case the UK, which it has not done.

MCA Surveyors who boarded the vessel this morning found various deficiencies including:

Poorly presented fire and boat drill

Emergency fire fighting equipment not for immediate use

search and rescue plan had not been lodged by the Company with Her Majestys Coastguard as they are required to do.

Stability to be confirmed as in compliance with SOLAS and the Stockholm Agreement.

The vessels classification society Bureau Veritas have been informed.

Amir Esmiley, Surveyor in Charge at the MCAs Marine Office in Southampton said:

It is very unfortunate that this vessel simply turned up on our doorstep virtually unannounced. Safety on board such vessels are of crucial importance to us and a major inspection of the vessel by the UK authorities was required before entering service from a UK port.

We have therefore no choice but to issue a prevention of operation notice preventing this vessel which does not meet the requirements of the EC Directive from operating. We apologise to any passenger that may be inconvenienced by this Notice, but we would reiterate that their safety is our first priority and the MCA will not compromise on such issues.



fred henderson
19th May 2006, 19:45
This ship was built in 2001 and until now has been employed on the Barcelona - Ibiza service. In five years they have not had time to get essential kit out of its packing? Suggests that they only bought this equipment for the far longer and more exposed run from Portsmouth to Bilbao. In any event it confirms my doubts about Spannish Mediterranean ferries.

Fred :@

Baltic Wal
19th May 2006, 19:57
I understand how you felt Pompeyfan, in the early 70's I used to arrive at the Round Tower at 7am to photo a good arrival, sometimes I had luck as with Americo Vespucci and the last arrival of HMS Albion with her Helicopter flyby, othertimes after an hour I had to go to work disappointed, still there was always another arrival.

My house in those days was in Paulsgrove with a view over the Solent and the times I had to shoot into Southampton to get a good photo of the France or other liners. Could I get to Southampton from Porchester on the A27 before the liner could get to Southampton. At least the roads were clear those days.

19th May 2006, 20:14
Thanks Rushie. I am just fed up that I missed her after all that. It was certainly a wet backside and no fish?!. I am just glad that we are going on Pride of Bilbao to Spain in September. I think I will give this one a miss?!. I well remember trips to Paulsgrove Baltic Wal from Southampton when on Canberra to see a friend. I took the train. David

19th May 2006, 23:20
She certainly made the local news on BBC1 at 10.30 last night!
I bet the crew had a rough night at sea south and west of IOW!
MCA are having a good week.
Sorry you got wet John!

Keltic Star
20th May 2006, 04:38
Where is the Round Tower? When in Portsmouth I go to the Stills and West pub to watch the ships. Fine booze warm dry atmosphere and good food. Am I missing out on something.

Keltic Star
20th May 2006, 04:41
Glad to see that the MCA was on the ball. Had a few good trips on the Pride of Bilbao. Wiil certainly give this one a miss.

20th May 2006, 13:13
I applaude the MCA on there reaction to this ferry. However I am disappointed as I was hoping that it may give me a possibly cheaper run down to Spain than at present. I currently always use Britanny Ferries, as I am a member and get large discount. However was hoping this Spanish one would be cheaper. Not now though, failing to come up to safety standards. They were just hoping to get away with it as they would certainly be aware of the international regulations.Oh! well will have to see. Will give it a miss for now.
Hawkey01 :@

Baltic Wal
22nd May 2006, 17:34
Where is the Round Tower? When in Portsmouth I go to the Stills and West pub to watch the ships. Fine booze warm dry atmosphere and good food. Am I missing out on something.
The Round Tower is along the road from the Still and West, at the entrance to the harbour, opposite what was HMS Dolphin. Iy is a high position that gives views of the Solent as well as into the harbour. Wonderful grandstand view of the movements into the harbour.
Benefit of the S&W is taht you can have a drink while you view, but the Round Tower is a better view. Trouble with the S&W is that Gales have been taken over by Fullers and HSB and BBB are now brewed in London, what a way to spoil what was a good pint.