Page last updated at 08:05 GMT, Tuesday, 7 July 2009 09:05 UK

Channel ferry doors 'left open'

TransEuropa ferry
TransEuropa operates the ferry between Ostend and Ramsgate

Watertight doors on a cross-Channel ferry were regularly left open while it was at sea, a report has found.

The UK's Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) published its findings after an engine-room fitter was hurt on the passenger ferry Eurovoyager.

The fitter was found trapped in a hydraulically-operated steel watertight door in a machinery space as the vessel sailed for Ramsgate, Kent, in November.

The operator TransEuropa Shipping Lines said it would not be commenting.

The MAIB has called for improvements to both UK and European shipping safety.

'Procedures not monitored'

The fitter, who was treated for crush injuries, was expected to be off work for at least six months.

The report found that there had been a number of problems with watertight door operations on the ferry, which operates on the Ostend-Ramsgate crossing and has been in service since 1978.

It stated: "On-board procedures for the operation of watertight doors were poorly promulgated and were not monitored or enforced.

"It was the usual practice on board for the watertight doors to be in local control.

"However, VDR (voyage data recorder) data showed that many of the doors were routinely left open at sea, which potentially compromised the vessel's watertight integrity."

The roll-on, roll-off passenger ferry is Belgian-owned and registered in Cyprus.

The MAIB has made recommendations to the Department for Transport, the UK's Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the Belgian and Cypriot shipping authorities and TransEuropa Shipping Lines.

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Dover MP Gwyn Prosser has said the accident report raises great concern



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