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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 September 2005, 14:49 GMT 15:49 UK
Riverboat safety given all clear
The Marchioness being raised from The Thames
In total 51 people died in the Marchioness disaster
Safety aboard Thames riverboats has reached acceptable levels, 16 years after the Marchioness sank, the final report after the tragedy has found.

But the Formal Safety Assessment on passenger boats on all waterways found six areas still needed improving.

Families of the 51 people who died when the Marchioness sank on 20 August 1989, heard the findings at a private presentation on Wednesday.

Shipping minister Stephen Ladyman said work on remaining areas was under way.

These include visibility, evacuation, fire hazards, safety management and vessel stability.

But Mr Ladyman said passengers on all tidal and inland waterways would find the results reassuring and said vessels on the Thames were "safer than ever".

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"We now have safety on the waterways and the Thames which are well within acceptable levels," he said.

"We are moving aggressively to deal with whatever issues remain."

The Marchioness riverboat was near Southwark Bridge in London when it was hit by a huge dredger, the Bowbelle, killing 51 people on board.

The official inquiry blamed the captains and owners of both vessels for the disaster.

Bereaved relatives and survivors set up the Marchioness Action Group to press for improved safety measures on all passenger vessels.

Wednesday's report, released by the Department for Transport's Maritime and Coastguard Agency, is the last in a series of studies ordered following the tragedy.

It found safety on all domestic passenger boats was "in line with Health and Safety Executive safety criteria".

Since the Marchioness sank, 134 safety recommendations have been made, Mr Ladyman added.

Thames lifeboat service launched
02 Jan 02 |  England
Marchioness timeline
23 Mar 01 |  UK News

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