Kilcreggan Ferry back in the arena

The Kilcreggan to Gourock passenger ferry which serves the Rosneath peninsula has been put back in the arena for another gladiatorial bout.

Jackie Baillie, the local MSP, provided with information from Freedom of Information [FoI] requests by a local resident, Harry Cathcart, is again calling for intervention by the relevant authority, Strathclyde Partnership for Transport [SPT] over the handling of this ferry service.

Mr Cathcart’s FoI requests are said to show that SPT’s ferry operator, Clydelink, has been fined over £2,500 for late or missed sailings on the route since taking over the tender in April 2012; and that SPT has issued Clydelink with eight penalty points following an inspection by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency which identified several failings with the day-to-day running of the service. These are said to have included discrepancies in the accreditation of the ferry’s skipper – not itself a new matter, as it was the subject of dispute earlier in Clydelink’s period of operation.

There was no information on how many missed sailings a fine of £2,500 adds up to; nor of what ‘penalty points’ mean and how they work? Does each point incur some actual penalty? Is there a threshold that, when accumulated ‘penalty points’ pass, leads to some dire penalty?

We asked SPT this morning to help us understand the context of these matters.

In response, an SPT spokesperson says:

‘The only penalty incurred due to an operational difficulty was £274.40, relating to the inability to sail once on 13th April. The other penalties were issued over late returns of passenger statistics and in no way connect  to the operation of the ferry.

‘It’s worth remembering  this contract was approved on the basis  it would deliver savings to the public purse. To date, more than £150,000 has been delivered compared to the previous contract.’

We have asked SPT for information relating specifically to the ‘penalty points’ issue and will add it here when we get it.

In the meantime, SPT’s clarification that, of the – itself modest – £2,500 fine , that only £274 of it related to missed sailings – a SINGLE missed sailing very early in the contract by a new service, redresses what might have been a wrong done to Clydelink in the inference that the company had missed a significant number of sailings.

A spokesperson for Clydelink has advised us that Jackie Baillie’s statement is in the hands of its legal advisers and as such it is inappropriate for the company to comment at this time.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • LinkedIn
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Ma.gnolia
  • NewsVine
  • StumbleUpon
  • SphereIt
  • Reddit
  • Slashdot
  • Print

16 Responses to Kilcreggan Ferry back in the arena

  1. Whatever happened about the gangplank falling over board? I read about it online and a friend told me she was on that day later and that there was a rickety gangplank and was told they had lost the main one. Was this true and if so, anything done about it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • It did fall overboard; as far as I can tell the outcome was they bought a new gangplank, which to be fair is much wider and easier to walk over than the one that got deepsixed.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • The crew probably got a chewing from the boss and told to tie it on better so the new one doesn’t follow the old into the briny; I don’t know if anyone complained to SPT, but I doubt it would do very much good.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Does SPT management have experience in depth to understand the new amendments to MARPOL – prevention of pollution from ships, new rules came into force in January this year. There is a casualness in the operation of this route driven by SPT and operators to reduce costs. The loss of a gangway surely must be a reportable event to SPT and concerned agencies including Clyde Ports, MCA and SEPA. It is in effect a dangerous occurance and pollution, and a marine obstruction if the structure was not recovered from the estuary. There should be a desire from the authorities to be seen to hold someone publically accountable in their promotion of an environmental agenda. The rules now prohibit the discharge of virtually all garbage into the sea. We should see pollution becoming an increasingly important issue in terms of marine criminalisation. SPT management is clearly way behind the curve in this.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        • It sounds horribly like there’s a disaster just waiting to happen – and I wonder if SPT would try the ‘Tesco / Ryanair defence’ of pleading ignorance, that they’re just seeking value for money?

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        • Following the loss of a gangway the sort of questions SPT people should be asking are: Is there appropriate standardised procedures in place for a routine operation; Does the work process have risk consideration, hazard identification and controls;
          Is there a safety culture as evidenced in: working practices, from crew, owners’ and SPT. Taking this accident and the previous allegations of steaming from the pier whilst still having a warp secured ashore should perhaps SPT and the Agencies give grave consideration as to the safety culture. This SPT points system cannot be considered as improving on or endorsing an organisation wide safety culture. Managing safety at sea is not to be reliant on” three strike and your out” or a points toting up system – the sea doesn’t work to these rules. The Merchant Shipping (Accident Reporting and Investigation) Regulations 2012 require Masters, Skippers and Owners of vessels to report accidents. In addition, this duty to report accidents to the Marine Accident Investigation Branch MAIB extends to harbour authorities, inland waterway authorities, and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. The SPT cannot simple invoke a points system and wash their hands, they need to be up to speed with the law. The SPT should also ask: was this accident serious enough to require reported to MAIB, if loss of the gangway would hinder or prevent the safe landing of passengers and crew? And, Does a series of alleged poor working practices or regulation breaches add up to the need to report to the MAIB by SPT via other agencies?

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • From David Bradshaw
        Man the pumps! Also reported here and here. A cynic might observe that SPT are merely following the example of national government; letting contracts to the lowest bidder regardless of competence or prior performance, e.g. the endless merry-go-round of contracts for the likes of EDS, Capita, Siemens, BAE etc.’

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        • EU competition rules require that systems of assessment to be applied to competing bids tendered to public bodies preclude any consideration of the tenderers’ prior performance, regardless of whether they were previously excellent or atrocious.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. The agenda for the last SPT Operations Committee provides an insight in to what happens after prolonged non conformance, albeit for a longer distance bus service.
    The same meeting also approved the support for the Carrick Castle to Helensburgh bus service for a further three years.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


All the latest comments (including yours) straight to your mailbox, everyday! Click here to subscribe.