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The 2 Tops

Brittany Ferries Overcrowding On The Vehicle Decks

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Purplemadboy, I read your link in post #49 with interest, particularly, "DFDSSeaways - It is standard to open the doors a little bit earlier to save time, but they are always open when under way".

I always thought that when a ship was away from its dock and moving, it was under way (shouldn't that be "under weigh", as in weighing anchor?). Looks to me like a malpractice that could justify prosecution - I thought strict legislation now banned this behaviour.

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My comments have never been directed towards the safety of the ship itself - I doubt that any ferry operator on the UK/EU circuit would take the risk of exceeding the permitted tonnage.

 

I am referring to health and safety of the drivers and passengers of vehicles (caravans/motorhomes in particular) who, because of overcrowding on the garage decks, have difficulties in leaving or returning to their vehicles without the necessity to climb across the tow hitches of other vehicles. There are many elderly passengers who are at risk of injury in having to do this - and not necessarily recognised as being disabled. And one does not have to be elderly to suffer an injury.

 

Also, add to this the increased risk of substantial damage to these expensive vehicles, which could result in wrecking the owners' holiday on an outward journey, apart from the overall trauma it can cause at any time.

 

When a ferry company advertises facilities to carry passengers and their vehicles on these roll on/roll off ferries, it can be taken as read that the ships are designed and intended to carry passengers and vehicles in a safe environment within the confines of what is permitted by a ship at sea. This includes vehicle spacing adequate for passenger access, and any rocking of the vehicles on their suspensions where a degree of swell is encountered.

This latter assumption is based upon the fact that the ferry company does not indicate any intention to close up vehicles into a tight bunching that ignores the designated layout of the garage lanes. Any claims of, "at owners' own risk", are invalidated where an abnormal practice has been deliberately implemented.

 

It is now 7 days since Brittany Ferries received my recorded delivery complaint. Obviously they need time to offer any intended reply but, if they do not do so by the end of 28 days, then I shall feel justified in pushing the matter into the public domain.

Ignoring a response would be a rude rebuff to fare-paying passengers.

 

I agree with all of your points above - and the issues you cover are indeed serious (perhaps even catastrophic for an individual or family who became trapped or endangered). I hope you can see why I am keen that this issue isn't confused with even more serious issues such as those that befell the Herald.

 

My own view is that over-crowding, especially for caravanners, is probably going to be worst on certain Brittany Ferry crossings. They probably have a high percentage of caravanners due to their holiday focused routes and they have time to load each vessel as efficiently (tightly) as they can. Over at Dover loading lorries quickly is probably more important.

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AlfaEuropa, my main point is that the ferry operators have vessels designed for a specific purpose, which includes loading vehicles within that specification. Squeezing the vehicles into a space not appropriate to the design (which means ignoring adequate spacing of vehicles within the designated lanes), can only be for the purpose of greedy profit-making. I take your point about the Herald of Free Enterprise catastrophe but, when rules start to be broken, where does the taking of risks end? Such as the time-saving excuse in the link from purplemadboy, where the ship's bow was partially raised whilst the ship was moving and not alongside the dock. DFDS seem to think that the ship was not under weigh which, at best, is a contradiction of the truth. The allowance of one demeanour can easily lead to another, until a serious incident on a scale similar to that of the Herald could happen again.

Make no mistake, the ferry operators are in business to make profits, and the likes of us are their fodder. We have every right to insist that they operate strictly to the rules, and that neither we nor our vehicles are open to less than proper treatment at all times.

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Quit saying

I Don't recall telling anyone anything!

Seems to me that it's common sense not to group an issue that may have implications for ease of access or damage to property with the sinking of a ship, unless you have a very good reason to think there is a link.

Otherwise id be inclined to quit with the Herald of Free Enterprise references.

Does the above ring any bells?

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Quit saying

Otherwise id be inclined to quit with the Herald of Free Enterprise references.

Does the above ring any bells?

I said what I'd be inclined to do. If you infer that as me telling you what to do, that's your choice.

 

Your Dfds post can a long time after the earlier speculation. Different company.

 

As for inferring one thing from another, we might as well say that if British airways loose your luggage that they could well be negligent in their care of safety apetatus, or a dirty caravan indicates faulty brakes. ..

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Purplemadboy, I read your link in post #49 with interest, particularly, "DFDSSeaways - It is standard to open the doors a little bit earlier to save time, but they are always open when under way".

I always thought that when a ship was away from its dock and moving, it was under way (shouldn't that be "under weigh", as in weighing anchor?). Looks to me like a malpractice that could justify prosecution - I thought strict legislation now banned this behaviour.

 

Is it possible to close the bow doors and lower the visor before moving away from the loading ramp? I only ask out of interest, I always use the shuttle. Emoji_1F684.png

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Generally when you are parked on a ferry the loader stands infront of you and when in position leaves, so why not walk between the front or rear of the vehicles instead of stepping over hitches,

Regarding the DFDS ferry with the bow doors open, it is slowing down to berth not leaving and accelerating which is where the problems occur. Whether it contravenes the rules, ask the Maritime & Coastguard Agency they decide, however the DFDS ships are not UK registered, so whether they contravene French laws as it was in Calais ask the French. Rules is rules but not always the same even in the EU. :)

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"Generally when you are parked on a ferry the loader stands infront of you and when in position leaves, so why not walk between the front or rear of the vehicles instead of stepping over hitches"

 

I generally find that the loader indicates from the side and doesn't leave a gap big enough in front to walk through.

Knarf

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Here is an example of another ferry operator breaking the rules last month https://twitter. com/Ship_Hunters/status/612684071840415746

 

 

Guys, before you accuse anyone of breaking the rules I would suggest you know what you are talking about.

The ship approaching the berth is raising it's bow visor out of the way. If they waited until the ship was on the berth they wouldn't be able to open it without contact with the berth.

The visor will be raised just before it gets to final position on the berth, there is still a water tight door behind the visor. This will be opened when the ship is safely on the berth and finished with engines.

Once the inner door is opened the connection between ship and shore will be made.

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I thought ferries had an inner watertight door which could not be open whilst the ferry is moving and an outer door at the front which is and can be opened whilst the vessel is moving on to its berth.

 

Certainly my experience of being on a ferry near the doors is they don't move until the ferry has stopped.

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I thought ferries had an inner watertight door which could not be open whilst the ferry is moving and an outer door at the front which is and can be opened whilst the vessel is moving on to its berth.

 

Certainly my experience of being on a ferry near the doors is they don't move until the ferry has stopped.

 

That is correct.

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On the St Malo-Portsmouth crossing Brittany Ferries always fit 5 lanes of caravans into 4 truck lanes. Just look at the anchoring points on the deck as you run in. I used to stop short of the final resting point to allow my passengers to alight, before it got too tight. The marshal used to go mad, I ignored him.

I have not used them for years for that reason and also because they are grossly overpriced. They have a monopoly in the Western Channel and charge accordingly. Vote with your feet.

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We have made four crossings (two return trips) on Brittany Ferries, and both at the same time of the year (Around third week of May outward, and beginning of July return, and same days of the week for each trip).

Of the four crossings, the last one was the only time that this cramping situation occurred.

 

Just because Brittany Ferries make a practice of this bad behaviour does not make it right. For our next trip we have changed to Portsmouth-Caen-Portsmouth, which adds another 85 miles to our destination as we favour Brittany. But, again, it has to be Brittany Ferries - sometimes 'voting with ones feet' is not an option. And why should this be necessary? There are travel standards which can legitimately be expected as a minimum. In the situation met by other caravanners/motorhomers and ourselves, Brittany Ferries have crossed the line where respectful treatment is concerned.

For the few who can conveniently 'vote with their feet', Brittany Ferries will not be unduly worried but, if enough offended passengers took the time to battle it out with Brittany Ferries and pushed their views into the public domain, then there is a fair chance that they (B. F.) can be shamed into stepping up to the mark.

 

My complaint was sent to their Customer Services - I haven't ruled out the possibility that some disinterested member of that department may have elected to bin it. Bad move - I have the receiving person's name recorded, and any need for a repeat of the letter will go to the CEO, with a copy to a suitable watchdog, or a holidays correspondent of the national press.

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I can't speak of the St Malo service, but we are just back from two crossings on the Roscoff route to and from Plymouth on "Armorique" .

 

Caravans and big motorhomes were down on deck three where the lorries go - no overcrowding, no close spacing, no stepping over tow bars, charming hostesses down there to greet us and show us where the lifts were, a comfortable overnight cabin going out, an equally comfortable lounge with free wi fi and television in the afternoon coming back, again with charming staff in the restaurant and the shops, a big, clean, modern well equipped ship, no hassle with the Calais problems, no queues, no battles with the M25 in all its glory.

 

I'll write to customer services too - to praise them.

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I can't speak of the St Malo service, but we are just back from two crossings on the Roscoff route to and from Plymouth on "Armorique" .

 

Caravans and big motorhomes were down on deck three where the lorries go - no overcrowding, no close spacing, no stepping over tow bars, charming hostesses down there to greet us and show us where the lifts were, a comfortable overnight cabin going out, an equally comfortable lounge with free wi fi and television in the afternoon coming back, again with charming staff in the restaurant and the shops, a big, clean, modern well equipped ship, no hassle with the Calais problems, no queues, no battles with the M25 in all its glory.

 

I'll write to customer services too - to praise them.

Not sure how this last sentence is meant to be taken. If you have received good service, then lucky you. And the simple answer is that if they can do it on one route, then the same standard can be met on the other routes. If your remark is intended as some sort of balance, (i. e. , that providing you are served well, then the rest of us should keep quiet and put up with poor treatment), what a strange attitude towards your fellow travellers.

Just remember, this is the same ferry company, and one day your praises may come back to haunt you - I probably felt the same as yourself until this last journey.

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There isn't any difference in price on the check I just completed.

knarf

 

I've just entered a few crossings for Plymouth - Roscoff - Plymouth for various dates in August and the difference in cost between a 2. 6m high caravan and a 3. 0m high one is around £45 each way

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The discussion was about the dfference in price between 3m and 4m to ensure that the caravan would be loaded on the lorry deck.

 

I've just checked on line Plymouth-Roscoff Sept 15th ret Sept 22nd:

MPV/4x4 5. 00m x 1. 83m Caravan/Large Trailer 6. 00m x 3. 00m

Route - Plymouth to Roscoff - Roscoff to Plymouth

£458

 

MPV/4x4 5. 00m x 1. 83m Caravan/Large Trailer 6. 00m x 4. 00m

Route - Plymouth to Roscoff - Roscoff to Plymouth

£458

Knarf

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i think its boat dependant as well as some of the boats don't have a 3m Deck so you are either 2. 6m or 4m, therefore even if you put 3m in you will be charged the 4m price as above

 

 

I looked at bumping up from 2. 6 to 3m for safety they wanted £60 e/w that was on the ST Malo out and the Poole back

 

I have experience of my roof box getting rubbed on the roof of the boat when they put me on a mezzanine level in a Zafira ( and I had booked as an MPV and high

Edited by Andyd71

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We've always been put on Deck 5 when travelling with the caravan on the Portsmouth - Ouistreham and return. Probably 15 - 20 trips all in all.

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Of course you know that ir is highly possible that some decks are designed to be dual purpose.

You know, if they are carrying lorries to carry 4 lines of vehicles and if car & caravan have five.

you know all approved and licensed.

 

Now whether caravan owners approve of this obviously is not a design not a licensing criteria.

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Of course you know that ir is highly possible that some decks are designed to be dual purpose.

You know, if they are carrying lorries to carry 4 lines of vehicles and if car & caravan have five.

you know all approved and licensed.

 

Now whether caravan owners approve of this obviously is not a design not a licensing criteria.

On the H&S issue, passengers having to climb across the tow frames of other vehicles in order to get to the stair wells would not get a licence clearance, as this would automatically be rated as a risk of injury. Closing up caravans and motorhomes so as to be located 5 to 10 cms apart places them at risk of damage as they can sway on their suspensions due to even very moderate swells. Add to this the very difficult exiting of the towcar - some elderly passengers having to climb across a centre console in order to get out - and this raises questions of fitness for purpose in the loading procedure, and still more H&S risks.

 

There is also the problem of reaching a caravan in the event of fire - the combinations of gas on board the caravan and 12-volt electrics which can cause severe sparking if a short circuit occurs - and it can happen.

 

Furthermore, when a roll-on/roll-off ferry is designed and passed as suitable for service, the parameters are never applied on a basis of "passengers can manage with that", or "close bunching is acceptable even though it may result in vehicle damage".

 

 

All forms of public transportation are subject to strict rules of "duty of care". It isn't relevant whether caravan owners approve of the situation - the design parameters and rules are laid down ahead, and the safety of passengers and their vehicles carry a high priority in the eventual release for service.

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The 2 Tops, yes good points but as most of these vessels are not British Registered they will come under the safety requirements of the country of registration. which may not be the same as ours.

 

As regards fire I would suspect in most cases it would be a case of seal the deack and use fixed fire fighting apparatus anyway.

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The 2 Tops, yes good points but as most of these vessels are not British Registered they will come under the safety requirements of the country of registration. which may not be the same as ours.


I might be wrong here but if the H&S regs on aircraft using a British airport ie it doesn't matter where it comes from it must be up to British standard of air worthiness, are ships /ferries not under the same type criteria ?

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are ships /ferries not under the same type criteria ?

 

Possibly

 

I found this: -

https://www. gov. uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/292367/ro-ro_stowage_securing_of_vehicles_cop. pdf

 

This is interesting

 

5. 14 Vehicles should be closely stowed athwartships so that, in the in the event of any failure in the securing arrangements or from any other cause, the transverse movement is restricted. However, sufficient distance between vehicles should be provided to permit safe access for the crew and for passengers getting into and out of vehicles and going to and from accesses serving vehicle spaces.

 

In it there is no talk of the need to secure vehicle below 3. 5 T weight.

 

 

it must be up to British standard of air worthiness,

 

Which is a copy of the full international standards which is fully acceptable.

 

Edited by Ich

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According to Wikipedia, Brittany Ferries is a French company. So all safety regulations would come under the EU - any 'flag of convenience' would be a separate thing altogether. In order to operate, they would be required to meet the safety standards which applied at their ports of sailing. Therefore any safety issues in loading the ship would very probably be answerable to the port authority at the port of embarkation.

 

many large companies rely on the "thin end of the wedge" to exercise advantages, and it must follow that some of the practices are likely to be bordering on the unlawful.

 

A relative who travels regularly with Brittany ferries told me that they were usually prompt in replying to criticisms, which does make me wonder why they haven't even acknowledged receiving my letter on July 7th.

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