Red Funnel ferry captain cleared over Solent boat crash

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Ian Drummond
Image caption,
Capt Ian Drummond said he was "very relieved" to have been cleared

The captain of a car ferry that crashed with a pleasure boat has been cleared of committing two maritime offences.

Ian Drummond, 63, was in charge of the 305ft Red Funnel vessel's crossing of the Solent when it collided with the 32ft motor cruiser in September 2018.

Nobody was hurt in the crash.

Mr Drummond was found not guilty at Southampton Magistrates' Court of failing to keep a lookout and misconduct likely to endanger ships, structures or individuals.

The ferry, which was carrying 182 passengers and 20 crew, was travelling from Southampton to East Cowes on the Isle of Wight when it hit the boat, which had four people onboard.

Mr Drummond was sitting in the lookout's chair at the time, the court heard.

Image source, Red Funnel
Image caption,
Mr Drummond was shown on CCTV sitting in the lookout chair at the time of the crash

An expert witness told the trial standing up would have helped the defendant to eliminate the ferry's blind spot.

However, District Judge Anthony Callaway said Mr Drummond had used his experience to remain seated to maintain an overall best view round the ferry, including the use of CCTV monitors.

"Not everything can be seen at all times - that is an impossible task," the judge said.

"I am satisfied the defendant did keep a proper lookout and was not to blame for the collision."

'Christmas present'

The court was told Peter Jackson, 57, was sailing the motor cruiser and had accepted a caution for his part in the crash.

Judge Callaway said Mr Jackson had "almost no knowledge" of regulations designed to prevent collisions and had "endangered" those onboard both vessels.

Speaking after the hearing, Mr Drummond said he had been dismissed from his job following the crash.

He said he was seeking to be reinstated at an employment tribunal in February.

"I feel very relieved - as a Christmas present I couldn't have asked for anything nicer," he added.

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