Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Red Funnel ferry captain loses unfair dismissal case over boat crash

Ian Drummond
Image caption Capt Ian Drummond 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

The captain of a car ferry that crashed with a pleasure boat has lost his case to get his job back, a tribunal heard.

Ian Drummond, 63, was in charge of the 305ft (93m) Red Funnel when it collided with the 32ft (10m) motor cruiser while crossing the Solent in September 2018.

He was cleared of committing two maritime offences and claimed he was "wrongly and unfairly dismissed".

A judge ruled he was not sacked unfairly but should have been paid his notice.

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. No-one was hurt.

During the employment tribunal, Judge James Dawson said Mr Drummond, who was dismissed from his job following the crash, should have been paid for his six weeks' notice period, which amounted to almost £6,500.

Capt Fran Collins, chief executive of Red Funnel, told the tribunal Mr Drummond was dismissed for breaching health and safety rules.

She said he had stayed in his lookout seat rather than moving around the bridge looking for obstacles that could slip into the ship's blind spot.

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

Mr Drummond told the hearing he "wouldn't have done anything differently" and said he saw the cruiser "assessed her and judged she wasn't a threat".

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

At the time, District Judge Anthony Callaway said Mr Drummond remained seated to maintain an overall best view around the ferry, including the use of CCTV monitors.

He added he was "satisfied the defendant did keep a proper lookout and was not to blame for the collision".

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

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