Yesterday, the Manly Ferry Collaroy lost control whilst approaching Circular Quay and ended up smashing into Wharf No 2, amazingly only two passengers suffered minor injuries. Nat’s mum was on board at the time (towards the stern, luckily not injured) and gave us a first hand account of the accident. The ferry apparently approached the wharf as normal, then veered to port, sounded the emergency three blasts, crew members ran towards the back saying something about dropping the anchors and Collaroy collided with the wharf. According to newspaper reports, the speed at which Collaroy hit the wharf was described as ‘dead slow’.
Looking this morning, Wharf No 2 is quite badly damaged. The steel support structure for the roof is all bent up, the roof itself has some heavy, visible damage. Apparently a large amount of glass on the Wharf shattered in the initial impact. The Wharf remains closed ‘until further notice’. I can’t honestly see it reopening for a while, some major repairs are needed before it does.
This latest crash was the fourth incident involving Collaroy in the past six months and the sixth involving Manly Ferries this year. Of these previous incidents, three have involved ferries losing control and hitting either wharves or wharf emergency stopping boards. The inquiries into the causes of these accidents have still not been finalised.
I love the quote from the CEO of Sydney Ferries that the Collaroy had ‘control problems’ “from time to time”, adding that this was common among the Sydney Ferries fleet and had not necessarily contributed to yesterdays accident. Priceless.
And so begins another period of disrupted Manly ferry services, wharf closures and delays. Thankfully the JetCat services were running this morning, albeit by berthing at Wharf No 3. No word on how long Collaroy will be out of action for.
Update Friday 23rd: Turns out that crew drug and alcohol test procedures that are to be conducted following any incident were botched following Monday’s accident. As a result both the General Manager of Safety and the Chairman of Sydney Ferries have resigned from their positions. Ferries chief quits over crash drug tests