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Standards not met by duck boat tour operators

Posted in: Public Liability Public Transport 

Incidents involving duck boat tours in Liverpool and London have highlighted serious failings. A recent report found that the incidents were caused by both poor maintenance and a general failure to meet standards. The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) said that the company behind the amphibious duck vehicles is “extremely fortunate” that no one was hurt in either of the incidents.

One incident happened in June 2013 when the craft sank in Liverpool. 31 people, including children, had been on board the vehicle at the time, and 27 people required hospital treatment for minor injuries. That was the second vehicle to sink in Salthouse Dock in a three-month window. In September 2013, another duck craft had to be evacuated after it caught fire on the River Thames in London. 30 people had been onboard at the time.

“Extremely fortunate that none of the passengers and crew were drowned or injured”

The report found that on both occasions, the Duck boats did not have the correct quantity of buoyancy foam required to provide the “mandated level of residual buoyancy”. The chief inspector of the MAIB, Steve Clinch, said that their report highlighted that other duck boats operating in the UK also do not have adequate quantities of foam. London Duck Tours amended this, but the foam was so tightly packed around the machinery that it caught fire.

Mr Clinch said: “It was extremely fortunate when DUKW Wacker Quacker 1 sank in Salthouse Dock that none of the 33 passengers and crew on board were drowned or injured as they abandoned ship.”

The report stated that Liverpool Duck operators ‘The Yellow Duck Marine’ was no longer operating and London Duck Tours has made numerous amendments.

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