Manly Ferries operator says ship ‘far off’ from Sydney Harbor cruise ship when steering failed

The Sydney ferry operator has denied a new ship was in the path of a cruise ship in Sydney Harbor when it suffered a steering failure.

Three catamaran ferries have been withdrawn from service following the incident when the ship Fairlight was traveling from Manly to Circular Quay just before 5pm on Monday.

Transdev chief executive Loretta Lynch told ABC Radio Sydney there was no risk to passengers.

“The captain immediately slowed the ferry down and switched to emergency steering, which really only takes a few seconds, regained full control of the vessel and made sure of the nature of the problem,” she said. declared.

“He felt it best to bring the ship back to dock. He dropped off the passengers.”

Ms Lynch disputed media reports that the Fairlight was on the planned course of a cruise ship leaving Sydney Harbour.

“At all times, this ferry was well out of the way of other ships, and it was never at risk.”

Ms Lynch said the ships were taken out of service as a precaution while the cause of the steering issue was investigated.

It is the second steering issue to affect the new Emerald Class fleet in a matter of days, as the Clontarf suffered an outage on Sunday.

Ms Lynch argued it was a rare occurrence since the three new ferries started operating in November last year.

“In one week, it’s two incidents, but since they have been in service, there have been very, very few. And in fact, there have only been three of these kinds”, a- she declared.

Maritime Union of Australia assistant secretary Paul Garrett said there was “no safe steering failure”.

“Sooner or later the luck will run out, and it will fail in a tight space situation, and there will either be a collision with the dock or another vessel,” Mr Garrett said.

He called for an independent safety investigation into the problems with the second-generation Emerald-class ferries, with questions also about their ability to handle heavy swells.

Labor has promised to reintroduce the iconic freshwater ferries between Manly and Circular Quay on weekdays. (Provided: Kate McPherson)

Transdev said the ferries had been allowed to operate in Sydney heads.

“There is no risk apart from the very big swells [and] no ferry will get through the biggest swells,” Ms Lynch said.

The union wants the four former Freshwater-class ferries to return to service immediately.

The NSW opposition has pledged to bring back the iconic Manly ferries on weekdays if they win the next election in March.

Ms Lynch said the 40-year-old ferries, two of which are used on weekends and public holidays, still had a place at the port, but commuters welcomed the change.

“Our new ships have been a huge hit with commuters who really appreciate this fast and frequent service,” she said.

Two services between Circular Quay and Manly were canceled on Monday due to the steering problem, but the services are now running close to timetables.

Ms Lynch apologized for the inconvenience caused to passengers.

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