UK ferry operator Red Funnel said that it had worked with the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) to identify exceptional solutions to support the government’s social distancing guidance in response to Covid-19 and respond to passengers’ requests to remain in vehicles during crossings.
Fran Collins, CEO, Red Funnel, said that “we would like to thank the MCA for working with us to identify solutions to allow our passengers this option during this exceptional time. Collins noted that many of Red Funnel’s customers had requested that this option be available. While Red Funnel empathized with their requests, it had been legally unable to oblige until now. “The MCA’s decision to provide a temporary exemption to this aspect of the safety code which applies to our operation is unprecedented and required a great deal of cooperation and lateral thinking from all parties. I’m very pleased that we are now able to provide a solution to our customers and thank our customers for their patience as we seek to adapt our operation as quickly and efficiently as we can”, Collins said.
Current safety legislation requires passengers to vacate vehicle decks for the duration of the crossing, but Red Funnel has said that from March 19th it would be operating a number of special “vehicle deck only” crossings, whereby the main passenger accommodation areas will be closed, and passengers must remain in their vehicles.
Red Funnel said that a number of additional passenger safety and operational controls were required to allow “this exceptional and unprecedented exemption”, and instructions would be clearly communicated to passengers prior to boarding.